||[Aug. 7th, 2014|02:36 pm]
It’s seven days into August as I write this, and by the end of the day, I will have given away, recycled, or trashed 28 items in my house. I gave away one item on August 1st, two on August 2nd, and so on. Today’s goal is seven things. By the time August is over, the total will hit 496 items, if I’ve done the math correctly. That’s right, by month’s end, my house will have nearly 500 fewer things in it.
I’m playing a game, specifically the #minsgame. Conceived by The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, it’s a way to unclutter your house or apartment and get you thinking about how nice it would be to have fewer things—the idea being that once you shed your possessions, you’re more open to what really matters.
It’s called minimalism.
To be honest, I’m more about having less to dust and store. I’m not likely to move into a tiny house. Still, minimalism appeals to me in many ways, and not least in terms of possessions.
I think many writers may practice it unconsciously, hoarding (heh) their time for what matters, for getting the words down on paper or typed on a computer screen. Saying no keeps distractions from encroaching upon that precious writing time—because we all only have 24 hours in a day, and adding a commitment means skimping on something else. I’ve tried to skimp on sleep, and that never ends well. You start feeling like a rat in a laboratory experiment focusing on the effects of too little refreshing REM sleep. And sometimes, at night, in a dream is when I get my best ideas. There’s something about going to bed with the story and my characters fresh in my mind, and bingo, in the morning, I have a snippet of dialog, or an idea for what could happen next.
I’ve tried decluttering for 15 minutes a day before, and I find if I have to force myself to do something, it tends to languish on my to do list (actually, my teuxdeux list), rolling over to the next day for weeks (let’s feel a little guilty) or even months (let’s feel massive guilt) on end.
But this is a game, and I’m competitive—I want to report my progress on twitter and see what others are tweeting goodbye to—and I don’t want to lose, either. I intend to stay on track.
The #minsgame gets more challenging as you go, obviously, but my ace in the hole is many thousands of books, which definitely need culling, if I should run out of other things. But I’m not sure I will.
In fact, I may need to play the game in September, too.