Minimalist 30 Day Challenge Completed! (Round One)

I am so happy with the progress that I have made having just completed my first 30 day minimalist challenge.  I recently posted about the first 15 days of the challenge.  I have now officially completed all 30 days and have decluttered my home of 465 items!!  It feels AMAZING!!  Yet, I still feel like I have so much stuff.  So does this mean a round two is coming?  Absolutely!!

I spent the majority of the first 15 days focusing on just our spare “junk” room.  I tried to stick with that room for the remainder of the challenge, however, it got to a point where I needed to venture out into other areas of the home.  I struggled a little when I hit those 20, 21, 22 item days.  I thought for sure that there was no way I would be able to find 30 items on that last day to get rid of.  But low and behold… I managed to find all items… PLUS some!

Day 16: (16) shirts; closet cleanout
Day 17: (10) bras, (7) shirts; closet cleanout (10 bras!!!  Seriously?? And I still have 8)
Day 18: (2) old mattress pads, (5) expired cat medicines, (11) misc. items from “junk”
drawer in the kitchen
Day 19: (17) old cat toys/supplies, (2) expired boxes of drink mixes
Day 20: (14) pairs of shoes (this should have counted as 28! :)), (6) random household
items
Day 21: (21) random items from spare room and closet
Day 22: (22) items from a box where I threw all of my stuff from a desk that we gave
away.  The box had been sitting in the spare room for over 2 years
Day 23: (23) random items from around the spare room, the pantry cabinet and closet
Day 24: (24) random items from around the spare room, the pantry cabinet and closet
Day 25: (25) random items from around the spare room, the pantry cabinet and closet
Day 26: (21) random items from spare room, (5) old kitchen utensils
Day 27: (27) old or unused kitchen utensils
Day 28: (28) old or unused kitchen utensils
Day 29: (29) old or unused kitchen utensils
Day 30: (15) old or unused kitchen utensils, (15) random items from the coat closet

Before I jump into future challenges, I wanted to give myself time to go over what I just accomplished in the first 30 day challenge.  I know for some, parting with this much clutter may not be a big deal.  I am NOT one of those people.  I have a hard time letting go.  I’m not a hoarder and don’t keep things that clearly need to be discarded.. but I do have a slight shopping addiction (which I am working hard on controlling in the new year), so I have things that have been sitting around for awhile because I purchased them with good intent, but never actual got around to wearing or using what I bought.  But to get rid of it is a struggle.  I suffer from the “what if I need it one day” syndrome.  In reality, I understand that if an object has sat around for 2 years untouched, that the chances of me needing it down the road are probably pretty slim…. and even if I do need it two years from now, will I remember that it’s even there?  Shoved way back in a closet or cabinet someplace?  Most likely not.  I still struggle with the “what if” though and tend to hold on to things.  As an example, part of this first 30 day challenge I went through this storage cabinet we have (7 drawers total) that was FULL of kitchen utensils.  4 spatulas?  Really?  Why would I ever need 4 spatulas.  Even if I was cooking up a storm and working double handed, I only have two hands!  So 2 spatulas would be more then efficient.  Those 4 spatulas had been in those drawers for at least 5 years.  I have one particular spatula that I use to cook with ALL the time that sits out in a utensil holder near my stove.  I never go to these drawers to pull out a different one.  So why I am taking up space in my home storing these items that I just don’t use or need?  That my friend is a very good question.  A question that I cannot answer just yet, because I have yet to figure it out.

Learning to let go of “stuff” is not easy.  The “keeping up with the Jones” is just part of our culture and I have fallen into that trap for many, many years.  I just feel like there is so much more to life then having a bunch of “things”, or driving expensive cars, or living in big fancy houses.  Those things are just becoming unimportant to me.  15 years ago if you asked me if I would rather have $1,000 to spend on a fancy designer purse, or use the money instead to take a trip and make memories, I would have DEFINETELY gone for the purse.  I am not the same person I was 15 years ago.  Now I just want to go out and make memories..  traveling and having adventures.  I think this 30 day challenge has made me realize that I’m actually happier without “stuff” then with it.

*Disclaimer… I by no means will ever be able to call myself an extreme minimalist.  Although I am taking a new approach to having “things” and making a more conscious effort to really think about things before I purchase them…  I’m still going to purchase some “things”.  Granted, at a smaller pace and in smaller amounts, but my life will never consist of bare walls and empty closets.  I am clearly a work in progress.

