As I mentioned in my Plan of Action post, I am playing the Minimalism Game with my Minimalist Meetup Group. In the game, you get rid of 1 thing on the first day of the month, 2 things on the second, 3 things on the third, etc. As of the 15th, I have donated (but not trashed) over 100 things. 120 to be exact. Here they are:
If I manage to keep going, by the 20th, I will have gotten rid of 210 things. If I make it to the 24th, I will have gotten rid of 300 things. If I make it all the way to the end of the month, I will have gotten rid of 496 things.
I have some friendly and fierce competition coming from two other minimalists in the group who are going strong and are inspiring me and pushing me to keep going. The first few weeks were relatively easy, especially because I had gone home over the holidays and gathered large quantities of items to donate before the game started. While at home, I realized that my closet was full of things that I had left at home so that they were out of sight and out of mind so that I didn’t have to deal with them…clothes from my youth, things that didn’t fit anymore, things that I was saving for my future hypothetical childrens’ dress up box. As you can see in the photo, the majority of the things I donated so far have been those clothes.
The next two weeks are going to be hard. As a naturally competitive person and as the head of this Meetup group, I’m going to want to show that I can commit to this minimalist lifestyle and commit hard. But that means facing a lot of fears and insecurities throughout the process. I will probably have to face a TON of guilt over hard-earned money spent on things that I never use, apprehension about facing society with a much-reduced wardrobe and potential fear of judgement from others, some crisis of self and…a little more guilt on top of that. I know that I’m not alone in those feelings, which is comforting. As Joshua Becker, a notable minimalist blogger, described in an interview:
The journey to becoming a minimalist (and I’ll be the first to admit it is a journey, not a destination) is one of the most difficult and fulfilling inward journeys anyone can embark upon. My first mini-van load of things to Goodwill was easy, so was the second. But by the third or fourth vanload of items to drop off, you can’t help but start asking yourself some pretty difficult questions—starting with, “If I didn’t really need this stuff, why did I buy it all in the first place?” And when those questions of life purpose, life focus, and wasted opportunity start beginning to surface, it can be very difficult to realize the level of discontent most of us live our lives in.
That is exactly what’s holding me back from donating a lot of the things that I have, and what will make the next 15 days so hard. I have all these things that I don’t need and that I want in a corner of my room. They’ve been sitting there for weeks now, piling up higher and higher. I keep setting aside time to donate them, but when the time comes, I let the hours slide by doing another task. I’m avoiding and procrastinating, a technique I honed very well over my secondary education years. I’m quite solidly gripped with fear of letting go of those things, to be honest, of losing the money that I spent. I keep thinking I can selling those things on Craigslist or to Buffalo Exchange to recoup some of my costs. I am frustrated with myself for falling victim to societal pressure.
I might need a buddy to help me go to Second Mile or Philly Aids Thrift or the local Goodwill and just take everything there in one fell swoop and move away from the guilt and shame. My resolution: ask a friend for help and have all of those things out of my apartment by the end of the weekend.