Every (well almost every) day, I’m going to give you a little challenge to help you simplify your life. You can accomplish these tasks in less than 30 minutes, and usually in less than 10. Once you’ve completed the task, visit the Be More with Less Facebook Page and celebrate by commenting “I did it!” or with more about your accomplishment. If you don’t want to participate on the Facebook page, do it on your own and know that I’m sending you a virtual high-five every time you complete a challenge. Invite your friends to join in too!
The Daily Challenges
These challenges will be posted (almost) daily on Facebook and weekly here with the most recent challenge listed first. Big change comes from hundreds of tiny steps and they all count. Choose the challenges that will contribute to change in your life.
The Pantry. Remove all expired food from your pantry and toss it. Remove all (non-expired) food from your pantry that you don’t like and won’t eat and donate it to someone who will.
Facebook. Unfriend 5 people (who you aren’t really friends with) on Facebook.
Winter wear. Declutter the stuff that keeps you warm. Winter is coming and homeless shelters need your coats, scarves, hats and gloves. If you extra, share.
Shoes. Donate any shoes that don’t fit you, give you blisters, hurt your feet, or that you haven’t worn in more than 12 months.
Your phone. Delete at least 5 apps you never use plus one you use often that sucks all of your time and delivers very little in return.
Under the kitchen sink. Yep, we are going there. Empty out the cabinet under your kitchen sink and wipe it down. Only put the things you use back in and get rid of the rest.
Do nothing. This may be the hardest challenge yet. Find 10 minutes, an hour, or longer and do your favorite kind of nothing. Examples if you can’t think of anything: day dream, nap, read a book, cuddle your dog, take a walk around the lake, putter around. Be as unproductive as you can while treating yourself at the same time.
Under-calendar your week. Grab your planner or online calendar and see what’s coming up this week. What can you move, delegate or cancel to free up time. This isn’t permission to back out of commitments, but if you’ve over scheduled yourself, look for ways to build in some buffer time in between appointments.
Cosmetics: Simplify your make-up bag or drawers by dumping the stuff you don’t use (yes, even if you spent too much on it).
Duplicates: Grab a box and walk around your home. Toss any duplicates you own when you know one is enough. Do you need two sets of measuring cups? 10 throw pillows? 4 hats? The answer is different for everyone. If you are worried that one won’t be enough, hide the duplicates for 30 day and see if you miss them. If not, donate them.
Hobby stuff: It’s time to let go of the stuff you collected for a hobby you don’t enjoy or practice anymore. This could be anything from musical instruments to camping gear and everything in between. If you took up knitting never to complete an item, or scrapbooking but it never took hold of your heart, let it go and make room for a new interest.
Your Car: If you have a car, do you treat it like it’s extra storage space? If so, empty it out and vacuum your car. Only put things back in that belong in a car.
Spread the love: Today’s challenge is to invite someone you love to join you in these daily challenges (not because they need it but because you enjoy doing things with them).
Orphaned Items: Today’s challenge is donate, discard, or repurpose orphaned items. Some examples … socks with no match, Tupperware/Rubbermaid tops with no containers. I’d love to hear other examples so please comment with the orphaned items you’ve been holding on to.
Holiday Gifts: Make a list of people you exchange gifts with over the holidays. If you prefer experiences over stuff, make a suggestion to do the holidays differently this year. Ask friends if they want to get together for dinner, volunteer or contribute to a cause you all care about, or participate in another activity in lieu of gifts. Maybe we all have enough stuff already.
Digital Junk Mail: Open your inbox and sort through your email. Unsubscribe from all catalog and shopping sites plus all the things you didn’t sign up for but just happen to show up in your email. Delete or file/archive anything you aren’t planning to respond to in the next week.
Towels and Linens: Make a pile of your towels, sheets, tablecloths, cloth napkins and anything else you might put in a linen closet. What do you use (even if only once a year)? And what are you saving “just in case”? Donate the items you don’t use.
Coffee cups: This challenge won’t apply to everyone, but if you are like I was and have a healthy collection of coffee cups (but always drink from your favorite cut each day), donate the extras.
Subscription services: Take a close look at your bank statements and make a list of your monthly bills. What do you pay for each month, (aside from regular utility bills)? Netflix, Audible, Hulu, Magazine Subscriptions, Other Internet Apps/Services … Add up your total spend for the month. If it feels a little heavy see what you can eliminate. There may be services you pay for monthly you forgot about or never use.
