How To Declare A New Holiday: September 23 Is International Minimalist Day


Today, September 23, is the First Annual International Minimalist Day.

Yes, that’s all it takes. (Although at the bottom of this article I will share with you how to make your holiday “official.”)

Today is a day to reflect on life and get back to basics. To embrace social and personal change and live a little more simply. Maybe you won’t become a minimalist for life, but today you can experience the joy of a minimalist lifestyle.

You can participate in the First Annual International Minimalist Day by posting to your blog today to announce to the world how you celebrate minimalism.

Alternately, post tomorrow or in the coming week and tell us exactly how you celebrated International Minimalist Day. It’s all good.

To make it easy, just link back to this article to give your readers the gift of minimalism. Feel free to use the 125×125 International Minimalist Day button created by Ashley from on your blog if you’d like.

If you don’t have a blog, leave a comment on this article letting me know what you did or will do for International Minimalist Day. :)

If you need some help …

47 Ways You Can Celebrate International Minimalist Day

Choose just one. A minimalist lifestyle is about simplicity and should be stress-less.

  1. Get rid of something that you think has sentimental value, but is really dragging you down. It could be something from an ex, or it could be something from a time in your life that wasn’t very positive. We all keep these things far longer than we should. Today is your day to get rid of it and never look back.
  2. Cook a simple meal. 4 ingredients or less. Idea: cook rice/beans and then add in fresh avocado and tomato. I probably eat this 5 times/week and, depending on the beans and rice used, it can take as little as 20 minutes to prepare in just 1 pot. Minimal cleanup and tasty minimal meal! Bonus: beans + rice = complete protein. (all essential amino acids)
  3. Cancel all your plans and spend the night in quietly reflecting.
  4. Call up an old friend just to say “hi.”
  5. Go for a walk with no destination and no time limit.
  6. Throw away/donate/sell everything in 1 drawer or 1 room. I recommend 1 room, but sometimes you gotta start smaller. ;)
  7. Donate your favorite shirt to charity or to someone on the street. Among other things, minimalism is about detachment, and donating something you love to someone who might not have much is a wonderful way to practice that.
  8. Send someone a 5 sentence e-mail letting them know you appreciate them or their work.
  9. Turn off your computer. Turn off your cell phone. Throw your TV out the window. And just be.
  10. Fine, don’t throw your TV out the window, list it on Craigslist.
  11. Write down something you love about yourself.
  12. Write down something you love about someone else. Optional, but extraordinary: let them know.
  13. Cancel a credit card.
  14. Don’t spend any money today. On anything.
  15. Do nothing.
  16. Listen to the first album (vinyl/cassette/CD) you ever bought. (You can see mine on the About Me page.)
  17. Then trash or donate it.
  18. You know those 7 pairs of shoes in your closet? Get rid of all but 3. Casual, athletic, dress.
  19. Go car free or car lite.
  20. Smile until your face muscles begin to twitch.
  21. Clean out your refrigerator. You’ve probably got a lot of stuff in there that’s either old or, in the case of condiments, maybe you don’t like, but you’re keeping around just because.
  22. Disassociate with a toxic “friend.”
  23. Ride your bike to work. Bonus: jump a curb or two so you feel the joy of your youth again.
  24. Try something outside of your comfort zone. Ideas: say hello to 10 random strangers, give free hugs, or sing at karaoke.
  25. You know that girl/guy you’re interested in? Give them a simple, clear message: “I think you’re special and I’d like to get to know you better. Let’s go out.”
  26. Relax.
  27. When you drink your coffee or tea today sip it slowly. Imagine the wondrous process of bean or leaf –> cup.
  28. Digitize a photo album and recycle your physical version.
  29. Breathe.
  30. Go to the library and read your favorite children’s book. I’m having trouble choosing mine right now, but I think I would go with Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Danny and the Dinosaur was also a masterpiece when I was 5.
  31. Say “yes” more. Especially when your gut reaction is to say no. You’ll open up a world of opportunities.
  32. Say “no” more. Sometimes we give too much of ourselves. It’s OK to be selfish with your time if you’d like.
  33. Focus.
  34. Stop using shampoo. It’s not necessary and is probably damaging your head.
  35. Help someone. Either officially by volunteering or “unofficially” by simply helping someone. :)
  36. Eat vegan today. It’s good for your health, it’s good for the planet, it’s good for animals, and it’s good for the soul.
  37. Spend the day alone. (Re)discover your friendship with yourself.
  38. You know how when you’re driving and you get stuck in traffic and you get upset? Smile instead. Turn up the radio and sing. Everything will be okay.
  39. You know that kitchen appliance you bought and thought you’d use all the time? Waffle maker, tortilla maker, blender, etc. Give it away. (Replace kitchen appliance with: instrument, book, gadget, anything.)
  40. Cancel your gym membership and get back to basics. Bicycling, running, swimming, body-weight exercises.
  41. Slow down.
  42. Plan a carry-on only vacation. If I can live for over a year with 3 T-shirts, you can live for a week with the same. :)
  43. Hand wash your clothes.
  44. Do something important.
  45. You know all that stress in your life? Release it.
  46. Paint, draw, express yourself in a way you’re not used to expressing yourself.
  47. Live.

How will I celebrate International Minimalist Day? By spreading the word about minimalism, of course. :)

How To Make A Holiday “Official”

As promised, how do you make your holiday “official”? There’s a book called Chase’s Calendar of Events published by McGraw-Hill that is distributed to libraries and schools. Contact them to get your holiday listed and you’re golden. :)

We Need Your Help

Minimalism is still a small, but growing, movement. We need your help to expose the masses to the joy of minimalism.

