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Source: istock

The 12-12-12 Challenge Makes Decluttering Easy

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Nov. 2 2020, Published 7:18 p.m. ET

It's nowhere near spring, but that doesn't mean that now isn't the perfect time to still do a little bit of decluttering. While it's easy to promise yourself that you'll wait until the spring to go through the ever-growing piles of clothes and other items you have that need sorting through, it's much easier to do just a little bit of it now to make you feel better about any holiday shopping you do (especially if you often find yourself buying gifts for yourself).

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The 12-12-12 challenge is an easy way to work on tackling clutter right now. By breaking this down into an easy task that can be done in an afternoon, you can quickly make progress on those big decluttering projects you've been trying to tackle. 

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Source: iStock
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What is the 12-12-12 challenge?

The 12-12-12 challenge is simple: Find 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to put back in their place. This works great if you have a specific room in your house that you often find overwhelming, as it gives you three very small, yet attainable goals to complete while still working to get a handle on the mess.

How big or small the objects you choose to apply to this challenge is completely up to you, and can vary depending on your current mental state. 

For example, take tackling your closet. If you're feeling really tired, and aren't quite sure you can handle finding 12 shirts or pants to throw away, maybe start with your socks and underwear drawer. Find 12 items that are past their prime, or socks without pairs to toss away. Then, move to a section of your closet you don't touch much to make finding 12 items to donate easier.

Adjust these rules as necessary — so long as you're handling 36 items in total, you'll feel much better once it's done.

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Get the family involved to tackle more of the house faster!

Why put off decluttering your entire house by yourself when you can use this simple challenge to get everyone in the house on board! You can easily take this challenge and turn it into a fun activity or race for the family to complete. If your kids like competition, challenge them to see who can find all 36 items first, and award small prizes for completing it if necessary. 

For a family of four, this will easily take care of 144 items in your house (with 96 of those items leaving for good)!

If you make this an activity you do once every other month (or as needed, depending on how fast your family accumulates clutter), you'll find your spring cleaning and decluttering tasks are much more manageable — because you've been maintaining the clutter regularly.

But even if you don't make the 12-12-12 challenge something you do regularly, it can still be helpful to put you back on track to reorganizing your space. Just remember to take it one step at a time.

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