This is not the first time I have attempted this quest. My ability (almost a superpower) to collect clutter seems to be one of the few constant enjoyments during my life. I try to rationalise with the idea that if I lived in a 5 bedroom house with a loft it would not be such an issue. But I don’t. My husband and I rent a bedroom, kitchen, lounge and bathroom from my grandparents. Our huge piles of stuff (we both collect things) have spilled in other spare rooms of the house. I seriously need to get this back under control.
Hence the return to the #minsgame. It is something I originally discovered in 2013 in a blog by David Seah. I have been redirected to the concept through the discovery of a new blog – The Minimalists. The entire concept of the blog is learning how to become a minimalist. Although I am pretty sure that I have no hope of becoming an actual minimalist, I believe that learning some of the elements of this lifestyle would help me concentrate on the things in life that actually matter. There are concepts of the lifestyle – that stuff becomes a distraction – that I can relate to. Hence why I need to de-clutter.
The rules of the game:
Day 1 – get rid of one item.
Day 2 – get rid of 2 items.
You have to get the items out of the house (or into the bin).
You cannot hide stuff at other peoples houses – I did double check.
I think I made it to about day 13 last time. Although I won’t take many photos, I will keep up up to date with my progress. Hopefully it will give you some ideas if you want to de-clutter and have no idea where to start. I started off with random drawers that had no particular purpose, things in piles that I already wanted to get rid of and spaces that I didn’t usually use.
If you are starting to struggle then here are a few blogs to help you get rid of the clutter from your life. As you go through the month and need to get rid of 10+ items per day it will get much more difficult.
– If you haven’t used the item for X amount of days then get rid of it. – the 90/90 rule. The Minimalists
– Struggling to let go of items from loved ones? How to get rid of sentimental items The Minimalists
– Feeling like you are losing momentum? This blog shows how making yourself accountable to other stops you from giving up. Hold your own feet to the fire. Zen Habits.
I’m currently on day 12 – having missed day 8, 9, 10 & 11 I’m having to play catch up. So somewhere with a concentrated amount of unused stuff was required. I have a cupboard filled with stuff that I haven’t used since I put them in a spare room. Some of the bits I am saving for when me and my husband finally get our own house. However, some stuff just went in there to avoid the effort of sorting through them last time. This managed to fill the quote for these days nicely. Rather than stuff trying to jump out of the cupboard at me, I now have space left! Which is great, as my husband picked up 6 of those funky mason jar glasses as part of our ‘bottom drawer collection’. They had been sat on the floor outside of the cupboard. They are now in it! (Loud cheers from someone… Probably my nan)
Day 13: This was one of the first days where I consciously began to find throwing away stuff slightly more difficult. This eventually led me to going through a set of drawers – of which I had forgotten the contents it contained. I actually found a stapler that I had forgotten I owned…. (I’d been looking for one last week). It’s worth doing this exercise for this reason if nothing else.
I’m also beginning to think of this game as a little bit like writing an autobiography. I’m discovering things that I have kept for the sake of being sentimental, but not necessarily for their practical use. It’s interesting the reasoning for surrounding yourself with things. They are all really just a distraction from the main focus of what actually makes me happy. Hopefully this game will help me focus and work out what that actually is. I’m 23, but still learning.
Day 14: So I’m going to try and do a couple of days at once today. We’re away this weekend at a show (Airsoft Showcase – I’ll be at Drone Airsoft’s stand), so it’s about the only way I can think of to try and keep on top of everything. Well that’s the plan anyway. Hopefully it will actually make a dent in the tidying I also have to do. I might treat myself to a glass of wine if I successfully manage it.
Successfully completed day 15 🙂 (Totally going to have to get some dinner now).
My husband has returned from a friend’s house and he apparently doesn’t want to get rid of anything he owns…. this could get awkward…. Then when I think about it… most of the “stuff” is probably mine…. So I’m possibly being a bit unfair….
Only one more thing to go for day 18…. but I need some more time to think.
Inspiration hit this morning while I was putting some DVDs in a box I’d cleared out. I found a duplicate of the Harry Potter Half Blood Prince DVD – I’d brought the whole box set after being given the 6th one on DVD. So I have no idea why I still have the spare one. It’s a great example of how you can end up keeping so much extra stuff you don’t need at all. Also shows that I need to be a lot more disciplined about getting yet of stuff when I buy new stuff to replace it.
If anyone is wondering, I have just calculated that I’ll have got rid of 496 items by the end of May 2015. Which is really cool. I’m probably about a 1/3 of the way through now in terms of getting rid of items. I’m already really starting to notice the difference. Managing already to make some space and prioritising what stuff to put in storage for when me husband and I get our own place and what stuff I’m never likely to need again. The concept of just getting rid of the “just in case stuff” that is cheap to replace is also working well. I don’t feel any regret for getting rid of them either. So this is really helping me feel a lot better about myself and how I live.
