The Thirty Days Of Less

Day 30.

Less Procrastination.

 

“I’ve been staring at the edge of the water, long as I can remember, never really knowing why.” ~ Moana

 

Nailed it.

 

The Thirty Days of Less idea wasn’t designed to change your life overnight.  It wasn’t designed to make an ultra-minimalist out of you.  It wasn’t designed to have you look solely at your external surroundings and purge everything you own.

 

It was however, designed to have you examine intention, to look inside yourself, to create an understanding about the feelings, objects, and cultural effects that grip us, and how to begin to let them go.

 

So, on our last day, let’s start living with less procrastination.  To take that first step, in some way, to living with less; to living intentionally.

 

When we look about our lives, take inventory of our possessions, our lifestyles, our thoughts, what we have accomplished, and what we haven’t; it’s easy to become paralyzed, staring out over the water not knowing how to take that first step, or even what that step is.

 

That’s what the thirty days was about.  To dip a toe in the water.  To start small, slowly stripping away that which doesn’t matter, so that we can make room for that which does.

 

We made it.  Whether you made one day or all thirty, it has been a pleasure to join you all for the last month of living with less, considering less, and learning about ourselves.

 

And, if you are a little lighter, a little freer, and a little more intentional; perhaps now there’s a little more room to procrastinate less, and act more.  Whatever means the most in the world to you, that which you truly value, go and chase it.  Don’t wait.

“Sometimes you must take a detour toward a more meaningful life.” ~ The Minimalists

Day 29.

Less Me, More You.

 

We’re already down to our second last day of the #thirtydaysofless.  Before we wrap up tomorrow, today is about less me, and more you.

 

Today, I’d love to hear just what the last 29 days have meant to you.  Have you realized anything new about yourself, or above how you live?  Will any of the things you’ve done have a lasting impact on your life?  What day was most impactful for you?  Were there any “aha” moments?

 

Today is all about you.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Less me, more you.

What was most meaningful about the #thirtydaysofless for you?

Day 28.

Less Debt.

 

“It takes money to make money.”

 

I was taught this lesson at a young age, in the context of how we need to borrow to invest, borrow to buy a home, and borrow to create a future umbrella under which one day we may get to sit.

 

It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve discovered this is another well-disguised trap of our current socio-economic world.

 

What they are really telling you is borrow to pay interest, borrow to buy stuff, borrow to dream of a future of more.  But they just simply don’t tell you the truth – that every dollar you borrow for some promise or hope of future returns – is simply a shackle to a life of un-intentionality.  Those borrowed funds restrict freedoms, job changes, life changes, and mental independence.

 

Without debt, freedom of time and space becomes as limitless as you can imagine in your wildest dreams.  Choice, true choice, is then within your grasp.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Less Debt.

How can you start removing the shackles of debt?

 

 

Day 27.

Less New.

 

The #thirtydaysofless has been about less in many ways, but of course the big one is consumption and our conditioning towards consumerism.

 

But, once we eliminate excess, once we purge all those things we don’t need, how do we accommodate the inevitable “requirements” that come along?

 

We need a mindset change.  When we need something, we need to think about many questions before we ever think about buying something again.

 

·      Do I really need this new item?

·      Can I borrow this item instead of buying it?

·      Will this be something I will need a year from now?

·      Is what I need available on a free local donation site?

·      Can I make do without this item?

·      What else could I use in place of this item?

·      Who else has this same item I need that no longer needs it?

 

The critical reason we need to think about these questions is simple.  The less we buy, the less big business will produce.  We are in control of demand – we and we alone.  Every item we DON’T buy, is one more item they WON’T produce.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Less New.

How can you get what you need without buying new?

Or, how can you live without?

Day 26.

Less Yes.

 

Aside from consumer purchases, we are also deeply conditioned to say yes to other things; people, bosses, friends, family, kids, and opportunity.  We say yes so often either because it’s easier, we don’t want to offend someone, or because of FOMO (fear of missing out).

 

The problem is, the more we say yes to, by default we are removing intentionality, and removing the opportunity to say yes to something else that we really value.  For example, if we say yes to rep sports for our kids, we may have to say no to family summer vacations.  If we say yes to additional work/money, we may be saying no to freedom of time and place.

 

Everything we say yes to comes at a cost; time, money, freedom, opportunity, stress, family, friends, etc.

