Archive for the Minimalism Category

Jump Start Your Journal With A 21 Day Journaling Challenge – 50+ Thought Provoking Journal Prompts

Jump Start Your Journal With A 21 Day Journaling Challenge – 50+ Thought Provoking Journal Prompts

jump start your bullet journalIf you’re anything like me and have a million thoughts swirling around in your head, you probably want to get some of them down on paper, too! For me, journaling is a way to process and make sense of things. It allows me to articulate my thoughts and feelings on any number of things in my life.

You might want to keep track of a busy schedule, find time to work in some daily creativity to your life, be better organized or work towards a goal. Many people want to keep track of things like gratitude or meditation. Maybe you’re trying to build a new habit, like exercising. You could keep a yoga journal or track your progress as you get in shape. Whatever your purpose is, you can tailor your journaling challenge to meet your needs.

What Are The Benefits Of Journaling

what are the benefits of journaling

For me, writing is a way to work through my thoughts and articulate my feelings around something that’s been on my mind. The process of writing helps me define, distill and put words to things I may be feeling, but not able to readily identify.

Journaling has been shown to improve mental health by bringing intention into our lives. A practice of journaling – like a 21-day journaling challenge – brings clarity, improves emotional intelligence, builds mindfulness, increases gratitude and strengthens self-discipline. Simply put, by committing to taking time for yourself through journaling, you’re investing in yourself.

How Do I Start Journaling

how do i start journaling

It’s important to first get a clear idea on what you hope to achieve from starting a daily journal habit. It could be a goal you are wanting to achieve, it could be solving some pain point in your life, or it could be to reconnect with yourself. Whatever it is, take a few minutes to think about it and define what success is going to look like for you.

bullet journal printable designsOnce you know your direction, you can determine the smaller, daily steps you need to accomplish that will lead to your larger successes. You’ll want to take that bigger goal and break it down into simple little actions that you can do each day. No matter how big your aim is, find the simplest thing that you think you can realistically do.

The key here is to orient yourself in a general direction and figure out the first step. It’s important to realize that even if you have missteps in this process, you’re at least making forward progress. If you fail over and over, you’ve discovered multiple ways of knowing what not to do. The benefit of making mistakes is having more data to show what doesn’t work and pointing you in the direction of what does.

People will sometimes get in their own heads about figuring it all out or having all the answers, only to give up. Just start, even if you do it badly, you’ll still be ahead of doing nothing.

From there, use some of the prompts I have provided here for you as a starting point. Tweak them for your purposes if you need to, but the main goal is to just put your pen to paper and write. Even if you decide to write about not knowing what to write about, it’s a start!

How To Do A 21 Day Journaling Challenge

how to do a 21 day journaling challenge

Once you’ve laid out your goals, get a journal and a good pen to write with, I’d suggest coming up with a few go-to questions and writing prompts you can always fall back on. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, set aside all other distractions and begin to write.

Leuchtturm 1917 notebook
bullet journal pens

A Few Basic Journal Prompts To Get Started:

Use these basic journal prompts to get started journaling if you don’t know where to begin.

Basic Journal Prompts

  • What’s the big thing you need to get done today?
  • What is one thing that you can’t stop thinking about?
  • What do you want more of in life/career/love and what do you want less of?
  • What would make this day or week a great day/week?
  • What guilt am I carrying around with me, how do I address it?
  • Create a list: What are 50 things I love?
  • What’s something that bothers you and what are different ways you could fix it?
  • What are 5 things you need to let go to move forward?

Different Types of Journal Challenges You Can Try

different types of journaling challenges

The nice thing about journals is they are super flexible. You can treat it like a diary, set it up like a bullet journal, or have it be purpose driven. Here are a few different types of journal challenges you can try out, feel free to try a few!

Daily Journaling Challenge

daily journaling challenge

This is a great place to start if you’re just getting into journaling. You can morph into whatever you want and can try some of the specific journaling exercises below to see what works for you! All you have to do is grab your journal and pen and then start writing a few pages at a time. Start with 5-10 minutes each day, but if you’re on a roll, go with the flow.

It can be a good idea to block out time on your calendar each day. Many people like to journal in the morning to set intentions, clarity and focus for their day. If you’re like me, I like journaling right before bed to take all the ideas swirling around my brain and get them on paper. This lets me address them head on and allows me to fall asleep more easily with a calm mind.

Daily Journaling Prompts

  • I couldn’t imagine living without these things…
  • If a younger version of myself were to see me, they’d call me out on ___.
  • I feel most energized when I am doing ___
  • Create a word cloud of what your ideal self would be, summarize it into three rules to live by.
  • What is getting in the way of being happy or reaching your goals, what part do you play in that?
  • What are the ways you could build more meaningful connections with friends, family and love interests?
  • What things do you say you’re going to do, but ended up not? How can you improve your say-do ratio?
  • What are things you like to do that others are willing to pay for; how could you leverage that?
  • What’s one project you’d like to spend more time on, why is it important? Bullet out 5 steps to make it happen.
  • What’s something that you’re not doing out of fear? How would you deal with the worst-case scenario?
  • If your house were to catch on fire, what 10 things would you save from the fire?

Yoga Journal Challenge

yoga journal challenge

While you’re journaling, you might also want to give yoga a try too. Many people who want to add more intention into their lives like to journal and do yoga at the same time; it’s a nice balance of mind and body. I know many yoga instructor certification courses suggest adding daily intention into the mix to help reflect on the process.

Take 15 minutes each day for three weeks to journal about your thoughts and feelings that come up during your 21-day yoga challenge. Journaling can be directly about your process of getting into yoga or it could be wide open as a way to process things to have a more wholistic approach.

21-Day Yoga Journaling Prompts

  • What does balance feel like in your life?
  • How do you recognize when you’re in “the flow”?
  • Where is your focus: on the journey or the destination?
  • How can you best serve your future self?
  • How do you express your creativity? How can you foster that?
  • What things bring energy to your life? What things take energy away?
  • What do you need to be more present in your life?
  • What is your ideal life? What things bring you closer or further from that ideal?
  • What are three words you want to characterize your life? Write about each.
  • Who are the people in your life that you’re grateful for and why? Be specific!

Bullet Journal Challenge

bullet journal challenge

A bullet journal is a great system to organize your thoughts, goals and habits. What I like about the system is that it’s both flexible for many needs and structured in a way to keep the chaos manageable. Start the process by setting up your bullet journal index, key and number your pages: I show you the basics of bullet journaling here.

Each day you will create a daily to-do collection page, then spend some time building out the rest of your bullet journal with purpose built spreads that support your goals. If you’re not sure what to put in your bullet journal, check out my post about how to choose what pages to include in your bullet journal.

Once you’ve got your layouts finished, start with some daily reflections and journal on some of these questions. Then, add it to your index. If you’re feeling really motivated, create a habit tracking page to mark each day you journal!

