As mentioned in our earlier post Living that Slow & Simple Southern Life , we are trying to live a more minimalistic and simple lifestyle. This means no more unnecessary bandanas for Copper and no more frivolous additions to my coffee mug collection. To give us some motivation, we decided to try the 30 Day Minimalist Game that is created by The Minimalists.
The game goes a little like this: you start the beginning of the month and on day 1, you get rid of 1 thing. On day 2, get rid of two things. On day 3, get rid of two things. You get the picture, right? Well, keep going until you’ve reached 30 days and let that sink in.
I set up three bins: donate, sell, and trash. I started on August 1st and continued until August 30th. The Minimalists encourage to play this game with a friend, but I decided to do it my own. Below, I am going to share how it all went down and why I recommend that you try this challenge too!
Days 1-10: Fairly easy. I started with my clothes and was able to easily knock out a few days. Then I decluttered my bookcase, which was really hard for me because I get so sentimental about my books. I got rid of a few books that I never read (and will probably never read) or books that I feel would better fit someone else (like that GRE prep-book I never opened).
Days 11-20: Pretty difficult. The number of items were reaching higher numbers as the month went on and I was struggling. I moved to kitchen and was able to get rid of items that I never used or had duplicates of. I also purged old dvd’s and junk drawers.
Days 20-30: The hardest stretch… until I finally attained the mentality of “screw it, its just stuff“. I went away on a business trip for 4 days so I had to declutter a lot all at once. At this point, I was so used to the routine and I didn’t feel as attached to the items that I was departing with.
Takeaways: The challenge was a lot harder than I expected. I was surprised by how easily I had become emotionally attached to material things such as books and dvd’s. Once I became a member of the local library, I felt better about cleaning out my own personal stash of books because I knew I could check out new books at the library (and then return them so I didn’t create clutter again). The easiest things for me to part with were clothes I was saving for a rainy day or “just in case”, cheap and discolered jewelry, tacky high school purses, and old documents (college essays and such). What surprised me the most was how this challenge affected my shopping habits. I found that I no longer had any desire to go into my old favorite stores (Target and TJ Maxx). I knew that “just browsing” most likely meant walking out of the store with upwards $100 wasted on junk that I really didn’t need. I found myself asking:
“Do I really need this?”, “Does this item add value to my life?” “Could I live without it or substitute with something I already own?”
Asking myself those questions saved me from making some seriously pointless purchases. Also, I didn’t feel guilty when I answered those questions and realized it was a smart purchase. When I thought the purchase through, I walked out of the store feeling confident and guilt-free about the money I spent.
Send off: If you haven’t already done this minimalist game, I highly recommend that you try it and challenge yourself. Its hard, yes, but it is also so rewarding. If you need an encouraging quote to get started, I’ve got one for ya:
“I make myself rich, by making my wants few.” – Henry David Thoreau