The Minimalism Challenge – Day 1

I stumbled upon The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus) when looking to add a new podcast to my listening library. I was instantly hooked and started reading their book Everything that Remains, which has been a pleasant surprise. Joshua’s writing is practical and philosophical at the same time, and an absolute pleasure to read.  For those of you who have no idea what minimalism means – it’s about leaving a meaningful life with less by getting rid of stuff and therefore freeing up space for creativity, things you’re passionate about, and ultimately… happiness.

I’ve been overwhelmed with our overflowing closets and storage spaces in our small New York City apartment for a long time and have recently started throwing things out (extra wedding invitations, cables for God knows what, gifted scented candles that we’re never going to light, etc…) I’m not terrible at letting go of things but I’m also not good at it. The goal of this challenge is to see what this minimalism thing is all about in the hopes that it will help me identify what adds value to my life and what doesn’t (or once did and no longer does.)

So here’s the challenge. For 30 days, I will attempt to throw out, donate, or sell items – one item on Day 1, two items on Day 2, and so on. That’s almost 500 items (trust me, I’m an engineer). It sounds like a lot and I thought about going for the “lite version,” meaning to get rid of at least one item for 30 days but then it wouldn’t feel like a real challenge. I’m planning to take a picture and tell a story of each of the items I will dispose of. I anticipate that there will be a lot of clothes (and I don’t even have a lot of clothes compared to my wife or probably most women in the western world), kitchen items, and stuff from the bathroom cabinets. I also expect to adjust my counting methodology as needed, meaning that in the  I will probably count a pair or a group of something as one item on “easy” days but as several items when the going gets tough.

For Day 1, I chose a pair of sneakers. They are really cool looking, Italian sneakers and they weren’t cheap but I have worn them maybe a handful of times over the course of the last 2 years. I bought them on a shopping trip to Hamburg (the nearest big city within reach of my small German hometown) with my dear friend Kerstin. I used to wear them a lot but I no longer love them and I guess I should be wearing only things I love. They don’t seem in good enough shape to try to sell them but I will put them in a clothes drop-off container. Maybe they will add value to someone else’s life, maybe they will end up in a landfill. All I know is that the memories of the shopping trip with my friend and of the the time period when they were one of my favorite pair of shoes are far more valuable to me than the sneakers themselves ever could be.

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PS: This will also be a challenge to write a blog post/journal for 30 days straight. Gotta a love a BOGO challenge deal 😉

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