 

Often when we say “yes” it was never really our idea in the first place.  We need to say “no” more often so that we can make room for the “yes” that is most meaningful to us and aligns truly with our values.

 

Here’s a great article: https://bemorewithless.com/yes/

 

Today’s Challenge:  Less Yes.

What are or have you been saying yes to that is holding you back?

Day 25.

Freshen Your Fridge/Freezer.

 

There’s something soothing about opening your fridge or freezer, clean, room to spare, and organized.

 

Many of us stress over dinners, kid’s lunches, healthy snacks, and sheer waste of food that ends up masked in the back, only to be thrown away as it rots.  We waste money with food that spoils, and overloaded freezers that see great food turn eventually.

 

Soothe your mind and your taste buds by freshening your fridge and freezer.  Toss anything that you don’t really intend on using, and commit to eating those things you realize you probably didn’t mean to buy anyway – but did because they were “on sale”.  It will be another reminder to shop intentionally, with a list, and buy only those things that you planned on, not what those sexy displays convince to you buy on impulse.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Freshen your fridge and freezer.

What makes the cut?

Day 24.

A two-four less.

In true Canadian fashion, today is two-four day.  Except today, we’re getting rid of 24 items.

 

Anything goes.

Day 23.

Less gratitude, more guilt.

Huh?  Yeah, that’s what I said.

 

Today, let’s ditch the gratitude, and bring on a heaping serving of good old-fashioned guilt.

 

Don’t get me wrong, gratitude is a huge pillar of well-being and most certainly its importance has skyrocketed in the pandemic, as have the millions of online memes expressing just how gratitude can change your life.  And it’s true, it absolutely can, should, and does.

 

But today, let’s also deal with the evil doppelganger first; guilt.

 

As we all navigate the pandemic, lost jobs, lost lives, and lost connections; we’re all in search of inner peace and balance.  Naturally, appreciating what we actually have is one of several tools we can use to find just that.  However, the quest for gratitude can very quickly turn into mindsets of guilt.  And when gratitude becomes guilt, you will most assuredly find yourself on a feedback loop from hell.

 

Let me explain. 

 

Pretend you work from home, and always have.  You’re young, healthy(ish), and have a good support system around you.  You have two kids, and online school isn’t the end of the world because someone is always home. Your wife is an essential worker, in the community, has a decent income coming in, despite having to work in higher-risk settings.  Money though is certainly leaner than it was pre-pandemic.  Still, you have enough for a bottle of wine a few nights a week, and ample food and supplies to stock your well-appointed home.  And since you can’t really go anywhere anyway, what else could you really ask for?

 

Yet, there will be times when the internet messes with online school, zoom meetings cause headaches, kids are moody, social connection is ancient history, finances seem tenuous, and the sheer anxiety around the virus feels unbearable.  In these times, despite what you do have, you simply can’t summon the energy to face another day of the same routine.

 

This internal struggle between what we do feel and what we should feel within our own individual lives can transform into an enormous sense of guilt.

 

“Why should I feel so bad?  We’re doing so well compared to so many others.  So many people are struggling.  I shouldn’t feel this way.”

 

Practice gratitude, they say.  Write down three things you’re grateful for, they say.  Absolutely do that; just don’t replace the guilt with the gratitude.

 

While gratitude is an excellent tool for well-being, in the long run we will always be required to face the true issue of guilt, rather than trying to simply change those feelings from guilt to gratitude.  Because even if we’re successful, it will only ever be a temporary solution.  Don’t allow the quest for gratitude to become the source of guilt.

 

Instead, we might be better served trying to recognize those emotions, sit with them, get to know them, hell, have a pint with them.  Be best friends with the guilt, let it in, and verbalize it; don’t only mask it with other feelings.

 

This is the way in which we allow the guilt to permanently lose its grip on us, so that we can actually appreciate the gratitude we seek.

 

So I say, bring on the guilt.

 

P.S.  Looking for a more eloquent version?  Mark Manson’s “F*** Your Feelings”.

P.P.S.  Yeah, the “pretend” guy is me, of course.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Less gratitude, more guilt.

What guilt could you make friends with?

 

Day 22.

Less Waste.

 

Naturally, one of the biggest by-products of living intentionally and living with less, is we create less demand for material things that end up, ultimately, in our landfills.

