Playing The Minimalism Game

Playing the Minimalism Game - an example

With the knee and everything else, running is stalled out. Not to mention, we were on vacation this week in sunny Florida.

So, instead of the continued bemoaning by me regarding my state of running, I thought I’d reflect on a purging game I undertook last November. Yes, the purge. If you know me, you know I love purging.

Trash cans are my friends. Getting rid of things, call me up. It’s a party.

So here we go.

The Minimalism  Game

Have you heard of the minimalism game? It’s great fun. The guys over at The Minimalists have this activity or game or whatever, where you get rid of things. It’s pretty simple. On day 1 you get rid of 1 thing, day 2 you get rid of 2 things, and this goes on 30 days (or as long as you can take it).

I thought it would be fun to give it a try.

When I started, I wasn’t sure know how long i’d be able to keep it up for. I’m already a purger by heart, so honestly, I didn’t think I had enough things to purges. But I said I’d try, and made a commitment to do my best for at least 30 days.

And I made it.

And it was hard.

All in, I ended up throwing out, recycling or giving away 465 items. 465 things that were previously in my house that I apparently didn’t need. And I can tell just from the 4 giganto boxes I took to Goodwill, that it’s a lot of things.

A box of things I got rid playing the minimalist game.
Some Stuff I Don’t Need

The Value

I don’t keep a lot of junk. And honestly, I think because I had such few caches of easy to purge garbage, the game took on a new meaning. By day 5 I was already purging things that I was a little uneasy getting rid of. It wasn’t like I was just pitching pencils from the junk drawer.

Easy stuff

So I of course started with the easy stuff. This was the low hanging fruit. These first few days I was mostly just wandering around looking for areas to harvest crap. It is funny, though. You develop blind spots to piles of garbage. But when you’re on the hunt to get rid of things, they show themselves

I’d say the biggest blow was in my attic and the garage.

I purged the shit out of my work bench. Old screws (I kept a few), duplicate tools (how many quarter inch wrenches do I need), cans of almost empty spray paint. Lots of heavy things I put in boxes to give away.

Then, of course, the attic was full of empty boxes. Why did we keep so many boxes? No one knows.

Hard stuff

The hard stuff is a little different. These are the things that i looked at and said, hmm, I might actually use this someday. This, of course, happened after I’d already exhausted all the easy stuff and had to hit my daily numbers.

I did my best to keep with The Minimalist’s strategy of anything you can get under 20 bucks in 20 minutes is fair game.

Sentimental stuff

This was the hardest but also the most satisfying. Let me explain.
I came across two boxes in the attic loaded to the brim with collectible garage form my past. There were pictures, tokens, oddly folded notes from high school, inherited trinkets, old letters, and even a class ring I don’t think I ever wore one day my whole life.

When I first came upon this, I probably spent and hour or two just digging through the memories. But the minimalism game cared not, and I was so close to the end that I knew I had to purge….so i purged.

It’s a funny thing. When you find this kind of stuff, you can’t image getting rid of it. But while this stuff was meaningful, it was also stuff I hadn’t thought about or looked at in at least 10 years. It was just sitting in a box collecting dust.

So I separated. The things that were truly meaningful I kept. The things that were kind of, I took pictures of and tossed.

A picture of a picture I took in 1994 of New York City, featuring the twin towers.
Picture of a picture – twin towers – circa 1994

It’s funny, after it was all gone, I felt incredible. It was almost like a catharsis recognizing and releasing those memories. I allowed a moment to relive the memory, and then let it slip through my fingers. It was amazing.

And you know what, at the end of the day, those memories weren’t really tied to the trinkets. They were somewhere else.

All in, I’d recommend giving it a try.

Next up

Hopefully in my next example post I’ll be talking about my healed knee, and how I’m back on track racking up those 1200 yearly miles.

Here’s to the future.

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Playing The Minimalism Game