No, not the Olympic Games. The Minimalist Games! A different type of game, where you win even if you don’t come in first.
The brainchild of The Minimalists – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus – this exercise in jettisoning excess stuff is just what I need at this point in my quest for living a more meaningful and stress-free life. Carol and I are doing this together, so that means by the end of the month, together, we will have reduced our possessions by almost 1,000 items. *Show my work. That sounds incredible!
As I write this we are on day two of #MinsGame. Carol has already done away with her two items for today – a pair of unworn and forgotten shoes (not quite sure if that should count as one pair or two shoes, but I’m trying to check my severe anal-retentiveness at the door for this). We both did our due diligence yesterday, day 1.
If you are so inclined, follow along as we try to regularly record our progress on Instagram.
I have been dancing around the edges of a more simplistic lifestyle for a while now, partially out of necessity, but more out of a desire to better appreciate things around me. The book, Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown, which I first read back in early 2014, got me hooked on the path to create a lifestyle of intention, focus, and purpose; devoid of excessive noise, stress inducing clutter and disruptive distraction.
As a solopreneur, by definition I work by myself, and full expect to remain so. I do interact with clients via calls, both voice and video, and lots of email. Since my clients are global (yes, I can say that now), I don’t do much in the way of face to face meetings. Regular monthly WordPress and Computer Society meetups keep me in touch with the human side of being a remote website developer. Without commuting and less meetings there’s more time to spend in the office. I need to find ways to decompress when its time to move away from the keyboard.
My wife and I are empty-nesters, our youngest having moved out about 17 months ago, so simplifying things is high priority. I really want to be able to enjoy this new stage of life. Simple life, reduced stress, more quality time, time to learn new things – I think this is a good point to find these things.
We had a yard sale about a month ago. It was wildly successful and enabled us to stuff our “minimalism fund jar” with lots of cash (mostly $1s, but hey, every dollar counts). More importantly, we were able to move physical “stuff” out of our house and onto others who could love it and re-purpose it for a new use. I don’t want to fill up my local landfill with my past, but rather move it along its life-cycle.
Our stuff has had a purpose here, in our house, and now its time for a new purpose, with someone else.
Many of the books I’ve read and bloggers I follow talk about surrounding yourself only with things that bring you joy – whether they be new things, or well used things – they should make you happy to see them, or at the very least, not bring about pangs of “I need to do something with that thing”.
Reduce the clutter and reduce the stress. That’s our goal. By the end of this month, if all goes as planned and we fully participate in our 31-day #MinsGame, the clutter will be reduced by 992 clutter-contributors. I’ll be real happy with that.
Gotta start somewhere …
496 things * 2 people = 992 clutter causers => approx 1,000 items outta here!