53 Minimalism Challenges in 11 Different Categories
Have you ever played ‘Spot the Difference’ and wished life had a similar reboot button?
Well, this reboot button can be one or more of today’s 53 minimalism challenges I will discuss in this article.
They can help you implement minimalism into your life and all the various benefits that come with it.
So, today, I will cover…
- How you can benefit from a minimalism challenge
- 53 minimalism challenges in 11 different categories
- The one minimalism challenge giving you the most bang for your minimalist buck
How You Can Benefit from a Minimalism Challenge
Minimalism challenges, in their simplest form, are like fitness boot camps for your stuff and other areas of your life where minimalism can be applied.
But instead of doing 50 squats, you’re decluttering 50 useless trinkets you’ve hoarded since 2009.
It’s a set period where you intentionally reduce, declutter, and simplify areas of your life, be it your closet, phone, or even this sneaky emotional baggage.
But why bother you with a few or all of the 65 challenges you will learn about?
Baby Steps to Big Change: Think of the minimalism challenges as minimalism with training wheels.
It provides structure, making the overwhelming task of decluttering feel doable.
Today, it’s a drawer.
Tomorrow, who knows?
Maybe one of your ten social media accounts with 10,000 friends you wouldn’t recognize on the street.
Accountability Buddy: Doing it challenge-style often means you’re not going it alone.
Whether it’s a group of friends or an online community, there’s a whole squad cheering you on.
There’s nothing like peer pressure to get you moving.
By the way, here are several websites and apps where you can find accountability buddies:
Short-Term Commitment, Long-Term Gain: It’s not forever; it’s just a challenge.
But here’s the sneaky bit: habits formed during these challenges often stick around.
Before you know it, you’re a minimalist monk without even trying.
Bragging Rights: Successfully finishing any challenge gives you the right to flaunt it.
“Oh, that old vase? Ditched it during my minimalism challenge!” Instant cookie points.
More Fun: Gamifying an otherwise challenging task can make a habit change easier.
So, decluttering physical and non-physical areas of your life can be thrilling, like a last-minute touchdown or finding an extra fry at the bottom of your bag.
Let’s dive into the 53 challenges, then…
The 53 Minimalism Challenges
Remember, the goal of each challenge is to inspire you to reflect, declutter, and embrace a more mindful, simplified lifestyle.
So, you want to choose the challenge(s) that resonate the most with you. Consider them as a menu at a restaurant.
The 30-Day Minimalism Game: Participants discard one item on Day 1, two on Day 2, and so on until Day 30, where they toss 30 items.
By month’s end, players will have decluttered a whopping 465 items.
Decluttering Bingo: Players use a bingo card filled with decluttering tasks. As tasks are completed, spots get marked. The aim? A straight line or full house! Whether it’s “clear out old magazines” or “donate 5 shirts”, it’s about making decluttering a game.
One Room a Week: This challenge tackles decluttering one space at a time, spanning seven days.
Rather than feeling swamped, participants focus on revamping just one room per week, allowing deep cleaning and organization.
Over time, the entire house gets transformed without the overwhelm.
Donate Five Items a Day: Participants of this challenge pick five items daily from their belongings for donation.
By month’s end, 150 items find new homes, decluttering personal space while aiding others.
Purge Before Purchase: “Purge Before Purchase” is a mindful shopping mantra.
Before buying a new item, participants must let go of an existing one.
This approach curbs impulsive buys, ensures thoughtful purchases, and maintains a decluttered space.
It’s a two-birds-one-stone solution: reigning in consumerism while keeping clutter at bay.
Unsubscribe Day: Dedicate a day to unsubscribe from email newsletters and junk.
So, it’s the digital detox your inbox desperately craves.
You want to dive into your email and wave goodbye to those pesky, unread newsletters or promo emails.
It’s like spring cleaning for your digital life.
Social Media Free Weekend: Detox by avoiding social media platforms for a full weekend.
This is akin to giving your brain a mini-vacation.
Imagine two days without the scroll, double-tap, repeat routine.
Instead of envying online brunches and artificial filter-applied image of staged live events and characters, you might just make your own eggs.
Who knew the real world had such high-definition?
So, swap likes for life, even if just for 48 hours.
Clean Up Desktop Challenge: Organize and delete unnecessary files until your computer desktop is clean.
The “Clean Up Desktop Challenge” is for those digital hoarders who can’t find their wallpaper beneath the icons.
They go into the trash if that PDF or random screenshot doesn’t spark joy.
App Reduction: Delete one unnecessary app a day for a week.
