30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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Cycle
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30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Cycle »

Since it's over freezing for a few hours a day now :D , it's time for some spring cleaning. The last 12 years of our working careers we have been accumulating more and more stuff (30 ties, 3 sets of golf clubs, hundreds of tools, 50 pairs of shoes, countless outfits worn once per year :oops: ).

We are trying to start a family, and want to get rid of all of the non-essentials in the house. We also want to reduce the constant stream of useless consumer goods and outfits that show up here from one online retailer or another so we can buy more VTIAX :moneybag.

For this challenge, we trash/sell/donate 1 item on day 1, 2 items on day 2, 3 items day 3, etc. until we each have gotten rid of 465 items by day 30.( https://www.theminimalists.com/game/).

We are on day 4 and already have 140 items in our pile. If you have done this or a similar challenge, I'd be curious how it went and strategies for success, as days 20-30 are going to be really tough. We are already paperless. I'd be particularly interested in encouraging words from someone who has passed their "peak" in stuff ownership and now gets by with less.

Not sure if this is consumer goods or personal finance category...
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climber2020
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by climber2020 »

In my mid 20s, I got sick of moving a crap ton of boxes around from place to place, so I went through all my stuff and adopted a minimalist lifestyle. Anything I didn't use went in the garbage or got donated. It was a gradual process that took way longer than one month. I'm not sure if all the stuff added up to 465 items (probably a lot more than that if I had to guess), but for me, putting a numerical and time requirement on the downsizing likely would have resulted in me throwing out things that I actually do use. I'd say the hardest stuff to get rid of are the sentimental items that stay in boxes in the back of the closet but you feel bad when you attempt to throw them out. Taking pictures of these things really helps so that you can still retain the memories associated with them without having to hoard the actual items.

It's important to not go out and buy a bunch of new stuff to replace the stuff you just threw out. I've noticed some people use minimalism and downsizing as an excuse to feed their shopping addiction, and that's not going to accomplish anything useful.

I'd say don't feel pressured into doing everything in 30 days. Take your time if you need to, since ideally you want this lifestyle to stick. I've been living this way for most of my 30s, and it's awesome; I don't ever want to go back to living heavy. Good luck to you.
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climber2020
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by climber2020 »

Cycle wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:14 pm 50 pairs of shoes
One comment about this. I own 4 pair of shoes, and one of them is a super old pair that I use strictly for mowing the lawn. If you're trying to hit your number at the end of day 30, this is a good place to start. I'd count each shoe as one item :beer
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by VictoriaF »

climber2020 wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:44 pm I'd say the hardest stuff to get rid of are the sentimental items that stay in boxes in the back of the closet but you feel bad when you attempt to throw them out. Taking pictures of these things really helps so that you can still retain the memories associated with them without having to hoard the actual items.
For me, the hardest things to get rid of are books. Even if I know that I will never read them, or not read them again, there is sentimental value associated with the thought process that went into selecting them in the first place.

Victoria
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climber2020
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by climber2020 »

VictoriaF wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:56 pm
For me, the hardest things to get rid of are books. Even if I know that I will never read them, or not read them again, there is sentimental value associated with the thought process that went into selecting them in the first place.

Victoria
I have a handful of books that I've held onto as well, but these are books I re-read every few years. One of my favorites - an old copy of The Little Prince - I specifically kept because all the in-print versions are atrociously translated by a goon that butchers the original work. Usually though, I get my books from the local library.

This made me think of a great article on this topic I read a few years back. Very well written: https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/eight-things ... ed0479fb12
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Cycle »

climber2020 wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:51 pm
Cycle wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:14 pm 50 pairs of shoes
One comment about this. I own 4 pair of shoes, and one of them is a super old pair that I use strictly for mowing the lawn. If you're trying to hit your number at the end of day 30, this is a good place to start. I'd count each shoe as one item :beer
If you only have 4 pairs of shoes, I know you are legit. Definitely easier to get rid of 930 items.

One of my biggest problems is I'm a DIY'er, so I accumulated a ton of tools when I did a two kitchen / two bath remodel. Having all those tools taking up tons of space and not getting used is a big stress point, but I know when I've gotten them down to just the essentials I will feel great freedom. Since completing the remodel 99% of the stuff hasn't been used, and I'm going to buy turn-key in the future.
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Cycle
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Cycle »

climber2020 wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:13 pm
VictoriaF wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:56 pm
For me, the hardest things to get rid of are books. Even if I know that I will never read them, or not read them again, there is sentimental value associated with the thought process that went into selecting them in the first place.

Victoria
I have a handful of books that I've held onto as well, but these are books I re-read every few years. One of my favorites - an old copy of The Little Prince - I specifically kept because all the in-print versions are atrociously translated by a goon that butchers the original work. Usually though, I get my books from the local library.

