Deployed : 30-Day Minimalism Challenge

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Deployed Minimalism Challenge.

As a part of my minimalistic kickoff, I decided to take on the 30-Day Minimalism Challenge (#MinsGame) to reduce clutter in my life, while deployed. According to The Minimalists, the game goes like this: throw away/donate/sell the number of items per that day. One item on the first, two on the second, fifteen on the fifteenth, all the way up to thirty on the thirtieth of the month. This way, it starts out very easy. I know we can all find one item around us that doesn’t bring any value to our lives and is easy to get rid of. It gets harder and harder as we progress through the month, and if you make it all the way to day thirty, you’ve gotten rid of a total of 465 items!

First Thoughts.

Originally, I looked around my 10’x 10’ room (in which I only get half of), and thought “there is no way I could even make it through a week of this game.” So I came up with the idea to just get rid of one item per day every day of the month, totaling to thirty items. I mean, how much stuff can someone have on deployment when they only came out here with one bag to begin with?! So I sat, and contemplated, thinking about how much stuff I had brought into my life since being here. Whether I had the intent of replacing my old items with the new ones, or someone else had given the thing up (we have a super awesome “donation” table in the female bathroom on base) that I thought I needed. Finally, I decided to attempt the full version of the challenge. I was determined to whittle away at my belongings and get down to only the necessary items. Even while deployed.

Where did it all come from?

On my journey out here, I only brought one bag. So how in the heck did I manage to get rid of 465 items in a month?! Well, with Christmas here, and donations from other people around, I had apparently collected a ton of unnecessary stuff. You can see in the video I made at the bottom of this post that my room is small, and the space I have is even smaller, so a lot of the things I got rid of were small items. Also, it is WAY too easy to order things out here and Amazon ships with ease! I’ve ordered socks, underwear, and various other things originally to replace old ones, but ended up holding on to a lot of the ones I was supposed to get rid of. This challenge definitely forced me to kick those old things out to make room for the new. I am also now much more conscious about what I actually need to bring in to my life and what is just unnecessary.

Stocking Up.

I found myself stocking up on items that are consumable and I do actually use, but going a little overboard. For example, there’s no way I need ten things of floss during a six-month period. I mean, unless you floss your teeth a hundred times a day maybe? Lotion and face wash are other things that I especially liked to this with. I had unnecessary amounts of both, to where I would never be able to use all of it or it just wasn’t even the brand I liked. Toss it. You do need to plan a little ahead of time, since not a lot of things are available to get right when you need it out here, but there’s a fine line of what can be used, and too much. With this challenge, I learned where to draw that line for myself (and it’s different for everyone!).

“Why would you get rid of that?!”

Every day I posted a picture and description of all the items I got rid of for this challenge on my personal Instagram. Under almost every single one, I got this same question: “Why would you get rid of that?!” Simply? Because I don’t need it anymore. The biggest complaints were when I posted my FitBits. Yes, plural. Why would I need them if I replaced both with my Apple Watch? No, I’m not going to just give them away (I’m definitely trying to sell them, duh.), but I no longer need to have them. It was especially funny to me that other people were more concerned about the useless things I was getting rid of, than I was. Well hey; if you get value out of it, then YOU can have it! The couple of dollars I possibly could have made back home for some of the small items, doesn’t mean more to me than the effort it would take to lug it all back home in the first place. I’m deployed after all, and it’s definitely a different mindset when it comes to our stuff. I don’t want to travel and be held down by stuff I don’t need. That’s it.

So, what did my 465 items look like? I’ll break it down by week below.

And if you don’t want to read this obnoxious list, there’s a video with summary at the very bottom. Just scroll. You won’t hurt my feelings. I promise.

Week One.

Obviously, this week was the easiest. I donated/trashed:

• One pair of running shoes
• A loofah
• Extra FitBit band
• A fitness journal with extra pages
• Lotion
• A sports bra
• Four pairs of socks
• Two deodorant sticks
• My FitBit Blaze (since I just recently got the Apple Watch) and its charger
• A Halloween “Pink Ladies” jacket
• Old cellphone case that broke
• A scarf
• Empty Apple Watch box
• Empty cube box (apparently I just enjoy collecting empty boxes…)
• Almost empty dry shampoo can
• Chunky power strip
• Two pairs of pants that are now too big (hooray for losing weight!)
• My favorite t-shirt that got a huge hole in it from the laundry here on base
• A tank top I hardly ever wear
• Bag of expired nuts
• A manual for my hard drive

This totaled up to twenty-eight items. Surprisingly quite easy! And to think I would have stopped here at the end of the month… glad I kept pushing!

Week Two.