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Minimalist 30 day Challenge in Progress

One of my 2019 goals was to try and embrace a more minimalist mindset.  I have always been one that has had a great deal of “stuff”.  However, I am at a point in my life where I just don’t feel I need or even want all of these none necessary items cluttering up my space.  Part of the minimalist way of thinking is to simplify life down to the essentials.  I cannot honestly say I will ever get that devoted to the minimalist lifestyle, but as you can see from the pictures above (which were extremely embarrassing to include by the way), it would definitely benefit me to have a little decluttering happen in my life.

As a way to get me motivated into the decluttering process, I decided to take the 30 day minimalist challenge.  This is where you start on day 1 and eliminate 1 item from your clutter.  Day 2, you eliminate 2 items, and so on and so on until you reach day 30 where you eliminate 30 items!  This will be a grand total of 465 items purged from my physical space, ultimately helping to simplify life.

I am in the midst of the challenge now and wanted to take a few minutes to give an update of where I am at and what types of things I am eliminating from my space.
I will say that it took me about a week into the challenge to sort of figure out what I was doing.  I started by randomly picking various things from various rooms of the house.  That sort of got a little overwhelming, so I found it better for me to just simply pick a room and work on that one specific space.  I decided to focus on my spare “junk” room.  You know, that room were everything you have no space for anywhere else in the house ends up.  As is clear from the pictures, this room is in desperate need of decluttering.

 

*Day 1-15

Day 1: Old pair of stretched out socks
Day 2: An empty box I was holding on to (not sure why) and an unsharpened pair of nail
clippers
Day 3: 3 cardboard boxes I was saving to “maybe” use in the future to ship things
(which is silly since I get boxes all the time.. no need to have them around taking
up space)
Day 4: 4 old makeup items
Day 5: A random plastic handle that has been in the bathroom for about a year (not even
sure what it goes to), 1 old vase, 1 unused makeup brush, 3 unused makeup
samples
Day 6: 2 pairs of old sweats, 1 plastic couch cover, 1 pair of stretched out socks, 1 tablet
cover I never used, 1 wooden serving tray (with random out of date food items)
Day 7: 1 plastic popcorn container, 1 broken air freshener, 6 random makeup/toiletry
items
Day 8: 8 old tank tops
Day 9: 9 pairs of socks
Day 10: 9 misc. old makeup items, 1 costume jewelry necklace
Day 11: 11 old/expired cat medications and random cat related items
Day 12: 12 costume jewelry bracelets
Day 13: 13 costume jewelry necklaces
Day 14: 14 random costume jewelry items
Day 15: Random household items (old lotions, makeup items, etc.)

 

I thought as the challenge progressed to the days were I had to start getting rid of 15, 16, 17 items a day would be difficult, but on the contrary, it has been a breeze.  As the challenge goes on, I’m finding myself returning to items that in the beginning of the 30 days I thought I wanted to keep, but now realize that I don’t really want them.  If the item does not bring value to my life in someway, it’s out of here!

Now… on to the 2nd half of the challenge.  I’m excited to see what 30 items I purge on the last day.  I am also eager to post some before and after shots of the room I am working on!  Maybe after I see the before and after photos, I will be motivated to start another 30 challenge.  I definitely have enough stuff to justify it.  🙂

achievement activity adolescent arms
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My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 3

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 3
123. List 10 things you want to accomplish before it’s too late

This was a great prompt to come up during the first few days of the new year.  It sure made me stop and think about some of my more meaningful goals and the importance of not continuing to put everything off.  We have a tendency to think that there is always a tomorrow, when in fact, there are no guarantees.  As you can see from my list below, the majority of the 10 things I would like to accomplish before it’s too late relate to travel and experiences.

1.) Visit all Disney parks.
I was fortunate enough to be able to visit 3 different Disney parks in 2018.
Disneyland in California, Disneyworld in Florida and Disney Paris.  I’ve been to
Disney California and Florida many times, but walking into Disneyland Paris was
a whole different level of Disney excitement.  Just knowing I was in another country
but getting to experience something so familiar was a unique experience.  I’m sure I
would feel the same if I was able to visit all the Disney parks.
2.) Travel Route 66.
I think this would just be a blast!  I actually have some books on fun places to
stop and also places to eat when traveling Route 66.  So, I have material to do the
research, now it’s just making the time to do it!

