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The Minimalism Game

How I stopped hiding behind organizational skills

The Minimalism Game
Photography by Stendig Calendars

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.

  1. one picnic cooler
  2. two book ends
  3. three expired over-the-counter medications
  4. four power-surge strips
  5. five books
  6. one decorative wax burner and five refills
  7. seven autumn decorations
  8. one shower cap and seven towels
  9. nine magazines and catalogs
  10. ten holiday cookie tins
  11. eleven packages of light bulbs that don’t fit any lights in our home
  12. four shoes, one coffee mug, two bathmats and five mismatched hangers
  13. thirteen cooking utensils and kitchen items
  14. three dog brushes and eleven articles of workout gear
  15. fourteen articles of clothing and one pair of winter gloves
  16. four lipsticks, two eye shadow palettes, two blush palettes, and eight hair accessories
  17. two bracelets, three necklaces, and obsolete earbuds
  18. twelve bottles of craft paint and six cheap paintbrushes
  19. nineteen Christmas decorations
  20. twenty miscellaneous buttons
  21. twenty DVDs and one DVD player
  22. ten notepads, two binders, and ten non-functioning ink pens
  23. twenty-three sketchy pantry and refrigerator items
  24. twenty-four notecards with envelopes
  25. twenty-five free return address labels
  26. three bottles of nail polish remover, twelve bottles of nail polish, a five-piece skin care system, six sample-size anti-aging products
  27. twenty-six more DVDs and a DVD player
  28. a box of twenty-eight holiday greeting cards
  29. 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)
  30. way more than thirty colored markers
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