Tuesday, 3 January 2012

365 2012

I am taking the challenge to get rid of 365 unwanted things in 2012. Will you join me?  The game is to send on its way one item for every day of the year so that at the end of the year life will be 365 days lighter. I am not sure I will be able to get all the way to 365 as we live fairly simply, but already I have been able to get rid of 30 items. I thought about amending the challenge to get rid of 52 things --one for every week in the year-- but having already managed to locate 30 things I felt sure I could rise to the challenge and simplify our lives even more. And like the geek I am, I’m keeping a list on the computer to keep track of what items I have let go.  So far I have given away things as big as a bread machine and a panini maker we no longer use as I am gluten free down to as small as some cardamom seeds I bought for a recipe and then didn’t like so gave away to someone who loves that spice.

I got the idea from this blog http://kindredofthequietway.blogspot.com/2011/12/365-2012.html  . Her challenge also states that for every new item she acquires, 2 must go. Pretty harsh stuff. But then we live by that rule in many ways. In the past we just bought without thinking and when the shelves filled up we bought more shelves instead of really weeding what we had. At one point we had something like 27 drinking glasses for 2 people. And we let every one get dirty before we did the washing up because that is the sort of people we are, sadly. Now we have a set amount of storage in our small flat and when new things come in, old ones must leave to make room. This is how we happened to get rid of 16 DVDs recently--we got 2 box sets and so something had to go--and you know it wasn’t as hard as I thought.

  I also agree with her about quite conscious of three Green Rs--Repair, Re-use, Recycle. I don’t plan on just chucking 365 things away because as Jonathan Porritt says: There is no such place as Away.   I will consider prayerfully and mindfully each item and see if there is a use for it. Some items are beyond repair and must be recycled. Many items still have life in them and can go to a charity shop. Some things can go to someone I know (like the cardamom seeds) and make them happy. Even scraps of fancy paper that I can’t use can go to a crafty friend to keep her daughter occupied with some free art materials.

Some of it may just to help me get rid of storage containers I have been hoarding. I compulsively save glass jars for storage, but sometimes never use the ones I have. A newlywed friend came for lunch and remarked how much she liked my spice jars on display in my kitchen as she has none and all her spices are in bags. I buy larger jars and then refill into smaller jars that fit into my kitchen space so I have many spice jars that are empty and awaiting a reason to be used. This way I can save them up and give them away so she can refill her spices. A win- win situation. We also tend to save the plastic containers our raisins come in--they have a good snap on lid and are useful for all manner of storage. But the other day I discovered I had 7 empty containers gathering dust (and inexplicably 10 lids) and so I took them to school to go in the art cupboard as they are perfect for art projects and then can be recycled.  

Because everything you bring into your lives takes up space. Do you really need all those things? Will they make your life better? Are you any happier? Some of those answers are YES. But many, I find, are NO. More stuff just takes up space and needs dusting and then has to be gotten rid of when you grow tired of it. And then what to you do with it?  Take a look and see if there are things that you no longer need or want. Are there things you no longer use?  Do you have more than one of something, but you actually only use one? Are there things that have no sentimental value but just take up space? Could someone else use or get enjoyment out of it?

How about it? Are you willing to make your life lighter in the new year? If 365 things seems too much go for 52. But try it. What have you got to lose?

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