Farewell, Week Three of the 30-Day Minimalism Challenge. How I never knew ye…. This week went by so fast I could barely keep up. This may have something to do with blogging and doing freelance on top of my regular full-time gig. But enough about my issues. Let’s see how this week’s challenge played out, shall we?
Day Fifteen: 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.
I do this a ton. I actually do it so much that I eventually snap and then go on a purchasing binge which will inevitably include some impulsive purchases that haven’t been as carefully thought-out as the stuff I was sleeping on. I need to learn a happy balance.
I did this with some jewelry purchases. A couple of days later, I decided the purchases had been thoughtfully researched, fit into the month’s budget, and supported my moves toward a more minimal wardrobe. I also pledged to ditch one pair of earrings for every pair I bought (three pairs). I am still sleeping on some additional earrings, and some new belts I’d really like to get. The goal is to put it off ’til next month and make the decision then.
Day Sixteen: Tackling sentimental items.There’s a few things you can do with sentimental items, such as creating a T-Shirt quilt!
To complete this challenge, I need to identify what sentimental items are in my way. I feel like we keep it pretty light, but we did have a bunch of DVDs lying around, so we’ve been digitizing to get those bulky cases out of the way.
When something does become personal to me, though, I do have a hard time getting rid of it, even if the object itself is completely ridiculous. More on this in the kitchen challenge below.
Day Seventeen: Declutter your shoe collection. Donate or recycle one pair of shoes you no longer wear. Extra Credit: Donate or recycle three or more pairs.
Okay, so in apparent flagrant disregard for this challenge, I picked up four pairs of shoes at a clothing swap last weekend. Oops. But seriously, they are flats in white, silver, gold, and red and they fit in perfectly with my minimalist wardrobe direction, being neutrals and one of my primary colors, red. But I still scrapped two pairs of shoes I no longer wear, so I did the challenge, right? Right?!
Day Eighteen, Nineteen, and Twenty: Virtual Disconnect. It’s important to disconnect from the computer and internet from time to time. Let’s use this 3 day virtual disconnect to work on ourselves – stretch, rest our eyes, and spend time with friends and family.
So, this challenge doesn’t work for me for a variety of reasons. I earn my primary income online, my secondary income online, and run this blog online. So yeah… no. I do make an effort to disconnect completely when I vacation, so I get my virtual disconnect on a few times a year.
So for this challenge, I opted to ensure that we made time this weekend to see my grandmother and some dear friends that we haven’t seen in far too long. To keep the minimalism going, I chose to clean out my second junk box still lurking in the second bedroom, clean out my medicine and under-sink cabinets, and to clean up my woefully neglected garden in preparation for fall and an upcoming special event in the neighborhood. Close enough!
Day Twenty-One: Keep only the necessities in the kitchen. Tackle your kitchen and remove items you never use. Donate these items, or recycle items beyond repair.
This was a big one, and one I am glad I started early, since it took several days. I have a fairly large pantry, and a ton of cabinets and drawers, so I had a lot to go through!
As it turns out, our neighbors made themselves an awesome custom pot-rack and had their old pot-rack available to hand down to us! This is awesome, because our decently-sized but poorly-laid-out kitchen has low deep cabinets in awkward places, and getting to all our pots and pans had been a constant issue.
No longer! The pot rack has really helped us get our stuff out in the open and within reach. Thanks Mike and Steve!
Now we can arrange less stuff more shallowly in our awkward-to-reach cabinets. (One day when remodel, we are so getting pull-out everything!) I bought a pull-out tray to try over by the stove and while it does make it somewhat easier to get in there to get our stuff, I don’t think I’ll expand the experiment to the rest of the kitchen, because it is still a two-step system: open drawer, pull out tray. I’d rather it be a one-step system, so we’ll just wait until that lovely day in the future when we remodel the kitchen.
Next up was the pantry… I went through all three levels and the door, getting rid of tons of stuff that we bought, used a little of, and then kept forever. We had multiple open boxes of things like saltines and vanilla wafers that we buy for specific recipes when we have a craving (old-fashioned squash casserole and banana pudding) and then never look at or use again because they don’t fit into our typical habits.
There was also a bunch of stuff my grandmother has given us that I’ve been holding on to because I love my grandmother. She doesn’t really get that we don’t eat certain things, and we’d accumulated all sorts of things we’ll never eat (and are probably too old now anyway). Now, this is pretty ridiculous because I love my grandmother regardless of what I do or don’t eat or do or don’t throw away. So farewell extra bits.
It also came to my attention that spices are once again taking over my pantry. We have a couple dozen magnetic spice tins on the side of our fridge, but we like to cook across so many styles and cuisines that the homeless spices are starting to stack up in the pantry. I bought another eight tins online and hopefully this will help out.
Throughout the course of this challenge, our donation box swiftly became a donation pile and started taking over the second bedroom. We finally got sick of it and took it all to Goodwill. We have a houseguest showing up this week and it would just be no good to have a bunch of to-be-donated crap junking up the room we worked so hard to clear out, just to get one big embarrassing pic of all the extraneous crap we’ve had lying around.
So it was another successful week, though I am definitely struggling to keep up a bit and barely eked by. I am starting to think that I’ll be setting some bonus goals for October, because I want to keep the “good times” rolling so that every part of the house will have gotten at least a once-over. We’ll see!
In the meantime, Mary is continuing to rock it out. Check out her Week Three update and her companion post on Minimalism in the kitchen on n00bcakes. And I am continuing to flood our minimalism-themed Pinterest board with all sorts of minimalism and simplification articles and inspiration.