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Thread: Writing down lists of things

  1. #11
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    @sumarie--I did the challenge for two reasons. The first is that my smallish house has limited storage, and it is hard to keep things clean and organized when I have too much stuff. The second reason is that I am a person who can easily fall into materialism. This is not a quality that I like about myself, and I do not want to be the type of person who thinks "stuff" matters. I want to be free from that mindset.

    I think what I was really struggling with toward the end was finding my own personal point of "enough." I am not a minimalist, but I'd say I'd be comfortable owning less than the average person. Looking back, I don't regret getting rid of anything during the challenge (looking over the list now, I had forgotten I even owned some of those things). I actually think I could have gotten rid of more. I have been thinking about doing another Down By Half for house stuff since we are doing so much remodeling and rearranging before the baby comes. Maybe! ;-)

  2. #12
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    Thanks, Kat, for answering my questions. I am already experiencing how putting something on paper can be easier than looking at & holding it, in terms of being willing to let it go. Finding out I have 13 scarves, when I seldom even wear them, was news to me, and it feels much easier to let some of them go. And it was reassuring to hear you say you didn't miss what you ended up giving away towards the end when you were going for "the count". I'm sure if someone swooped in & made off with a bunch of my stuff I wouldn't even miss half of it. Somehow, though, it can feel monumental to actually be the person doing the purge. It's powerful! And afterwards, I do feel empowered.

  3. #13
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    Hi again -- am back again with list in hand, and am now "working it" -- looking at what is there & asking questions to help find the "enough" point for the things on it, whittling it down as I discover things I don't really need and that are, in fact, rather a burden to me to keep. I've enlisted the aid of a letter system:
    --U and L are "use" and "love".
    --R means I would replace it if something happens to it
    --B or G means I myself have bought it, or G means it was a gift. (Stella instigated an I for "inherited")
    --I may look at V (does this add value to my life?) (or would I be happier without it, actually?)

    What this has revealed so far is the difference between needs and wants. If an object has U,L,R it is definitely a keeper. Items with only a B have pointed out something I bought that was quite possibly a mistake, or an impulse item (or a G only means I seem to be hanging on to this simply because it was a gift). I'm still working with it & learning from it. If any of you have other ways of looking at this information, I'd love to hear about it. Each run-through helps the evaluation process for me, and often helps loosen the grip of unnecessary possessions (which makes me happy!).

  4. #14
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    sumarie--
    I think your system for evaluation is good.

    It helps me also to think about life season appropriateness. Am I using it now? Is it something useful for a young adult? Middle aged adult? Older Adult?

    i.e. The baby crib was good when the kids were young. The kayak was used during young and middle years. The Precious Moments Figurenes (never worked for me).....

    High heels are good when you are 20 years old...silly when you are 80.

    The house w/ 4 bedrooms is great when your kids are young, and even when you are middle aged and they come home to visit...but when you are 90+, it is not your responsibilty to maintain a shrine to Thanksgiving.....

    Lots of people accumulate clothes and kitchen crap in case of "what if?"

    Here is my take on "What if?" DS#1 got married last summer. I bought a dress for the occasion. I am not likely to wear it again before DD (aged 16 yrs) gets married. It is at the consignment store.
    If all my kids and their SO descended on my home for Thanksgiving and the stove was busted, or the kitchen was being remodeled (true), I would order a take out turkey from the available store and we would have good laugh about the "year the turkey came from the resturant."

    Really! Read the accounts of how people celebrated holidays in the concentration camps, or in the territories w/o supplies, or during the Depression. These folks would LAUGH in the face of our "need."

    We are fine. We just need to learn it.
    author of A Holy Errand

  5. #15
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    I just came across this thread and like it. When I am not working, I make a list of what I will do each day in a small notebook. It helps keep me on track...even if it is just for pleasurable activities.

    I also like the conversation about having enough. 6 years ago I lost everything and now live in a small apartment and yet, somehow I have slowly accumulated "stuff". My goal during this work hiatus is to go through one room plus my closet at a time and remove things that I don't use or need....I just sold 2 items on craigslist. And when I go thrifting for clothing, however many items I bring into the house, I cull the same number from my closet and take them to Goodwill.

    I don't want to be a minimalist, but I need all the space I can get in a tiny apartment. Letting go of things gives me more room to walk around and enjoy my humble home.

    http://iliketomakethings.blogspot.com

  6. #16
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    Out of curiosity and seeking to learn I ask, what is considered a 'reasonable amount' of say blue jean dungarees? When I was in the service the mandate was six pair for example. Here in the civilian world there does not seem to be any real guidelines. This makes finding structure and a good 'base' a bit difficult. So, by consensus what are some 'reasonable amounts' of clothing items.
    Me and the wife have a lot of clothes in storage. We have started trying to use a seasonal approach, advice is always welcomed. We are not exactly minimalist, I prefer more spartan means but am amenable to giving some luxury. We're just tired of being lost and media generally offering no help. "Buy everything!!!!'

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by anonward View Post
    <snip> what is considered a 'reasonable amount' of say blue jean dungarees? <snip>
    I say that it depends on how you live your life. I work in a hospital and change into scrubs for my job every day. So I can wear one pair of jeans all week, and they are barely used, even with running errands after work. But if you wear your pants all day and are active in them, then you may need up to one pair every day. Since the wear on my clothing is so light, I have one pair of summer jeans, one pair of flannel-lined jeans, and one pair of fleece-lined jeans (I live where it snows) - these have lasted me over two years each now. I have a pair of khakis which are rarely used (and probably need to be donated).

    I prefer V-necked tees and wear those to/from work, so am slowly thinning the herd of casual tees (goal is less than 5 of fun/comfortable ones). I'm getting there slowly, since I have plenty of room and I'm concentrating more on eBaying my Mom's Christmas items right now. Once Mom's stuff is out of the house, I'll be able to concentrate more on my stuff.

    So I say, think about how you live your life and ignore what the media says you need/want. After all, they're in the business of influencing you to purchase purchase purchase...

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