This book is inspiring so many of my thoughts right now. The author challenges himself to keep only 100 personal possessions in order to have a better quality of life - more time, more freedom.
I stopped dead in my tracks when I came across it, because it so perfectly decribes my struggle. I spend my precious time devoted to my stuff, and the stuff of my household. It frustrates me every single day. I clean the stuff, pick up the stuff, find homes for the stuff, trip on the stuff, fix the stuff, organize the stuff and then buy new stuff. All for what?
What would my life look if I eliminated all the stuff?
Well, personally, I'd have more time to sit down and play Playmobils when my daughter asks, go out for a hike on an unexpectedly sunny day, read a book without guilt, walk the dog more, take the kids to the gym, welcome my husband home from work to a neat house. I could relax!
I didn't survive cancer just to live my life trapped by stuff. I wasn't blessed with three children only to be too busy with stuff to sit on the ground and play with them. This I know for sure.
My house is not a hoarder's episode by any means, it is just like most other homes as far as I can tell. Closets get stuffed, homeschool supplies get spread around, and clean but not folded laundry sits a day or two in a basket near the couch. There's a short stack of paperwork - mostly junk mail, and a little pile of ironing, Overall, it isn't bad, because I just don't do well with clutter to begin with. I try hard to keep it at a minimum, but the stuff of running a household for 5 people sure adds up quickly.
Could I get by with only 100 personal items for myself? I'm not sure. The author of this book is a man. That makes a difference I think. The toiletry items he owns consist of a razor and toothbrush. I probably have almost 100 items alone in the bathroom, if not more. I have quite the collection of Jafra skincare that I use everyday - eye cream, elasticity gel, deep line corrector, day moisturizer, night moisturizer, face wash, toner. And more. Clearly wrinkles and skin cancer are a concern! Ha ha. Cosmetics are the same. Hair products, hand lotion, blow dryer, straightener, bobby pins, pony tail holders, shower caps. I wasn't blessed with an ounce of natural beauty, it is pretty important to my acceptance into society to own most of that. (I kid a little, but it is also fairly accurate).
I was pondering for myself if I could get down to 100 items, not counting those of which are household items. It is kind of a fine line when you are the mom. Does a container of gift wrap count as household when I'm the only one actually getting into it? Does every single piece of scrapboook paper count? Dave Bruno, the author, chose to count his 'collection' of underwear as one item, his collective socks as one item, and household items, used by everyone, did not count. His entire list is here, and interesting to look through.
I think I might be able to pare down to 100 if I played by my owns rules. I think that is the key for each individual, to make it work for you in a way that stretches you to own much less. I plan to count grouped things, but make sure that group is contained together, and holds only essentials.
Here are the rules I plan to follow for my own 100 Thing Challenge
Skincare that I use each day is grouped together as one item.
Frequently used cosmetics count as one item, contained in one spot. Only one of each item, but 3 lip gloss tubes.
I have a mini scrapbook caddy of tools, which is well organized. I count this as one item.
Each storage bin for scrapbook or craft supplies counts as one item, though they may have 100 papers in them. I recently went through and pared my crafts down significantly, so I know that what is in those containers is only what I love and plan to use.
Books: I will keep no more than 20 books, and count them as a 'library'. At this point, homeschool reference books do not count, as they are needed for a specific purpose that isn't really personal.
Every piece of clothing counts as one item. However, once I get going, I may change this slightly. If I can pair down my basics, I will likely need a few accessories to make my outfits not seem so repetitive. One small basket of scarves could help create many varied looks, so maybe I'll count that basket of four scarves as one. Each pair of shoes counts as one.
Jewelry, contained in one spot, and only what I love and use, will count as one item for the reason listed above.
Like the author, I allow myself one week to deal with gifts. If I choose to keep a gift, I have to give up something else in it's place, or pass it on. (More on gifts soon!)
It may sound as if I have made a lot of concessions for myself, but the idea is to be thoughtful about what you own. I have no idea how many items I own right now, but I suspect it is somewhere around 300-500 maybe. My new mantra: Keep only that which you find to be useful or beautiful.
My daughter chuckled when I told her about this challenge. She knows me well. I get excited about something and go off on a tangent of it for a while and then become bored. I'm going to have to prove her wrong on this one! I'll let you know if I succeed or fail. Please pray. :)
Anyone want to join me in their own variation of this? You can play by your own rules, the idea is simply to pare down.
Ok, let's do this!