Less Stuff: Mins Game, Week 1

 

Joshua Becker

28 things gone. 28 fewer things to deal with.

This week is undoubtedly the easiest of the month. And yet, it still proved to be empowering. As I’ve been looking through all of the cabinets, the bookshelves, and closets, it’s like I’ve somehow given myself permission to unload things. I keep searching out the next thing to get rid of, and things are starting to jump off of the shelves. “Do I really need that toaster? No, we haven’t used it since we moved here.” “Four spatulas? Why would I need four spatulas?” These are questions that I’ve never asked myself before, so I’ve never had to answer for them.

To wrap up my first week, here’s what I’ve gotten rid of so far:

1 Pinterest account
1 giant flask
1 tiny glass
12 books
4 cups without lids
1 lid with no cup
1 crappy piece of Tupperware
2 pairs of crazy sunglasses
1 stuffed Easter bunny
1 stemless champagne glass
1 belt
2 CDs

With sharing all of these things on social media, I’ve received a few questions. Here are some answers:

1. Yes, Pinterest counts as an item. It was taking up 2-3 hours per week of my time FOR NO GOOD REASON. It’s not necessary, and it makes my life simpler not to have it. It counts.

2. Most of the things will be given away. If they’re worth much money (like the Wii I’m trying to unload on Craigslist), then I’ll sell it. If it’s just trash, I’ll throw it in the garbage. Everything else is being donated or given to people who have asked specifically for the item(s).

3. It’s not daunting. Pick a drawer or a cabinet and just clean out that one thing. Pretty soon, you’ll go to the drawer next to it. And then pretty soon you’re unloading things en masse.

4. Giving away gifts is hard. Knowing that your mom will see that you’re giving away something she bought for you is hard (sorry, mom). But if it doesn’t have significant sentimental value, sayonara.

5. Yes, I’m proud of what I’m doing to make a better life for my family. Yes, I feel like it’s going to get really tough (when I try to throw out Casey’s belongings), and yes, I feel like a weight has already been lifted. But believe me, I’m not too big for my britches quite yet. I still have 468 things to go.

Less stuff: The Mins Game

One of those blogs I referred you to in my last post has a running challenge each month called The Mins Game. The gist is this: on the first day of the month, you give up one thing. On the second day, two things. On the third, three things. You get the point. If I’m doing my math correctly, that means I’ll be giving up 496 things if I can make it through the month.

Since today’s the first of July, the challenge starts now. First up, my Pinterest account. I’ve been on Pinterest since 2011, and I have well over 2,000 pins (of things I never do, ideas I never challenge, recipes I never make, crafts I never try). It was becoming a sort of pacifier for me. I’d check Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TimeHop … hm, what else can I do while I’m sitting here, bored? I know! I’ll go through Pinterest! It wasn’t a useful tool to me. On occasion, I’d jump on for a recipe that I’d actually made and liked. But you know the beauty of the internet? I can Google those recipes just as easily as I could find them on Pinterest.

So long, my pins!

 

Less Stuff: An Introduction

Oklahoma

If you follow me on social media, you’ve likely noticed I’ve made a play to own less stuff.

Less clutter = less time organizing/cleaning/picking up clutter = more time to do things. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

Let’s start at the beginning. When I moved in with Casey in spring 2012, I packed up all of my boxes and headed north on I-35 from Norman to OKC. I unpacked a couple of boxes when I arrived at Casey’s bachelor pad. I knew we were looking for a house in the next couple of months, so what was the point of getting settled? When the house that we had an offer on fell through, we ended up moving into a one-bedroom apartment downtown. Guys, we rented a garage at the apartment for eight months (for over $1,000 in sum) solely so we could use it as a storage unit. For eight months, we went without so many of our things we were committed to keeping. Then, in February 2013, we bought a house. (Soon enough I’ll probably start complaining about the size of the house we bought, but that’s a whole new tangent.) All of the stuff we had in the garage, along with everything else we had accumulated during those eight months, moved with us to our new house. Did I mention that we got married during all of this?

Guess where the majority of things went that were tucked away in the garage at the apartment. Yep, our garage at the house. We didn’t need any of it. Sure, we wanted some of it, but we certainly didn’t need it. So we had a garage sale to unload everything.

Purging all of that stuff should have felt wonderful, and it did. Maybe too wonderful, as it kickstarted a movement. Over the past month, I’ve been researching this thing called minimalism. I’ve become jaded with the idea of having to have the Next Big Thing (and then having to take care of said thing, clean around said thing, eventually throw away said thing). And the more I’ve learned, the more I have started acting on it. If you’re interested in learning more about this, here are a few of the things that have fueled my fire:

Blogs
Becoming Minimalist
The Minimalists
Zen Habits
Unclutterer

Podcasts
The Art of Simple
Minimalism for the Rest of Us

Book
Everything That Remains

As I’ve been reading and listening, I’ve thought, “Yes. This is what I need. I need to free up my space. I need to free up my time. I need to get rid of those 37 plastic cups in my kitchen cabinet.” And so I’ve begun my Less Stuff adventure.

With that, I’ll lead you with a great quote by Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist:

Becoming Minimalist