Things that make you sad: You can’t be happy if you surround yourself with things that make you sad.
Pretending: Living outside of yourself is exhausting. I pretended to be an extrovert. I pretended to like my job. I pretended to smile. If you’ve been pretending to be something you aren’t, like things you don’t, or pretending only to please others this challenge is for you. It may not be a small challenge, and it will take longer than a day but know that changing this one thing will change everything
Stop pretending. Give yourself all the space, time and love to remember who you are.
Books: I know! Books are hard because they are so awesome but consider this … I read more now than I did when I was collecting books and I get to share what I love most by giving them away when I finish reading them. Sometimes I pass books on to friends or family or I give them away on Instagram. You may not think of books as clutter but question why you are holding on. Will you read them again? Are they adding value or serving a purpose sitting on a shelf? The answer may be yes or no, and it might change over time. You know what’s best for you!
Complaining: Make a list of the 3 things you complain about most frequently (don’t judge, just write them down). Now that you see your top 3, ask yourself these questions about each: Is there an action I can take right now to resolve the complaint? Am I complaining to the right person (someone who can take action right now to resolve the complaint)? If I decide to let it go right now, will I be happier and healthier? Use your answers to decide how to move forward.
Odds & Ends: Get rid of the things that have no place in your space. Things like old keys that don’t belong to anything, decorative items you don’t enjoy, empty frames, freebies you don’t care about, extra hardware from a furniture set, broken jewelry pieces, unidentifiable objects … Those are just a few examples.
Putter: I’m going to give you some version of the do nothing challenge over and over again. For most of us, it’s the most challenging task! Take an hour or more today and putter. Be completely unproductive.
Compliment someone: Tell someone what’s good about them today. Instead of focusing on looks or clothes, tell them something you appreciate about their heart, how they contribute, the way they care for people, and how they see the world. I’d love to hear about the kind words you share in the comment section here. Let’s inspire each other to notice the beauty in the people we surround ourselves with.
Travel: Simplify upcoming holiday travel by creating packing lists today. Jot down the trips you have coming and make a list of what you’ll need to bring for each trip. When it’s time to pack, you can eliminate all packing stress by referring to your lists. To eliminate even more stress, see if you can edit your list down enough so you don’t have to check a bag when flying. Only bring what you can carry and avoid waiting for your bags, lost luggage, and the stress of dragging all that stuff around.
Diet: Try going without sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, dairy or something else that you might feel better without. Try it for 30 days and then decide if you want to bring it back or not. Try one item at a time or go all in with a challenge like whole30.com.
Utensils: From forks and knives to whisks and wooden spoons, we often have way more than we need in this category. How many extras can you find to donate?
Snooze button: Trade your 5 or 10 minute snooze button for 5 or 10 minutes of stretching, writing, tea-drinking, meditating or any other healthy activity to start your day.
Competition: Who are you competing with and why? Is your competitive spirit propelling you forward or holding you back? Is there an opportunity to focus more on collaboration and less on competition? I’m not saying competing is always a negative but it can be if it we focus more on the game than what we are doing and why we are doing it. Step back, look at the most competitive parts of yourself and ask if softening will help. P.S. You may of noticed that not every daily challenge is a fit for your life. That’s ok and to be expected. Take the ones that add value and let the rest go or share with friends who could use them.
Hidden clutter: This category is different for everyone. Where is your special hiding place for stuff you don’t use or that doesn’t have a place. The garage? Attic? Junk Drawer? Closet? Guest room? Under the sink? Even though you can’t see it, you know it’s there. Give that hidden clutter 30 minutes of your attention today.
Fancy clothes: Dig out the holiday outfits, bridesmaid dresses, and other fancy clothes you said you’d wear again but never do. It’s time to let go. Look for local places to donate or consider these …
Negative self-talk: We could all use a little less of this. The next time you catch yourself saying something negative or downright mean to yourself, stop. Ask yourself if you would talk about someone you love with the same words. You deserve the same love you extend to others.
Procrastinating: What’s the one big thing you are procrastinating? How would you feel if you started today? Let go of the building anxiety of procrastinating this one big thing by taking a small step today.
Be well: Schedule your preventative medical appointments and screenings. And, if you’ve been ignoring any current health issues, take the first step and see a medical professional. Staying healthy is the best way to simplify your life.