21-Day Bullet Journal Setup


21-Day Bullet Journaling Prompts

  • What are your top priorities this year? Bullet out 5 steps each to make them happen.
  • What things get in the way of achieving your goals? Brainstorm ways to address them before they happen.
  • What are the biggest nuisances in your daily life and what could you do to fix them?
  • What’s the difference between your actions and your intentions? How could you close that gap?
  • What is a favorite memory of yours, what lessons can you pull to apply moving forward?
  • What’s the best job you’ve had and what’s the worst one? Write about the differences and how to spot them.
  • What types of experiences do you want to have in your life, what about them makes them meaningful?
  • What’s an idea that’s consuming you right now? Journal about that idea.
  • What’s an area of your life that could be improved? Brainstorm about how you could make progress there.

how to start a bullet journal

Daily Gratitude Journal Challenge

daily grattude journal challenge

If you’re like me, it’s helpful to focus on what is good in your life as a way to stay positive. I once heard a saying “Was it a bad day or was it a bad five minutes that you milked all day”. That really stuck with me because I think my life has a lot going for it, but sometimes I get so wrapped up in the one little thing that didn’t go my way. Having a focus on gratitude can help fix that.

Take 5 minutes each day to just reflect on all the good things that happened. You can journal about what the good things were, how they made you feel and why you are grateful for them. You can also try out some of the prompts below. Consider adding in a mood tracker, which can be helpful to give you an objective view on how things are going.

21-Day Gratitude Journaling Prompts

  • Make a list of all the things you are grateful for in your life.
  • Write a gratitude letter to someone important, even if you don’t send it.
  • Take time to reflect on things you take for granted, what are they and how can you recognize them more?
  • Why is a habit of gratitude so difficult? What could we do to change that?
  • When everything goes wrong, what do you fall back on? Write about that.
  • What kindnesses have others shown you and what did they teach you?
  • What failures are you grateful for? What lesson was learned from them?
  • What went right when you really needed it to? Write about the experience and how that felt.

21 Day Meditation Journal Challenge

21 day meditation journal chalenge

Many of you know introspection has been a big part of my journey through life and that takes a willingness to be alone with my thoughts. Meditation is a great way to settle my mind when I need to be in the right head space for important work in my own life or in business.

There are many great resources on how to meditate, but realize that journaling in and of itself is a form of meditation. You can reflect on your meditation went the thoughts that tried to push their way into your mind while doing it. You can also meditate for 10 minutes and then start to journal with a clearer mind.

21-Day Meditation Journaling Prompts

  • My favorite way to spend my day is ___. What lessons can I take and apply from that?
  • Make a word cloud of words that you want your life to embody. Summarize them into a single sentence.
  • What are the things that bring me back to center when things are stressful or not going my way?
    Make a list of what is enough for you.
  • What was one of your life’s biggest mistakes, what lessons can you take away from that?
  • What are three things you could do to live a more fulfilling life?
  • What rules should you set to determine when to say yes or no to something?
  • What words do you need to hear from important people in your life?

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Journaling Challenge

how to get the most out of journaling challenge

Taking just a few minutes to journal each day will bring a lot of intention and clarity to your life. Putting down the phone, switching off the TV or breaking from your busy day to spend a moment on self-development and discovery each day can have a huge impact for little investment.

Here are some tips to make the most out of your time journaling:

  • Try to take a step back and challenge your assumptions and self-limiting thoughts
  • Defend your time for reflection, make it a priority and guard it well during the challenge
  • If you don’t know where to start, start badly to build momentum
  • Remove barriers and excuses to building a journaling habit before they come up
  • Calendar time each day to make it a priority

I hope that was helpful to kick starting your journaling habit. Doing a daily challenge can be a great way to build meaningful habits into your daily routine. So, grab your journal and get writing!

Your Turn!

  • What tips do you have for people just starting out?
  • What prompts do you like to write about?

How To Start Living A Minimalist Lifestyle

How To Start Living A Minimalist Lifestyle

live a minimalist life

If you’re wondering how to live a minimalist lifestyle, you’re probably a lot like me when I first started. I had an “okay” life, but one fateful Friday afternoon the economy tanked, my career disappeared and I started asking some big questions. Questions that lead me to a simple life and started me on my journey to figure out how to live a minimalist lifestyle.

Let’s start with the basics…

What Is The Definition Of A Minimalist?

Minimalism is the practice of intentionality as it relates to your relationship with possessions and how you live your life.

While many people focus on the decluttering and downsizing, for me, minimalism is all about intention. It is not that having stuff is bad, it’s when the thing you own, end up owning you that’s the problem. We want to have exactly what we need and nothing more because it affords us a life that is perfectly aligned with our vision of an ideal life.

What Does Minimalist Life Look Like Practically?

what does a minimalist life look like

For me, it was all about building a life where the things I wanted more of in my life became my focus and those things that I wanted less of were either eliminated or minimized. It was there that I laid out some parameters of my version of a minimalist lifestyle:

 

  1. Focus on what matters: quality time with loved ones
  2. Earn a living while being location independent
  3. Be debt free
  4. Have a flexible schedule with minimal commitments
  5. Pursue what’s interesting and, where possible, profitable
  6. Minimize distractions and unpleasant elements in life

minimalist interior

What you’ll notice here is nothing about that says “own less stuff” or “declutter my possessions”. But things like being debt free means I don’t buy a lot to begin with and minimizing distractions means not having a bunch of stuff standing between me and my goals.

How To Live A Minimalist Lifestyle

how to life a minimalist lifestyle

Minimalism can take many forms; the important part is to figure out your flavor of minimalism and optimize your life towards your ideal life. You could try to live with very few possessions, you could put together a capsule wardrobe, or you could adopt a frugal lifestyle to only work a few days a week.

To get started with a more minimalist lifestyle, you might want to consider a few different approaches

Try Decluttering Your Possessions For A Simpler Lifestyle

declutter your lifestyle

To live a simple lifestyle, you’ll need a simple living space. Take some time to declutter your living area. Focus on keeping things that you value deeply, and toss things that you don’t need any longer. I took about six months to fully declutter my space. Giving yourself time will ensure that you are intentional about what you keep and what you discard.

I recommend you kick start your decluttering by doing a 30 day Decluttering Challenge, which gives you simple 15 minute things to declutter your way to a decluttered home.

I like to complete the decluttering process in sweeps; the first sweep, get rid of anything that you know you no longer use. Take a few weeks to live without those things, and notice if the things you’ve kept are serving you. I did three sweeps in total, after noticing that I had held on to things following the first two sweeps that I still didn’t need. After the third and final sweep, I was shocked to see how few possessions I actually used in my daily life.

