3Q Challenge

Let me start off by saying that the 3Q challenge will, like most memorable experiences, be both terrifying and liberating. Why? Because you’re endeavoring to part with 75% of a given collection. This can be anything: tops, papers, figurines, beanie babies, books…you name it. If you own it in excess, the 3Q challenge is here to help you downsize.


Extra stuff keeps us from living. It lives in the back of our minds and in the corners of our daily grind. It leaves less space for the living and breathing people in your life. It perpetually nags you. I AM HERE. I AM YOUR NEGLECTED POSSESSIONS. I HOLD GREAT POWER. BOW DOWN TO ME, YOU SENTIMENTAL DIPSHIT, YOU. 

A lifestyle blogger I follow made an excellent point in one of her posts detailing her 2013 jewelry purge—as she acquired more jewelry, she began to wear it less frequently. It’s hard to know what you have unless you can easily find it, and having too many choices can be flat-out overwhelming. Of course, you could always attempt to organize your boatload of possessions, but wait!—you can't display everything. There’s too much of it, and you don't have enough room. You’re finding that the majority of what you’re organizing is stuff you never use or wear. (Or worse—you may even be saving some of those things out of guilt or a BURNING. SENSE. OF. OBLIGATION!)

So, back to the 3Q challenge.

As previously stated, the aim of the 3Q challenge is to enable you to part with 3/4 of a given collection. I will personally use this challenge to pare down my collection of tops, stuffed animals, childhood mementos, paper clutter, and necklaces, but you can use this challenge to purge whatever you want! I'll be struggling right along with you, but I think it's a struggle worth enduring. Here’s how we're going to do it.

  • Hold yourself accountable: Tell people that you’re going to do the challenge. Blog about it. Keep track of your progress. Set short-term and long-term goals. Write them down and keep them on hand. Display your progress proudly. Reward yourself for meeting your goals.
  • Have a camera and journal on hand: Take photographs of items that you’re worried about forgetting. Make the pictures memorable (i.e. Use a pretty background or include yourself in the picture alongside the item). Write down the memories you associate with the item. If it helps, go as far as to write your item a heartfelt thank-you note! You can compile your notes and photographs together on a slow day and have something less space-consuming to cherish for years to come. Non-sentimental people might laugh at these methods, but it's a critical part of the process of letting go.
  • Adopt a Schedule: Develop a schedule and stick to it. If you’re a busy student or professional, block out 10-15 minutes a day to make some decisions about smaller sub-groups (ex: thin out collection of white t-shirts) of your collection. Otherwise, try your best to arrange for a chunk of 1-2 uninterrupted hours for maximum success. Be sure to focus on one collection at a time.
  • Network: Talk to other people participating in the 3Q challenge. Support one another and give/receive advice.
  • Invite Change: Work toward changing your future shopping habits. Only bring home things that you need or will definitely use. Resist buying bargains just because they are bargains!

It's been long-established that we typically wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. This is also why I believe that a 3Q purge is reasonable, particularly as far as clothing goes. We’re keeping that much cherished 20% as well as a special occasion 5%. That’s it—that’s all we wear. Instead of maintaining all of those possessions, we could be doing other things that revolve more around creating and less around welcoming this shit and the stress it brings into our lives.

I will link to relevant “tips and tricks” posts as they become available. In the meantime, evaluate your collections and make a list of which ones need tackling!

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