The Simplifying Game

If you’re stopping by Our Yellow Door for the first time (in which case, HELLO! I’m SO glad you’re here!!), you should know that one of my biggest passions – and, consequently, something I write about a lot – is simplifying.

I am all about clearing the clutter (physical and mental!) and eliminating the excess in order to focus on the essential. While it’s something that pumps me up, I also know it’s very intimidating to a lot of people. With good reason! Simplifying is an exercise in focusing on what matters most, and that can be a daunting task.

So, let’s play a game to make it more fun 🙂

(This is entirely based on this article from The Minimalists)

A few days ago, Hans left me a sweet note before my quiet time. He waxed poetically about a bunch of romantic, sappy stuff that I won’t write here, but he closed with this:

One journey I’ve especially enjoyed with you is our simplifying gig. As you know, we’ve successfully ridded ourselves of a PILE of things (and that’s all they are), and this pile is to be sold starting in 11 days at our garage sale. So, today I want to challenge each other to get rid of one item. Tomorrow we will add two more items each to the pile. We will continue in this fashion every day until the sale, building our way up to 11 items each the day before. Are you game?

Of course I am 🙂

If we stick with this, we will clear out 348 items 132 items (348 was my original calculation…clearly, Rachel can’t do math) in 11 days. They can be as significant or inconsequential as we want them to be (I literally got rid of a pen yesterday), but the point is to let go of stuff.

Here are our rules:
1. You have to get rid of the specified number of items each day.
2. Anything goes, big or small! Clothes, office supplies, books, kitchen stuff, candles, etc.
3. Things can be sold, donated, or reused. For example: I purged an old t-shirt yesterday by cutting it up and putting it in our rag box.
4. You can’t get rid of the other person’s stuff 😉

While it could be several years before Hans and I roundhouse kick the American Dream in the face by moving into a tiny home, we want to start the minimizing process now. Even though we have hundreds of square feet in our current home, we want to live as simply as possible in preparation for living in less than 200 square feet.

This is a game best played in pairs (your spouse, a roommate, friend or family member will do!) so you have accountability and motivation. Want to raise the stakes? Make a bet! Frozen yogurt, a back rub, doing the other person’s chores for a month…whatever. Make it a competition to see who can last the longest!

If you had to get rid of five items in your home RIGHT NOW, what would they be?

Under Grace,

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10 thoughts on “The Simplifying Game

  1. Love this post. =] I was thinking maybe I’m all purged out–save for a mug I won’t let go of (1) and my bag that sits in the corner to collect the purging (2) and maybe a few adorable stuffed animals and embarrassing teeny-bopper CDs (3,4,5…)–you get my point, sweet friend, and thanks for challenging me, but another challenge for the past month has been to resist filling some of that space. A new job and opportunity to purchase new vintage, a nagging desire to stock up on more and more glass kitchen storage for a hope chest, and generally spending too much time on Etsy will do that to you, I guess. It’s such a fun place, but turns into an empty distraction pretty quickly (and we all know there’ll be enough plastic free storage available when I actually need it). Your simplifying series is an encouragement all on its own and your recommendation for the SheReadsTruth Nehemiah series is definitely a healthier filler for that empty distraction time. I hope we’ll park our tiny houses parallel someday–and a more short term hope to see you soon.

    • LYNDEE! Hello, my lovely lady friend!!

      Good golly day, I’m thrilled and honored that you’re reading along, and that you checked out the Simplified Series! Seriously. That means so much to me.

      I get what you mean. Hans and I have a Mount Everest of things in the garage to get rid of, and the thought of purging another 348 items is daunting idea. We’ll see how far we get 😉

      YES! Filling empty space is such a temptation. Especially when it comes to vintage and Etsy 😉 GAH. Etsy. My eternal downfall. Filling physical and mental space with clarity and good things is great, but it’s hard sometimes! The SRT Nehemiah study is DEFINITELY a good thing to delve into, though!! I’m so glad you checked it out!

      Oh goodness. Can we? Can we please start a tiny home community somewhere and have gardens and rain barrels and chickens? Well, maybe not chickens. But you know what I mean.

      Also. I owe you a letter 😉 Can’t wait for you to come up to Top City!

      • Actually, I like the idea–chickens and all!
        (On second thought, I can’t kill ’em, so maybe just a bunch of ladies that’ll lay eggs for us.)
        I started the Nehemiah study a few days late, but their study reads so well and I had the time to catch up.
        Everest sounds like a great entertainment for my visit–I didn’t know any of the nicknames for the city before today.
        Can’t wait for the letter.=]
        And more Simplicity themed posts.

        • Haha yes – lady chickens. I like it!
          Oh I’m so glad you’re all caught up with Nehemiah. It’s honestly one of their best studies yet. I can’t wait for Ruth!
          Mount Everest will (hopefully!) be gone by the time you get here…we’re planning to sell it all at our garage sale at the end of the month!
          Top City is pretty much the only creative nickname that Topeka has. Well, that and “The Phelps’ hometown”, which just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

  2. This is a wonderful challenge! I will talk to my husband about it once I am home again, because I would love to get rid of a bunch stuff. And that’s just what it is, stuff.

  3. Can I just tell you I read this post the day you posted it and have been telling people about it since?! I’m so inspired by you, and this!
    On Monday I was trying to clean out the garage and Miles wasn’t very up for it and then I told him about this and he was [sort of] motivated. (He’s very sentimental….so most of our boxes are “memory” boxes–any ideas on how to get rid of them?)

    • You’re sweeter than a peach, Jordyn!

      Ahh! I’m so glad that this is inspiring you!! It’s been such a fun challenge for Hans and I, and I think it could be for you and Miles as well! You should definitely have a prize that you’re competing for…maybe taking the other person out to THEIR favorite restaurant, or picking a movie to go to, a foot rub…haha, I don’t know what would motivate Miles the most, but you do!

      As far as memory boxes…that’s a hard one. My best advice would be to remember that things are not memories. It’s important to remember different people and stages in our lives, but we don’t have to have physical items standing in for those memories. The brain has literally infinite storage!

      It also helps to go slow. I go through my memory box every six months or so, and each time I realize a little bit more what I actually want to keep and what I don’t. It’s also worthwhile to examine what emotions each item brings up. I got rid of a bunch of stuff from middle school because middle school was TERRIBLE, and I don’t need to be reminded about that. Conversely, I will always keep the years and years of correspondence that I have with my penpal, because those letter bring up great memories.

      It also helps to have a designated amount of space. I am transferring all of the things in my memory box to a uber small suitcase (because in the event of a fire, I want to be able to grab it and run out of the house quickly) and knowing that I only have a certain amount of space I can fill helps keep the clutter down.

      Here are some good articles that might help –

      Sorry if that was information overload! I hope it helped!

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