This made me think of a great article on this topic I read a few years back. Very well written: https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/eight-things ... ed0479fb12
I'll keep signed books our friends/family have authored, but all others are on the chopping block. I have a lot of sheet music and piano books that I would love to digitize, but I haven't found a workable platform for that, so until that is worked out I'll have a big pile of piano music.

That "8-things you can live without" piece was very thoughtfully written, thanks for that!
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Hulu »

I read the Marie Kondo book and watched a couple videos. It took two very full weekends (plus reading time) and was very helpful to declutter. I didn't count bags but did end up with only items that brought me pure joy. And the philosophy can be spread across activities, friends and thoughts...so that all that is left is enjoyed.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by 02nz »

VictoriaF wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:56 pm
climber2020 wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:44 pm I'd say the hardest stuff to get rid of are the sentimental items that stay in boxes in the back of the closet but you feel bad when you attempt to throw them out. Taking pictures of these things really helps so that you can still retain the memories associated with them without having to hoard the actual items.
For me, the hardest things to get rid of are books. Even if I know that I will never read them, or not read them again, there is sentimental value associated with the thought process that went into selecting them in the first place.

Victoria
I totally respect that, but I've never been one of those people. I'm with Seinfeld: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6T3X8i5Hkhg
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Cycle »

Hulu wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:13 pm I read the Marie Kondo book and watched a couple videos. It took two very full weekends (plus reading time) and was very helpful to declutter. I didn't count bags but did end up with only items that brought me pure joy. And the philosophy can be spread across activities, friends and thoughts...so that all that is left is enjoyed.
I read her book a couple years ago, and as a result got my wardrobe to a manageable size, some great quotes in there. "The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past." My perspective a few years ago was that I wanted to be prepared to fix anything myself and have the tools to do it, but I'm beginning to think major construction should be left to contractors and I should just do what I'm good at... unclogging the tenants drains and my career.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Shallowpockets »

Your method of 1 thing gone day 1 and the 2 things day 2 and so on is a method that would create a lot of pressure to me. It sounds like it would turn into a job when you get further into the month.
I would opt for getting rid of anything right then and there. If on day one you have 20 things, get them gone. Why would you wait for several more weeks? That would just be so you could hit your numbers.
As soon as you make the decision to discard then do it ASAP.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by climber2020 »

Cycle wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:57 pm
One of my biggest problems is I'm a DIY'er, so I accumulated a ton of tools when I did a two kitchen / two bath remodel. Having all those tools taking up tons of space and not getting used is a big stress point, but I know when I've gotten them down to just the essentials I will feel great freedom. Since completing the remodel 99% of the stuff hasn't been used, and I'm going to buy turn-key in the future.
Important point here: if you use something regularly, definitely don't throw it out. Minimalism doesn't equate to living in a small box with undecorated white walls and no furniture. For example, I own several musical instruments that take up quite a bit of space, but I use all of it. You'll want to keep the stuff that either you use regularly or enhances your life (like artwork on the wall). It's the stuff in the boxes that hasn't seen the light of day for a decade that you want to toss out.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by MnyGrl »

Cycle wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:11 pm
Hulu wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:13 pm I read the Marie Kondo book and watched a couple videos. It took two very full weekends (plus reading time) and was very helpful to declutter. I didn't count bags but did end up with only items that brought me pure joy. And the philosophy can be spread across activities, friends and thoughts...so that all that is left is enjoyed.
I read her book a couple years ago, and as a result got my wardrobe to a manageable size, some great quotes in there. "The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past." My perspective a few years ago was that I wanted to be prepared to fix anything myself and have the tools to do it, but I'm beginning to think major construction should be left to contractors and I should just do what I'm good at... unclogging the tenants drains and my career.
My daughter is VERY into the Marie Kondo book. Earlier this winter she had me clean out my closet with the instruction to embrace each garment to see how it made me feel. It took a while and felt very silly, but I think she's right that anything we buy should inspire some sort of "love." Even if it is just a gadget that makes our lives easier.

We all had a good laugh at Marie Kondo's response when she saw that someone was rolling their socks instead of folding them into thirds. She sounded like it was the worst experience of her life. How the socks were suffering!! :D :shock:
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Pajamas »

It seems to me that to make some kind of game out of it with increasing numbers of things you must get rid of on a fixed schedule would prevent you from benefitting from it as much as you would from a more natural and thoughtful process. Minimalism is not furthered by simply reducing the number of your physical possessions arbitrarily. Seems like a blogger stunt or maybe fodder for a YouTube series.

