The ‘30-Day Minimalism Game’: Decluttering as new parents

Line drawing of a grid labelled 1-9, representing the first 9 days of the minimalism game.

We would likes to start with a small disclaimer: we know that hard-core minimalism is not for us. However, small babies come with a lot of stuff, and life is very busy. After three months of having our baby, our house resembled a jumble sale. A lot of new stuff had come into the house, some of which we needed and wanted, and some of which we definitely didn’t. We could never find anything, even when we knew we had it. It was making us unhappy, and it was time to take it in hand.

Minimalism Game

Enter the 30-Day Minimalism Game, described by The Minimalists. This game challenges you to sort your stuff, getting rid of one item on the first day, two on the second, three on the third, and so forth. The items you get rid of should be things that you do not use, or do not add meaning value to your life. You keep going with the minimalism game for as long as you can. If you make it to 30 days, you will have got rid of a whopping 465 items. This sounded perfect: a straightforward process, using pockets of time each day, and making a game of something that needed doing anyway.

I got going, using the Get rid of it app on my iPhone to log my progress, and thinking that I would never keep the minimalism game up. Reader, I am ashamed to say that by day 19, I had got rid of a total of 593 items, and exceeded the game completely. It seemed that, minimalism or not, when I ‘got going’ with sorting our stuff, I overachieved.

Minimalism Game: What were the items I got rid of?

Many of the items we got rid of were my old clothes, or unwanted baby clothes. These were largely not worn, the wrong size, or not fit for purpose. It was also items from less obvious areas of our life: the cupboard under the sink, the kitchen drawer, the bathroom cupboards, and my email inbox and phone. These gave up treasures including:

  • Cleaning products we do not use
  • Old receipts and broken pens
  • Wrapping paper and old packaging
  • Expired medication
  • Expired documents
  • Old sports kit
  • Duplicate photos on my camera phone
  • Unwanted email subscriptions

Minimalism Game: What did we do with unwanted stuff?

We gave the majority of unwanted stuff to the charity shop, or to family and friends. Anything we could not pass on, we recycled or put into the bin.

Minimalism Game: What have we learned?

I found the process of the minimalism game really useful, although we have definitely not emerged from it as a minimalist! We still have a lot of stuff, and our house feels homely. We have learned that:

  1. ‘Gamifying’ the process of sorting stuff using the minimalism game has helped us to reclaim our house, and I responded really well to this.
  2. I feel much better and more in control when sorting things out is a continuous process. Stuff is constantly coming into our house, and therefore needs to constantly come out of our house too.
  3. Getting going with the sorting is the hard bit! Often, once I’d started I exceeded my ‘target’ number of items for the day.
  4. I need to be more ruthless about items coming into our house. For example, recycling junk mail at the door, and before it comes into the house.
  5. I have a huge amount of digital clutter to sort out. My phone currently contains over 4000 images, many of which are duplicates of very similar images. Sorting and deleting will make it easier to find and enjoy the photos.

Minimalism Game: What next?

I’m going to start the minimalism game again, and see how many cycles I repeat before I find I can’t keep up. This feels like a good thing to do before Christmas! Wish me luck…

Have you ever played the #minsgame?

How you go & how far did you get?

What are your best tricks for dealing with small children and their stuff?


Mother of a baby girl, born in July 2021. Finding my way with it all. Recipes, parenting, and walking.

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