The Minimalism Game: Decluttering Goes Viral

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simple living illustration couple clutter declutterThere’s a brand-new game sweeping the internet. It’s the Minimalism Game! And what’s awesome is, you don’t need an app, there are no credits to buy, and you already own everything you need to play it.

The Minimalism Game is basically about day-to-day decluttering. How do you play? You get rid of stuff every day.

You’ll find evidence of the game by searching the hashtag: “#minsgame”. Behold! Photos of all the crap people are getting rid of. It’s empowering to see. And let’s be honest, deep down inside we’re all relieved when we see that lame stuff is cluttering up other people’s lives too. Oh, look. He has a Memorex mix tape from 1986 too. Quaint.

The basics

On the first day, you get rid of one thing. The next, two things. The third, three, and so on. By the 20th, you’re finding 20 things. The game asks that you find friends with whom you’ll play this, challenging each other to make it through the month, not so much for the competition as it is for the motivation to keep it happening.

It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, it’s all counted individually — from pairs of shoes to old Tupperware and unused end tables. Successfully making it through the month means you’ll donate/trash/give away about 500 items that you deem to be cluttering your life.

The rules of the game

The rules can be pretty strict — they say you must have everything out of your home by midnight each day. For those of us with no cars, this gets to be a bit of a task. It also makes it more likely you’ll throw it in the trash instead of donating it somewhere that it can be reused by someone else. We like reuse!

Don’t trash it if it’s not salvageable. I think there’s no shame in arranging a weekly or biweekly disposal of your #Minsgame items. Just don’t second-guess your choices when that time comes!

Looking at social media sites and scanning the hashtag, you’ll find people getting rid of everything from useless Tupperware through to keepsakes and clothes. Heck, I saw a #Minsgame posting this morning after going shopping last night for summer clothes and ignored the “one on the first day” just-starting rule, and now half my old wardrobe sits in a pile for donation. Okay, that’s one, then.

Less is more

“Minimalism” isn’t the same bag as a decluttered home. Minimalism is really about seeking to have things you actually need rather than accumulating for the sake of ownership or display.

As the planet’s population explodes and urban real estate becomes even more expensive, owning less isn’t just a more stress-free life, it’s a more practical one in every way. When you own fewer things, you’ll buy more selectively. You’ll seek quality, style, and long-term use. You’ll have more emotional connection with these things when there’s less around you.

Minimalism is a way of life. Focusing on experience more than accumulation.

More gradual, more fun

This game is a way to make acquiring the minimalist life more gradual, more rewarding, and fun. All great journeys happen with a consistent plotting of steps, and this is no exception.

Why don’t you join the Minimalist Game? Every day, photograph all the things you’re getting rid of. Imagine the people who’ll enjoy it after you. Imagine having less to push out of the way in drawers, and having fewer objects to dust, and less clutter in cupboards.

Imagine feeling free and unburdened by your space, moving around without bumping into things.

Imagine minimalism.

Room for new experiences

I’ve actively and regularly decluttered over the last five years, but a deadline looms next year and I have a goal set to eliminate 50% of what I still own. Why? I dream of moving abroad and traveling the world for a few years. My life needs to be whittled down 50% or more, so it fits in a tidy little storage room. That’s a big, drastic goal for a woman who values her home and belongings. That’s minimalism with meaning.

Instead of mourning all the things I’ll be rid of, I’m trying to hold onto the idea of how meaningful all the things I’ll keep are — and I’m dreaming of the few amazing pieces I might find as I live elsewhere around the world — a Moroccan table, a Chilean wine cupboard, an African mask, a Turkish rug — so that my “future me” is a woman with that new life around her, something reflecting her grown-up accomplishments, not her youthful years of foundation-building. In a way, I’m closing out a part of my life, making a fresh canvas onto which I can paint my future.

Minimalism and freedom

Minimalism makes it possible to really have freedom in life — the freedom to move effortlessly to a new neighborhood, or halfway across the world. It gives you the room to adopt new momentos, entertain easily, create new memories, and commemorate new times with art or a sculpture or other very conscious purchases.

It’s amazing how much you can preserve your emotional connection to your clutter through a photo of it taken just before you let it go. I’ve used this technique for five years and it really works.

The Minimalism Game will give you have that emotional connection one last time through your “daily discard” photo, while also creating a new emotion — the sense of accomplishment that comes from putting on your big-kid pants and making adult choices about things you really, really don’t need anymore. It’s a kind of fun you’ll find addictive and rewarding.

Go on, you can do it!

Ready? Set? Go! #MinsGameOn!

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.