If you are doing it solely as a form of housekeeping and it makes it easier or more fun to do it that way, then ignore this.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by caffeinefree »

I've been working toward a more minimalist lifestyle ever since I sold my 3-bedroom home and moved back into a 1-bedroom apartment 3 years ago. I purged a TON of stuff during that move (literally about 10 carloads in my little Ford Focus, not counting furniture), either donated or thrown out. I just moved again recently, and although my new place has more storage space I was distressed to find just how many boxes of STUFF I still have.
Cycle wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:57 pm One of my biggest problems is I'm a DIY'er, so I accumulated a ton of tools when I did a two kitchen / two bath remodel. Having all those tools taking up tons of space and not getting used is a big stress point, but I know when I've gotten them down to just the essentials I will feel great freedom. Since completing the remodel 99% of the stuff hasn't been used, and I'm going to buy turn-key in the future.
I think this is one of the hardest parts for me as well. I do art in my spare time and I have a couple of big tubs of random supplies, some of which I haven't touched in years. I also like to dress up in costume for parties, events, Halloween, etc., so I've got half a closet just taken up by those. Hulu mentioned Marie Kondo and only keeping the things that bring you joy - I think that's an important point. Minimalism is about getting rid of the things that cause you stress (clutter). If looking at your tools sitting there collecting dust is stressing you out, get rid of them. Most tools you can probably rent from your local hardware store if you really need it. But if you look at those tools and they inspire you and drive you to take on new projects, then maybe they are worth keeping.

My current project is moving to a minimalist wardrobe. I've been reading up on how to create a capsule wardrobe (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsule_wardrobe). I'm going to do it in stages - first purge everything I know I never wear and won't miss, then create my capsule wardrobe with recommended items, but keep other items that I think I MIGHT want to wear in a different section of my closet. If I don't wear those items and don't miss them by the end of the season, I'll get rid of them as well.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by lthenderson »

VictoriaF wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:56 pm For me, the hardest things to get rid of are books. Even if I know that I will never read them, or not read them again, there is sentimental value associated with the thought process that went into selecting them in the first place.

Victoria
+1000

I never got rid of any of my books until I moved to a new house about six years ago and ended up with around 50 boxes of books! My back was a limp noodle by the time I finished moving them all down into our basement. Since that time I have weeded them down to about 15 or so boxes of books, or what I can fit on my large built in bookcase downstairs. What helped me to get rid of them is that I wrote my name on the inside of the cover and have sold/donated them around town. Then whenever I go to a used book sale, I check the covers to see if any of mine are present. I get a kick whenever I see one of my old books that someone else has read.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by lthenderson »

Pajamas wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:55 am It seems to me that to make some kind of game out of it with increasing numbers of things you must get rid of on a fixed schedule would prevent you from benefitting from it as much as you would from a more natural and thoughtful process. Minimalism is not furthered by simply reducing the number of your physical possessions arbitrarily. Seems like a blogger stunt or maybe fodder for a YouTube series.
As someone who has inherited a number of things over the years that have been passed down through my family and which I consider priceless, I'm sure glad my ancestors didn't participate in such a challenge.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by jucor »

Cycle wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:57 pm
One of my biggest problems is I'm a DIY'er, so I accumulated a ton of tools when I did a two kitchen / two bath remodel. Having all those tools taking up tons of space and not getting used is a big stress point, but I know when I've gotten them down to just the essentials I will feel great freedom. Since completing the remodel 99% of the stuff hasn't been used, and I'm going to buy turn-key in the future.
I had a similar collection of little used tools from DIY projects -- I donated them to the local tool library -- they are no longer clogging my basement, get used, and I can check them (or others) out when/if I need to use them. I did keep tools I use on a more regular basis.

I note you're in Minneapolis -- and you have a tool library there: https://www.mntoollibrary.org Consider donating your un-needed tools to them.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Rhadamanthus »

I used to be in the same camp with books long ago but I'm now down to three physical books:

Linux Hardening in Hostile Networks - currently reading and taking notes, will probably give away when done
Cholesterol Clarity - currently re-reading and will give away when done
Primal Endurance - haven't started yet, but once I read it and take notes, I'll give it away as well.

I'm also not a fan of e-books except for computer/reference books, mainly because their physical counterparts are often heavy and I can't Ctrl/Cmd-F them, but even then there are so many online references that even many types of computer books are becoming obsolete.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by fishmonger »

I would be hesitant to toss out/donate tools. Unless you really don't have space for them, or they are really single use for a specific purpose (certain blades, etc) you never know when you might need something. Especially if the ones you have are high quality.

I don't have a ton of tools, but I've done a bit of updating/remodeling and every time I had to buy something I went with quality. I hope to pass them down to my son
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by climber2020 »

lthenderson wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:19 am
As someone who has inherited a number of things over the years that have been passed down through my family and which I consider priceless, I'm sure glad my ancestors didn't participate in such a challenge.
If you consider these items priceless, they bring you happiness, and you don't mind moving them from place to place, then there's nothing wrong with keeping them.

