We move frequently, especially now that we are in the UAE where the yearly rise in rent has us looking elsewhere year in, year out. And although our moves usually only involve us transporting a backpack of stuff each, they are always preceded by the hassle of getting rid of all of the stuff I managed to accumulate in our apartment while we were living there.
On a mission to avoid this recurring scenario, I set myself the goal to declutter our household once and for all and rid us of unnecessary stuff. While spending some time on Youtube, listening to Ted talks, I came across The Minimalists and their 30 Day Minimalist Challenge. These two guys, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, basically turned their lives around upon discovering minimalism and are on a mission to share their experience and the benefits of minimalism with the world.
The biggest hurdle to instigating a change is getting started, so the 30 Day Minimalist Challenge seemed like a great way to get into the spirit of ridding myself of unnecessary stuff.
The rules of the game are to remove 1 item from your household on day 1, 2 items on day 2, 3 items on day 3, etc. So if you complete the challenge after 30 days you would have removed … 465 items from your household!
I was sure I’d find enough stuff to keep this going for a while, but 465 items sounded like a pretty ridiculous number. It was the end of August and the 1st September seemed like a great day to start, but it would surely be more fun if others were involved. I posted the idea on Facebook and had a single response from a good friend of mine from Puerto Rico, Lourdes, and I quickly formed a Facebook group so we could share our challenge successes. Little did I know, what would happen next….
Within 24 hours, my friend managed to invite almost 400 friends to the group! From the invitees, a small group of about 20 regulars formed, who posted pictures, advice and motivational messages daily; many others people who didn’t get into the full swing of things still benefited from the group, checking in every now and again to ask for advice, or to report their personal success stories. Some people tried to stick to the rules, other just went all out and removed whatever useless things they came across, as they came across them. The advice and motivation shared was awesome!
I am proud to say that I completed the challenge and removed a lot more than 465 items from our household. Some were binned, others sold, and many donated. Mind you – a big part of this comprised of tons of research papers that I scanned and then discarded. The house definitely feels tidier, cleaner, more organised, and I feel … somewhat relieved and lighter. At the same time I know that there are still items here and there that I will probably get rid of in the near future, and I am motivated to keep this going 🙂 One of the key things the challenge taught me is that you own a lot more stuff than you think, which you really never need, use or even like.
The amount of items that the members of our Facebook group managed to remove during this month was mind blowing. At first I thought I’d do a rough count, but the list has gone far beyond attempting that, so instead I’ve posted some images of the highlights of our challenge below. Best words of advice from our experience:
- Start with stuff that you have no emotional connection with – it’ll be easier to let go of.
- Get friends/family involved; either get them onboard and involved in the challenge, or simply make them aware that you’re in the process of minimising your household. That way you’ll avoid family/friends bringing more stuff through your door, quicker than you can put items out the door!
- Useful references:
As a result of this success, our group has decided to keep our Facebook group going for October, to invite other friends to the challenge and continue to provide advice and support on topics of minimising, tidying up, as well as healthy living and reducing waste. In addition to my decluttered surrounding, I’ve reconnected with a dear old friend, and met other lovely people from across the globe – I’d call that an all round success!
Well done everyone, and a special thanks to my friend Lourdes for turning my little idea into such a big thing. It was emotional…