Kick the Clutter

30-Day Minimalist Challenge is a way to get rid of more than 450 items over the course of one month

By Amy Cavalier


It seems that everywhere you look, minimalism — the “life-changing art of tidying up” — is all the hype. As it turns out, a lifestyle based on “less is more” can actually make you happier.

Studies show that clutter can distract us, make it difficult to relax, trigger feelings of guilt and embarrassment, inhibit creativity and productivity and cause us to waste time looking for things we can’t find. A study published in Current Psychology in June 2018 showed that clutter can negatively impact mental well-being, and induce a physiological response including increased level of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Well, now is your chance to kick the clutter once and for all!

30-Day Minimalism Game

Join the Rochester Minimalists in April as its members take on the “30-Day Minimalism Game.” The Rochester Minimalists is a group of individuals looking to explore our relationship with things, evaluate what brings value to our lives, to reduce our environmental footprint and question consumerism.

Created by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, also known as “the minimalists,” the 30 Day Minimalist Challenge is a fun way to get rid of more than 450 items over the course of one month.

While it’s good to start on the first of the month, you can really begin the challenge whenever the mood strikes you. Here’s how to play!

• On the first day of the challenge, you get rid of one item; on the second, two items; on the third, three items, and so on and so on until you’ve completed 30-days.

• How you count items is up to you. While it may seem easy to find enough items to get rid of in the first two weeks, it gets harder as the challenge progresses and the number of items you need to part with climbs.

• Whether you trash it, sell or donate it, the goal here is to get the items out of your home by midnight. If that’s not possible, it’s best to put the items somewhere where you will not be tempted to introduce them back into circulation. Set a deadline for getting rid of everything once the challenge is complete. You might want to sell, recycle at the Monroe County EcoPark, or to get rid of some of your items in the Second Annual-Free-For-All on May 4.

• Invite a friend to complete the challenge or join the Rochester Minimalists group on Facebook as its members take on the challenge during the month of April! Having a buddy system keeps you accountable, helps you stay inspired and makes it more fun!

Second Annual Monroe County Buy Nothing Free-For-All

So, you completed the 30-Day Minimalism Challenge and now you’ve got a bunch of stuff that you’re not sure what to do with. Save yourself the hassle of selling your goods on Craigslist or in a yard sale. Pass it forward at the Monroe County Buy Nothing Second Annual Free-For-All from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 at the Thomas P. Ryan Community Center located at 530 Webster Ave. in Rochester.

This is an event for the community to share items with one another for free! There will be no cash exchanged or bartering allowed. Bring what you wish to give away. Receive what others may no longer need. Discover the power of neighbors helping neighbors! Be sure to RSVP by emailing if you plan to bring items to give away so we can be sure we have enough space for everyone who participates.

Buy Nothing groups are hyper-local, adult-only, gift-based economies on Facebook. Members must live where they give. Once approved, you can give away, ask for or share anything you would like with your neighbors. There are currently more than a dozen Buy Nothing communities in Monroe County. To locate a group in your area, visit

For more information:

• Join the Rochester Minimalists for the “30-Day Minimalism Game” in the month of April by visiting

• For more information on the Monroe County Buy Nothing Second Annual Free-For-All, visit

Amy Cavalier is the leader of the Rochester Minimalists Community and a co-administrator of her neighborhood’s Buy Nothing group.