However, many people inherit useless junk from their ancestors and are stressed out by their very presence. The only reason they keep this stuff around is guilt; they think that by discarding these items, they're somehow disrespecting the people associated with the material goods. Nonsense. For people in this category, it is perfectly okay to dump these things into a landfill. They're just things that are in various stages of progressing toward trash.

When I die, my goal is to have gotten rid of everything except a few mass produced belongings that are easily replaceable so that whoever ends up with the responsibility of cleaning up after my demise can feel okay with simply putting everything in a dumpster.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by caffeinefree »

fishmonger wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:33 am I don't have a ton of tools, but I've done a bit of updating/remodeling and every time I had to buy something I went with quality. I hope to pass them down to my son
Not to say that this is the case here, but I think a lot of people use that excuse to hold onto items that they should just let go. I know that when my grandmother passed away and we were trying to figure out who was going to take all the silver that she'd held onto for 40 years and almost never used, no one even wanted it because none of us had any use for it. The same thing happened when my grandfather passed and we were trying to decide what to do with his well-appointed workshop of tools.

In other words, the things that are important to us will not necessarily be important to our heirs, so we shouldn't go through life collecting things with that assumption.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by alpenglow »

We have been slowly moving in the minimalist direction. I don't see any need to be rushed by a challenge. In all my years of getting rid of stuff, I've never missed a single thing. Having a neat, organized, clean space is really wonderful.

My in-laws are the exact opposite and my mother-in-law is a legitimate hoarder. There is a least one room in her house where she can't even open the door anymore because she stacked so much stuff that fell, blocking the door. Her solution was to open the door a crack and then throw in more stuff. The amazing thing is that she expresses being stressed by all the stuff and bills (they are broke from spending) but won't change her behaviors. She is particularly obsessed with holiday crap. This Fall, she didn't setup her Halloween stuff because she said it's too much to put up. At the same time, she was buying new Halloween stuff daily. It seems to be an illness. I can't imagine the hell we'll be in cleaning out her place after she passes. :(
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by gotester2000 »

I am on the minimalist path since many years and it really has given me peace of mind. Along the way, I learnt that your ideas wiĺl not match with your family all the time and you need to accept this fact.

Long story short, i have focussed on what I can do myself and minimizing things for myself - they may do it at times or not it doesnt bother me anymore.

I am certainly least bothered about what happens to my things☺??? after I am no more - just do what you can do and live your life.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by protagonist »

Cycle wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:14 pm Since it's over freezing for a few hours a day now :D , it's time for some spring cleaning. The last 12 years of our working careers we have been accumulating more and more stuff (30 ties, 3 sets of golf clubs, hundreds of tools, 50 pairs of shoes, countless outfits worn once per year :oops: ).

We are trying to start a family, and want to get rid of all of the non-essentials in the house. We also want to reduce the constant stream of useless consumer goods and outfits that show up here from one online retailer or another so we can buy more VTIAX :moneybag.

For this challenge, we trash/sell/donate 1 item on day 1, 2 items on day 2, 3 items day 3, etc. until we each have gotten rid of 465 items by day 30.( https://www.theminimalists.com/game/).

We are on day 4 and already have 140 items in our pile. If you have done this or a similar challenge, I'd be curious how it went and strategies for success, as days 20-30 are going to be really tough. We are already paperless. I'd be particularly interested in encouraging words from someone who has passed their "peak" in stuff ownership and now gets by with less.

Not sure if this is consumer goods or personal finance category...
If your objective is to simplify your life, wouldn't it be simpler to just get rid of 465 items on day 1 and be done with it, than go through all that counting and work every day after a hard day at the office? (laughing) I don't see the advantage of trashing one tie day one, 2 day 2 etc until you trash 30 ties, as opposed to just dumping them all in the same 10 seconds.

You might even find you have way more than 465 items to trash or sell by day 2.....
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Sandtrap »

VictoriaF wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:56 pm
climber2020 wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:44 pm I'd say the hardest stuff to get rid of are the sentimental items that stay in boxes in the back of the closet but you feel bad when you attempt to throw them out. Taking pictures of these things really helps so that you can still retain the memories associated with them without having to hoard the actual items.
For me, the hardest things to get rid of are books. Even if I know that I will never read them, or not read them again, there is sentimental value associated with the thought process that went into selecting them in the first place.

Victoria
Yes.
Books breed in secrecy if left to their own devices. Especially old classics that were found well used.
However, what helped me greatly thin out the books (and a huge library of sheet music) I own was the thought that they were all in my head and I no longer needed a hard copy.
j :D
Last edited by Sandtrap on Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by bloom2708 »

Part of why this plan works is it is similar to a "debt snowball".

