While I don’t think I had ever heard the term minimalism growing up the word hoarding I was familiar with. There were shows about it after all, and while our home never looked like that. There was enough clutter to make me feel anxious.
This post is part of my 30 day writing challenge. Each week I will be focusing on one topic. This week I have chosen to focus on Minimalism. If talking about minimalism is your thing, don’t forget to come back everyday until Monday when I choose my new topic for the week. Since the start of the challenge I’ve discussed ideas on Travel, Money, and Parenting.
When I started this process I didn’t have a goal in mind. While I had read articles by people who had purged up to 75% of their possessions that wasn’t something I had set out to do.
Even the term minimalism hadn’t came to me. There was just to much stuff. Space had become more cluttered as my family of 2. ( My son and I) Grew to 3( my mom). Then 4( Mr. Roamer), then 5( Minnie). As more people came more things came with them. Even Minnie who owned nothing came with a requirement for space. Space for diapers, wipes, clothes, and a space to sleep.
While I continued to slowly go through items and remove them. Things were slow. What changed for me was that I no longer had those big cross country moves forcing me to go through a big push into reducing my things. During my college years I traveled cross country 2-4 times a year. Purging and reducing my items was habitual practice. Everything would not fit in my car. Everything would not fit in 2 suitcases. It was a necessity.
But like it tends to happen once you grow up or stop living the college life, things tend to change. Your routines change, your spending changes, lots of things change.
So the items grew and the removal had slowed to a crawl. And when there is so much to tackle it really can be overwhelming. It’s difficult to know where to even begin.
That was the great thing about the Minimalist games it forced fast action. I also finally had a name and a resource for information and support.
Counting how many things I had gotten rid of through out my adulthood would be impossible. But working on this post I really got curious. How many items had we removed thus far since taking the first 31 day minimalist challenge last January?
When I first took the 31 day challenge I was super excited, and we had great results. Mr. Roamer’s and my competitive spirit resulted in high motivation. From what I can remember we both completed the challenge continually reminding each other and pushing each other. Resulting in 992 items removed. Our 2nd time around we didn’t do as well, but still got rid of lots more items (402 to be exact).
All my previous attempts made moving easier. There were less thing to go through. But we still knew that giving it another go during packing would be a good idea.
So I tried as best I could to keep a running tally of all the things we were getting out of the house before the move.
Here is the running tally of all the items we got rid of during the month leading up to our move. We did this while packing.
10 plates/ containers
4 pants, 1 short
1 stack of papers (40+ shts)
1 baseball cap, 1 headphones
1 box full of VHS tapes ( 24+)
1 stroller sold , 1 stroller trashed
1 Foreman style grill with accessories
30+ bathroom items expired medicines….
7 bubble container from wedding
Box of baby stuff ( 25+ clothes,toys bottles)
1 stroller, 1 car seat (given away)
4 bags of holiday decorations( over 100 paper & plastic items)
35 Toys and other items. To Savers.
13, 1 yr old girls clothes
1 box toys from childhood( barbie, 7 dolls, 2O+ barbie clothes 20+ kitchen toys)( That’s right toys from my childhood)
20+ random items, + 1 pair of boots
Radio, VCR, clothes
Recycled a bunch of papers 2 grocery bags worth (100+ sheets).
From what I count (using the most detailed numbers 20+ barbie clothes as appose to 1 box of toys) On the move purge we eliminated more then 488 items.
Since the move, I’ve kept it up and gotten rid of a lot more papers (another 100 at least) and I have gotten rid of some items through my Capsule wardrobe process as well (24).
Which leads me back to the question. About how many items have I gotten rid of?
The total count. 992+402+488+24+100=2,006.
2,006 items no longer in our home. I like the sound of that.
According to this group of stats the average household owns 300,000 items. I’m not exactly sure how they got the number but papers must be a big part of it. Even though I don’t think we own what the average family does, as we don’t have the same spending habits. It’s crazy to think that removing 2,006 items from your home is only .006% of the average 300,000.
Still I think we are on the right path to simplifying our lives.
I’ve noticed a lot of people who are interested in Financial Freedom and savvy spending also try to simplify their possessions. Is that you? Have you tried the minimalist challenge?
Need help or want to get started?
I really do highly recommend giving a 30 day challenge a try. It gives you a great jump start especially when you have some people to take it with you. But if not just visit the hashtag for inspiration and motivation. #theminsgame.
You could also read my post on 5S which is all about removing waste (unneeded items) in an area and was featured on Rockstar Finance. 5S: Continuously Improving your living Space.
Also try to find a motto that helps push you forward. During my first challenge I came to this simple realization that holds true no matter what you apply it to.
Let go now, or let go later, at some point you have to let everything go. (really its just a matter of time)
Test it out. Think of anything: a favorite toy, a favorite shirt, a friendship. Things change, things get worn out, and eventually you let them go. This realization came to me while I was shuffling through some items I had consolidated years ago. Like I said, purging was a part of life once I turned 18. I had trimmed and saved things, but as I went through them again I couldn’t understand why I had chosen to keep some items.
Other items I still felt attached to, but it clicked. Next time I choose to go through these I might not want them anymore. If I choose to keep it now it just means somewhere down the road I am going to toss them. It’s inevitable as they say.
“Let go now, or let go later, at some point you have to let everything go. Really its just a matter of time.”- The Roamer
I’ve found that moving really does force you to take inventory of what you have. The frustration you experience while packing also prompts you to ask why. Why do I still have this? Coupled together these 2 things can make for a successful downsizing of items. But if you don’t have a move on the horizon I still invite you to take a look around. See if you have any excess lying around causing you a headache.
Then ask yourself why do you still have this?
Is minimalism in your future? How about some good old simplification?
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