My family has committed to letting go of one thing every day in 2017. That’s 365 things. 365 articles that we will be donating, selling, or disposing of. That’s a lot of things. And yet it does not feel daunting to let go of that many items by doing it a little at a time.
Already we are coming face to face with our abundance. When I look just in my kitchen cupboards I can count hundreds of items. When I include my clothes and garage, basement and storage closet, the number of possessions is astounding. We are truly blessed. We have enough items to have choice. We have enough tools and utensils to have specialized gadgets. We have colour, variety, and texture. But we do not NEED all of that.
In coming face to face with our abundance we also come face to face with our complexity. Stuff takes organization and space and cleaning and planning. Less stuff means less things to manage. And less stuff results in simplicity and space. I crave more simplicity.
Simplicity is part of the reason I enjoy camping and long road trips in our van. We have simple tools, simple food, simple clothes, and simple choices. We make do. We make up. We create. In our most simple lifestyle we have even greater abundance than in our overly stuffed house.
Many organizing books have been written about how you can strip away your possessions until the only things you are surrounded with are things that bring you joy. But what if it wasn’t the remaining items that bring you joy but instead the space around them - to truly see them - that makes them beautiful? A single antique teacup contains a measure of beauty greater than a china cabinet filled with them. Does it not? Is it the space that allows for appreciation? An art gallery meticulously plans the number of pieces of art to allow the viewer the space needed to take in each piece. If the gallery is too full, the viewer is overwhelmed and unable to enjoy any of the art.
As my family sheds the layers of years of accumulation, we are sifting through what is important to us, and digging deeper into what it means to have enough. I am already anticipating that we might need to do the same thing again in 2018. We are craving the awareness of what really brings us joy, the space and time to reveal in it, and the lightness of a life simplified.
If you are also wanting to do this, here are some of the things that are working for us:
- We printed a simple list style calendar so we can write down the things we are letting go of. Not to keep an inventory but to allow us to gather up 7 things on the weekend and make sure we allocated something to each day.
We do it on weekends instead of one thing every day. It actually takes a few minutes to “see” the items we own and to get into the mindset of release. It is faster to gather 7 things once into that mindset than it would be to have to get into that mindset every day.
- We have a large bin in our hallway to put the things we are letting go of. It is not so that we can look at them and take them back, but to remind us that we are doing this so we keep up the momentum. We then box up the items that are for donation when there are enough. We also post a few items at once for sale instead of one at a time.
- We are not concentrating on any one area of the house. We simply wander through the house and open cupboards, closets, and drawers. When we see something we do not want or need, we grab it. It would be more overwhelming to me to have to sort through a single drawer and not only part with 7 items but also organize it. I am allowing the organization to happen as the number of items slowly diminishes.
We are one month in and already we are experiencing a different relationship to our things, discussing “stuff” and what it means to us, and feeling excited about the space we are creating.
I will be writing more about this journey over the year reach out by email if you are going to join me. I’d love to hear your revelations too!