What I’ve Learned Getting Rid of *1 Thing* Every Day! (Going on 48 Days Now!)

So we’re now 48 days into our daily decluttering experiment! Woo!

And spoiler alert – I’m never stopping :)

I get a high every time I throw something into that donation box! Haha… And I keep finding stuff too, despite being a practicing minimalist.

Here’s a list of everything I’ve removed from my house so far:

(“removed” = gave away, sold, donated, gifted, or if not applicable, trashed)

  1. Book: The Intellectual Devotional – Modern Culture
  2. Half broken lamp
  3. Bag of chocolates & candies
  4. 6 old Zip disks
  5. 4 old Floppy disks
  6. Un-installed three apps on my phone
  7. Never used Bluetooth headset
  8. Doggies” book (duplicate)
  9. Freakonomics” book
  10. Old kid’s art (*gasp*)
  11. Old Motorola phone + coin magazine (donated to tiny library!)
  12. Old iPhone + Android phone
  13. Marine Aquarium CD (remember when you could buy screensavers?? Haha…)
  14. 41 old CDs (backups of files, music, resumes, other no longer important stuff)
  15. Cannon Ink Cartridge (brand new / no longer have the printer!)
  16. Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely
  17. Old Flip video camera
  18. Hurley T-shirt
  19. Box of old school $$$ books
  20. Box of unused journals
  21. The Happiness Project” book by Gretchen Rubin
  22. Old iPhone battery pack (haven’t owned an iPhone in 4 years!)
  23. Unused scarf
  24. 4 Koozies (does anyone ever use these? Haha…)
  25. Easter basket w/ fake grass
  26. Old desktop computer
  27. Old Laptop #1
  28. Old Laptop #2
  29. Wife’s old laptop #1
  30. Wife’s old laptop #2
  31. Duplicate toy airplane
  32. Civil War book
  33. 2 never-used belts bought online (remember that experiment? Didn’t work out so well…)
  34. Cleaned up old/dead links on the blog
  35. More bags of kid’s snacks/candies
  36. 2 gold necklaces and 1 silver necklace
  37. 3 other assorted necklaces w/ pendants
  38. 1/2 karat diamond earrings!
  39. Two pairs of sunglasses
  40. A few collectible coins
  41. Never used volleyball
  42. Two (super) used baby bjorn-type apparatuses
  43. Holey pair of boxers (hole-y, not holy ;))
  44. Email “drafts” decluttering (I’m known to store them up)
  45. Ugly onesie
  46. Dress that doesn’t fit the wife
  47. Old headband
  48. Small tote bag

I literally had no idea I still owned half this stuff… (And the other half I kept putting off trying to figure out what to do with over the years!)

Which leads me to a bunch of realizations so far:

#1. Lots of unwanted stuff is hidden in drawers and cabinets!

It’s easy to sort through the stuff you can see in plain site, but to REALLY find the hard stuff you gotta look in all the nooks and crannies of your house. Particularly drawers and cabinets and any other containers where things can easily hide. We’re good at forgetting about the stuff we can’t see!

#2. A lot of items *take time* to figure out what to do with

One of the biggest surprises – and benefits – to this daily challenge, was actually having *the time* to sort through some of these harder items in your house. Knowing that every day you had to find at least one new thing to get rid of (and after the first two weeks, it gets harder and harder! :))

The biggest areas for me here were a box of old laptops and cell phones (so much data on them, couldn’t just throw out for any ol’ hacker to find, right??), as well as decades old, and valuable, jewelry we no longer wear anymore.

But by focusing on just *one* of these items each and every day, I was able to get through every last one of them and even LEARNED something in the process! Like that you can take laptops apart and pluck out their hearts (hard drives) and then connect them to a chord thingie to retrieve all your lost files! And then more importantly, *wipe them all clean* so you can finally ditch them!

More on that in a bit… (it was actually pretty fun playing Computer Doctor, as well as for my kids who wanted to help dad “investigate” too :))

#3. The more valuable an item is, the harder it is to get rid of!