It’s the 18th now. So I have now caught up with the progress ahead that I was on Thursday. So I thought I would use this as a serious bit of motivation to give my kitchen a good tidy (and get ahead again!).
Personally, I find my kitchen one of the most difficult rooms in the house to keep on top of. It’s the place that become a bit of a dump zone on route to the lounge. So, because of all this stuff it becomes really hard to keep tidy. The plan – reduce the amount of stuff in the room so that it is easier to keep tidy! Hopefully that works….
Day 20 – Well we’ve been looking at houses this week. It turns out we have way to much stuff for the size of the houses we can afford. So it’s turning out this game is also a great exercise if you are planning on downsizing. I’m pretty sure I also need to have a bit of a rethink on the units I have as well.
Day 24 – I’m currently still running on 2 days ahead. Really proud of myself for making it this far through the month. Slightly concerned that I don’t appear to be struggling with this as much as I probably should be. I am thinking that perhaps I should repeat this exercise – or something similar – when I pack up my things upon purchasing a house. Although my rooms are looking tidier, there is still a lot of stuff. I am actually starting to feel the difference now though.
So I have made it to day 25. Still running a couple of days ahead (yay!) but that still means I have 137 items to find and remove from the house by the end of play on Sunday. Which means I’ve already removed 359 items from the chaos.
I’m not too concerned at the moment – but by the time I’m working on day 31 I’m sure the indecision will begin to set in. My kitchen and lounge are definitely starting to look at lot tidier. I personally feel a lot better for it and the tidy spaces are much more enjoyable.
Day 27 – So it has now reached the time that my husband will actually let me get rid of some of his clothes (yay! – he doesn't wear half of them). We had a quick blitz before work this morning.
What we have realised is that in any new house we can afford we will only fit about 1 wardrobe and 1 chest of drawers into the bedroom. Currently we have clothes in the wardrobes/drawers of the spare bedrooms. The total currently stands are : 4 double wardrobes, 4 chests of drawers. Conclusion – Lots of clothes need to leave the house. Having given a lot to the charity shop this month I don't feel to guilty at taking these down the fabric bin place. You don't get a lot of money from it, but hopefully we get swap the few bags of clothes for £20 and pay for lunch somewhere as a reward. It's a lot less time consuming then selling all of your stuff on EBAY.
Also, I managed to finished another book and get it reviewed in the last couple of days. My rule is that once it has been completed and reviewed it has to leave the house. The original plan was so that I could make room for more. Now it's just because I need to claim some space back on my shelves. You can find my Game of Thrones review here.
Day 28 – Well we are now on the final few days of the challenge. Still the tide of items leaving the house does not seem to be slowing. While I do feel that there is definitely progress in both my living room and kitchen, there is still progress to be made in bedroom storage. I count this as clothes storage – which is the additional storage I mentioned earlier. This has been the main areas I will be tackling in the next few days.
Currently there is 3 large black bin bags ready to leave the house in the morning. Win.
Day 30: My weekend runs Sunday – Monday. So will have to catch up a bit on today’s attempt either tonight or tomorrow. My home looks so much tidier after this month. This really has become the motivational tool I needed to get my butt into gear and sort out my living space. I feel so much better for it and hope that this progress will continue after this month has finished.
If you want to play than tweet your progress with the hashtag #minsgame.
- From the drawer of random stuff in my kitchen: A padded envelope I was keeping “just in case. I don’t even know why. I never post anything. In the bin.
- From the random drawer of stuff in my kitchen: A knitted duck that I am pretty sure originally had a chocolate egg in. Totally no idea why I still had this. Also discovered a set of coasters my Nan had been sent in the post and then given to me. I have some Despicable Me ceramic coasters I brought on my honeymoon – so these freebies are not required. In the bin.
- From a kitchen cupboard: 3 out of date packaged jelly cubes. I’m presuming these were brought with the concept of making jelly shots once upon a time. In the bin.
- From the kitchen: A box presumably kept with the intention of using it for something. Found some napkins I’d kept from a takeaway for some reason. A leaflet that was kept to remember a place. But has ended up hidden in a drawer. Also uncovered a divider for a camera bag that I don’t need. So that all went in the bin.
- From the bedroom: I remembered about the game just before I went to bed, so I had a hunt around. I quickly uncovered a coaster from an Explorer camp that I decorated in 2005. It had a forgotten melted wax candle covering it. A plastic decorative wedding shoe was also discovered on my windowsil – something remaining from my wedding in 2012. A duck shaped radio – barely used because there is very limited analogue radio coverage where I’m living. 2 plastic cherub bookends were also found in my box of decorative items. They all went in the bin. It seemed the quickest way of getting them out of the house.
