What if, for 30 days straight, we shifted our habits and mentalities from spending and consuming to saving and simplifying?
We recently moved and it was so liberating to go through everything we owned and decide what things really deserved a place in our new home and in our lives. Since the move, I have had a renewed zest for ridding and organizing because the fresh start has felt so sweet. I have put together this simple 1 Month Minimalist Challenge, that I hope you will join me for this year, or commit to for yourself at any point, in order to motivate us all to focus on what really matters, and in turn to eliminate the excess.
First off, what is minimalism?
Well-versed sage of minimalist living, Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist, says “minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we value most and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”
I don’t think of minimalism as living in a stark white house with only 3 shirts hanging in the closet. I think of minimalism as a mindset. A values system in which space to create, time for things that light us up, financial stability, and a peaceful home are all prioritized. Follow the below challenge, and I hope you’ll notice some spaciousness and ease in your life after 30 days!
Day 1: Set your intentions for the month. Is there a specific room you want to clean out? A certain feel you want to capture in your house? An area of your life that you want to simplify? Set your intention(s) for the next 30 days so you can focus your energy where it will benefit you the most.
Day 2: Take 1 full hour in your day for spaciousness. This could be an hour of reading, walking, creative time, meditation, yoga, etc. Schedule and commit to 1 hour today that is just for yourself and your spirit.
Day 3: Start a donation box in a closet, the back of your car, the garage, etc. that you will fill over the course of the month. Add 3 items to it today that you are ready to part with.
Day 4: Commit to no nonessential purchases for the month. Yes, you can go grocery shopping and fill your car with gas, but stay out of the stores and off Amazon for the month. Challenge yourself not to acquire anything new while you are going through the process of eliminating what no longer serves you.
Day 5: Take a hard look at your financial situation. What do you mostly spend on? Does your spending reflect what you value? If it doesn’t, what needs to change? Set a financial goal for yourself for the next calendar year and define what steps you need to take to reach it.
Day 6: Eliminate bedroom clutter. One way that we can feel more at peace is when we have good sleep! When our bedrooms are cluttered and chaotic, they are not the sanctuaries we need them to be for rest and rejuvenation. Make your bed, do your laundry, hang up any clean clothes, clean off your nightstand, eliminate excessive decorative objects, and recycle any magazines or papers.
Day 7: Clear the entryway to your home. When you get home from work or an outing it doesn’t feel good to walk into a cluttered space. Let the entrance to your home feel light, open and welcoming. Put shoes away, hang up jackets, find a hook or basket for the dog leash, recycle junk mail, and add any necessary storage for keys/purse/sunglasses/etc.
Day 8: End week one with a purge. Add at least 5 more items to your donation box, and if the box is full go ahead and take it to a donation center. If it’s not, make it a goal to fill the box by the end of tomorrow and take it then.
Day 9: Go through the bathroom drawers, cabinets and closets. Throw away expired products, take ratty towels to textile recycling, give the bathroom a good cleaning and add a candle that you love the smell of for bath time.
Day 10: Clear off your workspace. How can you be expected to be productive and creative when your elbows are stacked on top of papers and your office or space is strewn with books, clothes, mugs, or anything else that is causing chaos? Recycle papers (scan the ones you need to save), donate any books you aren’t going to read, take anything out of your workspace that doesn’t belong there, and wipe down your surface. Notice how much easier it is to sit down to do what you need to do when you have a streamlined work area!
Day 11: Minimize the kitchen excess. Throw away expired food. Get rid of any chipped dishes, broken appliances, and unused gadgets.
Day 12: Take time to reflect today. How does it feel to be cleaning out for you? What is your relationship to the things you own currently? What do you want it to be? Where in your life are you feeling overwhelmed? What would help make that area of your life feel simpler? Journal or talk out your thoughts with a friend or family member. Check back in on your intention. Make sure you are serving that goal with your actions during this challenge.
