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How to become a minimalist in 30 days, and why should you?
Minimalism is getting more and more attention as many people are interested in living a simple, happy & clutter-free life.
However, it can be a little confusing, and you might be wondering where to begin.
That’s why I created a 30-day Minimalism challenge that will guide you through the whole process!
In the end, you can find more about the rules, what to expect from the challenge, a few variations & an FAQ section!
Now, let’s jump right in.
Here is how to become a minimalist in 30 days:
Week 1: Clothing & Personal items
1. Get rid of unused accessories
That includes purses, bags, suitcases, backpacks, wallets, watches, belts, sunglasses, jewelry, etc.
Clean up your wallet for unusable cards, receipts, shopping lists, etc.
Take all of the other things, place them on the floor, or a big surface, like a table.
Get rid of:
- Things that you didn’t use the last 6 months (or more)
- Broken things
- Items that are missing a pair, etc.
2. Keep only comfy undergarments
Take out all underwear, briefs, bras, socks that you have.
Divide by categories, and get rid of the ones that are:
- Uncomfortable to wear
- With holes, completely worn out
3. Give away uncomfortable shoes
Same as the previous task, take out all of your shoes. Get rid of the ones that are:
- Completely worn out
- You didn’t use it for the last 6 or more months
- Unused because it’s not your style
4. Simplify personal care
That includes makeup, perfume, hair products, skin products, nail polish, hair ties, etc.
What I do when getting rid of personal products is to imagine I’m going somewhere on a trip for a couple of weeks.
When this happens, I take a couple of personal products that I TRULY need and use.
Then, my cupboard contains only the stuff I don’t use regularly.
Try to imagine that; it may help.
Then, you can give things that you don’t use to friends and family, sell new items, or donate lightly used.
Some ideas for each option include:
- Poshmark / eBay – sell unused beauty products.
- Glam Bot – a company that buys unused products from these brands, sanitizes them and sells them for you.
- Makeup exchange – Exchange things on Reddit.
- Beauty Bus – donate unused and non-expired self-care products.
- FamilyTo Family – Share Your Beauty – The initiative distributes unopened, new beauty and personal care products to homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and foster care agencies.
- Project Beauty Share – “lightly used” skincare, cosmetics, hair care, and hygiene products and distributes them to disadvantaged women across the country.
- Locally – Check in with local homeless and women’s shelters in your area to see if they accept personal care drop-offs.
5. Don’t spend any money for 24h
Today you don’t have to declutter anything. Take it easy, and not spend ANY MONEY 24 hours.
Consider incorporating two “No spend days” every week. This can help you to:
- save money
- be more mindful about your spendings
For the “No spend days”, you will need willpower and to be prepared.
You might go to a store or a coffee place and crave to buy something.
However, try to remember that it is your “No spend” day, and you won’t die if you don’t purchase something.
To avoid spending money, prepare food for the whole day, make coffee or tea at home, and take it on the go.
This will help you to avoid all those minor (and unnecessary) expenditures that add up quickly.
6. Declutter your wardrobe
Take out all of your clothing from all possible locations – wardrobe, bags, suitcases, etc.
Divide into categories, and start decluttering one by one.
Create a “Keep,” “Get rid,” and “Maybe” pile.
Get rid of clothes that don’t fit your CURRENT lifestyle or style, and you don’t feel good wearing them.
If an item is stained, worn out, or you are keeping it for sentimental reasons, but don’t wear it – get rid of it.
For the “Maybe” pile, ask yourself:
- How versatile is the item? Is it comfortable? When was the last time you wore it? Are there two or more similar items?
Get rid of it if you can’t combine it with other pieces, if it’s uncomfortable, the last time you used it was months ago, or if you already have an identical clothing piece.
Create a “Maybe box” for all the items that you’re not sure if you should keep or not.
Put it away, and keep the box for a couple of months (3-4 at most).
If you haven’t needed anything after that time, it is safe to assume that you should eliminate these items.
For many more tips and a step-by-step guide, follow my article on decluttering your wardrobe in 1 day ruthlessly.
7. Get rid of duplicates
Go through your dresser, bedside table, bathroom counter, desk, bookshelf, console, dining room table, or kitchen counter.
Get a bag or a box, and look for any duplicates you have.
Do you need 10 plain t-shirts, drawers full of pencils and pens, a few mascaras, hand creams, multiple measuring cups, etc., etc.?
Most of the time, you will only need one, so if you have two sets of certain things, place them inside the bag.
Then, put it out of sight for 30 days. If you don’t need anything for this period, donate it.
