Does it spark joy? A question put out to the world via Netflix’s 2019 series ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ and 2021 series ‘Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo’. It resulted in thousands of New Zealanders decluttering their homes, wardrobes, garages kitchens and bathrooms inundating charity shops, clothing bins and refuse sites with the castoff items that no longer sparked jubilance.

Decluttering one’s surroundings does have a profound effect on a person’s wellbeing. Psychologists have coined the term “clutter effect” where clutter- both physical and mental- can even cloud your ability to think. The decluttering mania has become a popular side hustle for many an Instagrammer, as has becoming a Minimalist.

Minimalism is about having only the essentials and not allowing possessions define you – capsule wardrobes come to mind (there are such pretty infographics on Pinterest!). Applying this to your finances and lifestyle can be pretty daunting, especially if you have moved from a large home into a smaller one or one without much storage as in my case. We have moved into a home built in 1938 and the wardrobes are single sized. Super single sized. Like can’t even fit in a normal sized suitcase sized. So, I am finding I am having to get creative with storage ideas.

But first I need to declutter and minimalise what I own otherwise I’m just storing stuff I don’t need, that’s broken, that could be sold (cha-ching) or that doesn’t fit. 

Like with all challenges, starting off with creating a plan creates purpose and focus. It turns the insurmountable situation ahead into bite sized steps that can be easily accomplished. Like with any goal (see our blog post titled An Om Moment – Femme Finance ) keep in mind the failure result, if you don’t achieve the level of decluttering you want, you will still be living up to your ear lobes in dust collectors, cluttered bench tops and mountains of clothes that don’t fit into wardrobes and drawers. It sounds tiring and stressful just thinking about to be honest.

So, I put to you dear Femme Finance followers join us in a challenge this March. Let’s practise Minimalism and declutter everything from our cars to our homes to our friendships to our finances.

Keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook page as each Friday we will post what space we are decluttering that weekend. You can take part as intensely as you like and we will do the hard work of putting a plan into place for you, so all you have to do, is show up with a ‘Can Do and Declutter’ attitude.

The Declutter Challenge by Femme Finance

Weekend One – Wardrobes & Bedrooms

Weekend Two – Pantry & Kitchen

Weekend Three – Garage & Bathroom

Weekend Four – Interiors

Weekend Five – Finances & Friendships …and let’s make you work extra hard and throw in your car too!

We will take you through ways to store what you still want to keep and ways of moving on that which you don’t want to keep. We will be keeping the environment and sustainability in mind as we would not be able to sleep well at night knowing we are adding to an increasing problem regarding our planet and its health. We will give you options to choose from for each weeks challenge so you can do both or just one of the areas we have chosen.

So … are you with us??? Yes?! Excellent!

Before the challenge begins, there’s a few things to think on, so let’s start here first.

Do Not Buy anything!

I know it is tempting to scroll through Kmart, the Warehouse, Briscoes and other home storage places and look at their storage solutions but you don’t know what you need yet. Plus, the aim of this exercise is too not break the bank with purchasing things we can perhaps get creative with.

Get Everyone on Board

You may be single with a flatmate. You may be a couple or a couple or someone with children.

Have a conversation with them now about what you are planning on doing get them on board if you can. Flatmates can be tricky as can teenagers so here’s something to try.

Have a meeting and let those awesome people in your life know that you need a change. You’re going to look at every item the family owns and you – as a family – will decide what to do with it. If you are living with Flatties different story. Obviously you aren’t going to go into their personal space and start biffing stuff so ask if they want to join in and declutter with you. A Flat Challenge if you will …oooo could we make that into a drinking game? Opps sorry off topic! Tell the flatmates / family how the build-up of possessions in your home makes you feel. Ask how they feel as well. You could be surprised!

The Three “layers” of Clutter in your home

As mentioned previously in this blog post we will give you an area to declutter each week but just be wary of these layers of clutter when you get stuck in.

  1. Top layer – Clear out the “top layer” first this is trash and other items that are easy to discard
  2. Middle layer – items you assess but don’t ponder over for too long before making a decision to declutter or not
  3. Bottom layer – generally sentimental items and other items that are hard to let go of

The top layer is the easiest to discard when you get started decluttering. You might fill many bags and boxes with trash and other items you know you no longer need. When you see the amount of items you have discarded, excitement may push you to the middle layer and then the bottom layer.

The Aftermath also known as The Pile Up

Bags and boxes of unwanted items are great, but what do you do with them?

First let’s talk about what we are putting all the decluttered clutter into. Preferably it will be a used box that can be recycled. So before you set into the challenge gather the boxes up that are floating about in the garage the neighbours garage friends place, supermarket etc. Be mindful of how many rubbish bags you are using that are not able to be recycled.

Take thyself to Google and research what charity chops are in your area. Make a list and give them a call to ensure they will take donations and what it is that they won’t take. Call Centres that help the homeless, those in poverty and places like Women’s Refuge. They are always screaming out for donations so give them a call and ask what they are willing to take.

Donations should be dropped off as soon as you can get to the places on your list charity shops, and other centres. This could be a weekly ritual that turns into a monthly trip and eventually an annual donation. The longer something sits in your home (bagged up) the more likely it is to stay that way.

If you plan to have a garage sale, set a firm date first. If you keep putting the sale off, just donate the items. There is no use in them just sitting there.

Items promised to friends and family should be dealt with the same way. If they cannot pick up the item or if you are unable to schedule a meet-up, then let them know the item is going to be donated.

Make sure you check into recycling centres in your area beforehand so that you are ready to go once you have that pile of clutter that cannot be fixed or mended.

Get straight on to posting stuff you are wanting to sell onto Facebook Market Place and Trade Me. The sooner its up the sooner its sold and the sooner you will have extra cash to add to your savings.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone

Comparing your life to someone else’s is a toxic habit. That is not the mindset we want to create here. There’s no competition as to who has decluttered the most or if you have not decluttered enough. So if you are reading any comments on the posts we will be sharing during this challenge that make you feel a bit meh, just remember they are doing them and you are doing you and that each person is at their own pace, on their own timeline….and that you are freaking fabulous!


This can come from looking at pictures on Pinterest, Instagram or watching the Marie Kondo series on Netflix. But don’t think that your life can be just like their life. You and your situation / family are unique, as will your decluttering journey be.

Whatever your version of clutter-free is, embrace it. Embrace the feeling of a weight lifted off your shoulders. It feels good.


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