30 Day Minimalism Challenge

It’s the start of new month, which means that I’ve officially been minimizing the things in my life for 60 days (Started on January 1, 2017)! I’ve proudly removed over 200 items from my home that no longer have value, most of which I sold to second hand stores, some I donated to the Women’s Shelter, and some I just had to throw away. I’ve been much more conscious of my spending, really evaluating needs v. wants, and focusing more on relationships, the present and having fun! While I am still a ways away from my end goal.. wait, did I ever even share what my “end goal” was?

Forgive me. 

When I close my eyes and imagine a more minimal way of living for myself, I want:

  1. To own 100 or less clothing items for all seasons (this includes shoes, belts, handbags, etc.)
  2. To own only one television (and am debating if I want one at all)
  3. To own the appropriate amount of dishes/pots/pans/kitchenware for one person
  4. To eliminate waste to one small garbage bag per week and recycle most of my “waste” – overall find more ways to reuse
  5. Only get what I need when shopping for groceries and buying local when I can
  6. To get rid of any items in my household that do not add value to my life
  7. To be more purposeful in each day – goal setting, words of affirmation, etc.
  8. To focus on relationships building
  9. To spend less time on social media
  10. To continue leading a healthy, active lifestyle

So here we go – here are the “rules” for the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge. (Each number correlates with the day! Therefore, 1. is March 1st)

1. Meditate for fifteen minutes

Meditation reduces stress and anxiety and gives you a ton of extra energy and mental clarity. Use an app like Headspace to give it a try today.

2. Stay offline for one day

Social media, endless news streams and articles all drain our energy and keep us in a constant distracted state. So today: Log off and enjoy the calmness of staying disconnected.

3. Declutter your digital life

Take care of your digital clutter today: Spring-clean your desktop, delete any files you don’t need anymore and set up a simple, no-fuss folder structure.

4. No-complaint day

Complaining is never productive and a catalyst for negative thought patterns. Challenge yourself to not complain about small stuff today. Either accept the situation and move on, or find a solution.

5. Identify your 3-6 main priorities

Above all, minimalism is about figuring out what matters most to you in life and how to add more of that to your day-to-day routine. Today: Dig deep and make a list of your 3-6 top priorities in life.

6. Follow a morning ritual

Start your day with a relaxing and energising morning ritual, instead of immediately checking your email or social media feeds. Meditate, write, do yoga or read a book.

7. Streamline your reading list

Today: Downsize your reading list, unsubscribe and remove bookmarks. Keep only sources that are meaningful to you and that add something to your day.

8. Learn to enjoy solitude

Spend at least 3 hours (ideally more) alone, without social media or background chatter from the TV. Pay attention to what it feels like to be in complete solitude and, if you like, write down your thoughts.

9. Downsize your beauty collection

Tackle your beauty products today! Write a list of everything you use on a regular basis from the top of your head (without checking your beauty cabinets). Throw out or give away everything else.

10. No email or social media until lunch

Use your most productive hours of the day to get shit done and resist checking your feeds until lunch time. Then celebrate how much more you accomplished!

11. Evaluate your commitments

Write down all of your regular commitments, i.e. memberships, side projects and other responsibilities. Then be honest: Which of these do you only keep up out of obligation and which do you truly enjoy or are meaningful to you?

12. Define your goals for this year

Setting goals keeps you from living in a reactive, passive way and helps you align your daily actions with your true priorities. Today, set aside at least thirty minutes to select 1-3 big, exciting goals for this year.

13. Clean out your closet

Reserve a full afternoon to go through your wardrobe piece-by-piece and get rid of anything that doesn’t make you feel confident and inspired. Check out this workbook if you feel like your wardrobe could use a revamp.

14. Take a step towards learning a new skill

Learning expands your horizon and can be so much fun! Today, pick a skill you have always been curious about, gather whatever you need and get started!

15. Examine your daily habits

Today, take a closer look at your everyday habits, from your morning routine to the way you work to your evening activities. Which habits could you improve, which should you drop, which new ones could you pick up?

