I call it the “496 Challenge”

Game board with pieces and die. Source: www.freeimages.com/photo/game-1524658


I’ve been listening to a podcast for a while now, called The Minimalists, and finding great value in their message. I came across a recent episode of another podcast, called “The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes,” which had an interview with Joshua Fields Millburn – one of The Minimalists. At some point during the episode, he mentioned the “Minimalism Game,” my interest was piqued.

And so, I dutifully went to the page, read about “the game,” and thought it was a novel and interesting approach to getting rid of excess stuff and clutter. Since I intend on “playing” this game, as well as for my sake, and anyone else’s, including posterity, I’ll recap it here.


While in the original game has a duration of 30 days, I’m thinking of doing it for the whole of January, which has 31 days.

Rules and Gameplay

The rules are rather simple. So simple, really, that it can probably be considered a simple rule. Who doesn’t love a game that is so simple! Fewer arguments, less room for interpretation, can’t really make up rules (aka “house rules”) as you along, like those who have developed with the “Free Parking” spot in Monopoly over time.

In essence, the game is played as follows: For each day of the game, you must get rid of that number of items from your home. So on day 1, you get rid of one item. Day 2, two items. Day 3, three items, and so on.

The rule, in this case, is that the item(s) has(have) to be gone, out of the house/garage/shed/attic/trunk/etc., by midnight each day. You can do whatever you want or need to do to count it as “out.” You can trash it, recycle it, sell it, donate it, re-gift it, bequeath it. Regardless, this must be done by midnight of that day.

I’m ok with “flexing” this rule into “put into car/box in garage” for the purpose of getting rid of it (box to bring to donation center/Goodwill, placed in the car to take to someone the following day, etc.) Just as long as the item(s) reaches its final destination or recipient by the end of the week. For this sake, a week will be counted as Monday through Sunday.


The objective is to get through all 30 (31 in this case) days and not fail or falter. At the very least, outlast the other player(s).

Declaring a winner

The winner shall be the person who has lasted the longest during the challenge without “breaking the chain.”

If both (or all) the players complete the challenge, there is no need to keep going (though nothing says you can’t) until someone can’t follow through. If both players make it the length of gameplay, consider it a tie. Ultimately, everyone wins by getting rid of excess stuff from their homes and their lives!


If at the end of the 31 days, you’ve completed the challenge, you will have removed 496 items (or more if you wish) from your home! Those are 496 items for which you had no need or use, and whose sole purpose for existence in your life, was simply “to be” or occupy space. Not all that much of a purpose if you asked me.


So, this is it! I’m in for a game – who will dare face me in this challenge? I won’t ask for photographic proof or evidence, nor an itemized list of items or anything of the sort. If you should want to do so, and track just how much excess stuff you had and got rid of, kudos to you and by all means, go for it!

I’m hoping at least one person will “take me on,” but even if nobody does, I’ll play solo. I’m ok with that, and will still “play my best” so to speak!

So… are you in? Huh? What’s wrong McFly? Chicken?



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