- Spare bedroom: Here I had stored a collection of books I had no more use for with some hope that my family would take them. No such luck. Thankfully, there is a “book club” bookshelf in the units where I work. So 6 of these books became my donation to the bookshelf.
- Lost track of the days today. So only picked up 6 items (all books I had finished with again) and so need to find something else to throw away when I get home. The books were donated to a charity shop around the corner from where I’m currently working. The additional item that made it’s way out of the door was a birthday badge – also to a charity shop.
- DAYS 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12 were all done together. I last track of time the last couple of days. So had a major purge of some wardrobes that had been forgotten in the spare bedroom. DAY 8 – Some dog tail hangers brought but never hung, some book covers (never used), some random snap cards which came from somewhere, a bottle opener and a Chinese calendar from 2013. Seriously wondering how I have managed to hold onto any of this stuff.
- 2 Old mobile phones that were totally forgotten about. A box of charging adaptors for a MP3 player that I’ve not ever needed. Also a language CD I think I got free with a magazine and never used. Another bottle opener (I think I used to collect them at Uni Fresher’s fairs….) 2 bags that I don’t need. An empty phone box. A random To Do list that was also floating around in that particular box. Anything usable can go to a charity shop.
- A random selection of charging cables and in-ear headphones. I use over the ear now as I find them more comfortable and the sound quality is a lot better. A remote for a digital photo frame that I think I’ve already thrown away…. Also a CD that obviously came free with something and has since not been used. It’s been in the box for at least 12 months, so I doubt I’ll miss it. Charity shop.
- Some more cables went. Also found a broken microphone (seriously wondering how that didn’t get thrown out when I originally chucked all those cables in the box). Also found a light that I think you might be able to clip onto a book and read. But I think it was a cheap one as it is a bit temperamental. Found some other random stuff (including a revision notebook) So one bag for the charity shop and one for the bin.
- For this one I also had to venture into another of the wardrobes in the spare bedroom. This also did me very well. Out of it came a gift box which had stuff stored in it the previous day. An odd flip flop has also appeared (I know I throw the other away because it became damaged beyond use) – a total shame as this particular pair of animal flip flops are the best I’ve ever owned. Also found a cape I’d made for a L.A.R.P. event a few years ago. That can go. Also found an empty shoe box – which had originally been the box for my wedding shoes. This shoe box then got filled with a load of crayons, pens, oil pastels and other drawing related items that I think I might have kept since art GCSE. I literally haven’t drawn since then. Which is a shame. But these can now go to a charity shop and hopefully someone can use them…. I counted the drawing implements as multiples…. but I thought it defeated the purpose if I used one for one item.
- While hunting through my bedroom office draws I found yet more items that I didn’t realise I owned. Somehow I managed to find another 6 pairs of in-ear headphones. How the heck have I managed to collect some many in-ear headphones? This is getting ridiculous. I also found 2 more in-ear set – unused – which came which my husband’s and my phones. So I’ll keep them for emergencies. Also I found 3 scientific calculators in the drawer which I’m pretty sure I’ve had since year 11. I’m keeping 1 for emergencies – and because I might dabble in some more A-level maths this year. Another desk-top calculator has also ended up in the charity shop bag. A hooded jumper I hardly wear, a coin purse I don’t need any more and a mini USB keyboard has also headed out of the door.
- The majority of the items today were keyrings. For some reason we had a collection of them gathering in a storage pocket in the bedroom. I also get rid of some OOD passport photos, one of my less successful craft projects and a stylus pen I’ve never used. I’ve attached a picture of the sock monster so you can laugh. Apart from the photos, all the stuff got left in a charity shop this morning. So hopefully they can get some love from someone.
