#minsgame : week three


as a clutter-phobe, i am lucky to be married to someone who doesn’t buy a lot of stuff or mind (too much) when i maniacally throw something of his away (sorry!). but it still surprised me that pierre (once he figured out what i was doing) supported the minsgame challenge and was willing to sift through a few drawers himself. before he got started he asked, “what counts?” i thought it was a pretty good question because, obviously, things come in and go out of the house everyday — like, does getting rid of junk mail or returning wine bottles to the liquor store count? i don’t know about the real rules, but we decided that only items that we had decided previously to keep and now decided to toss would count. for example, we get one magazine at the house that we read and then recycle immediately. on the other hand, we get a few magazines that we read and then save for future reference. so, the magazine we get and always recycle? doesn’t count. the dozens of issues of en route that i’ve kept in our book case for years? would count. (but won’t because they’re staying! i will totally move those to bc.) this might look a little different for you (say, you’ve got 40 empty wine bottles that have been sitting in your basement for years and the minsgame challenge finally inspires you to go claim your $6… then you might want to count your wine bottles in your tally.)

okay, so with pierre on board, here’s what we got rid of this week:

december 15 — we decided to return our little bungalow’s layout to a small dining room and larger living room on the main floor. while our dining room table for 10 was a handmade wedding gift and is not up for sale, we’re not exactly hosting too many dinner parties these days and having it take up the largest room in our house is not really the best use of our space for us right now. we do plan on moving it to bc, but i did donate our table runners (2), linen napkins (10), bedskirt (1), some fabric remnants and an old shower curtain (1).

december 16 — we went through our outerwear and donated a bunch of hats and scarves and a cheap pair of ski goggles (5), some jackets (4), an old robe (1) of mine, running shoes (3), a soccer jersey (1), a set of three lb weights (2) and a sleep mask (1).

december 17 — i took a package of juice boxes (11) to the grocery store’s food drive bin, some cat food (2) to the vet’s food drive bin, donated pierre’s hard hat (1) and recycled his university textbooks (5).

december 18 — i donated some non-saleable (e.g., hats) baby items (15), took my friend sarah some baby hand-me-downs (10), threw away the soothers (5) that frankie no longer uses and took a stroller accessory (1) to the consignment store that i frequent.

december 19 — i went through my “work boxes,” which are two large bins that hold the contents of my office from when i went off on maternity leave and mementos from previous jobs. in short, these boxes hold lots and lots of children’s books (23). most of our children’s books are in either frankie rose’s bedroom or play area, but i was hanging on to a lot of books that aren’t age appropriate for her (non-fiction books or chapter books) that i was keeping in case they are handy for my next job — whatever that is. i decided that a lot of the non-fiction titles would probably be out of date by the time i go back to work and that it wouldn’t be worth moving them. there was a holiday children’s book drive happening in my neighbourhood so i dropped a box off there.

december 20 — i sorted through my jewelry box and donated pretty much all my costume jewelry (18) and pierre added two pairs of cufflinks (2) and a never-worn watch (1). for my part, i could have actually gotten rid of the entire jewelry box as it’s quite large and, rather than jewelry, holds mostly things that should go in a fire safe box like my passport, frankie’s birth certificate, etc. i have my wedding rings, a watch, two pairs of earrings and maybe two bracelets and one necklace that i actually wear — surely a job for a much smaller box. but, i’m keeping it because, ostentatious or not, i do use it, but it could definitely be smaller and plainer than it is.

december 21 — i went through the kitchen again and got rid of a milk jug (1), vase (1), baskets (2), pens (4)magazine holder (1) and just some other miscellaneous tchotchkes. i’m not tallying sheets of paper, but i also went through all our recipes and recycled a thick stack of print-outs, keeping only the recipes for things we cook over and over again. i donated two pairs of earrings (2) that i never wear. and six pieces of luggage/tote bags (6). i had so many bags that basically held the same amount of stuff, but i always use one particular bag when we go away overnight or for a weekend so all the rest of them were just taking up space.


end of week three and we are now at a total of 275 things! lots more to go through next week including the kitchen (again), the shed, the storage space under the stairs and the christmas decorations (anything that didn’t get put out this year is going). i don’t seem to be running out of areas to purge; it’s surprising how much stuff this small house can hold!

