Jump Off the Ladder Prep

Okay folks, who’s in? Jump Off the Ladder begins the day after tomorrow!

If you decide to get involved, let me know in the comments. Sometime around the first week of May, I’ll be putting up a success stories post, and I’d love for you to be in it! Even if you’re already a minimalist, there are always things we can downsize just a bit further. This is an exercise is changing how we think about what we own.

Just to recap, here are the rules:ladder2

Pick one category of items or a money drain, and downsize it to the bare minimum. Here are some examples of what that may look like:

  • Pick one pair of shoes, and put away all of your others.
  • Only wear two types of makeup (i.e. concealer and lip gloss).
  • Only spend money on food, gas, and bills (no shopping, no Starbucks, no Redbox)
  • Put away all of your hair products and tools except your brush or comb.
  • Put away all of your DVDs.
  • Select one piece of “outerwear” (i.e. one coat, one jacket, or one sweater) and put away the rest.
  • Only eat one type of “fun food” or snack food.
  • Pick a larger category (like kitchen items or clothing) and downsize to 20 items or fewer (this is the one Jack and I are doing.)
  • Only use one bath towel.
  • Only use one drinking glass.
  • Pick one item to take off of your usual shopping list. (i.e. anything with high fructose corn syrup, or disposable water bottles)
  • Go through the jewelry box and pick one item to wear. Put away the rest.

If these don’t sound like your thing, make up a new one! For the last twenty days of April (11th-30th), abide by your rule. If it helps, blog about your experience during the 20 days. If you make it all the way to the 30th, I’ll feature you in a post!

And don’t forget to share this challenge with your friends. It’s so much easier when you have a support team. Who knows? Maybe a few will join you!


19 thoughts on “Jump Off the Ladder Prep

  1. Perfect timing! I was already planning on not spending money eating out for lunch or dinner (with the exception of an Italian restaurant where we have a gift card) for the rest of the month. The convenience of eating out (and that delicious sushi restaurant around the corner) is a slippery slope of money spending for me. It always helps to make it a community challenge. So far I’ve locked my credit and debit cards up since I tend not to eat out with cash 🙂

    • Sounds great! I love the idea of locking up the cards. lol! Definitely keep us posted on how it goes! I think (like with most of the things in our lives) you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover you don’t miss it!

  2. OK, I’m back from my walk, and it’s amusing to me how terrified I am of this challenge. Me, who you just featured on your blog, toting the benefits of simplification! 😉 I think I’m scared because I’m considering such a huge dump. But, it’s actually something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while.

    I believe I will totally clean out my pantry and refrigerator. Totally start from scratch and only get the items on my grocery list. I mean, I’m not talking eating only one food item, but I, like probably most, have just tons of stuff crammed in my panty. I’m never going to eat it… but, you know, at one point I bought it because I was GOING to make something with it. There was, initially a REASON for buying all the STUFF in there.

    Maybe some day I actually WILL bake that fancy meal that requires sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, or maybe I WILL make home made hummus with that can of garbanzo beans. That jar of brewers yeast? yeah, that’s for when I make home made bread dough… The heart shaped disposable muffin tins? The dang bottle of cooking sherry? Yeeaahhh….right… I think you get my point… 😉

    he he, I’m scared! But I’m going to do it! 🙂

    • I understand what you mean about being terrified. Honestly, that fear is my biggest reason for doing this! I should not be afraid of living on less. There are much bigger fears to deal with in life. I’m so glad you feel you can be honest. That’s what community is for!

  3. Reblogged this on Little Blog of Letting Go and commented:
    I’m taking the “Jump off the Ladder” Challenge with Amanda. And I highly suggest all of you join us in either a big or small way. This can be a huge boost to your mental and emotional well-being, not to mention a possible financial boost. Who’s brave enough to try?
    You can see what I’m dumping in the comments of her post. 😉

  4. O.K, Well I was shocked because a LOT of these I am doing. So i decided to take another thing off my shopping list…. That will be “Lucky Charms” cereal.. In a few words I love this cereal. I go to sams and buy a big box of it. I do not unpack the car before I make a bowl to eat. My test will be Thursday when I go food shopping. I am also going to pick one “fun food” But I need to decide what it is that I can snack on for a month.

    Ok Lets do this!

