Monday, July 6, 2015

The 30 Day Minimalist Challenge

During the month of June, a couple of friends and I participated in our very own minimalist challenge.

I was in high nesting gear when I came across an article about the Minimalism Game. Feeling completely overwhelmed by all of our stuff, not knowing where to start, and still on the {long} waiting list for my library's copy of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it seemed like the perfect plan.

Basically, for an entire month you get rid of the amount of items that match the date. June 1st, 1 item; 2nd, 2 items; and so on, until by the 30th you get rid of 30 items in one day, bringing your month's decluttered items to 564 total. 564!!! What a deliciously large and satisfying number!

The three of us texted each other a picture each day of our discarded items. We also messaged our observations and what we were learning, and planned a ginormous garage sale for the end of the challenge.

Having that accountability was a life saver for me. It also made the project very fun. Each day picking out my items was an act of camaraderie with two of my best pals. There were many days that we acknowledged we would have skipped or cheated if we hadn't of had to check in with each other.

Here's a few observations I made over the course of the challenge:

It starts s-l-o-w. For the first week I felt like I was hardly making progress or getting rid of anything at all. True to my all-or-nothing, extreme personality, I longed for a swifter pace! By the middle of the second week it felt like a good groove.

It's easier than you think. Even at the end I was able to find my days items fairly quickly. Especially with kids, we tend to have way too much stuff. If we didn't love it, if it wasn't something we used, it went.

You actually get rid of a lot more than 564 items. A lot of days I only counted the items I intended for the yard sale, throwing away even vaster quantities of tarnished, torn, and expired items that couldn't find a second life with someone else.

Guilt is a powerful force for clutter. The hardest things to let go of are gifts from people who mean a lot to you. The Lord has blessed us with many generous family members and friends, and I had to heartlessly convince myself to let go of gifts that we really don't need or use. Only once you get over this guilt can you really experience the freedom that comes from paring your life and home down to the essentials!

It is extremely satisfying to have a place for everything, and everything in it's place. Truly, it sends me over the moon. With every item in my home in a specific and exact location, cleaning up and finding things is 110% breezier.

One discipline spills over into other areas. Both of my friends and I noted that participation in this endeavor caused us to be more disciplined in other areas of home management. Decluttering daily gave us the much needed inspiration to just do the dishes, tidy the room, put things back in their place, etc. And these tasks were much easier without all of the extra stuff! I've also felt renewed vigor for squaring away finances and cleaning up my diet. Win win folks.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by all of your stuff, but don't know how to get started... I couldn't recommend this challenge to you enough. Grab a friend or two to join you, and reap all of the rewards that come from a simpler, tidier home space.

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