This is the smartphone diet you didn’t know you needed.
Ever scroll through apps wondering, “When did I even download this?”
This challenge trims the digital fat.
Fewer apps mean less clutter, more phone storage, and perhaps realizing you only use three apps anyway.
Try a Shopping Ban: “Try a Shopping Ban” is like rehab for your shopaholic tendencies.
So, I suggest you take a pause from the thrill of the “add to cart” button and reflect on what you genuinely need.
It’s not about deprivation but discernment. Less impulse buying, more savings.
Weekly Expense Tracking: Monitor all weekly expenses, noting needs vs. wants.
It can be the financial wake-up call we all pretend we don’t need.
By jotting down every penny spent weekly, we get a mirror to our money habits.
Spoiler: Those daily coffees add up.
It’s not about penny-pinching but getting acquainted with Mr. Green (or whatever color your money is).
Cash Only Week: Use only cash for a week to become more conscious of spending.
It’s similar to a time-travel trip to pre-digital days.
You ditch the plastic and embrace the tangible feel of bills and coins.
It’s a playful reminder of the value of money when you physically hand it over.
Tap-to-pay is convenient, but cash can make you think twice.
No Dining Out Month: This challenge saves you money by cooking at home for an entire month.
It challenges your inner Gordon Ramsay to emerge.
Suddenly, you’re not just saving bucks by skipping fancy lattes or gourmet burgers; you’re crafting your culinary masterpieces.
A month without restaurant tabs might reveal a chef within—and a healthier bank account.
52-Week Savings Challenge: Save $1 the first week, $2 the second, and so on for 52 weeks.
This challenge is like a fitness plan but for your wallet.
You save more each week than the last, starting with a dollar.
By year’s end, you’ve stashed away a nice amount.
It’s like watching your savings do progressive weightlifting or progressive overloading for hypertrophy – small gains lead to hefty results.
Project 333: Project 333″ is the wardrobe challenge where less truly is more.
Credit where credit is due. This challenge was created by Courtney Carver from bemorewithless.
For three months, wear only 33 items (including accessories).
It’s more liberating than you’d think.
By the end, you’ll realize you don’t need endless outfit options, just the right ones.
Wear the same clothes Everyday challenge: This one is the ultimate fashion statement of simplicity.
Forget the daily “what to wear” dilemma; embrace the power of a personal uniform.
You save time and mental energy and might even become an accidental style icon like Steve Jobs did with his turtleneck.
However, you may not want to do this with underwear or wear literally the only shirt you have for one week every day.
So. you may want to have more than one black shirt and blue jeans.
Accessory Limit: For this challenge, you wear only three types of accessories for one month.
It dares you to keep your bling game simple.
Choose just a few accessories to wear for a month.
Surprisingly, this self-imposed jewelry diet makes each piece feel more special.
Plus, you’ll spend less time untangling necklaces or hunting for that fifth watch.
Shoe Reduction: Here, you wear only two pairs of shoes for a month.
Shoe Reduction” is for those with a footwear fixation.
This does not only free closet space, but decisions become easier with fewer options.
Swap, Don’t Shop: Organize a clothing swap with friends instead of buying new.
So, instead of hitting the mall, organize swap meets with pals.
It’s a guilt-free way to refresh your wardrobe and reduce waste.
Your old sweater might be someone’s new favorite.
The 30-Day Do Nothing Challenge: The 30-Day Do Nothing Challenge” is, ironically, the toughest task of all.
For five minutes daily, halt the hustle and just be.
No tasks, no screens—just pure, unfiltered existence.
It’s a wild ride to rediscover quietude in our noisy world.
A 30-Day Minimalism “Lifestyle” Challenge: This one isn’t just about tossing old socks.
For a month, reflect on habits, time, and energy expenditures.
With daily tasks varying from decluttering a drawer to reassessing weekly routines, it’s an introspective journey to living intentionally.
Single-Tasking Day: Dedicate a day where you only do one thing at a time, no multitasking.
It’s the antidote to multitasking mayhem.
So, no juggling emails while on calls or cooking with a side of spreadsheet edits.
A positive side-effect may be that you actually finish tasks for a change.
No TV (Netflix or other streaming services) Week: Read, go for walks, or find other ways to entertain yourself without television or streaming services.
You may discover hobbies you forgot, conversations missed, relationships turned toxic, or books gathering dust.
It’s not about shunning entertainment but a playful nudge to see life outside the “Next Episode” button.
Nature Immersion: By doing this challenge, you spend a full day outdoors without electronic devices.
You swap your Wi-Fi for wildflowers and binge-watch sunsets instead of series.
