The Minimalism Game…I did it!

I won’t lie – I’m happy to have finished the minimalism game. Not because it was difficult…but because, once I got started, it was so easy it scared me!

465 Items sounds like a LOT of stuff – but once you get started you soon realise it’s not that much. I quite quickly started to find the game a bit restrictive because I was recording everything in photos and sharing on Instagram. Throughout the game I’ve actually got rid of other stuff which I’ve not recorded – either because they didn’t fit it with the grouped items for the day or because I didn’t want to photograph piles of rubbish!

A lot of my items were books, yarn and fabric. With yarn I came up with a system for deciding what to keep and I’m planning to go through this regularly to ensure I’m not accumulating.

With fabric I just kept the pieces I absolutely love and the remainder went to quilts for grenfell and some to friends.

Then knitting books were tricky! They don’t take up much space (or so I thought!) and I always have that fear that I might need them for work. I guess that’s why I’ve kept every single book produced by Rowan since I started working for them in 2008!

So I decided to be strict with myself here. I’ve kept all the current books, but I know I can get hold of a copy of old books if I need to – so I don’t need to keep physical copies of absolutely everything. I’ve kept collections of books which I enjoy looking through regularly  (Rowan mags and Kim books), reference books I use (stitch dictionaries etc), and books I plan to/think I will knit from. This meant I got rid of 5 boxes of knitting & craft books – condensing one and a half bookcases down to about two thirds of a bookcase. And it feels great!

The hardest thing by far is getting rid of things I’ve made. Back in the early noughties I made myself a coat from a Vogue pattern and I’m still a little bit impressed with the sewing skills past Jem had! I wore it lots and got a huge amount of pleasure from telling people I made it.

But it’s now been in my wardrobe unworn for years because one side of the hem dropped. I’ve always thought I’ll fix it and wear it again – but in reality I’ve gone off it a bit. I’m not sure about the colour and I don’t like the big collar. So I’ve decided to give it to charity and hope that someone else enjoys it.

I’ve always found it difficult to get rid of things that I’ve made but if I’m no longer getting enjoyment from it – I hope someone else will. And if it’s something I never enjoyed – maybe a knit that didn’t turn out right or just didn’t suit me – then I don’t want to be reminded of that every time I see it in my wardrobe!

The minimalism game has been a great way to get started, but I feel like this is just the beginning. There are lots of great podcasts from The Minimalists which are keeping me motivated and focused on why I’m doing this. I want to not be overwhelmed by “stuff” – both physical and mental clutter. I want to make better use of my time. And ultimately I want to be healthier and happier.

Clearing out the physical “stuff” is the first step and rather a big job! I’m not going to rush myself – I will just gradually work through the house. I can already feel the benefit and I quite quickly moved from thinking “our house is too small” to thinking “we have far too much stuff!”.

The most useful tips I’ve picked up from The Minimalists are…

Don’t keep sentimental items just because they trigger a memory. The memory isn’t in the thing! I think this rule applies to handmade items as well. If you want a memory trigger – take a photo of it. I’m planning to set up a folder of “memories” to store digitally. But if you love the thing or use the thing then of course you should keep it!

Do you need it “just in case” or “just for when”? For example – I held on to my boxing gloves for fifteen years just in case I took up kickboxing again. That seems unlikely now so they’ve gone to charity! However -I haven’t used my snorkel for a few years – but I need that just for when I go on holiday so I’m keeping that.

If you want to find out more about Minimalism, visit The Minimalists website here. And if you want to see how Beardie did with the minimalism game, you can find his blog here.

I would love to know about your experiences if you’re a fellow knitter embracing the minimalist lifestyle!

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