When I first learned about minimalism, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight.
I loved the thought of minimalism, for sure. I loved what I felt it stood for – a life with less stuff, and more focus on what really matters. But the actual process of becoming a minimalist? That sounded pretty daunting for me.
I mean, who has the time or energy to declutter their entire life in one fell swoop? Not this girl.
So instead, I took baby steps. And I kept going until those steps turned into a full-blown sprint. And it worked!
I felt that by really taking my time, thinking about the lifestyle and what I wanted my life to look like, I was able to make a smooth transition into minimalism that I still maintain today – even though it’s been over two years since I first started my journey.
If you’re thinking about becoming a minimalist, but aren’t sure where to start, then this post is for you. I’m going to share with you how to become a minimalist in 30 days, and how I conquered the 30 day minimalism challenge.
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- What exactly is minimalism
- Why I decided to become a minimalist
- How to become a minimalist in 30 days
- Day 1: Write down what you envisage for your life
- Day 2: Declutter your kitchen junk drawer
- Day 3: Sort through your mail
- Day 4: Delete some apps from your phone
- Day 5: Declutter your wardrobe
- Day 6: Write a list of experiences you want to try
- Day 7: Unsubscribe, delete and file emails
- Day 8: Declutter the kitchen
- Day 9: Throw out expired food
- Day 10: Schedule time to see friends
- Day 11: Get rid of old linen/towels
- Day 12: Throw out expired makeup and toiletries
- Day 13. Phone a family member
- Day 14: Declutter old photos
- Day 15: Empty out your purses
- Day 16: Cancel memberships and subscriptions
- Day 17: Declutter your office space
- Day 18: Reevaluate your budget
- Day 19: Get rid of anything broken or no longer usable
- Day 20: Clear any cluttered flat surfaces
- Day 21: Clean out your car
- Day 22: Write tomorrow's to do list
- Day 23: Clear out accessories
- Day 24: Start spending time outside
- Day 25: Declutter your garage
- Day 26: Head to the charity shop
- Day 27: Make recycling bins
- Day 28: Write a weekly shopping list
- Day 29: Schedule in 'me time'
- Day 30: Commit to the minimalist lifestyle
What exactly is minimalism
Minimalism, in a nutshell, is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.
It’s about living more intentionally with less. And it’s a lifestyle that can be applied to every area of your life – from your physical possessions to your relationships, career, and even your mindset.
The goal of minimalism is to help us live a more meaningful, purposeful, and joyful life. One that is not bogged down by the excesses of society, but instead focused on the things that really matter.
Why I decided to become a minimalist
There are a lot of reasons why someone might decide to pursue a minimalist lifestyle. For me, it was mostly about wanting to live a simpler life.
I was tired of feeling like I was chasing after things that didn’t really matter, and I wanted to focus on what was important to me. I also wanted to declutter my life – both physically and mentally – and get rid of the things that were weighing me down.
Of course, there were other reasons too. I wanted to save money, have less impact on the environment, be kind to my mental health and reduce the amount of stuff I had to take care of and keep organised. But at the end of the day, it all came back to wanting to live a simpler, more intentional life.
You can read more about my minimalist journey here.
How to become a minimalist in 30 days
There are various 30 day challenges out there. The majority encourage you to declutter physical items each day.
For example: Day 1 get rid of one thing, day 2 get rid of two things… and so on.
Another minimalist challenge is to declutter for 15 minutes each day for 30 days.
I tried both of these approaches, and while I found them helpful in getting rid of physical clutter, I didn’t find that they really helped me to change my mindset and adopt a more minimalist lifestyle long-term.
So instead, I came up with my own simple 30 day minimalism challenge that I think is much more effective in helping people to become true minimalists.
Here’s how it works
Day 1: Write down what you envisage for your life
Before you can start decluttering your life, you need to have a clear vision of what you want your life to look like.
What are your priorities? What do you value most? What are your goals?
Spend some time really thinking about these things, and then write them down. This will be your guide as you declutter and simplify your life over the next 30 days.
