If you’re feeling unorganized, chaotic, and frazzled, we have a 30-day minimalism challenge that may help you change your life! One day at a time, you’ll make small changes that help you realize what’s important in your life and what you can let go of. But before we get into the 30-day minimalist challenge, we’re going to explain what it is first!
What is a 30-day minimalism challenge?
The idea with a 30-day minimalist challenge is that you get rid of something physical, something mental, or a bad habit daily for 30 days. You can do the challenge in any order you choose. There is no right or wrong way to do this challenge, just as there aren’t a certain number of days it takes to form a good habit.
The hope is that by changing your habits slightly each day, you’ll get some clarity in your life, including your physical, mental, and financial life.
Actions for your next 30 days on the 30-day minimalism challenge!
1. Analyze your daily habits
Before you can live a minimalist life, you need to know where you stand. How close (or far) are you to reaching your goal? Your daily habits will help you understand.
For example, if you already have a great millionaire morning routine, don’t mess with it. But if you never give yourself ‘me time’ or you consider yourself a hoarder, you’ll know which steps to make a priority.
It isn’t a time to judge yourself. Instead, it’s time to sit down and figure out where you stand and what you should do next.
Make a list of areas of your life that you’d like to improve with minimalism. It may be a routine or a room in your home that needs to be decluttered.
2. Establish a minimal morning routine
Ease your way into your mornings. Rather than rushing to check your email, deal with social media distractions, or even start working, give yourself time to relax. Prioritize your mornings so you start with a clear mind and enough energy to tackle your day.
Rather than jumping on a device, take time to meditate, pray, or journal. Learn how to spend less time on your phone. Sit outside and drink your coffee or tea, and enjoy the morning stillness.
You could even make positive morning affirmations part of your 30-day minimalist challenge!
3. Create simple living goals for the year
It’s easy to get frustrated with yourself when you don’t feel like you’re achieving anything, but you may be and not even realize it. Rather than ‘winging it,’ as a part of the 30-day minimalism challenge, set goals and money moves for the year.
Choose short and long-term goals, and some mid term goals as well, but make sure each goal you choose is achievable. It’s good to have a mix of ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ goals, but make sure you have visible goals with achievable timelines.
Since you are focusing on a minimalist lifestyle, it makes sense to focus your goals on getting rid of extra possessions or creating a mindset that allows you to have a more intentional life. Consider these things as you plan the year.
4. Decongest your kitchen
Your kitchen is likely the heart of the home. It’s also probably the most congested.
Most people use kitchen counters as the ‘dumping ground.’ Everyone walks into the house and dumps their stuff on the counter, leaving some or all of it to create clutter.
Try clearing off the counters and keeping them clear always as a decluttering challenge. Create a nightly routine as motivation to declutter that includes you clearing off the kitchen counters each night.
Don’t leave too many appliances, canisters, dishes, pots and pans, or decorations out. It only creates busyness in the kitchen, which creates chaos.
5. Write in a gratitude journal
It’s easy to focus on what’s going wrong in our lives, even when little things go right. The ‘bad stuff’ overtakes the little good things that happened throughout your day. Each night take five to ten minutes to write 3 to 5 good things that happened in a gratitude journal as part of a journaling self care routine.
It could be as small as the sun came out or your teenage daughter smiled at you today. Some days are worse than others, so you’ll have to get creative with the ‘good things,’ but with regular practice, it becomes natural to focus on the good instead of focusing on the bad.
6. Enjoy some time alone
Alone time is important, so embrace it as part of the 30-day minimalism challenge. It gives you time to regroup and not feel like you’re being pulled in every direction but where you want to go. It gives you time to think about what you want.
With practice, you’ll enjoy your time alone and learn how to focus on yourself and not others to achieve your goals.
If it’s weird for you to be alone at first, do something by yourself. Whether you take a drive, read a book, or journal, do something to keep your mind busy.
But slowly, introduce a few minutes of just ‘nothing.’ This gives your mind time to relax, unwind, and ‘just be’, which is especially helpful if you have a busy brain.
It doesn’t have to be a specific amount of time, either. Even 20 minutes by yourself can help you feel more relaxed and less hurried.
7. Go technology free for a day
Technology has become such a regular part of our lives that we forget to take a break. If you aren’t careful, technology can consume you and never give you ‘time off.’ If you’re always on alert, answering texts, checking emails, and looking at social media, you’re not living in the moment – you’re focused on everything else.
Institute one day a week, month, or any frequency you can handle to go technology-free and have a social media detox. At first, it will feel weird. It may even be hard, but you’ll find that eventually, you enjoy it and may even look forward to it.
Just make sure on the days you are technology-free that, you truly do live in the moment and focus on enjoying the life you have.
8. Commit to not complaining for a day
Complaining comes so easily, especially when you have a bad day. But again, if you focus on the ‘bad stuff,’ you will never see the good. Complaining only gets other people to join in, prolonging your frustrations, and it turns out it isn’t good for your brain.
To see how different life is without complaining, set a day that you refuse to complain. No matter how bad things get or how frustrated you are, don’t complain. Focus on how you feel and how much lighter you feel when you aren’t constantly bringing yourself down.
9. Declutter your living space
Decluttering your home is one of the biggest steps in our 30-day minimalism challenge. If you’re constantly surrounded by clutter, you’ll never be able to relax – your mind will always feel cluttered and even frustrated.
Think of the area you spend the most time in and declutter it. Let it be an area of peace so that you feel relaxed when you sit in it.
Some things you might declutter include your pantry or fridge, a junk drawer, various supplies like makeup and beauty products, or even paperwork and mail. Most of us would feel better with less stuff, so feel free to start in any room of your home and start decluttering your life.
Make it a part of your morning or nightly routine to clear up your living space so it becomes a sanctuary and not a place that makes you feel more unfocused.
10. Donate things you don’t use or need
Rather than holding onto things you think you need, create a rule during your 30-day minimalist challenge. If you haven’t used the items in 6 months (and they aren’t holiday-specific), donate the items to someone who could use them.
Clothing is the most common item we all hold onto longer than necessary, but it’s important to understand how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes. Whether the clothing no longer fits or you don’t like it, if you haven’t worn it in a long time, part ways with it. Clothing, household items, or mementos you hold onto but don’t use only cause clutter and make it hard to be a minimalist.
You could also consider keeping a constantly updated list or a box of items that you want to donate. That way, you can get rid of things on a monthly or semi-annual basis when you no longer need them.
11. Purge your social media following/followers
Look at your social media accounts. Do you need to follow everyone you’re following, such as lifestyle influencers? Does it stress you out to look at your accounts?
Maybe you feel frustrated or upset when you look at other people’s feeds – this causes unnecessary anxiety. Take the time to go through your social media and purge your friends and followers.
Think about who you care about and who you WANT to see the information you post. It may feel better to have a large following, but it doesn’t fill you up.
You’ll feel more secure and worry less when you don’t have unnecessary followers and you don’t have to see their feeds. There’s nothing better than some social media minimalism in this regard.
12. Cancel subscriptions and memberships you don’t use
Comb through your credit card statements and look for ‘ghost subscriptions.’ These are ‘free’ subscriptions you signed up for but then never canceled. You may be paying for them and not realize it because they’re automatically charged.
Even if you have memberships you wanted/meant to have, if you don’t use them or they aren’t necessary, cancel them. Consider cable alternatives, as well.
13. Say no to something or someone
We’re all programmed to say yes to everything, but we shouldn’t. The things you say yes to should be because you want to, not because you feel like you should. If you say yes to something that you don’t want to do, it doesn’t feel good, and it won’t let you live the life you want.
At first, it will feel unpleasant. You may even be mad at yourself for saying ‘no,’ but with practice, it gets easier to learn how to say no. You’ll be able to recognize what feels good to you instead of always saying yes to everyone else because they want you to.
14. Spend 20 minutes outside
Make a habit of spending 20 minutes a day outside. If you think you’re so busy that you can’t fit it in, get creative. Take your lunch outside or answer calls outside.
If you live in an area where the mornings are comfortable enough to be outdoors, take your morning routine out there. It will become easier to get your outside time in when you practice intentional living through making it part of your routine. You may even find you want to be outside more often.
15. Unsubscribe from email lists
Think about how many times you’ve handed out your email address. You probably can’t even remember, right? Companies are creative in getting your email so they can send you marketing material, but spam takes up your time and energy.
Instead, unsubscribe from any email list that doesn’t interest you and minimize the time you have to spend sorting through emails every day.
16. Read a book to simplify your evening routine
Give up some electronic time and replace it with a book. You’ll skip the blue light exposure and educate yourself or just enjoy a good story.
It’s a great habit to instill at night. Cut yourself off from electronics at least 2 hours before bed, and instead, read a book to help you unwind and get a good night’s rest.
17. Have a no-spend day
Plan a day that you will not spend any money – not even on essentials or food. Make sure you plan ahead for this day to have enough food and necessities to get through the day. See how it feels not to spend for 24 hours and see if you can expand it for an even longer period.
An essential part of the 30-day minimalism challenge is getting your finances in check with a no spend challenge.
18. Learn something new to encourage mindful living
Is there something you’ve always been interested in learning but never took the time? Now is the perfect opportunity. Try new money making skills, learn a new language, or step out of your comfort zone and do something you would never try, like ziplining or going back to college.
Learning a new skill or hobby will help you to focus on one thing at a time and not feel so rushed. It’s a great way to spend free time and simplify, and remember to never stop learning because life never stops teaching.
19. Clean out your closet
Go through your wardrobe and do a closet purge. Find anything that doesn’t suit you anymore.
Create a keep, donate, and toss pile. Go through each item individually and ask yourself if it adds to your life, if you like how you fit or look in it, and if you have a use for it.
If you can’t confidently answer that you love the item, it makes you feel good, and you’ll use it, get rid of it.
20. Organize your online files
Take a day in the 30-day minimalism challenge and organize your online files. Your online files can get just as cluttered as the files in your desk drawer.
Take the time to organize everything into digital folders. This way, when you need something, such as a tax document, you’ll know exactly where to find it.
While you’re at it, find out how long to keep financial records. Then you’ll know for sure if you need to keep a document or if it’s just clutter.
21. Turn off notifications
It’s easy to jump at every notification that you receive, but it distracts you from what’s in front of you. Instead, turn off every notification except any you need for emergencies, especially if you have children.
Not focusing on your phone as much can help you live a simpler and more relaxed life. You’ll minimize the things that you focus on, allowing you to be more present in the moment. You might even have extra time for some fun family night ideas, or you can try out fun things to do for free with friends.
22. Fold and put away your laundry
If you’re great about doing laundry but not so great about putting it away, be intentional about folding and putting it away. Only wash the clothes or linens you know you’ll have time to dry, fold, and put away on the same day instead of doing one big laundry day and letting the clothes sit in a clean pile all week.
Doing this not only gets rid of clutter but it helps you to focus on one task and then fully complete it before moving on to the next thing.
23. Make a meal plan
Guessing what’s for dinner every night or putting that stressor on yourself after work can be a burden.
Instead, make a meal plan and stick to it. Whether you create a weekly or monthly meal planner, the key is to have a selected menu and the ingredients to make them.
It takes the guesswork out of what’s for dinner and saves you money by not going through the drive-thru.
24. Clean out your personal items
If you hold onto personal items because they have memories, go through them.
Certain things should be kept forever, but if your personal items clutter your living space, bedroom, or even basement, it’s time to cut back and figure out what you must keep and what can go.
