The 17th Minimize Minute

Challenge # 17: Too Many Toiletries

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge # 17: Too Many Toiletries

Clear out excess toiletries, cosmetics, old prescriptions, expired over-the-counter medicines, etc.

How’d it go:  I’ve been dreading this minimizing task and have put it off for months by moving it down the task list again and again. Continue reading “The 17th Minimize Minute”


The 16th Minimize Minute

Challenge # 16: Pick Up Sticks

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge # 16: Pick Up Sticks

If you have a yard or land, inevitably things will collect just like they do in the home. Start small, and work your way up to a few bigger items that need to go. Set a time limit to keep you focused.

How’d it go:

With the recent rains, we were finally able to burn a brush pile we’ve been collecting. It was exciting for our 5-year old and she turned it into a game of Pick Up Sticks, throwing whatever tree-leavings and small dead-fall she could manage into the fire. Continue reading “The 16th Minimize Minute”

The 14th Minimize Minute

Spring Forward

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge # 14 Spring Forward

Very critically go through your winter gear. Pack away and label only that which you need. All the scarves, gloves and other gear that wasn’t touched or is now outgrown can be donated to a good cause.

How’d it go: Living in the North Woods seems to require a lot of gear.  Skates, snowshoes, boots with different cold ratings, snowmobiling suits, helmets, float coats for dangerous ice travel, etc. Some minimalist experts preach not to differentiate and pack items away by season, but that’s simply not possible here.

This task took over our living room for a few days but the actual work, including laundering some of the well-used coats and snow pants, only took two hours. After going through my items, I was able to get rid of one coat and many scarves, hats and several pair of old gloves. For my 5-year old, minimizing is basically just giving away what no longer fits and I don’t give her a choice. She’s sentimental already, so we did say goodbye to the snow gear she’s worn for the last two winters. “Thank you for keeping me warm,” she whispered a tad tearfully as she hugged her favorite purple coat. She had two full boxes of gear ready to go to the next little girl in our neighborhood. My guy is a saver but he also uses what he has. I couldn’t get him to part with more than a couple pairs of old gloves.

Between the adults, we had a large shopping bags full of giveaways. We also threw away many single gloves that have lost their mates over the years. I had saved them long enough; if the match turns up now it will meet the same fate.

All in all, we each have a huge 27-gallon tote packed full that will be stored until late next fall. The sorting and culling also inspired a spree of spring cleaning and I tackled our entry way in-depth that same day. It was a good task.

The 13th Minimize Minute

Sevens High

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge #13 Sevens High

Get rid of 1 thing on Monday, two on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, and so on until you’re getting rid of seven things on Sunday. It will be a grand total of 28 items. You can also play the game for a whole month, or even a year if you’re so inclined. Just get rid!

How’d it go: This was an easy way to get of a few things that probably would have sat around until I got to that specific category or closet. I can also see how it would be a good way to ease into minimizing for someone who is a saver. Once I started, I didn’t want to limit myself to the daily numbers, but I stuck to the plan and took pictures to document. It turned out to be kind of fun. I gave several of the items away to other people, some to the thrift store and some went to The Angle’s recycling center where people often “shop”. I think I’ll do this again next week too.

Monday – 1 sewing machine

Tuesday – 2 pairs of flip flops with 10-12 sets of interchangeable accessories

Wednesday – 3 winter scarves

Thursday – 4 hair brushes/combs

Friday – 5 books

Saturday – 6 DVD’s

Sunday – 7 handbags


The 11th Minimize Minute

What bugs you?

Challenge #11 Bug Be Gone

Pick something that bugs you every time you see it and resolve it.

How’d it go:

My goal with this challenge was to tackle a low-priority task that, while not critical, still bugs me every time I see it or use it. That was my only criteria, and honestly, as I looked around my home, I realized I could tackle one of these every single day and they’d still pile up. The wobbly stool, the squeaky door, the stained carpet, the dirty windows, the unpacked moving box, the unhung pictures, the loose pan handle, etc. Continue reading “The 11th Minimize Minute”

The 10th Minimize Minute

Eat That Frog

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge #10 Eat That Frog

Choose something you’ve been putting off and tackle it.

How’d it go:  Last fall, I made a family list of everything we needed to get done, and it sent me into an anxiety attack. No joke. Continue reading “The 10th Minimize Minute”

The 9th Minimize Minute

Too Many Towels

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge # 9 – Repurpose or get rid of excess towels.

How’d it go: My kitchen towels were overflowing from their cabinet, I had bath towels stored in three different places, and we never got to the bottom of any of the stacks before laundry day replenished it. Continue reading “The 9th Minimize Minute”

The 8th Minimize Minute

Smart Phone Declutter

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge # 8 – Smart Phone Declutter

Clear out all apps you don’t use and delete or reorganize the ones you want to use less of.

How’d it go: I thought this would be much more painful than it was. The very first thing I wanted to accomplish through this task was to quit spending so much time on Facebook. Continue reading “The 8th Minimize Minute”

The 7th Minimize Minute

What can I accomplish when I keep a bothersome countertop free and clear all week long?

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge # 7 – Free and Clear

Choose a cluttered surface that’s a particular bother, clean it off (finding each item its proper home) and prioritize keeping it clear all week, even if it means a bit of extra work each day.


How’d it go: I got a lot out of this challenge. I continually have an area of our kitchen island that is a catch-all and it drives me crazy. I’ve been touting Marie Kondo the last few challenges, and though she says not to organize by location, this week I’m going against her suggestions. This clutter-gathering area is the first thing I see when I walk in my front door and it’s always covered with a random assortment of household stuff. When company’s coming, I’ve been known to gather all the misc. items it collects, throw them in a box and stash the box in a corner somewhere to deal with later. The stuff finds its way out again and the messy cycle continues. So, this week I set a timer for ten minutes, cleared it by putting each item away in its proper home, and then I committed to keeping it clear all week long.

What I found happening is that we used the space. My daughter set up board games for us to play. I repotted a houseplant on the counter. It was free and clear to wrap a couple birthday presents. We spread out the trail map to plot the route for our snowmobile club’s group trail ride. My daughter even requested that we pull up the stools and eat dinner there one night.

A few extra minutes on my part each day made this little space in our home become more useful, easier for me to look at, and the house just felt more pulled together.  It was such a simple fix and if I stay on top of it, it’ll stay simple.

New Normal

The 6th Minimize Minute