Over the weekend, I was reading Stephanie's post about the 30 Day Minimalism Game. Minimalism isn't really my thing; I like stuff. In Texas, real estate is relatively affordable so Andrew and I are the only ones living in our four bedroom house. We have plenty of space to accumulate things. However, he hates clutter, so I have gotten pretty good at Tetris-ing all of my stuff into cabinets, closets, and drawers so he doesn't say anything about what he doesn't see.
But I was thinking about it, and we have lived in this house for over a year now. In the past year, I have definitely brought lots of stuff in and I haven't taken much out. I haven't touched closet shelves or rarely-needed drawers since we moved in. So, I probably don't need a lot of that stuff, right? I decided to take on the challenge Stephanie mentioned to see how far I could get.
I started on January 3rd, so I needed to get rid of six total things that day. I cheated as I had already thrown away a sweater that I thought was beyond saving due to pilling and three PJ shirts earlier in the day. I wanted to get ahead of the challenge so I went in my closet and found three shoeboxes (why do I save these? Am I creating a 4th grade diorama sometime soon?), a zippered plastic bag that a comforter had come in, my Fitbit box from a year ago, and a few other things that were easy to toss. Things that I had held on to in case I needed them... in case my Fitbit needed to be returned, or I got around to fixing that (free) keychain, or in case I magically started painting or doing something else messy that required an abundance of t-shirts with tiny holes. It started off pretty easy, so I started taking pics and tossing things or putting them in a bag to take to work and offer to my coworkers since we always share our old stuff.
But then I went upstairs, to where I haven't looked around in a while. I came across a bottle of shampoo about 20% full. "Oh, I should keep this," I thought "because who wastes perfectly good shampoo?" But it wasn't my brand. It probably came into our old house during one of my father-in-law's visits. My bathroom is stocked with my preferred brands and the guest bathroom has nearly full bottles of other stuff. I didn't need this; this bottle needed to go. I felt wasteful, but also a teeny bit liberated, like I was breaking a strange, self-imposed rule.
I looked around some more and found a clock ("It's kind of cute and I might want it sometime... but I also hate the ticking of clocks and don't have anywhere to put it"), a top-less apothecary jar (it broke last Christmas and I have yet to find a use for it, so it was easier to part with), and cloth bags in various states that I haven't touched since we moved into this house. Those were mostly easy to part with and will be tossed or given away, depending their states. But then I looked around some more and found travel shampoos, dresses that were given to me during someone else's declutter that I have never worn, and shotglasses that are only slightly sentimental, and I stopped. I (or someone) worked for the money to pay for those things, and they're perfectly good. I might need that shampoo one day and I like that shot glass (that I forgot I had). It was a strange internal battle that I have to sleep on. I'm not sure why I hold on to things like I have some bizarre fear of being without one day and needing my stuff - stuff that I don't think about in my day-to-day life. I've been fortunate to have never been truly without. I guess I look at what I have and feel bad for discarding it while simultaneously wanting to hold onto it tightly in case I am ever one who is without. It's strange and irrational. During my purge, I threw away an old sleep mask. I have at least two others, I haven't been using any of them lately, and the elastic on this one was stretched. I didn't need it and had used it enough to justify the dollar it cost me at Target a few years ago. But, after snapping a pic of it, I almost stopped myself from throwing it away. "It's one mask! It doesn't take up any room..." I rationalized, and started to put it back... but then I tossed it before I could think about it any more. It was of use to me, and now it isn't. It's time to let it go.
Writing this post makes me feel a little crazy, I admit. So far, I have decluttered through today in the challenge, which means I have gotten rid of 21 things. I'm tweeting my progress with pics to Stephanie every few days and keeping up with all items on my phone. I'm not sure how long I'll last, but maybe letting go of this clutter will help me realize that it's all just stuff anyway and I already have all the things I truly need.
Linking up with Kathy and Nadine because my husband says this makes me sound like a hoarder so this counts as a confession, right?