While my first go at playing The Minimalist Game got underway with a fair bit of angst and trepidation, this time around it’s fun!
It was only this week, when I started decluttering again on a daily basis, that the lesson of last year’s exercise really came home to me.
As I went through cupboards and drawers, I noticed I had a different mindset – stuff was just stuff. Letting go of stuff is so much easier than it was the first time around.
While doing the Minimalism Game again came about on the spur of the moment, on reflection having a year-long gap between rounds is beneficial. A whole year has gone by and I haven’t missed or regretted a thing I decluttered last June.
What’s more, I continue to notice the benefits of last years big purge. When I need something from my plastics shelf, linen closet or bathroom cupboard, I just go and find it – no searching through an overflowing mass of clutter, no sense of dread, no swearing as I try to shove everything back in with one hand while trying to slam the door shut with the other!
Energy spent < energy saved
The energy I expended on last years Minimalism Game has been eclipsed by the energy I’ve saved on a daily basis through reduce sighing, searching, stuffing and swearing!
It’s so worth it. In my head, in my heart – I know this. With this knowledge I am excited to get stuck into round 2.
Have you noticed lasting benefits from decluttering?
It is coming up a year since I completed The Minimalist Game. This was going to be a post about what I learnt from playing the game, and the enduring changes it led to. However, I was chatting to my husband and he suggested that I should do it again.
Turns out that he really like watching my mad decluttering, and this time he wants to join in too.
So watch this space – July 2016 we are playing The Minimalist Game (again)!
Twenty seconds of watching a clip on YouTube took me to a place I never thought I’d go – I read a book about about tidying and I enjoyed it.
I have just put down Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I am almost pathologically messy – books on housekeeping aren’t my thing. Four or five months ago I stumbled on a YouTube clip of a Japanese woman demonstrating how to fold your socks right. “Ummm, no thanks,” I thought and clicked onto something else. Soon the KonMari method (Kondo’s approach outlined in her book) was popping up everywhere – word was that it was as much about living more with less than housekeeping. I was intrigued, so I signed up as number 28 in the queue to loan a copy from the local library. It was worth the wait.
I successfully made it through to the end of the Minimalist Game. Along the way, I learnt about change and momentum – how starting small can make a big difference.
The final days
I really felt the heat from day 25 onwards as I worked to reach my daily goal. However, I managed to power on through. With three weeks of decluttering decisions under my belt, I was able to work at a much faster pace. No longer was I umm-ing and ahh-ing over each individual item, I was discarding more but using less mental energy to do so. I was riding on the wave of momentum.
Be the change you want to see in the world
The momentum that I built up over the course of the Minimalist Game didn’t stop with me – it spread to others too.
When I rid my drawers of excess t-shirts, following my example, so did my husband. He then helped me go through a box of miscellaneous electrical items. While doing this, he remarked, “But, you’re right about all this stuff – it’s just clutter”.
The momentum spread beyond my own household. I mentioned to two friends and a family member what I was doing this month. They each independently embarked on decluttering exercises of their own.
When I started playing the Minimalist Game I thought there was a bit of an inner hoarder in most of us. This hasn’t changed. I now think, at the same time, there is a lot of dissatisfaction with clutter amongst most of us too. My friends and family just needed the tiniest bit of inspiration/solidarity/permission from someone they trusted and they were off. My experience with the Minimalist Game showed me the power of example.
I often feel powerless in the face of rampant consumerism, but after playing the Minimalist Game I have hope. Doing nothing won’t change anything. Even the smallest step in the right direction is a start. The steps build and then have a momentum of their own.
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Gandhi
Have you taken steps towards a minimalist lifestyle? What inspired you to do this?