It’s a reminder that there were trees to touch and streams to see before touchscreens.
Borrow Before Buy: Mulling over that new blender or mystery novel?
Borrow it first!
Whether from friends or the library, test-drive before splurging.
You’ll save cash, reduce clutter, and give a nod to sustainability.
Local Produce Week: “Local Produce Week” is your culinary staycation.
For one week, feast exclusively on goods grown in your locale.
Taste the zing of freshly picked veggies and the rich flavor of local dairies.
Supporting local farmers and rediscovering homegrown yumminess is a delicious dare.
Handmade Gifts Only: This challenge is the heartfelt rebel against store-bought norms.
This year, ditch the barcode and gift from the heart.
This can be knitted scarves or homemade cookies.
These gifts let the receiver know: “I cared enough to create.”
Library Only Month: This one is an ode to old-school wisdom hunting.
So, rekindle your romance with dog-eared pages, find hidden gems, and savor the sweet silence.
Your wallet, environment, and creativity will thank you.
Repurpose Before Disposal: Find a new use for an item before deciding to throw it away.
This challenge is the eco-savvy twist to decluttering.
Before you toss it, brainstorm its second life.
That jar? It’s now a chic vase.
It’s about seeing potential, minimizing waste, and getting crafty.
One Meal a Day Challenge: The “One Meal a Day” challenge is not just a diet tweak but a lifestyle shift.
Forget grazing; this is about savoring one substantial, nutritious feast daily.
It can boost your metabolism (it’s a form of intermittent fasting), hone your self-discipline, and cut down food prep time.
However, you may want to skip this challenge if you already have cardiovascular problems or diabetes, as this article from WebMD suggests.
Seven Ingredient Challenge: The “Seven Ingredient Challenge” beckons foodies to culinary simplicity.
Here, you want to limit meals to just seven ingredients, making creativity essential.
It’s about embracing flavors, reducing food waste, savoring each component, and ditching complex recipes.
Water Only Week: This one urges participants to hydrate purely with water, sidelining sodas, teas, and lattes.
It’s a quest for clarity, both mentally and physically.
As you sip nature’s original beverage, you’ll notice improved hydration, fewer sugar crashes, and perhaps a newfound appreciation for life’s simplest refreshment.
Raw Food Days: Eat only raw foods for three days.
So, during these days, you want to eat uncooked, unprocessed foods, typically fruits, vegetables, and nuts, for set days.
It’s not just a crunchy munch fest; it’s an exploration of natural flavors and textures.
No Sugar Week: No Sugar Week” challenges you to dodge the sweet allure of sugars, natural or processed.
Beyond resisting candy, it’s about scrutinizing labels, bypassing hidden sugars, and curbing sneaky cravings.
It will help you discover the natural sweetness in foods and likely some renewed energy.
Minimalism in Relationships
Connection Over Consumption: Spend time with loved ones without buying or consuming anything.
It is a heartwarming pivot from buying sprees to bonding moments.
Instead of shopping carts, it’s about deep chats, shared laughs, and memory-making.
By prioritizing relationships over retail therapy, you can discover more authentic interactions.
Digital Detox Date: This one is a refreshing escape from our screen-addicted lives.
For one day, swap tweets for real chirps and selfies for self-reflection.
Dive deep into conversations without the pings and rings.
It’s less about shunning tech and more about rediscovering the offline joys.
Letter Writing: This challenge isn’t just about ink on paper.
It’s a soulful dance of words, transcending time.
In this instant-message era, penning a letter is a heartfelt rebellion, an intimate pause.
No Complaint Day: No Complaint Day” is your golden ticket to positivity-town.
Imagine a day sans whining, where gripes take a backseat and gratitude drives.
This also includes indirect complaining (e.g., sharing negative, mostly political content or “complain-bragging/ humble-bragging.”)
It’s like a mental detox, flushing out negativity.
By nightfall, you’ll realize the world didn’t end, and hey, maybe life’s not that bad after all.
Quality Time: Dedicate one full day to spend quality time with a loved one without distractions.
So you want to ditch those screens, say bye to multitasking, and give your undivided attention to loved ones.
Silence Hour: Dedicate an hour daily to silence without distractions.
It is a daily timeout for your mind.
No talking, no gadgets, just you and the soothing embrace of quiet.
In this hour, stress fades, thoughts clarify, and creativity can bloom.
Natural Light Day: Use only natural light in your home for a day.
Consequently, you want to swap artificial bulbs for sunlight: open those curtains, find sun-drenched spots, and let Mother Nature illuminate your day.