Question Everything About Your Lifestyle

Question everything about your lifestyle

The best skill you can hone in your life is the ability to take a step back and look at things objectively. As humans, we have blind spots into things in our lives that hold us back. It could be a toxic relationship, it could be not holding ourselves accountable when we should have stepped up, it’s the million little things that bother us as we go about our day. Any time I realize I just got used to something or hear “that’s just how we’ve always done it” I start to ask questions.

While getting square with things in our career, our relationships and our money is critical, those are things that take a lot of time because you need to navigate changes carefully. I found that me fixing small little things in my life that bothered me was a game changer for me.

I had a whisk that I’d make eggs with every morning, but I hated it because the handle was so uncomfortable. Its such a little thing to be bothered by, so I just put up with it. Then one day I realized every day I’d pick up that whisk and it bothered me and said aloud “whisk are like $5 why am I putting up with this!”.

question everything about your lifestyle

So, I threw it in the trash and went shopping for my “perfect” whisk. And now, I enjoy making eggs each day.

Stay Mindful And Live With Intention

a lifestyle filled with intention

Minimalists live intentionally. If there is something in your life that you don’t love, change it! When I started my minimalist journey, I was in a job and on a path didn’t serve me. Within six months, I had made a plan to change it and took made the leap.

I like to think about what my ideal life looks like, and then work toward that. Cutting out the things that aren’t serving you is the first step to creating the life that you want. An exercise that helps me is to write down what an ideal day would look like for you in five years’ time. Then outline what things you want more of in your life and what things you want less of in your life. With that in hand, you have a goal post to work towards as a goal.

Consider Your Lifestyle Around Relationships

a lifestyle that focuses on quality relationships

Going minimalist to me meant that I was spending time with only the people I wanted to spend time with. Though I have many friends, only a few of them are people who motivate and inspire me to grow and learn. I evaluate my relationships on how well they fit into my future ideal life and focus there.

To me, becoming minimalist meant focusing my social time on people who lifted me up. This way, I was maximizing my social time on people that mattered and freeing up time to spend on other priorities in my life.

Many people use this time to evaluate relationships in their lives, then let others fade away. While many people view this as cutting people out, I prefer to look at it as a relationship that has run its course, it’s natural arc. You don’t have to be rude or dramatic about it, in many cases I’d just stop accepting invitations and over time they stopped coming.

Be Intentional With Your Time

being intentional in our lives about our time

Reclaim your time. Instead of RSVP’ing “yes” to everything you’re invited to, take some time to think about whether it’s something that you are excited about attending. Be intentional with how you spendminimalist journal goals time management your time. I realized the biggest challenge that I had to overcome was getting over any uncomfortableness with saying “no”.

When I started my minimalist journey, I decided to cut out a lot of stuff in my work, my social calendar and more. I knew having a flexible schedule hinged on me taking control of things.

While saying no to things at work can be tricky, I developed some tricks to get out of meetings, cut out unnecessary tasks and free up a lot of time. In my social life, I stopped spending time with friends that didn’t meet the criteria of “is this relationship growing?” or “is this person matching the effort I’m bringing to the relationship?”

Simplify Your Wardrobe

simpler lifestyle with a simplier wardrobe

One of the biggest changes I made was adopting a daily “uniform”. I don’t need professional dress clothes because I work for myself and rarely go into an office. My uniform consists of a simple grey T-shirt, a white undershirt, one type of jeans and one type of shorts. I also have identical work out clothes, 2 pairs of shoes and a bathing suit. All my shirts are identical in cut and color, they work with everything I have.

how to have a really simple closet of clothes

This is obviously an extreme approach, but it suits me because I never have to think about it. I grab one shirt; one bottom and I don’t have to spend time making sure it matches etc. I just grab and go, it’s so easy!

If that’s too much for you, consider a capsule wardrobe which lets you have some variety, but still keeps it simple.

Doubling Down On Debt Free Living

live a debt free lifestyle

A huge part of minimalism is creating financial freedom and the number one enemy of freedom is having debt. Throughout my journey working hard to get debt free has made almost everything else in my life better. If I didn’t like a job, I had the money to find a new one. If the economy tanked, living below my means made it easier. If I had a big bill come up unexpectedly, I had the cash in the bank.

Minimalism has affected my life in ways that I never thought possible. When I started my rent was $1500 a month, after I built my tiny house, it only cost me $15 a month (not a typo). It’s hard to describe how life feels when you literally can earn an entire year’s worth of living expenses in under a months’ worth of work.

The security it brings, the peace of mind you have and the ability to weather the worst life can throw at you is a blessing of the highest level. It also allowed me to be very picky about what jobs I took, how I spent my time, where I lived and the life I live.

Maximizing Your Earning Potential

maximize income

One area I don’t see a lot of talk about is not only getting out of debt through frugal living, but maximizing your income. In a time that I was cutting my cost of living dramatically by living as a minimalist in a tiny house, I was also working to increase my income potential.

Why? Because part of being an adult is paying your bills, paying taxes and saving for retirement, but I didn’t want to spend all day doing that. The ideal situation was to do work that absolutely loved, but at an hourly that meant I didn’t have to work a ton if I didn’t want to.

To do that, I choose skills I enjoyed, but also were incredibly valuable to others. Meaning, I had skills that could earn other people a lot of money. For me, that meant I consult on marketing, where I could charge sometimes up to $1000 an hour. This allowed me to do focused work to earn my income fast and move on with my day. It also meant when I needed funds for a trip, a big purchase, etc. I could pick up additional work to pay cash.

Adopt A healthy Lifestyle With Simple Meals

healthy lifestyle

I love to cook and since I have more time in my life now, I pretty much cook all my meals from scratch every day. With the added bonus of being healthier and cheaper, I eat really well and, for me, cooking is a way I relax. You can adopt a weekly meal schedule, plan your meals ahead or do meal prepping. Whatever works for you, just think about how a simplified diet can make daily life easier and healthier.

a simple diet with simple foods

Take Time For Introspection

be introspective about your lifestyle choices

One of the best “investments” I’ve made in my life is to take time alone for introspection, which is just you sitting with your own thoughts to analyze your thoughts and emotions. In a world where we are so “busy” I think people are terrified to spend time with our own thoughts because they’d come face to face some uncomfortable truths.

The biggest thing is to just make space to think. So put your phone on silent in the other room, turn off the TV and block out distractions and just sit with your thoughts. You’re going to feel a lot of internal resistance to this, but pushing through to the other side is where the magic happens. Ask big open ended questions and don’t judge the answers that come.

 

Learn To Live A Minimalist Lifestyle:

I’ve written a lot about living a more simple lifestyle, so check out other was you can do the same in other areas of your life!

 

Your Turn!

  • How would simple living affect your daily life?
  • Would you be willing to give minimalism a try?

30-Day Declutter Challenge: Go From Stressed To Clutter Free Fast + Free Calendar

30-Day Declutter Challenge: Go From Stressed To Clutter Free Fast + Free Calendar

30 Day Declutter Challenge

I’m a big fan of bite-sized challenges to kick start new behaviors and a 30-day declutter challenge is a great (and practical) way to make a tidy house happen. I want to break down how to do this 30-day challenge and then give you tips to make it stick. Because the last thing you want to do after you declutter your home and work hard to clear away the clutter is to fall back into old habits.