The hardest part isn’t always deciding on *what* to keep and what to finally get rid of, but it was actually the “how to get rid of?” part once you DO decide to no longer keep something! Particularly with all our old jewelry again. I didn’t just want to throw out or donate the valuable stuff and not recoup any money, but on the other hand I also didn’t want to spend gobs of time trying to hawk them either with the limited free time I now have as a stay-at-home dad. Which lead me to another important realization…

#4. Sometimes it’s better to just accomplish the mission than try to optimize every last outcome (or profits)

After days of trying to figure out how to get rid of this jewelry, I decided to say “F it” one morning and just get them out the house as fast as I could before stashing them back in their box for another dozen years. I went straight to a local jewelry store here in town and asked how much they were willing to give me for the gold and silver chains, and while the answer was not a lot ($160), it was certainly “enough.”

Probably not be the best plan for getting rid of valuables, especially if they’re SUPER valuable and/or you really need the money, but it did the trick for me and just like that they were off of my mind and out of my house!

(This “done vs perfect” mentality also goes for other things outside of decluttering too, such as launching projects or organizing the house, or even publishing blog posts ;) We can get so sucked into the details of the task and wanting to make everything perfect, that we’ll often take double the time allotted for it, or worse – never finish the project at all! So sometimes it’s better to just get it to “good enough” and then call it a day.)

#5. Lastly, sometimes you need multiple rounds of decluttering to finally take action on your stuff.

This is the part I feel like most people overlook in their minimalist journeys.  The impression you get when you read about this stuff is that you should be able to look at something you own, and then make a decision right away and move right along to the next item. But the reality is that not everything is so black and white, and sometimes it takes a *few* rounds – or even years! – to finally be comfortable making a call on something.

An item like this for me were my once-beloved 1/2 karat diamond earrings I used to strut around in back in the day ;) They skipped the first rounds of decluttering when I first got sucked into minimalism with the idea I might wear them one day, but as the years passed – and I got MUCH too old to be wearing such things – that window slowly closed, and it wasn’t until this final round here that I was finally willing to give them up. Of course, not before wearing them one last time just to double check it was the right decision (“yup – it’s time!” said the wife, after noticing what my kids were giggling at ;))

So don’t get too hard on yourself if there are a few items here and there you’re struggling with – it’s normal! And perhaps the next round or two will give you the insight you were hoping for.

(Where did I end up sending these earrings? Ironically enough, a coin collector friend of mine had mentioned his wife lost one of her 1/2 karat earrings he had bought her years ago, so she will now be receiving a replacement and at a fraction of the price this time ;) A pretty good win-win-win, if you ask me!)

So needless to say, this has been another eye opening experiment for me this month! And exactly why I keep doing so many around here – YOU CONSTANTLY KEEP LEARNING ABOUT YOURSELF!!

Which all infiltrates back to your daily habits and spending and accumulating, and so on and so forth.

It’s a magical thing :) And one I hope you’ll give a shot too!

Here’s a look at the main categories we hit with this decluttering round, as well as the # of items in each:

  • Memory disks/CDs (42)
  • Books (19)
  • Clothing and accessories (8)
  • Pieces of jewelry (7)
  • Computers/laptops (5)
  • Bags of old candy/chocolates (4)
  • Old smartphones (3)
  • Things that belonged to someone else ;) (14)

A good smattering across the board! With again, the hardest being the computers and related items, along with the stash of jewelry. Feels so much FREER finally tackling them all!

Oh, and I had mentioned playing Computer Doctor and breaking out all those hard drives… Here’s a few pics of me in action:

desktop dissection

laptop dissection

laptop dissection 2

breaking a part laptop

The main tools I used were REALLY tiny screwdrivers, larger screwdrivers, gloves, and then a set of pliers because half the time I didn’t realize how to get to all the different parts of the laptops, haha… (This was my very first time EVER trying to get into my computers like this… it was actually pretty fun!)