Day 2: Declutter your kitchen junk drawer
Everyone has one – that drawer in the kitchen where you just throw all the miscellaneous items that don’t have a home anywhere else. Sometimes known as the ‘dump drawer’.
It’s a great place to start decluttering because it’s usually filled with random pieces that we don’t use or need – rubber bands, measuring tapes, sewing stuff. So today, go through that drawer and get rid of anything that you don’t use or need.
Duplicate items, things you haven’t used in over a year, things that are broken, things you didn’t even know you had, unwanted items – they’re all ready to go.
Day 3: Sort through your mail
We get a lot of mail – bills, catalogues, advertisements, etc. – and most of it is junk. So today, go through your mail as soon as you get it, and immediately throw out anything that you don’t need.
Unsubscribe from any catalogues you get but never read, and set up a system to deal with your bills so that you’re not overwhelmed by them every month.
Just so you know, you don’t have to keep hard copies of bills. Once paid, they can be shredded and recycled. If you wish to keep the receipts, set up a digital folder on your computer so that these aren’t visibly cluttering your space.
Day 4: Delete some apps from your phone
How many apps do you have on your phone that you never use? 10? 20? 30? More?
Today, go through your phone and delete any apps that you don’t use or need. This will help to declutter both your phone and your mind.
You can also take this opportunity to organise the apps on your phone into folders. This will make it easier to find the apps you do use, and will help to declutter your home screen.
If you find it difficult to stay off social media, disable these apps and just spend a short amount of time checking them on your PC once a day.
I’ve recently set myself up with the Freedom App (yes I know, another app). When I should be writing or taking a digital break but find myself picking up my phone to scroll, I start a Freedom session and it blocks these apps for a pre-determined amount of time.
Grab yourself a free trial with Freedom here!
Day 5: Declutter your wardrobe
We all have clothes that we never wear. Clothes that are out of style, don’t fit, or we just don’t like anymore. Even clothes that still have the tags on that we’ve never worn.
Today is the day to get rid of them! Go through your wardrobe and pull out anything that you haven’t worn in the last 6 months to a year.
If it doesn’t fit, you don’t like it, or it’s out of style – get rid of it. You can donate these clothes to charity, or sell them online or at a consignment store.
Don’t keep clothes “just in case.” If you haven’t worn them by now, you’re probably never going to wear them. Get rid of them and free up some space in your wardrobe for clothes that you will actually wear.
If you struggle to declutter your wardrobe, check out this post to get you started.
Day 6: Write a list of experiences you want to try
For me, minimalism is all about living a life of quality, not quantity. It’s about doing more of what you love and less of what you don’t.
Today, get out your notebook, or open up a document on your computer, and make a list of experiences that you want to try – things that excite and bring joy into your life.
Maybe it’s something simple like taking a yoga class, or going on a bike ride with friends. Or maybe it’s something more adventurous like going skydiving or traveling to another country.
Whatever it is, write down your experiences and commit to trying one of them in the next 30 days. This will help you to focus on the things that you really want to do and bring more joy and excitement into your life.
Day 7: Unsubscribe, delete and file emails
It’s not just physical clutter that takes up our time and energy – digital clutter can be just as bad.
Set some time aside to go through your emails and unsubscribe from any newsletters or emails that you never read. Delete any old emails that you no longer need, and set up a filing system for important emails so that you know where to find them when you need them.
If you’ve been putting off unsubscribing to emails for a while, now’s the time to do it. It will take some time initially, but you’ll be glad when your inbox is no longer full of unread emails and spam. Bonus points if you can get your inbox to zero!
Going forward, whenever an email comes in, deal with it there and then (even if that means putting it into a folder marked ‘to do’ if you need to respond at a later stage).
Day 8: Declutter the kitchen
The kitchen is one of the most cluttered areas in the home, so it’s time to take a look at what you have and get rid of anything that isn’t being used.
Many of us end up with mugs given as gifts for every occasion that are never used, plus old chipped and scratched pots and pans. Get rid of anything that you’re not using – if it’s still usable, put it in a box for donation.
