“We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” – Donald Horban
We’ve been working hard over the last year to simplify our lives and live a bit more minimally. Since it’s still spring, we decided a spring-cleaning – 30 days to more minimal living would be a good challenge. Some of the challenges are ones that we’ve done already and have found them to be helpful and others are projects that we’re going to be tackling this month as well.
Declutter Your Inbox
Start off with something easy, although this can be pretty daunting. (I currently have 1200 unread emails in my inbox…) Sit down with your computer and a coffee and weed through all the junk mail – make sure you take the time to unsubscribe to all of the emails you’re getting that you never read.
Parting with stuff can be difficult, get yourself into the simplifying-mode by finding 5 items to get rid of today. If you’re feeling ambitious, bump up to 10 or 20 items!
Clean Out The Junk Drawer
You know the catchall drawer that has a little bit of everything… open it up and throw out the stuff that has been tossed in there that will never get used. Only keep things that you will need!
Declutter Your Mind
Take a couple hours to sort out your mind. Try yoga, do devotions, meditation. Just go somewhere and be alone for a bit.
Go through all of your makeup, nail polish, lotions, etc. and get rid of everything you don’t use. Psst… you don’t need 20 bottles of body wash and lotion.
Unfollow and Unfriend
When I think about living minimally, I think about unloading things you don’t need that aren’t bringing happiness to your life. Social media is a weird space that often leaves people feeling unhappy with their life. Take the time to unfollow or block people’s feeds that aren’t adding to your contentment and happiness. Give your mind a space to find joy and inspiration not a place to feel hurt or jealous. Obviously do so in a kind, quiet way.
Clean Off Your Dresser
Your side tables, dresser – whatever you have in your room that holds all of your knick-knacks… Clean them off and create a space you want to wake up to each morning that will leave you feeling fresh.
Under The Sink
Open up the cupboards under the sink in the kitchen and bathroom and get rid off all of the old cleaning supplies and toiletries that you don’t use.
Lug out the boxes of Christmas decorations and go through and only keep the things you actually use each year. Christmas is a hard time of year to declutter and a lot of things you don’t put out for the holidays usually just end up staying in storage. Why waste storage space? Get ahead this year and clean them out during this (hopefully) less stressful season.
Clear Off Counters
Creating empty space in my kitchen has been one of the most refreshing changes I’ve made while getting rid of stuff. I cleaned out cupboards to create space to put away things that I didn’t want out on my counter but still use often.
Go through your book collection and get rid of any that you didn’t like or wouldn’t want to read again.
Expired medicine, old toothbrushes, too many combs… Go through and throw out all of the things you don’t use.
After living in my apartment for 4 years, I went through my dry goods cupboards and found items that I bought when I first moved in as well as things I bought for a specific recipe that I hadn’t used and will never use again. Throw out expired foods and donate unexpired foods to a local food shelf!
Take everything out and give it a good wipe down. Combine the three jars of mayonnaise, throw out last week’s leftovers and the expired yogurt tucked in the back corner of the fridge.
If you have kiddos this is an important task, and a pretty difficult one. Get rid of toys that aren’t played with or are damaged. Encourage your kids to only keep their favorite toys – hopefully they’ve seen you cleaning over the last week or so and will be excited to help you tackle this project
Sort Through Mail
Go through stacks of mail and papers that need to be filed or shredded. There should be no floating papers hanging around your space bills, old wedding invitations, kids artwork… go through it all!. Put them where they belong or create a new space where you will keep them.
Take a day away from your phone and computers. I talked a little about clearing your mind and unfollowing people on social media. Today, take a full day to take a break from technology and go enjoy nature, take a nap, eat too much ice cream, go to that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try, have a picnic with friends…
Dump out that purse and get rid of everything that you wouldn’t need on a daily basis.
Throw away the old lint, old detergent bottles and the socks that never found a match, clean out shelves/cupboards, wipe everything down.
My craft storage gets messy pretty quickly from always having a few projects going at once. Take the time to go through and sort out materials that you really don’t need and won’t use. Organizing the stuff that you will use will help streamline your crafting and it might even inspire you for a few new projects.
Clean Out Your Car
My car is like a giant junk drawer. Lumber, water rafts, blankets, rain boots, tennis rackets, board games… just a few things you could find in there today. Most of you probably have a car that is much cleaner than mine but take some time to empty out your car and give it a good vacuuming. Get rid of things in the glove compartment, center console, and door pockets.
Sort Through Recipes
If your Pinterest boards haven’t already replaced your printed recipes, go through your loose recipes and put them away. Toss ones that you won’t use. Take the time to write them all out on matching cards if you’re a bit crazy like me.
Tupperware storage is always a dryer-eats-the-sock type of mystery to me. It’s immediately a disaster and somehow there are always thousands of lids that don’t fit any containers that you own. Clean it out, if it doesn’t have a pair – throw it out!
Challenge everyone in your family to go through their things and fill a bag with items to get rid of, whoever gets rid of the most gets the first piece of dessert…
Combine the same spices, throw out old spices and ones that you never use.
Go through your jewelry collection and sell or donate everything that you don’t wear that doesn’t have sentimental value.
Clean Out Closet
We’ve done a whole post on this. Check it out here.
Thin Out Furniture
Go through your house and decide what larger furniture, wall art, etc. you are ready to let go of. List it on Craigslist or call a friend with a truck to haul it off to Salvation Army.
Get rid of all the old ripped towels and old sheets that you never use. You should only need two sets of sheets for each bed in the house. Get rid of kitchen towels and old rags as well.
Saved this one for last because this will probably take a couple days. Or weeks. But find a time this summer to tackle a big project like this. Clean out stuff that has been collected for years. Bring it all out and go through everything!
We would love for you all to join us as we go through this list throughout June. Work through the list how ever you would like – just try to work on one each day. Use the #monthofminimal to show us what you’re working on!