3 thoughts on “#minsgame : week three

  1. This is really inspiring! I plan on doing this game “for realsies” next year (just haven’t have time). But I had been moving things I don’t really use to our furnace room (and chief space for storage) over the last few months as a staging zone. Of course it was piled on top of the Christmas boxes so when we were ready to decorate we were forced to admit none of that stuff was necessary and loaded the car up for donation. There were also birthday presents the kids got (that they didn’t get into right away) that they never noticed that I put into the “staging zone” so they were new and ready for donation to the Toy Mountain toy drive at their school. It was great – they’re very lucky and got such nice things but even then there’s only so many Lego sets you can put together in a year – so off they went to be appreciated. But as I read this I thought about those high up cupboards in my kitchen filled with small appliances and tidbits that I haven’t used since we moved in. I really should start counting and challenging myself to tackle all that clutter!! It feels soooo good every time a load of stuff goes out the door. And it reminds me to always think twice before buying anything I don’t really need as well. Clutter causes me stress!!

    Btw… do post pics of your new living room/dining room!! You had it so nice and I’m sure it’s just as pretty now!!

    1. it’s a great idea to have a space where donations or excess gifts can pile up for a while! i’ve just been doing a cardboard box in the basement and when that’s full, off it goes. but it seems to be full every few days with this challenge! so i’ve been making lots of trips.

      i will post new photos of the living/dining! it’s still only half painted and our 4th dining table chair is on back order! but in the new year for sure. i’m so glad we made the switch. wish we’d done it sooner, but we’ve always felt like moving the dining room table was a non-starter. it’s been a bit of an albatross in this space.

  2. I look forward to seeing your new set up!!! We bought a huge dining room table which ate up our combined living/dining room in our first house. We DID host dinner parties a lot then… and the table didn’t look so very big in the enormous store when we chose it. When we moved to a house with a smaller dining room we did sell it (painful since it was a good one) and bought one that was narrower and slightly smaller but still sat a lot of people. We recently replaced THAT after we we moved again (the colour/style didn’t work anymore and it was just taking up too much space). Now we have one that is expandable but doesn’t eat up all the space daily. Our house’s previous owners combined a tiny kitchen with a tiny dining room to make a very effective British style “kitchen diner” – so we’ve gone full on casual… but with all the homework, crafting and drawing my kids do – the layout is brilliant even though it wasn’t a choice I would have envisioned. I could win the minsgame in a DAY just turfing all their “art projects” (under cover of darkness so they can’t see of course). Dining room tables have been my Waterloo… nothing else has been as challenging for me to pick or move to new homes (so my husband kept me to a VERY strict budget for this one). On the plus side – this is the first time where our living room is really a good size with enough seating AND space. It has been awesome! (especially since I bought a fake Christmas tree at Costco one hot July day a few years ago… it’s spectacular but again – ENORMOUS although I swear it didn’t look so big in the store!)

    I am definitely going to force myself to the minsgame! i was putting away dishes last night and can’t justify how we can have so much storage dedicated to wine glasses…. there’s the Ikea glass ones (my single days) and then the nice wedding crystal AND the stemless-can-go-in-the-dishwasher (so the only ones we use) on top of a salad spinner (haven’t bothered to use in 10 years) and all manner of junk. I could probably find 400 items in the kitchen alone! Even though there’s space for all of it – having the storage less cluttered up would be a win.

    My husband fears we are turning our kids into hoarders since we get downright gleeful when we get rid of stuff! The other upside of this kind of challenge is it puts in your face how much money gets wasted on stuff you don’t need. Which is a good reminder always! Thanks for sharing this – I definitely want to give it a go (and making it a challenge will keep me going!)

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