NAVIGATION

Everyday Clutter Zones
Problem areas for decluttering
tackling tough clutter
clean sweep

By the end of this 30-day declutter challenge you’ll be able to:

  • Declutter your home in 30-days with easy steps
  • Stop stressing and bring some order to your messy house
  • Learn some practical tips to declutter your home
  • Keep your home clean, clutter-free, and organize long term

Why Does A 30-Day Declutter Challenge Work?

Why Does A 30 Day Declutter Challenge Work

A declutter challenge is an easy step by step process that gives you one simple thing to do each day. Focusing on one little thing each day makes it easy, but after 30-days, it adds up to a big change. It can be overwhelming to think about cleaning your whole house, but if we break it down into smaller parts, it’s much easier.

How Do I Motivate Myself To Organize My House?

How Do I Motivate Myself To Organize My House

At the end of the day, there is one thing that will actually make you successful when it comes to decluttering your house and getting organized: Action. You don’t need to have the answers, you don’t need to get it all right, you don’t even need to know the best way to start decluttering, you just have to start.

You’re going to have some missteps, you might accidentally toss something you’ll need later, or you might put it away to realize it wasn’t in the right spot. But here’s the thing, you’ve made forward momentum. There will be some of you who read this post with aspirational intent, but it’s the people that get up from their computer after reading this post and just start that will actually make it happen. Even doing it badly is better than not doing it at all.

Where Do I Start Decluttering?

Where Do I Start Decluttering

A lot of people get all worked up when they think about getting rid of stuff and declutter a whole house or apartment. Something about the process makes them jump to the most extreme case. Don’t get bogged down with what you think are going to be the most challenging parts or overwhelmed by the entirety of your whole home.

My best piece of advice is: Start Small and Start Easy. Don’t take on the largest mess in your home right away and don’t start with difficult things to throw away like sentimental items. Start in one small place and things you have zero qualms getting rid of.

refrigeratorFor me, it’s the fridge. It’s a very small space and I don’t have to worry about sentimentality when I toss that third jar of mustard in my fridge that expired long ago that I never really liked anyway. Many people will start with their fridge, the bathroom vanity, a nightstand or their junk drawer (you know you have one). These are places that are a limited scope and don’t carry a lot of emotional work with them.

Once you’re done with one, try another place. Each time you finish try a little bigger space. Then start to tackle things you might have more to process emotionally around. What you’re doing here is building your “decluttering muscles” so when you get to tougher stuff, you have a practiced history to lean on.

There may come a point where you only have the really sentimental stuff or things that are wrapped up with a ton of emotions. But since you took this measured approach, even if you stop right there, you can look back at all the meaningful progress you’ve made; you came a long way!

How To Do Your Daily Declutter Challenge

How To Do Your Daily Declutter Challenge

Each day check out your free printable calendar that you can download below. Try to do this at roughly the same time of day to help build the habit. Set a timer for 15 minutes and get to work.

At the end of the time take a moment to consider the progress you made in that area and over the previous days of the challenge. If you’re feeling motivated, don’t just stop at 15 minutes, but commit to doing 15 minutes each day.

DECLUTTER CHALLENGE CHECKLIST

  1. Check your declutter challenge calendar
  2. Set a timer for 15 minutes
  3. Declutter for the full time
  4. Reflect on the progress you’ve made
  5. Keep going if you’re in the zone!

Tips To Make Your Declutter Challenge Successful

Tips To Make Your Declutter Challenge Successful

Here are some things that will make your time decluttering a bit easier and ensure success at the end of your 30-days. Use the calendar as a guide, tweak it to suit your situation and needs.

Start where it makes sense for you. Each of us have our own flavor of clutter. Start with things that will be easy to declutter and are common problem areas for you.

Even if you don’t know where to start, move towards action vs inaction, even if you do it poorly you’ll be ahead of not doing anything at all.

DECLUTTER CHALLENGE TIPS

  • Don’t try to do too much at one time
  • Take time every day to maintain
  • Take before and after photos
  • Start with the easiest areas first
  • Have a bias towards action
  • Declutter first, organize second
  • Be honest with yourself

30-Day Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 Day Declutter Challenge Calendar

This 30-day challenge will help you declutter your house from top to bottom. Working a little bit each day you’ll move from room to room to make it all happen. Below is the 30-day declutter challenge checklist and calendar laying out what you need to do each day, but feel free to make some modifications so it works for you. I’m also going to break down each day with some added resources for you to check below, so grab your calendar and keep reading!

Download the Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 day declutter challenge calendar

Day 1 – Fridge

First day of a declutter challengeStart with this small area and toss out everything that you don’t like, is expired or you have multiples of. Condiments are a place we hang onto things too long. Most of what we use day today is a small fraction of what we have in our fridge door. Worst case you toss something you need and have to buy it again down the road, so be very heavy-handed here. While you’re at it wipe down the whole fridge.

Day 2 – Kitchen countertops

Decluttering your kitchen countertopThe kitchen the center of the home for many, which also means it becomes a place where a lot of things get placed down. Take a few minutes today to not only clean things up, but look at them. Why are they ending up there and not somewhere else? Do they have a place they should be? Should you designate a place for them? What practical steps can you take to stop the flow of these items BEFORE they happen.

Try to spend a few minutes each morning cleaning this area, it’s the beachhead for your decluttering for your whole house, so hold strong here to set the tone for the rest of your decluttering!

Day 3 – Landing Zone

Making sense of the landing zone for your stuffWhen you walk into your house, most of us have a place we drop our essentials: keys, wallet, phone, mail, purse, etc. If you just drop them on the counter or don’t have a designated place, take time today to set one up. It should be a purposeful selected place that is only for this, is out of the way to keep things neat, but easy to drop when you walk in.

Take a look at what you always have with you and what gets dumped right away when you walk in the door. If you have keys, set a single hook that makes it easy to see if your keys are there or not. For your phone, consider a charging stand or wireless charger. When you get mail, how should it be sorted (I do trash, to do, to file). Your purse might get hung or just a designated spot to drop.
For me I keep a minimalist everyday carry setup, so I don’t have a lot. I have a small nook that I purchased a small tray to put things in and I have a mail sorting station.

Day 4 – Front Closet / Mudroom Area

Clearing the clutter from your front closetIf you have kids this is managed chaos at best. Take time to think about what really needs to be there and what might be cut out. You want just the bare essentials here, too often people will use an article of clothing once, but it stays hung up there for months. A whole array of shoes litters the floor, but you most likely only have 1-2 go-to pairs. Cut things down to items you use every day, anything else that gets used occasionally should be removed and stored away elsewhere.

