Make it social!

If you’ve played a game with other people, or worked out with a personal trainer, or if you understand human psychology, you already know:  sharing a task with other people—and introducing a little fun competition—makes the task far easier.

How this relates to simplifying
Carole, a mom I’ve known since our kids went to preschool together, read about the Minimalism Game, which involves competing with a friend or family member to get rid of X number of items each day over the course of a month, with X corresponding to the day of the month (i.e. on July 1 you get rid of one item, on July 2 two items…). The point is to get rid of things that aren’t adding value or are even causing stress in your life.

Carole used Facebook to invite several friends and neighbors including me to join her in playing the game this month. She then created a Facebook group for posting pictures and comments.

If you’re like me and think you’re pretty good at decluttering and getting rid of stuff, I can now tell you that it’s different doing it as part of a group.

  • It was social.
    I would do it again just to read the funny comments.
  • There was accountability.
    Once I committed (to my own version of the rules), I didn’t want to quit.
  • There was encouragement.
    If, like Carole, you’ve hauled 45 opened cans of paint to the hazardous waste site—cans from your basement combined with cans from your neighbor’s basement, which were left behind by previous owners—you absolutely deserve a virtual “attagirl.”
  • There were witnesses.
    “See? I have this great thing, and even though it is great I do not use it so I am consigning it/selling it on Craigslist/giving it away.”
  • There were useful tips and connections.
    At least one of my items is going to another member in the group.
  • It was fun!
    There may even be celebratory offline cocktails.

If you try this, please share how it worked for you. The Minimalists—who originally posted the Minimalism Game on their site—would also like to hear from you.

2 thoughts on “Make it social!

    • Hi Andrea! Since you and I know each other offline and did our big downsizing around the same time, you’re wondering how it’s possible that I still have things to get rid of. It surprises me too, but I found plenty (kid stuff–which tends to come in a lot of small pieces, some clothing that I was finally ready to admit I do not use including a favorite pair of jeans that haven’t fit in a year and a half, and some of P’s clothing including two suits he bought for weddings 10 and 20 years ago, just to give you a flavor). Also, I followed the spirit but not the letter of the game’s rules. 😉

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