Minimizer Challenge: Take 2 (or is it 3?)
Gotta love Netflix, not only is it entertaining, but it can even extend into my home life. Before the end of the year chaos that basically encompassed three quarters of 2020, somewhere in there, I had begun to delve into minimizing.
For me, I’m gauging it on a spectrum. As much as I’d love to have the total spartan approach of one spoon, one plate and one glass, the realist in me knows that I love my clothes too much to live in monochromatic fabrics, not to mention my fascination with placemats and hand bags. Right now, we have more than comfortably fits in our home. And I love our cute little condo, which makes moving back into a bigger house not something I want. Simplicity and time are my goals. My dream is to have an easier home to maintain and have more time to focus on the intangibles that matter most.
When we were moving out of our prior residence, I started to thin my possessions down, but when our timeline got reduced, my careful reduction approach turned into a mad frenzy of tossing all remaining items in a box and getting it packed, pronto. Now that we’ve sort of unpacked, the holiday frenzy has passed and the new year brings a sense of renewed energy, it seems like the perfect time to attempt minimalism again. A new beginning.
Last year, I started minimizing using both KonMari and Allie Cassaza’s methods, but life got crazy and the progress halted. New year. New start. This time with a little motivation from Netflix. Here’s the challenge, which I personally find absolutely humorous based on how ludicrous it sounds. The show "The Minimalists: Less is Now", suggests the Less is Now challenge: for thirty days, “let go of one thing on day one. Two things on day two. Three things on day three and so on.”
The night we were watching the documentary, my husband and I looked at each other and were totally in. He quickly did the math, for the first week, in our ONE household, we are going to be letting go of twenty-eight items. Fifty-six items between the two of us. Next he did the math by the end of the thirty days: four hundred sixty-five items. EACH. That adds up to nine hundred thirty items total! My eyes bulged out while a nervous laugh escaped. Maybe staying up late watching these shows is not the best idea.
Just kidding, as insane as it sounds, we are still in.
Now we’d already gotten rid of a lot as a result of the move. Was it almost one thousand items? Well, now I wish I had counted. In any event, we’re doing this and it’s full steam ahead.
Day One was January 4th. One item, pssh, piece of cake, right? January 5th, two items. Yup, I can totally do this. Lucky for me, I had already begun a donation pile starting with a dress that got accidentally shrunk in the dryer. Day three, three items, okay, it’s starting to get a little dicey.
The kids started back in school, dinners, sports, housework etc., I need to actually carve out a little time to go through things and see what I can do without. I’m envisioning day thirty when I have to find thirty items after I would have already let go of four hundred thirty-five items items, eek! Let's say I'm awake fifteen hours, that means I'll have to find something to get rid of every half hour. This is definitely going to get daunting.
Then again, what’s life without a little crazy to jazz it up?
It's a little like finding the Holian household version of the Holy Grail. In our case that would be the magical number of bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths, beach towels and bath mats that are needed for a very active family of four? Does that mystical number account for school p.e., after-school track, weekend meets and triathlons? Just typing that out makes me feel highly un-minimalist. Wouldn’t a real minimalist only have one bath towel and one hand towel? Or maybe their bath towel is also the hand towel, like an all-in-one thing? Hmm. In a family setting, would everyone share a single towel? That could get icky.
Okay, staying focused here. Why am I doing this?
To have a simpler more enjoyable life.
To make time to spend with my husband and kids.
To have more leisure time while my kids are still living at home.
To have less clutter in our home and give my mind more peaceful brain space.
All good outcomes.
Every item in a home demands attention. It either has to be used, cleaned or maintained in some way. Yes, we’ll be getting rid of almost a thousand items. Yikes! But when I consider that those thousand items would have to be dealt with in some manner if they stayed in our house, it’s no wonder our lives are stressful. Is this challenge intimidating? Yes, no doubt. But is it worth it? Absolutely.
I’m hoping there will also be other upsides to this endeavor. There is the money aspect. It could translate to more cash in the bank once we realize we don’t need as much, which then impacts trash. If we consume less, then we reduce what we contribute to the landfills, thus also helping our planet. Then there’s a third trickle effect, if we buy less, then less will eventually get produced, therefore saving precious resources. This is especially true if this gains momentum and others do it, too. The power of the masses.
This one change has the potential to affect other changes that are greater than us and will benefit our planet and our children’s futures.
Thirty days from now, when I go to sleep at night, I will be curled up in my cozy sheets, with my most cuddly blanket surrounded only by my favorites. All the outer layers of superfluous clutter would have been removed and my home will only contain the items my family and I love most.
What a beautiful life that will be.