100 Things: Stepping out of Clutter

I’m giving away 100 things in 48 hours.  


Because in my last post, I said “I feel like I need to shovel myself out from under my clutter-laden lifestyle and my soul-numbing job. I’d like to shovel myself to a lighter way of life.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t allow myself to say things like that without doing something about it. So this is it, step one.

The rules:

* The give-away pile must consist of 100 separate, useful things in reasonable condition, i.e. stuff that someone else might actually use. 

* Trash doesn’t count. If I can make a dump run or better yet, a van run to the local recycling depot, hey, all the better! But it won’t count toward the 100 things.

* 100 forks, bobby pins or hair elastics don’t count either.  Collections of similar small items will count as one.

* Other people’s stuff may not be seized, so I can’t make off with one of my older daughter’s twenty-seven bags (yes I counted) or my younger daughter’s 150 books (she came by the book addiction honestly, so mea culpa) or any of my husband’s various boats, boards or water sports equipment. If I happen to come up with a list of items that other members of the family may want to give away (husband’s beat-up Excalibur t-shirt from 1985?), that’s fine. I just can’t give it away without their permission and it won’t count in my 100.

* General household items count: kitchen utensils, dishes, tools, etc. Isn’t that stuff other people use, you ask? Maybe. But since I run the household, I am asserting managerial discretion here.

Then, I have to give it all away, donate it to friends, Freecycle, the Salvation Army store, Goodwill, the local women’s shelter, SPCA, or any other worthy cause who can put the stuff to good use. Trading in books at the used bookstore is allowed. Why? Because they pay so little that it is practically giving them away, and besides, it is one of the best ways to get books into the hands of someone who may read them. Yes, I promise I won’t buy more books with the money.

And, of course, I have to write about it.

There’s another reason I’m doing this. It’s called momentum. I was explaining the idea to a friend the other day, a woman standing immobilized in the face of a great dream.

“Just remember Newton’s first law of motion,” I told her. “An object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.”

“Right,” she said, nodding her head. “In the face of a great mountain, you have to take the first step.”

My mountain is the pile of clutter littering my house, attracting dust to my shelves, making it difficult to clean.  Sometimes I feel like I’m hauling a 1000-pound shell around on the back of my snail-like self. If you stepped into my home, you might not see it, but as the Minimalist bloggers will tell you organizing is just well-planned hoarding.  

Enough hoarding. It’s time to do stop yapping and do something about it.  Wish me luck! I’ll be back soon with a full report!




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