Week 2: Around the house
8. Declutter kitchen cabinets
Go through your kitchen cabinets and take out:
- Broken items
- Ones that have missing pieces
- Smelly or super old plastic containers
- Excess dishes, cups, or utensils
Decide which one to donate, gift, or recycle.
9. Fridge and freezer
Clean up your fridge and freezer by taking out:
- Old, rotting, expiring foods
- Things that are still usable, but unopened foods
- Foods that are just about to go bad
Take the opportunity also to clean the fridge.
Remove the shelves and drawers, and spray the inside of the fridge with a solution of vinegar and water.
Let it soak in for a while. Go and wash the shelves and drawers with warm soapy water.
Set aside to dry. Then go to the fridge and wipe everything with a rag.
Finally, put back the remaining food. Sort and categorize it, and use containers to keep fresh veggies in.
Cook something with the older food, and save it for going rotten.
You can also make a meal with leftover items and batch cook something to have food for the next day.
10. Organize your pantry
Take out all the things from your pantry, and organize them by category.
For example, it can be:
- Condiments and sauces
- Pasta and grains
- Baking items
- Canned goods
Transfer anything from loose open containers to airtight containers or jars.
Get rid of expired or super old stuff. Give away unopened things to friends or charities.
11. Declutter bathroom
Separate the items you do use daily (shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.) from the stuff you don’t use regularly or at all. Only keep products you use daily.
Then, give away the things you don’t use (remember the list from day 4? use it!)
Next, consider getting rid of (or just using up and not buying again) some cleaning products.
The truth is that you do not need 10 different cleaning products for other areas.
Start using a natural cleaning product, or DIY multipurpose one, with peels from citrus, vinegar, and water.
You can scrub more persistent spots with baking soda, too.
Finally, go through your towels.
Cut old ones into small pieces, and use them as cleaning rags.
You can also donate old & used towels to local animal shelters or:
12. Minimize work / hobby supplies
This day is for all of your work (or hobby) supplies.
Find filled-out notebooks, old magazines, dried pens or paints, books, manuals, and even things like receipts, bills, and documents.
Get rid of things that you don’t or can’t use anymore, and donate the rest to local schools or community centers.
13. Organize junk drawers
We all have that one drawer that is a complete mess and filled with all sorts of things.
To declutter it, you should first take everything out. Then, consider getting rid of:
- Things that you didn’t need or use for the last 3 months
- If you have 2 or more of the same (or similar) item
Just don’t overthink! If you don’t use it regularly, get rid of it (donate or recycle).
Then, place back the things you will keep. Use rubber bands, small jars, or containers to keep them organized.
14. Get rid of unused bedding
Take out all the bedding you own, and if it’s much more than you need, consider one of the following:
- If the pillows or sheets are gently used, you can donate them to a local thrift store, homeless shelter, or pet rescue center.
- Upcycle very worn-out sheets, pillowcases by cutting them up into cleaning rags.
- You can reuse old bedsheets by cutting them into squares or rectangles and wrapping gifts with them. (to find out how, google furoshiki) It is a great zero waste way to wrap up an estate without the need of using single-use cute wrapping paper that will be teared up and tossed in the trash in a matter of seconds.
- Another reusing idea is to keep older ones and use them as a picnic blanket. Consider folding the sheet a few times for extra coverage if the ground is a little damp, or just bring two and layer them.
Week 3: Digital
15. Don’t check email/social media until lunch
Do what’s your priority for your day. If you have a to-do list, then start with it.
Don’t waste the most productive hours of your day on social media.
Try to keep this rule and stay away from social media until noon.
While it is perfectly fine to use social networks, overusing certain apps can cause feelings of anxiety, so try to be mindful of your usage.
16. Declutter your phone/PC
Take your phone and delete all apps you didn’t use for the last few months.
Then, delete blurry, duplicated, and unwanted photos.
Continue with your PC/laptop, and do the same – delete unwanted images and files, and organize your document into folders.
17. Get rid of old unused electronics
Find old headphones, MP3 players, computer mouses, phone chargers, etc., and get rid of them.
Sell or donate the ones that are working fine, and recycle/upcycle the broken ones.
18. Cancel unnecessary subscriptions and memberships
Get rid of digital (or even physical) things like newspaper subscriptions, tv or music streaming services, subscription boxes, shopping memberships, etc.
Then, put the amount of money you spent on all of these things into a savings account each month.
19. Unsubscribe from emails
Spend at least 30 minutes to clean up your email.
Delete unnecessary or spam emails, and unsubscribe from the ones you never check.
If you manage to clean up your inbox and have 0 new emails – GOOD job!