    • Way to go! It’s such a good feeling to be surprised by your own progress. I think your goal is a great one. Since this experiment is all about changing our perspectives and breaking dependencies, I think food-based goals are particularly fantastic. 🙂

  5. My goal is to have our house ready for sale and on the market (or really close to it) by May 1st! This is the final piece of our minimizing puzzle–we’ve already gotten rid of most of our stuff. By selling the house, we’ll be going from a 3 bedroom/2 bath house to a 1 bed/1 bath apartment. We still have to clean the house and do some small repairs. Plus we’re going to get rid of/pack up some pesky things that we don’t want potential buyers to see. Basically, I’m hoping for our house to look like a museum or a magazine spread by the end of the month. 🙂

  6. I would like to participate, but I am currently living in a house with two bedrooms, the rest of the house has no walls and no ceiling, a single bathroom that three people share and that routinely breaks, the kitchen has no cupboards, just a few opening beneath the broken counter tops which we’ve covered up with sheets, just the basic cooking supplies, we have only Netflix as well, cement floors, I sleep on a massage table with a foam mat on top, and approximately ten pieces of usable furniture (and I’m being generous), we have some expensive luxury items, but of those I only use the TV occasionally. The only thing I could personally minimize is my books and that’s not happening. Or computer time, but honestly lately all I’ve been doing is blog work and again that’s not happening. I’ve lived this way for nearly a year, I don’t think I can handle anymore downsizing. Oh, and we eat a whole foods, plant based diet, so yeah…

    • Hey Jessica! It sounds like in most ways, you’re already living the dream! I think it’s really commendable that you’ve managed to live on so little. Even if it wasn’t voluntary, I hope that you are loving the benefits of not being owned by your stuff. 🙂

      “I would like to participate…” If you really would like to join the challenge, here’s something to consider. The project only lasts for 20 days. If you downsize something, you can always have it back come May 1st. The point of Jump Off the Ladder is not to get us to dump our stuff (although that may be a by-product), but to re-train our minds to understand that our stuff isn’t what makes us happy. You gave yourself away by mentioning your books! 😉 It would be an excellent demonstration of the idea behind the challenge if you boxed up all but one or two of your books just until May 1st. Of course you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to (no one’s going to pester you about participating!) but if you do want to be involved, that would be a great way.

      Also, thank you so much for your award nomination! I’m working on an acceptance post for later this week! I hope the shout-out boosts your site traffic a little. You have a beautiful talent for writing, and I hope as many people as possible get to experience it!

      • No, it wasn’t exactly voluntary (well it kind of was but wasn’t, there are always choices, but this was the least painful of mine). You know, honestly, if not for a certain person involved I think I would really love this lifestyle. I live with lizards and frogs and cockroaches, and it’s kind of awesome. Well, the cockroaches I could do without, but you do eventually get mostly used to them. This morning when I opened the fridge for breakfast, and there was a lizard sitting on top of the door. Staring at me like the who the hell did I think I was moving his perch around? Would I like a ceiling at some point, yes, walls and cupboards, yes and yes, but really it isn’t a big deal. I think trying to live simply is an awesome and admirable goal, and one day (when I have more control of my living situation) I would really love to go for it. If and when that happens I’ll definitely let you know ;).

        Actually, I have an idea. I need to go through my stuff again anyway, since I’m moving soon… again… for the eighth time in the last three years… grr. And now seems like a good time to finally, officially kick my mild video game addiction. I don’t need it and it makes me feel like crap anyway. Also I’m finally going to renounce Pokemon, I know, I know that sounds ridiculous, but my generation really got hooked bad with that franchise (I know a shocking number of people my age who still play) and I was no exception. So, with the exclusion of one game series (the “Creatures” series, for anyone who knows anything about this highly underrated game) and the couple of puzzle apps on my Ipad, my jump off the ladder will be to uninstall and donate all my video games and gaming systems (the computer doesn’t count obviously). I think that would be something really meaningful for me.

        No problem, obviously I have a deep respect for what you promote here and I hope you continue to challenge people to live simply. And may I just say that the WordPress community has to be one of the kindest and most supportive internet communities I’ve ever seen or been a part of. I’ve really grown as a writer and a person since I’ve started this blog. So thanks for the compliment, the shout out, and for being an awesome blogger yourself.

      • I think your plan for the challenge is perfect! I look forward to having you on the JOtL team. 🙂

        And I’m sorry your living situation isn’t what you want it to be. I know that can be really difficult. I hope you can transition to a more peaceful atmosphere through your upcoming move!

  7. Okay, I’m in. Please don’t laugh at my category of choice — my Longaberger basket collection. It’s time for most of it to go. I will be keeping several key pieces that I use weekly, if not daily. My plan is to have a sale at the end of the month and put the money towards my trip to Burning Man in August. This is going to hurt.

    • Way to go! I hope over the next few weeks you discover that you’re comfortable with parting with enough of them to fund your trip. Collections are a pain, because they’re not only things that we love, but they have a layer of sentiment too. I think you’ll feel really free by May. And free is kinda the theme at Burning Man, isn’t it? 😉

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