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Decluttering with Project 3000

Claire Birnie of The Tidy Life Project started the Project 3000 challenge to help her declutter her own home, but it has taken off around the world with hundreds of people following her lead. Here Claire tells us all about this fun decluttering challenge and explains how you can get involved this Spring Clearing Week.

Disney princesses have undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years. In the 1980s The Little Mermaid’s Ariel gloried in her collection of gadgets and gizmos. Fast forward almost thirty years and Frozen’s Elsa exhorts the value of letting go.

Elsa, it would seem, is an early adopter of the growing trend towards decluttering, simple living and minimalism.

Never before in human history has the average family owned so much stuff. In fact, personal organisers have estimated that the average home holds as many as 300,000 items. With such an overwhelming number of belongings, it is little wonder that so many of us are seeking to declutter and simplify our lives.

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Take a minute to look around you. If you are at home your surroundings are pretty familiar. That familiarity can often cause us to overlook the gradual and incremental increase in possessions building up around us. Yes, most of us know what we own, we just don’t know how much we own.

At the beginning of 2018, I decided to take action in decluttering my own home of the masses of unused and unneeded possessions that had built up without my knowledge. Over the course of one year, I planned to let go of 3,000 items – just one percent of that estimated total.

To hold myself accountable I committed to sharing my decluttering project on my Instagram page, using the hashtag #Project3000. It would serve as a motivator for me but also as a reminder to my clients and social media followers that professional organisers are not always perfect – we don’t live in magazine ready show homes!

When I began my clear out on January 1st I could not have predicted that Project 3000 would go global within a matter of weeks. Today there are participants on five continents, from the United States to Italy to Lebanon.

Project 3000 participants have reported feeling less stressed, calmer and even happier having decluttered their homes. Instead of the fears they normally associated with letting go – regret, anxiety, guilt – the more they let go, the more they want to let go. As the old saying goes, tidy home, tidy mind.

How you can join in the Project 3000 decluttering challenge:

  1. Set yourself a clear target goal and timeframe. It doesn’t have to be a year and it doesn’t have to be 3000 items – these are just suggestions. Find what works for you.
  2. Let go of your unwanted and unneeded items in as sustainable a way as possible. You can try selling, donating, upcycling and recycling. I have even been able to compost an old hat!
  3. Commit to not replacing the decluttered items with new ones.
  4. Love living with less.

Back in 1989, Ariel realised that her collections of thingamabobs were not making her happy. Today, you can follow Elsa’s lead and learn how to let it go!


If you would like some help with your Spring Clearing, you can find your local professional organiser here.


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