Friday, July 07, 2006

The Project Begins

I want to own less. I want to buy less. I want to need less. And I want to want less.

There's more to say about my struggle with things and my journey towards letting go, but I'm giving myself a year to say it, here. So for now I'll just talk about this project as I am envisioning it.

The upshot: from 07/07/06 till 07/07/07 I intend to get rid of 7 things a week.

The guidelines: I will sell, donate, give away, or recycle these seven things (in very rare cases, I may decide to throw something away, but I intend to be very strict with myself about keeping waste to a minimum). Every Saturday, I will post the Saturday Seven, a picture list of the seven things I got rid of that week, along with an explanation of how long I've had these things, what made it hard to get rid of them, and what I chose to do with them. I will also record periodic musings about stuff and my attachment to it, along with anything I am learning from this experiment.

The rationale: I want to more fully embrace simplicity. I don't mean simplicity in terms of "convenience" (a notion which often leads to buying more stuff because the stuff seems to promise to save us time and make life easier). I mean simplicity in terms of becoming less attached to things, less driven by an acquisitional anxiety, more attuned to the needs of others, and more attentive to ecological sustainability. I believe that this kind of simplicity leads to contentment, spaciousness (physically, as my space becomes less cluttered, but also emotionally, mentally, and spiritually), sensitivity, and generosity.

Because I have so much stuff cluttering my life, it is difficult to know where to begin. It overwhelms and paraylzes me. But I think I can get rid of seven things as a time. And after a year, 350+ things will be gone. I chose seven because it seemed like a just right kind of number - not too easy but not so difficult that I would be tempted to quit within a month. Seven made sense also since I'm doing this weekly - there may be weeks when the best thing for me to do is pick one thing a day to get out of my life. Plus, in my religious tradition, seven is a sacred number representing fullness and completion. [Since the number 7 seemed important to me for this project, I decided to start on 7/7 and end on 7/7/07. It just seemed fitting.]

One of the many issues arounds material things for me is my emotional attachment. I am very sentimental about my stuff. I think it may be easier to get rid of some of it if I have a record, with pictures, to tell the story of the mark these things made on my life, and the reasons I have held on to them.

The invitation: I imagine I'm not the only one holding on to so many things that need to be let go. So I invite anyone who is interested to join me weekly in getting rid of seven things. Every Saturday, when I post my Saturday Seven, I invite you to post your own seven on your blog and then come over here and let me know. I think it would be great to have a whole little online community of folks striving towards a simpler life. Maybe we can help each other to live more lightly. Please join me!


Anonymous mamamelia said...

hi earthchick! it's mamamelia here from mothering dot com.
i just read through your plans and wanted to say that i think it's wonderful that your striving for a more simple life. good on you mama! :)
wishing you all the best on this journey..

1:29 PM  
Blogger B said...

Linked here from MDC, I'm inspired and on my own journey from more to less. Most excited to have encouragement and support on the trip, and awaiting your first Seven Picture.

2:40 PM  
Blogger april said...

I am totally in for this! (I already posted on the MDC thread!) I too am super sentimental. I also want to want less stuff. it's so hard!

3:03 PM  
Blogger Knittymama said...

Such a great idea!!! I'm in!

3:28 PM  
Blogger yakmidi said...

What a great idea! Was this your original idea, or did I miss a link somewhere?

I've been saying for quite a while now, that I have too much stuff in my life, and some of that stuff is even material. My struggle is not as much with acquisitional anxiety or attachment to things, but with filling up my time with things I don't need. Although, I also do have too much clutter vying for my attention.

I think I'm going to have to join you, even if some of the things I get rid of are from my schedule instead of my bookshelf or basement.

By the way, do you mind if I link to this project?


8:02 PM  
Blogger earthchick said...

Thanks everyone for your enthusiastic support! I'm psyched!

yakmidi, great to see you here! Yes, it was my original idea, something that has been percolating and evolving over the last two months. When I realized that yesterday would be 7/7, I decided I just had to take the plunge and do it.

By all means, link to the project! I hope soon to have a little blog button for anyone who likes to have those for their links. :)

8:43 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

I'm officially on board and blogging the experiment: And They Said Seven. :)

10:38 PM  
Blogger nymmy said...

Ill join.. Im nym on mdc.. im at

12:04 PM  
Blogger DebraBaker said...

I'm about decluttering and simplification.

I'll gather up my seven things and donate it to the thrift shop tomorrow.

I'll try to put it in my blog.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Keira said...

found you late for 7/7 but i'm in! expecting baby #2 any day now but if he/she isn't here by Saturday, I'll post my Saturday Seven! Great idea!!!

6:20 PM  
Anonymous supermuma said...

I also linked here from MDC, and I think this is a fabulous idea. I am definately going to give this a try!

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Zooks said...

What an absolutely fantastic idea! I, too, am striving for a less cluttered, more environmentally-friendly (through decreased consumption) life. I've gone through a couple of purges already in the past 8 months so I don't know if I can come up with seven items every week without resorting to individual pieces of paper, but join in the fun I am compelled to do!

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Rose said...

This is a wonderful idea! I am also a Flylady dropout. While there were many good ideas that I've incorporated into my everyday life, most was over the top for me. But as I get older, the need for a simpler life just gets stronger. This is a great was to start. I'm joining you on this journey. Thanks!

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Kimberly said...

Oh, I just love it!!! A blogger friend referred me to your blog after following mine for a while. I am so delighted to find someone else dedicated to the same effort I am working toward! It sounds like our children are around the same age - a less-easy stage to make the transition but all the more critical because of... Very happy to have found your project blog. I initiated a purge-a-thon in my post here. I'd love to join your Saturday Seven effort! Sign me up.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Poppy & Mei said...

Oh! I'm gunna try this too. I am trying really hard to reduce, recycle & reuse & this is such a good idea...such a good, good idea...

3:41 PM  
Blogger Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I love the idea of this. I've been struggling with too much stuff for years. I've read about simplifying, but haven't been successful at it. Are you going to continue another year? you may already have answered this, prolly have, but I haven't found it yet.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome! I like how you've come up with a concrete way of achieving an "own less" goal. I'm totally following in your footsteps! Thanks for the inspiration. I've linked to you in my most recent post (!

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this idea and I am going to challenge myself to do the same thing. Seven sounds like a good number and I would like to be owned by less in the new year. I too have attachments, sentimental or otherwise to my clutter. I can't wait to get started :).

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Monkeymia said...

I love this idea and will be taking on this challenge.

Thank you.

12:01 AM  

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