I’m really late with this, but I did finish my 30 day challenge.
We’ve hit the end of our challenge. On day one we asked you to place one item a day into a Donate Box. Today, donate the box. If you’re hesitant to donate the box, you can instead place it in a closet or spare space temporarily. Take items from the box only if you need them, but replace any item taken with a new item to be donated. After a month, items still in the box should be donated.
My stuff went straight to Goodwill and I was glad to have it out of the apartment. There are a few things I still have mixed emotions about for sentimental reasons, but overall it feels good to be free of so much stuff.
There was more stuff in the back seat, and I’d already dropped off several boxes of books.
Learning something new turned out to be a good thing. I love knitting and have been spending most of my free time doing it.
19 & 20. Virtual disconnect
I did my three days in a row. It was eye opening to realize how often I reach for my phone throughout the day. I carried a book with me and did a lot more reading than I usually do. I also listened to more podcasts. My favorite was the “Simply Happy” episode of the TED Radio Hour. It also coincidentally tied in very well with this challenge. If you have time, you should listen to it. But in case you don’t, I’ll share some key points with you. According to a recent study that asked people to rate their levels of happiness randomly throughout the day, people felt happiest when they were completely focused on what they were doing, regardless of what that was. Strangely, we’re happier when our minds aren’t wandering.
Simplifying our lives also makes us happier.
28. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. We are our own worst critic. Today, try tackling something you’ve been putting off or avoiding. If you find yourself reaching a challenge or having difficulty with a certain task, step away for a minute. When you feel prepared to tackle the task again, dive in.
I still haven’t changed my name on my passport. This challenge could drag on for months if we wait until I do that. Instead, I decided to tackle something else that I’ve been avoiding: the stuff in my shed. There is a gas fireplace in there that has been there since we sold the house last spring. I put it back on Craigslist. Someone is coming to look at it tomorrow. There was also a card table in there that I added to my donation box, which is now more of a donation pile.
My 30 Day Challenge is taking me quite a bit longer than 30 days. The virtual disconnect and the holidays set me back initially, but now it’s stupid, stupid day number 28: Tackle something you’ve been putting off or avoiding. My plan is to get my name changed on my passport. I’ve been putting it off forever and even though I now have a reason to get it done (stupid, stupid day number 28), I still haven’t gotten around to doing it. I plan to, though. Soon. In the meantime, I went back to day 18 and jumped ahead to day 29. Sometimes we just have to do what we can.
18. Virtual disconnect
I checked my email once this morning and I’m going to again before I go to bed. I also checked the weather forecast and watched a YouTube video on knitting (for day number 29) but I haven’t looked at any social media all day. I deleted my Facebook account a couple of months ago, but I still spend time everyday looking through Instagram and Twitter. I’ve been thinking pretty seriously about getting off Twitter, too. Maybe this disconnect will convince me to go ahead and do it.
I’ve reached for my phone several times today to just flip through and see what’s going on and a few times to Google something before remembering that I can’t. It’s habit. I don’t like to admit it, but I spend a lot of time on my phone.
29. Try something new. You’ve almost completed a 30 Day Challenge on Simplifying and Minimizing! Have you completed one before? If you’ve answered “No” then you’ve already tried something new! Today, try something else.
I’m learning how to knit! I bought needles and yarn years ago, and they’ve been sitting in a drawer until now. I can cast on and knit stitch and I’m pretty excited about it.
Oh, and learning to knit is extra fun when you have cats walking all over you and your computer and chewing on your yarn.
Dontation box: I may not have been keeping up with the daily challenges, but I’ve been really good about getting rid of things. My donation box is overflowing and I’m not finished yet.
Some recent additions: khaki pants, calf sleeves, Aquajogger, pull-up bar and an extra yoga mat.
25. Declutter the unusual spots. Today we’re going to tackle the “unusual” places where junk accumulates. This includes under your sink, and even behind the couch.
I chose my closet.
Cleaned things up a bit and added three pairs of shoes and some Christmas lights to the donation pile.
26. Tackle your electronics. We’re decluttering not only the physical items (DVD players, CD players… Walkmans too), we’re also going to declutter the items we store on our electronics. Remove songs, pictures, videos, etc. from your hard drives that you are no longer using.
Walkmans? How old is this challenge? I deleted pictures and podcasts that I no longer need.
An old coffee grinder went into the donation box along with the lights and shoes.
Hope everyone had a nice Christmas!
I took a few days off from the challenge while I was out of town.
23. Take your time. This evening take your time – with everything. Once you relax for the evening it’s time to turn off the mental checklist.
This was tough for me. I tried to get everything ready for my run and work the next day early, so that I could just relax after dinner. I wasn’t completely able to turn off the mental checklist, though. And it all kind of backfired in the end.