This lets us cut down what we have to organize in the first place. For a kid you might have a backpack, a lunch box, a jacket and shoes. Designate a specific hook or nook for each of these (ex: jacket hook, lunchbox hook) for each kid. Set a pattern to place each thing in their respective place, if they just dump and run, bring them back to do it correctly to reinforce it. This way you can quickly scan to see that little Johnny is missing his lunchbox.

Download the Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 day declutter challenge calendar

Day 5 – Cleaning Supplies

Organizing cleaning suppliesPeople have a lot of cleaning supplies when you only really need a few essentials to make it all happen. You want to reduce things down to the very basics: An all-purpose cleaner, a glass cleaner, and a disinfectant. That’s it! You can choose to make your own, but I just use store-bought. I get the generic brands of Simple Green for all-purpose, Windex for glass and mirrors, and then a bleach spray to disinfect things. From there I have a few microfiber cloths, a textured sponge, a razor blade scraper, and a scrub brush. Start with those, toss the rest and if you need something else buy it later.

Day 6 – Medicine cabinet

Arranging your medicine cabinetAs a guy my medicine cabinet is pretty lean. I only keep a few core things, but I know for women this is a more complicated matter. Focus on things that you use every day and things you love. Most women have a few go-to looks, so toss the makeup that doesn’t get used for those.

Here is what I keep, use this list to keep just the bare essentials and customize to you.

Minimalist Medicine Cabinet

  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen Sodium
  • Ancetaminophen
  • Cough Drops
  • Decongestant
  • Antihistamine
  • A Few Band-aids
  • Q-tips
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Anti-acids
  • Sunscreen
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Razor w/blades

Day 7 – Night Stand

Straightening up your nightstandYou start and end your day in your bed, so let’s get this cleaned so you can kick things off clutter free. A night stand is one of those places that ends up collecting a lot of things. Look at what is there now and try to understand why it got there. Figure out what the core essentials are for a night sleep and consider thinking about keeping your phone outside the bedroom.

Day 8 – Junk Drawer

Cleaning out your junk drawerA junk drawer is a place for things without a place. Let that sink in. Either it’s not worthy of a designated place or it isn’t getting a place it really deserves. Both are undesirable. We tend to toss things in here that we are saving “just in case”, that are useful for “something”, or we haven’t taken the time to find a place for. Take some time to be an archeologist on your junk drawer, fix the underlying issues and clean it out. Consider adding a drawer organizer so you can segment the items in there going forward. Use your “junk drawer” as a place for things without a place, once a month go through it and toss it or find a place for it, regularly clearing it out.

Day 9 – Socks and Underwear

Sorting socks and underwearIt may not be for everyone, but many years ago I went to a single type of underwear and a multiple of identical socks. This lets me have some uniformity with things, I stopped wasting time matching socks and it lets me rotate underwear and socks easily. When things start to get worn out, I buy a whole new set, toss out the old and replace with all new.

Most people have their favorites or things they wear most days. In general, I suggest cutting out everything else. If you don’t love it, toss it. If you have something that you don’t like or something that bothers you about it, replace it now. The cost of most of these things isn’t high, so be pretty heavy-handed here.

how to embrace a minimalist wardrobe

Day 10 – Linen Closet

Thinning out the linen closetGo through and toss out the things that are getting worn out or maybe don’t fit the beds you have. If your linens are running thin, consider doing a clean sweep and buying all new bed sheets and towels; from time to time it’s good to start totally fresh. Try to only have 2 sets of linens for each bed: one on the bed, the other in the wash or waiting.

Day 11 – Laundry Room

Laundry room organizationGo through all your cabinets and drawers, toss things that you haven’t used or just adding clutter. Focus on things you use daily or weekly, toss things that are used rarely. Go through you cleaning products here and pare down the bare essentials. If you have time, consider what bothers you when you do laundry, take the time to fix it now.

Day 12 – Desk

Straightening up your office deskThis might be the first big challenge for some of us. What I suggest doing is taking your paperwork and sorting into three piles: to do, to file, to shred. I give more tips about how to declutter your office here and how to maintain a simple office in this post.

Once you’ve pulled out all the papers in the office, next I want you to use what I call “the box method”. To start get a big box and go through your entire desk and put everything in that desk into this box. Put the box in a closet somewhere for 60 days, set a calendar reminder for two months out. Don’t leave a single thing on your desk except your computer, keyboard, mouse and a lamp.

Then when you sit down to do something, if you need something that was in your desk, go to the box and pull out that single item. If you need a pen, get only one pen (might as well make it your favorite pen!). If you need to staple something, you can get the stapler, use it, then put it in your desk.

At the end of 60 days, you’ll have only the core items you need in your desk and nothing else. Go through the remaining items to double-check nothing super important is in there, then toss it all.

Day 13 – Bedroom closet

Bedroom closet organizationThis is another big one, so set some more time aside for this one. Most people only wear 20% of their wardrobe, meaning 80% of your clothes you don’t actually wear. I suggest you make three piles: to keep, to donate, to toss. Then go to town sorting. Realize this is a journey, not a destination, so make a solid effort here keeping only what you wear and love, but realize too, this is the first of many cleanouts.

how to embrace a minimalist wardrobe

how to build a capsule wardrobe

Day 14 – Toiletries, Makeup, and Shower

Simplifying your bathroom suppliesI’ll be honest here; I’m a guy and I don’t get all that goes into women’s morning routines. I’ll just say this: Think about each item you have, consider your wants vs. needs, and question everything. I have one bottle of shampoo, one bottle of body wash, deodorant, razor, shaving cream, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and nail clippers.

Day 15 – Car

Cleaning stuff out your carCars are a place that can collect a lot of stuff, if you have kids, this is doubly so. How I do this is I bring my trash can out and remove all the trash that might have collected there. Then I pull out everything and put it into two piles: keep in car and things that need to be put back in the house. I grab all those house items and put them away where they go right then.

Then I’ll declutter, toss and organize what I want to keep in the car. One thing I’ve started doing is things I use every day in my car, those go in my center console storage. The rest get neatly organized into a small bin that gets put in my trunk. This lets me have the things I need, but not get bogged down in the items I have to have in my car, but are rarely used.

From there I make it easy on myself, I drive down to a local car wash/vac and have them clean it. Bonus: grab a coffee while you kick back and watch them clean your car, you’ve made it halfway!

Day 16 – Garage – Part 1

Organizing the garageHere is a big one, most likely the biggest on this list. An astounding 23% of Americans can’t even park in their own garage because they have so much junk.

Because this is such a big challenge, I’m going to give you three whole days to work on this. Consider doing these days on a weekend because it’s going to take some time. Start with taking a photo of your garage as a “before photo”.

homeowner garage stats

For this I’d start with three piles: keep, toss, donate. Get one big box of black garbage bags and one box of a different color. Black trash bags get tossed; the other color gets donated. If you are in a house with two cars, when you fill a bag, put it right into the car until its full. One car for donation runs and the other for dump runs.

