Project Simplify: November Minimalist Challenge

ProjectSimplifyBannerIt’s been nearly a year now since I bought my new house and purged a lot of stuff for my big move. Last year was pretty stressful getting ready for a big garage sale but I got rid of so much stuff! Looking around the house lately I’ve begun noticing several things that I could get rid of and the idea of holding another yard sale came to mind. It’s funny how stuff continues to creep back into the house despite my best efforts.

I’ve stopped buying quilting fabric, tools, notions, patterns, books, thread…. unless I really have a specific project in mind and can’t find it in my studio already. Most of the items I’ve purchased recently are wedding related.

The other thing I’ve been working on minimizing is my time on social media platforms that don’t directly contribute to me being more productive overall. Anything that has become a time-sink (Facebook browsing, Pinterest, Instagram) I’m working hard to phase that out and only go on there to post or comment on friends posts. Spending more time with loved ones when I’m present with them and less on my phone is becoming easier and easier each day.

John and I went to Bandit Coffee Shop in St. Petersburg to attend the Minimalist Meetup and they had one of The Minimalists there to speak with us and answer lots of questions. Sitting there with a group of people that believe in this movement made me realize – everyone finds minimalism when they need it.  It’s not something you can convert someone to or convince them it’s great just by telling them about it. I found minimalism during a time of my life when everything felt out of control, chaotic and I was wildly unhappy with everything I had. Minimalism isn’t about living with nothing or living in a tiny house; though, for some people that may be the case.  It’s about maximizing our time with our family, friends and loved ones by spending less time and money on things we don’t need. It’s also about spending less time and frustration on relationships that aren’t worthwhile and are sucking you dry. For a lot of people I think that is the more difficult part to implement.

Baby steps though! That brings me to my reason for posting this.  November is a new month and a great time to begin a fun minimalism challenge if you’re up for it! Here’s how it works:

Minimalism Challenge

  • Each day of the month you donate, sell or trash the number of items for that date.  Day one = one item. Day two = two items and so on.
  • If you participate the entire month of November you will have eliminated 465 items from your household!
  • Challenge a loved one that you live with you can double that number.
  • This challenge is always more fun with friends and you can come up with a fun prize at the end for whoever sticks with it the longest.

Tips for deciding whether to keep something or not:

  • Think about the last time you used or wore that item. When do you plan on using it again?
  • Consider making a 180 day rule.  If you haven’t used it in 180 days and you don’t plan on using it in the next 180 perhaps it’s time to let go.
  • Those “Just in case” items that keep sticking around? If it can be replaced in 20 minutes for less than $20 purge it. (The Minimalists have a great blog about it and how it helped them immensely even when traveling.)

Keep Track of Your Progress

Will you join me?



  1. Beth Shamblin says:

    This is where I’m at right now! I’ve known for a long time that the outside is often a reflection of what’s going on inside…meaning, if a person is surrounded by clutter and chaos that’s what they’re dealing with mentally and emotionally. Maybe this isn’t true for everyone but it’s certainly true for me. I’ve been dealing with this in fits and starts…adopting the konmari method when it came to my clothes and books but never getting past that point and following through with the rest of the household. It’s not just a one-time purge, though, it’s a different mindset that has to happen to keep from constantly winding up back at this point.
    I accept your challenge, Katie! I hope I remember each day and have time as the month progresses! Haha Good luck to you too. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Does throwing out paper stuff count?

  3. Kris Jacobson says:

    Nothing can be replaced in 20 minutes in my household. I live 45 minutes from town. But there is a point where it gets to be ridiculous to keep everything and I am making an effort to reduce things and clear out clutter. I just need to find the time to do it and then get it hauled some place. I donate a lot to charity but we live to far in the country to do rummage sales and we don’t have very many community auctions to haul stuff to. And I really have a hard time just pitching stuff. But I keep trying

  4. You are right, I need a purge “buddy”. I will let my hubby know tonight that it’s going to be him! He is a “chucker” and will be happy to comply and “get ‘re outta here”. I am being serious too-I am ready!

  5. I’m going to join in, but living in a 5th wheel RV full-time you tend not to collect a lot, but there are many things I haven’t used in a long, long time and it’s time to do a purge. Perfect timing Katie. Thanks!

  6. carol plant says:

    Hi Katie – i too have been getting rid of stuff around the house – been doing it over the last year and have been able to get rid of a lot of “stuff” – of coursei its an ongoing task that i just keep at – i dont really have a schedule (which probably would help) but one day i;ll just open a drawer or cupboard and suddenly i’m purging it – this just happened this a.m. i was putting laundry away and decided to tackle my “undies” drawer and old tshirts – why we hang onto these old things are beyond me – my drawer is nice and tidy now and i can actually see what i have left – which is only the good stuff – it sure felt good

  7. Judi Rutherford says:

    Count me in. I have been looking for some motivation and I will this as it.

  8. I’m in! Thanks!

  9. I’m in friend 🙂 Miss you and hope you are doing well. This is just what I need during my “forced” down time 🙂

  10. I really need to do this! I need motivation! I need to reclaim my house!

    Here’s to a great November! I get to skip 4-5 days as I will be out of town with my son at a competition, but I can do this!

    First up, the bag of stuff almost packed to go to the Band fundraiser! It’ll be gone Tuesday.

  11. Hi Katie – I just discovered your podcast and I love it. I am working my way backward through the episodes. Are you planning on continuing to add new episodes?

    Congrats on your engagement!


  12. I can totally relate to your post! I’ve been listening toThe Minimalists podcast for a while and love it.
    I keep purging daily since I did a big book weeding about 6 weeks ago. I got rid of 6 boxes of books. I just wish I could give my old quilting books to someone, but they are so old (20+ years) they are still working with templates 🙂 Making a for sale box is a great idea, although the next time we can do a yard sale is in the Spring. I will make a list of things we have up in the attic so I don’t forget about anything. We’d love to move, and I think having a lot of extra things is holding us back.. It’s the greatest time now to get rid of things to get ready for the Holidays! Good luck with your challenge Katie! 🙂

  13. I started decluttering over a year ago after attending two garage sales where the children were clearing out their parents homes. It really hit me hard that if anything happened to me what a burden I would be leaving for my children. I started with old papers, why do we keep old tax returns past the required time and manuals for appliances/devices that we no longer own? Books that we will not read or no longer need because the information is available online were donated. It felt so good to have available space that I kept moving along through drawers and cupboards. I felt that I had done a good job. This past Spring I found an online 30 day decluttering challenge. Everyday I received an e-mail for an area where I was to declutter 5 things. There were areas that I had not thought of and 5 things was so doable. I highly recommend it if you have trouble letting go. For me it has felt so good to have space to organize the things that I use and know where to find things when I need them. Next up is another goround with my crafting and sewing things. Like Katie, I have too much stuff and UFO’s that it’s more work than fun to quilt and craft. Would love to hear about your declutter experience.

  14. Do you make the wood riser for embroidery machine do you sell them or know someone who does. Please let know info please.