Blog The Minimalism Game

Minimalism Game – Week 2

     There’s no problem so awful, that you can’t add some guilt to it and make it even worse.

     — Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

     Ah, guilt. My old friend. I wondered when you’d arrive.

     There are many kinds of guilt associated with decluttering. The one that hit hard this week is called “but I paid good money for it.”

     Ooo, the guilt of having paid for something I never use. Obviously, I must keep it until I’ve used it because putting myself through that misery somehow makes it worth it.



     I’ll give you an example. Maybe two.

     I homeschool my oldest. She’s only in first grade but I’ve already experimented with several different curriculums. This means I have books I don’t use. They’ve been sitting on my shelf for over a year because…I paid good money for them.

     I justified it. Swore I would use them as supplements somehow. Ha! Some days I barely have patience for the basics, like I’m really going to pull out anything else.

     But, I paid for them, so I let them take up space. Space I could use for books I actually like (and trust me, with my love of books, I need every bit of shelf space I’ve got.)

     I finally decided to let go. Of a few anyway. I thought it would be hard, but you know what? I was happy to see them go. I didn’t realize every time I looked at the shelf I was torturing myself with the pressure to use books my daughter didn’t need and I didn’t want.

     My second example is something I started dealing with several months ago. It’s also book related, but these were my personal books. They were the ones I felt like I should read.

     But I didn’t want to.

     But awesome, educated people read those kinds of books so I should read them, too.

     But they bored me.

     But I paid for them (look, we’re back to that again.)

     But, just like the homeschool books, every time I looked at the shelf I felt guilty for not reading those books.

     I didn’t want to feel bad when I looked at my beautiful books.

     Guess what I discovered? If you drop those babies off at Goodwill – no more guilt.

     Wanna know something else? People almost never ask if you’ve read A Tale of Two Cities. They really don’t. It’s happened to me maybe once. I said, “no.” The conversation continued without a hitch.

     I get the feeling I expect a whole lot more out of myself than anyone else does.

     I have another feeling that I’m going to have to remember this when I go through my craft supplies, and my exercise equipment, and a lot of other things.

     Evaluate what you truly want in your life. Not what you think you should want.

     And as for the good money you paid. Sorry, it’s gone. It’s not coming back. The only thing that ‘thing’ is doing now is weighing you down. Yes, you might be able to sell it and redeem a little. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the selling process, I salute you. Personally, I hate the hassle of it all and will only do it for truly expensive things. Either way, do yourself a favor – gift, donate, or sell, but somehow give the item a chance to be used by someone who cares, and ditch the guilt while you’re at it.

     On to the Game. Here’s my journal for the week. I should mention, I really do journal. Obviously, I clean it up before posting, but throughout the week everything gets written down in my super awesome challenge notebook.

     Alright, it’s just an ordinary notebook I had laying around. I think it cost all of $6, but it has a pen loop and that’s pretty cool.

Day 7 – This was Sunday and a very busy day for me. I didn’t get around to the game but – haha – this is my challenge and I can handle it however I want, so I’ll tack today’s challenge on to tomorrow’s.

Day 8 – 15 items must go and this was the day I tackled homeschool clutter. 15 books I don’t want to use/re-use on my son.

Day 9 – I raided my Tupperware cabinet (why do I always hear it called Tupperware? I’ve got maybe two legitimate pieces of Tupperware.) Anyway 7 lids went away. You probably know the type. They multiply in your cabinets. Like rabbits. Sometimes you don’t even remember the container. Or maybe something happened to it. Oh, I probably shouldn’t, but I have to tell this story now 🙂 .

My husband sometimes empties the dishwasher. Isn’t he sweet? But, despite living in this house for years, he can never seem to remember where everything goes. His trick is to move whatever it is to the dish rack and claim it wasn’t dry yet. Apparently, if the dish rack is full, or it’s something large, he’ll put it on one of the racks in the oven.

I didn’t know this.

In fact, I would rank drying things in the oven right up there with, I don’t know, moving the kids’ beds to the crawlspace under the house.

So when I came home one day from grocery shopping and fired up the oven for dinner, it didn’t even occur to me to check inside for a big plastic bowl.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

Thankfully, I smelled it and was able to yank the thing out before it melted everywhere, but the bowl wasn’t exactly…bowl-like anymore.

I tossed the lid today. I don’t know why I held on to it for so long. I guess it’s just one of those crazy things I do.

Since I still had two items to go I decided to take them from my book collection, which always needs work. It was hard, but eventually I picked out two of my little paper friends and set them free to make new friends.

(This next section is taken (more or less) directly from my journal)

Day 10, 11? – Wait! It’s the 11th? Where did the 10th go? How did I miss an entire day? Am I in the Twilight Zone?

This is what happens when you don’t get enough sleep.

I guess I’ll just double up again.

I have piles of stuff in my bedroom and I’m determined to clear out an entire wall. Today was mostly clothes my kids have outgrown. I’m ashamed to show a before picture (gulp), but I will.

Day 10 – Oh! Oh! I remember day ten now. I went through a box of random junk. I forgot to write it down so I have no idea what I got rid of, but I did it. Whew!

Sleep is important.

Day 12 – Back in the bedroom. More kid clothes. A formal dress I’ll never wear again, a pair of shoes that looks almost exactly like another pair of shoes I own. An old purse, random junk.

Where does all this junk come from?

Day 13 – I did it! I’m pretty sure I got rid of way more than thirteen items, but now I have a whole bedroom wall that’s completely empty except for a full length mirror.

Doesn’t it look nice? 🙂

Week three, here I come.

6 thoughts on “Minimalism Game – Week 2

  1. Remember all those bags I filled up for the Goodwill? Apparently I am my mother-in-law’s Goodwill and now I have *her* cast-offs. So I guess we’re going backward.

  2. this is my favorite of the decluttering posts so far!

    but . . . I LOVE A TALE OF TWO CITIES. I also happen to really love Charles Dickens and may have read around fifteen of his books so far. . . But I understand not everyone likes the same sort of books. I also started reading his books when I was 12, so I developed the taste or huge unabridged books at a very young age.

    Books are hard to get rid of . . . but I’ve been doing this too. “Am I going to want to read it soon?” I own many, many boxes of books and managed to get rid of several boxes full. Felt great, as I’m sure you know.

    1. I’ve read two Dicken’s books. Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. I liked both but I haven’t been able to get into any of the others. I may try again someday, but Dickens is pretty easy to find at a library or as a free e-book.
      And, yes, it does feel great. I got rid of at least a hundred, maybe two hundred books several months ago. Some were easier to let go of than others, but the end result is, all the ones I have left are the best of the bunch.

  3. This is you best blog post yet! Every single thing you said about the guilt resonates with me.

    As a side note, we absolutely love Calvin and Hobbs. My home schoolers check out large volumes at the library, read for two days, and quote for the next month. It’s a hilarious cycle that I love.

    1. It’s amazing what we do to ourselves isn’t it?
      And, yay! Another Calvin and Hobbes fan. When I was teaching I got a lot of gift cards for Barnes and Noble so I bought the whole set. They never fail to crack me up.

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