16. Don’t buy anything for 24 hours

Break through an unhealthy cycle of emotional spending by going on a one-day shopping fast. Don’t buy anything, not even food or essentials, for 24 hours (make sure you prep in advance). Then see how you feel!

17. Practice single-tasking

Nothing drains energy faster than constantly switching between multiple tasks. Practice truly focusing on one thing at a time using a timer like this one. Stick to short bursts of concentrated work with regular breaks in-between.

18. Unfollow and unfriend

De-stress your social media experience by being a little more selective about who you follow. Do you really need to stay Facebook friends with people you haven’t spoken to in years? Go through your list and downsize.

19. Go for a walk and practice mindfulness

Walks are a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. Pick a familiar route and pay full attention to your surroundings with all senses. You’ll be surprised how many new things you’ll notice and how refreshed you’ll feel after.

20. No TV all day, read instead

All electronic devices emit a blue light that disturbs our melatonin production and reduces sleep quality. So, instead of ending your night with a couple of episodes of your favourite show, cuddle up on the couch with a good book today!

21. Journal for twenty minutes

Writing helps you organize your thoughts and de-stresses. Sit down for twenty minutes today to write about anything that comes to mind. If you like it, consider incorporating a quick daily writing session into your regular routine.

22. Create a relaxing bedtime routine

Improve your sleep quality and energy levels by taking the time to properly wind down at the end of each day. Do some writing, read a good book, have a cup of tea, get everything ready for the next day, etc. Try it today!

23. Go bare-faced

Re-set what you consider essential by following a bare-bones beauty routine just for today (no make up and minimal skin care). You may well discover that many of the products you thought you need are really optional and can then streamline your regular routine a little.

24. Practice gratitude

Becoming a minimalist is above all about being mindful and appreciating the little (and big) things that are already a part of your life. Assignment for today: Write a long list of everything (and everyone) you are grateful for in life.

25. Leave a whole day unplanned

In our culture, we are so used to making the most out of every free minute of the day, it can be almost scary to not have any plans for once. Be brave today and see where it takes you.

26. Identify your stress triggers

The first step towards reducing everyday stress is to pinpoint your personal triggers. Try this: Take notes of your stress levels and your activities at regular intervals throughout a weekday. Once you have identified your stress triggers, figure out how you could prevent or counteract them in the future.

27. Clear out your junk drawer

Getting rid of clutter can have an almost therapeutic effect, because it helps you deal with all of the different emotions that are attached to your stuff. Complete your own therapy session today by cleaning out the most cluttered drawer/box/corner of your house.

28. Let go of a goal

The key to achieving goals as a minimalist is to set the right ones in the first place! Instead of chasing things you think you should want, figure out what would truly make you happy. Let go of any goals that aren’t meaningful to you for good today.

29. Turn off notifications

Email and social media notifications make for a very reactive workflow. Just for today: Turn off all notifications and check your feeds only at designated times.

30. Evaluate your last five purchases

Developing more ethical and less consumerist spending habits is key to living a simpler life. Today, assess your last five non-essential purchases. How useful did they turn out to be and how could you improve your purchasing decisions in the future?

&

For those who are really looking to declutter this month, let’s play a game shall we! (Via The Minimalists)

Find a friend or family member: someone who’s willing to get rid of their excess stuff. This month, each of you must get rid of one thing on the first day. On the second, two things. Three items on the third. So forth, and so on. Anything can go! Clothes, furniture, electronics, tools, decorations, etc. Donate, sell, or trash. Whatever you do, each material possession must be out of your house—and out of your life—by midnight each day.

It’s an easy game at first. However, it starts getting challenging by week two when you’re both jettisoning more than a dozen items each day. Whoever can keep it going the longest wins; you both win if you can make it all month. Bonus points if you play with more than two people.

 

After 30 days, let’s check in and see where we are! Best of luck to you. 

 

As always,

Devin J

The Minimalist 

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