Appliances are another source of clutter. If you have appliances that no longer work or that you just don’t use anymore – let them go!
Day 9: Throw out expired food
Now that your kitchen is clutter free, it’s time to go through the pantry, fridge, freezer and cupboards and throw out anything that is expired or no longer edible.
This can be a daunting task, but you’ll be amazed at how much better your kitchen will look when it’s done! Plus, you’ll feel great knowing that all of the food in your pantry is fresh and usable.
If you’re having trouble getting started, try this simple trick – take everything out of the pantry. Everything! Make piles on the kitchen counter for food that needs to be thrown out and what you’re going to keep. You can even make a pile of food to bring to the food bank if you have too much or don’t think you’re going to use it.
By taking everything out of the pantry, nothing get’s missed or left behind.
Day 10: Schedule time to see friends
Many minimalists say that social relationships are the most important thing in life, and I agree. Connecting with friends is so important for our mental health and overall happiness, but it’s often one of the first things to suffer when we get busy with work or other commitments.
Take some time today to schedule catch-ups with the important people in your life. Put the dates in your calendar and make sure you stick to them. A good rule of thumb is to aim for two or three catch-ups per month – that way, you can maintain your close relationships without getting overwhelmed with commitments.
Whether it’s a full night out on the town or just a quick coffee date, you’ll be able to create a stronger bond with your loved ones when you spend quality time together.
Day 11: Get rid of old linen/towels
Back to decluttering today – it’s time to go through your linen cupboard and get rid of anything that is past its best.
Old towels and bed sheets get tatty and discoloured over time, so if you’re not using them any more it’s time to let them go.
If they are still in good condition, consider donating them to a local charity – that way, someone else can make use of them and you’ll be doing your bit for the community.
Day 12: Throw out expired makeup and toiletries
This was always one of my decluttering tasks that I let slip over the years – I would hoard beauty products in my bathroom cabinets and never actually use them (or worse, use them one or twice and never again).
Now’s the time to go through your makeup, skincare and hair products, and get rid of anything that is past its expiry date. It’s also a good idea to let go of any products that you’ve never used – these make great gifts for others if you know they like the products!
Day 13. Phone a family member
Family should be at the top of your prioritisation list, so take some time today to give a loved one a call.
It could be your mum, dad, brother or sister – whoever it is that you haven’t talked to in a while. Reaching out to them will make both of you feel better and help keep the connection alive.
If you have a particularly long distance relationship, try to arrange a Skype call or video chat. This way, you can still see each other while catching up on all the latest news and stories. I live 7000km away from my family and we Skype at least once a week!
Day 14: Declutter old photos
Today may be a little difficult. Photos are usually sentimental items that we don’t like to part with. At the same time, most people have boxes and boxes of old photos in storage but never look at them. If this is you and you want a truly minimal home, then it’s time to take the plunge and declutter your photos.
Go through all of your photo albums and digital photos, and get rid of any that are duplicates or those that no longer hold meaning for you. The number one thing I say to people decluttering sentimental items – never feel guilty. If you don’t want to keep something, you don’t have to.
It’s also a great idea to scan in old photos and upload them to a cloud storage service so that you can keep them without taking up physical space. I do this with all my travel photos and then just have a small album I keep close by that I can look at whenever I like.
Day 15: Empty out your purses
Ready to clean out your purses once and for all? And never have to do it again?
It’s time to do a thorough clean of your purses, wallets, backpacks and handbags. Empty out the contents and check for any receipts or cards that have expired or are no longer in use. Throw those away and then sort through the rest.
Don’t forget to vacuum out the inside of the bag too – you’ll be surprised how much dust and debris can accumulate there.
Once you’ve done that, put your purses away without putting anything back inside them. That’s right! Instead, keep a little basket on the hall table with your wallet, sunglasses, tissues, keys. Each time you’re headed out, you can choose which purse you want to use. This way, every purse has the opportunity to be used more often (and if they’re not being used you can donate them). When you return home, you empty out the purse, put everything back in the basket and put the purse away.
