I Played the Minimalism Game for 30 Days and Here’s What I Learned

A few years ago, when I was only just discovering that there was such a thing as minimalism, I came across the Minimalist Game (or #minsgame, as it’s known on social media) by the popular blog The Minimalists.

The game was easy: on the first day of the month, you would get rid of one item you didn’t need any longer. The second day, two things had to go. The third day, you would bin three things, and this cycle would continue for thirty days, usually the end of the month, where you would have cumulatively gotten rid of more than 500 items from around your home.

I was very excited to start my journey into minimalism, so I decided to give the game a go. I shared my progress, quite proudly, on Instagram, and completed the challenge. Since then, I’ve had several requests to share my experience, so I’m answering the top five questions I’ve received about the topic in today’s post!

1. Was it hard to complete the Minimalism Game?

Yes and no. On the yes side, there’s the fact that I knew I had a lot of stuff — like old high school essays, books, scraps of paper, duplicate items — so by participating, I would be getting rid of a lot of things I was unnecessarily holding onto.

On the no side, I do think that because of the way the challenge is set up, it will inevitably get to a point where it’s going to be about the numbers. It will get to be more about the having to find, for example, exactly twenty-five items to get rid of before the clock strikes twelve, instead of about trying to be intentional about the items you own.

2. Did you end up repurchasing any of the items you got rid of?

No, I didn’t!

3. Did anyone in your social circle have anything negative to say about you competing in the challenge?

No, they didn’t! They were supportive of my decision to try it, even though some suggested it might be harder towards the end of the challenge as the amount of items kept growing. They were right in that sense.

4. Do you think the Minimalism Game is a good starting point for anyone looking to get into a more minimalist lifestyle?

No, I don’t. By placing so much focus on the number of items to get rid of, it turns minimalism into a very either-or thing, whilst I believe minimalism should be about the intentionality of ownership, about only owning those things that you use, or that make you happy.

If you feel like you own too many things, and you’re looking to ease into minimalism, I believe there are two better approaches you can take. The first is by following Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which places a lot of emphasis on the kind of life you envision yourself having, and how objects fit into that life for you. The second is by having trying a Packing Party, another strategy from The Minimalists, which allows you to become aware of all of the things you own that you actually use, and encourages you to get rid of the things you don’t use later.

5. Will you ever go through another round of the Minimalism Game?

As I personally didn’t end up finding it as useful as I thought I would, I don’t think I will.

Would you ever consider participating in the Minimalism Game? Do you think it would be helpful for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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2 Comments
  • Evangeline
    July 29, 2020

    My friend, G, and I have played the Minimalist Game for several years. Some months we play it by the rules. Other months we just congratulate ourselves for getting rid of something whenever that occurs. Because we’ve been doing it for such a long time, we don’t feel pressured by the numbers. The last few days are usually devoted to getting rid of emails and cleaning up out virtual tech, including unsubscribing to newsletters, and other clutter.

    • Sarah
      July 30, 2020

      That’s such a great idea, Evangeline (and G!) – I really like that approach. That way, the challenge acts like a springboard rather than a strict guideline if it doesn’t happen fit your needs this time around.

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I Played the Minimalism Game for 30 Days and Here’s What I Learned