Playing the game


I find myself frequently playing a game with my stuff,: would I take this with me if I was moving house?
If the answer is no, my things are then divided into two groups

1) Get rid of it
2) I’m happy to hang on to this for now (e.g. craft supplies than are all neatly stored that I may use in a few years).With these things I decide to keep, the game is, I think, helping me to detach myself more and more from many of my belongings,  so it will be easy to let go of them when I really need to. Though the true ‘proof of the pudding’ will of course be is I ever move. In fact the increasing detachment will enable me to get rid of them sooner than that I suspect.

A variant of this game helps me get even closer to what truly matters to me and why.

Here’s a picture of my sitting room fireplace  mantle piece.


As you can see, I have no aspirations to have the  ‘minimalist look’. If I had no other belongings in the room and five empty shelves, I would still choose to have all my things crowded together on one small shelf because that is a style of ‘arranging’ I enjoy.
These are in fact a high proportion of most of the ‘knick knacks’ I own. And the rest of the four walls of the room are covered in bookshelves containing my husband’s books 😉 This is my little space.
Anyway, the game is, in the event leaving the house in an emergency and there was only time to grab 2 pieces in my two hands, which 2 pieces would I save and why?
Everything there has some sentimental memory attached and I really like them. Items range from things from my childhood to things I’ve been given in more recent years by a variety of people.

For the record, I chose:

  • The small pot to the right – it’s an old mustard jar my mum made a bedside light from when I was a little girl.
  • The painted wine glass in the left with the dried hedgerow posy from our wedding in it.
  • And then I cheated and grabbed the cow money box because I just love its sculptural shape 😀

Go play the game yourself and see what you come up with – you can choose any shelf in your home you like. Does it lead to you letting go of anything?

Today’s Mini Mission

Do a use it up challenge on some leftover ingredients in your fridge or pantry. Preferably items that have lingered there for a while.

Eco Tip for the Day

Don’t leave the TV on during the day just for company. You may laugh but I have know plenty of cases of people doing this.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. Doodle, these are some good games to play. I don’t have to play games too much because I’m all for getting rid of all I can. These might work with Mom though.

    • Hi Deb J – yes, such games won’t be necessary for everyone, lol.
      I guess I don’t have loads of stuff left (if I was single I could easily live in one room) so it’s a way of looking at what is left.
      Also, over the years I have developed all sorts of little games to fill time when I am not well enough to actually do anything practical.

      • Doodle, I make lists when I can’t do things because of my health. Then when I can do something I already have it figured out. Grin.

  2. Through the years I have moved many times. It’s interesting to me to look back and see what has survived all the take it or leave it decisions.

    • Hi Willow. This sounds very similar to another game I play… which is checking out from my chair or bed, what I own that I had before I moved to the town I now live in (1999). Which is kind of the same thing as you Willow.
      I haven’t moved very much in my life: I do think that any future moves I will have no patience with paying any more to move stuff than I have to.

    • Hi Willow, I enjoy encountering the things in my home also that have survived many moves over the years. We have a laundry hamper in our bedroom that I think we have had since practically day one of our married life. It is plastic and isn’t even pretty yet it has been around for 27 years. I dare say it was cheap when I bought it but nevertheless it seems in as good a condition today as the day I bought it. Cheap isn’t always poor quality.

  3. Hi Doodle, I have been known to play games to help me decide what I care about and what I don’t when it comes to my stuff. Do I want to move this, do I want to dust this, do I want to waste space on this… Then there is the “One of these things is just like another” game. Where you realise that you own two things that do the same task and then decide ~ Do I need/want both? If not, which is the most versatile. ~ Then I get rid of the one that is the least useful to me. For example, a knife or a garlic press. I use garlic in recipes often but it doesn’t take like to mince garlic with a knife and the knife can be used for so many other tasks. So the knife wins.

    • It’s rather fun making a game of it isn’t it Colleen. I think for me the games are my slow and steady decluttering method compared to the blitzes I have (though the former can feed the latter …I like having a variety of approaches.

      I too find I suddenly see multiple items that do the same job in the kitchen – it amazes me that I haven’t seen it before when discover another one. I’ve got a bit of a sentimental attachment to my garlic press but I have managed to let go of 3 hand whisks- I just use a fork or the electric stick one.

  4. We just moved, so I got to play the game for real! lol. What’s funny is that as ruthless as I was about decluttering when I packed, I’m still finding more stuff to let go of as we unpack. We are about 40% done unpacking and we’ve filled 5 boxes up with Goodwill donations. When I started packing we hadn’t bought a house yet so I didn’t really know for sure what space we’d be working with. Now that I’m unpacking the new house I have a better idea of what we don’t have use for.