I was halfway to the gym in the morning when I realized I didn’t have my Garmin. It was a bit cold out for the shorts I was wearing anyway, so I decided to just run on the treadmill. I hadn’t planned on running on the treadmill though, so I hadn’t packed my headphones. Luckily, it was only a four mile run.
24. Focus On Yourself. While you’re making your way through your journey, don’t forget to take some time to work on yourself. Get out and exercise, eat a healthy meal, and don’t forget to smile! This is a complete transformation – home, body, mind, and soul.
After some serious over-indulging during the holiday weekend, my body was screaming for some nutrition. I filled up on vegetables and fruits and stayed away from sugar (other than one tiny square of 88% dark chocolate).
Donation box additions: A skirt that I can’t remember the last time I wore (I’m guessing 2005ish) and a running hat. I have three running hats and very rarely wear them.
I completely failed to virtually disconnect on days 18-20. It’s the week before Christmas, so I’ve been searching for dessert recipes online. And my hamstring is hurting again, so I’m wasting a lot of time Googling things like “Is it OK to run with a sore hamstring?”, “Hamstring pain and running”, and “How long does it take hamstrings to heal?”. Vital research.
21. Tackle your kitchen and remove items you never use. Donate these items, or recycle items beyond repair.
Several years ago, I weeded through all of my dishes and silverware, so my kitchen isn’t actually too out of control. I have been accumulating grocery store food containers, though. I reuse them, but there’s no need for me to have as many as I did. I also got rid of some beaters that went with a mixer that I no longer have and an old coffee cup.
22. Clear Your Floors. Spend some time going through the rooms of your home and clearing the floors.
Done. Mostly just cat toys, but there were some cords that weren’t being used and a few miscellaneous things that the cats had knocked off of tables.
I didn’t realize until about noon yesterday that I was supposed to be doing this and figured there was no point in starting halfway through the day.
My virtual disconnect will start today.
16. Tackling sentimental items.
This was a tough one for me. I finally parted with my “dit” blanket. Dit is a word that I made up for the ring of silky nylon along the edges, which I rubbed between my fingers and on my face. I slept with my blanket until I was too old to be sleeping with a security blanket. I’ve been carrying it around with me (in a box with other memorabilia) ever since. I must have personified the blanket in some way because throwing it in the trash felt like a betrayal to the blanket itself. It felt cold and heartless.
But I did it.
Notice the cute little kitty paws on the kitchen table, where they’re not supposed to be.
I also got rid of awards I won in junior high and high school. I wasn’t too terrible at math once they gave me a calculator. Kind of surprising after all the trouble I had trying to memorize those damn multiplication facts.
17. Declutter your shoe collection. Donate or recycle one pair of shoes you no longer wear.
Extra Credit: Donate or recycle three or more pairs.
No extra credit for me right now. I was only willing to part with one pair of old running shoes.
14. Turn your bedroom into a place of relaxation. Remove the clutter from your bedroom (on top of your nightstand, the foot of your bed, etc). An hour before bed disconnect from electronics to allow yourself time to calm down for the evening.
My nightstand and kitchen table seem to be the two places in my apartment where the most clutter accumulates.
I generally try not to look at my phone or computer (and I don’t have t.v.) after 7pm. Sometimes I cheat, though. So no more cheating.
Actually, I cheated a little on the day I was supposed to do this. To remove that temptation, I’ve been keeping my phone in another room at night.
15. Sleep on it. If you’ve found an item you think you want, weigh the pros and cons of spending the money. You may find you don’t want or need the item.
There’s not a whole lot I’ve been considering purchasing. I did briefly consider buying a tart pan because I found a recipe that I kind of wanted to make for Christmas.
I’m taking this minimalist thing seriously though, so I decided I could just make the recipe in a pie pan if I decide to make it at all, which I’m now thinking I won’t.
I thought of something else I bought, but never used. When I first moved into my apartment more than a year ago, I bought an organizer cabinet for my bathroom. Several months passed and I still hadn’t gotten around to assembling it. I hate assembling things. I decided that if I’d gone this long without it, I probably didn’t need it. But I’ve been holding onto it for some reason.
It is now in the donation box along with yet another race shirt that has always been too short.
12. Donate items you’re holding onto “just in case”. Today we are going to donate all the items we have purchased in the last year that we are holding onto “just in case”.
When I brought Diamond to the vet with an infected paw last winter, I learned that I should be clipping my cat’s nails. I bought some clippers, but have been too scared to use them.
I tend to only buy things that I’m sure I’m going to use, so the clippers were the only thing I could think of.
13. Opt out of store email offers. Let’s clear out our inboxes so we spend less time sifting through the “sales” and more time getting to what really counts.
I unsubscribed to emails from Dick’s, Eddie Bauer, LeftLane Sports, Albemarle SPCA, Animoto and Etsy.
In addition to the clippers, I added some exercise DVDs, VHS movies and a portable CD player to the donation box.