It is hard to get rid of anything. Nostalgia is powerful.

Start out slow. 1, 2, 3 items. You might find that you have a lot of stuff/things that you never use/look at/miss.

Take photos of items you think you might miss. If you do miss them, fondly look at the photos.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by MnyGrl »

Sandtrap wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:32 pm
VictoriaF wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:56 pm
climber2020 wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:44 pm I'd say the hardest stuff to get rid of are the sentimental items that stay in boxes in the back of the closet but you feel bad when you attempt to throw them out. Taking pictures of these things really helps so that you can still retain the memories associated with them without having to hoard the actual items.
For me, the hardest things to get rid of are books. Even if I know that I will never read them, or not read them again, there is sentimental value associated with the thought process that went into selecting them in the first place.

Victoria
Yes.
Books breed in secrecy if left to their own devices. Especially old classics that were found well used.
However, what helped me greatly thin out the books (and a huge library of sheet music) I own was the thought that they were all in my head and I no longer needed a hard copy.
j :D
+1. I had a huge amount of books but realized that most of them I would never reread. I donated many and now I let the library store my books. I only keep ones that I am sure to read again, have personal meaning, and would be difficult to find (out of print, etc.).
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by protagonist »

lthenderson wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:16 am
VictoriaF wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:56 pm For me, the hardest things to get rid of are books. Even if I know that I will never read them, or not read them again, there is sentimental value associated with the thought process that went into selecting them in the first place.

Victoria
+1000

I never got rid of any of my books until I moved to a new house about six years ago and ended up with around 50 boxes of books! My back was a limp noodle by the time I finished moving them all down into our basement. Since that time I have weeded them down to about 15 or so boxes of books, or what I can fit on my large built in bookcase downstairs. What helped me to get rid of them is that I wrote my name on the inside of the cover and have sold/donated them around town. Then whenever I go to a used book sale, I check the covers to see if any of mine are present. I get a kick whenever I see one of my old books that someone else has read.
I felt the same way about my books and record collection, until I got rid of all of them at once during a move following a divorce. I had lugged them around my entire adult life, taking more room in moving vans than all my furniture, clothes etc. put together.

That was about ten years ago. I missed them for about 6 months....maybe a year. Sentimental value rapidly fades with time. I haven't thought about them since, other than how much room they took in my house and how much dust they collected. Now I have over 10K songs on my computer and cell phone and get rid of books once I read them or, more often, read them on my Kindle. I think I have about 6 books in my house, no records, probably 30 CDs that I hardly ever listen to.

If I need to reference something that was in one of my thousands of books I do so on the internet....it's much quicker than finding it on my bookshelf, and often leads to even more and deeper exploration. If I want to listen to music I find precisely the songs I want in a minute or so. Not audiophile quality I admit, and that is a sacrifice, but even for a musician like myself the convenience and availability factor is so much greater. Plus, the .mp3s don't have pops and scratches.

I did keep a lot of old family photos for sentimental value....that is deeply personal information that, unlike literature or music, is not accessible online. I don't mind that they collect dust in the attic.

When I visit people's houses with large libraries in 2018, to some extent I unfairly assume that they are either living in the past or that they are trying to impress people. The usefulness of a large library for the vast majority of people these days is close to nil.
Last edited by protagonist on Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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randomizer
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by randomizer »

I haven't done a challenge like this but I do try to live minimally. Finding 465 items to dispose of would be pretty difficult for me, unless I am going to cheat and do things like throw out individual toothpicks or something.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Afty »

climber2020 wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:47 am However, many people inherit useless junk from their ancestors and are stressed out by their very presence. The only reason they keep this stuff around is guilt; they think that by discarding these items, they're somehow disrespecting the people associated with the material goods. Nonsense. For people in this category, it is perfectly okay to dump these things into a landfill. They're just things that are in various stages of progressing toward trash.
I'm totally in this boat. I have a set of heirloom furniture that I inherited. We don't have room for it in our house, so we rent a climate-controlled storage unit and pay $125/mo to store it. I cannot imagine a future where we would actually use the furniture, but I also feel that the person I inherited it from would go ballistic if I got rid of it. So I hang onto it, and pay dearly to do so. At some point, I'm sure I'll build up the courage to get rid of it.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Teague »

I've not read the Kondo book, mentioned above, so I'm sure there is much I don't understand about that philosophy. I think it says something like "get rid of things that do not give you joy."

I live on a couple of acres in the country, which gives me joy. So I won't give away the house, I suppose. But because of this I have a large collection of spare PVC pipes, sprinklers and valves, PVC cement, and plumbing fittings, which just don't give me much joy at all. Most of the time they take up space and are annoyingly in the way. But when water occasionally starts leaking all over the place those clutter-y items sure come in handy. The same could be said for a bunch of tools, battery chargers, a cranky old tractor, weed killer, etc.

