What I learned Playing the MinsGame
The MinsGame experiment was created out of my need to feel more calm. At the beginning of 2018, I created a list of 18 for 18 which is a list of 18 things that I want to accomplish this year. You can check out the whole list here. A theme that kept coming up throughout the list was the state of my surroundings. I have a strong desire to calm the chaos in my physical space so that I can feel calmer and more centred in my mind. One of my online pretend best friends is writer Gretchen Rubin and she often says ‘Outer Order Equals Inner Calm’ and I’m inclined to agree.
In pursuit of this inner calm and to move forward in accomplishing my 18 for 18, I decided to play a decluttering game in the month of May called The MinsGame. The game was conceived by 2 fellows who are known as the Minimalists and who encourage others to live a meaningful life with less.
The game involves getting rid of or saying good bye to unused and unneeded items in your world. In order to play, you pick a month and get started on the first. (In reality, the first is arbitrary….you could start whenever you want. But starting on the first of the month is helpful in that you always remember the amount of things to get rid of by what the date is.) On day one, you get rid of one thing. On day two, two things. On day three, you say goodbye to three things and so on for the whole month. By the end of a 31 day month, you will clear out 496 unused or unneeded things! During the game you can sell, give away, regift or trash the items that are leaving your space.
In one month, John and I said goodbye to 992 things!
I got started on May 1 and my husband John was super keen to participate. He loves to get rid of things (he amused himself for the whole month by threatening to put me and Calvin the cat at the curb if we ran out of other qualifying items) . As a result, we decided to play the game for both of us which upped the stakes and doubled the challenge. By the end of the month, we successfully got rid of 992 things which boggles my mind. Where was all that stuff and why were we hanging on to it! You can catch a glimpse of all the things we got rid of by checking out the photo above.
What the MinsGame taught me.
At the beginning of the month, the game seemed easy because it was only a couple of things at a time. As the month went on, I really had to dig in to find things and also to really check in with myself about what we really needed and what brought value to our lives.
I continually came back to several important questions each time I encountered an item that was difficult to say goodbye to. If you are in the process of decluttering and you are looking for a guideline of how to talk yourself through it, check out this post where I outline 11 questions to ask yourself when you are decluttering.
2 questions really clarified for me what was important to keep and what I should get rid of.
The 2 most important questions (at least for me) were: 1) If this object didn’t exist in my world, would I pay money right now to replace it? and 2) Am I saving this for some hypothetical ‘Just in Case’?
I learned that sometimes we are hanging on to a thing because of a memory associated with that thing and that even without that thing, the memory is still there. I learned that a picture of the thing can trigger the memory as much as the thing itself.
I learned that just because I spent money on something and then I ended up not loving it, it’s ok to let it go and let the guilt about the money spent go with it.
I learned that I don’t have to hang on to items that I don’t love that have been given to me just because I have a sense of obligation to the person who gave it to me. I can still appreciate the thoughtfulness of the gift and then let the thing go.
I learned that it really is true that an orderly and uncluttered environment makes me feel more in control of myself and more able to get after the list of things that really move the needle in terms of becoming a more organized and productive human.
My online pretend best friend Gretchen Rubin describes it like this: “People get a real lift when they put things in their place, tackle nagging tasks, clear surfaces, and get rid of things that don’t work or aren’t used. This surge of energy makes it easier to ask more of ourselves, to use our self-control, and to stick to a challenging habit. Also accomplishing small tasks boosts our sense of “self-efficacy.” The more we trust ourselves to follow through on our own commitments, the more likely we are to believe that we can keep an important habit.”
I felt as though I had gotten rid of a weight that I didn’t know that I was carrying.
When the game was finished, I felt lighter. The house felt lighter…almost like it was levitating 🙂 . I really felt as though I had been carrying around a ridiculously heavy weight but I had no idea. When it was gone, I felt fantastic. Playing the MinsGame was an amazing step in my world toward ‘Outer Order Equals Inner Calm’ and I highly recommend that you give it a try!!
Here’s to calming your chaos and simplifying your space.