Day 17 – Garage – Part II

Clearing junk out of the garageContinue your progress clearing things out. When you’ve pulled out everything and sorted, make your final runs to the dump and donation location. Then I want you to come back and take your keep pile and go through it one more time. Ask yourself critical questions about each item. Are you really going to use this in the next 6 months? What stories are you telling yourself about these items? Are you keeping this item out of guilt because how much it cost, was it a gift or other hang up?

Day 18 – Garage Part III

Garage maintenanceToday is about bringing it all back into the garage and organizing it. Take a step back and really question what you’re about to bring back in and keep. The trick here isn’t to organize your clutter, it’s to reduce the items you have to organize in the first place.

I’d set yourself up with some good shelving and storage containers, and label things clearly. I’d suggest trying to use a uniform container and one or very few sizes, this will make things look very orderly and keep it organized too. Put things that you don’t use often up higher and things you’ll use a lot in easier to reach places. Don’t stack things so you can’t get to them easily and try to only put containers one row deep.

Download the Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 day declutter challenge calendar

Day 19 – Maintenance Tidy Up

Guide to tidy up your houseYou had a big few days with the garage. So today go around to all the places you’ve already gone through and do a quick maintenance tidy on them. This will help keep your momentum going!

Day 20 – Kids Toys

Donate unused kids toysGo through and remove broken toys, toys that are no longer age-appropriate and items they haven’t played with in a long time. Donate where it makes sense.

Day 21 – Kids Closet

Sorting through kids closetFollow the same rules you learned with your own closet. Use the lessons you learned from your own experience to teach your kids in this moment. Involve them in the process.

Day 22 – Outdoor/Patio

Clear out outdoor patio spaceGo through your outdoor space and tidy up. Clear out dead plants, unused pots, and clean up outdoor furniture. Clear out your flower beds, coil the hose properly, rake leaves and fix whatever bothers you. Consider calling in a professional power washer for the house and deck, often these cost $200-$300 for the whole house and make a big impact.

Day 23 – Purse/Daily Bag

Decluttering your purseAnother place where things just naturally collect. Go through and clean out your bag, get down to the bare essentials. Take this time to think about the things you have in your bag, , magazines and replace things that never worked well for you or you didn’t like. Consider how you could better organize the items in your bag or purse with smaller pouches, reserving the main pockets and organization for only those things you use every day.

Day 24 – Family Room

Family room cleaningTake time to tidy up, remove things that collect there. Toys are big offender here if you have kids, so take the time to pare down again on toys if you can. Think about what messes are made, why it happened and how you could prevent them before they happen.

declutter your home room by room

Day 25 – Magazines and Books

Toss old magazinesGo through and make three piles: keep, toss, and donate. If you have a pile of unread books consider setting a goal of reading 10 pages each night to start making headway.

Day 26 – Powder Room

Tidy up powder roomTidy up the room, clear out the vanity of extra stuff, and consider adding a setup of your basic cleaning items right there for easy use. If you have extra time today, do some maintenance tidying in the previous areas.

Day 27 – Kitchen Pantry

Sorting out the kitchen pantryMuch like the fridge, go through items and toss things that your family doesn’t love or are expired. The pantry is a place where a lot of things that we used once to make a single dish and never again end up. Pare down your spices to a basic collection of your favorites. Here I’d suggest being pretty aggressive with toss (or donate) items because the cost of replacing is pretty low, so a mistake isn’t a big deal here. Focus on things you use every week.

how to stock a minimalist kitchen

Day 28 – Food Storage Containers And Pans

Use food storage containersEvery time I go into someone’s kitchen, I see them have a lot of pots and pans, but they often have their favorites. Saying things like “eggs stick to that pan” or something that signals it’s not really working well for them.

I suggest a small soup pot, a large soup pot, a good 8” pan, a 12” pan, a Dutch oven, two baking sheets, and a casserole dish. Keep those things and donate the rest.

For food storage containers I’d suggest something a little drastic. Toss everything. The problem people run into with storage containers is they have mismatched containers that don’t nest and they then have to go find a matching lid. If you stick to only one container type, every container will fit every lid. They then will also neatly stack in your fridge every time.

Then go find one container you really like and buy 10-20 of them. I found a great container that was pretty cheap so if it got funky, I could toss it without much guilt. It’s a decent size to hold a fair bit, but small enough so I can take with me if I want to pack a lunch in it.

equipping a minimallist kitchen

Day – 29 Kitchen Final Sweep

Declutter Challenge Kitchen cleanupYou’ve tackled the fridge, counters, pantry, cleaning products, landing zone, pans, storage containers, and spices. Now let’s round out the kitchen with a final declutter from top to bottom. Plan to give yourself a little bit more time today to get this done.

Start with re-tidying everything you’ve already done to keep it going. Now tackle any outstanding areas in your kitchen. Use your three piles to sort and if you’re really hung up on something, try the box method sparingly. Consider the items you use every day or weekly, the rest should be a candidate to get rid of or at the very least find a place to store them out of way and off the countertops. Be judicious about what makes the cut to have a home on top of the countertops, aim to have very few things on the counter.

Download the Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 day declutter challenge calendar

Day 30 – Final Push

Final push to decluttering your houseAt this point, there isn’t much you haven’t touched in your home. Think about things that you might want to do a second sort on to declutter a bit more, do those first. Now go back through the above list and do a quick tidy on all your previous work. Finally, tackle any extra things that aren’t on this list.

Take the time to really round out the whole 30-days, even if you have to work an extra day or two. You’ve come so far, finish strong!

How To Make Your Decluttering Stick For The Long Term

How To Make Your Decluttering Stick For The Long Term

Now that you’ve done so much work, we want to maintain it. I’d suggest you take before and after photos so you can remind yourself where you came from and how much better it really is to be on the other end of it.

  • Build a habit of maintenance tidying each day
  • If you keep cleaning up the same mess, ask why then fix that
  • Involve others you live with and gain buy-in, build their habits too
  • If something bothers you, take five minutes and fix it right then
  • Take a step back and question items in your space
  • Calendar times to clean up and tidy monthly
  • In 6 months, do another 30-day declutter challenge for a deeper clean

 

Download the Declutter Challenge Calendar

30 day declutter challenge calendar

Your Turn!

  • What tips do you have from your own decluttering?

30 day declutter challenge post

Living A Level 10 Life? Finding Direction With The Wheel of Life + FREE Worksheet

Living A Level 10 Life?  Finding Direction With The Wheel of Life + FREE Worksheet

are you living a level 10 life

When I built my tiny house and started to simplify my life, it was because my life was out of control. My career had experienced a significant shakeup and I was in debt. I found myself between a rock and a hard place. I was struggling to figure out how to move my life forward. Clutter was weighing me down.

