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.