Blog The Minimalism Game

Minimalism Game – Week 3

*Grooooaaaaannnnnn* I think I’m going to diiieee.

Ok, I’m joking.


It’s been quite a week. A few months ago, a friend asked my husband and I to run a half marathon with her. In retrospect, maybe we should have said no. The farthest I’ve ever run is a 5k, but I really wanted to run the half-marathon and my husband doesn’t know how to back down from a challenge, so we said yes.

I had time to train, but one by one different joints and muscles rebelled and stalled my progress.

We ran today and I regret this decision with every aching muscle in my body.

By the way, when I say “ran” a half-marathon, I’m being very generous in my description of what I did.

In other words, I mostly walked but, in my defense, my knee did something funny a few weeks ago and I didn’t want to hurt it again.

Also, honestly, I did kinda enjoy myself. I might even do it again sometime. After I’ve been able to train properly.

Anyway, we had to travel out of state for this half-marathon so I crammed the whole week of the minimalism game into about three days which was supposed to equal 140 items if I did my math right.

But first I’d like to quickly address something that’s come up a couple times as I’ve been tracking this experiment, and that’s the idea of getting rid of something “useful”. I had a few interesting conversations over the weeks and they went something like this. First, I’d mention something I got rid of, then someone said something along the lines of, “but you could use that for_________.”

Honestly, I didn’t know what to say to them and for a minute I doubted myself. Why get rid of something useful? Why get rid of something you might have to buy again later?

In my heart, I knew downsizing was good but I couldn’t put into words why I didn’t feel guilt. So, while I worked, I pondered.

It being such a busy week, I focused on our basement which functions as a playroom/library/treadmill room. By Tuesday it was looking so nice I found myself wandering back downstairs several times a day just to revel in the cleanliness. Then my kids discovered it and they went down and played for hours. Hours. Mostly happily. It was wonderful.

And that’s when it hit me. Peace. Having less stuff made my kids more peaceful. Even I was drawn to the peace of the room (hence my multiple trips downstairs just to enjoy it). Downsizing brings peace.

There’s nothing like reaching into a drawer and being able to grab exactly what you want without rummaging through dozens of other things first. The same goes for grabbing something off a shelf or out of a cabinet.

But I wanted more, so I decided to look up “useful” in the dictionary. There were several definitions but my favorite was: serving some purpose. It got me thinking, is something really useful if it’s not being used? Sure, maybe I’ll need that thing later down the road, but maybe I won’t. Maybe it will sit in a drawer till I die and someone else has to deal with it (hopefully not). Was it useful at any point during those years?

Not really. It seems to me, in order to be considered useful, a thing needs to be used.

So, to summarize. If it’s not being used, consider getting rid of it. If it’s stealing your peace, consider get rid of it.

And that’s my two cents for this week.

On to the game.

Day 14 – I’m just going to concede defeat. Sunday is a bad day for minimizing. I’ll tack it on to tomorrow.

Day 15 – Someday I’m going to have to evaluate just how many reusable shopping bags one family needs, but today is not that day.

I’m also realizing I’m a terrible housekeeper. I still have boxes I haven’t unpacked from when we moved here over a year ago! There’s probably a lesson here about how many things we own but don’t need.

Ah, well. Into the basement. 60 items gone today.

Day 16 – Arghh! Screaming kids all morning does not make for much motivation to clean in the afternoon. But oh happy and slightly embarrassing day, I opened up a huge box I hadn’t unpacked yet and found it full of hangers. That’s right, little bitty kid’s clothing hangers. A couple hundred at least. They came from a consignment store I used to buy all my kids’ clothes at that always sent you home with the hangers. I guess the real question is, why did I hold an to them all this time? I dunno. Maybe because hangers are useful and, as already mentioned, it’s hard to get rid of useful things.

That one box finished out the game for the week.

Now, I’m going to post this and then roll over and diiiiieeeee. I didn’t know so many muscles could hurt at the same time.

5 thoughts on “Minimalism Game – Week 3

  1. But…but…what if I DO need it some day? This is the question that haunts my existence. Well, it bothers me every time I try to clean at least. But this is a great post, a good reminder. Simple equals peaceful! Keep up the good work, Emily! (P.S. Did you guys decide where you’re going to go for your next adventure?)

    1. You might check out the Minimalists 20/20 rule.
      Basically, if you can replace it within 20 minutes for less than $20, go ahead and get rid of it. According to them, they’ve rarely ended up repurchasing something.
      And yes, we’ve chosen our adventure. I don’t like posting locations on here, but we took your advice about Idaho and decided to head east instead.

      1. Oooh, that’s a good rule! I like it!

        No, I wouldn’t want you to post a location, but I’m glad to hear that. I hope you love your new place. You know where to find me 🙂

  2. I’m not going to play the game, but I did get rid of some items this weekend: At least 50 videos I haven’t viewed in at least 13 years, a never used hot pot still in the box, end tables and coffee table, and ….drum roll…..spices and herbs that I haven’t used since we discovered Cracker Boy seasoning. My minimalist minded daughter had a fab time chucking them into my trash can. Now I need the courage to get rid of old photos.😅

    I haven’t looked at in probably 13 years

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