But through these struggles I learned a lot of ways to move my life forward when things got tough. I found tools to guide me when I couldn’t figure out what I needed to do next in life. I finally started to get my life under control and one of the main tools that helped me get on track was called the Level 10 Life Wheel.

I’ve found one of the strongest motivators for achievement is need. This fact seems obvious, but it’s often ignored. Many people set goals that don’t address their needs and then wonder why they aren’t motivated to achieve those goals. They ask why their life isn’t track or when they never seem to be getting ahead.

level 10 worksheet downloadable PDF

For those of you unfamiliar with the Wheel of Life assessment tool aka Level 10 Life Wheel, it’s a simple way of writing down and assessing the critical areas of your life that you’d like to focus on. From there, you determine where you stand in terms of satisfaction in each area, set goals, and track your progress. For me, it’s been a really useful to orient my focus to the areas of my life I need to improve.

Ready to get started? Here’s how to use the Wheel of Life assessment to reach a Level 10 Life!

Why the Wheel of Life Assessment Tool Works

why level 10 life tool works

Before explaining the nuances of the Wheel of Life tool, I thought I’d give you a little background on why it works.

For many people, goal setting becomes scattered or unfocused. We set goals because we think we need to or because we think those items are what we want, but we haven’t assessed the areas of our life and where we need to focus our attention.

You may think, “I want more money,” or “I want to get a new job,” but you aren’t looking at the reasons why you want those things. Similarly, without using goal setting tools and SMART techniques, you might miss the path to accomplish your goals.

mountains notebookAs I said before, I came upon the Wheel of Life assessment tool because I was struggling to get a handle on several areas in my own life. After researching solutions, I realized cutting out all of the extra stuff in my life weighing me down was the key to finding success and fulfillment. I started my blog, and I started building my tiny house. It was a long road, but one that brought me a lot of satisfaction, and it came out of need.

When people set a goal like, “I want to get rich,” it doesn’t have the same motivating effect. The state of being “rich” isn’t really measurable—for some people, rich means being able to pay your bills with your paycheck. For others, it may mean buying anything you want at the grocery store and taking vacations a few times per year. Others may define rich as owning a private jet and a yacht.

But if you can pay your bills and you don’t have an urgent need for a yacht, are you going to feel motivated to do the work to turn yourself “rich”? If you do achieve the status of being “rich” does that actually solve the underlying drive and need we are truly seeking? If I had to guess the answer would be no. We must look at each area of our life and figure out what it is we want to at a deeper level.

For each of us, these areas might look a little different. But once we identify them, we can use the Wheel of Life as a goal-setting tool to track and move toward achieving a Level 10 Life in all areas.

How to Set Up a Wheel of Life

how to set up wheel of life

When I started working on simplifying my life, I found it helpful to divide up my areas of focus into distinct categories. For example, career, living space, relationships, time, and health. This allowed me to examine each area, identify where I stood, and pinpoint goals in the areas I wanted to work on.

I found the Wheel of Life tool very useful in determining how I should progress and what steps I should take next. The initial exercise is pretty quick, but it’s also super effective. The way I filled in each section of the circle let me quickly see where I was weak and what needed to improve. In some areas I realized I was doing pretty well, so I could just work to maintain there while I dedicated more time to areas where I was weaker. Of all the self-help tools I’ve found out there, this one was one of the best fits for me.

I’ve created a Wheel of Life template for you to use in your bullet journal. This will give you a good starting point, especially if this is your first time working on this type of life assessment tool. (Note: you definitely don’t need a bullet journal to work on the Wheel of Life assessment, but the tool lends itself well to this type of goal setting program.)

Download
The Level 10 Life Worksheet

printable level 10 life / Wheel of life pdf

The wheel starts with a circle on the page. You’ll divide the circle into 6-10 wedges (like a pie). Divide each wedge into ten levels (hence, the “Level 10 Life” moniker. Each pie stands for an area of your life you deem essential.

Wheel of Life Categories

  • Physical Environment
  • Personal Growth
  • Education
  • Spirituality
  • Health
  • Romantic Relationships
  • Friendships
  • Family
  • Career
  • Finances

Those are several examples of the areas, but you can undoubtedly choose anything that resonates with you. You may want to include your mental health, creativity, outlook/attitude, or another area aligned with your life. What’s important to you?

Don’t spend too much time worrying about getting it right; follow your gut feeling. I found it was helpful to do the categories fairly quickly. If I couldn’t think of it in a few minutes, it must not be vital to me.

wheel of life journal Once you’ve chosen the components, you’re going to go through the wheel and rate each category based on where you are today on a scale of 1-10. How satisfied are you with each area? Where do you feel you’re at? Assign it a number, and then color in the pie piece up to the level. Once the wheel is colored in, you’ll get a very clear idea of where you are and how each piece stacks up against the other.

I like this goal setting tool because it helps you visualize your problem areas. If work is a three and everything else is at an eight, then you know your career needs improvement and focus. For example, when I did the Level 10 Life assessment, I realized I wasn’t spending enough time on creative activities. This gave me a clear area I could work on, so I laid out a plan to weave in creative activities into my life. I knew it was a weak point for me, and this tool really helped me understand where I stood.

The Wheel of Life tool helps bring you clarity. You’ll destress your life by eliminating activities that aren’t moving you toward what you want. You may find your career is fully filled in but at the expense of your friendships. Think about what you could do to shift your schedule and make time for your social connections.

What the Wheel of Life Tells Us

what the wheel of life tells us

The Wheel of Life gives us a snapshot of where we are in terms of satisfaction with our experience. The goal of a Level 10 Life is to live so we’re fully satisfied in every single area. Bloggers and bullet journalists have found the next helpful step is to assign a goal in each area to bring you closer to a level 10 satisfaction.

Ask Yourself

  • Why does this area need attention?
  • What steps could you take to bring your satisfaction up one level? Two? Use those steps to set your goal.
  • How will you break down the bigger goal into actionable steps?
  • What barriers could come up to achieving this and how could you address them ahead of time?
  • What are you willing to sacrifice to achieve the goal?
Now, I think it’s also helpful to look at the areas you’ve rated highly—even those you’ve rated at 10. We often fail to grow in areas of our life where we get too comfortable. So, even if certain areas seem great, you may still want to set goals to maintain those areas and keep them up. Don’t become complacent.

Honesty is also fundamental to your assessment. Many people, including myself, have a strong desire to do everything “right.” We want to prove (even to ourselves) we’re satisfied with all aspects of our life. We worry about what we should answer as opposed to answering the truth.

wheel of life assessment toolRemind yourself this is a life assessment tool to help you know where you stand in your life and help you figure out what areas you want to work on. It doesn’t mean your life is terrible, or you’re failing in an area. If we’re being honest the fact that you’re stepping up and doing something to improve your life sets you apart, most people are lazy and content being miserable. This process simply means you may want to shift your focus to those areas needing additional attention. There are no right or wrong answers, and even motivational speakers and lifestyle gurus would probably admit they aren’t living a Level 10 Life in every single category.

