Friday, September 27, 2013

100 Things

As the holiday season draws near, here we are excited for a couple reasons: the end of gardening for the year, a possibility to curl up beside the warm wood stove and between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we are expecting another baby.

The joy I feel that gardening and canning is coming to an end might be because I am 28 weeks pregnant but I know myself. The reality is that by the end of September I am ready for a break from tomatoes and apples and beans and all the other little gardening chores that seemed great until I was overwhelmed by them. Although I haven't written our apples galore article, we have been inundated and at least two trees haven't even started to drop their green and red globes of deliciousness.

As the season slowly draws to a close, I start spending the evenings reading about all the things I might want to do next year. We spend more time at the library, pouring over books and guides and different non-fiction books.

Of the 27 books I currently have checked out, last night I picked up The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul

I got through the first couple of chapters. It wasn't what I thought it was. That said, it did inspire me to start my own little challenge. Over the next month, I am going to get rid of 100 things that I don't need, want or use.

This might not seem like a big challenge but I definitely have a depression era personality of save everything you might ever need or is still usable. Do we have too much stuff? Maybe. At the same time I don't think we have an overabundance but we could definitely use to par things down.

Why 100? Well, when you think about it, 100 isn't really a lot. How many shirts do you have that you don't wear? Ten? How many extra utensils do you have that you don't use? Ten? How many outdated magazines are piled up on the kitchen table, your desk, the bathroom, etc? Five to twenty? How about cookbooks you never use but could donate to the library or give away to a foodie friend? I know that I have quite a few. These things all add up. That doesn't even begin to include all the extra baby clothes that we didn't use for the first two babies and won't use for the next one that could easily go to a local charity for helping new moms. So I am going to start my challenge today. By the end of October, I am hoping to have gotten rid of far more than 100 things but even if I start with only 100, that would be a good start.

What about you? Do you have extra things that you could easily just rehome and never miss them? Anyone who decides to try it along with me, send me an email with how your felt afterwards and a few things your cleaned out and I might feature you in the summary article.

This article was shared on The Chicken Chick

UPDATE: As of Nov 1st, I had gotten rid of well over 100 things. It was incredibly liberating to let go of many of the things I didn't need, use or want. This challenge helped me realize that I was holding on to a number of things because someone gave them to me or I was worried I would use them some day. When I took a long look a most of the things I got rid of, the reality was that no matter how long I kept them, I would never use them. Here's my list:

4 pairs of shoes (most that never really fit right, two were brand new)
5 kitchen accoutrements
Exercise Bike
31 Books
52 items of maternity and baby clothes (that never fit or we never used)
3 dresses
2 bar stools (from our last apartment)
24 small wine glasses
51 magazines

During the month of November I have downsized even more, sending out books through and passing on my older cooking magazines. I have sorted and tossed all kinds of little things. I tried to reuse and repurpose everything possible. I utilized a local baby consignment store, freecycle, paperbackswap, dropping newer magazines off at the VA hospital, giving away clothes to others that wanted them. In the end, I don't miss anything that I got rid of. I am utilizing the library more, although I have to drive to the next town over to pick up my books (a direction I never go in so it is a special trip) but the kids love getting a chance to go so we try to make it an outing.

As I bring new things into the house, I hope that I will get rid of something in its place. This hasn't happened so far so instead I have been focusing on a few small things:

- Going through the mail immediately and reading magazines within the week we receive them, then passing them on.
- Removing ourselves from mailing and catalog lists
- Asking myself how much I really love something before purchasing it.

How are you cleaning out your life this winter?

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