    It’s true that I bought a few items for the new house that we didn’t need in our condo. A shovel to dig out a poorly placed plant, a wire fence to keep the dog out of the area behind the barn, some felt stick-on pads for the bottoms of our kitchen chairs, a much nicer wood pet gate to keep the critters out of our bedroom, and a few pad locks since our outdoor fence has three gated openings. But these are all things that I couldn’t figure out how to use something we already had and our needs are a bit different with the house than they were with the condo.

  5. I love this post! 🙂

    I also play the ‘if I had to leave the house right now what would I grab?’. I usually only think of a few items, and it annoys me that so many other items clutter up and hide those items so that if I had to leave fast I might forget something truly important to me.

    Sometimes I think about doing a ‘what are the 10 items most important to me’ list, just to refocus what my priorities are, and have an idea in my head of what items I would like to decorate/have around at the end of decluttering the excess and the unnecessary, I have never gotten around to doing this though. I think it would be nice for remembering what IS important to me and perhaps push me into getting rid of things which ruin my enjoyment of the things I do love. For example my shelves are full of books, over 450 of them, yet there is no space to display the box my engagement ring came in, that box now has the petals from the single red rose my fiance bought me that day in it, hence why its so special.

    The game I like to play most is the one where I imagine my space in the future once I am done with the bulk of decluttering and am just maintaining instead. Then when I am deciding what needs to go next I imagine that space and how it looks and if particular items are in that vision. Truthfully, there are lots of items which I currently own which don’t fit into that vision, but I’m not brave enough to let them all go at once. I usually know instinctively what items fit into that vision, and what don’t, my problem is the letting go.

    Does anyone else play these games?

    • Jane – I am also a book lover but have managed to pare our collections down from literally thousands to probably 50 or so. I have to admit that I now have an e-reader.

      I think you should clear a space on the shelves today for the ring box – a good generous size spot. Stack the books on the ground if you have to.

      When you feel ready go thru your books one by one and I’m pretty sure you’ll find a few that you don’t mind letting go of and before long you will have that stack on the ground re-housed.

      • That’s impressive Moni.
        And I agree, out of 450 book, finding just 6 to let go of to make space for an engagement book sounds doable.

        • Great post Doodle, I love to play games – got some new suggestions from you all too, ta. I play the how many shelves do my books/ shoes whatever take compared to OHs. As long as I have less than him, then life is good, lol. Not that I’m competitive or anything.

          • Are we twins fruitcake??! I love playing “how many shelves do my books/shoes take compared to OH’s”. I have way less than him 😀
            I also do a ratio calc of how much hanging/shelf space his clothes take up vs mine 😀

          • Haha, yeah Doodle, me too re clothes, and yes, I have a lot less stuff too, it’s great 🙂 I also play – could I still fit all my / our stuff back in my old 1 bedroom flat (we’re in a 3 bed house now), or what would I/we take if we had to move back to the flat.

    • Jane, I think playing the game is a very important first step in acclimatising yourself to the idea of what you could let go of. The second step is a very tentative getting rid of just one item. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
      I think it great you are visualising how you would like your room to be – definitely keep playing with this idea.

  6. I also got to play this game for real when we emptied each room to paint and only brought back what we actually want in each room. Which is why we had a big pile of stuff left over that has slowly been conquered.

    I like to mix it up, sometimes I’ll do one thing a day, other times I’ll use the Hurricane Method which is pulling everything out and taking the bull by the horns so to speak. Makes a big mess and can take a few days to restore order but generates big progress fast.

    I played a game once where I had about 30 things to sort through and was getting nowhere fast. So I decided to line them up in a priority order of absolutely must keep thru to I could tolerate letting go of this. Took me a while and a lot of swapping around and standing back and ummming and ahhhing but eventually I established an order. Handling everything and debating its individual merits actually sped up the whole detachment process and by time I got to the end of the exercise I was so over it, that I decided the bottom 50% should just go.

    • Excellent advice moni – with some clients, I too will empty out the whole space that needs sorting so they then get to choose what goes back in. It is an easier process than removing one thing at a time: somehow it opens up the potential of a space when you have nothing in it.
      With my own stuff , I’m like you on that I also like to mix one thing a day with total blitzing and getting loads out. Totally depends on my mood.

      I love the lining up your 30 things idea – I think I will use that too in the future.

    • Moni, I love this idea about lining things up to compare them; I think this would work really well for me. Thank you for mentioning it!

  7. Good post, Doodle. I like to have new ideas to help me when the choices get hard.

    • Thank Jo. I think anything that works for anyone of us might work for someone else so it’s worth putting out there.

  8. Hahaha Fruitcake (blog won’t let re ply to your reply above) I play the close variant of, “I bet if I had to, I could comfortably make our living room into a bedsit with just my stuff (I started off living like that here but used the attic a lot, so I could rent out two rooms to lodgers). I like to plan having a kitchen in here too now, and not need to use the attic at all…just for fun 😀