If you’re wondering why the keyboards were ripped out of some of them, it was because my kids requested to have them so they can “type like daddy” and do some of their own “work” ;) And then again because I had no idea what I was doing, I told them we needed to “do some inspecting” which helped answer all their questions as to why I was breaking things left and right with pieces flying all over, haha…

But I was successful in retrieving what I needed!!! Here are all the hearts (hard drives) – aren’t they pretty??

computer hearts drives

From there, it was moving on to figuring out just *how* to get all the files off these guys so I could finally ditch everything once and for all.

And to do that (after some quick Googling), I had to purchase this bad boy which directly connected them right up to my (working) laptop via USB port. So easy!!

Sabrent SSD SATA IDE hard drive converter

[This is a Sabrent USB 3.0 TO SSD/SATA/IDE 2.5/3.5/5.25-INCH Hard Drive Converter that ran me $22.99 on Amazon – which proved to be worth much more than any of the files I ended up finding on the computers, haha… But still – I ACCOMPLISHED THE MISSION!! I got those files off of there and then wiped them clean! (aka reformatted them)]

Of course, it would have been much easier downloading everything and wiping the computers clean when I FIRST STOPPED USING THEM!, but hey – sometimes you don’t feel like doing that when you’ve got a shiny new one to play with :) Plus, half the time they crash on you anyways not even giving you that chance! So all in all I was pretty pleased with myself here as a non-techy.

I also learned that you could still *use* all these hard drives too just as you do “normal” external ones! They’re basically the same thing, only without prettier cases and the high price tags! But again since this mission is about getting RID of stuff and not keeping everything, I decided to offload those bad boys as well when I was done with them…

So yeah, good times throughout this month! Less stuff AND an education in computer wizardry! ;)

If you decided to follow along and do your own daily decluttering with me last month, I’d love to know how it’s turning out! I got a message from one of you that you got rid of 30 things all in *one* day! Haha… Which technically does accomplish the goal, but I’m more curious to hear what you’re learning throughout the process ;)

So let me know! And if you’ve missed any of our previous experiment recaps lately, here they are again below… Try any of these out and your wallet/life is bound to be happier!

Happy Experimenting!

UPDATE: Looks like fellow bloggers Waffles on Wednesday also took up this challenge :) Check out their recap (and success!) here: Decluttering Challenge: One Month, One Item Per Day

*Links to books and computer chord thingie above are Amazon affiliate links…

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  1. Accidental FIRE August 27, 2018 at 5:45 AM

    Wow, it’s like a computer time-capsule! I have some old hard drives to get rid of too, thanks for reminding me to get on it!

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 6:27 AM

      You’re gonna have a lot of fun sorting through all those old files!

      1. MW August 27, 2018 at 6:17 PM

        I actually have all my old files on one drive. Sort of. Every time I upgraded, I copied the old files to the new drive, but there are duplicates, upon duplicates, upon duplicates.

        I’ve started going through them and have deleted gigs of duplicates and stuff I don’t need. But I have found old college emails that are cool. And a backup I had of someone ELSE’s computer, that has crashed, and I’m the only backup. So pack-rat for the win in that case.
        It’s definitely a work in progress, and a long term project.

        1. J. Money August 28, 2018 at 5:57 AM

          That would be cool seeing old college emails!!

  2. Lily | The Frugal Gene August 27, 2018 at 5:55 AM

    Oh shoot… I deserve to be slapped. I forgot to do it completely. I think I even said it was going to be easy…..big d’oh!!! It’s been 45 days already?! Time to add it into our daily to-do alarm!

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 6:25 AM

      Haha… I’ll give you a pass this time around, but use it wisely ;)

  3. PaulM August 27, 2018 at 7:21 AM

    I have a couple of old laptops that I need to dispose of. I was thinking of just hammering them to bits since they’re about ten years old and I doubt they’re useful to anyone. Looking at those pics and the work you did makes me think my idea is the way to go.

    You’ve also given me the motivation to tackle a couple of closets that are filled with who knows what.

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 7:29 AM

      Haha good – maybe you’ll find something valuable you can sell!

