Sep 15, 2010

Lessons Learned From My Thing-A-Day Challenge

Towards the end of July I found myself overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I still owned. I’d done the hard work of paring down my yarn collection but was amazed as I looked around and saw how much other stuff I owned.

While I’ve no desire to live with fewer than 100 things, the idea of owning less had taken root, and I was ready to take it to the next level. I challenged myself to get rid of at least one thing a day for the duration of August and document the results via my Flickr account.

Now that it’s September, I wanted to take a look back at August and share what all I got rid of and my thoughts on the month.

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Doing one thing each day for even just 30 days can be difficult to accomplish I discovered – while most days I was able to easily find at least one thing to pare out of my life, I also managed to skip several days, having to make them up later or simply count them as a loss. Even with a few missteps, I managed to pare down 171 items from my life – shockingly I still don’t think our house looks much different for the big loss of items!

Now that my Thing-A-Day challenge is over, I feel even more compelled to pare down the stuff of my life. As I look around my house, I notice plenty of items I can use up and then not replace, and items that will soon no longer be necessary. I’ve also got a plethora of things I should easily be able to get rid of, but that are tripping me up for one reason or another.

As I enter into Project 333 in October, I know that I’ll be able to take a much closer look at the clothing I own and make some tough decisions there. I continue to knit through my yarn in the hopes that I will one day see it down to 20 or so skeins. And as I read through the books on my shelves I’m donating them – and thanks to the Kindle app on my phone I’m not replacing them with physical books like I used to.

I had thought this TAD challenge would be easy – I assumed I’d find well over 200 items to get rid of, and imagined myself living in austere surroundings and loving the positive effects of having such a small amount of personal belongings.

In reality, the pare-down process is much harder and more thought-provoking than I’d imagined. I am not under a time limit or space constraints the way so many minimalist bloggers living with less than 100 things seem to be. I hope I never am, actually. I truly don’t want to end up counting every item I own in the hopes I come up with less than 100 – for me, the larger goal is making sure everything I own is used and loved.

And I am still a long way from that goal. Thanks to my TAD Challenge however, I’m much closer than I used to be! I’d like to do this again in January or February – it will be interesting to see the different types of items I pare down when the weather is cold and I’m in hibernation mode to the extreme!

Have you ever performed a version of my TAD Challenge? What were the results? What did you learn?

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