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My first attempt at my Minimalist Decluttering Challenge is officially complete! I’m excited to share with you how I did with each challenge.
This was a self-created challenge because I am tired of the clutter. I have cleansed my possessions previous to this challenge; however, I still felt cluttered.
My goal by the end of the Minimalist Decluttering Challenge was to feel free of my possessions, have a space I am proud to call mine and make my new place feel like a home.
So without further delay, here is my experience with my Minimalist Decluttering Challenge!
My Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Experience
Day 1: Declutter 5 items
My goal for today is to start off strong. I don’t want to find 5 things to just throw away. I want to find things I haven’t used in quite some time.
Luckily, I found 6 items altogether! Ironically enough, the first item I choose happens to be my to-go cup from the previous night. The next two items are chosen due to concentrating on thinking of items to purge.
My concentration had my next items staring me in the face, which was my iron and ironing board. I know for a fact, I have only used these twice in the past year!
Next, I decided to let go of an old bottle I had sitting around I no longer wanted. What should have been my last item turned into two?
My sunglasses case had a jewelry pouch inside it. I decided to let both go today, instead of holding onto one of the items for another day.
Day 2: Clear Your Countertops of Clutter
Today is a simple day. I don’t have much countertop space, so evaluating this space will be quick.
As you can see from the picture, I tidied up some, found a new home for one of my canisters, and removed both wax warmers. I already liked how open this space was, but now I love it!
Day 3: Meditate for 15 Minutes
I am not sure meditation at night is a good idea for me. I wanted to wait until bedtime to meditate so that I could relax and release the day. However, I fell asleep during meditation….. I can say I slept great!
I think I will give meditation another chance, but I am going to need an uncomfortable space to do so.
Day 4: Declutter Your Junk Drawer
I don’t have a designated junk drawer. In fact, the only drawers I have are my bedside table and dresser. My bedside table is a multi-purpose drawer due to this fact, so I decided to organize it a bit.
As you can see, I have office supplies, a Kindle, a place for coins, and a couple of other things I need.
I was able to remove a few things from this drawer, and I would say organizing and decluttering this drawer was a success!
Day 5: Clothing
I am so excited about clothing! I have a few pieces sitting on my closet waiting for a new home! Since I don’t have a lot of items in my wardrobe, there isn’t much to declutter.
I am participating in Project 333 for the first time. So far, I really enjoy it! Even with this smaller wardrobe, I have some items I really like and never wear, along with items I wear so often and need to let go of.
After being honest with what I really like, I have been able to let go of 14 items! This includes 1 jacket, 5 blouses, 3 pairs of leggings [1 pair not pictured], 2 pairs of socks, and 3 tank tops.
I am still hesitant about the tank tops because I wear them in the summertime mowing, but they are items I will replace if necessary.
I do have a few gaps in my wardrobe now, but I will wait until the end of the Minimalist Decluttering Challenge before filling them.
Day 6: Digital Cleanse
Ugh! I’m not even going to sugar coat my digital cleanse. It was a bust!
I was able to stay away from the computer and phone, but Netflix…. Netflix was not my friend….
I was able to do somethings I had been putting off, so the day wasn’t wasted. However, I had better hopes for this day.
Day 7: Accessories
Today was a blast! If you would have asked me a couple of years ago if I could believe my accessory collection would be so small, I would have said no way!
I used to have a jewelry cabinet FULL of jewelry! Since then I have dwindled down my collection considerably!
About three weeks ago, I decided it was time to let go of things I don’t wear. I was able to let go of almost a gallon size bag of jewelry.
Today, I was able to add to that bag. I let go of 3 pairs of earrings and a bracelet. I am debating the watches because I don’t wear them. As of today, I am keeping them.
When it comes to scarves, gloves, and head accessories, I don’t have a whole lot of these. Again, I have let go of a few pieces a few weeks ago but gave the collection a second look today.
