Aug 6, 2015

My Version of the Minimalist Challenge - Round 1

I saw a few people complete the minimalism challenge from Into Mind and I was all fired up about it.  "I MUST DO THIS!!!"

And then I thought about it.  Maybe adding more challenges to my life is the opposite of minimalism.  Because the area I could use the most decluttering in is my stack of obligations and tasks, rather than "stuff."  Although there are certain areas that could use a good clear out.

So I made my own list of what I thought was important.  Some are taken from Into Mind's challenge, and some are just things that needed doing in my own life.

My Personal Minimalist (ish) Challenge

1. Downsize Your Beauty Collection

This I took from Into Mind.  I had a few things I was holding onto that were just taking up space: vampire makeup from last Halloween, beautiful lip stain that causes intense dryness and chapping, and so on.  Then I looked under the bathroom sink and realized the problem was quite a bit bigger than that.  There were things in there that I've never looked at - mostly Ryan's stockpile from when I first moved in with him.

But, the thing is, we've moved together twice now, and neither of us has used or even looked through most of that stuff.  So I sorted through, turned 10 shoe boxes of toiletries into 5, and organized them by type.  So we have one for medical supplies, one for vitamins, another for toiletry refills, and one for nail polishes and not-every-day beauty stuff.

It's nice!  Everything looks much tidier and it's all accessible now, so we can figure out what things are without digging.

2. Standard Unclutter

I'd gotten behind.  I had balloons from my birthday (over a month ago and more than halfway deflated already), the pile of things for the elopement didn't have a home yet, and the stack of papers on my desk needing to be sorted was growing dangerously high.  Oh, and the laundry.  Oh the laundry.  Anyway, that's all taken care of (for now - we all know uncluttering is an ongoing process).

3. Choose Fall Priorities

I've got some potential career changes coming up this winter, and I know I should be focusing on preparing for them.  But I'm torn because I also want to keep taking classes.  And I kind of want to spend more time going to Meetups and maybe start volunteering.  Basically the options are: 1) Focus on school 2) Focus on client projects 3) Attempt both of them, plus whatever others whims I have, and feel continually overloaded.

But, as Ron Swanson says, "Don't half-ass two things.  Whole-ass one thing."  So, however reluctantly, I'm going to choose client projects as my sole priority and make a point of putting that first.

4. Eliminate Excess Obligation

This is the part that makes me less happy.  Focusing on client projects meant dropping the class I was signed up for for Fall.  As Sister3 pointed out, I can always take it another semester and I'll keep that in mind if I ever start to feel too disappointed about withdrawing from the Fall semester.  I might still pick up other small projects, but nothing that actually conflicts with the one priority that I've chosen.

5. Identify Your Stress Triggers

Another one from Into Mind.  This is such a good idea!  I know I feel stressed when I feel like I'm behind, when I don't get enough sleep, and when things aren't organized.  That's both physical clutter and mental clutter.  The last one rarely bothers me anymore - that's why I keep lists, and a planner, and a Google Doc for just about everything I'm currently working on.  But physical clutter and sleep deprivation are usually direct results of me feeling behind and dropping other things (like cleaning and sleeping) in order to "catch up."  That's an attitude I'll have to work on, along with not overloading myself in the first place.

6. Clean Up Your Digital Space

Also from Into Mind, and I'm lumping in "Unfollow and Unfriend" because social media is a big chunk of my digital space.  I'm pretty good about unfriending on FB, but there were a couple people I realized I didn't want to hear from anymore.  My rule is this: if there's anyone I don't feel comfortable or genuine wishing a happy birthday (thanks, FB, for always alerting me!) then I shouldn't be friends with them.

My Twitter account and BlogLovin are a little different because I follow people "to see" if they'll be interesting in the long run.  Often they end up having different interests and/or post things I'm not terribly interested in reading, but I forget to go through and delete accounts.  So I did that, as well as tidying up the files on my flash drive and in my downloads folder.  The rest of my filing system had a pretty good revamp a few months ago, so I was going to leave it be but then I took a closer look and realized I could do a bit more.  I ended up deleting 5GB of stuff!

7. Reorganize Filing Cabinet (Fold in Ryan's Files)

This has been on my to do list for too long, and it was finally time to tackle it.  I had different priorities in mind when I set up my filing system and a lot of it was no longer terribly relevant, and Ryan's "filing system" is to just toss everything into his desk.  Utter nightmare.  So I took over and made new categories that work for both of our stuff.  And I got rid of most of our old product manuals because, let's face it, if we have a problem we're going to look it up online anyway.

