It shouldn't take a special day to do something

by Sylvia Ji
Most people know areas of their lives that could use some improvement. It can be diet, finances, work, etc. I don't know about you but even though I know what areas I could improve I tend to get lazy and postpone a lot of these things because why start today what I could do tomorrow?

It's this way of thinking that leads people to need a special occasion to start making the changes in their lives that they want to see. For many people that special occasion is New Years Eve.

But why does it take a special day to start?

Sometimes that "special" day isn't so special, sometimes it's just significant. Some people start to fix their lives when something breaks or goes wrong. Sometimes people are forced to exercise or fix their diet after an event such as a heart attack or other medical emergency. Or they will begin to fix their finances once they realize that they can no longer cover their monthly bills.

Don't wait for an emergency to force you to make a change you already know about!

Right now I see a lot of clutter starting to build up around my house.  Some of it is art supplies that are left over from the last time I was inspired to paint, others are just small knick-knacks that have been given to me over time that I feel bad throwing out since they were a gift. Either way, it's building up to a point where I know that I will have to do something about it soon. Instead of waiting for the day to come when I am forced to clean it up (i.e. my girlfriend making me) I decided that I will take action before I am forced to. I've decided to do this by playing the minimalist game.

The Minimalist Game

Find a friend or family member. Someone who’s willing to get rid of some of their excess stuff. This month, each of you must get rid of one thing on the first day of the month. On the second, two things. Three items on the third. So forth, and so on. Anything can go! Clothes, furniture, electronics, tools, decorations, etc. Donate, sell, or trash. Whatever you do, each material possession must be out of your house—and out of your life—by midnight each day.
It’s an easy game at first. However, it starts getting challenging by week two, when you’re both jettisoning more than a dozen items each day. Whoever can keep it going the longest wins. You both win if you can make it all month. Bonus points if you play with more than two people.
via the minimalists 

So instead of waiting for a special day to start this game, (the first of the month) I've decided to just start today and try to go for 30 days straight.

In the past when I've decided that I needed a change such as working out more or eating better I just decided one day to start, I feel like if I'm postponing it for a special day then I must not really be dedicated to the change that I am looking for since I'm already looking for excuses not to do it.

Do you wait for special days to start new life improvements? Feel free to join me in the minimalist game, or even better just decide to start a new change that you already know you need to make. Let me know if you do it!

17 comments:

  1. The minimalist game sounds awesome! I may join you - one of our goals this year is to start getting rid of all of our crap. This would be a fun way to do it.

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    1. Of course you can join me, that would be great! I don't really have a plan on how to update progress on this game. I'm planning to write down what I throw out and if it ends up interesting in the end then I'll post a full list. I might just do a follow up post on how things went. I haven't completely thought out that part of it yet.

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  2. Great game but probably too much for me to join you - I'd have to give up at week 2! However, I am going to embark on a de-cluttering exercise around my house, something I've been meaning to do for a long time but been putting off. Good luck!

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    1. After only a few days in it was already getting hard. I think all the stuff I was saving to get rid of in the end when it was getting hard are going to come a lot earlier in the game now! Good luck with your own decluttering!

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  3. A very good idea. I am not going item for item yet, but I am trying to get rid of stuff we don't need, but we are also getting some new stuff too. Just got bicycles this past weekend and, well, I should probably get rid of my old bike, I am not going to be riding that anymore. Other than that just a work in progress, as long as we avoid clutter, that is the key!

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    1. Hey Kipp,

      This game is painfully hard for me right now. I'm actually 2 days behind right now so I have to get rid of 25 things today, eek!

      One thing I've learned really quickly is that I have a lot of things that I don't need, I think this will really help me become a more efficient consumer in the end.

      -Zee

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  4. There are two difficult parts to decluttering 1) Keeping onto things that have "sentimental value" and 2) Keeping onto things that have monetary value. I was really bad at the first one for a long time, but started taking pictures of things that had meaning to me, but weren't really something I wanted to keep (like trophies from when I was awesome). I am not a person who scrapbooks, but I figure I could one day and just put pictures of those special things in a book with information. With T-shirts I cutout the important part that says "Dude, in 1998 I saw Nirvana" (Joke people, he died in '94) but I scrap the rest of the shirt and have decided to make a blanket out of the important parts.

    My Cds have all been burned onto a hard drive and a backup. Same with my DVDs and I only hold ones that I really want the album (Say hello to my Pink Floyd collection and my Rocky Horror Picture Show limited DVD). I was REALLY bad at keeping books for a long time too, but have since minimized my collection-although it is likely larger than most still and I'm continuously adding for my career. I've gotten really good about ditching my high school wardrobe now that I am in my 30s, and I do a clean sweep every change of the season to help keep my stuff to a minimum. Now what about that stuff I have been trying to get rid of on Craigslist like my giant box of comics? That's one of my struggles as I know it's worth money. So I hold onto the things that I think can make me money and onto the physical items that are too precious to be just a picture (like a puppet from my childhood, or a hand painted puzzle from a dear love). When all else fails, box up some special trinkets and send them to a friend or family member as a surprise pay it forward gift. It will brighten their day and then they can throw it out.

