Welcome to Week 2 of the 2010 Get Rid of 50 Things Challenge. (If you missed Week 1, click here to read an overview of the Challenge and why you might want to participate.) Kudos to those who've already started identifying the stuff you'd like to clear out of your life over the next 4 weeks.
For those who need a nudge and a bit of direction getting started, this week's Tip offers a few ways of knowing what sorts of things to let go of--and why and how to part with them.
What Should Go: Anything that gets in the way of stuff you actually want, need, use, or find beautiful
- Why: I see it happen all the time: a client's kitchen counter will be crowded with rarely (if ever) used gadgets and appliances while the truly useful stuff (think toaster) has to be hauled out of--and then returned to--some distant cabinet every day. Or someone's schedule will be so packed with activities and busywork that there's no room for the important, meaningful stuff. Or a mantel will be so crammed with knick knacks that family photos and truly special pieces get all but completely lost in the shuffle.
- How: Over the course of the Challenge, be on the alert for the stuff that really adds value and meaning to your life--as well as anything and everything that gets in its way. Commit to clearing out the non-essentials and the clutter so the seriously important stuff gets to shine.
- Why: Giving space in your life to stuff, beliefs, and habits that cause you to feel bad is like repeatedly having dinner parties to which you invite friends you know will berate, belittle, and insult you. Why surround yourself with such downers? Just as you get to decide who comes to dinner--and can withhold invites from your frenemies--so, too, can you decide to jettison whatever it is that's bringing you down.
- How: For the next few weeks, work on honing your sense of how the stuff around you makes you feel, with the aim of giving pride of place to whatever brings you joy, contentment, a sense of accomplishment, and so on. That box of letters and photos from an ex who shattered your heart? The clothes several sizes too small that remind you (miserably) of the body you had 10 years ago? Show them the door.
- Why: This past weekend, I went through a reckoning with the contents of my coat closet, finally extracting a few jackets that had lingered there for (cough) a few years because I was determined to get their linings repaired, or their multiple missing buttons replaced, or lingering stains removed from them, or all three. What changed my mind? I acknowledged that getting those repairs made involved tasks I didn't consider important enough to do, even though they seemed simple. And I got tired of reminders of those unimportant tasks staring me in the face each time I opened the closet--not to mention taking up space I need for the jackets I wear all the time.
- How: The Challenge is the perfect opportunity to cut yourself some slack and erase a few lingering tasks from your mental To Do list. Keep an eye out for things you're holding onto because you intend to repair them, use them to undertake a complex project, sell them, paint them, send them to Cousin So-and-So, pass them along to your grandkids, and so on. Then ask yourself if you really, truly, honestly want to do such tasks, and whether they're actually worth your time and effort. Unless you can answer a resounding "Yes!", let the stuff go.
Here's to a successful Week 2 of the 50 Things Challenge!