Becoming a Minimalist – Challenge One

The Minimalist Life

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The main rule of minimalism is not to own nothing, but to be sure nothing owns you.

The oath, so to say, to follow is: Have nothing in your home you do not find useful or beautiful. If an item fills you with happiness and joy, keep it around. If it does not, or is just meh….reconsider offering it space. Any item in your home that requires space, requires care and in doing so, steals some of your energy. (This rule works for husband and kids too. I’m kidding of course (mostly.)

The trick to becoming successful in anything is to start small. This is what works for me personally but if you want to attack the whole house in one fell swoop, well, you go for it! Like I say, Do you baby!

For those of you not so stoked about cleaning out the massive treasures we all collect through the years, let’s start with a first week challenge. Do these all on day 1 or split them up through the week and take the weekend off to rest from the battle.

First task: Clean out your purse or wallet.

We all do it. I worked in an office for 3 years and never cleaned out my purse. When I finally did, I had about 3 boxes worth of paperclips in it. I don’t even know how they got there as my purse stayed in a drawer the whole night. I suspect shenanigans from my co-workers. Clear out all the loose change, restaurant salt and pepper packs and 10 year old gum. When you’re done, turn that purse over and give it a good shake to clear out any dust or hidden gems you missed. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find a $5 bill or something. Maybe most men are good about keeping their wallets clean, I have no idea. I do know my husband is very particular about his. If I use one of his credit cards, he has to double check after I replace it to be sure it’s facing the correct way. He is a receipt hoarder though. If you gentlemen do this, clear those out and stop sitting at a tilt.

Second task: Toss out your old socks.

Yes, your old socks. You know the ones. That pair that makes you angry every single time you wear them because your big toe wants to see what is going on? Get rid of any that are worn out or those you never wear.

Third task: Clean a junk drawer.

Do you really need 50 pens that don’t work anymore? Junk drawers are like cockroaches, they never quite go away but, unlike cockroaches, at least you can control your junk drawers!

Fourth task: Clean out your spice cabinet.

I am a kitchen hoarder. I love to cook and I do the recipe creations now so I tend to load up on intriguing herbs and spices and packets. Many, never get used. I am a little ashamed to admit that I only just went through my own spice cabinet a couple weeks ago. It was not pretty. In fact, it made me cringe a little. I had several multiples of hardly ever used spices which I tried to combine into one bottle. I also had many, many…..MANY that were past their expiration dates. I don’t think there is a danger to expired spices and herbs. I believe they just lose flavor and intensity but still…I tossed out the ones that were ridiculously passed their dates. I’m not even going to admit HOW far past the dates they were.

Fifth and final task for this week: Get rid of one Knick-Knack.

This may seem simple but may be the hardest task for the week. For many years I held on to every single card, outfit and Knick-Knack anyone in my existence had given to me. I worried some bad mojo would come down on me for spiting the love that had been shown. It’s important to refer back to our minimalism rule for this one…the keep only things you find beautiful rule. So, if Aunt Matilda gave you that awful pink, green, red and purple flower vase you display half hidden behind your latest family portrait, think about donating that forward to someone who might appreciate it more. Look at it this way….if it’s there (taking up space) it’s using your energy. Every time you see it and cringe, energy used. Every time you have to move it so you can dust, energy used. Every time you have to save it from toppling over when your 2 year old nephew comes over, energy used. Each item gets easier to part with and I’ve never had a single person ask “Hey…where’s my such and such I got you 14 Christmases ago.” They probably don’t even remember getting it for you.

Good luck with your challenge. Be sure to check back and we’ll see what else we can downsize!

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