Inspired by Zen Habits, I decided to do some spring de-cluttering this weekend. But rather than look at my possessions and ask myself what I didn’t need anymore, I decided to focus the purging by creating an artificial set of constraints.
100 items of clothing, 100 books, and 100 miscellaneous items – that’s more than enough stuff. I don’t need more than 100 items of clothing. If something isn’t one of my most valuable 100 material possessions, then I don’t need it.
Last fall, I already got rid of six 33-gallon bags worth of clothes after reading about the KonMari method. This weekend, I still had to get rid of another three 33-gallon bags to get down to 100 items of clothing.
I remember my mother telling me that when she was growing up in Ireland, she would get a new dress every year around Easter. And that was what she would wear for the remainder of the year.
And yet somehow, by trying to limit myself to only 100 items of clothing, I had to donate nine 33-gallon bags of clothes. Yikes.
Going forward, I’m going to try to keep these numbers constant. If I buy something new, I have to get rid of something. One in. One out. If it’s not valuable enough to knock something off today’s list, then I don’t need it.
It’s shocking how mindlessly out of control my consumption had become. I’m not exactly a clothes guy, but I had literally hundreds of clothes gathering dust in my house that I didn’t need. And yet, somehow, I still felt compelled to think that what I needed was more.
By taking the hard inventory, it’s harder to pretend that the oversupply of stuff was anything other than ridiculousness.
I’m hoping that by making a conscious decision to limit myself to an arbitrary number of things, that I may be able to free myself from the urge to think that I need more stuff.
And that’s all I have to say about that.