      RE: Hammering – that was my first thought, until I challenged myself to try and see if I can figure out how to pull them a part first – which I’m really glad I did because it turned out to be fun! But when I was done playing with them all, I did bang them around a bit and then dump them into a bucket of water and soap (hah!), just to be quite certain nothing was operational anymore :) I know you can donate old computers that get refurbished an re-used again, but still makes me nervous. And to your point about *old* computers, no one would want/use those much anyways.

      (a note about the batteries in them though – some can’t be thrown into the trash and need to be disposed of otherwise. I just googled “battery donations” in my area though and found a ton of stores that accept them for you, like Home Depot and Best Buy, so i just dumped them all there after plucking them from the computers, fwiw. (they also accept old cell phones too))

      1. PaulM August 27, 2018 at 8:39 AM

        Thanks for the tip about the batteries. I didn’t realize that Best Buy will recycle them.

      2. Chris August 27, 2018 at 12:22 PM

        FYI, if you’re lazy like me, Best Buy will take the hard drive out of your computer while you wait, give them back to you and then recycle the computer.

        1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 1:53 PM

          That’s not a bad deal!

  4. Marc @ Vital Dollar August 27, 2018 at 7:28 AM

    I’ve got some old computers in my closet I need to get rid of. Was hesitant to do it a long time ago in case I need something from one of them, but I never need anything from them. Your story about the keyboards reminds my of my daughter. I have an old laptop that she uses to “work” at a small table in my office sometimes. It’s small things like that that make working at home a really awesome privilege.

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 7:29 AM

      Indeed :)

  5. MK August 27, 2018 at 7:37 AM

    I haven’t done very well pitching “one thing a day” but I have been more mindful of clearing out old, unused stuff when I come across it. In the next couple of weeks, I hope to hit a home run as I have been refinishing my kitchen cabinets & am totaling reorganizing them before rehanging the beautiful new doors. Just yesterday, I got rid of: mini strainer (duplicate), half jar of molasses; old spices; casserole trivet and an old water bottle.

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 12:13 PM

      There you go! Every last item feels good!

  6. Mike - Budget Kitty August 27, 2018 at 8:41 AM

    I totally understand the high you get when getting rid of an item. We did some purging in our garage a few weeks ago and I felt a real sense of accomplishment as I carried the garbage bags outside. Now the key is not to replace all that stuff with newer stuff!!

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 12:13 PM

      Yeah, that is the hard part haha…

  7. Fred August 27, 2018 at 8:45 AM

    I didn’t do the daily challenge. However, my wife and I have been on a decluttering mission for the last few months. We got rid of two bookshelves of books, cleaned out closets, and got rid of stuff we weren’t using.

    She sold most of it on the Facebook Marketplace (where she’s been promoted to a top seller. To date, she’s made over $3,000. The old adage of one person’s junk is another’s treasure holds true.

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 12:15 PM

      Oooh nice! I used to sell a lot on Craigslist, but finding it much harder these days to sneak in the time while wrangling all the kids :(

      1. Fred August 27, 2018 at 2:14 PM

        She stays away from Craigslist. Says the buyers are less serious and more of a pain.

      2. laura ann September 1, 2018 at 3:28 PM

        Uncluttering is ongoing, but slows down after a person/couple becomes minimalists. We are retired and he spent 20 yrs in military, so we were minimalists before it became popular. Had to move around lived in furnished rentals. Knowing kids create more clutter (furniture, clothes, other stuff) we chose to be child free. Being oldest of four (kids didn’t have much back in the ’60’s), as time went on, I saw then that older kids are worse for clutter more clothes, gadgets, school stuff, sporting equip, etc.

        1. J. Money September 3, 2018 at 7:17 AM

          You’re right, kids definitely do not help with minimalism, haha… but good thing they change your life in other ways to make up for it :)

  8. Jason Butler August 27, 2018 at 8:48 AM

    I have a computer that I need to get rid of. I need to take the time to either remove the hard drive or reformat it. Reformating would be easier but once the computer comes on, I can’t even get it to move past the home screen.

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 12:16 PM

      Exactly why you need that cord! You just plop that sucker out of there, and then connect it on up and can both download all the files AND reformat once you’re done! Super easy, and I’m no where close to being a tech guy.

