Archive for the ‘Minimalism’ Category


Monday, April 14th, 2014

This is the third month I’ve played the Minimalist Game.
The first month I was fairly strict counting things and keeping the number of things tied to the day of the month. In March, I made the day of the month the minimum number of things, not stopping if I was on a roll. I’m carrying on in the same manner in April.

At the beginning of the third month it started to be more difficult, both emotionally and finding areas in the house that hadn’t at least had a cursory purge.

Emotions are tied to certain things for me; games, photos, books. The emotional attachment to games is a double edged sword. Happy memories of a LOT of game playing in my childhood and a sense of sadness and loss knowing it’s unlikely that I’ll ever be playing those games in the future. The day I tossed decades of film negatives I knew I’d tossed something
irreplaceable. And it just seems wrong to pitch books, both those I haven’t read and those that I have on my shelf because I adore.

Then there’s the easy spots, like the kitchen drawer that contains the two boxes of zip locks, wax paper and aluminum foil. One of the technics in the purging process is to empty the whole drawer or closet and only put back what you want, leaving the rest to go. This allows you to “see” things that you don’t necessarily see just because they are always there.

Ninety-five Twist Ties

Ninety-five Twist Ties

When I go to the bulk food store, the items come back in bags with twist ties. In the drawer of zip lock bags, there was an entire zip lock bag of twist ties, new, never used (and not one bag that would need a twist tie). In addition, there were loose twist ties, ones that tied the bulk food bags. And as I emptied the drawer there were more twist ties, and more twist ties and more twist ties. Ninety-five twist ties all totaled.

And, scrunched in the back of the drawer was a coupon for ziplock bags that expired in 1995.

Day 28 of the Minimalist Game

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Today’s the last day of February and the last day of The Minimalist Game, I’m going “play again” in March, since I’m not done getting rid of things.

Some of the things on today’s list of items include: punch bowl with matching cups, sleeping bag (not ever going to camp again), badminton racquets and birdie, four college yearbooks, four t-shirts, five milk crates, two kites and kite string, and 30 years of photographic negatives.

During this purging process there have been places I have bumped up into emotionally difficult groups of things. Other times it’s felt too tough to deal with either the shear volume of stuff (either sorting through or lugging it out of a closet or the basement) and I have turned away. The negatives were the first really emotionally difficult thing to toss. There were a lot of them, organized and labeled, neatly and carefully stored in a couple of containers. But, like the kites and kite string, I hadn’t used them in a very long time. And, realistically I’m not ever going to. They aren’t adding value to my life and they were just taking up space. They remind me of what I haven’t done (some sort of photo project) instead of inspire me to do something creative and new.

I can already feel the freedom that comes with less clutter. With fewer things I feel lighter and more able to just get stuff done. There’s a lot more to go, and I’m sure there will be hard things to part with in the future. Even so, I’m looking forward to playing another round next month.

Here's (most of) the stuff from February's Minimalist Game.

Here’s (most of) the stuff from February’s Minimalist Game.

Minimalist Game -February

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

After reading “Everything That Remains” I became inspired to reduce the number of items in my house. “Everything That Remains” chronicles the journey the authors, Joshua and Ryan, made to becoming minimalists. It’s not a “how to” book but more of a “why” to book.

On their website there are some examples of the things they tried when making the transition, like canceling the internet at home and NOT buying anything for a period of time. At the beginning of February I noticed the Minimalist Game, in which one item gets purged on the first of the month, two things get purged on the second of the month, and so on, until the last day of the month when, in the case of February, 28 things go. It adds up to over 400 by the end of the month.

I’m keeping a journal as I go, noting the things that get tossed in the bin for a garage sale (planned for June 6 and 7) or that I toss or recycle. From the journal it’s easy to tell where I was targeting. For example,
“February 7: Seven wooden spoons”
“February 12: Twelve vases”
“February 15: Fifteen articles of clothing, mostly scarves”
“February 17: Seventeen cords (USB to something!)”
“February 22: Slips, bras, thigh highs, nylons, camisoles, bathing suits”
“February 23: rain jackets, fleece, mittens, winter hats, scarves, headbands, rain poncho (still in a packet)”

Although February is soon coming to an end, I’ll carry on the game in March. Stay tuned for a progress update!

Shaker box that was full of nylons.

Shaker box that was full of nylons.

Old hot metal type

How many dull knives does a kitchen really need?

I got this at a garage sale and never used it.

I got this at a garage sale and never used it.