It's been a month since I met The Minimalists in person and decided to play the minimalist game, so let's cut to the chase here and see how I did. Reading Everything That Remains and hearing the authors speak ignited a growing spark in me to consider all the 'stuff' that was currently taking up more than its fair share of space in my life. In reality, I had been thinking about some of the principles of minimalism, without relating them to that movement, since my life changed last year. For the past year and a half I have been living more simply due mainly to financial reasons. I also feel that I've been living much more deliberately than I had been for many years, since I'm no longer spending 10+ hours a day doing work that completely conflicted with my own personal values.
If you'll recall, the game goes like this: On Day 1 of the month, you toss/donate/recycle 1 item in your abode. On Day 2, two things must go. One Day 3, three things get tossed; and so on and so forth, until the last day of the month. I was never any good at math so I'm not even going to attempt to add up how many items that equals (1+2+3+4+....29+30), but it's gotta be in the millions right?! Or maybe hundreds, I don't know. I was so excited for this little game that I told my mom about it and she decided to play along for a couple days! Hahaha. We even texted each other back and forth for a few days announcing what we were getting rid of that day.
On Day 1 I was raring to go. I went overboard that day and got rid of a lot more than 1 item from my kitchen. Day 2 came and I got rid of 2 pairs of old running shoes. On Day 3 I cleared out 3 pairs of running shorts. On Day 4 I decided to tackle some of the many errant cat toys strewn about my apartment (I mean I didn't want the cats to feel left out of this game!). I can't remember what I got rid of on Day 5. On Day 6 I got rid of 6 sweaters as I was packing away my winter clothes (yeah, super late I know). Annnnnnnnnd, that's when I stopped keeping count. It became increasingly difficult for me to carve out time at the end of each day to devote to purging. I didn't stop all together, but I definitely stopped doing the exercise daily.
One weekend I decided to tackle my closet, which I hadn't really cleaned out in probably 2 years. I didn't even get through all of it, but I managed to fill 3 large bags with clothing that I donated to Goodwill, plus 3 more bags that I am going to consign (articles of clothing that still have tags on them and I've never worn?!). All told, I would say I probably rid myself of a good 60-70 articles of clothing! That sounds like a lot right? But somehow my closet is still so FULL. Behold:
It was after this closet cleaning bonanza that I completely lost steam so I know I definitely did not get rid of hundreds of things as per the game.
I'm glad this game kick started my apartment de-junking process because it's something I always want to do, but rarely get around to. Eventually I am going to want to move (location still TBD) and when I do, I want to take as little with me as possible. It's amazing the amount of stuff I've accumulated over the past 10 years and I am just 1 person! And most of it is just that - stuff that is not particularly useful, nor beautiful. Things that don't bring me joy, nor use on a daily basis.
[I think it's important to note here that I realize how blessed and privileged I am to live in a country and be in a position where having too much is my biggest problem. Let's be real, for most of the world's population, "minimalism" is simply a way of life forced upon them due to poverty, oppression, war, or worse.]
The end result of this experiment was positive, but it also made me see just how hard going completely minimalist would be. I mean the parting with objects was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, yet, it seems we are trapped in an endless cycle of accumulating more. With the onslaught of advertising and media everywhere you look in modern day America, it becomes almost impossible to not feel like you 'need' the latest this or that that is being presented to you. There is probably rarely a day that goes by that you don't purchase something. Whether it's a coffee on the way to work, or some random crap from Target you pick up on the way home. Every time you walk back in your door, you are probably bringing something into it that wasn't there before. This is just how American culture is today, and unless you're isolated both physically and electronically I think it's really hard to escape those materialistic impulses.
There's lots more work to be done on the home front here, but learning about the minimalist movement has been yet another insightful stop-over on this winding road trip that has become the vehicle to redefining how I want to live my life.
Speaking of going minimalist, I am headed out early tomorrow morning for a week of camping in the wilds of Missouri with my sister and her family. So I won't have access to a computer and thus won't be blogging for a week. I may update Instagram or Twitter occasionally, probably with endless pictures of my niece and nephew, but mostly I'll be enjoying a break from social media and instead soaking up all Mother Nature has to offer. Catch you on the flipside :)
Here are a few other minimalist blogs I'm now following on BlogLovin' if you're interested:
How often do you clear clutter out of your living space?
Would you ever go entirely Minimalist?!