  9. Jessica August 27, 2018 at 8:51 AM

    I struggle with getting rid of the kids old art! Any tips? Its hanging everywhere and have a huge bin of old ones just continuing to pile up but feel bad throwing it away!

    1. Tracy August 27, 2018 at 10:31 AM

      I take pictures of the ones that are the favorites and my goal is to actually print one of those photo books eventually with the best pieces. My son is a hoarder in training (ARGH!) but by promising to take pictures I am allowed to get rid of most of them…

      1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 1:54 PM

        Good for you for *asking* him first! Haha… I never do that as i know what the answer will be ;) But I do still keep wayyyyy more than I should, and also have a tub full of them in our storage (although 1 tub for 6 years isn’t *too* bad, yeah? I think?)

    2. Dee September 8, 2018 at 5:52 PM

      Use them to wrap gifts for birthdays/holidays.

      1. J. Money September 10, 2018 at 5:32 AM

        That’s an excellent idea!

  10. Mrs.Wow August 27, 2018 at 8:52 AM

    Still going strong over here, accomplished my 30 days and like you I ain’t stopping. I’m still get rid of the easier items and haven’t had to face the harder things quite yet, but I know that day will come. Love the list and I think Dr. J$ has a nice ring to it!

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 2:55 PM

      Haha… I’ll try and get it on my FinCon badge ;)

  11. Lisa O August 27, 2018 at 8:59 AM

    So I got rid of my sons gaming chair that was sitting in the basement! It was a used one from a friend (10 years old), we used it for 2 years and now it is heading to a family with very little. I put it on fb market place and had 40 hits because of the word FREE! When the guy came, I asked if he wanted to see it first and he said no with 4 kids it wont stay stained free for long :)

    What I learned was it feels great to help someone out who has a positive attitude and is thankful on a beautiful Sunday.

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 3:09 PM

      Awwww, that does feel wonderful – excellent job :)

  12. Cody Wheeler August 27, 2018 at 9:21 AM

    Man I thought I was fairly minimal until I started having a lot of trouble with this challenge, haha. I want to get rid of things, but I think I’m getting stuck on the “how to accomplish it best” bit. I think I need to take your “done is better than perfect” route and just drop it all off at a local donation center.

    Great inspiration. I’ll keep at it.

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 3:16 PM

      Yeah man! Getting it physically *out the door* can be more challenging than the actual deciding part some times :)

  13. Huong Meeks August 27, 2018 at 9:51 AM

    Haha, I read to the part “1/2 karat earrings” and i had to reread to make sure it is you and not Mrs. BudgetsAreSexy posting….A cluttered house stresses me out, but I still find it hard to get rid of things like the ice cream maker i got for free at an exchange yard sale because “one day I will use it, maybe next summer”…

  14. Tonya@Budget and the Beach August 27, 2018 at 10:29 AM

    Never used volleyball??!?! Blasphemy! lol! With this move, I’m finding so many things, like little parts or plastic thing-a-ma-jigs, that I have no idea what they are for! I find that stuff to be an irritation. It’s funny because I considered myself to be pretty minimalistic, but I’m finding a lot has lurked behind drawers and closets.

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 3:17 PM

      THOSE ARE THE SNEAKY SPOTS!!! Don’t let them win!! :)

  15. Jeannie August 27, 2018 at 11:20 AM

    I got some old laptops sitting around because I don’t know what to do with the hard drives. I gotta give this a try myself so I can finally take them to recycling. Same with a old smartphone.

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 3:18 PM

      Yes! Some of these laptops have been sitting here for a decade+! And it literally took minutes to finally carve out those drives and be done with it! :)

  16. Kevin August 27, 2018 at 12:30 PM

    I used to hate the idea of challenges, but this one is great. I had a rummage sale this weekend and blew out a bunch of stuff I didn’t want anymore. The feeling was awesome. I’m in on your daily challenge to get rid of stuff. I’m not a hardline minimalist, but I hate junk lying around.

