Minimalism Game: Gone For Good
During the month of June, I completed the 30-day Minimalism Game.
The premise is simple: take 30 days. On day 1, reduce your possessions by 1 item. On day 2, by 2 items. And so on, until on day 30 you're getting rid of 30 items.
This is a two-part post. See here for the first part - a record of all the things I let go of. This second part details my thoughts and feelings about the challenge.
Reuse, recycle, reduce
I wanted to create as little waste as possible so, where things couldn't be given to a charity shop, I made sure I couldn't repurpose them in another way before recycling them or, in a few rare cases, throwing them in the bin. I felt so bad for throwing away things like anonymous wires and belly button rings, but I feel lighter now that they're not sat in my cupboard with no purpose, and more space has been created which is invaluable.
On day 1, I recycled 4 greetings cards in one go because one single item didn't feel like enough - but by the end of the month I was clutching onto every single thing I could count as one of the items for that day!
The easiest things were paperwork bits that have been lying around forever. Those felt great to get rid of, but they were just the very tip of the iceberg as I still have box files filled with anything but 'filed' paperwork. And the most difficult thing was without a doubt my cassette tape collection. I remember letting out a squeal years ago in a charity shop in Camden when I found Massive Attack's Blue Lines album, as I owned the CD but there was no CD player in my car, just a cassette player. These days I have the magic of data on my phone to listen to anything I want on demand, so the cassettes are just unnecessary memorabilia that I've clung on to for years now.
I know a few people who are really set on the idea of 'owning' music for themselves, but I'm the complete opposite. Open resources are a real gift and I love not having the clutter in my own home. More room for plants.
What I've learned
(1) Holding onto something for 5 years without using it once will not make me feel better about getting rid of it eventually. If it's not functional and doesn't bring joy to me, I should let go of it asap.
(2) Point (1) is especially true of old mobile phones. Why didn't I resell my iPhone 5 when I got the iPhone SE in 2016? It at least could have fetched a little back then. Now it's worth next to nothing. I just gave two Nokia Lumias and a Blackberry to the charity shop. Lesson learned.
(3) Fancy dress is so wasteful (that's costume parties to non-UK people!). If I ever go to a fancy dress party again, it'll be formed out of clothing I already have lying around and DIYed instead of bought fresh from a fancy dress shop. I had all sorts of only-worn-twice costumes in my cupboard.
(4) Fashion sucks, and we're all a part of it. I'm way less a part of it than I was 5 years ago, but I'm not out of the wider realm. I look forward to learning more about getting out of the system.
(5) Letting go frees up so much space, and that space isn't just physical. With more empty space, my mind is more sparked to be productive and creative, and it feels so good.
(6) I am not my possessions. I've read this many times, but it feels more obvious now. I was unconsciously holding onto a lot of stuff that helped me identify with my past self. But those possessions didn't define me any more than what's left defines who I am now. I feel as though I've gained back a bit of control to be executive with my life.
My one problem...
I've been great at not acquiring more junk for 4 solid years now. Since 2014, I've been really mindful of my consumer habits and I'm a very deliberate buyer. The only junk I still get a lot of is 'swag' items - as a blogger, especially for my food blog, vegansofLDN, I receive a lot of stuff alongside the actual products being reviewed, to pad out the package. I would feel so rude if I wrote asking to please just deliver the item being reviewed with no extra products; I've written a tactful email like that just once and then read through it and deleted the whole thing. I received lots of extra swag with the product, all of which has been given away or recycled. I can't think of a solution to this and it drives me a bit nuts!
So that's it. 30 days later, I'm 465 items lighter, and I'm one step closer to floating on that enlightened minimalist cloud that I like to believe exists. I'd recommend this game to EVERYBODY. The more daunting it sounds, the more you probably need it. And please share your stories with me!
Thanks for reading.