Blog The Minimalism Game

The Minimalism Game – End of Week 1

     For I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.      Philippians 4:11b

Hello, my name is Emily and I’m a stress shopper. This is a more than a little counterintuitive to the minimalist idea. I wish I were more content, but aren’t you glad Paul said he ‘learned’ it. There’s hope yet.

Did you know your brain can react to shopping as if it’s a drug? Yeah, shopper’s high is a thing. Which makes retail therapy a real thing, too.

I blame my children. I mean, I love my children. I’d do anything for them, but they’re five and three and sometimes drive me crazy. If they want something it’s like the end of the world. Even if it’s just a pencil. And figuring out it’s a pencil can be a bad game of twenty questions. Tearful. Irritating. Questions. My three-year-old mostly cries and nods or shakes his head. With my five-year-old it goes something like this.

     “Mom, I need help.”

     “With what?”


     “What something?”

     “Something I can’t find.”

     “What is this ‘something’?”

     “Something I really need.”


You get the gist. Usually, I’ll find the something in plain sight.

     This can happen multiple times a day. If you don’t have children, imagine something you love that also frustrates you so much it makes tearing your hair out sound relaxing.

     Is it any wonder our brains hunt for relief. After a few hours of this kind of stuff, I’m teetering on the edge of insanity so, for me, I don’t even need much of a push to buy that book, that gadget, that thing which will, obviously, make my life a hundred times better. After all, I deserve it.

     Don’t I?

     Maybe so. It’s really neither here nor there because the purchased item is never as good as I imagined. And then there’s the credit card bill…

Maybe what I, what we all, deserve is to find a constructive outlet for our stress. One that doesn’t let us down in the end.

So, if you’re a stress shopper like me, or if you have another bad stress habit, I challenge you to find some alternatives. I plan to start with crafting. I love to both knit and crochet, as is attested by the piles of yarn in this house. Hmm… If I use up a ball of yarn does that count as an item in the Minimalism Game? Something to think about.

     And speaking of, here’s my count for the first six days. I know, the title says ‘week’ one, but this is a good day for me to post. I’m sure you’ll forgive me for only being on day six.

Day 1 – As previously mentioned, a very large cast iron pot that I rarely use and hate cleaning.

Day 2 – Ok, this was a stressful day and I didn’t want to think about minimizing, so I ended up grabbing a couple of expired pantry items off the shelf. It almost feels like cheating, but  the good news is, it really isn’t.

Day 3 – Went through a small pile of paperwork (I’m counting it as 1 item), a few more expired pantry items, and, oh yeah, our dishwasher broke. So while I’m laboriously hand washing each item, I found deep, about-to-break-in-half cracks in one bowl and one plate. Voila, that’s more than three. I’m totally winning this game.

Also, for some reason I have three sets of tongs. I can’t for the life of me figure out why I’d need three. Even if I wanted to use more than one at a time, I only have two hands. One set is now in the box, ready to leave the house.

Day 4 – I raided my spice drawer. In retrospect, I should have saved this for week three or four. Nineteen spices, some with laughably old expiration dates (*cough* 2014 *cough*. This means I probably bought them right after I got married.)

Day 5 – Back to the pantry. Can you tell I’m focusing on my kitchen this week? Apparently I have better intentions than I do cooking skills. What did I get that miso for anyway? Ah, well. It sort of hurts to throw food away, but it’s not exactly edible now anyway. I forgot to count the items, but I definitely exceeded five.

Day 6 – I found baby cereal in the back of a cabinet. My baby is three. Oops. More paperwork, more expired food. Also my old, tiny coffee grinder that I don’t need anymore since I upgraded.

     On the bright side, I think I’m done throwing away food and my countertops are the clearest they’ve been in months.

     On to week two.

8 thoughts on “The Minimalism Game – End of Week 1

  1. Nice work, Emily! After reading your post, I had a sneaking suspicion there was old baby cereal in the back of my cupboard as well. I was right. Earlier this week, I went on a spree and filled two bags of books and three bags of clothes for Goodwill. Ironically, it was stress related, but instead of retail therapy I guess it was purging therapy.

    1. Awesome! I would be much better off if stress led me to purging. Stress-cleaning would be nice, too.

  2. Hey good job! Don’t sweat getting rid of 19 spices on day 4? You’ll find plenty of stuff later too. Clothes? Oh the clothes!

    I have a lot of yarn and fabric and the result of playing this game twice last year was I put myself on a yarn and fabric buying freeze. I had a complete ignorant relapse once on the yarn. I was in the aisle at Walmart and saw three beautiful shades of green cotton yarn and had the stray thought that it would be so neat to knit dishcloths once again. And without thinking bought all three of them. Got home and realized oh yeah I’m not supposed to buy yarn !!! I did knit them and tried not to think of the 13 other skeins of cotton yarn I already had.

    I’m a bit more lenient on fabric in that I’ve been doing a lot of quilting to use up some of what I have. So I will buy a boarder fabric or a backing fabric if I have nothing to use.

    Stay at it.

    Also, your writing style is fun to read.

    1. Thank-you. I’m only sweating a little because I got rid of a lot of the easy stuff at the beginning of the year. Clothes, yes, so many clothes went out the door. Books, too. I think yarn may be a place I can go still, though some of that’s already gone, too. I’m sort of interested to see what I come up with over the next few weeks.

  3. I still have a bottle of ipecac syrup that I got when my last baby was born, because you simply must have that on hand in case of emergency. Said baby is now 14.

    1. I have a feeling if I wasn’t working on downsizing now, I would have the same kind of story when mine hit that age 🙂

  4. I threw out a baby toilet training seat this week (you know the sort that clips over the big toilet seat so little bottoms don’t fall through?) My ‘baby’ is 19 years old now. Oops. (I only found it because our boiler broke and I had to empty the cupboard for the engineer to get in).
    Loving your posts and your writing style, Emily. Keep up the downsizing – you’re an inspiration to me 🙂

    1. Haha! Thanks. I’m sort of glad I already did a big purge at the beginning of the year so I don’t have to admit to all the things I found then.

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