I recently finished reading “Weekend Makeover” by Don Aslett. The premise is to spend a solid weekend getting junk out of your house and pledging not to refill it. The book starts off with an observation of the American consumer lifestyle. It dispels some myths about what actually constitutes junk. Finally it gives practical if clichéd advice on how to get started and finish.
It was a good exercise for me as I am a packrat. I got rid of about 15-20 articles of clothing, empty boxes from purchases, about 5 binders full of paperwork, half a dozen books, some household goods and even some other media. I am never going to watch “Lucky You” on DVD again. It wasn’t that great the first time.
Rather than using the premise of have you used it in the last 6 months or 12 months, think broader as to the impact an item has on your life. Just because you have room to store something does not mean that you should. I had half a dozen audio cables from when I used to have a sound system. I no longer have a CD player, equalizer, cassette deck or turntable so it is time to get rid of the cables as well. I still kept a couple, but progress is progress.
The hard thing to do is to focus on your own junk. It is much easier to pick over the wife’s or the kid’s stuff and say this is junk. However, there may be an emotional attachment to books, clothing, media, and household goods that I am not recognizing.
I will never get to the mythical 100 items from the 100 thing challenge. However, I can let go of items that are not adding value to my life and make room (and convenient access) to items that are adding value to my life.
I don’t want to wait 20 years to move and wonder why I have held on to something for such a long time. I would rather thoughtfully buy and thoughtfully discard items to optimize my lifestyle.