Feel the mood lift, your eyes relax, and your inner solar panel charge up.
Acoustic Week: In this challenge, you unplug from the electric hum and tune into nature’s rhythms.
Trade your electric gadgets for seven days for acoustic instruments, voices, and claps.
Feel the authentic resonance, connect deeper in conversations, and discover the simplicity.
Barefoot Day: Kick off those shoes and feel the world beneath your feet.
This can help you rediscover textures from soft grass to sun-warmed pavement.
Scent-Free Week: Avoid using any perfumes or scented products.
This also includes scented candles and air fresheners.
Allow your olfactory senses to reboot; you might just discover the subtle, natural aromas around you.
Similar to the same clothes every day challenge to avoid becoming someone needing a bio-weapon license, you may want to use magnesium milk instead of deodorant.
Minimalism for Families
Toy Rotation: Overwhelmed by kiddo clutter?
The toy ration challenge may help.
Instead of a mountain of playthings, kids use a select few, rotating them out regularly.
More engaged play, fewer toy avalanches, and a sneaky lesson about appreciating what you’ve got.
Family Experience Day: Opt for experiences over things like hiking or museum visits.
Whether it’s a hike, a home-cooked meal, or a hilarious board game marathon, the focus is bonding and making memories.
One Activity Weekend: Forget cramming your weekend with endless errands and activities.
This challenge makes you choose just ONE thing and savor it fully.
Maybe it’s reading that book, gardening, or a long nature walk.
Whatever it is, immerse yourself.
No Gadget Dinner: Imagine a dinner table with no pings, dings, or screen glows.
Just genuine conversations and chuckles.
With the No Gadget Dinner challenge, you ditch the devices and rediscover the art of chit-chat.
Craft from Scraps: Use only what’s available to craft with kids at home.
For instance, you could repurpose discarded bits and bobs into unique art pieces.
Not only does it unclog your clutter, but it also sparks your creativity.
Pack Half Challenge: Going on a trip?
Challenge yourself before zipping up that suitcase. Can you pack only half of what you originally planned?
This exercise in minimalism not only lightens your luggage but teaches the beauty of living with less.
Because let’s be honest, do you need six pairs of shoes for a weekend getaway?
Local Experience: Avoid tourist traps and live like a local when traveling.
This helps you spend a day (or week) living, eating, and exploring like a true local.
It’s a minimalistic approach to travel—immersing in genuine experiences rather than superficial attractions.
Travel Journaling: Document your travel experiences without the use of gadgets.
That way, you can capture sights, sounds, and soulful moments, allowing you to relive them later.
Journaling lets you deeply process and appreciate each experience more than just snapping photos.
Nature-Only Trip: For this challenge, you plan a trip centered only around nature, avoiding urban centers.
You want to ditch Wi-Fi and witness the original “cloud.”
It can be a journey where inner peace is the only “status” updated.
The One Minimalism Challenge Giving You the Most Bang for Your Minimalist Buck
Let’s go a bit meta here and apply some minimalist principles to this collection of 53 minimalism challenges.
So, if you had to select only one to implement minimalism into your life, which would it be?
It’s applying the good ol’ Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule.
If we’re chasing the biggest bang for our minimalist buck, I’d zero in on the “Try a Shopping Ban” challenge.
Think about it: Consumerism is at the heart of our cluttered lives.
Nix the excessive buying, and you’ve already nipped a major part of the problem in the bud.
And it’s not just about the stuff.
It can train you in applying minimalist principles in many other areas of your life.
Intentionality: By consciously deciding not to shop, you’re making deliberate choices about what you genuinely need versus merely a passing whim.
This is minimalism’s bread and butter.
Over time, you’ll start questioning purchases in all areas of life.
Financial Awareness: Those dollars saved?
They’re not just numbers.
They’re the embodiment of your time, energy, and life force.
By not spending frivolously, you’re valuing your efforts and time more.
The ripple effect? A more frugal and purposeful approach to money even after the ban.
Mental Clarity: Have you ever noticed that crowded spaces often lead to a “crowded” mind?
The same principle applies to your living space.
Less stuff means less mental clutter, leading to more peace and clearer decision-making.
Appreciation for What You Have: Instead of constantly seeking the next purchase, you value what’s already in your life.
Break the Instant Gratification Habit: This modern world thrives on “now, now, now!”
A shopping ban retrains the brain to delay gratification, cultivating patience.
Space Optimization: Without the constant influx of new items, you’ll naturally organize and optimize your living and working spaces.
This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication per our editorial policy.