Clutter is the enemy. For as long as I’ve been the editor of Apartment Therapy’s Organize & Clean vertical (Hi, I’m Taryn!), “decluttering” has been the most consistent topic of interest to our audience for years.

The thing is though, you have to name your enemy to fight it, and the word “clutter” doesn’t have a tangible meaning on its own. Are shoes clutter? Sometimes. Books? Sometimes. Photos? Sometimes. You see, “clutter” isn’t a specific object — it’s a categorization. Clutter is everything that gets in the way when you’re looking for Band-Aids in the back of the bathroom cabinet. Clutter is all the clothes you don’t feel great wearing that you have to lift and pull out of the way to find something you want to put on your body.

Decluttering is hard especially if you’re someone who grew up without much access to things or money or resources. It’s easy to silence the part of your brain saying, “What if I want or need this again?” when you have money and time to replace things often. But you have to recognize that while a stockpile of objects can sometimes be a resource, at other times, it’s an obstacle. Those objects steal time, space, and peace from you in those moments where you’re just trying to heal a wound or get dressed to see friends.

That’s why we do this every year. The Decluttering Cure (or: The Newsletter Formerly Known as the September Sweep). It’s a way to take that fresh start energy that fills the air this time of year and channel it into a home that better supports your lifestyle by getting rid of things you don’t need and making it easier to find and use the things you do. When you sign up, I’ll send you 14 doable daily assignments designed to target different areas of your home. Together we’ll declutter plenty of objects together, but most importantly, I’ll teach you how to strengthen your decluttering muscles and change your habits and mindset for good.

If you’re not signed up yet, you can enter your email on this page or in the email signup box below. And if you’re ready to get started on day one, scroll down and let’s jump in!

Day 1: Set up three outboxes.

You’re going to have plenty of things to cast out of your home for good by the end of this challenge, so today’s assignment is just to set up a three-box drop zone.

Find a spot that’s convenient but won’t get in your way — like the area under your desk, a spot in the garage, or just in a corner somewhere — and that’s big enough to stash three big boxes. Your “boxes” can be baskets or garbage bags or whatever you have lying around. All that’s important is that you have three of them, and label them accordingly:

Once you’ve got your three “boxes” set up and labeled, that’s it for today! Don’t worry about filling up these boxes just yet — we’ll get to that tomorrow.

More Ways to Participate in the Decluttering Cure:

Taryn Williford

Lifestyle Director

Taryn is a homebody from Atlanta. She writes about cleaning and living well as the Lifestyle Director at Apartment Therapy. She might have helped you declutter your apartment through the magic of a well-paced email newsletter. Or maybe you know her from The Pickle Factory Loft on Instagram.

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