Spring Cleaning Challenge: Do You Dare?

Take the 496 Spring Clean Challenge

While it’s true that here in Iowa we never know when Spring will truly stick, we can all agree that we can’t wait for that fresh start and motivation the season seems to bring us. And yes, we’re talking about SPRING CLEANING! Here at Goodwill of Central Iowa, sometimes a fresh start can mean a new challenge, and this one includes you! 

What’s better than a challenge to help you declutter? Become organized for the new season, all while helping a mission of supporting barriers to employment? Donating your secondhand items throughout the month of March & April will help us fund our mission programs, allow you to practice sustainability by donating your unused items instead of disposing of them, and have fun challenging yourself along the way! 

THE 496 ITEM Spring Cleaning CHALLENGE

From now until Earth Day, we are not only challenging you to part with items taking up extra space, we are challenging you to do so for each day of the month. The 496 Challenge is designed to correspond with the day of the month to help you keep track through all of your spring cleaning. On the first day of March, pick one item to donate, two items on the second day, three items on the third day, and so on! Keep going all the way to 31 things on the 31st day in the challenge. In total, this adds up to 496 items!

Now, we understand that this seems overwhelming. So, if you are having doubts, we invite you to try to donate at least one item per day on those 31 days. (But we know you can do it!)

We are all always surprised by how many things we have in our homes that we aren’t using, or perhaps didn’t even know we had! And, we know figuring out what to get rid of can be tough, but you don’t have to go at it alone. We’ve included a list of ideas for places to start. If you sign up, we’ll send you more ideas, fun facts and, of course, encouragement along the way.

Tag us @dmgoodwill on Instagram while you spring clean and show us your progress. 

Cleaning Tip

Designate a spot in your home as a donation station. Make multiple trips to Goodwill during the month of March for easier loading! And since you now have decluttered your space, maybe even stop inside our stores for some summer thrift finds, with some self-discipline of course. 

Sign up below and follow us on our socials for more spring cleaning ideas, then tag us between March 22nd up until Earth Day! Use our printable template to keep track at home and on Instagram.

‘Tis the season and happy cleaning!

496 Item Challenge Sign Up

Sign up to receive emails for tips, facts and encouragement during the 496 Item Challenge.


  • Pick a clothing item(s) to donate from your closet that you have not worn in the last 3 months! (This can be hard, but if you get real with yourself, you really can end up with lots of clothing to donate and possibly fill up that 31st day!) 
    • Socks (old pairs, non matching pairs) 
    • Mittens
    • Hats (ball caps or beanies) 
    • Dresses
    • Sweatshirts
    • Athletic wear 
    • Swimsuits
  • Find some coffee mugs or dish ware you’re willing to part with.
  • Too many candles? Find some you barely use anymore or have forgotten about.
  • Have a stash of old cords to some of your ancient flip phones/iPhone? Don’t throw them away! 
  • Find old board games or decks of cards gone unplayed with.
  • Any old DVDs or CDs laying around? 
  • Books! Lots of us read a book one time and never pick it up again, try to find any children books, adult books, or cookbooks to donate. 
  • Gather any unused craft supplies such as yarn, pencils, coloring books, etc. 
  • Reusable Totes can pile up, if you are not reusing them, donate! 
  • Go through your plastic container drawer, a lot of us have way too much! Any lidless tupperware? 
  • Jewelry you haven’t worn
  • General office supplies like post it notes (you don’t need 10 pads), calculators, printer paper, or even an old desktop that you don’t use anymore!
  • Children’s shoes that have been outgrown, we love these since kids outgrow nice shoes so fast and generally shoes donated are still in great condition. 
  • Baking supplies that aren’t used regularly (pots, pans, baking sheets)


  • Any old phones sitting in your junk drawer?
  • Do you have too many throw pillows or blankets? Decide if it takes up too much space. 
  • Extra sets of bed sheets, how many do you really need? 
  • Picture frames that aren’t being used anymore
  • Prom dresses! These can easily be donated for another’s use. (I know mine sit in my hallway closet) 
  • Sports equipment like basketballs, soccer balls, or footballs. 
  • Children’s toys that haven’t been touched for a while, these can also add up and get you to days in March that require getting rid of more things! Do your kids use all their legos? Toy cars? 
  • Dress up costumes, a lot of the time we buy a costume for Halloween and don’t touch it again, donate for someone else’s use. 
  • Musical instruments
  • Knick Knacky things that take up space on your shelves, all those thingymabobs that don’t have a purpose! Challenge yourself to minimize your home decor. 
  • Do you have a record player? How often do you use it? What about any unused records? 
  • Old holiday decor can stack up over the years! Confine your collection. An easy one if you’re doing the 496 Challenge!
  • Water bottles (I know I’m prone to buying new ones all the time)
  • Any old video game accessories of miscellaneous technology like old games, devices, or controllers.
  • Party supplies! If the event has passed, donate the decor and supplies. 
  • Old coolers, if you have more than one, free up the space!
  • Niche kitchen appliances like waffle makers, boiled egg makers, etc. These things are handy but go unused a lot! 
  • Gardening items such as old planters and vases. 
  • Artwork 
  • Any bags, purses, or suitcases
  • Different furniture items that you have been wanting to upgrade! (End tables, rugs, lamps coffee tables, or couches) 
  • Bathroom items such as curling irons, blow dryers, and towels.
  • Stuffed animals- if you have kids, you know some have got to go. 


Download a printable version of this checklist and tracker here.

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