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    1. Rags2Riches,

      I have a hard time getting rid of sentimental things.... Well, let me rephrase that, I have a hard time getting rid of things that people gave to me as a gift. Even if I don't really need or want it, I feel bad for throwing it out. This includes cards with touching notes in them or even just small gifts that may have a hint of sentimentality behind them.

      As for getting rid of things with value, I have a hard time with that as well. I've already gotten rid of a bunch of old art supplies because I know that by now I'm not really going to get back to them. Yes they cost money but if it's not a large value item it's probably not worth my time and effort to try to sell for the $10 I might get in return. But as for the larger items... Like this empty fish tank that I have, I don't really have much of a use for it and it is worth a significant amount. I'm torn on if I should donate it and write it off on my taxes or sell it on craigslist. I'm sure I'll figure it out though.

      -Zee

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    2. I completely get the sentimental things. I have a suitcase (an actual suitcase-and it's very large) of things I just couldn't part with. Not to mention a few boxes of things as well. They are stored in my closet and under my bed. I get rid of items in them every time I move or do a big sweep. I also have a box of letters that I don't want to part with and some cards as well. The simple "Have a great birthday" card will likely be thrown out. I am a words whore so to me, those are some of the hardest to get rid of. Small gifts are kind of the same with me, but it really depends on who it came from and again, if there is actually a story behind it. For example, I have an ashtray from France. I have never been a smoker, but my BFF brought it back for me about 12 years ago because of that reason. I used to give him crap about smoking and he thought it was funny. It was also a trip he offered to pay for me to go with him, but I couldn't afford the time off work. I quit/ got fired from that job shortly after. Kinda reminds me of what is important in life. But then there is the piece of art that a friend gave me that is just not my style. If the friendship is deep, I will likely keep it around, but if it isn't, what's the point after awhile? I may keep a rock because when I look at it I feel loved, but may donate an antique doll because I have no attachment to it personally. The one I have gotten better at, but not prefect, is valuing my space over trying to make money off of something. With that said, anybody want to buy a huge box of comics or CDs?

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  5. Great challenge, but really hard! I wonder how long it takes until I start selling off my video game collection. (Yes, that would break my heart.)

    Good luck on getting rid of your stuff every day! It'll fun to see if you've managed to stick to the daily minimum!

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    1. No More Waffles,

      Well, I have some games I need to get rid of, Guitar Hero and DJ Hero really take up a lot of space and I don't ever play them. I don't know if I can get much for them but I'm going to try! I just wish there was a place where I could get decent money for them!

      -Zee

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  6. I feel like I do wait for special occasions to start new life improvements. Whether it be school starting soon, break starting soon, it goes for everything. I should definitely start mixing it up a bit.

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    1. Alexis,

      I hope you start doing things because you want to, not because a special date on the calendar has passed. I feel like people are more motivated when they decide to do them on their own. I don't know how many failed new years resolutions happen because someone just decided they had to do something instead of recognizing an area in their life they wanted to improve and just started taking the steps on their own. Thanks for stopping by!

      -Zee

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  7. Both my partner and I are somewhat minimalists, so we are pretty good at not accumulating a lot of things. Although when people give you things as gifts, that's when you start to accumulate. My parents held on to a lot of things growing up, which is probably one of the big reasons why I can't stand clutter. When I see people's basements filled with a crapload of stuff, I just shudder. Clearly none of it is getting used.

    I personally think New Year's resolutions are bunch of BS. If anything it would be wise to start well in advance before the holidays on your fitness/health goals. A lot of people tend to overdo it on the holidays with too much eating, drinking and spending and use the excuse, it's the holidays. I'll start over again in the New Year. Stop waiting!

    I don't wait for a special day to start goals/life improvements. I do it when I feel the need to, and that can happen any time during the year.

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    1. Karen,

      I have the hardest time with getting rid of old gifts. If someone bought it for me then I just feel guilty. I also realized that I store a lot of old stuff thinking that I may one day use it again. I had a drawer in my house dedicated to miscellaneous cables for electronics. While on occasion that would come in handy, I realize that was completely unnecessary.

      I never have New Years resolutions, I think it's most peoples half assed attempts at doing something they should have started earlier. It seems like it's just an excuse for people to put it off just a little longer. But I have had some friends quit smoking on new years, so it's better late than never. It's just not for me though.

      -Zee

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