18. The coat hanger used to store the necklaces and bracelets is going in the bin (1). So this battle against the choas is starting to make some progress. I’m slowly clearing out a cupboard in my bedroom which is the only major point of storage. So hopefully can use it to store some of the stuff I actually want to keep! A mixture of more card-making stuff (2, 3, 6 ,7, 9, 10,), Another old bag (4), A tube that used to house a poster (5). A half finished scrapper foil picture I brought at some point (8). Found an ‘award’ from my sixth form that I’d been hanging on too (11) – In the bin unfortunately, but here is a picture for prosperity. A couple of wedding decorations (12, 13), A decorative ornament a friend brought back from a trip (14). An unused necklace chain (15). A valentines card from my husband in 2014 (16). A cork this I was keeping for sentimental reasons…. (17) A double copy of a DVD – Why do I own 2 copies of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince? (18)
19. A black bin liner of items from my fridge – I’ll count this as 3, but it is a lot more. But I want to make a significant difference with the stuff I get rid of (1,2,3,), Box of biscuits left over from Christmas that haven’t been eaten (4), A name bade from my time as a summer school Aimhigher mentor in 2013 (For some reason I was known as my maiden name for 2 weeks…) (5) 3 x DVDs that I had put aside the last night to get rid of – The Golden Compass & Black Beauty (The books are better) & I know who killed me (Just strange watched about 5 mins and turned off!) (6, 7, 8), a 21 coaster (I’m now 23 so not really relevant any more…) (9), A stopper for preventing your drink being spiked (I don’t go clubbing that often to bother – once in the last year) (10), A random plastic tag that came with my flip-flops I brought on my honeymoon in disney (11), A loyalty card for a bookshop that was at my uni (I graduated 2 years ago….) (12), A keyring charm from somewhere without a keyring loop (13), 2 Easter eggs that I haven’t eaten yet and don’t plan on eating (I’m not really bothered by Chocolate – I gave it up for leant about 7 years ago and haven’t craved it since) (14, 15), A diary (unused from 2014) (16), A half unused back of large plastic placemats (17), Non-required Orange Top Up Card (18), Another Uni ID card – my student card (19).
20 – Some salt packets from a previous take-away (1), A Chocolate bar I never planned on eating (2), A gift bag (3), A charm from a keyring that I can’t use for anything else (4), a little egg hat I knitted for practice – but am never likely to actually need (5), A pack of facial wipes that were really cheap and really useless – that will teach me…. (6), A pack of cake bars we’re unlikely to eat – and a fit to eat a bit more healthy (7), A utensil tin that I don’t need now I’ve moved them all to a spare drawer (8), A knife block I no-longer need (9), A spare ‘just in case’ water filter (10), A bag some chopsticks once resided in (11), A wheel I brought for the Gerbils that is too big and never got around to returning (12), A plastic shaun the sheep box – from a Happy meal? (13), A circuit board from something (14), A scent block thing that obviously ran out a while ago…. (15). A half used bottle of green ginger wine that I don’t think we’re likely to use (16), 4 x Microwavable rice (there was originally 5 but I cooked 1 once and it smelt like a really bad fart in my kitchen) (17, 18, 19, 20)
27. A pair of kitchen tongs that I had been planning on throwing away a while ago and have already brought a replacement sent for (1), A stand for a set of salt and pepper shakers that they never sit in (2), Pairs of shoes I never wear (3), DVDs that I have no intention of watching again/are double because we’ve somehow managed to acquire 2 copies (4), a getting started national trust handbook – I’ve been a member 2 years now (5), A guide to owning a hamster – we have gerbils now (6), A koala that grabs onto the side of your computer (7), A scarf I barely wear – it’s only usually cold enough to bother with a scarf for about 2 weeks. I never get a chance to wear all of my scarfs (8), Tiny glass jars (9, 10), Souvenirs some friends got us from holidays a few years ago (11, 12), Tangled bits of remaining cotton from a cross stitch pattern kit I finished (13), Badges I kept but now live in my sewing basket (14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19), A mickey Bag clip charm given to me by a friend for my wedding (20), Nail/ Beauty stuff that I don’t use – made the mistake of buying cheap polish that takes longer to put on then it does to take off (21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27)
28 – More bathroom stuff (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,), DVDs I don’t ever plan on watching again (10, 11, 12) A board game I never plan on playing again (13), A beautiful butterfly jar – can never work out what’s worth storing in it (14), Old towels (15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22), Dan’s old clothes/ones he no longer wants to wear (23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28)
29 – Dan’s old clothes/ones he no longer wants to wear (1, 2, 3, 4), Game of Thrones book, a song of Ice and Fire Book 1 – all read and reviewed (5), Old clothes I don’t need – bagged for money (6 – 23), Old shoes (24-28), Empty shoe box (29),
30 – A signed lab coat from Year 11 – why do I still have this? (1), An old fabric hat (2), Old clothes I don’t need any more (3-12, 27-30), A rocking dolphin thing that I somehow haven’t got rid of yet (13), A book on cake pops – I had one attempt and it went horribly wrong. I didn’t enjoy it enough to try to again (14), 2 packs of playing cards (unopened) – these aren’t my entire supply either! (15, 16), Never used freebie sports cap (17), Winter hats (18, 19, 20), unused bag (yes another one) (21), unused gloves (22, 23, 24, 25, 26),
31 – Old clothes that my husband hasn’t worn in months (I got his ok) (1 – 28), Old clothes I don’t need any more (29-31)
The battle has been won.
The war against my piles of belongings does go on – but with the motivation of the completion of this challenge to booster my confidence.