This Minimalism Thing

This all started a few months ago. I was mentally drained and had been for months. I could have blamed the traditional work/family balance, but it wasn’t just that. I’d spend the majority of my down time pacifying myself with social media, mostly YouTube and Instagram. When I tried to focus on doing something creatively productive, like writing something or working on art, I couldn’t. There was just too much noise, too many distractions, too many easy digital rabbit holes to fall into. So I stepped back. I stepped back from writing, and (mostly) from art. I stepped back from social media, and not just the toxic kind. My mind had been drowning in distraction to a point where my creative process died. I was fatigued, plagued with so much -everything- that I couldn’t focus on -anything-. I started by stepping back digitally so I could just breathe for a bit, then I realised that the digital distractions were only half the picture. When I looked around me, the physical distractions were also plentiful.

Then I found this minimalism thing.

The concept wasn’t completely new to me. I mean, I always somewhat considered myself a minimalist. I purge my belongings twice a year and have no issue removing things from my life. Yet, I stepped back and looked around and just saw a bunch of stuff. Stuff that I couldn’t really find a good reason for owning, or things I bought because they were “on sale” even if I didn’t like it much. I read a few books on minimalism, spent some time in online minimalist communities, and figured it would be worth a shot to try this for real. Then, on April 1st, I started playing The Minimalism Game to start things off, and I convinced my son and partner to play with me.

The goal of the minimalism game is to get rid of items each day equal to the day it is. Day 1 is 1 item, day 2 is 2 items, day 15 is 15 items and so on until you reach 30 days. At the end of the 30 days you will have removed 465 items from your life. 

As of writing this, I’m on day 23 and have so far removed 276 of my belongings and donated them. My son and partner have both done the same. To say that our space has been transformed would be an understatement. We’re not even done yet, and already I find my mind calming. the visual noise that once surrounded me ha decreased. The useless clutter that hung around on shelves has been swept away and passed on. I hope someone else can get some use out of the things I no longer need.

Some of the rules I made for myself:

  1. If it hasn’t been used in a year, it’s gone with the exception of certain sentimental items.
  2. If it has no practical purpose and doesn’t add value to my life, it’s gone.
  3. If it doesn’t fit, or I haven’t worn it in 4 seasons, it’s gone.
  4. If I have multiples of the same item, I keep the best quality one and dump the rest.
  5. If I’m keeping it “just in case”, it’s gone.
  6. If I’m keeping it because I “might need it someday”, it’s gone.

Here are some more things I’ve gotten rid of:

  • Over 75% of my clothes and footwear. I’m working on a post more in depth of my minimalist wardrobe. I have less than 30 items now, including accessories and shoes.
  • Makeup including foundations, eyeliners, eyeshadow palettes, and over 50 lipsticks. All of my makeup now consists of quality items that fit in a tiny box on my dresser.
  • An entire shelf full of dishes that never got used.
  • Numerous kitchen gadgets collecting dust in a cupboard.
  • Countless trinkets that served no practical purpose.
  • Old winter jackets that had been replaced but still remained in my closet.
  • Dried out art supply markers.
  • Nail polish.
  • Books I never liked, or books for hobbies I no longer do.
  • I condensed my knitting hobby into a single plastic bin that fits under my bed.
  • And entire drawer of paperwork digitised and shredded.
  • All my baby/childhood photos.
  • Many other things I can’t even remember, probably because they were things I didn’t need or like anyway.

As I’ve been going through this process, it’s been so incredibly freeing. I thought by this point in the process I’d be losing steam and struggling to throw anything away, but it’s been the opposite. I look forward to finding my items each day and reclaiming some space in my life and in my mind. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about some of the possessions in my life, and why I’ve kept certain things. The more I progress and the more items I shed like skin, the closer I come to one specific item I’ve carried my whole life. At this point, I think I’m going to throw it away. I think I will make it the very last item I discard, like the full stop at the end of the sentence that has been this month of freedom.

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