Opinion: Consider resolving to take the minimalism challenge

By Heather Shue and Sara Mutchler
Guest Columnists

During the month of November, four bloggers collaborated on a minimalism challenge. The challenge, originally started by “The Minimalists” (and called “Minsgame”) is to remove the same amount of things from your house that corresponds with the day.

St. Louis Park residents Sara Mutchler, left, and Heather Shue, right, box books to donate while taking a minimalism challenge to de-clutter their homes. (Submitted photo)
St. Louis Park residents Sara Mutchler, left, and Heather Shue, right, box books to donate while taking a minimalism challenge to de-clutter their homes. (Submitted photo)

For example, on the first of the month, you find one thing to remove from your home. You can sell it, donate it, recycle it or trash it. On day two, remove two things; on day three, remove three things, and so on. By the end of the month you will have removed 465 things. The four bloggers called this challenge “MinsgameBOSS” due to their blog names spelling out BOSS: Anthony from Break the Twitch; Laura from One Girl, Two Cities; Heather from Simply Save; and Sara from Social Sara.

Arc’s Value Village became their official donation recipient, and the participants donated their belongings to them. The four loved the fact that Arc’s Value Village is a local organization and the money goes right back into the community.

We, Heather Shue and Sara Mutchler, are both St. Louis Park residents. These are some of our lessons from the month-long purge of our homes.

Shue’s experience

As a frugal person, it was sometimes difficult for me to part with things during the Minsgame, particularly items I had spent a lot of money on. The biggest lesson was to accept that the item had either served its purpose or would better serve someone else. The money was already spent, and letting items collect dust in my house won’t change that – especially not when someone else could use them.

The most startling realization was that I’d get rid of things day-by-day, but a few days later I couldn’t even recall what they were! I didn’t miss these items; I didn’t even remember them! That opened my eyes to just how much excess I have and how little I need to be truly happy. When I realized that every single item in my home belongs to just one person, I felt overwhelmed. How much stuff can one person need? I realized it wasn’t my things that brought me joy in life; they were kind of just there in the background. It’s really the people and the experiences that stand out.

Mutchler’s lessons learned

The biggest lesson for me was to just start. To stop thinking about it, stop putting it off, stop making up excuses. I had considered this challenge for months but hadn’t pulled the trigger until November. Then, once I started, I didn’t want to stop. The way this challenge is set up, you are able to slowly work yourself into de-cluttering. At first you don’t feel like you’re doing much – one item on day one, two on day two – and before you know it, it’s day 30 and you’re removing 30 things.

However, it’s equally important to not beat yourself up if you need to take a break. In fact, do it. Sometimes a break is needed, especially if you are sorting through emotional things. The important thing is to make it simply a break and to not stop altogether. Doing the challenge with a friend helps this cause. It’s so easy to get discouraged if you do it on your own. Having a partner will encourage you in times that you need it.

The holidays can be a good time to reflect on all we have and consider the items we could do without. If you are at all curious about de-cluttering or minimizing, just give it a shot. The Minsgame is a great way to take it step-by-step, day-by-day.

St. Louis Park resident Heather Shue’s blog is at simplysavemn.com. Fellow St. Louis Park resident Sara Mutchler’s blog is at socialsara612.com.