Minimalism Game: COMPLETE

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It has come to my attention (thanks, Jesse!) that I never posted the results of my minimalism game here. Well guess what? I MADE IT! I am now 496 possessions lighter. Well…in theory. I still haven’t made it to the thrift store yet, but I picked a date to go. These things will soon be well on their way to enriching someone else’s life and providing profit to Philly AIDS Thrift’s efforts.

Most of the items I decided to give away were clothing and kitchen things. This included my collection of tupperware that I foisted upon Amber and her housemates (thanks, guys!). Some things were snatched up off the street by randos from Craigslist whom I never had the pleasure of meeting. Other things are going to the Bethesda Project, to the consignment shop and to Buffalo Exchange.

The project was hard, especially towards the end when I had to choose 20+ things per day to part with, but somehow I managed to keep finding things that I never used and didn’t want. I thought I would have to face some of the ridiculous items in my wardrobe that I just can’t get part with (mostly my oddball collection of Halloween costume pieces and accouterments), but it never really got to that point. Honestly, I could tackle a second month of this, I’m pretty sure, and get at least halfway through before balking completely and throwing in the towel. There are the wine and champagne glasses I use maybe twice a year, my still quite vast shoe collection, and all of the Beanie Babies and Breyer horses from my youth sitting in my parents’ attic…

Unfortunately, I can’t completely extoll the virtues of this project in terms of its impact on my life just yet. I STILL haven’t gotten everything out of my apartment and there are 5 garbage bags full of clothing sitting in my room. It’s not a pretty sight, folks:

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But when they’re gone, I will feel soooooooo good. Anyone want to try this with me? I’ll totally do it again!

Minimalism Game, Day 1

I’m a big fan of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, “the Minimalists.” In one of their posts, they propose a Minimalism Game where you get rid of a number of object(s) corresponding with the day of the month (1 item on the 1st, 2 items on the 2nd, 3 items on the 3rd, etc.) Typically the game is played starting on the first of the month and with friend(s) and homever lasts the longest “wins.” Continue reading

Plan of Action: Month 1

January:

  • I’m going to take the vow of not buying anything new unless I’m replacing something old. And nothing new unless I try Freecycle, Craigslist, or vintage/thrift stores first. No new clothing, jewelry, accessories. I have way too many of those already.
  • I’m undertaking the Minimalism Game with my minimalist meetup group. I’ll be getting rid of one (or several) thing(s) a day that correspond with the day of the month. Eek!
  • Sell all the clothing that I’m ready to part with to Buffalo Exchange or on ebay; donate the rest
  • Sign up for Bennett Compost again (pending roommate approval)
  • Use up the remaining food items in my pantry and refrigerator, then brainstorm where I can buy the items I need in bulk/without packaging. There will probably be less Trader Joes and more Whole Foods, farmer’s markets and Reading Terminal Market in my future
  • Use up my remaining shampoo and try switching to “no poo” (double eek)
  • Use up my toothpaste and mouthwash and switch to tooth powder and oil pulling (maybe? the oil’s going in the trash, so that’s not ideal)
  • Palmolive/handwashing soap/laundry detergent: I’m pretty sure I’m finishing this imminently. I’m going to switch to soap nuts.
  • Sell off: short bookcase
  • Post on Craigslist/Freecycle: frisbees, plastic jug, phone charger, accessories cabinet
  • Document waste/recycling generated here!
  • reserve Monday nights for meditation
  • only check personal email twice a day, Facebook once a day-disconnect these from my phone

Coming months:

  • use up remaining boxes of tissues; switch to cloth hankies
  • finish tooth powder and switch to homemade tooth powder
  • once spring/summer hits, use up the zinc oxide sunscreen that I do have, and investigate slightly less aesthetically atrocious options
  • work on using up my vitamins/supplements and floss
  • identify and get rid of/reduce remaining plastic in my life

Minimalism, Zero Waste, Gender, and Making a Greater Impact

What I would consider to be the four most famous minimalist bloggers are men. The three most notable zero waste bloggers in my albeit limited experience are women. Why is that?

I’ve been wondering since my first minimalist meetup, where seven men showed up and no women, whether there is an obvious, gendered reason for this. Namely, that society expects women to have a lot of clothes and personal care care products and be homemakers and cooks and decorators, all of which requires a lot of stuff…which makes it’s hard for women to be minimalists. At the same time, a zero waste lifestyle involves rethinking the processes by which we acquire cleaning products, personal care products and food, realms the women have traditionally been relegated to. Is this why?

To be totally honest (spoilers!), I was planning on devoting a significant amount of this blog to recipes for facial scrubs and cleaning products (which is interesting/entertaining to me, admittedly), but why should I? Honestly, the point of all this is to have a lighter impact on the environment…and I think a better way to do that would be to write letters to companies, make a fuss and talk to people about the chemicals in their food systems and the health impacts of plastics, and work with organizations and institutions to change how and what they source for their businesses. I want to enable people to #makeagreaterimpact.

(But I think I might still going to post that honey-cinnamon facial scrub, too.)