31 Day Minimalist Challenge, Could You Do It?

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One of my favorite podcasts, and Netflix documentaries is “The Minimalists”. The basis of their movement is to love people and use things, because the opposite never works. They helped me find a balance between happiness, stuff, and how to separate the two.

What is the Challenge?

One fun challenge The Minimalists do is the pare down challenge, where you challenge someone to get rid of stuff in their house that does not add value to them. Each day of the month is the number of items you must give away. Day 1, 1 item…Day 2, 2 items…Day 3, 3 items….and so on. Over a 31 day month you and your partner/challenger will have “de-cluttered” and given away 496 items each.

Now, you all have seen my house before, I do not have much stuff as it is HAHA. But, I challenged Ash (my fiancé) to do the challenge at her house, and I would do my best at my house.

How did I do?

Starting out I was on a roll, I put a trash bag in my bedroom and went to town the first 10 days. Basically, I got rid of old ties, socks, clothes, and random other things I never wore.

The first thing I learned…

I have a lot of things that “have meaning”, but don’t add value to my life. For example, I still had some old t-shirts from high school that had great memories attached to them. These t-shirts took up a whole drawer in my dresser! Ash had a similar drawer of college t-shirts that she actually used to make a “college t-shirt quilt”.

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For me, this was a turning point in allowing stuff to come and leave my life without forgetting the stories or meaning associated with that time period of my life.

After day 10 I turned my sights on the kitchen. I am really good about only spending $50 a week on groceries, so I really only buy what I will use. However, over the past 3 years I have accumulated some random items that I never got rid of. Kitchen clean up lasted 5 days.

Over the next 10 days I went through the only 3 closets in my house and started de-cluttering. The minimalists have a good rule that I started using, it’s called the 90-day rule. “If I have not used it in the past 90 days, and I won’t use it in the next 90 days, then it’s gone”. Obviously, holiday or seasonal things are not lumped into this, but jackets that you are keeping “just in case” can get donated.

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What did I learn?

I would rather have 10 things I really love and appreciate opposed to 30 things that are okay. This fact is the reason I do not mind splurging on things that I know will really add value to me. Everything doesn’t have to be cheap HAHA. I like buying food that is healthy. I like eating out and enjoying a nice dinner with Ash once a week.

Knowing what we enjoy and knowing the things that really add value to our lives can help give us clarity on what we spend money on.

Those t-shirts I mentioned earlier with all that meaning, I have not thought about them once, until I wrote this post. It’s funny how we can confuse “have meaning” and “add value”.

How did Ash do?

Okay, so you see my blog and my “phil-osophy” on money (*Bad joke*), but how does my soon to be other half feel about this?

I get questions like this all the time. That is why I did a whole post on relationships and money and how her and I have found a balance.

It’s not my way or the high way. We talk about goal, budgets, minimalist games I think we should try, places we want to travel etc.

At first Ash was a little hesitant when I challenged (asked her really nicely) to try this challenge with me. It was nice to have someone to talk to about it through out. What were you getting rid of that day and why.

She got rid of 496 things too, and by the half way mark, she was getting rid of 3 days worth of stuff at a time so she only had to remember every 3 or 4 days. 😊

I also wrote a 31 day tally note and stuck it on her fridge to remind her.

Would I do it again?

Yes. Although I have tidied up my house a lot, this challenge sets a goal for you and helps give you a plan to de-clutter almost 500 items. I used to go through and get rid of old socks but I would still hold on to those old high school t-shirts, this challenge gave me a reason to get rid of them!

Have you ever done a challenge like this before?

Could you do it? What would be the hardest part?