I had discovered minimalism maybe a few years back. I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist and I am not sure if I ever will, but I love the ideas, especially the idea of intentional living.
Recently, I felt the need to declutter. It’s not the first time I’ve decluttered my stuff, but this is the first time I set out to try out the so called 30-day Minimalism Game, as coined by The Minimalists. But I wanted to call it a challenge as I was sure it would be one.
The idea is to get rid of one thing on the first day, two on the second, three on the third, and so on. It all adds up to hundreds of items in the end. However, I did this in stages, instead of doing it daily. It was like binge-watching a show.
I set off on this quest alone with the intention of letting go of as many things as I can. Armed with a bunch of minimalism videos on YouTube for inspiration, I began the challenge on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
This is how it all went…
Days 1 to 10
I hit the bathroom first. There were some items that I used once, or never used at all, or had two of. I also let go of some products which I wasn’t using anymore.
Then I switched my focus to the kitchen area. That old soap had to go and so did that dead scent thingy, as well as my most recent yet unfortunate purchase that was simply… crap! Let’s just say that my plan for a nice spice organization didn’t work out.
Still in the kitchen, I went through some products I wasn’t going to use or eat. Then there were some containers, tools, cloths, a mug, and even a couple of appliances I didn’t need anymore.
Finally, I went through my medicine cabinet and let go of a few things. Surprisingly, this area was pretty good and didn’t have too much junk, expired, or unused items in it.
It was an absolute breeze to get rid of the maximum items possible for the first 10 days, adding up to 55 items.
Days 11 to 20
For the next stage, I decided to go for the most challenging area first—the small room I used as a laundry room and storage place. And soon I realized that I did do a pretty great job with decluttering in the past. I found fewer things to get rid of in this room than I expected.
Well… except for a mountain of tiny product samples that surely helped me add to the number of items to declutter in this challenge. Otherwise, I got rid of a bunch of old ID and credit cards, some jewelry I forgot I still had, and just a bunch of random things I kept for whatever reason.
Then I went through a few drawers in the living room. Not too many things there, but I still managed to get rid of some. Mostly stationery.
After that, there was only the bedroom left. Conveniently, I already had a bag of clothes packed up, ready to be taken out for recycling. But I still had a lot of things to get rid of to reach the goal for this stage.
It was getting tougher!
I got into the closet to see which clothes I needed to let go of. It was more difficult than I expected, but I managed to let go of four more clothing pieces and one hanger. Maybe I would’ve kept all those clothes, but I have recently lost some weight and some of them were actually a bit too big! That felt wonderful.
I went back to the kitchen and got rid of a couple of more things. One of them being a frying pan which needed replacing. And then I was back in the bedroom again. I had some perfumes I didn’t like, so that had to go, and a few accessories.
Then I looked at some books that just didn’t seem to resonate with me and I just couldn’t finish reading them, or just didn’t seem to want to read. But I was still not quite at my goal yet.
Finally, I had a lightbulb moment! I completely forgot about my shoes. I had some shoes I never wore anymore and didn’t intend to wear again.
At the end of this stage, I successfully got rid of 155 items.
Days 21 to 30
Reaching the final stage, I knew I was going to have to be a bit more creative and as little attached to my belongings as possible. Yet mindful about not going too crazy just to meet my goal.
I went for some more shoes, extending from the previous stage. And took a look at the books that I had already read, but didn’t really wish to read again or keep.
Then I found a few more things in the kitchen I could do without. But it was time to look beyond physical things and I started looking at my digital clutter.
Oh the photos and other junk that needed deleting… That racked up to hundreds of items, so I decided to count 100 things (photos, video files, etc.) as 1 item. Otherwise, the challenge would’ve been over in a matter of minutes.
Another thing that was really important for me was clearing out my shopping carts and wishlists on some shopping apps I always used. To have less temptation to buy more stuff and be more mindful about what I buy. One of those apps had a lot of items in the cart, quickly racking up the count towards my final stage goal.
I did some thinking outside the box and cleared up my drawers at work too, which felt really great. All those papers, random stuff from who knows where, and things I didn’t need or use anymore—it all went right into the trash.
Nearing the last few days, I just went all over the place, looking into all the areas and re-looking again, to make sure that I truly needed to keep what I had kept. Sitting on it a bit more and thinking about it more.
The very end was the toughest, but at this stage I managed to get rid of 255 items.
A total of 465 items were out of my apartment and my life.
With the exception of some items that were too good to be tossed away, so I put them up for sale to earn some extra cash. However, I set myself a deadline as I didn’t want these items to stay with me for too long.
Everything had to go before the end of the year. One way or another.
Profound things I’ve experienced
Even though my apartment didn’t suddenly become super empty, it still felt so much more spacious. As if it had a more open energy to it.
Space for something bigger and better.
No, not new stuff.
I had to be honest with myself. Some stuff, especially clothes, kept on staying in my closet over and over again, but I was just not wearing them. I kept them in hopes that I would, but some I haven’t worn at all since I bought them, so why would I wear them now or ever? It really just felt forced to have to wear some of them, so I said goodbye.
There was a lamp I wanted to buy so much when I first moved to this apartment, among other things. I bought it, and at the time, I was happy owning it. I would turn it on and enjoy its soft light. But during this challenge, I sold it. Not only did I feel better to have one thing less in my space, but it also didn’t feel empty. Like it was never there to begin with, and I didn’t miss it.
Sometimes things that brought us joy before just don’t do it anymore. It’s time to let go of them.
I was left with the desire to get rid of more stuff, looking at my every possession critically. But by then I also knew it was a process that will never end. Things in my life will come and go; I just need to pay more attention to what I bring into my spaces and let go of it when it’s time.