Slowly, this challenge became more… (shall I say?) challenging. This week totaled seventy-seven items and there were a few days that I honestly thought I was done, just to come up with enough items the next day and the next. My items for this week included:

• A storm trooper candy dish that I had for Halloween
• A universal charger
• Two t-shirts that laundry practically melted
• Vick’s diffuser thing
• Two bottles of lotion
• Five books, five lollipops
• An extra pillowcase
• Bottle of old body wash
• Two instruction booklets
• A patch
• Broken hair tie
• Four shipping envelopes
• Used shipping box
• Five warranty cards/booklets
• Medicine I was given when I had a cold
• Edible crayons
• Boarding pass
• Miniature sunscreen
• Three cough drops
• Sticker backing
• Receipt
• Outlet adapter
• Twenty-one bags from laundry
• A cup of mac-n-cheese
• Cup of chicken noodle soup
• Empty boxes from a peel and wipes (seriously Amanda, what’s with the boxes??)
• Coloring book
• Pair of shorts that are too big (another hooray for weight loss!)
• Sunscreen
• Two pieces of packaging
• Face scrub
• Expired protein
• Two sticky notes with old schedules and notes on them

That wasn’t too hard!

Week Three.

This is where I truly had to start searching and really think about what was necessary to keep and what could be discarded or given to someone who would get value from the things I was attempting to hold on to. 126 items in one week. I know that number seems so extreme, but when you break it down into bite size pieces like days, it isn’t so bad! This week included:

• Empty popcorn box
• A bowl
• Two mini face washes
• Sunscreen
• Three dead batteries
• Two pieces of mail that I already took care of
• Twenty-four tampons since (possibly TMI here) I finally switched to a cup!
• Case I carried the tampons in
• Old boarding pass
• Three receipts
• UPS tracking receipt
• Two warranty pamphlets
• Sticky note with logo ideas
• Two luggage stickers
• Two plastic bags
• Fidget spinner
• Apple Watch band that’s too small
• Three pairs of enderwear
• Plastic battery box
• Sixty-two pieces of “necessary paperwork”
• T-shirt
• Bar of soap
• Pen
• Unworn hat
• Boarding pass
• Hotel receipt
• Hotel key card sleeve
• Rental car contract holder

What really stood out to me were the papers I had deemed “necessary” and dragged with me from place to place for no reason. Sixty-two of them! On to the final week we go.

Week Four.

I made it. It was an incredible feat to make it all the way to the last day while being out on deployment.  In my last week of the challenge, I got rid of the following:

• Thirty-nine unused envelopes
• Sticker sheet
• Chap stick
• Brochure
• Promotional card
• Pepper packet
• Bag of nuts
• Uber discount card
• Four sticky notes
• Power adapter
• Two plastic spoons
• Headphone jack adapter from old cellphone case
• Two pencils
• Two bobby pins
• Tampon
• Empty pill bottle
• Bra
• Two pairs of gloves
• Two Starbucks boxes
• A book
• Stuffed narwhal
• Manila folder
• Two sticker backings
• Old coupon code
• Top piece of a gift card
• Three receipts
• A sticker
• Old paper
• Fourteen pieces of candy
• Two snickers
• Package of cookies
• Christmas stocking
• Santa hat
• Deck of cards
• T-shirt
• Pez dispenser
• Crossword puzzle book
• Adult coloring book
• A towel
• Four pairs of socks
• Three plastic bags
• Hand warmers
• Tow warmers
• Two notepads
• Slim Jim
• Five seasoning packets
• One sauce packet
• Hand wipe
• Two candies
• A K cup
• Four candy canes
• Prescription directions
• Toothbrush packaging
• Tank top
• Twenty-one colored pencils
• Power adapter
• Two sticky notepads
• Two gel pens
• Mechanical pencil
• Six sharpies
• Two glass cleaning cloths
• Pencil sharpener
• Shawl
• Six pens
• Highlighter
• Mail envelope
• Four boxes
• Skittles
• Light bulb sticky notepad
• Two peanut butter packages
• Two jelly packages
• Colored pencil set with case
• Water bottle
• Bath oil
• Nose spray
• Hydrogen peroxide
• Stick on wall hangers
• Fitbit Flex 2 with it’s charger
• Baking soda
• Cookies
• Two USB charging bricks
• Dry baby wipes
• Lip balm
• Three pairs of underwear
• Empty wipe box
• Five charging cables
• Extra cap
• Dryer sheets
• Eight stamps
• Three hangers
• Three extra floss
• Two pieces of nail files
• Nail clippers
• Nail clipper case
• FitBit flex 2 band
• Broken soap container
• Instruction manual
• Old Febreze bottle
• Velcro backing from a patch

And that’s a wrap! All 465 items!


Do you have questions, comments, or any tidbits of advice? Leave your comment below!

2 thoughts on “Deployed : 30-Day Minimalism Challenge

  1. It’s incredible that even while deployed and living with just one bag that you brought with you, how much stuff you accumulated. Doesn’t it feel great to get rid of the excess? I did a Minimalism Challenge years ago but was so impatient with the process that I did it in just one weekend… I might be due for another one!

    1. It was absolutely eye opening! Especially the fact that so much of the little things I brought were “just in case” items that I never used. I also realized how much people send you! Not being unappreciative… but I definitely gave most of the things to other people that would get value out of them instead 🙂

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