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 3:18 PM

      Glad to hear it :) It’s even more fun when you make $$ off it, haha…

  17. Patrice | Financial Peacock August 27, 2018 at 1:21 PM

    I donate or give to friends all the books I read. I don’t see the point in keeping books, except for a few cookbooks or self-help type books that I reference regularly.

    I really need to to better with clothes though. I did a huge purge of lots of things when we moved int our current house because it is half the size of our last house, but since then I have been back in the accumulating phase.

    1. Gillian September 2, 2018 at 2:50 AM

      Hi Patrice, try capsule wardrobes. Use Less vlogs on YouTube are so addictive.

  18. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life August 27, 2018 at 2:09 PM

    I’ve been informally doing this too! Super happy to have scheduled a big donation pick up for this morning. I’m trying to sell and recycle and find new homes for things as much as possible to reduce the hit on the environment while I’m minimizing and decluttering.

    What did you do with those CDs? I have a stack behind my desk right now waiting for me to figure out how to dispose of them safely and without damaging the environment too much.

    I’m trying to sell an Android phone but am totally stalled because I need a super tiny screwdriver and the irony of having to buy a tool in order to declutter has got me stymied :D

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 3:56 PM

      haha yeah – it felt weird buying that computer cord too for me since the whole point was to get rid of, but figured somethings are worth it for completing missions – especially when you can re-use for future! and tiny screwdrivers I’m sure will come in handy again, especially with kids. I swear half their toys require them for changing out batteries, haha…

      CDs – I just cut them in half and then trashed them :( Never heard of anyone recycling those but I’ve also never researched?

    2. Stella September 3, 2018 at 7:25 AM

      I was told that CD’s and DVD’s are hazardous waste. I donate music and movie items to local libraries so they can resell to raise funds for library. Other items old recorded disks are accepted at hazardous waste drop off along with old electronics.

      1. J. Money September 3, 2018 at 7:34 AM

        Oh wow – never knew that!! Great idea w/ the library donating!

  19. Mrs. Money August 27, 2018 at 3:30 PM

    Decluttering is my love language! I think kids attract clutter too, no matter how well you stay on top of it. I’m going to be doing a huge purge here when I switch out my daughter’s wardrobe to her fall stuff. Good job, J $!

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 3:57 PM

      Hey you!! Been forever – how are things going? :)

  20. Mercedea August 27, 2018 at 3:33 PM

    2 days ago our county had an eletronics recycling day and we got rid of 2 boxes of dead junk! It felt so good, but afterwards realized 2 things we had missed (one being a giant printer in the furnace room).

    1. J. Money August 27, 2018 at 4:01 PM

      Great idea for communities to do – I feel like MOST people have unwanted electronics but just don’t know how best to get rid of them all :(

  21. LeeAnne August 27, 2018 at 5:01 PM

    I’ve been wondering where we were in the 30 day challenge – lost track of time! I’ve got multiple piles that need to go to their next home – goodwill, humane society (old towels and blankets) and food bank (need to stop stocking up on items just because they are on sale – it’s no saving if you have too many and you will never go through it all). Plan for the weekend is to make my “deliveries”. I try to keep stuff/junk out of my house put had no struggle to find more things to part with!

    1. J. Money August 28, 2018 at 6:00 AM

      Well that’s good! Means you should be able to continue this challenge no problem then :) A trick I use for the “getting it out of the house” part is to just push things into the trunk of my car, that way a) they’re physically out of my house, but b) when I’m out and about and remember I have things to donate, everything’s already with me! So no extra trips or having to remember again!

  22. Nickel August 27, 2018 at 5:28 PM

    The aquarium CD is my favorite item on this list, that’s hilarious! This was a great read and I really enjoyed your takeaways. I’m still removing items nearly daily without trying, and it’s made me think twice before bringing new items home.

    1. J. Money August 28, 2018 at 6:03 AM

      Glad you liked it, haha…I can’t believe I still had that thing!!