You’ll never have to declutter a purse again!
Read my full article on how to declutter your purses here.
Day 16: Cancel memberships and subscriptions
From monthly TV subscriptions to gym memberships, take the time today to evaluate all of your active memberships and subscriptions.
Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple Music, Spotify – all of these add up to a lot of money over the course of a year. They can also take up a lot of our time if we’re using them a lot.
Do you really need them? Can you get by without them? Is there a cheaper alternative that can give you the same service? If not, maybe it’s time to cancel some of them and save yourself some time and money.
Day 17: Declutter your office space
It’s easy to let our work area become cluttered with papers, books and other office supplies. Today is the day to declutter your office space.
Start by clearing off any surfaces that are covered in clutter – desktops, shelves and filing cabinets all need sorting through. Go through each item one at a time and decide whether it needs to be kept or thrown away.
Then, sort the items you’ve decided to keep into categories – for example, books, papers, office supplies and stationery. This will make them easier to find when you need them in future. Once everything has been sorted into categories, try to limit each category of things to one drawer or shelf. This will help keep your office space looking neat and organised.
Don’t forget, you don’t need to keep each and every piece of paper. If it’s important, scan it to the cloud and get rid of the physical paper. You also don’t need two staplers!
Day 18: Reevaluate your budget
This task isn’t about depriving yourself, it’s about making sure your monthly budget is still working for you. Take a look at all of your expenses – rent, groceries, transportation, bills etc. and see if there’s anything that can be cut back or eliminated completely.
This could mean changing to a different phone plan with fewer minutes, cutting out the gym membership you never use or eating at home more often.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be drastic changes – even small reductions in spending can make a difference over time. Once you’ve made the cuts, review your budget and make sure it works for you and your new minimalist lifestyle.
Day 19: Get rid of anything broken or no longer usable
Today is the day to sort through all of the broken or unusable items in your home – from appliances and furniture to toys and tools.
If it’s still possible, try to donate them or take them to a recycling center. Some people like to take broken items so they can upcycle them into something new and usable.
If the item is beyond repair, then it may be time to get rid of it – but make sure you do so responsibly.
Day 20: Clear any cluttered flat surfaces
The bathroom counter, dining room table, kitchen counters, hall table – take a look at all of your flat surfaces and clear them of any clutter.
Try to sort items into piles – e.g. keep, donate/sell, recycle – and then act on each pile accordingly. Once they’ve been cleared off, use the space to display something beautiful – like a vase of flowers or an eye-catching piece of art.
Remember, flat surfaces can easily become cluttered again so it’s important to stay on top of it by only keeping the essentials out in plain sight. Everything else should be stored away neatly and out of sight.
Day 21: Clean out your car
If you’ve got a car, it’s easy for it to become cluttered, messy and even dirty over time. Between kids toys, food wrappers and spare change, it’s not uncommon for cars to become overrun with unnecessary items.
Today is the day to give your car a good clean out – from the glove box to the backseat and everything in between.
Start by taking everything out of the car, then vacuum and wipe down any surfaces. When putting things back into the car, only keep items that are absolutely necessary – anything else can be stored away or thrown away.
Day 22: Write tomorrow’s to do list
Often, our minds are so busy that it’s hard to keep track of all the tasks we need to do. One way to make sure you stay on top of things is by writing a daily to-do list.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just make a quick note of any tasks or projects that need to be done tomorrow. This will help you stay organised and clear your mind of any niggling worry or stress about forgetting something important – plus, it feels great to cross off all the tasks once they’re complete!
Day 23: Clear out accessories
Today is the day to go through all of your accessories – jewellery, scarves, hats, belts etc.
If you’re anything like me (or should I say the old me) then chances are you have a lot more accessories than you actually need. This is a great opportunity to sort through all of your items and get rid of any that you no longer wear or love.
Donate any good quality accessories to charity, or try selling them online for some extra cash – either way, this will help free up some space and get the chance to wear the truly loved items.
Day 24: Start spending time outside
Minimalism isn’t just about paring down your possessions – it’s also about taking time to slow down and appreciate the world around us.