You can help by writing about this movement on your blog and clicking on the Tweet and Facebook Like buttons below…


  1. I love number 42 – not only because it’s one of “the numbers”. I’ve been doing carry-on only trips for a little over a year now, and they’re awesome! No worries about lost luggage! My girlfriend and I are going on a week-long vacation next month, and we’re using it to practice for packing on our RTW next year – by packing only one small bag.

    Thanks for the post, Karol!

  2. Hey Karol, This is cool idea, I was reading through the list and number 9, Turn Off your computer and cell phone, thats a big one, it kind of reminds you how we use to live without computers and cell phones and everything was fine. Now Karol I can’t even turn this off for a day, How Sad,

    Great post,


  3. Amazing Idea. I’m planning an afternoon of riding my bike, reading and seeing what stuff I can get rid of. I’ll help spread the word and hopefully write a post to recap International Minimalist Day in a couple days! Kristen

  4. Ah, International Minimalist Day. We definitly need more international holidays! Go to the library and jam with my friends. That’s already how I was going to spend my day; now that it’s also a holiday there’ll be peace signs and “Happy Minimalist Day!” all around :-) Thanks Karol, I’m glad you write about these things!

  5. International Minimalist Day! I’m very happy with that. Today do something important, breathe, smile until your face muscles begin to twitch, slow down, etc… These is a little of all the stuff the minimalist life style can bring you I’m in process of being a minimalist person but love the process and every day I learn more and more.

  6. Hi Karol! Great list of ideas here!

    My husband and I have been travelling carry-on only for several years now and love it! So, of course, now we’re trying to live that way…

    I posted a recipe for a simple, multi-use vinaigrette on my blog in honour of the day. It’ll help people clean out their fridges, get rid of bottled dressings and maybe even scale down to a smaller fridge.

    I also joined the Freedom Fighters today!

  7. Hi!

    I do almost all of them, at least once a fornight, but my favoritte is #5. I love getting lost in a close park, or in downtown, for hours. After that, I feel relaxed, and full of new ideas.

    You rock, Karol!

    PS: BTW, there’s a small mistake in link on #34.

  8. I supported a community agency today & donated $20 for health check. Validation of vegetarian lifestyle is in my cholesterol numbers :)

    I love this post, and I’m spreading the word!

  9. These are all wonderful! Last night I found a box of old concert and opera tickets, and assorted “ephemera.” I couldn’t believe how much of it there was (even old, broken watches!) I’m going to look at the tickets, recall the experience of hearing the music, then throwing them away.

    And this weekend I’m taking a huge bag of baking items and kitchen housewares to Goodwill.

    Love this post, will be sending to any and all!

  10. Karol, great post. Ironic that your list had 42 things on minimalist day….hehe. ;)

    For number 30 I recommend “Where The Wild Things Are.”

    I plan to walk home from work today in the rain, can’t wait! Cheers, mate.

  11. Funny… I had major impulses to loose EVERYTHING I don’t use on a day to day basis, which would not be much… mostly some clothes, a macbook, and the graphics tablet.

    If I knew that today was the unofficial international minimalist day I wouldn’t have procrastinated this chore into the infinite future…. ahhh but wait! If we’re going off EST then I still have tomorrow morning to get it done.

  12. Hi Karol-
    This weekend we cleaned out the garage- all the moving boxes and junk that accumulated this spring during our move. I got to take out that trash this morning and celebrated the freedom of space to park! Also today is John Coltane’s Birthday and my fella & I will be listening to our albums by him. Here is a lovely thing Mr. Coltane said that I hope will inspire others today….
    “All a musician can do is to get closer to the sources of nature, and so feel that he is in communion with the natural laws.”

  13. I love it! Holiday Least Likely to be Co-opted By Greeting Card Company. I celebrated by blogging about becoming minimalist, making an old t-shirt I don’t wear into an awesome scarf, cooking simple vegetarian food and hanging out in the yard with my baby picking up leaves and checking out some snails.

    • hehe, thanks Emily! I don’t know, I think Minimalist Greeting Cards are in our future. :(

      Woo leaves! I haven’t played in leaves for years.

  14. Definitely need more holidays like this!!! I am in the process of selling everything I own to travel the world. I definitely followed a few of these today so that I could make some progress on my goal. Numbers 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 14, and 39. I am not spending any money today and I’ve went around to take photos of many of my items to put up on Craigslist to sell. I leave in January 2011 and that day is coming fast! Last week my friend came over to help me begin the minimalist living process: When I started throwing stuff away I felt liberated! It also made the process very real for me. I’m actually doing this… this is really happening! Reality definitely started to sink in!

  15. Nice. Enjoyed this post a lot, Karol. I went to a Buddhist festival and spent more time with my daughter. Today I’m getting a hair cut — my first in about 6 months :)

  16. I ate vegan yesterday. I’m at a volunteer project in Thailand where we eat vegan and it’s a nice change. And I believe in 44. Teaching English to Burmese refugee children.. I think that’s pretty important :)

  17. I just donated 6 (large trash) bags full of clothes. It is the first time in my life that all my clothes fit in my drawers. I set a number for items and kept weeding out things until I got to that number. I am sure I still have a lot of work to do. But I am proud of my ability to let go.

    Next on the list – donate or upcycle my books.

    Thanks for this list. It is inspiring.

    All the best,


  18. After reading your list and checking out more on the shampoo-free way of life, I’ve joined in! I haven’t used shampoo (or body wash, or perfume, or lots of stuff) since you posted this, and I couldn’t be happier! I’d already been thinking about giving up things like lotion and makeup, so this was a nice push to go product-free. Thanks!

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