Day 13: Simplify your schedule. Are there commitments on your calendar that you are not getting much return from? Are there friendships that you keep out of obligation that aren’t really enriching to your life? Are there things you’ve signed up to do that you realize you could delegate to someone else? Take an honest look at how you are scheduling and spending your time and see what space you can create in your days.
Day 14: Tackle books. Review your books and try to eliminate at least 10% of them from your home. If you haven’t already, consider an e-reader like a Kindle or iPad so you can be ready to read anywhere and not take up shelf space. Find a Little Free Library in your neighborhood or take books to sell at a used bookstore.
Day 15: End week 2 with a purge. Select 5 things that are not adding value to your life and home and add them to your donate box.
Day 16: Closet Day 1: Clean out. Challenge yourself to get rid of at least 10 items of clothing. Donate or sell anything that you have not worn in the last 2 years, and take items that needs to be repaired/altered/cleaned in by tomorrow.
Day 17: Closet Day 2: Organize & Display. Decide on an organization system for your closet and drawers. Hang and fold clothes by type, color, and function. Make sure you can see everything, and if you put items in boxes label them or put a picture on the front of what the box contains so you know what is in each one and so they won’t be forgotten on a top shelf! Do not settle for a drawer or shelf that is stuffed full. If you are at capacity, that is a sign you need to do another round of ridding.
Day 18: Unsubscribe. Go through your email and unsubscribe from as much as you can. Stores, brands, news, etc. that you don’t read or that encourages you to unnecessarily shop should all be deleted from your daily inbox!
Day 19: Try a screen time/social media detox today. Stay off Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and any other apps that you use for the day. Notice how it feels. Are there any accounts that you want to delete for good?
Day 20: Take care of yourself today. Whatever you feel called to do, do it.
Day 21: End week 3 with a purge day. Select 5 things that are not beautiful or useful to you and add them to your donate box.
Day 22: Clean out your wallet/purse/briefcase. Throw away receipts, clean your glasses, toss old punch cards, and organize the things that you do need to carry with you so they are tidy and accessible. I like to use little pouches/envelopes so things aren’t loose in my purse.
Day 23: Clean out your car. Minimize the chaos in your life when you are in transition from place to place. Throw out trash, take any returns back, donate your donation box, and clean out anything else that is nonessential in there. Notice what it feels like to get into a less cluttered car.
Day 24: Wrangle your digital clutter. Delete unused apps on your phone. Take time to delete unneeded files. Organize the ones that you do need to keep. Clean off your desktop.
Day 25: Tackle photos, physical and digital. It’s ok to throw away or delete photos that don’t make you feel good about yourself or that remind you of an unhappy memory. Why would you want to preserve that? Purge first, then organize the rest of your photos by year/person/place. This might be a big project for some people so commit to working on it 1 hour per week if it can’t get done all at once until it is complete.
Day 26: Assess your guest space in your house. If you have just a couch that guests sleep on our a whole guest suite, how can you make it inviting? One way to do that is to eliminate clutter. Give you guests space to bring their suitcase, hang their clothes, read a book. Be realistic about how much extra bedding and how many extra towels you need to keep on hand. Donate the excess.
Day 27: Clean your outdoor space. Donate or trash any broken pots, worn down patio furniture, dead plants. What would it take to make your outdoor space feel more useful and rejuvenating to you? Make your outdoor space, whether it’s a windowsill or a whole yard, into a sanctuary where you can connect with nature.
Day 28: Minimize your recreation gear/hobby items. What do you actually use and love? If you haven’t played tennis in 20 years, why keep your old racket? Instead make space for the knitting you love to do on a weekly basis. Allow your recreation and hobby items to reflect your current passions, not your past interests.
Day 29: Final purge day. Pick 5 more things that you can part with. Push yourself to let go. Take all remaining boxes/bags/items to a local donation center.
Day 30: Final reflection. How did it feel for you to practice a more minimal approach to life this past 30 days? What do you want to continue forward from here? What do you want to make sure you make space for or simplify?