I let go of a duplicate white scarf and black pair of gloves [only need one of each], a beanie, and headband. I only have one belt, and it needs replacing in the near future, but for now, it stays.
In total, I let go of 4 items. Now I have 2 winter scarves, 4 lightweight scarves, 3 pairs of gloves [red pair not pictures], 1 headband, and 1 beanie.
Day 8: Shoes
Ugh! This was a hard dose of reality to swallow. My shoe collection is not the biggest; however, it is not as small as I would like.
It was torture trying to decide what shoes I needed and what I could let go of. I really do wear all of them, but a couple of pairs had to go to make me feel like I accomplished anything today.
I decided my grey sweater boots could go because, to be honest, I think I’ve worn them maybe twice this season.
The only other pair of shoes I could part with was my high school cheer shoes. I’ve had them for 10 years, they are still in decent shape, but I don’t really need them anymore.
[Confession: Up until November 2015, I still wore my cheer shoes from 2002! Believe it or not, they are still in excellent condition, and I wore them a lot. But it was time to let them go!]
I still have 4 pairs of tennis shoes, 1 pair of casual shoes, 2 pairs of heels, and 4 pairs of boots [Not pictured: mud boots].
In the next few months, I hope to replace my nude pair of wedge heels with a dressier pair of nude heels.
Day 9: Pamper Yourself
Today, I enjoyed a charcoal mask, a cup of hot tea, and watched a few episodes of Gilmore Girls. It was nice to focus on letting go of stress.
Sometimes we lose focus on us and don’t realize the harm it does. It is necessary to take time for yourself, and really enjoy it when you do.
Just for fun, I added a picture of me while enjoying my mask!
Day 10: Declutter 10 Items
Today I decided I would make some difficult decisions with decluttering certain things I was on the fence about.
I decided it was time for this Humpty Dumpty story to end. Let me say, it isn’t easy.
My 10 items consist of 2 watches, several charms for a bracelet [counted as 1 item], 1 beanie, 1 headband, 1 ring, 1 magazine, 1 old tortilla, 1 pair of sunglasses, and some old medicine [not pictured].
Day 11: Social Media
Today, I analyzed my use for each social media account I have. I asked myself if it would better me, inspire me, or benefit me in any way.
If the answer was yes, it stayed. If the answer was no, it went. I also looked at who I followed.
If they only brought negative emotions, out the door they went. If they made me happy they stayed.
Day 12: Find a product to use up
Today, I used up my favorite crockpot seasoning! I use it in 95% of the things I cook in my crockpot!
The meal today was a fabulous roast with cream of mushroom soup and dry onion soup mix! Yum!
Day 13: Pantry
The pantry was pretty easy. Since I have started menu planning, I haven’t bought a lot of extra or random things.
I stock up on things like mac-n-cheese, beans, and soup mixes. Everything else has a purpose for a specific meal.
Day 14: Pots & Pans
Today is a day I have been waiting to tackle! I have had a few pots I had been wanting to let go of, but I waited for this day to do so.
When we moved into our new home, I put all of our pots and pans into sight. As I used one, I would put them in their new home in a cabinet.
Within the span of two months, I was able to identify with pieces I didn’t use. I let go of two large pots, a small pot, and a lid.
I found two lids had interchangeable pots, so I kept my favorite of the two.
Looking at the pictures, you can see I kept 3 skillets. I really do use them all!
The red skillet is for my bigger meals for when I’m frying chicken or deer steak. The skillet in the middle is my stir fry skillet that I use for meals that need a good simmer.
The last skillet is for smaller meals, such as making eggs, sausage, bacon, etc. Basically it is my breakfast skillet haha!
I also kept 2 of my big pots, but only one lid [it works for both]! I need both of these at the same time for some of the meals I make. The other two will be given to a friend who needs them.
Lastly, I have 3 smaller size pots, I use for multiple things. Most of my meals will require using two different things, and one is my teapot. I was able to let my smallest one go because I don’t have a use for it.
