If you’re feeling unorganized, chaotic, and frazzled, we have a 30-day minimalism challenge may help you change your life! One day at a time, you’ll make small changes that help you realize what’s important in your life and what you can let go of.
But before we get into the 30-day minimalist challenge, we're going to explain what it is first!
What is a 30-day minimalism challenge?
The idea with a 30-day minimalist challenge is that you get rid of something physical, mental, or even a bad habit daily for 30 days. You can do the challenge in any order you choose. There is no right or wrong way to do this challenge, just as there aren’t a certain number of days it takes to stop a bad habit.
The hope is that by changing your habits slightly each day, you’ll get some clarity in your life, including your physical, mental, and financial life.
How to start changing your life with this 30-day minimalism challenge
1. Analyze your daily habits
Before you can live a minimalist life, you need to know where you stand. How close (or far) are you to reaching your goal? Your daily habits will help you understand. Ask yourself what you already do well and what you could use some help on.
For example, if you already have a great morning routine, don’t mess with it. But if you never give yourself ‘me time’ or you consider yourself a hoarder, you’ll know which steps to make a priority. This isn’t a time to judge yourself. Instead, it’s time to sit down and figure out where you stand and what you should do next.
2. Establish a morning routine
Ease your way into your mornings. Rather than rushing to check your email, social media accounts, or even start working, give yourself time to relax. Prioritize your mornings, so you start with a clear mind and enough energy to tackle your day.
Rather than jumping on a device, take time to meditate, pray, or journal. Sit outside and drink your coffee or tea, and enjoy the morning stillness. You could even make positive affirmations part of your 30-day minimalist challenge!
3. Create goals for the year
It’s easy to get frustrated with yourself when you don’t feel like you’re achieving anything, but you may be and not even realize it. Rather than ‘winging it,’ as a part of the 30-day minimalism challenge, set goals for the year.
Choose short, mid-term, and long-term goals, but make sure each goal you choose is achievable. It’s good to have a mix of ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ goals, but make sure you have visible goals with achievable timelines.
4. Decongest your kitchen
Your kitchen is likely the heart of the home. It’s also likely the most congested. Most people use kitchen counters as the ‘dumping ground.’ Everyone walks into the house and dumps their stuff on the counter, leaving some or all of it to create clutter.
Try clearing off the counters and keeping them clear always. Create a nightly routine that includes you clearing off the kitchen counters each night. Also, minimize the clutter on the other counters - don’t leave too many appliances, canisters, or decorations out. It only creates busyness in the kitchen that creates chaos.
5. Write in a gratitude journal
It’s easy to focus on what’s going wrong in our lives, even when little things go right. The ‘bad stuff’ overtakes the little good things that happened throughout your day. Each night take five to ten minutes to write 3 - 5 good things that happened in a gratitude journal.
It could be as small as the sun came out, or your teenage daughter smiled at you today. Some days are worse than others, so you’ll have to get creative with the ‘good things,’ but with regular practice, it becomes natural to look for the good instead of focusing on the bad.
6. Enjoy some time alone
Alone time is important. It gives you time to regroup and not feel like you’re being pulled in every direction but where you want to go. It gives you time to think about what you want. With practice, you’ll enjoy your time alone.
If it’s weird for you to be alone at first, do something by yourself. Whether you take a drive, read a book, or journal, do something to keep your mind busy. But slowly, introduce a few minutes of just ‘nothing.’ This gives your mind time to relax, unwind, and ‘just be.’
7. Go technology free for a day
Technology has become such a regular part of our lives that we forget to take a break. If you aren’t careful, technology can consume you and never give you ‘time off.’ If you’re always on alert, answering texts, checking emails, and looking at social media, you’re not living in the moment - you’re focused on everything else.
Institute one day a week, month, or any frequency you can handle to go technology-free. At first, it will feel weird. It may even be hard, but you’ll find that eventually you enjoy it and may even look forward to it. Just make sure on the days you are technology-free that you truly do ‘live in the moment.’
