Copy by Jessica Lambi | @jessica.lambi
Google “The Minimalism Challenge” and you’ll find a month-long game made to help declutter your space in a short amount of time: The challenge is to get rid of one item on day one, two items on day two, and so on and so forth until you’re on day 30, getting rid of an additional 30 items on that day. While it seems pretty overwhelming to even think about decluttering over 450 items, I have been pushing myself to think creatively about the little things have accumulated in one way or another, and how to get rid of it.
It’s often presumed that clutter resides in the closets or drawers throughout our space, and while that may be the majority of it, there’s much more that can be considered a source of unassuming clutter, and therefore stress, in our lives. I learned that there doesn’t always have to be big piles of donation bags at the door, or drawers left empty, to feel a sense of calm… although, lets be honest, those are extremely satisfying! It can be little or intangible things that make the most difference.
One of the easiest and most effective things I’ve decluttered revolve around digital and ‘administrative’ clutter. Looking at my computer’s desktop filled with random documents may not take up physical space in my office, but it certainly takes up a different kind of real estate. I took the time to start deleting documents from high school and college… although somewhat sentimental, they just were taking up space. I’ve learned that times are changing: where we used to have filing cabinets filled with old papers (or maybe some of us still do), our ‘filing cabinets’ now live on our computers. It can be just as effective to declutter our digital space as it is our physical one. Take it from organization guru and happy life advocate Gretchen Rubin and her new book Outer Order, Inner Calm.
The other category that was a huge source of clutter for me, were the things that I think I’ll need: a whole box of pens, a million paper clips, old tech cords. What are the chances I’ll actually need those things? A great rule of thumb that I have come across in my research into this challenge is the 20/20 rule: If it can be replaced in $20 and under 20 minutes, you don’t need to keep it! When it comes to these types of items, I felt a sense of guilt for wasting— but I assure you that teachers, daycare professionals, or lots of others may be greatly appreciative of your donations! Throughout my process, I have been sure to search online for the best way to donate or recycle whatever I’m decluttering, from textiles to office supplies. It lessens the guilt of getting rid of things that otherwise may seem wasteful.
Overall, I learned that these types of challenges, whether we participate or not, are a great way to think differently about minimalism and decluttering. What is a source of clutter or stress that seems unassuming? Do I live complacently with things that could be cleaned up and therefore make me feel more content? I realized that I did!
What have you decluttered recently? Has it affected your ‘inner calm’? Let me know in the comments below.