The Minimalist Challenge – Update

I posted about this back in December after reading about The Minimalist Challenge on Treehugger.com. For those who missed the post, The Minimalist Challenge is taking a month and on the 1st of the month, you donate/recycle, etc. one item you no longer have a use for. On the 2nd day, you donate/recycle two items. And so on and so forth. By the end of a month you should have donated, recycled, or as a last resort, properly disposed of 465 to 496 unwanted items (depending on whether your month has 30 or 31 days in it; less if you’re doing the challenge in February and its 28/29 days).

I started mine in December. There’s probably a reason why everyone on Treehugger was doing theirs in November; December is fraught with all those last minute holly-jolly Christmas details. And, I confess, it was not easy to navigate around bags of clothes slated for goodwill while also navigating around various homemade Christmas gift projects and such. But it is a worthy investment of my time. So I carried on. We’re almost into March and I’m still not done.

No, I haven’t completely emptied the house. Far from it. In truth, halfway through December, I stopped counting the number of items vs. the date because, once I got into this early spring cleaning mode, well, it has been more important simply to clean, organize and, yes, minimalize. I have a long way to go. Instead of opening my closet and taking out 2 shirts for the 2nd of December, I’ve simply gone through the closet and taken out everything I haven’t worn in over a year. It has started a fever. And, because my daily schedule is so all over the place, it is being done in small chunks. It is actually proving to be the better way because I’m not feeling as overwhelmed as I would if I did it all at once.

Of course, I’m not 100% sure I’m doing this all correctly. The frugal fanatic over here has found herself re-purposing a lot of things. Old T-shirts have been folded into a laundry basket to be reworked into throw pillows. The collars may be frayed but a throw pillow proudly proclaiming: “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” (one of my favorite shows of all-time), or commemorating the “RISPCA” dog walk I almost participated in years ago (long story involving 2 new St. Bernards with minimal leash training and a line of horses walking across our path…and the tree Bear almost pulled me into in his quest to investigate these larger-than-he-was animals…). In short, I am finding that, while I may not wear some of these items anymore, there’s a sentiment, a memory attached that has me re-purposing rather than donating or disposing. The same is true for some old canning jars, bits of yarn, buttons, etc. that might be used as part of a craft. However, re-purposing is along the lines of recycling so maybe it’s all good after all. What I do keep/re-purpose can be organized so that it ceases to be “clutter”.

Either way, I’m having the time of my life. It is actually liberating. And, as I come to the end of another term with SNHU, and await the next one starting on March 6th, I am looking forward to finally finishing this minimalist challenge with the few days I have between terms. This has been a wonderful experience. Maybe I’ll start another one in the fall…or hang a shingle up as a “professional organizer”; it might be the perfect line of work for someone with OCD.

May God bless you & keep you!

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