8. Commit to not complaining for a day
Complaining comes so easy, especially when you have a bad day. But again, if you focus on the ‘bad stuff,’ you will never see the good. Complaining only gets other people to join in, prolonging your frustrations.
To see how different life is without complaining, set a day that you refuse to complain. No matter how bad things get or how frustrated you are, don’t complain. Focus on how you feel and how much lighter you feel when you aren’t constantly bringing yourself down.
9. Declutter your living space
Decluttering your home is one of the biggest steps in our 30-day minimalism challenge. Think of the area you spend the most time in and declutter it. Let it be an area of peace so that you feel relaxed when you sit in it. If you’re constantly surrounded by clutter, you’ll never be able to relax - your mind will always feel cluttered and even frustrated.
Make it a part of your morning or nightly routine to clear up your living space, so it becomes a sanctuary and not a place that makes you feel more unfocused.
10. Donate things you don’t use or need
Rather than holding onto things you think you need, create a rule during your 30-day minimalist challenge. If you haven’t used the item in 6 months (and they aren’t holiday-specific), donate the items to someone who could use them.
Clothing is the most common item we all hold onto longer than necessary. Whether the clothing no longer fits or you don’t like it if you haven’t worn it in a long time, part ways with it. Clothing, household items, or mementos you hold onto but don’t use only cause clutter and make it hard to be a minimalist.
11. Purge your social media following/followers
Look at your social media accounts. Do you need to follow everyone you’re following? Does it stress you out to look at your accounts? Maybe you feel frustrated or upset when you look at other people’s feeds - this causes unnecessary stress. Take the time to go through your social media and purge your friends and followers.
Think about who you care about and who you WANT to see the information you post. It may feel better to have a large following, but it doesn’t fill you up. You’ll feel more secure and worry less when you don’t have unnecessary followers, and you don’t have to see their feed. There's nothing better than some social media minimalism in this regard.
12. Cancel subscriptions and memberships you don’t use
Comb through your credit card statements and look for ‘ghost subscriptions.’ These are ‘free’ subscriptions you signed up for but then never canceled. You may be paying for them and not realize it because they’re automatically charged.
Even if you have memberships, you wanted/meant to have, if you don’t use them or they aren’t necessary, cancel them.
13. Say no to something or someone
We’re all programmed to say yes to everything, but we shouldn’t. The things you say yes to should be because you want to, not because you feel like you should. If you say yes to something that you don’t want to do, it doesn’t feel good, and it won’t let you live the life you want.
At first, it will feel unpleasant. You may even be mad at yourself for saying ‘no,’ but with practice, it gets easier. You’ll be able to recognize what feels good to you instead of always saying yes to everyone else because they want you to.
14. Spend 20 minutes outside
Create a habit of spending 20 minutes a day outside. If you think you’re so busy that you can’t fit it in, get creative. Take your lunch outside or answer calls outside.
If you live in an area where the mornings are comfortable enough to be outdoors, take your morning routine out there. It will become easier to get your outside time in when you are intentional about it, and you may even find you want to be outside more often.
15. Unsubscribe from email lists
Think about how many times you’ve handed out your email address. You probably can’t even remember, right? Companies are creative in getting your email so they can send you marketing material, but spam takes up your time and energy.
Instead, unsubscribe from any email list that doesn’t interest you and minimize the time you have to spend sorting through emails every day.
16. Read a book
Give up some electronic time and replace it with a book. You’ll skip the blue light exposure and educate yourself or just enjoy a good story. This is a great habit to instill at night. Cut yourself off from electronics at least 2 hours before bed, and instead, read a book to help you unwind and get a good night’s rest.
If you need some good reading material, check out our favorite minimalist books!
17. Have a no-spend day
Plan a day that you will not spend any money - not even on essentials or food. Make sure you plan ahead for this day to have enough food and necessities to get through the day. See how it feels not to spend 24 hours and see if you can expand it for an even longer period.
An essential part of the 30-day minimalism challenge is getting your finances in check with a no-spend day.
