formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Can You Imagine?!

I spent part of today out Christmas shopping. Ick. You couldn’t pay me enough to shop on ‘Black Friday’ but I since there was something specific I wanted to buy for Herself, I thought I might catch it on a ‘leftover’ sale today. And I did… at nearly 1/3 off! Cool. I didn’t see as many people out as I expected, but those who were out were loading up their carts. At our house this Christmas, the loot pile under the tree will look significantly lighter than it has in the past. This is due to, 1) tight finances, 2) the fact that Ryan no longer believes in Santa, and 3) that I’m just completely sick of all the stuff. Every year I buy my darling, materialistic daughter all the things she desperately wants, only to find she only truly wanted them for about 5 minutes. Not this year. Bless her heart, she knows things are tight money-wise, so when she made her Christmas list, she only put 3 things on it… things she felt she couldn’t live without. OK, so she could totally live without them, but she won’t have to, because I’m a Grinch, not a Bitch (contrary to what some believe). She’ll get those 3 things and a few more… things I think she’ll really use and enjoy.

In a (very) small way, I try to combat the rampant ‘more, more, more’ mentality that abounds during the holidays. Every December, I make Ryan purge her toys and books. For every item on her Christmas list, she has to give something away to Goodwill (and Happy Meal toys don’t count). She does it quite willingly but she’s still always left with a lot of stuff. I have a lot, too, even though I purged the last 2 times I moved. I come from a family of packrats and though I try hard not to be like them, it all just accumulates somehow. And I don’t like it. I’m not materialistic by nature. My ex is… he tries to fill up the hole in his soul with stuff. I don’t do that. I don’t even like to shop! But still, I have too much. And I really, really don’t like it.

In October, Hebba at JeepGirl17 did a bunch of posts about ridding herself of all the stuff she didn’t really need. She gave away one thing every day for a month, which I thought was cool. I intended to do it in November… but I didn’t (remember my procrastination post? Yeah, that’s why). But I’ve been thinking about it. A lot. So today I was reading this article my friend Mel sent me a while ago about this guy who decided he was going to live with only 100 things for a year. In an effort to simplify his life and battle the new Black Plague called Consumerism, he isn’t going to buy anything new for a year. If he gets a gift, he’ll give himself a week to decide whether or not to take it back, re-gift it, or keep it and give something away in its place. Now he’s only counting his own personal items and not the stuff used to manage his household (he has a wife and kids), but I still think it’s ambitious. He’s counting clothes (though he lumped underwear and socks together, which seemed smart to me… that would be Me, the owner of 136 pairs of underwear). He also lumped all his books together into one item, dubbed, ‘the library’ (also smart to me… that would be Me, the owner of 11,895 books). But other that, his stuff is down to 100… stuffs. As I was reading the article, I was reminded of the main character in a book I read once… she lived with only 200 items total. I remember thinking how cool that was. I like the idea of fitting my life into a very small space or being able to carry it with me pretty easily. I like it a lot.

So, with Hebba, Mr. 100, Ms. 200, and my sincere desire to simplify my life in mind, I’m going to start paring down my stuffs. I’m not going to shoot for a particular number of items, but I will guarantee that by the end of the purge, what I keep will be only the things I use or really love.

Vernon Howard, a spiritual teacher and author, once said,

“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.”

Can you imagine?! Yeah, I can, too.

16 comments:

J Cosmo Newbery said...

I have a "it might come in handy even if I never use it" gene. Regressive and strong.

Ronda's Rants said...

I love this idea...I started two years ago...I have rid myself of a lot of things...I was a true pack rat of the worst degree!
I am thinking of getting rid of books next...those are hard but if I wanted to read it again...I could check it out at the library...I don;t need to own them!
I like your quote but I am trying to just need what I already have.
:)

Lee said...

Tricky, very tricky. I travelled for 6+ months this year with a suitcase (11-12kg) and a backpack (6-7kg). I got by but I knew I was coming home to a house full of 'stuff', so there was always an escape clause. Having said that I do like having a clean out and having a tidy study and garden shed. It gives the impression of being in control.