Minimalism to me is about being mindful of your possessions. If I use it, there is no need to get rid of it.
Day 15: Wake up 30 Minutes Earlier
Where do I even start…. I did accomplish this exercise due to the fact of being sick. [Yuck!] I was up at 1:30 am, 3:45 am, and then 5:00 am when my husband got up to go to work.
However, I did go back to sleep after calling into work, because rest is my best friend when it comes to being sick.
I added in some soup to my rest, because we all know soup helps you feel better!
Officially halfway through the Minimalist Decluttering Challenge! Even though I was sick, I feel accomplished!
Day 16: Linens
This one for me was tough. I only have one bedroom with one extra set of sheets, so there wasn’t a need to declutter sheets.
I also decluttered my bathroom towels when we moved. Some of them were torn, so I gave them to my husband to use as shop towels.
However, I didn’t stop until I could think of something to declutter! I decided my kitchen towels were the perfect contender for today!
I have a basket to keep them all organized, but it was pretty full. All of these are in good condition, but I have a few I am willing to part with so it isn’t as cramped.
Now if it doesn’t fit easily in the basket, I really don’t need it!
Day 17: Cleaning Products
I cringe when I think of cleaning products. I have so many that are full of chemicals and are unhealthy.
My plan is to use up what I have and replace them with natural alternatives, but for now this is what I am working with.
I was able to pull out a pink spray bottle that I am going to fill with Apple Cider Vinegar to use as a hair rinse spray [makes your hair feel great and shiny!].
I have another spray bottle I am going to fill with white vinegar to use as a kitchen cleaner and am tossing the sponge.
I haven’t decided what to do with the Mr. Clean product [I didn’t find it effective]. [Mr. Clean was sold in our big family garage sale.]
I am going to see what my husband wants to do with the copper scrub thing because I don’t have a use for it.
I am happier with the end result than I had anticipated. A few of the products left are almost used up and will be replaced with a natural option.
[You may notice an empty purple container. This is what I use for my homemade laundry detergent that I am needing to make more of as I type!]
Day 18: Journal for 15 Minutes
I love writing. It is one of the reasons I started my blog. For me, it is a stress reliever to be able to sit and write out thoughts.
I don’t have a journal about my day to day life. Writing is more of a brainstorming tool for me. My mind believes in multitasking without always coming back to the first idea.
This is why it is important to always carry a journal with me. Inspiration doesn’t sit around for us to be ready; it pops up when it wants.
Day 19: Skin Care
For the next two days, you will notice I use Mary Kay products. I used to be a consultant, but now I am only a customer.
I have used these products for the past 7 years, so there isn’t anything to dwindle down when it comes to skincare. However, I do want to point out that I feel the same about skincare as I do my cleaning products.
I have had an inventory of these products I am working through. This is the last of them, and when I finish them, I am replacing them with organic options.
These products work great, but I feel the need to cut chemicals out of my routine more every day.
I have heard of some great alternatives I want to try, and have already purchased Coconut Oil to replace my moisturizer, toothpaste, and mouth rinse. I plan to use Caster Oil as my face wash, and possible shampoo…?
Day 20: Makeup
Today was a very interesting day for the Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. I have challenged my abilities to downsize my cosmetics.
While I don’t have a lot, I feel I can consolidate my brush set holder with the pouch that holds my foundation products.
In the before, starting at the top, I have my lip mask, foundation and foundation brushes, eye primer, and tweezers. To the left is my only makeup palette.
I used to have another one identical to this and full of products, but now, this is all I use! At the bottom is my brush set holder, full of brushes, eyeliners, mascara, lip balm, bronzers, and eyebrow trim kit.
Now let’s take a look at the after shall we!
I pulled everything out of the brush kit holder to see what I had better. There are a couple of brushes I haven’t used in a while, so I decided to let go of them.
Now let’s look at the after with everything in the pouch.
