Let It Go - play the Minimalism Game
If you have been thinking of joining the Minimalism Game, the month of November is a great time to jump in, in preparation for the holidays. You could potentially free yourself and your home of 465 unnecessary items. I will be playing again and would love for you to join me. To find more details on ow the game is played, read my post The Minimalism Game.
The following are my 30 tips to for a successful Minimalism Game:
1. Start small and clean out your handbag or glove compartment. Surely there is an old receipt, piece of trash or some other easy to dispose of item in one or both locations. Discard something from one to these areas right now!
2. If you wear a fragrance, try to limit yourself to one signature scent (or one each for day and evening). Industry experts agree fragrance is only effective 3-5 years – and that is the purest fragrance, so why hang on to multiple scents that will just lose their potency over time.
3. Quickly peruse your wardrobe. An easy purge is to find clothing that is stained or ripped beyond repair (or you know you just won't ever repair).
4. Look for anything clothing hat no longer fits -- don't torture yourself by looking every day at clothes that you have not worn for years due to size or wear ill-fitting clothes. You are worth wearing your best to look your best every day.
5. Don’t overthink it. If you have considered letting something go many times, today is the day.
6. Minimize anything you have in multiples. Do you need more than one nutcracker, pair of tweezers, stapler, etc.
7. Look around your kitchen with a critical eye. Do you have plates, glasses, baking pans in excess? Let go of anything you don't use or have an unnecessary abundance of.
8. Do your pets have as many toys as some children? Time to go through the things Fido loves and cull out items that are damaged and could cause harm to your pet.
9. Dig into your cosmetics bag and anywhere else you store skincare, makeup and bath products. Dispose of anything beyond its expiration date or best use. (Check out the following for a good guide on discarding cosmetics.)
10. Unwanted gifts. Friends and family who give you gifts want you to be happy. If you are keeping gifts out of guilt that don’t bring you joy, you have permission to let them go.
11. Peruse your collection of DVDs and (heaven help us if you still have them) VHS tapes. I guarantee there are some that you have watched once and done, or perhaps never watched at all.
12. Do you stream music from an electronic provider – then let the old CDs go
13. Books are a tough de-clutter for many people. If you are a little hesitant to let go of the lifetime of books clogging shelves, consider donating them to your local library. You are able to share your love of books and reading with others, and they are available to check out if you feel the need to read them again.
14. I love receiving and sending cards, but am comfortable with letting them go once I have read and enjoyed them. You have received the sentiment and it is okay to then recycle the card
15. I challenge you to look around your garage, attic, basement or the dreaded storage unit that you are paying for each month. I am certain you could easily find items in these locations that are forgotten or damaged beyond repair.
16. How many old cleaning products, personal care products or excess linens (getting moldy) are stored in various bathroom locations in your home? Dig into those dark corners in bathrooms and just see what you find.
17. Do you have any expired medication in your home? Remember to look at over the counter as well as old prescriptions. Keep in mind medicines should not be flushed down the toilet or sink. Check with your local municipality or pharmacy for locations to surrender expired medications.
18. Pull together all the various forms of linen in your home and re-evaluate how many sets of towels and sheets your home actually needs. Pass unused, decorative sets on to someone who will use them and, those that have seen better days can be given to local animal shelters or veterinary clinics.
19. While there are of course vital documents that need to be kept, how much paper in your home is just taking up space. How much of the stored paper could easily be accessed on the internet if you truly need it in the future
20. Are you drowning in the important paperwork that cannot just be discarded? Shredders can be obtained easily enough and there are also services that can do the shredding of for you if you have a large load.
21. Take a look at the publications that enter your home: catalogs, magazine, newspapers, etc. Toss anything that is more than one year old straight away.
22. The 20/20 Rule. Most of the miscellaneous items you keep "just in case" could be replaced in 20 minutes or less for less than $20. For more details, check out "What are keeping just in case?". Why not let go of some items filling junk drawers, cupboards, attics and garages by applying the 20/20 rule?
23. Consider applying the 90/90 rule in your de-cluttering pursuit. If any item in your life has not been used in the last 90 days and no foreseeable use in the next 90, let it go. If 90 days does not work for your life, adapt the rule’s time frame to fit.
24. If you have memorabilia or photos that you do not want to part with, why not have a scanning party? There are scanners available at a variety of price ranges or borrow one from a friend. Bonus: this also protects those memories from being damaged.
25. Camera phones have become our notepad, grocery list, etc., but once the task is completed, those photos can be deleted. Peruse your photo storage files regularly and dump the “junk” – don’t forget to also empty the “delete” or trash file as well.
26. Do you catch yourself wasting time on social media? There is a fine line between valuable tool and distraction. Make a habit of reviewing what to follow on these platforms and delete those that do not add value to your life
27. On your desktop or laptop clean out download folders, browser history, cached files, cookies, temporary internet files, etc. to free up space and potentially speed up your computing time.
28. Delete smartphone apps that you do not need; purge old notes, phone and text messages; and delete contacts that are no longer valuable.
29. Evaluate holiday decorations. Think about all the items you store for 11 months only for short periods of display. Make sure the items you keep truly add value to you and your family and have “earned” their space in your seasonal display and yearlong storage.
30. You should never de-clutter anything that is not yours without explicit permission from the owner. The best way to encourage others to join you is by example. When friends and family see the value that living minimally brings to your life, it may encourage them to join in too.