Am I supposed to get rid of all these things? I must not be understanding this stuff very well.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by ElwoodBlues »

caffeinefree wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:52 am
fishmonger wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:33 am I don't have a ton of tools, but I've done a bit of updating/remodeling and every time I had to buy something I went with quality. I hope to pass them down to my son
Not to say that this is the case here, but I think a lot of people use that excuse to hold onto items that they should just let go. I know that when my grandmother passed away and we were trying to figure out who was going to take all the silver that she'd held onto for 40 years and almost never used, no one even wanted it because none of us had any use for it. The same thing happened when my grandfather passed and we were trying to decide what to do with his well-appointed workshop of tools.

In other words, the things that are important to us will not necessarily be important to our heirs, so we shouldn't go through life collecting things with that assumption.
With tools, I think it largely depends on the type and quality of the item, and the interests of the recipients. A well-made, 40 year old drill press passed on to someone who was already interested in woodworking or metalworking could be a beautiful thing. It might allow a younger hobbyist a leap forward in capability and skills-development that they might not have easily afforded otherwise, or perhaps would have fulfilled with an affordable but inferior tool produced more recently.

On the other hand, a cordless drill will no source of replacement batteries or a cutting tool that requires non-standard blades are just a waste of time and space for both the current and future owner.

Personally, I'll keep all my tools, but only as long as they are useful or bring enjoyment. If/when I can no longer use some of them, hopefully I can find new homes for them (inside or outside the family) where they can help a young, aspiring hobbyist or do-it-youreselfer who can appreciate their value. I would hate hoard something like that for years for someone who doesn't want them or see a use for them.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by ElwoodBlues »

Teague wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:45 pm I've not read the Kondo book, mentioned above, so I'm sure there is much I don't understand about that philosophy. I think it says something like "get rid of things that do not give you joy."

I live on a couple of acres in the country, which gives me joy. So I won't give away the house, I suppose. But because of this I have a large collection of spare PVC pipes, sprinklers and valves, PVC cement, and plumbing fittings, which just don't give me much joy at all. Most of the time they take up space and are annoyingly in the way. But when water occasionally starts leaking all over the place those clutter-y items sure come in handy. The same could be said for a bunch of tools, battery chargers, a cranky old tractor, weed killer, etc.

Am I supposed to get rid of all these things? I must not be understanding this stuff very well.
If I actually had acreage, I think a "cranky old tractor" would bring me joy, both working on it and still deriving use from it. And, when I accidentally break a PVC fitting in the yard by accidentally hitting it with the tractor, I'd go to the "hoard" of parts and scraps to avoid a not-joyful trip to the store. :happy

I'm guessing the minimalist mentality and the prepared DIY'er mentality don't overlap very cleanly, although I can appreciate this discusison as a reminder to occasionally try to thin things out a bit.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by bloom2708 »

There is certainly a generational aspect to de-cluttering.

If something starts leaking, I usually go to the nearest home/plumbing store and buy the part that is leaking. If I have a box of 25 plumbing parts I seem to need the 26th one (still at the store). :wink:

Minimalism isn't for all. There are parts that can help you if you want/desire to start to de-clutter. For you or for your heirs.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by jsapiandante »

Me and my wife have always tried to adopt the minimalist lifestyle. It's made our life much simpler. Because we don't have a lot of stuff around the house, it's been much easier to clean since there aren't too many things to move out of the way. It's been slowly changing though ever since we've had our baby. We get a chuckle whenever we travel with our baby because we always have to have like 2-3 days worth of clothes in case of any "accidents".
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by stoptothink »

gotester2000 wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:23 pm I am on the minimalist path since many years and it really has given me peace of mind. Along the way, I learnt that your ideas wiĺl not match with your family all the time and you need to accept this fact.

Long story short, i have focussed on what I can do myself and minimizing things for myself - they may do it at times or not it doesnt bother me anymore.
+10000000. My wife has been a trooper, but I have just come to accept that she likes her "stuff". For the first few years of our marriage it drove me nuts that she can't go more than a day or two without stopping at a store to buy something. Not counting my garage gym, I literally can fit all of my worldy possessions in 3-4 plastic bins and there was a time in my life when they all fit in 1...you couldn't fit her shoes in 3 or 4 plastic bins. We're a family of 4 and we are minimalist enough to where our ~1500 sq. ft home feels spacious, but I'll never get my wife and kids to feel the same I do about simplicity.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by VictoriaF »

climber2020 wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:13 pm
VictoriaF wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:56 pm
For me, the hardest things to get rid of are books. Even if I know that I will never read them, or not read them again, there is sentimental value associated with the thought process that went into selecting them in the first place.

