I've been thinking about doing this for a long time, but today I actually *did* it.
Whether I want to admit it, or not, I'd started to become something of a "hoarder." Karen died, and I was left with an entire lifetime of her things, and 90% of her life was spent before she knew me, and after her parents helped me go through her things, I still had a lot of items to grapple with.
Likewise, my own "memories" had accumulated - meaningless pamphlets, receipts, folders, etc. - over the years. A basement just full of items - books, papers, etc. - that just didn't have that much meaning to me. It seemed like a good idea to keep them at the time, but over the years, I realized that they just aren't that important. If anything ever happened to me, they would be a total burden to my descendants to rummage through and discard, and I do not wish to burden my descendants.
In the past couple of years, I'd begun to reverse the trend, but not enough, not as much as I really wanted to.
So today, I embarked on a program that I've been thinking about on-and-off for several years now. It sounds extreme, but I really don't think it is. It sounds Draconian, but it's not. It sounds simple, and it is:
Discard 100 Items Per Day.
"Discard," to me, means "donate first, recycle second, throw away third." It was SO EASY to find 100 things to get rid of in just a matter of about 30 minutes. An old "receipt" was one item. A leaf that I had dragged in from outside and was sitting on my living room floor was one item. I was swooping through and picking up dozens of things within minutes, and it was *so easy*. None of these things mean anything to me, and getting rid of them was incredibly liberating. If I can't "rush out to Salvation Army," they'll wait in a Hefty Trash Bag until I get around to taking them. My recycling bin was fed nicely. I didn't actually throw away much at all except for a bucket of old tennis balls (each ball counted as one item).
I hope to keep doing this every day for the time being. What I want is to be left with the truly important things in my life - pictures, letters, cards, souvenirs, semi-precious objects - and for them to be in such a manageable quantity that I could pack up and move in a matter of a day or two.
If I do this every day for about 30 minutes (that's all it takes to come up with 100 things - really!), I'll be rid of 10,000 items in just over 3 months. That is what I want in my life right now: simplicity, and portability, with the really *important* things remaining so I can look at them with a tear in my eye. When in doubt, I'll keep something, but I'll be darned sure to put it in a place that will be nicely organized.
I need, I want, about 10% of my current possessions. I have so many clothes to give away to people who will benefit from them.
100 Items Per Day. That is my goal. And I believe that is my methodology for helping me to achieve happiness and feeling organized.
The first day was amazingly easy, and took almost no thought at all. It sounds like *so much*, but it isn't. It really isn't at all.
I'll keep you posted how it goes. And if I miss a day or two? I'm not going to stress about it. It's nice to be disciplined, but not at the cost of "giving up" if I fall short a few times.
Anyone else in with me?