3 Easy Decluttering Successes (Challenges Part 3)

Lying on the floor in front of me were three pairs of black summer sandals.

Each pair had its good and bad features.  There were the extremely comfortable but rather clunky-looking ones, the super-cute but very uncomfortable strappy ones, and the ones that were rather cute and adequately comfortable, but took a bit more effort to wear since each shoe had three adjustment points.

I knew I really only needed one pair of black sandals, but which one?

Maybe I should just keep them all...

closet full of shoes

Difficult decisions

Have you ever been in this situation?  You know your life will be better with less stuff, but you're struggling to decide what to keep and what to remove.  Paring down becomes slow and difficult, and sometimes (like I did in this situation), you get frustrated and wind up keeping everything.

Simplifying your life can seem impossible when you're staring at a house full of stuff, a packed calendar, and maybe debt or other obstacles in the way.  So focus on baby steps rather than the big, scary picture.  Celebrate every accomplishment, and then move on to the next.

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The Declutter Dare

and declutter 100 items (or more) in just one hour!

Thirty-minute Minimalist Challenges #7-9

7.  Donate linens.

Remove everything from your linen closet (towels, sheets, blankets, tablecloths, cloth napkins, wash rags...).  What do you actually use and what are you keeping "just in case?"  Let go of your fear that you don't have enough and donate all of the extras.

8.  Clear your pantry and refrigerator.

Remove all expired food and toss it.  Remove all non-expired food that you don't like and won't eat and donate it to someone who will.  Wipe down all of the shelves and reorganize what's left, placing like items together so you can see what you already have before you make your next trip to the grocery store.

If you put a bit more time into meal planning so you can make a grocery list, you'll avoid making so many impulsive, clutter-creating purchases.

9.  Donate shoes.

Remove any that don't fit, whether too tight or too stretched out.  Remove the ones that give you blisters or hurt your feet or your back.  And look carefully at the ones you haven't worn in more than a year.  Do you realistically see yourself using them again, or do they simply no longer fit your style or your lifestyle?

I know that shoes can be expensive, and you might be concerned about "wasting" them.  Remember that whatever you paid for them is gone and can't be recovered.  Keeping the shoes out of guilt will only clutter your closet – it won't bring your money back.  Meanwhile, if they're in good enough shape to give away, you can think of your money as a generous donation to someone else.  That creates less waste than keeping them as shelf-filler.

Need a few more quick decluttering wins?  Tackle your jewelry box, your handbags and other accessories, kitchen gadgets, tools, DVDs/Blu-Ray discs/CDs, craft supplies, or reference books/cookbooks/college textbooks!

Subscribe to receive my free printable

The Declutter Dare

and declutter 100 items (or more) in just one hour!


  1. So, which black sandals did you keep? ;-)

    1. Hi Bette! At first I kept all of them, because they each had their good points. So maybe I'd wear them all, right? I kept them all just in case. But eventually I was able to realize that I never wore the clunky, ugly ones, even though they were so comfortable. And I never wore the high-heeled ones because they killed my back. So I decluttered those and kept the ones I actually used. More room in my closet, and I never missed the ones I donated!

  2. Karen, I was contemplating this issue the very day your email arrived. I have problem feet. I don’t have that many pairs of shoes but I do have a few I don’t wear. I suppose I keep them “just in case”. I have always been survival minded. Even though I have simplified my home and almost every area of my life, there are some things I don’t seem to let go. Linens, for one, which you have also written about. I’m thinking, “if the grid goes down, I might need these if I couldn’t do laundry”.
    With shoes, it’s, “I might need these to go in golashes if I had to go out in the snow”. I have room to store these items, but prefer empty space. I can’t seem to distinguish what is fear based and what is common sense.

    I have probably just been reading your blog a year or less, but you are an excellent writer, and I enjoy all your posts immensely.

    1. Hi Brenda. I do understand the fear that you will need something just after you have decluttered it. I can honestly say that I have regretted getting rid of something maybe five or six times, although I can't now remember what those items were. In my experience, it is easier to give in to fear than it is to take a positive, hopeful view. Maybe that is just part of being human, and how we have survived over the millennia. However, the vast majority of scenarios we fear NEVER happen. Fear can help us survive, but it usually just holds us prisoner and weakens us. I prefer to practice being grateful and hopeful. By the way, living with less also lets us practice being more creative and innovative when needs do arise; those are good survival skills too. I wish you all the best.


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