20. Turn off the notifications
Receiving push notifications every 5 minutes is distracting, and it can lower your workflow and performance.
So, turn off all notifications, and don’t worry – if someone needs you urgently, they will find a way to contact you (good old phone calls!).
Try to be mindful of your social media consumption today.
Pick a time slot (or a few) that are specifically to check your email, voicemail, and social media feeds.
21. Go screen-free after six
Instead of watching tv, checking email, or scrolling social media, do something else.
For example, start a gratitude journal (more about that later!), read a book, make a to-do list for tomorrow, spend more time with your loved ones, etc.
Week 4: Mind
When I first heard of minimalism, I thought it is all about getting rid of material things.
However, it goes beyond that.
Minimalism is a pathway of intentional self-improvement, appreciating what we already have, and focusing on gratitude every day.
Changing habits starts with an intention.
So, in the last week, we will focus on that.
22. Write between 3-5 top priorities
Make a list of all the reasons you want to live more simply.
Above all, minimalism is about figuring out what matters most to you.
So, why do you want to live a more minimal life?
Do you want to get clarity and focus on what’s essential in your life?
Or perhaps you are sick of clutter around you (and inside your head), and you want to get rid of it?
Whatever it is – write it down.
Your whys will help you remember what matters, and help you to find out how to do more of the things you enjoy.
23. Self-care day
Take the day off, and celebrate your accomplishment of decluttering & becoming more minimal!
Do something relaxing, and create an enjoyable morning ritual.
Wake up an hour or two earlier than your normal time.
Do a couple of things you always wanted to but never had the time (or energy).
For example, I did a challenge, which was to wake up at 5:30 for a week and to do the following:
- 15-20 minutes of yoga/stretching
- 10 minutes of Wim Hof breaking exercise (or meditation)
- 15 minutes to listen to an audiobook
- 10 minutes to write in my gratitude journal and to plan my day
This morning routine was such a mood and energy boost that I decided to keep doing it (almost) every morning, from 7:30.
You don’t have to wake up super early or do the exact morning routine.
Decide for yourself what are the things you want to do, and write them down.
The routine is mainly to refocus your time and energy on activities you love and want to do.
Starting your day intentionally, and doing things that are good for you, will help you be motivated and excited for the whole day!
24. Practice gratitude
Practicing gratitude will completely switch your mindset, and it is a great reminder to appreciate all the small things in your life.
It can be a top priority to live a more simple and satisfying life.
Start a gratitude journal, and make a conscious decision to write down a couple of small positive things each day.
Working out releases happiness hormones, so it will almost instantly boost your energy and contentment.
Pick a time of the day when you will be free for at least 20 minutes.
Then decide what you would like to do. It can be a simple 10-minute stretch, a yoga flow, or a 20-minute bodyweight exercise.
26. ‘No complaints’ day
Complaining can negatively affect your life, even though it may seem like something small and insignificant.
First off, it is pointless to complain about things that you have no control over.
When focusing on what is bothering you, you automatically enter a negativity and pessimism space, which ultimately attracts more of the same.
However, when you consciously choose to look for positivity in your lives, the entire way you approach life will change.
You will focus more on the present, and the “No complains” days help you be more grateful.
Whenever something is triggering a complaint, stop for a second.
Try to think of something you could be thankful for about the situation.
Give it a try. Incorporate weekly the “No complains” days and see what will happen.
While it can be hard not to complain, even for tiny things, it is a great way to change your mindset positively and to be more aware of your emotions and triggers.
27. Write tomorrow’s to-do list before bed
Worrying about incomplete future tasks is a significant contributor to difficulty falling asleep.
Take 5 minutes to write a to-do list for the upcoming day.
This can help you fall asleep quicker, and get better sleep, as mentally “offloading” responsibilities before bed frees the mind and primes it for good night sleeping.
28. Examine your daily habits
The “No complains” days can be a fantastic way to identify your stress triggers.
By noticing your stress triggers, you can get closer to what is affecting you in negative ways.
If you catch yourself worried, stop for a second, and figure what’s the reason behind your worries.
By paying attention to your emotions, you will find out the habits that make you happy or sad.
Write down everything to help you create a plan to reduce the actions that stress you out and increase your happy triggers.
29. Spend 30 minutes outside
Spending time outside has many benefits, both physical and mental.
While breaking your day or work by going outside can seem counterproductive, it can improve your mood and concentration, boost your energy, and lower your stress levels.
So, go for a short walk today, and don’t worry about the time. Do it whenever it fits you better.
30. Get rid of time-wasting activities
So, we figured that minimalism is not just about things.
