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The Simplest Clutter Challenge You’ll Find

As this pandemic drags on, I’m sure your inbox is as full as mine is with all sorts of improving suggestions about how to make the best use of our COVID time. If organization doesn’t come naturally to you, these challenges are all way too complicated.

Here are three non-overwhelming decluttering suggestions you could try if you wanted to.  If you write and tell me you’ve done all three, zero points for you. If you do two, you get a measly three points, and if you do just one, you get the full 500 points.

#1: Read Today’s Newspaper

If you get the newspaper delivered or buy it daily, the challenge is to read it the same day you get it. I’m not asking you to pore through the tiny classified ads and peruse every section as if there was going to be a test. Just open up the paper and read anything that strikes you as interesting.

Here’s the real challenge: if something jumps out at you, read it then and there. No setting it aside to read properly later. No clipping articles and putting them in piles to send to people unless you get up, clip the article, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and put it in your mailbox for pickup as soon as you think of it. This challenge asks you to simply read the current day’s newspaper.

#2: Deal With One Piece of Junk Mail

Processing the mail every day is a complex challenge. There are many steps and decisions to be made hiding within that task.

However, we all get what I call repeat mail. You order some steaks and you’re on their mailing list for life. You’re not up for trying to get off that list right now but you recognize that every three days, here comes another envelope from the Steak People asking you to jump on the latest special deal. You don’t need to open that envelope to know exactly what’s in it. Here’s the challenge: toss that one envelope, unopened, in the recycling every time it arrives. Can you establish the habit of automatically recycling mail from that one advertiser without opening it first?

#3 Take Out the Kitchen Garbage

Even if the liner is half empty, this challenge is to take out the garbage daily at a set time that works for you. Some people like to take it out at night so smells don’t lurk overnight. Others would rather wait until morning to avoid having to stumble around in the dark. Set an alarm for whichever time you prefer.

If you make this complicated by trying to empty all the little garbage cans throughout the house into the big bag first, this won’t last as a habit. The challenge is to take out the kitchen garbage daily.

Which challenge would you like to take this week? I’m excited to award you full points for choosing just one challenge and committing to it for a week.


  1. This is so thoughtful! The overwhelm is real right now and we need permission to go small and take it easy. Thank you for this post!!!!

  2. I’m not sure where I rate on the points, but I love the challenges you’ve set. These are small things that not done regularly can add up to big consequences- piles of unread newspapers, mail that’s waiting to be sorted, and trash that really needs to exit. Yet you offer a way to make a quiet commitment to just one small change, which can make a huge difference. I love that!

  3. I’m afraid I’ll get zero points because I do those tasks regularly. I can think of a drawer or two that I need to tackle. Maybe this is the week, right? Time to get going!


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