My Minimalism Game

I was perusing through one of my favorite blogs, The Minimalists, awhile back and I discovered a game that came both at a perfect time for my family, and for the time of year. With spring upon us, and our family trending in a more minimalistic, conscious living style, this game presents an impetus for us to get rid of the superfluous garb that comes inherent with the 21st century American lifestyle. It also challenges us to ask ourselves a scary question: “how much can I let go of?”

So the game, per the site, goes like this:

“Here’s how it works…

Find a friend or family member: someone who’s willing to get rid of their excess stuff. This month, each of you must get rid of one thing on the first day. On the second, two things. Three items on the third. So forth, and so on. Anything can go! Clothes, furniture, electronics, tools, decorations, etc. Donate, sell, or trash. Whatever you do, each material possession must be out of your house—and out of your life—by midnight each day.

It’s an easy game at first. However, it starts getting challenging by week two when you’re both jettisoning more than a dozen items each day. Whoever can keep it going the longest wins; you both win if you can make it all month. Bonus points if you play with more than two people.”

BOOM – I was hooked!

So, I started in the month of March – not without a hiccup I might I add – and I decided to document everything that I’m going to let go of in the coming days. I’m documenting this for a few reasons:

A: I’d like to look back on this one day and see if I’ve stuck to my guns on purging and only keeping what’s essential.

B: I want you to journey along with me, and (hopefully) realize that it’s ok to let go of most anything in life to create more clarity which equals less stress.

C: Hopefully you’ll try next month!

I’ll be updating each day as I let go of however much and whichever items I choose to depart with. I’m grateful for people like The Minimalists who have impacted my life, and caused me to take an honest look at myself and question just how much of it was mine, and how much of it was designed by societal pressure to consume.

Enjoy!

Day 1/2

I labeled this as day 1 and 2 because day 1 got away from me. I had the item chosen, I just didn’t act. Bad boy, Trevor.

So – what did I get rid of?

Day 1 item:

Hooded Sweatshirt

Why? For one, I no longer attend the establishment this sweater promotes. And for another, I was given a new hooded sweatshirt for Christmas, and have a plurality of sweatshirts, beanies, and other keep-me-warm garb. There’s just no justifiable reason to keep it round (and sentiment doesn’t win either. See sentiment post by The Minimalists.)

Donated to a local support closet that assists people in need of clothing.

Day 2 Items:

Stafford Dress Shirt and Fancy Pants Over Sweater

These two were even easier than the first, because I actually used to where the first item quite often. But these two, nope. The fancy pants sweater was given to me by someone else who didn’t want it and I was too much of a weanie to say no. Have never worn it, will never wear it. Not interested in making it “work” with an ensemble.

The dress shirt was a panic purchase (the worst) for my new teaching position and the delusions that by somehow looking like a stockbroker, I would become a better teacher. Wore it like twice and thought that it made me look like a waiter at a seafood restaurant. Bye bye dress shirt – you will make someone very happy, just not me.

Donated to a local support closet that assists people in need of clothing.

Day 1 and Day 2 Items

Day 3 Items:

After talking with Abbey about our plans for the game after the first two days, we realized that we didn’t want to waste our single digit days on small items. So, in an effort to be as efficient as possible, we’ve started thinking of larger things to get rid of in the early days of the month.

Double Stroller

We have two double strollers. This one was never a crowd favorite for M and C due to the fact that someone is tucked behind the other, and arguments over who gets the front row were inevitable.

Donated to thrift shop.

Small Book Shelf

Housed books for a short time, then became a sanctuary for miscellaneous items aka crap. Easy to jettison.

Donated to thrift shop.

Wine Refrigerator

This item is a testament to how ridiculous your perceptions of necessary household items can be right before you get married. We put this on our gift list, because, you know, everyone needs something to keep drinks cold. Oh wait, we have one of those – A FREAKING REFRIGERATOR.

Donated to local thrift shop. Happy trails, winerator.

LOOK AT ALL THIS PRACTICALITY

Day 4 Items:

End Table

Much like the extras in a horror movie, this thing was destined to be axed. No purpose other than tempting us to sit things on it.

Donated to thrift shop.

Roadmaster Mountain Bike

I don’t enjoy mountain biking, nor do I enjoy riding low quality bikes. This was hanging out in our lawn shed, taking up space, and more importantly, not being used.

Donated to thrift shop.

Retro Weight Set

This dated set of bod sculpting greatness has been taking residence in our basement for at least two years now. I’m not certain what my designs were for these: maybe working out with obsolete equipment was going to make it that much more HARDCORE? I don’t know. Either way, it had to go. I very rarely do free weight exercises anymore, and when I do, it’s at the high school I work at. Abbey will have to find somewhere else to get a pump.

Donated to local thrift shop.

So long, personal gym.

Full length mirror

This was shoved against the wall in the basement behind the Retro Weights. Maybe my plan was to practice my Arnold Schwarzenegger poses after a hardcore free weight session?

At the thrift shop with the rest of today’s lot.

Day 5 Items:

NordicTrack Elliptical

Purchased when we were newlyweds. Neither of us are super huge elliptical-ers, preferring running to the space aged stride of this exercise technology. Just one of those consumer idealism pieces that haunt so many homes in America.

Awaiting its lucky new owner.

Gargantuan Computer Desk

Plenty of space here for all of your work at home, busy guy needs. Except that I don’t work at home anymore, and when I do, I normally set up shop at the kitchen table. This was given to me by someone else who found its size oppressive, and for whatever reason, I thought it was a good idea.

It’s made out of the flimsy pressure board, so I’m just going to junk it. Dreams of day trading in my jammies from my awesome desk – gone!

Christmas Tree that we borrowed from my in-laws

Haven’t used it in a few Christmases because we have our own Christmas tree now. I’d hate to confuse Santa with too many trees under one roof.

Returning to my in-laws

(I’m certain you know what this item looks like, so no pic necessary!)

Two Christmas Quilts

This might be a cheap way to get our last two items for day 5, but it’s going to be a full month with lots of stuff leaving our possession. I figure it’s ok to burn two spots on quilts that – while they’re beautiful and festive – we’ve never used.

Donated to thrift shop bin.

Day 6 through Day 12

Whew, this is a lot of days thrown in together, but we’ve been super busy with, well, life. BUT we’ve still been offloading the surplus stuff in our house each day.

So, here’s a very 30k foot view of the stuff we either gave back, or got rid of.

More clothes

Stuff that either didn’t fit anymore or was a double (or triple) of things that already filled its purpose.

Borrowed and broken appliances

These things pile up fast. My advice would be to use them and get them back ASAP. I know that’s what I should’ve done.

Lots of books

I love books, but I also admittedly love to compulsively purchase them. Aside from five books which I hold dear to me, the rest should have been donated as soon as I read them. Better yet, I should’ve been using the library way sooner! I use the public library and the library at the school that I work at for most of my reading needs now. The books made up a huge part of this span of days. Way to many sitting there, collecting dust.

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