drive empty highway lane
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3.) Buy a small RV and visit all U.S. States.
This is a dream of Don and mine.  We go to RV shows often to dream.  We don’t want
anything extravagant.  Just a small RV (something I would feel comfortable driving)
that we could throw our basic necessities in and hit the road.  There is so much to see
in the U.S.  We have not really been to many states, so our dream is to get out there
and see all that America has to offer.
4.) Be fully debt free and never need to depend on credit cards again.
This is something I am very seriously trying to accomplish over the next few
years.  I grew up in a home were living off of credit cards and having a large
amount of credit card debt was normal.  I got my first credit card at age 16
and have been in debt ever since.  I have never had a time in my adult life when I
was not in what most would consider pretty significant credit card debt.  I’ve never
experienced the feeling of not living paycheck to paycheck.
5.) Travel with Don to Europe: Germany, England, Netherlands,
I would have to say that my recent month long trip to France for work definitely tops
the list of one of the most extreme experiences I have ever had.  Although it was a
wonderful trip, I did miss Don.  I would have loved to experience my first
international trip with him, but sadly it just did not work out.  This makes the list of
10 things I want to accomplish before it’s to late simply because there is a pretty large
age difference between Don and myself.  I want to be able to do this while we are
both young enough to fully enjoy everything that international travel has to offer.
6.)  Go to Williamsburg Virginia!!
This should have probably been the first thing on my list.  I’ve wanted to go to
Williamsburg Virginia for longer than I can remember.  I am a history geek.  I love
the hands-on type of history like you can experience in Williamsburg.  Where people
dress up in period outfits and you get to see them reenact the living conditions of the
time.
7.) Live more of a minimalist life style (have more adventures and less “stuff”).
Just like the debt, this is another area I am making a priority this coming year.  The
less “stuff” I have and the end of 2019 the better.
8.) Be financial set so Don can retire.
I often worry that Don will not be able to retire due to our financial situation.  He still
has several years to go before he would be able to retire at a normal retirement age,
but my fear is that due to our debt struggle, that he won’t even be able to retire then.
I don’t want him to have to work any longer then he should.  Finding the tools to get
into a better financial state is top priority for me in 2019.

money pink coins pig
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

9.) Make a point to spend more quality time with family and friends making
memories.

Life is just busy.  That should not be an excuse to not be spending quality time with
family and friends.  I recall just a few years back when I was working  overtime
every weekend to try and make more money.  I would go into the office and work
every Saturday and sometimes Sundays.  We missed so many family events and I
never really made an effort to try and see my friends.  I basically would work, eat and
sleep.  I missed out on making so many memories during this time.  Time is the one
thing you cannot get back and as I already stated, tomorrow is not a guarantee.  So
attend that family get together and make those dinner plans with friends.
10.) Be healthier both body and mind.  Be off all prescription medications.
This is another work in progress, but I am hoping that changing to the lazy KETO
way of eating and continuing to drop some of this excess weight (down 17 pounds so
far), that this is not so far out of reach.  Although I have inherited my high blood
pressure from BOTH parents, I do believe that if I was at a healthy weight, I could
get it under control enough to get off the daily medication.  As for the anxiety.. I am
not so sure that will be so cut and dry, but there just has to be a way to calm a mind
without resorting to medication.

woman girl jeans clothes
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So those are my top 10 things I would like to accomplish before it’s too late.  Who is to say when “too late” will be.  What I do know is that this topic was a fantastic reminder to myself of what is important to me and forces me to start thinking of ways to start taking the steps I need to reach these goals.

 

2019 Challenges

accuracy afternoon alarm clock analogue
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As the new year approaches, it is time for many to start gathering their New Year’s Resolutions.  I’m not a fan of resolutions.  Mainly because I never seem to be able to keep them going for an entire year.  This year I have decided that instead of generic resolutions like, “I will lose weight” or “I will pay off debt”, I am going to give myself more specific challenges that will keep me more accountable week-by-week.  I tend to do better with things if I see progress being made.  Generic resolutions like “I will lose 20 pounds this year”, don’t and won’t work for me.  Smaller challenges however, where I can see progress throughout the weeks and months, make it more of a game and help keep me on track.

