Minimalism Declutter Challenge

When you get older you get wiser… Well most of the time anyways! I’ve finally learned that living with clutter does not make you happy. It screws with your head too! It also suck when you need to move, and we did that a lot in our lives. We are both tired of it (moving clutter around). Since we started our FIRE journey we also started our minimalism declutter challenge.

Minimalism Declutter Challenge

Financial clarity comes from organizing your finances, cutting out the crap and investing the rest. Decluttering your life has the same positive effect and leaves you with less stress and more peace of mind.

Yes, we watched The Minimalists documentary, Tidying Up with Marie and Consumed (Netflix can be useful sometimes, rather than just a waste of time!). Isn’t Marie such a cute little lady, seriously, our 5 year old is about as tall πŸ™‚ But we are Dutch, so have a somewhat distorted sense of what’s tall.

Anyhow, so how did we start? What did we do? And why? Here is our minimalism declutter challenge. Although “minimalism” is still a bit of a stretch!

Minimalism Declutter Challenge
Minimalism Declutter Challenge – not our actual situation πŸ˜‰

The Beginning

We lived like students for quite some time and didn’t upsize our living space until about 2009 (to 130m2 / 1400sft). We didn’t have too much clutter to start with from our student and early career days. But the problem is that we also never threw anything away. So when the living space grows, so did the amount of stuff.

Fortunately it was never “hoarding” bad. But we needed 2/3 of a 40ft container to move to the Netherlands a few years back (we only brought a partially filled 20ft container to Canada!). And we even sold and gave away tons of stuff before be moved back. The problem was that we never really decluttered!


Decluttering in one go was not an option for us, too busy with work, the kid and life. So we attacked the clutter in stages. After out last move we also didn’t buy new closets (we sold the old ones before the international move) nor are there any closets in our current home.

We bought 36 large painted fruit baskets (50*40*31cm) and stacked then along the various walls of the house. This way you see all the shit you have (and everything get’s dusty). That really motivates to start decluttering! When you are done decluttering, you just sell the baskets πŸ™‚ Problem solved!

We now have about 20 left and need to lose another few.

Minimalism Declutter Challenge
Minimalism Declutter Challenge – Fruit Baskets?


We also have no clothing closet any more, just racks/frames in the bedroom. So no need for use to throw all cloths on one pile on the bed, we can see them already! Now that I no longer work, I threw out (read donated) most of the older office attire. I also donated everything I could find that no longer “sparks joy” or simply was not worn in the last year. It’s not a capsule wardrobe yet, but getting there! No, not really, but it’s much better now. Mrs CF still works, so has a bit more clothing then me, but not much (about 50% more)

The Books & Magazines

Mrs CF got an e-reader for her birthday. That helped. We donated all our magazines we still owned (about 65kg!), never was going to read any of it anymore anyways. Did the same (donating/recycling) with most of the books, study books and other reading materials we had. We did keep most of the childrens books for the little one. When/if she’s done, they will go too.

The Kitchen

The kitchen was easy; every pot, pan and utensil we never used was donated to a thrift store. Everything we had in duplicate was also donated (we kept the best ones). We also downsized the amount of cups and glasses we had. Kind of kept one set plus some extra cups and glasses so we could throw a small party and not run out. Now everything we have in the kitchen is actually used. What a concept! Herbs and spices are in many (small) jars, food and food products are stored in the pantry (and fridge).

The Media Collection

This is the current ongoing challenge. We had over 500 CD’s and well over 200 DVD’s. For this we needed about 6 Benno’s (Gnerby’s?) to store everything! Now we have about 2 Benno’s left and this will go down in the future. We want to keep some CD’s and DVD’s as they still makes us happy (“jeugd sentiment”). Or at least we still think they do.

I’ve been ripping like crazy lately. All the CD’s are done now. It’s time to do some of the DVD’s next (already donated the worst movies we had). Problem is, I’m running out of storage space on my desktop PC. So thinking about a NAS system with two drives of 2 or 4 TB to store all this content. Been talking to Geldnerd for some ideas.

Minimalism Declutter Challenge
Minimalism Declutter Challenge – Komono!


Komodo is Marie speak for “all the other shit you have”. This has been an ongoing battle. But we have cleaned up the garage and random stuff around the house. We are slowly getting to the point where we primarily have stuff we actually use or need. It’s quite liberating to be honest!


Not listening to you right now! Still to be done, lot’s of scanning still to do. Fortunately I no longer have a job, so should have it done by the end of the year. Then it’s time to move again πŸ˜‰


  1. I read the book of Mari kondo several years ago – I applied immediately for my cloths and since then I never cleaned that area because I never needed. For kitchen I did only after seeing the reality show on netflix to see some tricks of sorting – I hate the kitchen but I cook almost everything from the scratch so the book didn’t help (the joy is only in the knife and bowls for salads πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ , but the others are there to improve our health so…1-2 hours and finally I ordered the kitchen and hope to be forever)

    But for books, brother, don’t touch my books!! more than 600 πŸ˜€ – yep, some ladies are buying shoes, we are buying…3 kindles and a lot of paper books.

  2. Great to see that so many people “think twice” about their home and belongings right now. Hope that it leads to a happier world with less stuff (and less of all the problems that come with it).

    Good luck guys!

  3. Lots of challenges for the new year, huh? I can definitely get behind this one more than the “no beer challenge.”

    I like the idea of filling the fruit baskets. It makes you look at all the crap you have, and probably accelerates the decluttering process. Maybe something we should try.

    I watched the Minimalists a few weeks ago, and I emptied out a couple closets the next day, before inertia took over. I need to continue the process. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Actually I hate “challenges” (it just works better as click-bait on the posts πŸ˜‰ ), but I do like to try new thing to put myself out of my comfort zone (for various reasons). The beer one is such a thing, but even the cleanup of the house is one too. I really had trouble letting old stuff go, but it’s getting progressively better and easier. The various shows and a mental change are part of that journey.
      Best of luck to you too!

  4. I think that Netflix show has EVERYONE hooked! We’ve just started watching Marie’s exploits as well. And just yesterday, we went to town on clothing. Whew!! What a scene…

    Now to tackle the books. Though I’ll probably hang onto most of them to spark interest from the kids.

    1. I know right?! You look at these shows and you think:
      A: I’m not that bad
      B: I suddenly feel the need to clean up….

      I hear you on the books!

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