Depending on what you read, the 100 things challenge can be a minor challenge or a major one. For those swimming in clutter, the 100 things challenge is a quest to get rid of 100 things. For the true minimalist, the goal is to only own 100 things. I'm not quite at the latter yet (ha!), so my 100 things challenge has involved getting rid of items.
I have been working on this in fits and starts. I don't include all the random paper I've been recycling (ugh, junk mail); that makes the process too easy. I'm only counting things that have been in my life or that I've moved with us. I pared down before the move, and my work honestly wasn't enough.
Included in the items I've given away/re-homed/tossed are the following:
- a bunch of mini-DV tapes that must by of ex-boyfriends since I remember manning the camera; I've moved these at least 10 times, I'm sure
- lots of clothes that I genuinely like but haven't worn for years, including a snake-skin tank top (so cute!), some business clothes that I wore in high school, and pants I have never enjoyed wearing anyway
- an extra printer
- a TON of notebooks given to a 5 year old budding scientist friend of mine
- a printer I don't need anymore
- my bathrobe that was invaluable in college and has been used perhaps once a year or less since
One thing I notice during this process is that this truly is emotional. I don't use the items anymore; I'm okay getting rid of them. But they have been things I have owned for so long that it is hard to let go. Matt has been a great help in gut-checking with me. Sometimes, he even puts items in the trash that I can't just let go.
The process is long and hard for me. Even though letting go of stuff isn't reducing who I am, the process can feel like that at times. A lot of these items represent someone I was at one point in time, but I have changed and moved on.
Other items are frustrating because they represent lost money, time, or impatience. The pants I never liked anyway? Why did I buy them? Why did I not have the patience to look around for pants I really liked? I would like to think that this exercise will cause me to think more carefully in the future, but I'm sure I will still have mis-steps. The bright side, for me, is that whittling down my wardrobe to what I actually wear helps me see the gaps to fill much better than when my closet is stuffed full.
What will be useful for me as I continue to live my life? Hard to say. I'm sure this process will need to be completed again. But I'm glad I am taking my time to sort through and conscientiously shed myself of a significant number of items.