So many of us feel oversaturated and weighed down by the lives we lead. We accumulate things, friends, ideas and everything else under the sun, but many of us don’t know how to purge the excess when those things no longer serve us. Purging FRIENDS?! Van – that’s so cruel! Is it? Is it cruel to let go of the people that suck your energy from you, or the people that make it feel like a chore to visit? How many of us still have a pair of jeans or tank top from high school – more so for the novelty that we still have it over the fact that it’s a shitty piece of clothing that no longer fits? How many toys do our dogs and kids have? How many towels are in the linen closet? How… many… shoes… are you stashing away? Learning to minimize our lives is incredibly healthy. Much of our ailments today stem from stress, and being bogged down is a big stress inducer. You’d be surprised how much your things can wreck havoc on your life. Try this seven day minimalism challenge. Try one suggestion per day and see how far you get. Remember to check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling and don’t beat yourself up if you misstep. Let me know how you do by day seven. Print out this minimalism challenge graphic to keep yourself reminded. Check out the suggestions below to discover a more thorough explanation of their benefits:
Clean out your closet.
Clear out your inbox.
Stay offline for 24 hours
Meditate + walk
Clean up your facebook friends.
Don’t spend a dime for 24 hours
Clean your cupboards
1. Clean out your closet.
I recently wrote about the art of Wabi Sabi, and ever since my closet has been my nemesis. I’m ready to donate 80% of it and start fresh and I encourage you to do the same no matter how scary it sounds. (Who doesn’t love clothes?) We have so many clothes that don’t fit – whether we’re hoping they’ll fit again or not – and clothes from 10 years ago that we probably haven’t worn since. There are a lot of people out there who would benefit from your old garments so think about severely purging your wardrobe and keeping clothes that fit you, make you look and feel good – and are timeless. One of my favourite clothing guidelines is to adopt a wardrobe style like the French!
2. Clear out your inbox.
Our inboxes can get so clogged. Opening up our emails can actually be a stressful thing when there are 100 unread emails and we can’t find those important ones we need. Dissect your inbox; unsubscribe to those newsletters you never read, create folders to house your important documents and forms, and go through the entire domineering list – deleting and destroying until there isn’t a single thing in your unread mail. A stuffy digital life is the worst.
3. Stay offline for 24 hours
On that note: Get offline. For one entire day, don’t go on your computer, your iPad – even your cell phone (you can text or call, but don’t you dare open your Facebook or Instagram apps!). Having a glass of wine in the tub while perusing Pinterest is literally my favourite thing to do… but I could totally just read a book and get the same result. Unplug from the world and do something simpler and healthier, like yoga, reading, or catching up with a friend over a tasty cappuccino. Better yet, evaluate your life and find the areas where you harbour stress and decide what you can do to minimize those trigger spots. Constantly using our technology and social media keeps us buzzing all day long and doesn’t particularly promote mindfulness. It arguably does the exact opposite! Make the active choice not to go online for one full day. You’ll be surprised how hard it is…
4. Meditate + walk
Meditating for ten minutes is a great way to check in with yourself, honouring your body as your temple and thanking it for carrying you through your daily life. Our bodies do so much for us – they digest our food without our having to tell them too, they know how to grow healthy babies deep in our bellies, and they know how to move our muscles up and down the stairs to get to where we need to be. Any one of these things can go haywire, making our daily lives much harder than they need to be. We take for granted just how complex our bodies are. Take a few moments to thank your body for what it does for you and then go for a mindful walk, aware of each muscle carrying you, of the wind hitting your skin or the sun warming it. Be aware of the sounds you hear – the birds whistling or the sound of a train in the distance. Note any smells. Keep checking in with your muscles and the rest of your body.
5. Clean up your facebook friends.
We all have people on Facebook that we aren’t even sure who they are, or people who post statuses that just seem to rub us the wrong way. Maybe there are people you haven’t talked to in ages. There is no reason to hang on to these people. If for whatever reason you need to reach them, you can always send them a private message. But you don’t need to hear about their constant updates if it doesn’t mean anything to you or irritates you. These tiny pinpoints of stress seem harmless, but they’re also unnecessary. No one needs 2000 friends. Sorry.
6. Don’t spend a dime for 24 hours
I collect things like nobody’s business. I love things. I also love a good Frappuccino. You’d be surprised just how much money you spend in a day on those piddly little things. You might stop to get gas in the morning and buy a coffee – oh and some gum. Then maybe your coworkers invite you for lunch even though you brought a boring tuna sandwich. Then your best friend forwards you presale tickets for a cool concert coming up in a few months. And maybe after supper you order that little trinket on Etsy. Don’t spend any money for a full 24 hours. Leave your cards at home if you have to. Living minimally is also about living smarter and using what you have. So take one day not to acquire any more things – even a cup of joe. Make your own.
7. Clean your cupboards
How frustrating is it to open that cupboard that houses your tupperware? Every time I opened mine everything came tumbling out and while it was all splayed on the floor I STILL couldn’t find a matching lid. Organize your cupboards and donate what you don’t need. Twelve baking dishes? Unnecessary. Duplicate half used herbs? Combine all that basil into one container. Cracked or chipped drinking glasses? Toss ’em. Keep the bare necessities and don’t hang on to more than you need to. Clutter is the killer to leading a more mindful minimal life.
Rogue Wood is a mindful resource for curious individuals looking for modern satisfaction when it comes to spirituality. For more, visithttp://www.roguewoodblog.com.