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An Item a Day Keeps the Hoarding Away

by Gracelyn Kuzman about a year ago in house
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How a minimalist challenge revolutionized my living space.

An Item a Day Keeps the Hoarding Away
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I am not naturally a tidy person. In fact, I am quite the opposite. I love things. I have attachments to things. I buy things or am given things then keep them forever and ever....until this Spring.

I was inspired to take place in a month long minimalist challenge that revolutionized the space in my small, one bedroom apartment.

The rules of the challenge are simple: On the first day of the month, you get rid of one thing. On the second day of the month, you get rid of two things, on the third day, you get rid of three things. And so on, until the month is over.

It sounds so easy, and it is in theory! I geared up for the month, looking around my apartment thinking, 'I can do this!'. On day one, I put a sweatshirt I do not wear in a bag labeled, "DONATIONS". On day two, I took two bottles of nail polish I rarely use and put them in the same bag. On day three, I pulled three dusty books off my bookshelf.

The first ten days went along seemlessly. Around day 11, I started to worry. "Do I really have enough stuff to keep getting rid of things at this rate? What if I miss something I donate?"

But I kept going. The best way to complete the challenge, I found, was to pick one area of the apartment on each day. On day 15, I pulled 15 items out of a messy, junk drawer in my kitchen. On day 19, I got rid of 19 Christmas decoration items I rarely put out in December. On day 22, I got rid of 11 candles and 11 picture frames. How did I have 11 extra candles and 11 unused picture frames?! I was finding 'things' I didn't even realize I had.

By day 29, I looked in my closet and pulled out items I simply do not wear. This was one of the bigger challenges, because I love clothing. And although a few articles had sentimental value, I knew I probably wouldn't miss them and decided to donate them.

The neat thing about this challenge is that it begins by eliminating clutter, and ends by really forcing you to take a look at what you own and ask, "Why do I own this?" Sometimes the answer is simple, perhaps you just really like it. And that's okay! But most of the time, you realize you are holding onto things you not only don't need, but may not even like.

This challenge did not just affect one month, but sparked a new, positive, relationship with 'things' that will last a lifetime.

After 31 days and 495 items, my home is not only more clean, but I'm more conscious about what I bring into my home. I ask myself, "Is this necessary? Do I love it? What is its purpose?" If I cannot answer these questions, then I don't buy it. If I am given an item that I don't love, I keep it until it feels appropriate to donate it.

I find that I am able to enjoy what I held onto (which is still a lot!), without the clutter of what I let go. I am also more responsible with what I do own, as I have decided it adds value to my life.

My apartment looks bigger, feels bigger, and is generally more organized. There aren't random bags of clutter in corners, or miscelaneous boxes of items in the closet.

I reccommend everyone try this challenge. I plan on repeating it annually, to hold myself accountable for what I accumulate each year.

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Gracelyn Kuzman

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