 

So let’s talk about our earth today, and how we can minimize waste, specifically the kind of waste that ends up in our landfills.

 

I want your best tips and tricks!

 

Today’s Challenge:  Less Waste.

Give me your TOP TEN TRICKS for minimizing household waste, and be creative!

Day 21.

Less “Just in Case”.

 

It all started at the wedding, then the baby.  Or in our case, the baby, then the wedding.

 

You get engaged, or pregnant, and you start figuring out everything you didn’t have that all of a sudden is a must; then you add all these things to the bridal or baby registries.  Now the baby one, sure you need some things.  But for the wedding registry, many people who were already living together, content in what they had, just blindly shopped for the pretty things.

 

This is of course the tradition.  Family wants to buy you items they think you need, based largely based on what they had when they were young.  Often these items are the “just in case” or “once a year” items.  You know, the third set of wine glasses, the gravy boat, the waffle maker, the expresso machine, etc.

 

These traditions of registries were not created by accident.  They were created to encourage and condition behaviours of consumption.  We should be learning more of a sharing mentality for these types of things.

 

What “just in case” or “once a year” items do you have that could be let go?

 

Today’s Challenge:  Less “What if” or “Just in case”.

Let go of 10 of the items you think you need, but probably don’t.

 

Day 20.

Less Covid.

 

OK, maybe this one isn’t your typical de-cluttering challenge.

 

But later today, I will be in a fortunate group able to get my Covid-19 vaccine.  It seems almost surreal at this point to be heading there after everything we’ve been through in the last 13-14 months in Ontario.  I am truly hopeful that we are able to make better progress in the coming weeks and months than it seems like we have been able to so far.

 

But the reason I wanted to speak to “Less Covid” is this.  Covid-19 and all the issues surrounding it, from the perspectives of health systems, politics, accessibility, mental health, religion, education, human rights, and money; have created a divide between us as people, a community, a province, and a country, in so many ways.

 

While the pandemic has exposed important weaknesses in social systems that most certainly must be addressed in the future; sadly, it has also exposed some of the worst parts of our own intolerance and inflexibility.  It has exposed many of us as utterly dogmatic in our belief systems, unable or unwilling to understand and reflect on how many different parts of society can all have opposing views, but yet to some degree at least, still all be right at the same time.

 

We truly spend so much time and effort convincing others of our views, while so seldom doing the opposite.  Think about this; if you are convinced your views are already right, are we not better to truly listen to others views, and to be introspective on our own?  Does that not serve a greater purpose?

 

When I wrote recently about how we all need to understand our own roles in how we got here, so that we can also understand how to get where we need to go as a society, this point was proven once again.  My Facebook comments feed on the article was filled with back-and-forth conversations (some just plain rude), very few of which either tried to appreciate another point of view, nor consider that any of us should bear any culpability in our current cultural and social issues.

 

Perhaps exposing ourselves this way is a good thing, but amongst everything else, I’m just tired of it.  So, for today, just less Covid please.  And get your vaccine.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Get Your Vaccine.

(Oops – am I allowed to say that?)

Day 19.

Less Stupid S***.

 

I will never live this one down.  About 10 years ago, we had a new home, hardwood floors everywhere, and I went to Canadian Tire.  You know those displays where they do demos to convince you to buy some miracle cleaning device?  Yeah, I totally got sucked in.  Along came home the “Mr. Sticky”.  What a piece of junk that thing turned out to be.

 

To this day, my wife has that card to play whenever I talk about minimalizing.  And she plays it.

 

But she’s right.  And I’m different now.  The key is now I can identify the stupid s*** before I shell out hard earned money for it.  I also know that buying something requires more than money.  It requires time, maintenance, cleaning, storage, and attention.

 

So, let’s make today a day of less stupid s***.  I know we all have a dirty little secret about some item(s) we bought and then quickly realized how ridiculous it was.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Les Stupid S***.

What stupid s*** have you bought that you can let go of today?

 

Day 18.

Less Schedule.

 

“Overscheduled children lose the space to simply be with themselves and learn the art of being alone. In our noisy, busy world, the importance of developing the life skill of solitude, meditation, and quietly being with oneself cannot be overstated."

― Joshua Becker, Clutterfree with Kids

 

One of the biggest things we do in today’s world is over-scheduling.  We do it with ourselves, and we most assuredly do it with our kids.