  23. Kris August 27, 2018 at 6:35 PM

    I have a whole bunch of 80s baseball cards just stored away. I was hoping it would be more valuable someday but with some many of those cards collected during that time, the value of them isn’t that high and now I may think to donating most of them except for the ones that are still in good value like the rookie cards(Ken Griffey Jr., Ripken, Bonds, and Gwynn)

    1. J. Money August 28, 2018 at 6:34 AM

      Oh yeah, I think all of us still have loads of those, haha… Still on my list to finally sort through too :)

  24. Heather August 27, 2018 at 7:47 PM

    I am loving this challenge. The only problem is that I keep forgetting about it and having to play catch up when I remember.

  25. Dividend Diplomats August 27, 2018 at 9:52 PM

    J –

    Did you end up selling anything, then, related to your laptops after tearing them apart? haha


    1. J. Money August 28, 2018 at 6:34 AM

      Nope! But I did accomplish the mission of getting rid of them all (and saving all the files!) :)

  26. [HCF] August 28, 2018 at 3:32 AM

    I don’t want to be the smartass here. But come on, you could not say this seriously that you think that hammering your laptops is a good idea for recycling and/or protecting your data. You should not afraid of a security leak, no other parts than hard drives will keep your sensitive files so it is enough to remove those and you can recycle the rest at the closest place with a peace of mind. Someone somewhere may use them or get the material out of it and produce new machines from it. Win-win.
    In terms of hard drives. There is no chance I would ditch a working one, having that little cable means you have perfect backup storages for safety copies of family photos and videos (I use them that way). If you want to secure them simple formatting does not make the trick anyway. If someone really wants, he can recover the data even after formatting. You will need an application for that which go over the disk and overwrite every bit of information. If you still want to dump them and want a bulletproof solution just get a huge magnet and rub them well. That will do the job. Then recycle them :)

    1. J. Money August 28, 2018 at 6:36 AM

      Ooooh didn’t know that about the magnet! I dumped them all in water and then poured soap in it thinking that would do the trick, but who knows if that’s true…

    2. h@ckrat September 1, 2018 at 11:47 AM

      Another easy disposal method is to drill holes into the hard drive platter area. Find the circle on the top 2/3 of the drive and drill a few holes around it.

  27. CJ August 28, 2018 at 8:51 AM

    Rather than just formatting the drives you should run something like DBAN on them.

    A lot of the time you can fairly easily recover files from a drive that has been formatted.

    1. J. Money August 28, 2018 at 5:42 PM

      I don’t know what that means, but I’ll take your word for it haha…

  28. Amber August 28, 2018 at 10:03 AM

    Ahh I 100% agree on #4! I saw your tweet a while back when you were a few days into this challenge and it inspired my own daily declutter challenge! I made it 30 days, but boy did things get hard around day 17. It was a good exercise though and definitely one I plan on revisiting. Need to get rid of all those things I wasn’t ready to in this first round =)

    1. J. Money August 28, 2018 at 5:44 PM

      Rock on!!! So glad to hear that :)

      Yup, future rounds will make it easier on some of those items for sure. We slowly improve every time we review things!

  29. Hette August 28, 2018 at 10:48 PM

    Reformatting a hard drive does make it unreadable for most regular computer users. However, it is still possible to get a great deal of the data from the hard drive if you have knowledge of the storage algorithms used by operating systems. Reformatting removes the links and indexes the operating system uses to access the data, but the data is still there. To remove the data, you need to actually “blank out” the data – using a “de-Gausser” device which sets the device to a null magnetic state (all “zeros”, not the original pattern of zeros and ones encoding your data).

    Law enforcement (and criminals) as well as legitimate computer service technicians can do this to recover data.

    1. J. Money August 29, 2018 at 5:48 AM

      Would immersing them into water and soap do anything to render them useless, or would you still be able to access files if you’re a pro?

