New Year, New You!

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30 Day Minimalism Challenge

As I’ve been spending the first few workdays of 2019 dreaming of this year’s life and design goals, I couldn’t help but reminisce about how much I’ve grown as a designer in 2018. One of the things that has helped me grow has been the focus on incorporating less quantity and more quality into the designs of my client’s homes, and helping them realize that importance as well.

As Zac and I have always been attracted to more quality than quantity ourselves, minimalism has been something we’ve had on our minds for a while. But somehow, the clutter always seems to show up in our home when I keep purchasing a collection of pillows and accessories, then telling myself I’ll find the right place for it later. I end up racking up these accessories, dumping them in a corner with the tags still attached, waiting for my mind to come up with that perfect spot for the item. This may happen to some people with clothes, or anything really! If you’ve watched any of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix, you would know exactly what I’m talking about! It’s easy to lose track of what you have flying around your house when there’s no designated place for anything or when we don’t revisit what we currently have. “But is having more making us happy?” we end up asking ourselves. By that time my mind is scattered and I just tell myself I’ll get to it later, but what if I could just take 20 minutes every day and do a little cleaning, purging or organizing; going out and buying only what I need, rather than buying what I want and then trying to find a need for that item?

December came quickly and all I could think about was the hope for a new way of doing things in 2019. Then it was one day that led Zac and I to a spontaneous date roaming the isles of Barnes and Noble, and I stopped as I came across a book called Less by Rachel Aust. I couldn’t seem to put the book down because, as I was turning about the pages, I was quickly finding new solutions for my long-lost questions about what minimalism is all about. Perspective and gratitude are a huge part of it all, but I found that it’s possible to have less quantity and more quality in your wardrobe, interior, office, quality time, kitchen, in just about every part of your life, physical, financial, relational and psychological! One page in particular stood out to me… it was one to put me on a 30 day challenge to large and small amounts of productivity every single day! Rachel called it the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge, and the point isn’t just to take one month and then let everything go, but it’s to spur one to create their own 30 day challenge for the next 12 months or however long you need! That’s right… you get to be in charge of your life again, intentionally curating each day towards productivity, rest, mindfulness, gratitude and ultimately longevity and happiness!

Now if you know me, you would know that I’m a highly spontaneous person and that I don’t naturally gravitate towards any kind of structure (being a designer, this could be a really good thing but also a huge weakness). But what I’ve learned about this balance of structure and spontaneity is that I can create tangible and realistic goals for myself, but can operate from a place of flexibility and grace when something more important takes precedence. Going through this 30 Day Minimalism Challenge hasn’t been perfect as I’ve had a handful of lazy or sick, unproductive days, and then I’ve had some days in the challenge that my husband and I have already completed the challenge for that day. He is more about productivity than I am, but it’s nice to join in on the fun of his sparked joy in productivity, and for him to join me in the fun of relaxing and unplugging for a little bit. We find that it’s this balance that actually brings an overall ease and ultimately the ability to relax into life and be more present with ourselves and our loved ones.

So, for those who need a place to start, here is the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge! May it be the spark that ignites the continuous productivity and mindfulness into YOUR 2019 as you become empowered to create and accomplish your own monthly goals for your happiness!

Day 1: Define your personal style (both your wardrobe and interior).

Day 2: Set aside 20 minutes just for cleaning; repeat daily.

Day 3: Decide on your 20 wardrobe essentials.

Day 4: Declutter your wardrobe and shoes.

Day 5: Declutter your kitchen (pantry and cupboards).

Day 6: Reasses your budget.

Day 7: Clear all bench/table surfaces in your home.

Day 8: Check your bank debits or any old recurring payments (you may no longer need them).

Day 9: Set one long-term goal in each category: Health, finance, happiness, and knowledge.

Day 10: Unsubscribe from marketing lists.

Day 11: Digitize as many paper documents as possible.

Day 12: Create a planner that works for you (in a notebook or on your phone).

Day 13: Set three short-term (achievable in 3 to 6 month) goals for your health, finance, happiness, and knowledge.

Day 14: Set up a direct debit into a savings account.

Day 15: Sort your inboxes until you get them to zero.

Day 16: Declutter makeup, skincare, and hair care products.

Day 17: Take all items off the walls and rehang only the important ones.

Day 18: Back up important data, then delete all unnecessary apps/files from your phone and computer.

Day 19: Spend a day completely off social media.

Day 20: Practice mindful breathing techniques.

Day 21: Social media cull: unfriend/unfollow.

Day 22: Declutter storage spaces (laundry room, garage, attic, etc).

Day 23: Find 30 minutes in your daily schedule to switch off.

Day 24: Declutter books, DVDs, CDs, and any other physical media.

Day 25: Reorganize your work desk or work station.

Day 26: Assess which sentimental items you really need to keep.

Day 27: Plan 7 days of home-cooked meals—every meal—and make a shopping list.

Day 28: Cull your accessories (sunglasses, watches, jewelry, bags) to the bare essentials.

Day 29: Allocate specific days and times of the week to stretch and practice mindful breathing.

Day 30: Set your next goals.

Kristina OwenComment