Three Tips to Get Through the Minimalism Challenge

By: Ginger Hanson

After moving to a new house this summer and realizing just how much stuff I had that I wasn’t using, it only seemed appropriate that my next 30-day challenge would be to get rid of that stuff! If you’re interested in minimalism, I encourage you to follow The Minimalists Josh Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. They have a game to help you get into the spirit of minimalism. It goes like this:

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.

This is the challenge I tried for 30 days. I’ll be honest, I tried this a few months ago and fizzled out around day 10… This time, however, I had a newfound determination knowing how much stuff I had that I didn’t need or use after the move. So here are my top three tips to get through this challenge.

Tip 1: Start at day 30 and work backwards.

I know this isn’t the rule. You start with one item on day one, but starting with thirty items on day one and working backwards made it easier as the days went by instead of harder. Believe me, this helps to keep plugging away knowing the next day you have to find fewer things to throw out.

Tip 2: Check off a few days at once when you can.

Again, not one of the rules, but if you can get rid of a few days’ worth of items, it will be much easier on those days when you simply can’t find the motivation to find things to get rid of. Or if you’re away for vacation or anything.

Tip 3: Keep a box in your house to collect items to get rid of.

Ok, ok. I know I’m breaking all of the rules, but seriously, who wants to run out to donate or sell items every day? If you can, go for it. But if you can’t, try this method – it takes some pressure off.

I know I broke several rules of the game, but at the end of the day, the challenge was to get rid of clutter and unused items in my house. And guess what? Mission accomplished! I made it through 30 days or 465 items! Four hundred and sixty-five items! The biggest category of items that I wanted to sort through was my clothing. I’ve accumulated a lot through the past few years and I find that I only wear a small portion of it. But I ‘like’ everything in my closet. How do I get rid of items that I ‘like’? When I’m trying to accomplish a challenge! I can’t even remember what I got rid of because I never wore it. This challenge definitely made me feel better about my closet situation. If you’re still unsure about trying it, I’ll offer one more tip to help you give it a whirl.

Bonus Tip: If you’re feeling stuck, go through your pen/pencil drawer.

Sometimes you just feel as though you have nothing more to get rid of. If you get stuck on a day, especially the high number days, go through your pen/pencil drawer and throw away broken pencils or pens that don’t work or are never used. It’s a small item, but every bit helps. Sometimes, it’s only a little push that’s needed to get back into the spirit of de-cluttering.