If you’re overwhelmed by setting goals in all areas of your Wheel of Life, pick the areas you’re the weakest in and focusing your efforts there. Set two or three actions you will take in the next few weeks or months to improve in those areas.

What I like about the Wheel of Life tool is that it tells us a lot about our blind spots and the areas where we need to put in additional effort. It also helps us realize the areas of our life where we derive the most satisfaction. It gives a beautiful visual representation and map to follow to reach our version of a Level 10 Life.

I recommend using the Wheel of Life assessment tool on a monthly or quarterly basis. Monthly is an excellent place to start. If you feel you aren’t staying on track, you may want to start checking it weekly. If you feel like you need a little more time, stretch out your checks to once a quarter (especially once you’ve built up momentum).

Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to living a Level 10 Life in every area. Get started with the Wheel of Life assessment tool today.

Your Turn!

  • What categories are most important to you?
  • What goals will you set today based on your Wheel of Life assessment?

How To Stop Shopping – 5 Strategies That Make All The Difference

How To Stop Shopping – 5 Strategies That Make All The Difference

how to stop shoppingHumans are funny things, we may want to stop shopping, but when it actually comes to making it happen, we find ourselves back in the store or shopping online. The reasons are complicated, you may be shopping to deal with stress – a little retail therapy – you might find yourself among friends who shop socially, it could be a great deal or sale, or any number of other reasons.

We have lots of reasons, but whatever yours happens to be, it led you here; searching for how to stop shopping. Let that sink in, if you find yourself here, it’s a problem and we need to fix it. The good news is, I have been where you are and escaped that cycle, even going on to not buying a single thing for an entire year!

How To Stop Shopping So Much

how to stop shopping so much

Before I get into my strategies to help you stop shopping, let’s take a minute to focus on what the outcomes of shopping too much or even a shopping addiction could mean. This helped me a lot when I started my minimalism journey. Think about made you want to figure out how to stop shopping so much. What was that feeling or driver?

Next, I’m going to ask you to do something you don’t want to do. I want you to sit here for a moment and let the dread, the uncomfortableness, the emotions consume you. Notice how it makes you feel, the thoughts that spiral from it. I want you to feel the dread, the anxiety, the shame, and stress that comes from shopping too much.

The reason for this? Sometimes the best way to change a behavior is to think about what it would be like to have a healthy relationship with shopping. But if it was that simple, you’d just do that. Instead, I find sometimes it can be more effective to run from something, rather than towards something. There is something in our DNA rooted in our flight or fight response that makes this true. Unchecked it can be a destructive force, used as a tool, it can propel us forward.

How To Take Control Of Your Shopping Habit

how to take control of your shopping

When you feel the temptation to buy more stuff, I want to you remind yourself of that feeling. When you’re feeling tempted while out with friends, when you feel stressed, when you start to justify a purchase, I want you to let that feeling overcome you as a reminder of what you’re moving away from. This will start to make saying no to buying something a relief rather than a challenge.

Now to the strategies that help me break away from the consumer cycle and stop shopping needlessly.

Say “next time”

say next time

This was a really big hack for me when I was trying to stop shopping. I set a rule that if I saw something that I wanted to buy that wasn’t on my shopping list I wrote at home, I’d tell myself “next time I’m in this store, if I still want it, I’ll buy it then”.

This stemmed the flow of impulse buys majorly. It works so well because you’re not even telling yourself “No” just “not right now.” The funny thing is often when I saw the item again, I often found myself wondering why I wanted it in the first place.

You can do this with online shopping too. If you’re trying to stop shopping on Amazon, they have a “save for later” button. I do this for every purchase I make online now as a habit unless I am replacing something that was broken/worn out.

Remove The Triggers That Lead You To Shopping

remove the triggers

Think about what are the thoughts, situations, and triggers that lead to shopping? It could be that we shop because we find ourselves at the mall with friends. What if instead, we proposed going to the park on a nice day. What if instead of spending $20 on a new top, we went to a wine bar and got a bottle with the same friends.

Do you shop when you’re stressed or bored? What could be an alternative response?
The point is that when we shop too much, it’s way easier to stop the circumstance that proceeds us being at the store than to not buy when we are already at the store. Identifying the steps that lead us to shop makes us aware and thus more intentional. Recognizing the triggers is half the battle.

Ask Why To Stop Shopping So Much

ask why you want to buy something

When you’re considering buying something, take a second and ask yourself the five whys? This technique is from the engineering geniuses at Toyota, but can work wonders in everyday life too. When you want to buy something, ask yourself “why do I want to buy this?”

In your mind I want you to answer this question, then consider the answer. Take the answer and ask yourself, why is that the answer? Then keep on repeating. What you’re doing is digging deeper to the root cause of why you’re buying this item. When you get to the end and you feel you can’t break down the answer anymore (could be 3 “whys” or 7 “whys”) then think about that final answer. Does that final answer make sense with the purchase you’re about to make?

It’s easier to see in an example:

five-whys-to-shopping

So, when we look at the above, we see how we took buying a shirt and distilled it down to “I want to be loved and accepted.” This then lets us compare the action we are taking (buying a shirt) to the TRUE desired outcome (love and acceptance). We then can ask does that action result in the outcome, in this instance we most likely would say “no”.

the purpose of stuff

At that point we have also learned something about ourselves, we can then ask, “what could I do that would get me closer to my desired outcome”. This one-two punch will let you stop your buying habit and build a new one that’s positive.

Reframe The Cost Of Purchases

reframe the cost

One of the most impactful things for me was reframing the cost of items. Let’s say you make $20 an hour and the item you are considering is $160. Ask yourself, “is this item worth me working an entire day for?” This helped me greatly and really oriented me in the right direction. This is also really helpful when you are trying to get out of debt.

Add Pain To The Process

add pain to the process

You’ll read many tips about how to stop spending money on things, but at the root, many of these will fail. Why? Because buying isn’t a painful enough process. Remember how I coached you at the very beginning of this post to sit with the dread of your shopping habit? I wanted to steep shopping with a healthy dose of pain.

Whenever I want to change something about my life and it proves to be stubborn to overcome. I recognize my lack of progress and ask myself “how can I make this MORE painful?” It’s an odd notion, but it totally works.

One personal example was me kicking drinking sodas. Instead of saying I couldn’t drink sodas, I just said I couldn’t buy at the grocery store and keep them at home. If I wanted a soda, I had to get in the car, drive to the gas station 2 miles down the road and buy a single soda. Guess what, every time I wanted a soda, I instantly weighed in my mind if it was worth all that hassle.

So, whatever it is for you when it comes to learning how to stop shopping, ask yourself, “how can I add more pain to this?”

Your Turn!

  • What tricks have you used to stop shopping?