This is the final week in our Minimalist Challenge. Instead of focusing on our material items this week, we are going to shift to more of a mental minimizing. I think it is very important to focus on decluttering our minds, allowing ourselves to clear our heads and be more present. There are small things we can do to help with this. It’s one area that I feel I really need to focus on, myself.
Turn off notifications. I’m talking about your phone. How many notifications are you receiving? Pinterest? Instagram? Facebook? Email? Text? Twitter? Even stores send notifications now. It’s endless. Each time our phones “ding”, we feel compelled to check…then we get sucked into the digital world, neglecting ourselves, our significant others, our children. It’s a problem. What are we teaching our children?? By turning off notifications, we are more present. Turn off what you don’t need.
Meditate. Do yoga, work out, read, pray, close your eyes and just…be. Do one thing that allows you to just be. It can be just 20 minutes, it can be an hour. Turn off electronic distractions and allow yourself to feel.
No TV. Each year, the kids and I try to participate in Screen Free Week. There is so much research out there on why/how TV is bad for you. It makes you fat (causes you to eat more and slows metabolism), it wastes time, it programs you with negativity, it creates unrealistic expectations, it damages your belief system, creates bad habits, causes you to miss out on life opportunities…Google it. There are even studies that suggest it is the reason for the rise in ADHD. I could go on and on. If TV is prevalent in your home, take one day and turn it off. I, personally, would be okay with not owning a TV.
Priorities. We all have our priorities, but they often become foggy with the chaos of life. Sit down and determine your main priorities. It is important to be aware of what they are so we can nurture them. How often do we neglect our significant others or children because we become too focused on work? Make time for the things that matter. Schedule it, if need be.
Organize your daily routine. I am SO bad at this. Being a work from home (single) mom, most days I feel scattered. Here is what my day ends up looking like:
- Sit down to respond to client email. See email from diaper company. Remember I have to wash diapers. On the way to laundry room, see dishes. Wash dishes. Go back to desk to respond to email. Baby cries. Need to feed baby. Feed baby and play with baby. Oops, diapers. Wash diapers. Remember I have to pay electric bill. Sit down to pay bill, remember email…
You get it. I’m sure many of you have been there. I need to sit down and write out my day. Coffee from 7:00-8:00. Work from 8:00-10:00. Baby and house work from 10:00-12:00. Something like that. Writing it down makes it so much easier to follow.
Make a list of stressors. Everyone deals with stress in their life. Determine what is triggering your stress. Make a list of the top 10 stress triggers in your life and come up with a plan to manage them. If you are able to identify WHAT is causing it, it’s easier to figure out how to deal with it.
Determine your goals. Come up with a list of 5 goals for the year. They can be big or small…just choose things that are important to you. Creating an actual list will help you hold yourself accountable.
The idea of these last 7 steps is really to help you began the next month in the right frame of mind. You should feel more organized and ready to tackle any other plans you have to simplify. If you have a clear mind, it’s easier to accomplish things.
Thanks for following this challenge!!
I apologize for not getting these up last week, like I should have. Life got a bit busy. I will get the final week done ASAP.
Toys. UGH. This is another one that certainly could require a lot of attention/time. I have a rule in my house…the kids can keep whatever fits in their “drawer”. We have a closet with two large drawers. Each child has one drawer. Whatever they can fit in the drawer, they can keep. This serves two great purposes: 1) it reduces the amount of toys we have and 2) the kids ALWAYS know where their toys go, so it makes cleaning up simple. They do it without being told (most days). I realize that this wouldn’t work for all families, but it works well for me. I should add that our art/craft supplies are kept in a separate box because I always fully encourage the kids to create, so I don’t cap the number of crafty items we have
While most of us don’t have a big problem in the living room, there are occasionally things that we accumulate over time. Pick your problem area and just do that today. Maybe it’s a stack of magazines on your coffee table. Maybe it’s a pile of mail or newspapers that have found an unwanted home on the ottoman. Whatever it may be, make today’s project to get rid of the old and make a home for the new.
Still focusing on the living room, today will be media day. I’m sure everyone has movies or music (whether it’s DVDs, VHS, CDs or…cassettes??) that are no longer of interest. With the birth of online streaming such as Netflix and HULU, we’re finding more and more space in our TV cabinets. The need for physical discs is being reduced every day. I sort of love it. Donate or sell whatever no longer serves you.
