Decluttering #5

Decluttering #5 - The Slow Home Experiment

So last week felt a little…desperate as we tried to find more things to let go of in order to reach our #minsgame target. This week though, Ben and I are a lot more accepting of the reality.

The truth is, we’ve been at this simplification experiment for a lot longer than 31 days, so when we realised somewhere around Day 27 that we simply didn’t have anything else to let go of right now (more on that below) it was something of a relief. The last thing I ever wanted was for the idea of decluttering or letting go of the excess to become an obsession or a point of stress, and this experiment has shown me that it absolutely can be if we don’t focus on the why.

Why are we choosing to let go of another layer of things? Why are we spending our time sifting through our belongings? For us, it was in order to make room for more life. More fun, more time spent together, more adventure and play and space and energy and slowness. And that is absolutely what we’ve discovered under many layers of crap.

Yes there’s work involved to get to that point, but when you realise with every box of stuff you let go of that you’re getting closer to the kind of life you want, it is absolutely worth it. But when it changes to become something that takes us further away from those things we value – fun, time, adventure, play – then we know that it’s time to stop.

In terms of totals for the month, I ended up at 470, while Ben was about 350. And that felt like a lot. We worked through the first, easy layer of stuff and then had to dig a little deeper for the rest. Every week asked us to more closely examine our things and why we kept them, and I liked that I needed to look at our things with a more questioning eye, as it’s really easy to become complacent over time.

The other thing we learnt is that some decluttering takes more time than others. We’ve still got a big box of photos that need to be scanned and processed, as well as a lot of files to digitise in the office. Had we taken the time to do those tasks this month, we would have made the total by about 1.3 million. But that kind of clutter takes even more time to process and that’s time we simply didn’t have this month, which is OK.

So I would call the October Slow Home Experiment an absolute success. It wasn’t nearly as easy as I’d imagined, but that’s actually a good thing.

Here’s what we let go of in the last week of the experiment:

Slow Home Experiment - Week 5

The Slow Home Experiment - Week 5

After we wrap up this month, Ben and I also talk about the November experiment – daily play. After this month’s work-heavy experiment it’s going to be lovely to return to a lighter type of daily change and I’m really looking forward to it.

We talk about what daily play actually looks like and throw around some ideas for what we’re going to try each day. I honestly think that for me it will be much like the 8 Hours Sleep experiment, where not only did I enjoy the extra sleep, but found myself prioritising sleep more and making decisions that allowed me to do that.

We also talk about what we mean by ‘play’ – a non-task oriented activity – and why we think it’s going to be a good one as we head in to the pointy end of the year.

I’d love to know – how did you go with the #minsgame this month? I know a lot of you have been playing along so please feel free to tag your social media posts with both #minsgame and #slowhomeexperiment.

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4 Responses to Decluttering #5

  1. I caught onto the #minsgame late, but I’m looking forward to giving it a go in either November (cheating… 30 days!) or December, because that’s a month that seems to be all about consuming rather than simplifying. Like you guys, we’ve been at the minimalist game for a while and we’ve been considering a move to British Columbia, so we’ve actually gotten rid of a ton of “easy” stuff in the last few months (clothes, books, CDs, DVDs), which would’ve gotten us to 496 objects easily. I’m not sure I have 496 things to get rid of right now, but the exact number isn’t really the point, right? And I wouldn’t want to get rid of something just to make some arbitrary tally. Thanks for the inspiration! Looking forward to tackling this.

  2. We haven’t played the #minsgame, but are starting to realize we have a bunch more stuff we can declutter, only a year and a half after downsizing by nearly half.

    Some of the things, as you say, take time. One thing I’m working on now is cooking the interesting recipes from several of my cookbooks before I declutter the cookbooks.

    I’d like to keep a few classic cookbooks that I use regularly, but have several that I rarely use and could easily type up a few recipes from each instead of keeping the shelf of books.

    I know this is a project that might take a couple of years to complete, but that’s okay. It’ll be fun trying all those new recipes.

  3. Comments about next months experiment regarding play. I’ve recently discovered my eldest son, aged 6 is very task orientated and feels quite uncomfortable if left to “free play” too much. He can’t come up with ideas to play and needs to experience something to then want to re-enact it. He enjoys being involved with tasks especially when they involve adventure i.e. collecting twigs and sticks for a camp fire (real or pretend – meaning we wont light it) or gardening (weeding, watering plants and re-planting). In the mornings, he’s rather a handful because he hasn’t go any ideas for play yet and is FULL of energy. My aim is to get him out of the house as soon as I can to give him some stimulation.

    I feel my day isn’t complete without hearing my family members laugh.

  4. When you guys said you were doing #minsgame, it inspired me to get back into after abandoning at day 21 a few months previously. I did a couple of months back to back and I got a bit over it. Actually counting stuff and taking pictures of it was the worst – I though I needed to do this for accountability but it was more of a distraction and bogged me down. I do love a month of going hard out and the increasing rate of decluttering stops me overthinking and pushes the boundaries of my decluttering. I do like the idea of reversing and starting from 31 though. You’re right in that it would give you the space to deal with stuff that needs physical processing.
    I summed up my efforts here – https://moretimethanmoney.co.nz/2016/11/10/thats-a-wrap-on-the-minsgame-lessons-from-18-months-of-decluttering/

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