I’m in the midst of a 30 day minimalist challenge (this is my second week, you can read about my first week trying this here).
This experiment has really been the result of wondering whether if I had less stuff and consumed less in general, would it help my financial life?
The challenge is structured by doing one task a day — everything from decluttering your house to challenging yourself to not spend money for a day — tasks that help you push through your boundaries, and hopefully help you create habits that create real change. Here’s how I structured my minimalist challenge:
The Minimalist Challenge
1. Purge your wardrobe (get rid of at least 10 things)
2. Journal for 20 minutes
3. Clean out your fridge
4. Find 10 things you’re grateful for
5. Clear out your phone
6. Clean out one of your closets
7. Purge your kitchen cabinets
8. Empty your junk drawer
9. Clean the apps on your phone you don’t use
10. Do something you have been putting off
11. Clean out your old makeup
12. Make five goals for the next six months
13. Take out your credit card information out of autofill
14. Clean under your bed
15. Don’t spend money for 24 hours
16. Sort through your mail
17. Meditate for 20 minutes
18. Download a helpful app
19. Eat at home
20. Sell five items to a local thrift store
21. Clean out your email inbox until it hits zero
22. Unsubscribe from email marketing
23. Write down five things you are grateful for
24. Purge your household cleaning items
25. Toss out old socks
26. Leave a whole day unplanned
27. Let go of a goal
28. Declutter your work desk
29. Empty your wallet
30. Repurge your wardrobe (get rid of at least ten things)
Here’s what happened this week:
8. Clean out your old makeup
My makeup is divided into two different parts: one is the ten or so pieces of makeup I use on an (almost) daily basis and the other is the makeup I never use, but want to. Let me explain: Last year, I wanted to expand my makeup knowledge so I signed up for one of the monthly makeup subscription boxes. They sent me a box of five pieces of makeup and skincare products for about six months before I had to stop. I had run out of room in my apartment’s bathroom and I did not want to waste more of my precious space with unused makeup (no matter how fabulous they were). So that’s how I ended up with a pile of unused products sitting in mason jars in my bathroom. They initially looked nice but now all I see is clutter.
I went through the unused makeup and got rid of ten or so pieces. I decided that I was going to keep the rest and ~seriously~ use up the products, trying a different one each week. I know this is breaking the minimalist rules a little but I am glad I got rid of the products I would never use or at least try and was able to keep the stuff I was interested in. I will never do those monthly subscription boxes again or, if I do, only do it for one month out of the year! #lessonlearned
9. Empty your wallet
Oh my wallet. I carry way too much in it and it’s often the heaviest thing in my bag. I went through it and threw out old wrappers, receipts, and, well, trash. I discovered several stamps (why???) and old business cards that I don’t use and haven’t used in years. My wallet is now a couple of pounds lighter. It feels good to know what is actually in the thing I carry around every day! Go figure.
10. Make five goals for the next six months
I sat down and wrote them out:
1. Cash flow New Orleans trip
2. Max out Roth IRA
3. Host an end of summer potluck
4. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
5. Do something spontaneous!
Coming up with five concrete goals was difficult! I really had to think about what I wanted to achieve in the future that was both money (and non-money) related.
11. Empty your junk drawer
I emptied a junk drawer in the kitchen (there are three miscellaneous drawers!). It only took about 10 minutes but, to be completely honest, the thought of organizing this drawer had never occurred to me before. Sometimes I think we just become used to clutter and forget that we don’t have to live this way. So, I took everything out of the drawer and laid in on my counter. I sorted it into two piles: the stuff I use and the stuff I don’t.
It’s pretty simple when it comes down to it. The stuff I never use is plastic utensils and old chopsticks. The stuff I do use is various kitchen supplies. I threw out some wrappers and put back all of the kitchen supplies in the drawer. I decided that instead of throwing out the plastic utensils, I would bring them into work to see if anyone wants to use them (they did for the record)!
All in all, it felt great to get rid of some stuff (especially plastic that I never use). I love knowing exactly what was in the drawer. And being able to see the bottom of it.
12. Declutter your work desk
Of all of the things I have had to clean, this one is definitely the least messy. I cleaned out my downloads folder on my desktop, moved some miscellaneous files into their proper places, and cleared my recycling bin. I sorted through the physical drawers in my desk and organized everything. I realized that I had four extra workout shirts (??!) and a notebook and headphones that I never use. I put the notebook and headphones with the other office supplies. I wiped down my desk drawers since there was dust and chocolate crumbs (lol my addiction). It looks so clean and lovely now!
13. Don’t spend money for 24 hours
I went to my grandparents house to visit. My grandparents live in a very rural section of upstate New York so it was very easy to not spend any money. Instead, I spent the day hanging out with my friends and family and just enjoyed the sunshine. Easily spent $0, which was a nice reminder for me: This is easier to pull off than you might think.
14. Leave a whole day unplanned
I went for a hike, read, took a nap (well I accidentally fell asleep), said goodbye to my grandmother, and took the train back. I just went with the flow. Normally being that unstructured would give me anxiety, but there was something really nice with just letting the day naturally unfold.
My journey continues next week. Make sure to check back! And make sure to read about what happened during my first week at it.
Images: All Courtesy of Sophia Randazzo