52 Week Money Savings Challenge

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This is one challenge that I started in 2018 and one that I actually completed (well, minus a few missing weeks).  First let me say that I am not at all a good saver.  When I have money, I spend money.  I am trying to change many aspects of that sentence.  I want to save more, and I also want to spend less in 2019, so to start, I am going to challenge myself to another 52 week money challenge.  For those that have never seen this challenge, you basically start the first week of the year by saving $1.00.  Week two, you save $2,00.  Week three, you save $3.00… and so on and so on.  In 2018, I used this as my Christmas savings fund.  Although it did not cover my complete Christmas spending budget, it did cover a huge portion of it, which meant for the first time in my entire adult life (no joke here), I was able to have a DEBT FREE CHRISTMAS!!  As you can see from the photo above, I was able to save $1318.00 in 2018 just by completing this challenge.  Just as a side note, I do find that this challenge is easier if you do not follow it week by week.  There were weeks when I found I had a little more money than other weeks, so on those weeks, I would jump to the $40.00-$50.00 savings.  On the weeks when things were tight, I would just stick with the $10.00-$20.00 savings.  That is why there are red check marks by the different weeks.  Each week as I would transfer money from my checking to my savings, I would just simple check off whatever amount I was transferring that week.

person pinpointing pen on calendar
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30 Day Minimalist Challenge

This 30 day Minimalist Challenge is rather simple in concept.  It is rather similar to the savings challenge.  The basics are that on day one of the challenge, you get rid of 1 item.  On day two, you get rid of 2 items.  Day three, 3 items.  This goes on for 30 days until on the last day, you get rid of 30 items.  This will equal 465 items being purged within those 30 days (either donated, recycled or thrown out if it is just clearly junk).  I will be the first to admit this sounds a little overwhelming.  However, I’ve already started the process (detailed blog to follow) and I find that I have SO MUCH STUFF that this is not as difficult a task as I expected.  Keeping in mind that the items that I am letting go of do not have to be large items.  As an example, for the first week of my “purge” challenge, I focused on my makeup area.  I can honestly say that I could probably do a full 30 day minimalist challenge on JUST my makeup and toiletries alone.  Between all of the old makeup that I have held on to (for what reason I do not know) and all the little samples and things we tend to accumulate, I have easily been able to find my daily items the first week of this challenge.

I discussed my need to try and explore the minimalist lifestyle in a previous blog.  My desire to live a more balanced life without so much “stuff” surrounding me has been calling to me for some time now.  As I’ve gotten older, I notice that having “things” is not as important to me anymore.  Honestly, having “to many things” causes me stress and anxiety.  I by no means will ever reach the level of extreme minimalist.  I do still love having my hobbies and purchasing clothing, but I will just be cutting back on both of these purchases in the upcoming year to only what I need- instead of binge buying (this will also help me in my goal of getting out of debt, which is a whole topic in itself).  My main goal now is purging all of the overwhelming amount of unneeded and unnecessary items we have in our home.  With less stuff comes a simpler life.  That’s all I am really looking for.  Just to live a simpler more productive life doing the things I enjoy. I would like for 2019 to give me more experiences, rather than “things”.  I believe this challenge will help get me where I want to be.

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My 365 Day Blog Challenge

Now this challenging is really going to be a challenge.  🙂   One might wonder why would someone challenge themselves to something that is so extreme?  I guess the best explanation is that I simply love to write.  Writing is both calming and therapeutic for me. I feel my brain is a little less cluttered every time I take a minute to put down into words all the things that are floating around inside my head.  Let’s face it, life is just busy.  I truly believe we tend to take ourselves for granted because we are so busy just trying to get through the day, week, month.  Many of the things we really enjoy doing often take a back seat to work, running errands, cleaning the house and the numerous other things that take up the waking hours of our day.  This is my way of trying to make myself take the time each day to sit down and do something I enjoy.  I found this wonderful list of journal prompts one day and the thought kind of sprung into my head that I could use these as prompts to do a daily blog!  So as the idea rolled around in my brain, I decided that I would give it a try by using one of those random number generator websites and each morning, whatever number it provides, that is the corresponding prompt I will use for that day.  I won’t give up my other blog posts about travel, our debt-free journey, weight loss journey and the minimalist lifestyle.  This is just an experiment to myself to see if I will allow myself the time to do something for me.

 

So, those are my 3 main challenges for 2019.
There are of course various other things that I am challenging myself to this year as well, such as:
1.) Working on getting out of debt
2.) Continuing my weight loss journey through Lazy Keto eating
3.) Starting an exercise routine (and sticking to it)
4.) Improving my work environment

I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I am excited to see what direction 2019 leads me in.
And the journey continues…..