Victoria
I have a handful of books that I've held onto as well, but these are books I re-read every few years. One of my favorites - an old copy of The Little Prince - I specifically kept because all the in-print versions are atrociously translated by a goon that butchers the original work. Usually though, I get my books from the local library.

This made me think of a great article on this topic I read a few years back. Very well written: https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/eight-things ... ed0479fb12
Thank you for the link, but it does not add to what I already know. 10%-20% of my books are on behavioral economics, standard economics, cognitive psychology, judgment and decision making, and related topics. I have deep appreciation of the cognitive biases involved in my book selection, purchase, and maintenance. However, knowing biases does not mean that they are easy to mitigate. Experts such as Daniel Kahneman, Richard Thaler, and Dan Ariely acknowledge that they are subject to the same biases as the rest of us.

Victoria
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by mak1277 »

Cycle wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:14 pm Since it's over freezing for a few hours a day now :D , it's time for some spring cleaning. The last 12 years of our working careers we have been accumulating more and more stuff (30 ties, 3 sets of golf clubs, hundreds of tools, 50 pairs of shoes, countless outfits worn once per year :oops: ).

We are trying to start a family, and want to get rid of all of the non-essentials in the house. We also want to reduce the constant stream of useless consumer goods and outfits that show up here from one online retailer or another so we can buy more VTIAX :moneybag.

For this challenge, we trash/sell/donate 1 item on day 1, 2 items on day 2, 3 items day 3, etc. until we each have gotten rid of 465 items by day 30.( https://www.theminimalists.com/game/).

We are on day 4 and already have 140 items in our pile. If you have done this or a similar challenge, I'd be curious how it went and strategies for success, as days 20-30 are going to be really tough. We are already paperless. I'd be particularly interested in encouraging words from someone who has passed their "peak" in stuff ownership and now gets by with less.

Not sure if this is consumer goods or personal finance category...
This sounds an awful lot like work to me. Perhaps my reluctance to adopt anything similar is just born of laziness.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Getting 465 items would be a piece of cake for me. Getting them past the wife is the impossible task. Why we still have onesies when our youngest is 17 is beyond me.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by FreeAtLast »

VictoriaF wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:56 pm
climber2020 wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:44 pm I'd say the hardest stuff to get rid of are the sentimental items that stay in boxes in the back of the closet but you feel bad when you attempt to throw them out. Taking pictures of these things really helps so that you can still retain the memories associated with them without having to hoard the actual items.
For me, the hardest things to get rid of are books. Even if I know that I will never read them, or not read them again, there is sentimental value associated with the thought process that went into selecting them in the first place.

Victoria
Indeed! I now have 5 bookcases that are chock full - 6 feet high, almost 2.5 feet wide and 5 shelves each. I am planning on moving to a new location in 2-3 years, so I should start winnowing them down right now. It is easy for me to donate a novel that I have read 3-4 times to the library, but God forbid I should dispose of any scientific/mathematical textbook or reference work. How does retaining 6 books on optics sound for my supposed mental health (no, I am not an ophthalmologist or engineer)?
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by climber2020 »

FreeAtLast wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:37 pm
Indeed! I now have 5 bookcases that are chock full - 6 feet high, almost 2.5 feet wide and 5 shelves each. I am planning on moving to a new location in 2-3 years, so I should start winnowing them down right now. It is easy for me to donate a novel that I have read 3-4 times to the library, but God forbid I should dispose of any scientific/mathematical textbook or reference work. How does retaining 6 books on optics sound for my supposed mental health (no, I am not an ophthalmologist or engineer)?
I had an issue with this as well. Tons of textbooks and references that built up over a decade's worth of school.

The justification that I came up with was that most of these books get outdated after a short while. In my field, the information changes or becomes flat out wrong as time goes on. Plus, with all the great resources on the internet, I can look up whatever I want to and get the most up to date information. Other than a handful of books that I still reference every few months, I put all the rest in boxes and set them outside my old grad school with a "free" sign attached. Great feeling unloading all those heavy books.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by kaudrey »

Last year I decided to declutter; but I wasn't as ambitious as you. I promised myself I would get rid of one thing a day, or 365 things. Since 1 thing a day was going really slowly, I got rid of 365 things after about 5 months.

I also have a strict clothes/closet policy (and have for the last 3 or 4 years). I am not allowed to expand my closet. If I buy an article of clothing or a pair of shoes, I have to donate/throw away an article of clothing or a pair of shoes. After several years of doing this, I have gotten rid of pretty much everything I wasn't wearing much, and I must REALLY like something to bring it home.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by VictoriaF »

FreeAtLast wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:37 pm
VictoriaF wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:56 pm
climber2020 wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:44 pm I'd say the hardest stuff to get rid of are the sentimental items that stay in boxes in the back of the closet but you feel bad when you attempt to throw them out. Taking pictures of these things really helps so that you can still retain the memories associated with them without having to hoard the actual items.
For me, the hardest things to get rid of are books. Even if I know that I will never read them, or not read them again, there is sentimental value associated with the thought process that went into selecting them in the first place.