To embrace minimalism in a meaningful way, getting rid of activities that are wasting your time.
Consider switching these unproductive activities with better ones, for example:
- Meeting toxic people = Meeting people you love spending time with
- Watching or reading the news = Going for a walk in nature
- Playing too many video games = Reading a book
- Social media = Practicing an old or new hobby, etc.
Rules, what to expect & variations:
Rules for the challenge
The rules are simple – do one assignment every day. The order isn’t essential; just try not to skip days.
You can make minor tweaks to make the 30-day minimalist challenge fit better with your lifestyle.
You can also print out the assignments (find the files in the end!) and cross them off one-by-one to keep track of your progress.
What to expect
The 30-day challenge is beneficial and it will inspire you:
- To live a simpler, more intentional life.
- To get rid of stuff you don’t need.
- To have more time and energy for the things & people you love.
- To start each day with motivation and excitement for the new goal.
- To realize that minimalism it’s not only about material things.
Once you complete each goal, you can see which of the tasks positively affected your life. Then, you can choose to do those goals more regularly.
The challenge is a compilation of 30 simple, powerful tasks for every day for a month.
However, 30 days is a lot, and to be honest, it can be hard to commit for one whole month.
That’s why I created a couple of variations that can make it easier.
Being committed to a 7- or 10-day challenge is WAY more manageable, and you can proceed with the second part of the challenge whenever you feel ready.
Scroll to the end to find three different variations of the challenge. Feel free to download the one that suits you best. (7-day challenge, 10-day challenge, 30-day challenge)
What exactly is minimalism?
The concept of minimalism is very open to interpretation.
There is no set of rules that you must follow to be a minimalist, and it can mean different things to different people.
At its core, minimalism is the concept of living with what is necessary and owning only the items you use in everyday life.
The point of minimalism isn’t to be restrictive. It helps to remove anything that distracts us from living intentionally.
It is about shifting your mindset, changing your relationship with what & why you own certain things, and letting only the most essential physical or mental things occupy your space and time.
What are the benefits of minimalism?
The benefit of minimalism is to remove the external clutter and the internal one (emotional & mental).
It can reduce stress and anxiety while freeing up space for things, activities, and experiences that matter to you.
Minimalism can help you will become a mindful consumer, resulting in buying only things you truly need and saving money.
You will feel happier and more fulfilled, as you will consciously choose to live a clutter-free, healthy life.
How long does it take to become a minimalist?
It is different for everyone. Some might need a couple of months, others – a couple of years.
Becoming a minimalist takes time. It can’t happen overnight and it is an ongoing process.
Be patient, and transition to a more simple & clutter-free life at your own pace.
How to get rid of stuff, sustainably?
It’s essential to be mindful of your waste while practicing minimalism and doing it sustainably. Here are some ideas to do that:
First, remember to always wash things before donating. Then look for some local drop-off donation centers. Look for Salvation Army, Goodwill, and other communities accepting charity and donated goods.
- Halloween/other costumes – local school’s drama department.
- Art/craft/office supplies – local school or community center.
- Old Tupperware / Ziploc containers – DIY crafts.
- Old towels – animal shelter/sanctuary.
- Old working MP3 player (with charger) – download old music and donate to a senior center.
- Books – the local library.
- Old working cell phones – senior centers, homeless shelters.
- Old pill bottles – some pharmacies will recycle, or you can clean it out and use it to keep bandaids, loose change, needle & thread.
- Bridesmaid / formal dresses, shoes, accessories – organizations that collect prom dresses for high school students.
- Furniture or kitchen supplies – Post in local groups/apps. Usually, people are willing to pick things in decent shape if you’re giving them away.
Use online resell apps like Poshmark, AptDeco, LetGo, Mercari, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace. You can also get a commission at offline used good stores.
If it’s in poor condition and can’t be donated or sold, make sure to recycle it. Follow local instructions on how to recycle specific waste. You can find 20 recycling drop-off locations here.
Give it to someone in need. Ask friends and coworkers if they want anything from your discard pile.
There you have it – a 30-day challenge on how to live a more minimal life.
If you find yourself struggling with letting go of stuff, ask yourself:
- Does this item add value to my life?
- Do I use it often? Do I have a similar item already?
- Does it help me to live to my fullest potential?
Answering these questions can help you to let go of things.
Finally, consider sticking to some of these ideas and repeating some parts of the challenge every month.
This will help you to keep proper focus for your goal to become more minimal throughout the year.
How do you like the challenge? Which version will you start with?
Let me know in the comments below!
To see the images bigger, you can download them.
4-Week Minimalist challenge:
10-Day Minimalism Challenges: