I came into this 21-day Minimalist Challenge feeling disrupted and needing focus. And, despite my initial predictions, I didn’t fail miserably.
I didn’t given up. I actually planned out the entire challenge period by day 8.
I didn’t cheated. In fact I got rid of more than the daily limit (extra 100 undocumented items).
But I did learn the recipe for being a good minimalist.
1. Understand your goals.
I sought out this challenge because I wanted to move my world forward. I was stuck, uninspired and craving something to shake me out of it. I realised my environment was a relic of an imagined version of myself from my early 20s.
The thing is, I’ve seen and experience so much since then, so I recognised I needed to reassess and reestablish my compass for the next 3-5 years. I didn’t know what I wanted beyond this realisation, but with every relic I marked ‘minimized’ from the tomb I called home, I got closer to uncovering it.
- I want to create things that use my strengths to the fullest.
- I want to enjoy the craft and the process.
- I want to create a legacy beyond ‘things’.
2. Employ ruthless pragmatism.
Too many of my possessions reflected a side of me that thought replacing is easier than fixing.
I found I bought too many things that weren’t quite right, but were better than what I had so I decided I might as well get it. I recognise that this attitude of consumption is not only wasteful but setup up a bad habit got in the way of my goals.
These were just distractions from recognising I wasn’t satisfied and didn’t know what I wanted so I compensated with more half-baked solutions. Excess and unlimited options have never been the seed of greatness. It’s having to make the most of what you’ve already got that breeds success.
Next time I’m in a store feeling tempted, I’ll ask myself “will this help me achieve my goal?”. If not, it’s a distraction robbing my success.
3. Think digital.
Day 11 made me feel like I was being ripped apart. Letting go of my costume jewellery from my early 20s felt like I was letting go of a dream I had for myself to be a strong, stylish, confident woman – I felt the physical pain of my resistance.
But as my 18 year old baby sister reminded me, it’s 2016, I didn’t need to hold onto the item to hold onto the memory attached to it – I could simply digitise it!
Whether you love or you hate it, the future is only going to get more digital, so I decided to embrace it in a way that made sense to me – see it as a time capsule for my future self and record my memories as photos and written stories, rather than the physical possession that wasn’t going to survive another 40-60 years of life.
3. Be aware of your micro-choices.
70% of the items I let go were ‘just in case’ items. Things I was gifted, bought, or found and decided they might provide me value at some point in the future.
- Extra rubber bands.
- Spare paper napkins I picked up with my takeaway order.
- My brothers old cardigan.
Sensible, no? These little everyday decisions were, unknowingly, having a big influence on my larger choices to avoid letting go.
- Friendships that make me feel bad about myself.
- Limiting beliefs about my skills and capability.
This is my first generation immigrant mentality in play. The space those 7 empty boxes or a closet full of clothes were taking up was irrelevant in the face of scarcity and being ‘without’. This is a powerful motivator to hoard. But I discovered something more powerful (and empowering)…
Trusting in my skills, resilience, and hustle to survive – if I NEED something, I WILL get it.
4. Just start.
The one thing I didn’t waver on was jumping into this challenge. I didn’t want to give myself any time to think of all the things I was insecure and uncertain about, and talk myself out of it.
Going into this experience, my thinking was rooted in scarcity and fear, but my new mindset is fuelled by confidence and self-assurance that I am in control, not my possessions.
Track the journey.
Check out my Instagram to see the what I got rid of everyday.
Catch-up on the journey so far:
- #1: My minimalist challenge origin story.
- #2: My week 1 recap: the honeymoon.
- #3: My week 2 recap: the dip.
Question for you: What do you think you need to get rid of from your life?
Also, follow my Snapchat (decoreducation) for a regular dose of decor life in Melbourne, Australia.