A month of minimalism

Here's a 30-day challenge for you: 

Day 1, get rid of one item in your house. 

Day 2, get rid of two

Day 3—you get the idea. 

By day 30, you'll have 465 fewer things and a new perspective on your home and habits. 

The 30-Day Minimalism Game is brought to you by The Minimalists*, two people on a mission to show how life can be better with less. They take this concept farther than I personally would, but their central message is incredibly useful:

Keep only what has a purpose and brings you joy

My niece, Libby, took on the minimalism challenge last spring. A Tulsa-based music teacher in her early 30s, Libby has lived in her 2-bedroom midtown Tulsa cottage for nearly a decade—plenty of time to accumulate "stuff" in her closets, cabinets and garage.

 Libby, the minimalist :) 

Libby, the minimalist :) 

Libby started the month with big items: end tables, lamps and such. This was all fairly straightforward until day six or seven, by which time she'd already eliminated two dozen items! She began digging through drawers and noticing things she'd long overlooked—stacks of old magazines, socks with holes in them, college notebooks she'd moved several times but never opened.

Anything she felt attached to, she photographed—for instance, a list of top 10 tips for music majors. She still remembered the day a professor had handed it out, but she knew it was time to move on.

"A: I’m not a music major anymore—I’ve been working for 10 years," Libby said. "B: I hadn’t looked at it since I moved into my house in 2008. C: I don’t need it. It’s just taking up space on a bookcase that could have been aesthetically pleasing but was just packed full of crap.

"That freed me up to get rid of a lot. If I feel like I really need this, I can photograph it and then release it.”

Libby knew she wouldn’t have time some days to find 16 or 19 or 27 items to purge. Instead, she worked ahead and kept track with a checklist.

 Make mornings easier by streamlining your "stuff" and storing it in a closet that works. Schedule a free, no-risk custom closet design to see what's possible. 

Make mornings easier by streamlining your "stuff" and storing it in a closet that works. Schedule a free, no-risk custom closet design to see what's possible. 

Pro tip: Libby wisely let go of anything she'd been keeping just in case she needed it someday—and she hasn't missed a thing! This includes all clothing that didn’t fit.

"I have clothes in a million different sizes," she said. "I decided to only keep things that I actually like to wear now, not things I might wear someday if I’m feeling more adventurous, or if I’m feeling more conservative. I’d rather not have my day-to-day life cluttered with the idea that I might someday."

Libby surprised herself with how many sentimental belongings she managed to unhand. In her garage, she found a bag of things from a certain era of her childhood bedroom. She remembered each item, and it all felt like a part of her identity. But she knew it wasn't, and she tossed the whole bag! Decisions like this were hard at first but felt liberating.

"Once I got on a roll and cleared out one area and put things back in a really nice way, I began noticing how much I enjoyed those clean areas," Libby said. "I hadn't even realized that some spaces were really crowded. Now, every time I walk by them, I'm happy."

 Minimalism cleanses the palate and reveals beauty where we least expect it! 

Minimalism cleanses the palate and reveals beauty where we least expect it! 

Libby said this process made all of her spaces more beautiful—even areas she didn't think needed to be beautiful! 

"I didn’t know that I could appreciate my junk drawer," she said. "When I opened it up, there were just scissors and tape and maybe two other things. Or in my garage, a neat box for adhesives, with exactly what I needed, not a million duplicates or a dumping ground for everything. I really appreciated all the spaces in my house."

 Can't stand to toss all those office supplies in your junk drawer? Consider donating them to a local school to offset costs for parents and teachers. 

Can't stand to toss all those office supplies in your junk drawer? Consider donating them to a local school to offset costs for parents and teachers. 

After the challenge, Libby became extra choosey with what she allowed into her house. Even down to reusable grocery bags—she knows how many she needs, and she doesn't want to collect more. I love it! She also got around to some upkeep she'd been putting off. My personal favorite example is that she repaired her closet wiring so she could actually see inside! This decision was, of course, revolutionary:

"I was like, 'This is so great! I want to be in my closet!' Before, it was a scary place, and I didn't want to know what was happening in there."

Thanks for sharing your story, Libby!

Want to make the most of your month of minimalism? Custom closet shelving tailored just for you puts a system in place to keep you on track! 
Schedule a FREE custom closet design today to see what's possible.
Happy Spring Cleaning! 

* Here’s The Minimalists' TEDx Talk (though it's hardly minimalist at 18 minutes long :) )