 

Less structure and schedule create opportunity for us to be creative, to think, to just allow us to open our eyes to the world around us.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Less Schedule.

Resist the urge to fill your calendar and instead allow your day to organically unfold.

 

Day 17.

Less Social Media.

So this day’s post may be a tad hypocritical, as I’m sharing it all via social media.  However, I think we could all agree that we’ve fallen into this trap one time or another.

 

The reason social media is such a problem, aside from the sheer absurdity of the content and its purpose, is that it completely removes our own intentionality.

 

The goals of owning less are to live with intention.  However, rarely do we jump on social media for a specific purpose.  And on the occasion that we do, the goal of these platforms is to quickly steer us in other directions.  Be honest, when you jump on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Tik Tok, you are truly just allowing the screen and the digitally manufactured algorithms to dictate how your attention will be spent.  Enter mindless scrolling here.

 

So thinking that a weekend with our family could be better spent.  Let’s ditch the social media, or find creative and intentional ways to control the unintentionality.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Less Social Media.

Share your best tricks to avoid the trap.

 

 

Day 16

Drop Your Drawers.

 

OK, you hate me don’t you.  When we cut everything else out I didn’t tell you that I’d come back after your clothes a second time did I.  And yet here we are.

 

Day 16 – Cut 16 items from your clothes drawers only.  You can do it.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Drop Your Drawers.

Drop 16 clothes items from your drawers.

Day 15.

Less Judgement.

We’re halfway through our #thirtydaysofless, where we have focused on creating more meaningful space, physically and mentally, by letting go of things that were not creating true value.  I hope that everyone has found moments of understanding, calm, and meaning through less.

One thing that I have learned so far on my journey, is that as I progressed further, I would occasionally find myself judging others.  When I saw material purchases and spending that seemed frivolous or unnecessary, the judgements quickly surfaced.

Of course, this is natural, and indeed to maintain our family’s goals, we had to influence others in some way.  For example, we had to be somewhat ruthless with family or friends that really wanted to give stuff to us or to our kids.  We also had to try and help them understand why we were doing this.  And it can be hard.  Try explaining to someone that lived through the depression about giving away items you don’t use, or explain to your mother why you don’t want her expensive Royal Doulton dinnerware.

As we also know too well, judgement is rampant everywhere, in particular on our social media feeds.  After all, it’s a foundational building block that the tech giants use for their most profitable algorithms.  Judge, and be rewarded with followers, likes and comments. 

So, for today’s challenge, considering what we’ve learned and what we have yet to learn, let’s let today be a day of less judgement.

So be honest with yourself today – and identify when your judgment surfaces.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Less Judgement.

How can we create a better world with less judgement?

 

Day 14

Blast the Bathroom.

 

I hope you were able to tackle your irrational fears yesterday.  Today’s challenge of fear is quite rational though.  The Bathroom.

 

If there is ever a “just in case” kind of room, the bathroom would definitely qualify.  Honestly, are you really saving that polysporin with an expiry date of 2014 for a “special day”?

 

Today’s Challenge:  Blast the Bathroom.

20 items need to be let go.

Day 13

Less Irrational Fear.

 

It’s day 13.  A perfect day to discuss fear.

 

After all, in our modern-day world, skyscrapers still skip from the 12th to the 14th floor when it comes to elevator buttons.....

OK - today's post turned into a full-fledged blog, you can read it here.

Day 12

Eliminate Endowment Effects.

 

“It’s far better to de-own than declutter.”

 

Imagine this scenario.  There’s a young man planning to ask his girlfriend to marry him.  He agonizes over buying an engagement ring; the style, colour, shape, cut, carat, etc.  He digs as deep as he reasonably can into his savings (or credit) to purchase the ring.  And it’s a beauty.

 

Then, child #1 arrives.  Mom realizes instantly that wearing a pointy rock scratches the little guy, and away goes the ring, at least for awhile.  The couple invests in a beautiful wedding ring in place of the sharp, abrasive engagement ring; after all, there’s likely to be more than one child.  This ring is a beauty, too.

 

Fast forward more than a decade, and the wedding ring remains the preferred, go-to piece of jewellery.  The engagement ring remains tucked away since the birth of the first child, now 12 years old.

 

Spoiler alert, the young man was me.

 

The question is, now what?  Do we store away this expensive item, or do we sell it and continue on with the item we actually value?  Is there some sentimental omen about selling such a thing? 

