“In order to stay focused with a full plate, we must learn the art of saying ‘no’.”
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The Minimalism Game
How I stopped hiding behind organizational skills
The Minimalism Game was invented by Joshua and Ryan, a pair of guys that are better known as The Minimalists. The object of their game is to declutter unnecessary possessions over thirty days. The rules are simple. The first day you get rid of one item. The second day, two items. The third day, three items, and so on.
I heard about the game years ago, long after I had set on my own path of simplifying my life. Honestly, I was never interested in playing, it was for amateurs. After all, I’ve been simplifying longer than The Minimalists have been alive! There couldn’t possibly be 465 useless items cluttering my tidy house.
Every shelf in our home holds uniform boxes whose contents are identified by my handy dandy label maker: Light Bulbs, Stationary, Electrical Cords, Makeup, Cold Remedies, Holiday Decorations. You get the idea.
Last month, I decided to play The Minimalism Game. I quickly realized just because everything I own has a place, doesn’t mean I don’t have too much stuff.
For example, I’ve always had a big box labeled “Markers.” Since there was room on the shelf and room in the box, I found no reason to question whether I actually needed three large zip-lock bags filled with colored markers, even though I’m not an artist or a fourth grader.
Thanks to The Minimalism Game, instead of opening my closets and admiring my organizational skills, I examined the contents of each bin, box, and drawer looking for broken, duplicate, ineffective, unnecessary, and unwanted things. Surprisingly, I finally decided to let go of some categories completely, including nail polish, necklaces, and DVDs.
I think The Minimalists would agree that the real point of the game is to build awareness of our possessions and consciously decide if we want an item to take up space in our life. I’m glad I finally decided to play those boys’ silly game. I might even play again next month.
Here’s exactly what I decluttered playing The Minimalist Game during the month of June.
one picnic cooler
two book ends
three expired over-the-counter medications
four power-surge strips
one decorative wax burner and five refills
seven autumn decorations
one shower cap and seven towels
nine magazines and catalogs
ten holiday cookie tins
eleven packages of light bulbs that don’t fit any lights in our home
four shoes, one coffee mug, two bathmats and five mismatched hangers
thirteen cooking utensils and kitchen items
three dog brushes and eleven articles of workout gear
fourteen articles of clothing and one pair of winter gloves
four lipsticks, two eye shadow palettes, two blush palettes, and eight hair accessories
two bracelets, three necklaces, and obsolete earbuds
twelve bottles of craft paint and six cheap paintbrushes
nineteen Christmas decorations
twenty miscellaneous buttons
twenty DVDs and one DVD player
ten notepads, two binders, and ten non-functioning ink pens
twenty-three sketchy pantry and refrigerator items
twenty-four notecards with envelopes
twenty-five free return address labels
three bottles of nail polish remover, twelve bottles of nail polish, a five-piece skin care system, six sample-size anti-aging products
twenty-six more DVDs and a DVD player
a box of twenty-eight holiday greeting cards
five shot glasses, four terra cotta pots, two koozies, three wall decorations, five cans of spray paint, three struggling houseplants, and seven articles of my husband’s clothing (after a little arm twisting)
way more than thirty colored markers
Too Many Screens
How many screens do we really need?
You may have looked perplexed if, 20 years ago, someone would have told you that we’d spend most of our days glued to glowing screens, that we’d blur the lines between work and home, that our connectedness would disconnect us from what matters.
It would have sounded dystopian. Yet we agreed to it. Not all at once, but gradually. One supposed improvement at a time.
A screen on your wall.
A screen at your desk.
A screen in your pocket.
A screen on your lap.
A screen in your hand.
A screen on your wrist.
“Every night in America is like a competition to see how many screens we can get between our face and the wall,” Ronny Chieng observed in his recent Netflix comedy special. While we may have won this competition, we’ve lost something important.
If our innovations get in the way of a life worth living, are they actually degenerations? What happens when the colors on our screens are more vivid but our lives are increasingly grayscale? When we upgrade our tech but downgrade everything meaningful? When the ceaseless glow brightens but our joy and purpose dim?
At what point do we turn it off?
A Little More of Less
A few other articles we think you might enjoy…
Minimalism Renewed by The Minimalists
Everything is Spiritual by Andō
A Simple Life is Not the End Goal by Courtney Carver
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