My Life: Decluttered

I started writing partly because I was dissatisfied with some points that self-improvement books pointed out and instead wanted something that could fit my lifestyle. However, I’m still willing to accept challenges that others, like The Minimalists, have come up with. I went a step further with theirs, and tossed it up a little bit as I asked, “Why does their game only apply to possessions?”

So for the next 21 days, I’m going to be doing 1 x (# day) of the following:

  • [Tossing/Donating/Selling] something that I own OR
  • Delete an app off of my phone

I figured that I’d stick with the guts of the whole game itself. This one goes to The Minimalists themselves. The second part I thought up after noticing how much time my phone took up of my day. Whether it was checking a Snapchat or playing a game, the brief glances suddenly turned to hours of distraction. With an additional app gone, I feel like my smartphone would be used more as a tool and fit less into my lifestyle.

  • Reconnecting with someone who I have lost connection to OR
  • Cutting a toxic relationship off.

There are two sides to this coin, and this one turns out being a win-win situation for me. I either welcome a positive relationship back into my life or get rid of a negative one that’s a waste of energy. Whether it’s deleting them off of Facebook or sending them a simple “hello” in a text message, it’s changing my reality for the better.

  • Meeting someone who I have never spoken to before.

There’s a whole pool of individuals with knowledge, talents and perspectives that I might never get to experience if I don’t take that first step. My goal with this piece is to sample that pool and sift through it to find people who are truly with connecting with.

On a weekly basis, I’ll churn out a report (more of a journal) as a way to keep myself in check. You’re all welcome to follow along as well and gradually feel the weight on your shoulders get lighter.

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The air plant display at the Pulitzer Arts Museum in St. Louis

I started the challenge on Sunday by deleting a single app: Snapchat. What a relief. Sometimes, it worked well as a method of messaging someone, but after a while, I became bogged down with keeping streaks and uploading stories. I eventually decided that it was a waste of time (and data) and finally managed to get rid of it. I noticed afterward that I was reaching for my phone less frequently and had more free time.

On Monday, I did an inventory of every single thing I owned, and came up with 164 items. However, that did include toiletries, underwear and textbooks: things that I thought were pretty essential to my survival. I donated two long-sleeved shirts to a friend whose hobby heavily involved textiles, so I considered that recycling. I also have plenty of clothing that I don’t wear anymore.

On Tuesday, I went out of my way following an extra credit opportunity to speak to the professor, Dr. James Cianciola, about his presentation and how much I loved it. As it turns out, his wife, Dr. Heather Cianciola, is actually the director of the McNair program, an organization dedicated to first-generation students attending college. With a single interaction, I was able to get an interview with James set up and contact info to join the program.

Wednesday, three apps vanished from my app drawer. Facebook, along with two games, was deleted. I kept Messenger so people could get in touch with me — which is what a phone should be: a tool to contact others. Of course,

Thursday, I cleaned out five of my other shirts from my wardrobe and gave it away again. I still have quite a few pieces that I’m saving for future days. I find that there’s a lot more space in my wardrobe.

At this point, I feel like I’m singing that Christmas song. On the sixth day of the Minimalism game, I got rid of [blank]. Threw out more stuff. Boring.

And finally, it’s Saturday. I deleted seven people off of my Facebook friends list, which honestly wasn’t easy. Picking through people who I still might be able to salvage a relationship out of, a lot of them I wanted to keep. On the bright side, I now have seven extra people I can add to my list of connections.

This first week, although not difficult by any means, has already proved to be an eye-opening experience. Sorry to The Minimalists, but I find that getting rid of material good not nearly as cleansing as cutting off a toxic relationship, meeting a new person, or even deleting an app off of my phone.

If I had a glass of champagne, I’d toast to the upcoming weeks.

Thanks for reading.

-LQH

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