  30. Flyover State August 29, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    Hey J$ – I’m fairly new to the minimalist lifestyle trend and have only done some light reading in the area. We’re a family of 3, living in a 3,100 sq/ft home and most closets/drawers are full of stuff. The more I think about all the “stuff” we have that we don’t use, the more it makes me think “why the hell do we still have that?” I’m on board with de-cluttering, but my wife is hesitant. I think she’s willing to de-clutter and move towards a minimalist lifestyle, but I need to share more information with her. So, where do you recommend I go (books, blogs, etc.) to gather more information about becoming a minimalist. Not looking to become extreme minimalists, just want to feel empowered to de-clutter and live with less stuff. THANKS!

    1. J. Money August 29, 2018 at 11:07 AM

      Love it! I’m sure once she sees you doing it and how awesome you’re feeling, she’ll want to jump right in along with you :)

      Here are my favorite blogs on minimalism:


      And then here are some books I really like, although the above two bloggers also now have their own books as well you might want to check out if you like they’re style:

      – “The Power of Less” by Leo Babauta (the first book that really opened my eyes!)
      – “The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders (also a blogger!)
      “Essentialsim” by Greg McKeown (not so much geared towards “stuff”, but more so on minimizing all your daily routines and focusing on what TRULY matters to you and your lifestyle/career/etc)

      good luck!

  31. Catseye August 31, 2018 at 1:44 AM

    Congrats on continuing the experiment for 48 days, J. Money! I only did it for 30 days and got rid of a lot of little things, for the most part. I do have a donation bag that needs to be taken to a thrift store, so thanks for that. I would def like to do this again before the year is out. I’m somewhat distracted right now by several financial issues, including finding a new job and adjusting to fewer hours at work.

    1. J. Money August 31, 2018 at 6:17 AM

      Ahh yes, finding a new job definitely takes a lot of energy! Good luck to you! Hope you find one better than all the previous ones combined :)

  32. AmyMac September 2, 2018 at 7:45 AM

    I’ve been doing a version of this all year after reading Cait Flanders’s “The Year of Less” in January. In August, I got rid of 200+ items (trashed, sold, or donated). Mostly clothing items, books, some smaller furniture pieces, framed artwork, jewelry, kitchenware, household items… the list goes on. I still have TONS to do and go through, but I feel a little lighter & more organized every day. On to September!

    1. J. Money September 3, 2018 at 7:19 AM

      Work it!

  33. Grace @ Bloom & Briar September 4, 2018 at 12:58 PM

    I love your #1 realization! Out of sight – out of mind! I used to think that all my cabinets and closets needed to be full! And it’s definitely a process. Decluttering isn’t a one time thing – it’s a lifestyle! I’m constantly finding more ways to limit what I own and find freedom from “stuff!”

    1. J. Money September 5, 2018 at 5:28 AM

      You’re definitely right on the “lifestyle” thing… and what a beautiful one it is too, once you get into a rhythm :)

  34. Arlene Zang September 4, 2018 at 2:16 PM

    I emptied a storage bin full of the clothes that I was going to wear (WHEN I LOST WEIGHT). My sticking point was…. since I purchase most of my clothes off season, some were new. But after going through the bin & trying on every piece (what a waste of time)! I knew it was time to make someone else’s day. I put all the clothes on the $2.00 table & donated the money to the charity running the yard sale. Next project, DVD’s I haven’t seen for 10 years.

    1. J. Money September 5, 2018 at 5:24 AM

      WELL DONE!!! Do you already feel lighter over there?? :)

  35. Allan Smith September 5, 2018 at 1:57 PM

    This is an interesting idea. Getting rid of things sounds simple but practically hard to accomplish the idea. Going step by step can really help. It takes a lot of determination though. This is a fun read. Thanks for sharing.

    1. J. Money September 6, 2018 at 6:27 AM

      Glad you liked it, Allan! Let me know if you end up giving it a shot :)

  36. Kris December 2, 2018 at 3:23 PM

    My husband and I tried this challenge and kept it going for 64 days! It’s a~mazing how much useless crap we dug out once we put our minds to it. It’s really taught us not to buy things on impulse, either. A lot of the stuff we threw out / gave away / sold was bought on impulse and hardly used, if ever. Great idea, thanks for sharing!

    1. J. Money December 3, 2018 at 12:01 PM

      64 days – nice!!!! Next year go for 65! ;)