STUFF Project: Purge 5 things a week

As I began to look at where to start in order to change my relationship with what I own, it didn’t take too much investigating to realize something glaringly obvious:

I have too much STUFF.

From a front closet bursting with bins, to a bedroom which boasts in functionality but lacks in peacefulness, to a storage unit which is filled to the brim (and occasionally overflows when some unsuspecting visitor opens it); impressive organizational skills are able to disguise but not truly address my problem.

The accumulation of material possession happens for two reasons:

  • Too much stuff coming in – This stuff didn’t appear out of thin air, at some point I brought everything into my place, piece by piece. I am responsible for welcoming it into my home. Most items are perishable: some last a week, others last months, and a few items may even last years.
  • Too little stuff moving out – I cannot remember the last time when I had a serious purge. Every so often I will take a bag or two to the Salvation Army, but in recent years this has petered off primarily due to lack of time commitment. I also think that having given up my car in exchange for transit, in addition to a want to reuse/repurpose old objects has likely added to the difficulty of letting go of things I no longer need.

<<< Goal: reduce the amount of things I own by at least 5 items per week. >>>

I will track how many objects I’m bringing into the home (for this challenge, I won’t include quickly perishable items like food) and adjust the number of items I need to let go of by that amount. For example, if I buy 5 new items I will get rid of at least 10. That may be as simple as cleaning out a drawer a week, but hopefully I will slowly start to teach myself: The more you bring in, the more needs to move out. It’s time to start being accountable.

Have you ever attempted to reduce the amount of stuff you own? What were some of the tactics you used? Would you consider trying to reduce your stuff by 5 items a week with me? Let me know in the comments below!


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42 thoughts on “STUFF Project: Purge 5 things a week

  1. This is such a good idea. I thought I had already reduced my possessions to the minimum, but after reading your post it only took me a minute or so to find five things I can easily manage without. I will give them to Thai Freedom House during my lunch break.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure where to begin. It’s a long story! Started about 26 years ago when I left England and took up residence in Cambodia and came to be influenced by Buddhist values. After a while, minimalism ceases to be a project. It evolves into a way of life, at least that’s my experience. I mostly live in Thailand nowadays, but am sometimes in Boston MA. I like your blog. It’s clearly useful to people, so i hope you continue with it. Thank you.

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      2. I am hopeful that I can move towards the path you are on. Loved how you put ‘minimalism is a way of life’ – it really resonated. Thank you so much for the encouraging words, I appreciate it. Good vibes to you in Thailand.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m joinin you in this “purge” but to make it more of a daily thing, I am committing to purging one item each day until March 31 to see how light I feel in that period of time🗑👙👠👒👛👢👜🌂🕶💼👗👚🎲🎮🗑

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Inspiring to see you letting go of a small stash of stuff much more aesthetic than my stuff! Fortunately mine is mostly paper easier to part with. It is a mountain though: twenty years of documents, 40 bankers boxes, 20 small Coutts book boxes, and ceiling-high shelves of unpackaged items. It feels odd to be set with such a large task that takes away from paid work, studying & social media. I know it will leave me feeling more in control, not appropriating more space than I deserve & better able to move when the time comes. Plus we’ll have room to set up a bed for guests. One de-cluttering book recommended doing it by completing an area in a larger block of time instead of scheduling it as an occasional task.

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    1. Great idea – I wish you best of luck with it! Interesting idea about doing larger blocks of space at a time. Likely both have their places. Would love to know how it goes for you!

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  4. It’s difficult, especially when you have sentimental attachment to so much stuff your children have given you over the years, from the first picture they drew (why am I keeping these things when they don’t even want them?) Clothes or shoes that I might wear again someday? The candy dish one of my sons gave me as a thank you for all the times spent at my house from Kindergarten through high school, which I have never used? Getting rid of 5-10 things a week makes it seem much more doable.

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    1. One idea I came across with for sentimental items, was to take a photo of it and store the photos somewhere safe. That way, you can go through pictures to remind you of the kind gestures or good memories associated with the things without needing to actually keep the item. Perhaps something worth a shot? Would love to know how the progress goes.

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  5. I keep flirting with buying the Kondo books, even though they’ve become faddish, because there’s something very necessary about them that rings true. I love dwelling, rather than drifting, but that seems to mean –especially because I have bipolar, Home-Shopping-Network-binge-addict, family-heirloom-collector-distributor family in the area– being prepared for warfare against the constant stream of “donations”. Getting to action items, and reading the hundreds and thousands of books in my place in an orderly fashion (which hover around in piles and stacks, and which I’ve needed to build custom bookshelves for due to queer space requirements) is difficult enough with the drag of childcare routines, community obligations, an aggressive spouse (who’s usually right, but is still aggressive), school and a job search. Clearing out clutter usually falls to the bottom of the priority list, though I’ve often surmised that the yield that would be acquired from clearing up clutter would be much, much higher than the energy and time lost from investing into the purge. As you’ve identified, it would need to be a habit, a routine, a ritual, for the purging to have staying power.

    Perhaps you’ve pushed me to prioritize it. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gregory, your post really made me smile. It’s so brave of you to consider trying it, especially considering all the other pressures in your life. I am immensely proud of you. I think you are right that the “yeild would be much higher than the loss”. I have a feeling that this ‘ritual’ of cleaning out the clutter will give us more space to allow some peace in our home. Please do let me know how it goes, I’m rooting for you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The same happened for me, but only rarely. For every 50 things I found an alternative home for, I found I had to replace maybe one. But the cost of those replacements is a very small price to pay for the wonderful, liberating feeling of not being owned by my possessions!

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  6. A very difficult task indeed breaking materialism! I do well Until it comes to books I just can’t give a way books, once I break this i feel a major breakthrough 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have been trying to reduce my “stuff”, it has been hard, I love kitchen “gadgets”…I have stopped buying them, and I went through my kitchen cabinets and got rid of stuff that had a nice dust layer on them 🙂 Guess they weren’t being used if they were dusty! But the best incentive is having your kid come home. OMG, that will light a fire to clear some space 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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