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The Minimalists’ 21-Day Journey: Days 8 – 14

A quick review of last week is I am a digital nomad that has hoarded more than my two suitcases can hold so I am trying out a few different purging techniques. Last week’s focus of The Minimalists’ 21-Day Journey involved evaluating our personal goals & things that we own, we began making connections between the physical objects we need to fulfill our daily routine & help us accomplish these goals.

This week will center on the purge phase of our unused tangibles.

Day 8: Belief

We begin the next week by continuing to examine our belief systems. Previously we examined facets of ourselves, like personal fears & relationships; both interpersonal connections & attachment sto objects. Today, we are supposed to look at what we think is important & why. Are they societal expectations or own ideas?

Both authors have been caught up in their luxury hoodie jobs associated with Silicon Valley, they were always striving to collect collegiate degrees like Poke’mon & increase their income to the next tax bracket. The authors thought this pre-defined ideas of success would bring subsequent happiness, but it did not so they challenge us to look at what drives our own belief system.

This was another null day for me. I am a simple creature & I have spent the last 26 years exploring what makes me happy in this life. Travel. Mountains. Cats. Coffee. Writing. Good Sex. In that exact order.

Day 9: Growth

Last week featured a daily concept I could not grasp, this week has the same attribute.

If you’re not growing, you’re dying. This might sound like a platitude, but it’s the truth.” False, we are all dying because that is how mortality works, Ryan! It is not stuff that is ending our life, it is literally a characteristic of being human.

This day is muddled by the authors’ trans-bullshit, they completely derail the intention of an actual point they are attempting to make by over-complicating it. Let me save you a click & tell you what you actually need to know: Minimalism does not directly bring happiness, it is just a tool for clearing a muddled path towards potential happiness.

Day 10: Everything

Ryan, one of our authors, did not unpack anything today. He had the realization he already had everything he needed & he would never need anything more than this. Good for you not having a uterus, Ryan. I started my period today so I unpacked my menstrual cup.

While Ryan has realized the only things he needs to live a fulfilling life, theoretically we should be at a point where we are realizing the things we need & everything we can live without even if there are still a few things left to unpack.

Day 11: Trash

The first few days of this journey dealt with some of the mental & emotional baggage associated with the objects we own, we have only been actively unpacking our essentials for a week now. It’s time to look through everything that is still in boxes & begin the purge. The author’s recommend sorting all the unused items into three self-explanatory piles: Trash, Donate & Sell.

I recommend including an additional pile of seasonal items as well, such as winter jackets or outdoor equipment. The authors live in one of the mildest climates on this planet, you likely do not live there due to the outrageous real estate prices.

The authors allow the reader to keep sentimental possessions for the time being, but it is ultimately recommended to part with these at some point as well.

Day 12: Donate

Today the authors recommend researching charity shops in your area & contributing to the lives of others with your unused goods. Habitat for Humanity & Goodwill are recommended by the author, I recommend looking into your local women’s shelters & refugee resettlement programs as well.

Donations are a bit more difficult in France than the US or UK. There are occasionally donation bins in major French cities, but they are usually overflowing with items ruined from being left out in the elements. It is considered more expensive to transport donated goods than send new products to people in need for some reason that I can only assume is uniquely French.

*I am still figuring out how to donate some of my nicer clothes & equipment in France so I will update this section once I find any new information.

Day 13: Sell

If I were the author of this journey, I would have begun with this step in the purge phase. I think it is more logical to sort out the few items of value that can be sold, such as furniture or jewelry, then go through everything that is left over. However, our authors suggest that it is better to purge most of the items through trashing or donation, the natural result would be all your high-value items will be leftover.

It is not necessary that everything be sold in this single day, it only matters to get everything listed for sale.

Day 14: Digitize

The author borrowed a portable scanner from a friend for the day, but your local post office or library should have scanning equipment. All of us tend of hang on to physical paperwork or copies we do not need to have on hand: Receipts, CDs, photos, tax records, etc. Today is the day we will scan it all onto a cloud or hard drive, I personally do it to both because I have had Dropbox fail & lost hard drives.

The authors suggest having another party with all your friends to scan your trash. Again, do not be that guy. Your friends are not free labor for the messes you have created, pizza & cheap beer is not fair compensation for their time.

Week II in Review

After completing two of the three weeks, I am comfortable judging that this particular minimalist journey is not for me. This is the main author’s first purge, which I have already done a few years ago. Initial purges are a lot different from maintenance when living a minimalist lifestyle, the first is always more difficult and emotionally fraught with letting go items & revelations about yourself.

While this is a journal of the author’s experience going through his first purge, he provides instructions for readers on every day of this journey so there is some intention for the audience to follow the same steps of this 21-day cycle. I struggle with the author’s personal bias in this journey, which I was critical of in the first week as well.

The author has only considered their very narrow view & experience with the world, such as not considering seasonal items people in other climates may need. I wish the authors had gone into more of the emotional aspect of purging because letting go of items has different baggage depending on socio-economic status.

Best Day: Trash. I was not a fan of many of the exercises this week, but I think trashing items is an undervalued step in decluttering. The authors do not mention this aspect of hoarding, but many people refuse to let go of items because they fear feeling wasteful. It is an important step of reaching the letting go point. You have already spent the money on item & damage is already done in that respect, if you have no use for it or you are begrudgingly forcing yourself to use it then it is time to just get rid of it.

Worst Day: Growth. I find this concept to be inaccurate, plus the author’s actual diary entry reads like a bad haiku with a superiority complex. I rest my case on the ridiculous picture they used to illustrate this day:


What Do I Still Have Packed in Boxes?

I still have some unused things in boxes that I held onto despite the purge phase, which I will go into more explanation why I have kept them.

  • Home Decor: I do not own a lot of decorations, but I have a few items I like for purely aesthetic reasons: Scented candles, a few picture frames containing images of people I love & succulents that will not die if I am traveling for a few weeks. Another thing I do not believe the authors adequately cover in this journey is minimalism is different to everyone. A sterile, white Ikea environment is not my aesthetic. I like warmth, I like greenery, I like being surrounded by tokens of where I have been & people I have loved.
  • Books: Most of my reading is still done by e-books rented from my home city library. The few books I do own are travel guides for places I visit frequently, I prefer physical books while traveling because I can easily mark pages for reference & I would be exceptionally pissed if someone stole my iPad.
  • Coffee Mug Collection: You can pry these out of my cold dead hands, Ryan. I like my stupid cartoon mugs, that is perfectly fine & it is a perfectly valid reason to keep an item you own.
  • Seasonal Clothing: I usually live in temperate zones so there is no way I am donating my The North Face parka just because I have not worn it in the last two weeks of a summer season.
  • Sporting Equipment: This is a personal hobby that is seasonal so again; Ryan, you can pry my Jet Boil out of my cold, dead, caffeinated hands.
  • Organization: This is very basic, but important to my personal habits. I have a few small baskets where I keep items organized, it helps me to visualize what I currently have / need to use & prevents me from over-purchasing items I may not have realized I had.
  • Sentimental Items: I do not own too many things that fall into this category, but I do have a few photos I like to have around my home. I have some heirlooms like my grandmother’s pin & my grandfather’s football number patch from when he was a teenager. There is nothing wrong with keeping items like this within a reasonable amount, it’s just important to not hoard every small item from a loved one just because it reminds you of them in a minuscule way.

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