When I first started learning about minimalism and simple living, I remember feeling completely overwhelmed about where to begin. There was SO much I wanted to do that my head was spinning. I couldn’t figure out my first steps … so I froze and for a long time, I did nothing instead. 🙈
What I really needed was something structured that would help me focus my attention—and give me a gentle shove in the right direction!
With that in mind, I put together this list for you. If you’re interested in simplifying but you don’t know how or where to get begin, then here are 7 ways to kick-start your simple living journey.
PARTICIPATE IN A MINIMALIST WARDROBE CHALLENGE
When I was stuck, the thing that ultimately helped me take the first step towards simple living was a minimalist wardrobe challenge!
A wardrobe challenge was a good place for me to start because it was my biggest pain point. It’s embarrassing to admit but I had a shopping addiction. At one stage, I had converted an entire spare bedroom into a walk in closet and I owned over a hundred pairs of shoes!!
I knew I desperately needed to declutter my closet but I was overwhelmed so I kept putting it off—until I read about Project 333.
Project 333 is a minimalist fashion experiment where you limit yourself to 33 items for 3 months. It was created by Courtney Carver and you can read the official rules here.
My first attempt at Project 333 didn’t lead to me decluttering my entire closet BUT it was important because it encouraged me to take the first step. Looking back, it was actually the “spark” that eventually led to a complete lifestyle change, so for that, I’m eternally grateful.
Here are a few more minimalist wardrobe challenges for you to explore:
- Style Bee 10 x 10 Challenge—mix and match 10 items for 10 days
- The Wear Your Whole Closet Challenge—wear everything in six months or it has to go!
- 30 Day Shop Your Wardrobe Challenge—this one is fun, there are 30 different daily themes that encourage you to look at your existing wardrobe with fresh eyes
Also, I didn’t document my first attempt at Project 333 but I did it again in 2016 and wrote about it here.
TAKE A DIGITAL DETOX
When we talk about minimalism and simple living, there’s a tendency to focus on physical clutter but that’s actually only one piece of the puzzle.
Mental clutter—like being constantly distracted by our phones—is also SO important to clear because it eats away at our precious time and energy. We can’t pay attention to things that really matter if we’re constantly being distracted by things that don’t.
Having said that, I know from personal experience that putting down your phone can be a hard habit to break, which is why I really like this 7-day digital detox challenge. I think small daily challenges are more manageable than quitting cold turkey—although if you can simply switch off, then more power to you!
RELATED POST: How to Consume Social Media Mindfully
CREATE THE HABIT OF DAILY PERSONAL REFLECTION
One thing I’ve learned about clutter is that it’s often the result of a lack of clarity. Consider this:
- if you’re not clear on your personal style …you end up with a closet full of clothes you don’t wear
- if you’re not clear about your priorities … you’re left with an overflowing schedule and no time for the things that matter most
- if you’re not clear with your personal boundaries … you end overwhelmed with everyone else’s problems
A simple way to combat this is by creating a daily habit of personal reflection. All you need to do is take a few minutes every day to reflect: What went well? What could you do better?
Ideally, I recommend doing this a journal but I’m sure that even just thinking about them will add value to your life. Then once you’ve created a habit, try adding some of these questions into the mix for further exploration.
PLAY A DECLUTTERING GAME
If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of decluttering your home, why not make a game of it? I think this works really well because many of us (ahem, myself included!) tend to overcomplicate things.
Here are some fun ideas;
- Decluttering Bingo—create your own bingo card or I think this one looks like a lot of fun!
- 30 Day Minimalism Game—the famous decluttering game from The Minimalists (declutter one thing the first day, two things the second, and so on)
- The ‘Did You Miss It?’ Game—this one makes me laugh and I’m not sure if I’d be brave enough to give it a try … but it could be fun!
7 SIMPLE DAYS
If you’re ready to kick-start your simple living journey, I actually wrote a short course called 7 Simple Days to help you!
It’s a mix of journal prompts and mini-challenges that will:
- bring you clarity and a better understanding of your vision and values
- help you understand what simple living really means to you
- define your priorities so you can focus on the things that matter most
- inspire you to take small, practical steps towards a life you love
- empower and motivate you to write your own story
Here’s some of the feedback I’ve received about 7 Simple Days:
“Over the years I have done research, reading
MEDITATE FOR 10 DAYS
If you want to simplify your life, what better place to start than by simplifying your mind?
There are a lot of meditation apps out there but my personal favourite for beginners is the Headspace App and their free, 10-day introduction to meditation series (which used to be called Take 10 but it’s now just called Basics). Whatever the name, the premise is that you meditate for 10 minutes, every day for 10 days.
What I LOVE about this program is how it explains meditation. It takes it from this abstract concept and breaks it down in a way that’s really relatable and practical. I had a ton of “ah-ha” moments the first time I did the program and I highly recommend it. (Plus the narrator has the best voice!)
DO A PERSONAL AUDIT
A personal audit is a way of stepping back and taking stock of your life, so you can ensure that you’re spending your time, money and energy in alignment with your values and priorities.
There are many ways to do a personal audit but here is a simplified version of how I do mine:
- Write a list of the things that matter most to you
- Next to each item, brainstorm the things you’re currently doing to support that part of your life
- Reflect on your results. What do you need more and less of in your life?
I do a personal audit once every three months or so and it’s almost always an eye-opener. It definitely helps me clear the clutter in my life so I can focus on the things that matter most.
BONUS IDEA: DOWNLOAD MY FREE DECLUTTERING GUIDE
Did you know I wrote a free decluttering guide? In Mindful Decluttering, I share step-by-step, exactly how I decluttered my home and life. Subscribe below and get your free copy instantly!
What do you think? Will you be using one of these ideas to “kick-start” your simple living journey? Let me know in the comments which one you choose! x Jen