Minimalist Challenge

Almost two months ago I watched this YouTube video by a favorite vlogger. Inspired by a movie that sadly I don’t have access to, he put everything he owned in storage. Everything: bed, toiletries, clothes, etc. Each day thereafter, he was allowed to take one thing out of storage each day for the next 30 days, and didn’t allow himself to buy anything either.

Now this guy lives in Japan, and decided his first object out of storage would be a kimono. It seemed to work for him just fine. Here in the US, while my employers accept (and encourage) a little bit of quirkiness, I think my showing up for work in a kimono might go beyond the pale. Same with not having brushed my teeth. I also can’t fit my bed and furniture in storage. So I decided to keep the following:

Bed, linens, and furniture

Basic toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo/conditioner, brush, washcloth and towel.

Clothes for a week at work and jeans and a shirt for the weekend

My electric tea kettle, mug, and coaster

My altar, but I pared this down to a Buddharupa, cloth, and background

Items for work (backpack, pen, pencil, notebook and work computer)

Books on the bookshelf (but I vowed not to pull them out and am currently rethinking them)

And of course, the cats and their toys. They did not sign up for this challenge!

And, although I hate to admit it, my phone, tablet, watch, and charger. I have put my laptop away, and am finding that I may not need it as much these days.

So since I started with all of these items, I waited 30 days before bringing anything else in. And what I found was that I was pretty much ok with those basics. After the 30 days, I did bring in watercolor painting supplies, some files, a cup to hold a pen and pencil and some of the paint brushes, a TENS unit (purchased), a scarf, headlamp, zipper thermometer, and I traded out some warmer weather clothes for cooler weather clothes. But I’m really enjoying having space in my closet, and even less stuff cluttered around. I have found that I need even less than I thought, although I’ve lived with much less for longer while traveling and did just fine.

But books…..Before moving here from the west coast, I had a fair amount of books. Many I let go of, some I put in storage, and some I brought with me. After being here a while, I’ve accumulated a few more. Some cannot be replaced digitally, some I’d rather not replace. But many have been sitting on my bookshelf for a few years and their pages haven’t seen daylight since they were read the first time. Could I sell them or give them to a library, and if I really feel the need to read them again, buy a digital copy? I’ve never been much of a collector, except for books. It’s so easy to think of them as old friends that one can’t turn away from. But what kind of friend insists you stay and then doesn’t talk to you? Why keep a book you may never read again? I don’t have answers just yet.

So anyway, there’s my challenge. Would you do it differently, or at all? If you did the extreme version, what would you bring back first?

Thanks for reading, and as always, be well and peaceful!


Author: mettatsunami

In 2009 I was working full time in medicine, and living a life that was alienated from what I truly valued. While volunteering with a local hospice, I began to wonder: "What would I do differently if I had six months to live?". This began the impetus to change direction. While it has been a case of two steps forward, one step back in many ways, there has still been slow movement in the direction of a more authentic life. Since the pivotal decision to change direction, I have been a Buddhist nun, returned to lay life, changed Buddhist schools, returned to medicine part time, and then full time, quit again, traveled extensively, trained in yoga, spent time in several Buddhist monasteries, and am in the process of how to live according with Buddhist and yogic practice and values, and how to streamline this life into something worthwhile. In the Theravadan Buddhist practice, one of the daily reflections is "Has my practice born fruit with freedom or insight, so that at the end of my life, I need not feel ashamed when questioned by my spiritual companions?". That is my practice. My goal in this blog is to share the journey along the way.

12 thoughts on “Minimalist Challenge”

  1. Great practice! Just the thought of doing anything like it makes me very uncomfortable. But perhaps I’ll be inspired to finally go through my closet, drawers, desk, and even bookcase, and pull out what I haven’t used in years (if ever).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Denise,

    I enjoyed your blog post and also watching the YouTube video that inspired you. I don’t know that I’ll embrace the challenge so completely, although my wife, Heidi, would love for me to choose only 30 items from my stash in the garage.

    Peace, Dennis


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, it’s tough to let go sometimes! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and video, and that you’re still following. Sometimes it’s easier to say to ourselves that “nothing is to be clung to”, than it is to follow through!


  3. ooh so interesting. I tried to get rid of a lot of stuff earlier in the year, and I did, but at some point I stopped as it felt too hard and I wasn’t sure it was actually good for me. I think I could do well enough with fewer clothes though, so maybe I’ll start there again. thanks for sharing this experiment with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for responding! I think there is certainly a balance. While there are some things that I have later regretted letting go of, they aren’t many. This experiment did show me how little clothes I need. I am also trying to stick with thrift stores for clothing purchases in the future. There are so many items out there that people have bought and then downsized and given to thrift stores. I think buying less is probably even better.

      Liked by 1 person

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