Friday, October 3, 2008

Things, Stuff and Clutter

Last week, we were riding to the Deerfield Fair. I was driving; Larry was snoozing. On the radio there an interview with Dave Michael Bruno, 37, was airing. Dave has created quite a stir with his personal challenge to pare down to 100 things by a date certain in November.

I was immediately intrigued by his challenge and over the next few days the thought of owning only 100 personal things kept re-surfacing -- but with questions.

How was he doing it? Was he counting every item in his possession? Like flatware? Dishes? Pots and pans? Surely, it would not take long to reach 100 by that method. Was he using categories and counting, for example, all flatware in the house as "1" item.

What with weekend quests, work and other obligations, I hadn't a chance to google Dave for the answers to these questions but the concept and his challenge kept my interest peeked. And I kept thinking about stuff and things and how it becomes CLUTTER in our lives.

We know about Clutter. It's the stuff we are stuck in. That fills our rooms, basements, attics and garages. That's stacked in boxes. Stuffed into drawers, bags and containers. Hangs in closets. That stuff we spend money to acquire and then spend more money to house and contain.

We spend our life's energy paying for it (you remember that great book from about 15 years ago, Your Money Or Your Life! --- I've forgotten the author's name), working for and working at purchasing, collecting; housing, containing, dusting and cleaning and repairing these things!

I think clutter starts as a must-have -- a gift to ourselves or our kids that we believe will fill a hole, comfort a need, make us happier, feel sexier, be more joyful or content with our lot in life. It does not, of course, do these things and is soon relegated to all the corners of our lives.

But I admit to it! I am one of those!

I am a collector of things: I love to read; my collection of books is varied and way too large; I have a passion for dishes. I love scarves. I quilt, sew, make altered books, fabric art journals and have a stash of supplies, equipment and tools for these crafts. And, truth to tell, I have way more than I need. I collect antique linen and lace and quilts. And CDs. Jewelry. Shoes and pocketbooks?

What exactly is Dave doing?
And what is his 100 Things Challenge?

Well Dave's goal is to have pared down to 100 personal things by November 12 --- that's this year, --- and to live with only those 100 things for one year. By his definition, personal things are not family-shared or household items.

Also, in pursuing his challenge, he says he will keep family memorabilia pared down to one small storage container and will not open it for one year.

Further, by way of qualification, Dave is sort-of-but-not-quite eliminating books from his challenge: he is "considering getting books down to 100".

And, he notes that, "some things will be counted in groups like underwear and socks" but that he is not keeping a lot of either of these items.

And, to be clear, his wife and children are not participating in his challenge.

But I might.
I am sympathetic. But could I do it? How would I do it? I don't think I'd use Dave's rules entirely. I'd have to 'start small' -- and begin by thinking in terms of overall categories rather than individual items because I surely could not pare down to just 100 things in such rapid-fire fashion.

I suppose I could think in categories such as books and clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and accessories. Magazines. And craft stuff.

Craft stuff? Yikes!

1 comment:

Beate Knappe said...

Ok, I'll think about because I have to renovate my flat and my workspace, but 100 things? No way :-)) I hope you are ok in many ways