 

This is a classic example of the “Endowment Effect” and you can read about it here.  It’s an important discussion and another of the many reasons we find ourselves clinging to objects we’ve no intention of actually using to increase our true happiness.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Eliminate Endowment Effects.

Even if you may not be ready to let it go yet, identify a larger item that qualifies; and the reasons you’re still clinging to it.

Day 11

Crush the Century.

 

We are past the 1/3 mark of our #thirtydaysofless!

 

I hope everyone is feeling lighter, freer, and is gradually getting aware of the grip that our things can have on us, both physically and mentally.

 

So, an easy day to celebrate!  Lose 20 items today and you will have passed the 100 mark so far!  That wasn’t too tough was it?

 

Today’s Challenge:  Crush the Century.

Jettison any 20 items from your home and you’ll be over 100 total.

Day 10

Be Less Busy.

Remember when Saturdays were for relaxing and not for chores and catch-up and maintenance? 

 

Perhaps the pandemic and lockdowns have given you a glimpse into just being still?  Not having a schedule?  Not having to run all over the place?  Not having a long list of things to get done?

 

I wrote a little while ago about The Futile Search for Normal, in which I touched on the concept of how rarely we have (or make) time for the really important things.  Like picking up on a whim and heading out to see a friend.  Or when someone calls, telling them they’re welcome to come visit regardless of what you had on your to-do list.

 

Where I live in southern Ontario today, we’re getting a 23 degree-Celsius, sun-filled stunner of a day.  And you know what I’m going to do?  Whatever I want.  Whatever my kids want to do.  Just sit.

 

But it feels weird.  Feels like I “should” be “accomplishing” something.  As if sitting, doing nothing, getting rest, and just admiring how lucky I am to be alive isn’t worth anything.

 

Even in a pandemic, I have trouble nailing down my very best friends to sit and talk and just do nothing.

 

Of course, one of the biggest problems we face today is accumulation of things and to-do’s.  They rob our attention from the most important of things – simple human to human or human to earth connections.

 

So today’s challenge isn’t about getting rid of stuff; rather it’s about understanding the liberty of mind and soul that freeing ourselves of possessions and schedules requiring constant maintenance provides us.

 

That way, when next we decide to purge our lives of more “stuff”, we’ll truly understand just why it’s so valuable.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Be Less Busy.

Tear up the lists, sit and acknowledge the people and the earth around you.

 

www.kevingreenwood.ca/30days

 

Let us know how you made today’s challenge:

Facebook:  #ThirtyDaysOfLess @kevingreenwoodblog

Instagram:  #ThirtyDaysOfLess @kevgreenwood

Twitter:  #ThirtyDaysOfLess @kevgreenwood 

Day 9

Pass on Plastic.

 

“This mindless consumption, this same thing that is not making us happy, is also causing the degradation of our habitat. ~ Colin Beavan

 

The key is, it’s not just consumption, it’s how we consume.

 

For example, let’s take cereal.  I can buy cereal individual portion-size mini- boxes; each box containing its own plastic bag, each set of boxes wrapped in a package of 8 or 12, again in another plastic wrap.  Somewhat obscene.  Next, I can buy a family size box, still with cardboard to be recycled, but at least just the one larger plastic bag.  Or, I can take my large re-usable container to the bulk store and purchase what I’d like, no plastic.  Sure, the argument is that it’s less convenient, but big business and waste is built on convenience.

 

When I mentioned an experiment to my family the other day, about a plastic-free food day, everyone said “Sure!  That shouldn’t be too hard.”.  The idea was that we don’t consume (eat) anything that included plastic packaging, or was carried home from the store in anything plastic.

 

When you look deeper, it’s harder than you think.  The chicken you bought at the butcher either inside or out, has plastic.  Most of the juices, condiments, sauces, milk; all plastic containers.  Then there’s vegetables – and this was pretty shocking – almost all came wrapped in bags, clamshell containers, or some other form of plastic.  And even if they didn’t many of us default to voluntarily putting them in a plastic bag from the store (e.g., onions, tomatoes).

 

I challenge you:  For one day, do not consume anything that had any association with plastic when you either purchased it or carried it home.  It’s harder than you think.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Pass on Plastic.  Report back on changes you’ll make in the future to use less plastic.