So, today is all about spending some time outside. Take a walk in nature and soak up the beauty of your surroundings, go for a bike ride or take your kids to the park.
Do whatever makes you feel connected and recharged – even if it’s just lying in the sunshine for a few minutes! The aim is to help relax your mind and body and let go of any stress or worries that may be lingering. Once you’re done, come home feeling refreshed, energised and ready to the next day.
Day 25: Declutter your garage
Garages often become the catch-all for things we don’t need anymore – tins of opened paint, old sports equipment, rusty tools – and it can be difficult to get rid of them!
Today is the day to clear out your garage and make sure you only keep what you need. Think about each item carefully; are you ever going to use it? Does it have a purpose? If not, it’s time to say goodbye.
Once you’ve decluttered your garage, take a moment to admire the sense of spaciousness that comes with less belongings.
For more tips, read my full guide on how to declutter your garage.
Day 26: Head to the charity shop
As a minimalist, it’s important to remember that decluttering doesn’t have to mean throwing everything away. In fact, donating your unwanted goods is the perfect way to clear out and help those in need at the same time.
So, today is all about getting rid of your unwanted items in the right way – and that means heading to your local charity shop, shelter or food bank.
Do a quick search online to see what’s around you and take some time to drop off any items that can be passed on. Not only will this give someone else the chance to use your things, but it will also make you feel really good inside – knowing that your possessions are helping out those less fortunate.
Day 27: Make recycling bins
if you’re not already, now is the perfect time to start recycling – it’s not only good for the planet but it will also help keep your home clutter free.
To make recycling easy, set up a few bins in different areas around the house – one for plastics, one for paper and one for cans/bottles. This will help you quickly sort out your rubbish and make sure you’re actually recycling everything.
Part of minimalism means being mindful of our environment and not being wasteful, so this is the perfect way to do your part.
Day 28: Write a weekly shopping list
Speaking of being wasteful, when you have a set shopping list and meal plan for the week, it will help you avoid any wastage of food throughout the week.
Take some time this evening to plan out your meals for the next seven days plus any other daily essentials (like toiletries etc). When you plan ahead, there’ll be no impulse buying, you save money and you’ll know exactly what ingredients you need – so there’s no chance of food ending up in the bin.
Plus, when you shop like a minimalist it can help to save a whole lot of time and energy too!
Day 29: Schedule in ‘me time’
You’re close to the end of the 30 day minimalism challenge, so today is all about taking some time for you, which is something you’ll continue to want (and need) to do as a minimalist.
Schedule in an hour or two of ‘me time’ and do something that makes you feel relaxed, energised and connected to yourself – whether that’s reading a book, listening to music or going for a yoga class. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that you enjoy – and that you’ll look forward to every day.
Slowing down and taking time to check in with ourselves is so important, and it’s something that we often forget. But by making an effort to focus on our mental and physical wellbeing, we can find balance and fulfilment in our lives.
Day 30: Commit to the minimalist lifestyle
Congratulations! You made it to the end of the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge.
The last and final step is making a commitment to continue with your minimalist journey. Remember, minimalism isn’t about giving everything up and depriving yourself – it’s about being mindful of what you own and owning things that bring meaning rather than clutter.
Commit to being more intentional with your time, thinking before you shop and making conscious choices over the next couple of months. You’ll be surprised at how much more clarity and freedom you’ll have once you embrace the minimalist lifestyle.
By focusing on the things that really matter, you can live with more purpose and intention – and that’s a life worth living.
The end of the challenge is just the beginning. I hope these 30 days have given you a better understanding of what minimalism is, as well as giving you tips and tricks that you can stick to in your everyday life.
For more minimalism tips, check out these posts:
- 10 Simple Steps to Creating a Minimalist Family Home
- 20 Must Read Minimalist Blogs to Discover in 2022
- How to embrace minimalism when you’ve been a maximalist all your life
- 12 Unexpected Benefits of Minimalism
- How To Downsize And Simplify Your Life