We've reached the end of the 2009 Get Rid of 50 Things Challenge. Congratulations to all who participated, and an extra round of applause to those of you who were able to weed 50 things (or more!) from your space and your life.
This week, I want to share some of the results of the Challenge and offer a few tips to help you carry the spirit of the 50 Things Challenge with you throughout the year.
One of my favorite parts of the Challenge is hearing about the stuff people decided to part with over the past several weeks. Some of what went, according to those who shared their lists with me, was easy to decide to say goodbye to; other things were harder to let go. Here's a sampling of what has left your fellow readers' lives over the course of the challenge:
- Books [For some, books were the easiest things to part with; for others--like me--they were among the hardest. Proof positive that the experience of getting organized varies from person to person.]
- Photos of pure scenery, without family members in them.
- Recipes: one reader took a look through her recipe box, realized she was unlikely to use 90% of what was there, and saved only the 10% she thought she might refer back to. For good measure, she got rid of the recipe box, too!
- Crafts supplies and unfinished projects. According to one reader, "I can't even do crewel embroidery anymore, and if I could my children wouldn't want it."
- Handbags, some of which proved to be collectibles that could be sold on eBay.
- Outgrown kids' clothes and shoes, as well as team t-shirts that one reader's 11-year-old refused to wear.
- Several years' worth of magazines--Cooking Light and Real Simple were the biggies in this category.
- Expired/old/weird/never-to-be-used items from pantry
- Old computer disks
- A notebook one reader used to plan her 1996 wedding
- Lots and LOTS of kids' toys. [Kudos to those of you who passed these along to charity or shared them via Freecycle, and to those who made a few bucks consigning playthings that were still in great condition.]
- Jewelry one reader had inherited from her mother but didn't care for. [Yes, it's absolutely OK to pass along things family members have handed down to you; better to get them into the hands of someone who'll really treasure them than to force yourself to keep them out of guilt or obligation.]
- 20 vases
- Clothing galore, some of which went to charity, some to friends, and some to consignment shops
- Sympathy cards one reader had received following the death of her Dad; the sentiment remained, but the cards didn't have to.
- Tons of paper, including old paystubs, bank statements, and bills.
- Old light fixtures
- Expired/unneeded medications
- A shower curtain that had been sitting in a drawer since a reader moved to a house that had one less bathroom
- A TV set that had been in these readers' bedroom; with the switchover to digital broadcasts, they decided they no longer needed a TV in the bedroom, so out this old set went.
I could go on, but you get the idea! By deciding to part with these items, the Challenge participants who contributed to the list above also made the decision to let go of unneeded obligations, emotions, intentions, guilt, and so on. More power to them.
Continuing the Challenge
While the 50 Things Challenge is officially over for this year, I encourage you to keep up your decluttering efforts. Everything that gets space (emotional or physical) in your life should truly deserve a spot there. Regularly check in with yourself to see if there are items or beliefs that have crept into your world that shouldn't be there: things you're keeping out of obligation, guilt, or the belief that you might need them someday; misguided and limiting thoughts about what you are and aren't capable of; and, above all, absolutely anything that makes you feel bad, inadequate, annoyed, or depressed.
Take time throughout the year to do a mini version of the Challenge--perhaps getting rid of 5 or 10 things a month. You'll keep your space (and possibly your head) free of clutter and will set yourself up to live your best life.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in this year's Challenge. Here's to a less cluttered, more enjoyable life!