 

www.kevingreenwood.ca/30days

 

Let us know how you made today’s challenge:

Facebook:  #ThirtyDaysOfLess @kevingreenwoodblog

Instagram:  #ThirtyDaysOfLess @kevgreenwood

Twitter:  #ThirtyDaysOfLess @kevgreenwood 

Day 8

Cut the Couture.

 

“Rice and beans cost more than used apparel.  In historical terms, that’s the world upside-down.” ~ Juliet Schor

 

If there is one area of our lives where we have all likely been guilty at one time or another, that’s the manner in which we purchase, use, value, de-value, and dispose of clothing.

 

The evolution of “fast fashion” in today’s world has reached epidemic proportions.  How clothing is produced, sold, and discarded means that we aren’t even close to paying the true costs; the true labour costs and the true ecological costs of the apparel we purchase.

 

And so, it may seem counter-intuitive for me to suggest cutting out clothing.  However, the objective is to understand a wardrobe of what we NEED, of only our most FAVORITE items.  This way, when we are once again tempted by the extraordinary allure of fast fashion, we will be more equipped to understand what we DON’T NEED, what are NOT OUR FAVORITES.  We will better understand before we purchase, what is likely to end up in a future collection of unwanted, unused clothing.

 

We can then also understand the devastating impact on the individuals tasked with producing our apparel, and the industry’s enormous contribution to the ongoing destruction of our habitat.

 

Today’s Challenge:  Remove any 20 articles of clothing.  But, socks don’t count.

Day 7

Pilfer the Pantry.  10 items (at least).

 

Does anyone have a pantry with a deep, dark side?  Those items that sit in there for years, maybe to be used “one day”?

 

Seeing a cluttered, overloaded pantry can be just as stressful as a cluttered home.

 

Today’s challenge is an easy one with a bright side.  Remove 10 (at least) items from your pantry that, be honest, you probably have no plans on using any time soon.

 

Then, donate those to a food bank that can desperately use them.

 

Win-Win!

Day 6

Gut the Garage.  20 items.

 

I’m amazed the number of times I see double car garages – packed to the brim with “stuff” and the homeowner going to work in the morning, frustrated at having to clean off snow or scrape off ice off their vehicles before they can go anywhere.

Then I’ll look at the house, a good-sized house, likely with some kind of basement, and wonder, why?

Garages were invented for vehicles. But they have slowly become domain for overflow of excess from inside the home. And for some, it doesn’t end there – many will have storage facilities or lockers to house what wouldn’t fit in the home or in the garage.

This is ludicrous.

Check out these stats from the U.S. (January 2021):

Annual industry revenue: $39.5 billion
Number of storage facilities: 49,000+
Total rentable storage space: $1.9 billion square feet

Today Challenge: Gut the Garage. If it’s not your garage, but your cold cellar or basement, let’s lose 20 more items that you don’t need.

 

Day 5

Less alcohol.

OK, this challenge may not apply to everyone, but it’s message is still worth reading.  Also key point – I didn’t say no alcohol, I said “less”.

 

I’m sure many of us, with our consumption either pandemically exaggerated or not, have had moments where we’ve thought we could re-examine our relationship with alcohol.  I’m not exempt.

 

Yes, we are stuck at home.  Yes, sometimes the days are hard and we would like a glass of wine to mellow.  Yes, there are small moments of victory and celebration amidst the challenges that we’d like to cheers.  And yes, the impending warm weather often calls out for a cold beer on a Sunday afternoon.

 

ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE FINE.  But maybe, just maybe, we can take a harder look at when a little “less” might be a reasonable thing.

 

Post your stories!

 

A friend (and writer) wrote a great piece on this concept called “Alcohol:  Reward or Saboteur”, which you can read here: https://jamieknowlton.medium.com/alcohol-reward-or-saboteur-5097335ceea3

 

Courtney Carver of “Be More With Less” also wrote a good one here:  https://www.becomingminimalist.com/alcohol/

Day 4

Kut the kitchen krap.

 

OK.  Day 3 was a sentimental one.

Day 4 is just a common sense one.   Just ditch the doubles.  Drop the duplicates.  Trash the twos.  Kut the kitchen krap.

 

In our fist big declutter - our kitchen was a disaster of doubles.  Not just doubles either - a massive excess of kitchenware that was almost obscene.

We're a relatively uncomplicated family of four - my wife and I along with our two boys age 12 and 9.  And yet somehow - here's where we were:

6 corkscrews?

