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Archive for the ‘Lessons’ Category

The new leaf is turned

Tonight is the evening of 100 days.

100 days is a rather long time. I started strong, had a dip in energy at around 60 days, had to add an extra 5 days in lieu of being on holiday, but now I have made it, I’ve turned over my new leaf.

What does it feel like to have 126 things? Well, firstly you’ll notice that I don’t have 100 things, but a few more. I always felt the challenge was about finding my own personal ‘enough’ point. That point for me, today, is 126. Of course I could have made it to 100, or below. There are many people in our world living happy and full lives, or just living, with a minute amount of possessions. But they aren’t me, they’re not in my shoes. So with 126 things I feel – surprised. The whole challenge has been a surprise. I never imagined I owned 500+ things pre-challenge. Now I own 126 things. I don’t feel minimalist. I couldn’t, not with 8 short black dresses! Not with bath salts and eye lash curlers. These things aren’t essential for living, but at the moment they are a wonderful part of my life.

I could have dived below the 100 mark; reduced my wardrobe, ditched all the bathing paraphernalia. But it would have only been for my ego. The point of reducing my things was to find the essential, focus on the best, polish the compass of my life so I can plan the direction I’m taking.

The one hundred days has been like an onion, each week peeling off a new layer. Getting rid of the unnecessary; the easier to goes like extra stationary and beauty products; the unusual like my umbilical cord; the difficult like once loved hobbies. It really felt that with each layer coming off I was getting closer to myself. Me in this presence moment. 

I was rewriting my history. By removing things from my life I was also removing the memory triggers. This is one of the main reasons people have clutter; the ticket that reminds them of the concert and friends, the senior jersey that brings back highschool conversations, the birthday cards and photos of happy days, and sad days. Perhaps I was hedonistic, but my list of possessions now only has things that bring back good memories. From now on the trips down memory lane will be pretty rosy.

And as I write this I’m slowly starting to feel a little pride. For setting a goal and sticking with it. So many times I’ve started a project only to lose interest after a few days. I think I’m going to wake up tomorrow with the feeling I was striving for: contentment and peace. A kind of satisfaction or security from knowing I have what I need sans clutter.

This project has distilled my life into a few great hobbies, a few luxuries and some wonderful memories and now, a whole lot of space to fill with the people and activities I love. Now when I walk into a beautiful store I hear myself say; I already have enough, and it fills me with gratitude and knowledge that there are more important things in life than things.

 Items: 126 🙂

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As I work my way through my list I’ve been more aware of the saying, “things own you”. The prospect of only having 100 personal items has made me want to care for these items more. They are precious enough to have on my list, so they’re precious enough to keep in excellent condition. I’ve noticed that my handbag is starting to unstitch, that I’ll need more cultures for my cheesemaking kit, that the tyres on my car need pumping up, that I should clean my satin ballet flats. Things need a little taking care of.

Just today and yesterday these are the activities I did to look after my things;

  • I went to the jewellers to get my antique engagement ring fixed (a pearl fell out)
  • I wiped down my bicycle and cleaned the lights
  • I washed my car and filled it up
  • I washed our clothes and hung them out to dry
  • I downloaded photos from my iPhone to make more space
  • I made some more face toner

It’s these little day-to-day maintainance activities, which are only a few minutes per item, that really start adding up when you have hundreds and hundreds of things. In our first world society, we have access to great luxuries. I see the six activities I did as essential, but really only one of them is – washing clothes. It’s something to keep in mind; how much time we spend on up keeping our things and our lifestyle.

Is your upkeep worth it?

Items: 226

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