Last month, I decided to try The Minimalists “30-day #Minsgame Challenge”. The idea behind the challenge is to get rid of the excess in your home – cut down, declutter, and only keep what is need or love. The rules of the game are simple: on day 1 you remove 1 thing from your home; day 2 you remove 2 things and so on; all the way to day 30 where you need to throw out 30 items. The items you choose each day can be big or small. You can throw the items out in the trash, or donate them to charity, give them to someone who would love them or even sell them, but it must be out your house by the end of that day. At the end of the 30-day challenge, you will end up throwing out, donating or giving away 465 items! It seems strange to think that I managed to throw out so much, but the thing about this challenge is more about what I learnt about Minimalism and what it means to me.
When I started the challenge, I thought it should be easy enough – over the last year, I have really gotten quite ruthless at letting go of things and I find it relatively easy to ‘declutter’ things I know don’t serve a purpose in my life. Before we left South Africa we sold most of things online. What I didn’t account for was the frustration I would feel when I still managed to find things in my home that I should have gotten rid of a long time ago. I guess you think that if you are a minimalist then you should have zero things to get rid of. Yet somehow, I had overlooked things, and they had managed to stay in my home when I didn’t really need to keep them around. An example is that I found over 20 USB flash sticks in all sorts of places in my home. A lot of them were promo sticks that I thought I would need or found to be useful to keep at the time. But in nearly a year of living here I hadn’t used or thought of using them once. Further to that, some of these USB sticks I had held onto for over 3 years back in South Africa and had never checked or used the content on them.
I think that is the biggest lesson I have learnt on this journey to a simple life, filled with less stuff. That it isn’t as simple as not holding onto anything. Minimalism is not about throwing absolutely everything out either. What I think minimalism is, is having space to breathe. A way to sift through the clutter and see only the things that spark joy.Minimalism isn’t about stuff. It's about the joy of not having to worry about stuff. Click To Tweet
What I learnt about minimalism after this challenge is that minimalism isn’t about stuff. It’s about the joy of not having to worry about stuff. You can fill your home with trinkets and knick-knacks and all these beautiful wonderful things – if they serve a purpose and that purpose brings you joy then that works for you. You can still be a minimalist with lots of “things” – in fact, I know plenty of girls with huge closets filled with clothes – and I know for a fact they wear them all. Then that works for them. It’s the ones who have price tags on clothes, never worn outfits because they don’t fit, or they feel guilty because they bought it and then decided they didn’t like it. That is what we need to work on. Minimalism helps you work through the guilt your things hold over you. Minimalism helps you to let go of fear and guilt and start thinking about what it is you actually want. Do you want to run into debt by buying pretty things for yourself or because you want to create this illusion that you are happy on the inside? Minimalism strips away those insecurities. It leaves you open to feeling and thinking differently. It lets go of expectations and assumptions on what you think you should have and do. Frankly put, you start not giving a fuck. That’s what I love about minimalism. For the first time in my life I am not living up to be like the joneses. I’m living how I want to live. I am not buying the one trend statement piece for my home because it’s in every decor magazine. But I can buy it, if I really want it. The key with minimalism is – what do you really want?
And so that what this challenge revealed to me; that I am still working on what I need and want to hold onto – and what I want to let go of. It’s a journey I am not sure it will ever really end. It’s not like in 30 days you have thrown out all you need to and now you are a minimalist for life. There will always be something you can find that you don’t need to hold on to. When you do eventually let go of clutter, I am sure you will feel more at peace. But first it will be uncomfortable. Because when there is no clutter between you and your thoughts, that’s when you have the chance to really look at your life, be reflective and think about your next move.
Sorting out clutter is different from decluttering, and decluttering is not the same as minimalism. For me, decluttering was the process that sparked the minimalist lifestyle. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I am moving towards a life a really want to live. I am a work in progress, and I guess that means that some days I may find a ton of things I need to let go and get rid of, and other days I may focus on how far I have come. How much minimalism has given me this peace and calm – and how I am trying to surround myself with love, kindness and joy.
If you are looking for the same, then I highly recommend you start with looking at what you want most out of life – don’t worry so much if it’s different to what I want, or what your family and friends want. And don’t focus on getting rid of a certain number of things. The truth is, even after 465 items, you might be nowhere near being a minimalist. Start by focusing on what makes you happy. The rest comes fairly easy when you learn to listen to yourself first.
WHAT DOES MINIMALISM MEAN TO YOU?
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