18. Learn something new
Is there something you’ve always been interested in learning but never took the time? Now is the perfect opportunity. Try a new skill, learn a new language, or step out of your comfort zone and do something you would never try, like ziplining or going back to college.
19. Clean out your closet
Go through your wardrobe and find anything that doesn’t suit you anymore. Create a keep, donate, and toss pile. Go through each item individually and ask yourself if it brings you joy, if you like how you fit or look in it, and if you have a use for it.
If you can’t confidently answer that it brings you joy, it makes you feel good, and you’ll use it, get rid of it.
20. Organize your online files
Take a day in the 30-day minimalism challenge and organize your online files. Your online files can get just as cluttered as the files in your desk drawer. Take the time to organize everything into digital folders. This way, when you need something, such as a tax document, you’ll know exactly where to find it.
21. Turn off notifications
It’s easy to jump at every notification that you receive, but it distracts you from what’s in front of you. Instead, turn off every notification except any you need for emergencies, especially if you have children.
22. Fold and put away your laundry
If you’re great about doing laundry but not so great about putting it away, be intentional about folding and putting it away. Only wash the clothes or linens you know you’ll have time to dry, fold, and put away in the same day instead of doing one big laundry day and letting the clothes sit in a clean pile all week.
23. Make a meal plan
Guessing what’s for dinner every night or putting that stressor on yourself after work can be a burden. Instead, make a meal plan and stick to it. Whether you create a weekly or monthly plan, the key is to have a selected menu and the ingredients to make them.
It takes the guesswork out of what’s for dinner and saves you money by not going through the drive-thru.
24. Clean out your personal products
If you hold onto personal items because they have memories, go through them. Certain things should be kept forever, but if your personal items clutter your living space, bedroom, or even basement, it’s time to cut back and figure out what you must keep and what can go.
25. Establish a relaxing nighttime routine
Sleep is an important part of your health, but if you don’t have a nighttime routine to help you unwind, you may not be sleeping as well as you think. If it takes you a long time to finally fall asleep, set up a routine, so your body knows when it’s bedtime.
A few ideas include taking a hot bath or shower, reading a book, turning down the temperature in the bedroom, and stopping all electronic exposure at least 2 hours before bed.
26. Declutter your kid’s toys, involve them in the process
Help your kids declutter their toys. Just like when you go through your clothes, help your child choose the toys that mean the most to them and which just sit there unplayed with. Together you can choose toys you can give to kids in need. Your child will learn to declutter and the spirit of giving.
27. Create a reading list
Create a reading list and post it somewhere you’ll see it. When you have books you want to read, you’re more likely to take the time to achieve those goals. If you just tell yourself you’ll read someday; you won’t. But if you write a list with books you want to read, you’ll be more intentional about your goals.
28. Leave a whole day with nothing to do
It can feel frightening because we live in a world where we are always going, but leaving an entire day to do nothing is a blessing in disguise. If you feel anxious, acknowledge it, but still, try. After a couple of hours, you may find that you love the feeling of not having anything to do and the ability to do whatever you want.
29. Write tomorrow’s to-do list today
There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing things off a to-do list. Write your list for tomorrow today, so you are well prepared for tomorrow when it comes. With a to-do list done, you can enjoy your morning routine without feeling like you forget something.
30. Find ways to overcome stress triggers
Stress is a part of life, but you can cope better if you have ways to deal with it. Find things that make you feel calm, whether it’s taking some deep breaths, meditating, taking a walk, talking to a friend, or just sitting and doing nothing for a few minutes.
Try this 30-day minimalism challenge to change your life!
Thirty days gives you a lot of time to transform your life. You may love some of the challenges and not like others, and that’s okay. The key is to give yourself a chance to try new things, see how new habits sit with you and what you’d like to carry forward in your life to maintain a calmer mind and maybe even help your finances along the way.
Learn more about applying minimalism to your finances with our completely free financial courses and worksheets! Also, be sure to follow Clever Girl Finance on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, for top financial tips and motivation to reach your goals!
Plus if you love these challenges you'll love our expanded list of 30-day challenges for your life and money!