If you’re a student, or if you’ve been a student (and I’m assuming that covers most people) you’ll probably know what I mean when I say that my year will always start in September. It’s back to school, back to reality, back to routine, so I always find its most inspirational time of the year. It’s a time when I want to do more stuff, to refocus work on my goals and to get myself closer to health, wealth, and happiness.
In the spirit of fresh starts, today I’m going to be sharing with you all 10 minimalist challenge ideas (that can last anywhere from a week to a couple of months in duration) that can simplify your life, without overly disrupting your day.
Let’s just get into it!
Let’s start with some ways to simplify your morning, shall we?
1. Create a weekday uniform, if you don’t have one already.
Obviously, if you already have a uniform you wear to work, this isn’t the challenge for you. But it’s a great thing for uni students like myself. Just picture it, you wake up in the morning, you brush your teeth, you have your breakfast, and, without even having to think about it, you get dressed.
Your uniform doesn’t have to mean you wear the same outfit every single day – mine is jeans, a jumper, a scarf and a pair of Chelsea boots (which I wear almost every day throughout the winter months).
It simplifies your morning so much (and it’ll save you money on buying clothes for the sake of it).
2. Wear the same pair of shoes every day for a week.
Okay, you’re not on board with the uniform idea? How about we take it down a notch and just wear the same pair of shoes every day for a week. Not only will it be easier on your feet (provided you pick a sensible pair) but again, it cuts a decision out of your morning that’s going to simplify your day.
It’s also perfect if you’re the type of person who’s always running late – putting your shoes on is the last thing you do before you walk out the door, you don’t want to make yourself later by hum-ing and ha-ing over your footwear.
3. Go makeup free for one week.
Another one to consider if you’re always tight for time in the mornings. See if you can go one week without spending 15/20 minutes a day on your face. Slap on some moisturiser and head on about your day.
I know this one is a real challenge (I know I’d struggle with it if I had to go to work or uni totally make up free) but even reducing the number of products in your routine, gives you back vital minutes of your morning to spend on more important things.
4. Try tech free mornings.
The time you wake up can really dictate what ‘mornings ‘ means. If you’re awake at 6, leave your phone on airplane mode until 8. If you’re up at 8 (just in time to rush to work) stay offline until your morning break.
Giving yourself that little bit of detachment from the outside world in the morning will not only will it allow you to wake up more naturally, but it also means you can get ready in half the time (no distractions, see?) giving you space in your morning to read, or clean, or write, or meditate, or whatever else you want to do to set yourself up for the best day possible.
But let’s move on from the morning challenges and look at some other ideas.
5. Try a week long spending freeze.
The monthly spending freeze is not for me. In all honesty, I don’t have the dedication to keep up with it. However, a week works perfectly. It means I don’t need to do a whole lot of planning for it, I just use the food I have in my freezer and my cupboards and I stay off the online shops for a week. It’s the perfect way to get your finances back on track.
You could try doing a freeze like this 1 in every 4 weeks, or once a month – do it as often as you can without going crazy and falling off the bandwagon with a bang.
6. Pack a suitcase like you’re going on holiday in a nearby hotel.
Don’t pack for a Hawaiian vacation if you live in Alaska… the ‘nearby’ part of this challenge is key.
Once you’ve packed up everything you think you need for a week away, look around at the rest of your house. All of the stuff that’s left is negotiable, think about how often you actually use that item, take things off the shelves so you can see how much space they’re really occupying. This is a great weekend declutter if you’ve already gone through the basics and now you’re a little bit stuck.
7. The 2 piece kitchen.
This is a challenge that I’m in the middle of at the moment. Basically, the goal is to pair your kitchen down to as few items as is humanly possible. I recommend one item for each member of your household (for things like plates and bowls and glasses and such) and one additional ‘guest’ item. In my kitchen, that means I need 2 of everything, but there are exceptions. For example, I have 1 frying pan and 4 mugs. It’s all about gauging how often you use a certain item and how difficult it would be to clean it after use!
Not only will this make your kitchen cabinets a lot happier, but it also means dirty dishes won’t be able to pile up nearly as high – it’s a win win.
8. Try a shopping substitute.
For a week (or as long as you want really) block all your favourite online shopping sites. Every time you see that ‘page blocked’ screen flash up, work on a project of your choice. It could be on a blog or a YouTube channel you’ve always wanted to start, or a language you’ve always wanted to learn. Basically, the goal here is to replace the urge to shop for something that’ll get you closer to your goals.
9. 40 in 40.
I’m not sure who originally came up with this idea, but the premise is this – sit down and make a list of 40 small areas in your home (areas that’ll take you less than 20 minutes to sort out). Then, over the next 40 days, work through each area of the list and simplify them down to the necessities.
The areas can be anywhere you want… your jewellery box, your cleaning supplies, your bathroom cabinet, your shoes, your scarves, your mugs, your teaspoons – any of those little areas that niggle at you for being too large or too untidy.
10. Start/re-do my 12 Days To Simplify Your Life Challenge.
Way back in February I posted a 12-day challenge to declutter some fairly standard areas in your house (your clothes, your makeup, your bedside table) with specific advice for all the different areas. Even if you completed the challenge then, why not give it another go? I’m sure you can get your stuff simplified even more if you try again now!
I really hope you guys found at least one challenge here that you’d like to try this Autumn, I’ve tried many challenges like these before and I think they’re the perfect way to recharge and get back on the minimalist bandwagon.
Let me know some of the challenges you’ve undertaken to simplify your life – whether they worked or not, I’m interested to hear!