The ever-dreaded coat closet it next on our list. How is it that these closets get so bad?! Well, they get bad in my house, at least. This will be a big one for me. It seems like we get so many coats and then I can’t part with them. In reality, I probably wear the same one or two all winter. The goal here, for me, is to get rid of whatever coats the kids and I don’t wear and to pare down the hats and mittens, as well. I may also make a dual goal and finally finish the breezeway….
Shoes! They may be in your bedroom closet, they may be in the coat closet…wherever they are, go through them. Get rid of the old, beat up pair you’ve been having a hard time parting with. Sell or donate the ones you never wear (or the pair that hurts your feet!). Your closet will be glad you did.
Whether you have a laundry room, laundry area, utility room, etc, this is our objective today. Old detergent containers? Recycle them. A pile of towels or rags that you’ve been ignoring? Take care of them. Old broken laundry baskets, recycle them, too. Little things like this will make a huge difference in your space! I’m not promising that it will make you LIKE doing the laundry, but it might make it a bit more tolerable
Today is dedicated to the mudroom or entryway. If, for you, this and the coat closet are one in the same, then just choose another small project that we may have missed. Choose one storage area or closet.
Happy Sunday! It’s hard to believe a whole week went by already. For those who are following along, I would love to hear how week one went for you. I admit that, when it came to the email, I fell short. I really need to sit down and finish that.
Now, we are on to week TWO of the minimalist challenge!!
Last day in the kitchen! Yay! Counters… a clear counter creates a much more appealing work space. The less you have sitting out, the less you have to work around. Find a home inside your new spacious cabinets for items such as the blender, mixer, toaster, etc. The same goes with your cookware..utensils, cutting boards, olive oil, spices, and more. Your kitchen will look and feel bigger and cleaner.
The bathroom. The main goal of day 9 will be to go through all the toiletries. We’ve all been bombarded with free samples in the past. Maybe they have piled up, or maybe you just accumulated products that didn’t work for you. Get rid of them. If your local shelter accepts these type of products, donate them. If you have bottles of lotion or shampoo that barely have anything left, empty them and recycle. Don’t keep anything that you won’t use. It’s just more “stuff”.
The linen closet. Some of you may have one, some of you may not. The point is…go through your towels, washcloths, etc. This may likely include sheets. If the towels are old and shredded, retire them to rags or retire them altogether. As far as sheets are concerned….true minimalists will have one set of sheets per bed. To that, I say…not me. While the thought is nice, I have kids. Three of them. Who are quite likely to contract the stomach bug. Or have an accident. Or spit up all over my bed (last night. what?!). The reality is, someone, at some point, is going to mess their sheets at night and I will need to remake a bed. SO, I have a back up set for each bed. I don’t feel more than two sets per bed is necessary, though. If you have a ton, I recommend donating the extras. They are just taking up precious space in your home.
Today, we will focus the hanging items the Master Bedroom. closet. The closet can feel like an insurmountable task. When going through your clothes, ask your self one of the following questions: 1) Have I worn this is in the past year? or 2) would I buy this if I went shopping today? If the answer is no, I think it’s safe to put in the donate pile. You should easily be able to pare down your closet by at least 25% by doing this.
Master Bedroom dresser. I don’t have one of these, but many do. Choose today to go through each drawer and ask yourself the same questions you did yesterday. When it comes to undergarments, I think it’s easy to know when to pull the plug on these. If they are frayed, have holes, are too big or too small, PLEASE throw them away.
Well, I gave you a break on the closet for one day, but now we’re back. Let’s pay some attention to the floor, shall we? How easy is it to let things (shoes, bags, etc) accumulate and become neglected on the floor of the closet? SO easy. Or maybe it’s just me. HA! I recommend doing the same with these items as you did with your hanging items and your dresser. Don’t wear it or use it? DONATE IT!!
Kids’ rooms. Okay. I fully realize that, when it comes to kids, this topic could require an entire 28 day challenge of it’s own. For now, just do what you can. Maybe you just go through some of their clothes and weed out those that are too small now. It’s still progress! Something is better than nothing, right?
I hope you’re starting to notice an improvement within your homes by this point. Doesn’t it feel good to reduce the number of items?? I’ll be back in a week with another list!