A Rewarding and Fun Family Activity

Published on March 11, 2020 - Updated on May 08, 2020

Declutter With A Monthly Round of “100 Things” 


For those of us who love life on the go, warming temperatures are a great opportunity to keep things moving. Especially with the heightened concern about spreading illness, we are more grateful than ever to prefer an outdoor lifestyle. The chance of germ exposure logically decreases in nature because there are fewer people sharing the air. 

Nevertheless, occasionally a member of our tribe isn't feeling their best, or the weather prevents a fresh air adventure. In such moments, the responsible choice may be to stay home. If that is the case, look on the bright side, it is the perfect excuse to get a headstart on spring cleaning with a fun activity for the whole family!

A friend recently thanked me for a tool I shared with her back when my husband and I moved in together years ago. Our place was small, and the belongings it housed were doubling. I always feel my best in a neat and clutter-free environment and believe that if you are struggling to find a “place” for something it’s time to make one. Aside from moving, often the only way to do that is eliminating excess.  

Even today, with two preschoolers, nearly everything in my home has “a place.” Sure, most of the time it’s not in it, but by days end it finds its way back. When it starts to feel like a struggle, and the clutter is winning, I just return to the monthly practice of a simple and proven challenge I call “100 Things.” Before too long, everything has a defined home once again.

For many people, a full overhaul is necessary, proven by the immense success of the lessons of Marie Kondo. For others, a gradual process proves more comfortable and rallies more eager support from resistant family members.

It couldn’t be more simple, but it really works. Every month, get rid of one hundred things. Donate, recycle or throw them away. Even if you think it sounds impossible, just trust me. You will be amazed at how easy it actually is.


Those receipts that have been sitting on the counter for two weeks - toss them. The child’s mitten that came home alone and you hoped the other might show up, it won’t. Get rid of it. You received a nice new pair of slippers for Christmas and held onto your old ones as a backup, but never loved them to begin with. Someone else might, so donate them.

The sippy cup that is annoying to wash, unload it. Your husband's shirt with holes that he claims to wear when he’s sick but never does; it’s time. The pen that you always grab from the drawer but only works sometimes - toss it. As a matter of fact, donate all the pens you don’t love to a restaurant, or the office of a charity. Why do you have so many pens anyway, is there an impending pen shortage I don’t know about?

The single socks will probably add five items on their own. That being said, if you possess more than ten solo socks, you need this exercise even more than you realize. The broken picture frame that constantly falls flat. Stop straightening it and move on, I guarantee you’ll never think of it again. The plastic toys you can't identify, the kids won’t miss them. 

As Marie Kondo points out, none of these things bring you joy. They also actually catch your attention in a consistently unpleasant way. You will be absolutely amazed how quickly one hundred things land on that pile. It will satisfy your less enthusiastic spouse because it is a finite project with a clear end goal, and kids love the counting aspect, so it's educational as well.

When we reach one hundred items and are welcome to stop, everyone continues to notice additional worthy items, and the enthusiasm is rewarding. I always regard it as a head start for next month’s round of “100 Things.” After a few months, you can pull back if it becomes at all challenging, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly the receipts pile up. 

More than likely you’ll just see the benefits and get faster and better at it, and perhaps become fond of the refreshing feeling that results. Either way, the game will be in your toolbox to access whenever you feel the need, and because it’s a fairly quick, goal-oriented task you won’t hear the groans that generally accompany the words “spring cleaning.”

Please check out the blog for more inspiration from a list of May Weeknight Meals, join as we Disconnect to Reconnect, or dream about travel with a few of our favorite Kid-Friendly Beaches in San Diego.

Take a moment to explore suggestions from the happyly team about Keeping Kids Active while Protecting Them, Yourself and the Community from the Coronavirus as well as our Daily Schedule For Pre-School and Grade School. As always, we welcome your family's highlights! Tag us on Instagram @gethappyly!

If you are enjoying our active lifestyle content, please take a moment to download the happyly app for fast access to all of our weekend roundups, frequent blog content, and favorite activities, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country. 

Parents can now get more time back in their days with the country’s only mobile-first family activity planning app. Happyly provides scores of carefully-reviewed activities for parents, grandparents, and caregivers who are looking to spend less time planning and more time happily exploring with their kiddos.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Randi Banks
Randi (Betts) Banks grew up in New York and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She moved to Washington, D.C. more than thirteen years ago with her husband, Eaghmon, and they love to explore the area and seek out adventure, now with their two young children along for the ride. Growing up right near the beach, they are happiest when on or near the water, so exploring the rivers, lakes, and streams in the greater DC area is a favorite pastime for their family. In addition to serving as one of the Washington, DC area ambassadors, Randi is also the Editor in Chief and Co-founder of happyly.
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