21 mugs?

4 sets of mixing bowls?

121 glasses?  (Um - yeah - that was a true thing)

14 platters?

3 full sets of dinner plates?

16 shot glasses?

34 bowls?

Honestly, how much is too much?

DAY 4 CHALLENGE:   Kut the kitchen krap.  Lose 20 items from your kitchen from all those doubles or triples.

Day 3

Let go of objects as memories.

This is a tough one – and everyone is different – but we need to think about how we try to keep memories alive.  And as you may have guessed – it’s not through stuff.

 

You may disagree, but hear me out.

 

I’m sure many of us have things we’ve kept for sentimental reasons.  Perhaps, every few years we find a box while we’re cleaning; we go through some old yearbooks, ticket stubs, baby clothes, grandma’s tea cups; or whatever else we’ve hung on to as though it will somehow keep alive a period of our life, a memory of a loved one passed, or our fountain of youth.

 

As time goes on though, we must realize the memories are actually inside us, not inside the objects we cling to.

 

“Our memories are not in our things.  Our memories are inside us.”  - Joshua Fields Millburn

 

One of the best ways to detach from all of our material possessions is to remove our financial or emotional attachment to them.  Last year, during our huge de-cluttering where 1,860 items left our home – we were faced with many of these difficult decisions.

 

For example, my grandfather was one of the most influential people in my life outside my parents.  He meant everything to me – even today I can picture his face and feel his memory.  Every time I would visit him as a kid, he would gift me a very special model car from his huge collection.  I saved all these cars until just last summer, when during our huge de-cluttering, I finally let those cars go.  I realized that I had been saving them because after he passed in 2005, I believed they would somehow preserve his memory.

 

My wife also let some meaningful items from her childhood go.  Her wedding dress, too.

 

We all have our exceptions, and we all must realize what those are in time.

 

For me, when I’m gone one day, I hope my kids won’t burden themselves with the material things from my life.  I hope they will just live theirs.

 

DAY 3 CHALLENGE:  What sentimental “things” are you clinging to that could finally be let go?

 

P.S.  Here’s another great article on the subject:  https://www.theminimalists.com/sentimental/

Day 2
Less Television.

 

Maybe the pandemic has increased the amount of television you’ve watched, or maybe you’ve gotten sick of it.  But I know that many (most?) of us consume far too much of the idiot box (as my mom used to say).

 

They suggest that television only has us watching life, not living life.  That may be true, and not only that, it’s certain that television remains among one of the biggest means of encouraging consumption.  As we journey this month towards less, one of the biggest things we can reduce, or remove, from our lives are these marketing machines, all of whom are desperate for every morsel of our attention.  Eager to encourage us to add more material possessions to our life.

 

As Joey Tribbiani from “Friends” once said:  “What do you mean you don’t have a TV?  What’s all your furniture pointed at?”.  Funny, but true.  Many of us have allowed the television to be the focal point of our homes, and our lives.

 

In my family, we are guilty as charged.  Too often we allow the screen to just remain on, in the background, as we go about our daily lives.  Too often we search for something to watch, and sometimes even watch something knowing full well that we’re not really interested in it at all.  In fact, if (when) I propose 100% television free days, I will probably have to duck.

 

Still, let’s just turn it off.

 

Your DAY 2 challenge is:

 

First, decide for the rest of our #thirtydaysofless, how and how much you will “turn it off”.

Second, let us know what part of life you will add in, now that you’ve made room for less.

Day 1
Remove 10 items from your home.

 

OK, not everything is going to be about less “stuff”.  But DAY ONE is!  Today’s challenge is to remove ten items from your home.

Any 10, and anything goes:

 

Decorations.  Collectibles.  Kitchenware.

Electronics.  Furniture.  Bedding.

Clothes.  Towels.  Tools.

 

Whether you donate, sell, or trash, it must be out of your house, and out of your life—by midnight.

 

Do you have 5 corkscrews?

8 pairs of socks you don’t wear?

13 hoodies when you only wear 4?

26 coffee mugs for a family of 4?

 

What did you get rid of?

*******

“All of these things I brought into my life without questioning.  But, when I started letting go, I started feeling freer and happier and lighter.  And now...every possession serves a purpose or brings me joy."

 

- Joshua Fields Millburn, The Minimalists

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