During January, I took part in the 30-day minimalism game inspired by The Minimalists. The game proved to be both cathartic and cleansing for me. I learned quite a bit about myself, my habits, and the habits of my husband. I would like to share some what I learned in hopes that it might inspire you as well.
- We have too much stuff! This seems simple now, but I could not see it before. I had a long standing policy of one item in, one item out with a few exceptions. While we have not grown the amount of stuff that we own by much, we also did not do anything to pair our possessions down. We stayed static. The one in, one out policy will seem more effective now that we have less. Even now as we continue monthly purges, I feel that we have too many possessions. I would like us to journey toward living with less.
- I had more emotional attachments to items than I realized. I usually taut myself as someone who can easily part with any object in our home. I realized that this was true for most items, but I have found areas of our home where I do have emotional attachments. It would feel unnatural for me not to have any, but it is healthy for me to limit those attachments. This game helped me challenge myself and break some of the attachments that I thought I did not have.
- Too many items in our home are superfluous. We have a relatively small kitchen and I thought that I had done a good job only having only items we needed. I started to see several items that we had because we thought we needed them, such as a coffee grinder and a popcorn maker. Both of these items are completely unnecessary for us. We have a blender that works better than a coffee grinder and we can make popcorn on the stove. I conned myself into believing that I needed both appliances for a well functioning kitchen. This realization has caused me to try and look at everything in my home to see if another item can take its place.
- The game needs to continue beyond 30 days. During the game, we purged about 500 items. It felt great, but I wasn’t able to get to every area in 30 days. Since then I have taken each month at a time and selected two areas to organize and pair down. I have continued to keep track of the items that have made their way out of our home. My plan is to do this for the rest of the year. February through April has been successful and I have met those goals. My yearly total for items purged is about 765 items.
As I think about my life, I remind myself that there is so much more to life than items. Relationships and experiences mean so much more to me than objects. My hope is that I will continue to learn and appreciate this lesson as we journey toward our version of minimalism.