30 day minimalism challenge

The other week one of my Facebook friends (Hannah from Alare) shared the video below from SugarMamma.TV about a 30 day Minimalism challenge and I was intrigued…

See, we are about to go through some pretty extensive renovations because 1. our house is tiny and 2. our bathroom is tiny and shitty.  I have been dreading it – not because of the dust, cost and inconvenience, but because I keep thinking “what on earth are we going to do with all our CRAP while the builders do their thing?!”

How to do the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge

Check out the video below on how the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge works.  If you’re in a hurry, watch the first 5-10 minutes to get a rough idea.  Then I’ll share how I went below.

To recap…

  • Day 1, you discard 1 thing
  • Day 2, you discard 2 things
  • Day 3, you discard 3 things….
  • and so on, till…
  • Day 30, you discard 30 things!

As I mentioned above, we are about to extend the house, so I was really keen to so what I could to start in our new bedrooms with a “clean slate” and free from the superfluous junk that we’d mindlessly collected over the years. But at the same time, I was really anxious about where to start and what would I do if I chucked something out that I needed in the future?! 

The key here is “discard” doesn’t necessarily mean throw out. You can also sell something, give it away, donate it or use it up. I’m trying to get over my fears/hoarding tendencies by giving away or donating as much as possible, so I don’t feel guilty about “wasting” stuff.

How I went on the 30 day minimalism challenge

I’m writing this each day as I go, so I’ll jot thoughts down as they come to my head…

Day 1 – This is relatively easy as my big stash of ribbon has been doing my head in for ages. I’ve got half rolls, messed up full rolls, scraps and random bits I have kept for years just in case. I spent an hour (WTF!) going through all my ribbon and grouping by colour then putting away nicely.  For the stuff that I don’t need to keep, I started with the thought that I’d sell my excess bits of ribbon.

At the end of it, I realised I’m only wanting to sell it because I hate the thought of it going to waste. Instead I’ve boxed everything up and I’ll drop it off to Henry’s daycare – the kids will have a blast using this stuff with their arts and crafts projects.  I’ve ended up with one whole container empty that I can fill with more cra… I mean use for something else.

Day 2 – Henry’s daycare had a sign up asking for plastic bags the other week, so that’s an easy win for both of us… and I have had a calligraphy book hanging round for yonks as I’d love to learn. But all the book is doing is making me feel guilty that I don’t have the time (and I learn better by watching a video than reading a book anyway). Done.

Day 3 – Last night hubby was home from being away for work. Tried to get him on board with doing the challenge himself. Failure. I suggested he could get rid of a few of his hats. He was not amused. Today I’ve listed some wooden wedding signs in Facebook buy/sell groups, I have a Maid of Honour dress I’m repurposing into a baby dress for my dear friend, and I’m popping a misprint in the bin that I’ve had floating around for no real reason…

Day 4 – There’s a broken lamp been sitting in my office for a couple of months now… it’s gone! I used up some rather girly wrapping paper on hubby’s birthday present, chucked out my beloved shoes (they have holes in them I can no longer ignore) and recycled some random pamphlets I chucked in my bedside cabinet a few months ago.

Day 5 – Getting harder now! I did a big scan around my office wondering what on earth I could biff… I settled on tidying up my “props” box and (1) chucked out some broken party poppers, put aside some (2) large wooden pegs and (3) wooden tags to give away. I found some spare cards for a client (4), who is after some more so I’ll post them with her new order. Finally, I let go of an excessive number of plain popsicle sticks (5) which Henry’s daycare could use for arts and crafts.

Day 6 – I cleared off my two noticeboards of random notices and cleared off my desk of the random bits of junk that has accumulated – this added up to at least 6 items worth of stuff (papers, three jars, broken magnetic thingie, a used up candle and some cuticle oil that was 8 years old).

Day 7 – Craig’s been kind-of taking the piss about the challenge any opportunity he can. But today he helped by chucking out my collection of laundry scoops (as for some reason I had accumulated more than one person needs, i.e. more than one).  This inspired me to give the laundry area a good going over, and I racked up more than the 7 items I “needed” for today – so I’ll credit them towards tomorrow. Added bonus: A ton of space has been freed up, so I’ll be able to move some items into the laundry storage, which is a better spot for them.

Day 8 – Started 6 up on yesterday, so only need two items to round out today. A couple of random cardboard boxes I’ve been “saving” were popped in the recycling. Done!

Day 9 – Since the bathroom is one of the rooms being renovated shortly, I decided it was time to tackle the cabinet. Mission complete after chucking away weird soaps, old medications and unused toiletries (if it’s been 5 years, I think it’s safe to say we won’t use it).

So… then there was a gap of 3-4 days… I lost my mojo. It’s hard work!!! I have a lot of different places I want to tackle, but as the job gets bigger, I keep putting it off or running out of time.