Victoria
Indeed! I now have 5 bookcases that are chock full - 6 feet high, almost 2.5 feet wide and 5 shelves each. I am planning on moving to a new location in 2-3 years, so I should start winnowing them down right now. It is easy for me to donate a novel that I have read 3-4 times to the library, but God forbid I should dispose of any scientific/mathematical textbook or reference work. How does retaining 6 books on optics sound for my supposed mental health (no, I am not an ophthalmologist or engineer)?
I hope my mental health is not measured by the number of books I have on topics in which I don't have degrees. I have curiosity about many topics and buy books that are highly recommended or just intriguing. Over the years, I have developed sense for selecting good books, and so it seldom happens that I can dispose of a book simply because it does not add value.

I have a very small number of fiction books. First, I read almost no fiction, and second, if I want to read a fiction book I get it from the library. The exceptions are two sets of books: one by Alexandre Dumas and the other by Lion Feuchtwanger, both in Russian. When I was growing up I wanted to be as adventurous as d'Artagnan and as deep as Feuchtwanger. Even if I never read these books again, looking at the covers is a visceral reminder about my ambitions.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by JoeRetire »

I'm not a fan of these kinds of magic number "games".

My wife and I are decluttering though. We are inching up to the day she retires and we finally move from our current primary residence into our weekend/vacation/eventual retirement beach home.

- We have already cleaned out 35 years worth of attic clutter. (Never realized how big it is once it's empty!)
- Virtually all of the kids' awards, trophies, scout badges, etc - are either now living in their houses or are gone
- We are working our way through our utility room.
- And we have decluttered some of our closets and bureaus.

At this point, if we haven't touched something for over a year, we (mostly) toss it.

By the end of the week, we have filled the trash bin, recycling bin, and have a bag or two of items to be donated.

I can't be bothered to count how many items we deal with each day/week. As long as we are making progress, that will be fine.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (home cleaning).
Cycle wrote: Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:14 pm Not sure if this is consumer goods or personal finance category...
It's consumer goods.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Pajamas »

Here's some inspiration for your minimalism. Notice both the beauty and usefulness of the majority of their possessions.

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/ ... es/554426/
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

A relative died with a basement and garage fool of old tools and parts. Some got sold in a hasty estate sale, probably some useful tools went to the landfill. (I wasn't in charge of the cleaning-out process.) Truckloads of books went to the landfill. If your family doesn't share your hobby, they won't do a good job disposing of your treasures. Give them away or sell them, or else you own the waste when they go to the landfill.

I sneak things out of the house at every opportunity.
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Halicar »

Teague wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:45 pm I've not read the Kondo book, mentioned above, so I'm sure there is much I don't understand about that philosophy. I think it says something like "get rid of things that do not give you joy."

I live on a couple of acres in the country, which gives me joy. So I won't give away the house, I suppose. But because of this I have a large collection of spare PVC pipes, sprinklers and valves, PVC cement, and plumbing fittings, which just don't give me much joy at all. Most of the time they take up space and are annoyingly in the way. But when water occasionally starts leaking all over the place those clutter-y items sure come in handy. The same could be said for a bunch of tools, battery chargers, a cranky old tractor, weed killer, etc.

Am I supposed to get rid of all these things? I must not be understanding this stuff very well.
I'm with you. Right now I see a flannel shirt hanging in my closet. Does it bring me joy? No--it does keep me warm when I rake leaves though. So do I keep it or not?

And if I'm feeling really uncharitable, I start to suspect that Kondo is just peddling consumerism in a subtle disguise--i.e., I should get rid of that crummy old shirt and go to the store to buy a new one that "brings me joy."
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Re: 30-Day Minimalist Challenge

Post by Cycle »

jucor wrote: Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:26 am
I had a similar collection of little used tools from DIY projects -- I donated them to the local tool library -- they are no longer clogging my basement, get used, and I can check them (or others) out when/if I need to use them. I did keep tools I use on a more regular basis.

I note you're in Minneapolis -- and you have a tool library there: https://www.mntoollibrary.org Consider donating your un-needed tools to them.
Why have I never heard of this? I now have no excuse to have anything but the most basic tools.

Today I sold a lathe, mill, bandsaw, drill press, welding helmet/gloves, dial indicator, vise, table saw, 30 gallon air compressor, makerbot, none of which I have used in the last 2 years and have no intention of using in the future. About a $1000 haul. So liberating to get rid of these big items. FREEDOM!
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