I Played The Minimalism Game

19 February 2019

 

Throughout the month of January, I decided to take on the extra special task of playing The Minimalism Game. This is a game coined by The Minimalists, Josh Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, as a way to gradually, but significantly, reduce ones belongings during a 30 day challenge. Ideally one would recruit a friend or family member in this process, after all, there is power in solidarity, so I got my roommate to go along with me. From the start of the game, for each day, the participants must get rid of the corresponding number of items. On day one, one item must go. On day two, two items must go. On day three, so on, and so on, and so on. Whoever keeps going the longest, wins the game. If both/all participants make it to the end of the challenge, everyone wins. Simple enough, until it stops being so simple. (Getting into the twenties is a killer.)

I decided to semi-loosely keep track of the items that I removed over the month of January. This is what my end result looked like.

Day 1: A spare hairbrush

Day 2: Old coffee tumbler, a beanbag frog

Day 3: Collection of old Starbucks gift cards, a desktop globe, a key chain

Day 4: 3 pairs of shoes, a pair of slippers

Day 5: George Forman grill, picnic basket, 2 rubber ducks, a broken Tupperware

Day 6: 2 boxes of plastic wear, bag of paper plate ware, bundle of paper napkins, bag of misc chopsticks, batman pillow

Day 7: 2 pairs of shorts, 2 ornaments/signs, set of four coasters, manga cookbook, small lolita hat

Day 8: Recorder instrument, phantom of the opera book, penguin salt and pepper shakers, chuunibyo coaster, sarah’s scribbles book, 3 strands of Christmas lights

Day 9: Frankenstein, Dracula, 2 drink tumblers, Doraemon manga, ulu Alaskan blade, mochi cat plush, bunny light up figurine, original NES (w/o cords)

Day 10: 4 cosplay props, sfx makeup kit, 2 things of art supplies, dress mannequin, box of decorative Japanese candies, wall clock

Day 11: Box full of old curtains, table linens, and doilies

Day 12: Tea cart, 2 reusable shopping bags, 2 aprons, small tea book, glass chess/checker set, 3 “art of” books, wood storage box, rabbit salt and pepper shaker

Day 13: 2 refillable lighters, variety of junk drawer junk, rocking chair, water colour pencils, water colour brushes, book shelf, snoopy toy, 2 Naruto headbands, 2 old sets of candles, a bunch more reusable shopping bags

Day 14: Selection of expired goods, 2 figuart posable mannequins, product packages that I have no idea why I was holding onto them, a bag full of bottle caps

Day 15: A WHOOOOOOLE LOT of charms, pins, lanyards, business cards, and the like, 4 SD cards, a monocle

Day 16: 9 holiday themed cookie tins, a bunch pastry sprinkles-toppings-accessories

Day 17: Two gallon sized bags full of cookie cutters

Day 18: PAX 2018 mug, box full of Funko figures, comic books, a sketch book, pencils, game guides, and a few books

Day 19: A lot of stationary supplies, 2 old repair jobs that are never getting done, pair of fancy socks

Day 20: Walking stick, lanyard, 5 figures, half a dozen~ish ill-fitting clothes, 2 sets of card sleeves, 2 old pairs of glasses, 3 books, a Bible study set

Day 21: 15 video games, 2 stockings, multiple tool shed rejects

Day 22: A whole bunch of armour and prop making supplies, masquerade mask, black curtain panel, white curtain panel

Day 23: 23+ Jars and vases

Day 24: 4 dried flower bouquets, 13 music CDs, a bundle of clothing hangers,  1 large + 1 small trash bag full of material scraps, another ulu Alaskan blade, 2 decorative hair clips, Chubs Nekoatsume Plush

Day 25: PS2, 3 PS2 controllers, 7 PS2 memory cards, 4 PS2 games, 3 Nintendo DS games, 3 Gameboy games, a broken Tupperware lid, 2 key chains, a specialized aux converter with no home

Day 26: 16 plushies, 8 Halloween supplies, 2 hand towels

Day 27: 14 skeleton keys, travel hand sanitizer holder, 2 souvenir items, a glass jar, KH 3 Gamestop poster, empty game case, 4 cuts of fabric, an ill-fitting garment, 2 unused bias tape package,

Day 28: 18 growing girls porcelain figurines, paper towel holder, 2 hats, a jacket, a belt, 3 shirts, old calculator, Tetris charm

Day 29: 3 pocket knives, bat buckle, 7 misc computer cables, 4 hair/hat pins, 6 sets of reusable chopsticks, 3 game informer magazines, 5 3D world magazines

Day 30: keychain light, 14 ImagineFX magazines, concept artist magazine, 5 bunny chopstick rests, an ill-fitting article of clothing, lots & lots of old documents that have needed to be shredded for far too long

This is only a portion of what I got rid of through the course of the game.

This is only a portion of what I got rid of through the course of the game.

I am no stranger to decluttering and minimalism. Sure, I don’t have the sparse living environment that appears on Pinterest boards and Instagram feeds when searching the term “minimalist”, but I’ve been pursuing a simpler, more intentional life for two years now. It has been consistent, albeit slow moving process, with the occasional road blocks and hiccups. By the time I reached the 20s in January, I was experiencing a bit of that road block. Not because I was running out of items to downsize, but because life just got a bit too busy. So much so, that by day 26 or 27, I had to stop participating in the game because I literally didn’t have the time to dedicate to it for those last few days. But I didn’t want to admit defeat, so instead of quitting there, I decided to finish the process through the first two weeks of February, getting rid of 5 to 10 items each day until I reached my required amount. In the face of life’s business, I chose adaptability, and I got it done.

Now, by my calculations, participating in The Minimalism Game for 30 days equates to 465 items. And I know there were quite a few days along this process where I removed more than a specific days amount, which I didn’t concern myself with tracking, meaning I removed probably near 500 items from my life in the span of 30 days. This amount is surprisingly significant, even after two years of gradual purging. Seeing the mountain created in just one month was shocking. But also quite freeing. I genuinely was not expecting the emotional result that came with the end of the game. This sense of peace, seeing spaces cleared, clutter reduced, furniture pieces removed, and rooms opened up. Yes, I have been on my minimalism and intentional living journey for two years now, and still feel as though I have a ways to go, but this experience was incredibly valuable. I am very happy that I chose to play this game. I genuinely believe this experience has made me grow as a person, and has strengthened my values towards intentional living. It is not an experience that I would trade.

 

Have you played The Minimalism Game or does it sound way to intimidating? If you did play, how did it go? If it sounds too intimidating, why? I gained so much through this experience, I would love to read your own experiences or thoughts on the matter in the comments below. Please, you can reply to this message.

 
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