Day 10 took all weekend, but I cleared out the container drawer in the kitchen and got rid of mismatched lids, crappy plastic containers and wee dishes we never use. Craig even helped a little by going through some paperwork of his and popping them in the fire.

Day 11 – I decided to have a whip through the pantry, and set the bar at “things that we purchased before Henry was born” (he’s nearly 4). I quite easily achieved 11 items…gross!

Day 12 – While Henry is outside playing, I rummage through his toys and chuck out anything broken that we’ve been hanging onto.

Day 13 – I’m going out tonight and while doing my eyeshadow it occurs to me how long I’ve had it. I rustle through my makeup and easily manage to chuck out 13 items that I don’t use or are expired. It doesn’t leave me with much eyeshadow, but how much eyeshadow can I realistically go through?!

Day 14 – I have another chance to go through Henry’s toys, and I get rid of a few which he’s grown out of (donating) and there’s a few junky ones (from Kinder Surprise Eggs/Happy Meals etc) which he doesn’t play with… so out they go!

Day 15 – While looking for a camisole the other day, I realised how much random stuff I’d accumulated in my dresser drawers, so I manage to biff out a good number of pantyhose, camis and old socks. Tonight we had dessert using a sachet of random instant pudding that’s been sitting in the cupboard for ages, and this morning I used the last of the jam (of which we had multiple jars) so that rounds out my 15 items for today.

Day 16 – Some people may be horrified at this… but today I went through my shoes, handbags and accessories and picked 16 to donate.

Day 17 – I’ve clung onto a heap of Agee jars that I had left over from my wedding, and finally decided to pass them on – so up they go for sale on the local wedding buy-sell group. Seeing a common theme… holding onto things for an age that I don’t need. I thought my husband was the horder before I did this challenge but I’m slowly realising I have a little issue too!

Days 18 – 20 – I tackled my cupboard and dresser today, coming up with a combined total of three days worth of crap to donate… allowing me to catch up a little since I’ve fallen behind and skipped the occasional day when I have been busy.

Day 21 – I’m honestly struggling to see how I’ll make it to Day 30, but I am forging on regardless. Somehow I manage to find 21 things from my office drawers that need to go.  I only make it to 21 because I chuck out a couple of glues that are probably fine… but it’s a bit ridiculous how many different adhesives I still own.

Days 2224 – I go on a rampage and manage to knock three days off at once, clearing away Henry’s too small clothes, random soft toys and other junk we’ve accumulated in his room. I’m struggling to see where else I’ll be able to declutter after this as I’ve been through each room in our house… I’ve brainstormed a list but it’s not looking good.  This is the longest I’ve ever actually stuck to a challenge so I really don’t want to give up now.

Day 25 – A beautiful sunny day today, so no excuse to avoid the garden shed. I manage to find 25 items once I walk around the yard and discard a few old buckets and bits of random junk Henry has been using for “bird booby traps”. Sorry kiddo, this challenge has been tough on you.

Day 26 – Today was a mix of stuff. I mainly wandered round the house wondering how on earth I was going to keep this up for four more days. If I wasn’t writing this blog I would’ve totally stopped by now. I did get rid of some “sexy” underwear I was given for my hen’s night (I swear it’s not made for big boobed ladies) and had the dilemma of whether I chuck it out or donate it. Decided I didn’t want to risk having my bag of bits and pieces judged so I biffed them #sorrynotsorry

Day 27 – I have officially given up. So close – and yet so so so far away. One area I haven’t tackled is the garage. The man cave. If I touch that, I’ll soon become an expert in divorce proceedings. So I’m calling it quits with my marriage intact and with some solid lessons learnt:

  • First, I’m kind of guttered I was so generous with my “counting” early on. If I’d been a bit cheeky, I’d have counted individual items, rather than counting “groups” of things. But I felt like that went against the spirit of the challenge?
  • There was plenty of stuff I was holding onto “just in case”. But I completely forgot I even owned it – so if *god forbid* the house burnt down, how would I even know I had it?
  • It’s easier to stop the junk coming in, than biff it out. Lots of things were “deals” or gifts that I felt I had to hang onto, even though it has been years.
  • With all this clutter gone… I am still functioning. YES I could’ve gone harsher in some areas, yes I failed to complete the challenge – but I got well through it and I’m better off for it. I’m sure attempting and failing is better than nothing.

I’m still holding onto my little chart that tracked how many items I needed to get rid of, and hopefully when hubby is home, and receptive, I might have some success in tackling his drawers/garage etc. When we go to do the “big move” when the builders start on site, I’m pretty sure there will be some success then too (shall I keep this updated?!). I already know a set of drawers and a bookcase is going when the extension is put on, so the intention is there – and it’s not procrastination this time, it’s just the practical reality of the timing for us.

PLEASE let me know if you’re going to attempt this! It’s honestly so freeing and satisfying (apart from the “quitting/postponing” bit at the end)

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