It is so nice to have everything in one pouch, but not sure how easy it will be to use compared to having the brush kit holder. I am sure I will adjust because this is going to take up a lot less space, which was the goal after all!
Here is a picture of what I decided I no longer needed!
Not much, but it has only been a couple of months since I did a heavy purge of my cosmetics. For the amount of space it will free up when traveling or when put up, I would say it’s pretty good progress!
Day 21: Go For A Walk
Now that my husband and I have purchased a decent amount of land, I love going for walks. It’s crazy to think about how we have woods to walk through with two creeks that flow throughout it.
It’s so peaceful to come home from work, and admire God’s creation. No matter the day I’ve had [and today was a crazy day], I am always able to let it go and enjoy the rest of my day with simply taking a walk.
I even found some spring flowers on my walk!
Day 22: Medicine
I didn’t have much to declutter from my medicine basket, but I did find a couple of things to toss. I had some expired Potassium and the rest is trash.
Day 23: Mail/Paperwork
My least favorite day of this entire Minimalist Decluttering Challenge…. I started with a laundry basket and 2 boxes full of paperwork and mail. For some that may not seem like much, but for me, it was a task!
I despise paperwork and organizing it. However, I was successful at downsizing to only needing half of the laundry basket for paperwork I have to keep. I have been able to toss a FULL sack of paperwork and two boxes!
I was thinking about what I was going to keep all of this in because it isn’t staying in the laundry basket. Then I got the bright idea of using the wooden basket that I had a plant sitting in before I redid some of the decors in my home.
Now I have a cute and function system! I love my basket, but it wasn’t working with the plant, so I am glad I can use it somewhere!
Day 24: Guilty Pleasure
Today was nice, I sat back and relaxed. I enjoyed a nice glass of wine and a few episodes of ‘Gilmore Girls’. I was able to unwind from my day, and slept great!
While I can’t do this every night, I have decided to allow myself a “Guilty Pleasure Night” once every two weeks or so.
[My husband and I are very close, and we don’t usually spend many evenings apart, so this will be a planned event.]
Day 25: Crafts
Boy, do I like being reminded of the “I will get to it one-day” projects! I have so many different things I have really wanted to do, but haven’t made them a priority.
Even though you only see one storage box full of crafts, it hasn’t always been this way. I used to have a room full of crafts that I would get to one day, but when we moved out of our old house things changed.
I had to make a decision for everything, so now all that is left is this one box.
Most of the things in here are Christmas projects I had wanted to do, but never took the time to do. Time for an honest discussion with myself.
What am I actually going to do with all of this?
Am I really going to do these projects?
After this discussion, here is what’s left! Only 5 items!!
And here is what I tossed! [This is a HUGE Hobby Lobby bag, and it’s packed full of stuff!]
I can’t believe I finally took the plunge and was very honest with myself about what I wanted to really keep!
Thirty-two things left this box! [I counted individual packages as one, and I had multiple squares of felt that I counted as one.]
Now, I feel so much better! I have a storage box I can use for legitimate storage needs! I found some cupcake cups I forgot I had that I will definitely put to use!
The other thing I pulled from this box is vanilla wax fragrance pieces. One year for Mother’s Day I made candles, I stored the leftovers and forgot about these fragrance pieces.
I decided to use them in my warmers when a wax lost its smell. Great way to get used out of something forgotten, but still serves a purpose.
The only things I kept in the box are some burlap I use for decorating and crafts, and some Christmas goody bags. The burlap is material I always need, so it stays. The goody bags will be used next Christmas for cookies and other treats.
I did decide to store my Winter Decor in this box so that I am making every bit of space count. This box will be stored in a convenient location, so access to the burlap pieces will be easily accessible.
Day 26: Keepsakes
I have recently decluttered my keepsakes; however, there are a few things I have found along the way that need to be consolidated with my keepsake box. My rule for keepsakes is one box. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t stay.
This may sound harsh, but it is the only way I can keep myself in control of my emotions to these objects.
