Giving up for greater good

De-cluttering is becoming more popular as awareness grows of the amount of unnecessary things we collect and consume.

Red Beach couple Kate and Tim Hall took this to the next level, when they took on the Minimalist Challenge for the entire month of April. The challenge is part of a global movement, and was started by The Minimalists ­– Americans Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus – online.

It required Kate and Tim to give away things every day, in an amount that corresponded to the date – so, on April 20, they gave away 20 things and so on.

In fact, the couple gave away even more, as they did the challenge as individuals until they got to April 27.

Kate says the challenge was made more difficult by the fact that she and Tim are not big consumers in any case, choosing to keep life simple and buy as little as possible for environmental reasons as well as to save money.

“We were surprised at the amount of stuff we had when we really looked at it,” Kate says. “You might have 20 towels in the cupboard for two people and you don’t really need that many.”

Towels and tea towels were among the things they placed in the pile in their garage, as well as books, CDs, kitchen items such as bowls and jars, games, a table, a milk frother and juicer.

Things got more difficult when it came to things collected in childhood – including toys – and clothes.
“But once you started, it became easier because it felt so good to get rid of things. Once we’d given away clothes that we never wore, we went through each other’s wardrobe on day 20 and removed three things each,” Kate says. “I even considered my wedding dress, but I use it for photo shoots.”

Kate would recommend the process to anyone. She says it helps you focus on things that you really value and love – for them this included artworks, family heirlooms and special pieces of jewellery.
Tim is also going to sell his moped. Kate says he made the decision because he only rides it a few times in the summer.

On Saturday, May 19, all 900 items were taken out and sorted into piles for giving away, selling or throwing out.

At that stage, anything that Kate or Tim had regretted throwing out could be reclaimed, but only by selecting two more things to give away. “We hope we can get to a total of 1000 things to get rid off by the time we’re finished,” Kate says.

There are videos and more information on the project at @ethicallykate on Instagram or