The Minimalism Challenge – Day 30

The grand finale is here. The last 30 of 465 items are leaving this apartment. If I counted every single thing in today’s pile individually, there might be close to 100 items. In fact, that’s what I thought I would have to do to make it through the later days of this challenge when I first started. I was prepared to count every single paper plate and every single plastic fork. Needless to say, I didn’t have to and there’s most likely enough stuff in this apartment to do this whole thing all over again. I don’t think I will do that but I will try to continue to let go of items until all of my possessions either brings me joy or fulfill a purpose or, in other words, add value to my life. I’ll let you know when I get rid of something good. But for now, let me tell you about the last pile of junk for this challenge.

I started in the bathroom, the only room I hadn’t really visited (for the challenge that is). Bathroom highlights include:

  • My electric toothbrush: It’s a good one (and was expensive) but it’s an older model and the replacement heads are nearly impossible to find. Back to analog brushing.
  • A battery-powered toothbrush that has been rotting in the cabinet under the sink for years.
  • Bath beads: I don’t take a lot of baths and have never taken one in this apartment. I have never seen my wife take one either. Our 20 square feet bathroom doesn’t exactly scream wellness oasis.
  • A pouch full of old pills, mostly pain killers, that must date back to at least 2010 because I can tell they were given to me during my active basketball days.
  • A bottle of sunscreen that I regretted buying after the first use because it’s too liquid and makes the skin feel sticky. Besides, every summer I buy new sunscreen anyway and forget about the bottles that are stored away from the last vacation.
  • An at-home teeth whitening kit. I don’t have any severe insecurities about my physical appearance but if there’s one thing I would like to improve, it’s my teeth. I bought this kit after my last dental check up and never used it because I don’t really trust that I’m not going to destroy my teeth. In throwing this out, I’m making the determination to spend the money on a professional whitening at my dentist’s office.

Outside of the bathroom I found some random items including a plant that didn’t strive due to the lack of green thumbs in the family; a supposedly pumpkin scented candle that smells like nothing and has little decorative value; and a bunch of lonely socks that cannot go on without their partners who’ve abandoned them.

From the kitchen, I bring to you various items of plastic trash, primarily in the shape of utensils and containers. I also purposely saved the “Celebrate 30” party items for this momentous occasion. (See what I did there?) They were left over from my 30th birthday party, which feels like it happened many moons ago although I just turned 32 this January. It was a great party (from what I remember). There will not be another 30th birthday party in this household unless my wife and I have a child and live long enough to see them turn 30. Seems excessive to hold on to these paper cups and plates until then.

Well, dear faithful reader, this is it. 30 days and at least 465 items have taught me a lot. I learned that I have wasted a lot of money in the past 32 years of life but I’m hoping that this new awareness alone will help me avoid doing that in the future. From now on, I will ask myself questions like “does this add value to my life?” before purchasing something. I have also learned that we don’t need things to keep our memories alive. You might say “Duh, Katja” and I agree with you but having a concept of something and internalizing it are two different things. That doesn’t mean that I’m not holding on to sentimental items, there are plenty of them that I chose not to touch during this challenge. It takes more than 30 days to truly cultivate a different (and arguably better) way of living.

Besides the lessons learned, there are other gains that resulted from this challenge. I now know exactly what is located where in our apartment because I have turned over every figurative stone in my search for superfluous stuff. I can now open a closet and cabinet door and immediately see whatever I need because it’s not hidden behind a wall of other stuff. I was also able to clear things off the floor and put them away because storage space has become available. Overall, I enjoy living in this apartment more. Cooking is more fun now that the counter is less cluttered. Getting dressed is less stressful now that my closet isn’t overflowing. So far, this minimalism thing is working out well for me.

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