Heinous said...

I don't have that much...just what I need. Well, maybe a few too many books, but that never hurt anyone. My son is a different story though. I have to figure out how to get us away from more, more, more with him.

HLiza said...

I think if I were to list down the things I have in the house now, I will take the whole month to do it. Good luck to you; it's a cool idea but I'm going to be realistic..it's not for me. My hubby even collects paid bills, flight tickets and even fun fair tokens..

Mel said...

Yeah, when I sent you that article, I really had plans to pare down I think I said, by 100 items at a time. I took 4 large leaf bags of clothes to Goodwill, but haven't done much else. Thanks for the reminder!

BTW, how much do you think I need to get rid of to account for that pretty boy I'm asking for for Christmas? All of his clothes, of course. But, what else?

joshlos said...

I've thought about this concept for a while. Not necessarily sticking to a particular number of items, but just widdling down the number of things I have. I haven't bought too many things these days, which I guess is good, but it's been more out of necessity than in the name of not focusing on material items. I think I could do well purging myself of a bunch of my stuff. After I get an HDTV, of course.

Red Cup Mom said...

Stuff? Paring down? Like how? One wine glass? Haha.

What's stuff? Just crap? I need to think about this one for sure. But we need some stuff like nice razors, a pretty picture, a pair of shoes.

I love the idea and thanks for posting and linking about it to others with similar thoughts.

Shanna said...

Good for you and your anti-stuff mood! We're doing a light x-mas this year too ... at first I was worried it woulnd't be "enough" but now I can't wait! It's a huge relief not to have a million and one 5 minutes wonder toys!

hebba said...

Good for you. It is such a liberating experience!

Distributorcap said...

i used to be a pack rat -- but when i moved a couple of years ago i gave away a ton of stuff - not that i had to, i wanted to

i am glad i did -- i like the minimalist look. no more collections of crap that mean nothing. except i still have too many pairs of sunglasses.

8-)

this xmas will also be light --- the family agreed - no gifts, we are all making donations to charitieis in each others names - to people and critters that really need it

Protege said...

Diane, I agree with you, Christmas has become so commercial and materialistic and as you know, I do not agree with that.
When it comes to possessions, I know from experience of all my relocations over the years, how little you need to function. There is a certain freedom in not having lots of stuff.
I have to admit though, that I function best when I have all my belongings around me. I guess it gives me comfort and security.
My parents moved to a new country about two years ago and while waiting for their new apartment to be finished, they lived in a temporary one, while all their "stuff” was sin storage. Recently they moved finally to their new place and my mother told me how strange it was for her to realize that she really did not need all the stuff anymore.

Blarney said...

Good for you! With my Mom's passing this summer there's a lot of stuff. Her things, my living but now in nursing home Grandmother's things, my 'passed' Grandmother & Grandfather's things Mom had to keep just in case ... the list goes on and on. Each week I spend time at my Dad's house decluttering and tossing. My rule is 'if you haven't used it in a year toss it'. The year rule works well because it takes into account seasonal items.
My kids are following in these footsteps and have started going through old things for donation as well. Just last week they presented me with a paper grocery bag full of old DVD's to donate. It makes me proud that they 'get it' and know other kids will have the opportunity to enjoy 'the thing' as much as they did when they got it.

Pauline said...

When I moved from a ten room house to a one room cottage, I had to pare down out of necessity. Each year I follow Blarney's rule (above comment) and get rid of things I haven't used during that time and I still have too much stuff! Maybe I'll give the 200 item list a go...

Holly said...

I really enjoyed this post. I am inspired to go and de-junk in a big way. ( wish me luck!!...with 4 kids I am going to need it.)

Christmas around our parts is going to be smaller this year than the kids are used to as well. I think it will be good for them. :)

Heather said...

I love, love, LOVE the fact that Ryan gives away one thing for every item on her list every year. That is a wonderful way of doing things! Well done!! :)