25. Establish a relaxing nighttime routine
Sleep is an important part of your health, but if you don’t have a nighttime routine to help you unwind, you may not be sleeping as well as you think. If it takes you a long time to finally fall asleep, set up a routine so your body knows when it’s bedtime.
A few ideas include taking a hot bath or shower, reading a book, turning down the temperature in the bedroom, and stopping all electronic exposure at least 2 hours before bed. Consider this one of the most essential 30-day minimalism challenge ideas! Establishing a routine will allow you to start living your best life.
26. Declutter your kid’s toys, involve them in the process
Help your kids declutter their toys. Just like when you go through your clothes, decluttering with kids involves helping your child choose the toys that mean the most to them and which toys just sit there unplayed with.
Together you can choose toys you can give to kids in need. Your child will learn to declutter and learn the spirit of giving.
27. Create a reading list
Create a reading list and post it somewhere you’ll see it. When you have books you want to read, you’re more likely to take the time to achieve those goals.
If you just tell yourself you’ll read someday, you won’t. But if you write a list of books you want to read, you’ll be more intentional about your goals. Try a summer reading list or these financial literacy books.
Reading allows you to routinely slow down and relax. It’s essential to make this part of your life, as you will not only learn new things but improve your stress levels.
28. Leave a whole day with nothing to do
It can feel frightening because we live in a world where we are always going, but leaving an entire day, or even a lazy weekend, to do nothing is a blessing in disguise. If you feel anxious, acknowledge it, but still try.
After a couple of hours, you may find that you love the feeling of not having anything to do and the ability to do whatever you want.
29. Write tomorrow’s to-do list today
There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing things off a to-do list. Write your list for tomorrow today, so you are well prepared for tomorrow when it comes, and you’ll have a time management plan.
With a to-do list done, you can enjoy your morning routine without feeling like you forgot something and without feeling distracted.
30. Find ways to overcome stress triggers
Stress is a part of life, but you can cope better if you have ways to deal with it. Find things that make you feel calm, whether it’s taking some deep breaths, meditating, taking a walk, talking to a friend, or just sitting and doing nothing for a few minutes.
Learning how to manage stress is an important part of attitudes of mindfulness and living a minimalist life!
When you start to embrace a life of minimalism, you may find that some parts of your life feel more cluttered or difficult than others.
For example, maybe you don’t have a lot of excess clutter at home, but you are always multi-tasking, and you rush from one thing to another in your day.
The best thing to do is to focus on one area of your life at a time. Choose the one that will make the greatest improvement or create a sense of peace for you, and begin there.
Remember to be content with what you have as you continue to improve your life.
What is the 30-day rule in minimalism?
The 30-day rule in minimalism is, to begin with getting rid of one item, and on the second day two, the third three, and so forth. Basically you increase the count of items to get rid of by one each day. By the end of 30 days, you’ve gotten rid of nearly 500 items!
How many items do you get rid of in the 30-day minimalist challenge?
The amount of items you get rid of in the 30-day minimalist challenge is up to you. If you follow the rules exactly, you’ll get rid of 465 items. But you can of course modify this to your own preference.
Are minimalists happier?
Minimalists are not necessarily happier. Happiness and mental wellness depend on many different factors, and there’s more to life than things.
That said, using minimalist techniques can help you have less stress and more time in your day, which can add to your happiness.
What is the one in one out rule for minimalism?
The one in one out rule for minimalism is that when a new item comes into your home, you have to get rid of an item. That way, the number of items you have stays the same.
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Try this 30-day minimalism challenge to change your life!
Thirty days gives you a lot of time to transform your life. You may love some of these 30-day minimalism challenge ideas and not like others, and that’s okay. The key is to give yourself a chance to try new things, see how new habits sit with you and what you’d like to carry forward in your life to maintain a calmer mind, and maybe even help your finances along the way.
Learn more about applying minimalism to your finances with our completely free financial courses and worksheets, or follow Clever Girl Finance on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for top financial tips and motivation to reach your goals!