Less stuff: Mins Game, weeks 2 and 3

Here we are. 300 things down, 196 things to go.

There’s one thing I didn’t expect with this process: the full change of attitude I’ve had toward my things. And, the change is quick. Three months ago, I actually cleaned out my bathroom cabinet. I threw out old medicines and organized everything else within the cabinet so that samples were all together, nail polish bottles were all together, bandaids were all together, etc. This week, I threw away 89 items out of that cabinet alone. Now, it seems so ridiculous that I spent time reorganizing things that were completely unnecessary.

Have you seen the Verizon commercial that starts out, “Nobody ever stomped their foot and asked for less.” Here it is:

It really struck a chord with me because that really is how our culture is today. Bigger and better, more, more, more. And until now, I’ve bought into the hype. I needed those 89 items in my bathroom cabinet. You know, just in case I run out of shampoo. The thing that I’ve realized is that there’s a very big difference between needing something and wanting it. One wouldn’t think that’s a big stretch to recognize, but I’ve somehow convinced myself along with way that the words are synonymous. They’re not. So here I am, stomping my foot and asking for less.

A few of you have asked where to start, and here’s a really fantastic list from Becoming Minimalist.

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!