Here is my box of keepsakes…
This is the before and after of my jewelry box. I kept several keepsakes in this box, but they needed to be moved to my keepsake box.
With so little left, I decided to downsize the space my jewelry is given. I had a cosmetic bag I was using for hair clips, but didn’t really have to, for this step.
As you can see below, this is a huge difference in real estate my jewelry has. I haven’t decided what to do with my jewelry box. I am not sure if I will let go of my jewelry box or find another purpose for it.
What would you use it for besides a jewelry box?
Some other keepsakes I added in addition to what was in my jewelry box are a porcelain coin box and miniature anvils I acquired after my grandfather passed a few years ago.
Now I have some free space, and my important keepsakes are safe in one place!
Day 27: Evaluate Priorities
As I think about my priorities, I wonder what really matters right here, right now. Is it friends, my husband, work, blogging, gardening, my dogs, farm animals, becoming debt free?
My mind is easily boggled with all of these things to think about. I understand my husband is my priority, but what comes after him?
I decided my priorities aren’t necessarily where I am going to find my answer. It’s looking at what isn’t important that I am going to find these answers. So what isn’t as important?
Well, my husband and I want to get our farm animals as soon as possible; however, getting our garden planted will come before we can get animals.
Next, I think of my college class. Now I know your eyes just got huge and the word “WHAT?!” just came out of your mouth, but hear me.
This is the second degree I am working towards and the school I am attending requires an extra science class. While this is important, the knowledge of biology isn’t going to help me in finance.
So I am allowing myself to put blogging before my biology class. [By the way, I currently have a very high ‘B’ in the class, so I’m not doing bad by any means!]
While becoming debt-free is very important to me, I have mentioned how I need new tires for my car. The tires definitely trump paying off debt quicker.
To sum this exercise up, I looked at my apples and decided between the two options. With a lot on my plate, remembering to put my husband and fur babies before anything on that plate, I can only win!
Day 28: Phone Apps
As you can see, I switched my music apps from Music to Pandora. Then I downsized how much was on my screen. I like things simple, and I do not like how phone providers require to keep apps you do not use.
Originally, I had these in my Extras square, but then added them together with my Random Apps square, and named it Apps! – also adding in my Calendar and The Weather Channel apps to my Apps! square.
For obvious reasons, I blacked out my Finances squares for the sake of personal information.
I didn’t delete any apps, but the simplification of the screen, in general, is enough for me to feel accomplished.
Day 29: Contacts
I only started with 100 contacts, so there wasn’t much to go through. I did find 18 contacts I could delete, which is a lot more than I expected!
So now I am down to 82 contacts! For the last declutter exercise, I am extremely happy!
Day 30: Reflect on the last 29 Days
To reflect on the last 29 days of the Minimalist Decluttering Challenge, I will start by saying I can’t believe I completed it! This challenge pushed my abilities to the limits on some days, and others it only motivated me to do more!
I feel free from the control of my emotional connection to material objects. I also feel peace starting to fill the gap of what I am letting go of. It is nice to not feel stressed and anxious all the time.
Before I started this challenge, I was constantly consumed with these feelings and didn’t realize it was the clutter I no longer needed to provide these feelings.
The satisfaction I am taking from this challenge is my ability to make difficult decisions in order to reach my goals of living with less. This experience has shifted my mind far beyond what I thought was possible for a 30 day period.
My husband has even commented about how well I was doing. He has seen my process each day and has been my backbone for when it was difficult to continue. [I think it’s because he likes living with less!]
While I do believe there are more things I can let go of, I am pleased with the results. It is not easy to let things go that have meant something at one time or another.
I am taking my journey one day at a time, and am enjoying the transition from being someone consumed by consumerism to being someone free from consumerism.
Want to take the Minimalist Decluttering Challenge?
Visit my blog post with all of the details and be sure to share with me your progress by emailing me at erin[at]thetannehillhomestead[dot]com.