Take a look around you. Every single item you see represents your choice to have that item in your life. You either chose to purchase the item, or were given the item and chose to keep it. From your new red sweater to the pile of junk mail on your kitchen counter, every item represents a choice made.
When your life is full of clutter, you might begin to resent all the “stuff” around you. Why do you think that happens? Often it is because you don’t LOVE the stuff you are looking at! Maybe the sweater doesn’t fit anymore. Maybe it was an impulse purchase that you now regret. Sometimes we purchase too much of a good thing – who really needs five staplers? – because it is much easier to buy the thing we need than find it in the junk yard that has become our home or office. When someone sends a gift or just gives us something we “have to” have, we often feel obligated to keep it “for a little while.” Let me tell you, I’ve met plenty of people whose “little while” is now 5+ years.
Make a choice NOW to change things. Start small. Pick five items around you. If you don’t absolutely love the item, find it useful/functional, or it doesn’t add beauty to your environment, get rid of it. Ebay, CraigsList, yard sale, trash can. I don’t care – let it go. It doesn’t matter if you paid $100 for it. If you have the receipt, take it back. No receipt? Ebay or donate it. Your peace of mind is more important than $100.
What items are you holding on to that you need to let go of?
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I’ve been blogging for over eight years. A couple years back, through a friend’s blog I believe, I found Waving or Drowning? Lately I have been checking in on those old blogs I used to read. On Monday, I found a great post on the site called “A Theology of Enough.” In his post, Mike quotes an author I’m unfamiliar with – William T. Cavanaugh, author of Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire.
“Detachment tends to characterize our attitudes towards the products we buy. Far from obsessively clinging to our stuff, we tend to buy and discard products easily. We don’t make them ourselves or have any connection to the people that make them; increasingly we have no connection to the people that sell them either, as small local businesses are replaced by gigantic chain retailers. Under these conditions, our connections to products become very tenuous and fleeting as well. The products we buy are mute about their origins, and the people we buy them from can tell us little.
…Such relationships are not made to last. There would not be a market for all the goods that are produced in an industrialized economy if consumers were content with the things they bought. Consumer desire must be constantly on the move. We must continually desire new things in order for consumption to keep pace with production. The ‘extreme makeover’ is an ongoing process in the search for novelty, for bigger and better, for new and improves, and for different experiences. The shaving razor with one blade had to be supplanted by the double-bladed razor, which was bested by three blades, then four, and now an absurd five on one razor.
This is more than a continuing attempt to make a product better; it is what General Motors called ‘the organized creation of dissatisfaction.’ How can we be content with a razor with a mere two blades when the current standard is five?… The economy as it is currently structured would grind to a halt if we ever looked at our stuff and simply declared, ‘It is enough. I am happy with what I have.'”
Christian or not, Cavanaugh gives us something really important to think about (especially those of us living in incredibly consumerist, materialistic America). This definitely provides some motivation for me as I start the 100 Things Challenge. Figuring out what’s important to me while I am deciding what to get rid of AND while I make purchasing decisions.
I am definitely ready to say “It is enough. I am happy with what I have.”
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I was playing around on the internet, reading lots of different things (as usual), when I came upon Greenopolis.com . The particular article I found on there was called “Can You Live with Just 100 Things?”
Do you have clutter in your home, your office or your life? Chances are you do. At one point or another we’ve all had a moment when we realized the sheer amount of stuff we have in our lives. Well, there is a growing number of people that are doing something about this, and de-cluttering their lives. It’s called the 100 Things movement, and the challenge is to reduce your possessions to 100 things (or less). Sound tough? It sure is.
The article eventually linked back to a Time Magazine article called “How to Live With Just 100 Things.” Apparently, this 100 Things challenge is a movement – and a great one at that if you ask me! Slowly ridding myself of more and more possessions is something I’ve been working on for a while. I never had a specific number of items in mind to keep, and I don’t know if I’ll get down to 100, but maybe I could get down to 100 and am just making excuses as to why I can’t (I have two business. If each book I own counts, that’s a real drag. I have what? Hundreds?), but it’d definitely something to strive for.
The guy who sparked this movement is named Dave Bruno. This movement is a great example of what can happen when you put a great idea in your blog, people see it, and then it spreads like wildfire. On his blog, Dave explains his personal challenge and how the challenge got started and what it’s all about.
I personally plan to take part, and keep track of my challenge. I know this will be tough for me, so I am definitely on the look out for an accountability partner!
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