#minsgame – final report

Four hundred and six things were purged from our lives during the month of February. I started with one thing on day one, two things on day two and I progressed throughout the month all the way to twenty-eight things on day twenty-eight. It’s probably obvious that the start was easier than the finish and it certainly did get more challenging along the way. By the end of it, the Rebel in me (check out the Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin if you haven’t already) was so tired of the daily commitment (I don’t do well with routine and doing the same thing every day so that made it an even bigger victory for me) that I guess I forgot to write about the final week (days 23 through 28) and the process as a whole. (Hahahaha. Two whole months later…)

In week four, I got rid of a mish-mash of one hundred and fifty-three items from all areas of the house including:

  • magazines
  • sports equipment
  • baby gates we’d used to separate the cats when we moved in together
  • books
  • writing utensils
  • clothing
  • old remotes
  • jewelry
  • bags
  • scarves
  • shoes
  • cat scratching post
  • Easter baskets
  • seeds
  • board games

So. Now that it’s over, would I do it again? I can answer that with a solid MAYBE.

Things I learned:

  • I’m actually much less of a packrat than I thought. I don’t feel bad about the number of things that I have no matter how minimalists try to shame people like me for it (and minimalists looooove to shame people for their opposing habits.) My stumbling blocks are sentimental: cards, letters, photographs, souvenirs. But, borrowing from the Kon Mari thinking and keeping things only if they “spark joy” I was justified in hanging onto the things that I do.
  • I am not a minimalist. I don’t get satisfaction out of having less and I don’t feel a great charge from getting rid of things. Do I like having less clutter around? Yes. But I also like having some well-chosen clutter, too.
  • This would be a great annual exercise or pre-moving routine. When I talk to people who live in single family homes or who have not moved for a long time, they often talk about how daunting it would be for them to have to leave the place that they’re in. This is a good way to practice and not get overwhelmed. Doing this over several successive months would have a HUGE impact on a large house that has sat collecting *stuff* for decades.
  • I could use this someday is a tough habit to break. I’m not super hung up on this in all areas, but in some (ahem, craft supplies) I am sooooo guilty. Again, this is something that I hear a lot from people and listening to others and sharing advice on just letting go is real motivation to come home and do some more of that yourself!

Doing the minsgame definitely helped us prep for moving and it certainly helped me get rid of a number of things that I’d probably already carried around for too long. I’ll pencil another in for next spring and maybe then you can join me. 🙂

Take a look back at my weekly reports:

Or check out all the photos in my #minsgame Facebook album.

#minsgame – week three

Last week’s update came a little late after Valentine’s Day and Wedding Wednesday claimed their rightful dates and bumped my decluttering and minimalism progress report.

This week spans days sixteen to twenty-two in the 28-day challenge. Those five days account for 133 items to total 253 things so far. Those things include bathroom items, craft supplies, books, kitchen stuff and many other random items from around the house.

From an overall perspective, I’m still early enough in the process that it’s relatively easy for me to piece together each day’s quota just by looking around. I was asked this week whether I am tackling my belongings by zones and I am reserving the need to do that for now. I basically just cherry pick as I make my way through my day and will get more focused and organized in the final week of the month after we have our last houseguest in this apartment and can really start packing up for the move. (We can start moving three weeks from today!)

What’s been your secret to keeping your belongings in check over the years? If they’re not, what’s your biggest weakness?

#minsgame – week two

One hundred and eight more items were pitched out our doors this week. That’s 136 things in total. It’s day sixteen and as the numbers rise so does the challenge of the game.

This week (plus a few days) I got rid of books, DVDs, dishes, booze, pillows, towels, stationery and other miscellaneous pieces. We sent donations to Wildlife Rescue, BCSPCA Thrift Store, Burnaby Public Library (I wanted to donate to New West’s, but their donation process is just too restrictive and I couldn’t wait for a date), to friends and to service locations on the Downtown Eastside. We also made a few undocumented (by that I mean in addition to each day’s collection) “donations” to the garbage and recycling.

These numbers are still small enough that they’re manageable. We’re also at an advantage of having the motivation of the challenge AND our impending move as extra motivation. That do I really want to put in all the energy of packing and carrying this item all the way over to another place way factor is helpful to say the least. Now that our place has been shown and we can really start to tear everything down, I expect that we’ll start seeing even more *stuff* that can go. At least I hope so…

Do you ever go on clutter clearing binges? What are your best tips for not collecting too much *stuff*? Are you more minimalist or pack rat?

#minsgame – week one

Minimalist. For someone who doesn’t quite fit perfectly into that category, this is most certainly a challenge, but I felt up to it and excited for a change so I took it on. Last week, I wrote about how I was doing The Minimalists’ 30-Day Minimalism Challenge and getting rid of the same number of things as the day of the challenge every day for a month. Except I only committed to 28 days. And I changed up my rules a little.

And now here we are – one week in, twenty-eight items lighter.

If you’re anything like me and you go on a decluttering spree, you’ll start out strong and it will take over your thinking. I found myself waking up at night and thinking of the things that we could get rid of, mentally packing them into boxes or relocating them to their new homes. I can understand why some people flip-flop the month and start with the high number then count down. It’s probably easier to sustain. (Also, way easier to keep track of what number you’re on!) For me, at least this time around, I’m starting small and working up.

This week, I’ve gotten rid of:

  • 1 small appliance
  • 4 pieces of sports equipment
  • 5 dishes
  • 7 pieces of clothing
  • 11 miscellaneous pieces from around the house

You can see them all in my #minsgame Facebook album.

Week one has been easy. There’s lots to choose from and everywhere I look, it’s easy to see where a thing or two is expendable. We dropped some boxes at a thrift shop, some of our things are on their way directly to people in need and some were dispersed among people who could appreciate them more than me.

I’ve learned that it’s really easy to bury things and forget about them and I’ve learned that it’s just as easy to deal with it. I’m starting to better understand the things about which I am sentimental and the things about which I couldn’t care less. We’re already starting to see the advantage of creating more space and the clarity of releasing more clutter.

When I asked Kevin what he’s learned from my first week of the minimalism challenge, he replied, “I’ve learned that we have a lot of stuff.”