And here's the shred pile.  I had piles twice as large for "throw away" and "recycle" but this one is the most freeing because it's all sensitive documents that I don't need anymore.

8. Assemble Travel Folder

We have a beach trip coming up at the end of August and I always feel much more relaxed and ready to go when I have my typical folder with phone numbers, addresses, paper copies of reservations, packing lists and so on.  It's silly, but getting that ready in advance gets rid of that angsty "what if I'm forgetting something" feeling.

What's Next

It feels so good to have the dirty little corners of my life (tangible and not) all tidied up!  Of course, as I already mentioned, uncluttering is an ongoing process, and I've got more projects in mind.  Here's my next set of goals to minimize the "stuff" in my life.

  1. Finish Reading My Kindle Downloads (before buying new stuff - I've got about 7 things right now)
  2. Say No More Often
  3. Create a Bedtime Routine
  4. Analyze My Finances and Eliminate Expenses
  5. Learn to Enjoy Solitude
  6. No Complaint Day
  7. Internet Free Day
  8. Leave a Day Unscheduled

Most of these are from Into Mind's challenge.  I liked a lot of their ideas, but I guess I wanted to get all the uncluttering and clearing out finished first, and then tackle the peace of mind challenges.  There's always more elimination to be done (unnecessary expenses and excessive personal projects), but it might be a little easier to settle into a day of unscheduled relaxation if there's not mounds of laundry waiting to be tackled.  :P

Some of the things on their list didn't apply at all.  Going barefaced one day is easy; I do that more often than not because I don't get up early enough to put on makeup.  I didn't have a junk drawer to clean out, and while I watch TV occasionally, it's hardly every day.  I also already list 5 good things about each day, so I've got the gratitude one covered.  I had no desire to start learning a new skill, because that seemed more like adding to my to do list instead of reducing it.

But there are a few more that I'd like to take a look at at some point.  However, in the interest of this being a "what works for me now" thing and not another challenge that I have to set aside time for, I'm going to just get to it when I get to it.

In general, I want to be more aware of what things I'm adding to my life and making sure that as I add, I also subtract something else.  Kind of like the 1 in, 1 out rule for clothing.

I'm never going to be a full-on minimalist, but using minimalism principles to simplify my life?  Yeah, I can get on board with that.

What do you think of minimalism?  Have you done this challenge or any other minimalist challenges?

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  1. I like the way you did it. I love the idea of the challenge, but like you, some didn't apply (also a barefaced person here, mornings are for sleeping!) I need to declutter twitter. It seems so overwhelming though, so I don't. My Feedly is good, I only put you on there if I love you already. My maybes get added to bloglovin, which I scroll once a week.

  2. I'm good at unfriending but rarely wish people on FB happy birthday unless I remember it's their birthday on my own.

    I was just thinking I needed to make some kind of travel pinterest board or something, I need a list of places I want to go that don't require boats or planes.

  3. lol if i try and read all my kindle books before getting new books... i have like 200 books on my kindle TBR lol.
    i have seen this minimalism challenge and some definitely don't apply to me, so i like the way you do it. i really need to organise my digital life, especially photos, it's a mess.

  4. I am on a massive organization kick right now. I'm prepping for a yard sale over Labor Day weekend in September, and it's put in the mindset of GET RID OF ALL THE THINGS! I just have so much that I'm saving 'in case' I want to use it (or something like that). Nope. No more! It feels great to get everything clean and organized!

  5. I like how you did this challenge, focusing on certain things. My digital life is a freaking epic disaster right now! I went through my Bloglovin account last week and deleted a shit ton of people so that is good. But Facebook, Twitter and Instagram could use some cleaning. And Pinterest! My goodness do I have a ton of pins and boards! I have been using it since it first came out. I used to pin everything. My two spare bedrooms upstairs need to be cleaned up and organized. Most of the stuff can probably be thrown out. Same with our garage.

  6. I am not a minimalist by nature, either in what I own or how I operate. I'm okay with that in most areas.

    And wait, did you elope and I missed it?

  7. I absolutely need go declutter my digital life. It's kinda gotten out of hand. Some people on fb I have no clue who they are or why they are there. I have about 4 books on my kindle just waiting to be read, but I'm so overwhelmed with everyday things


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