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Could you make do with just 10 items?

On a visit to the dentist this week, I was flicking through an old copy of Red Magazine and came across an article called "Your Life in 10 Items" - sadly I can't seem to find it online, so you'll have to make do with my synopsis... Ready? Here goes :)

The article started out citing Mahatma Ghandhi as an inspiration as he could reputedly count all of the objects he owned on two hands (i.e. he had less than ten possessions); and that while just ten might be a stretch (well duh); being possession-light might actually enrich your life.

Had I been drinking tea at this point, I may well have snorted it out of my nose. Hmmm - a glossy magazine (which let's face it pretty much embodies consumerism) seems pretty much at odds with this noble message. Anyhow - let's park that for now.

It got me thinking - do I really need all of this 'stuff' I've accumulated over the years?

... Or indeed (as the author highlighted) all of the stuff I lug around in my handbag every day?

Erm, probably not. So, for those who really want to take stock and live with a little less 'stuff' , the magazine highlighted a number of ways to achieve this. Of course, most of the solutions seemed to involve using technology to cheat the system... Ergo, the best way to de-clutter is to buy more stuff (now I see why they decided to run the article).

Don't get me wrong, I get it. Why do you need hundreds of CDs if you store all of your music collection on your computer? Likewise your films, photos etc. Hell, who needs books when you can get yourself a Kindle and have every book you could want within one handy gadget?

But for me, buying more things totally misses the point of the exercise. Surely, the thing to do is to take stock of what you do have and figure out which things you need; which things you really can't bear to part with; and which things are just dragging you down.

I'm probably not interested in the idea of having just ten 'things' (not least because that seems impractical in the extreme) - but less things - I could certainly live with that.

To this end, I considered doing a Spring Clean... But then I remembered that I try (and normally fail) at this most years; because it's a seemingly massive (and therefore very daunting) task. So, instead I've decided to go with a more achievable goal. Every month I will fill a black sack with things that we no longer love/need/want/have a use for etc and toddle on down to my local charity shop.

I did my first black sack this weekend. It took me less than half an hour. I cleared out a whole load of books which I've read but don't have any desire to read again, plus some clothes which the children have grown out of. I'm not sure I could claim that I was overcome with a sense of zen-like calm by shedding those worldly possessions; but it did feel good.

So good, I may even do another black sack this weekend too.

Mahatma would be so proud.

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Leave a comment

    From Lucy Quick
    @Nickie - totally agree - really glad you found the post thought-provoking :)

    @Mummy Zen - I think (as you say) it is a healthy process, plus I think you always expand to fill every inch of space available if you're not careful!
    From Mummy Zen
    I think the way you have chosen to adapt the idea of minimalising your stuff is a great one. Like you say, 10 things seems a tad unrealistic for most people, especially those with children but it's a healthy process to constantly review what you have at home and see what you can do without. We used to move house every year (renting) and the clearing out we did in that process was always very liberating :-). xx
    From Nickie
    This concept is a great idea but I think those people reading this article (either here or in a glossy magazine) already live in a very materialistic world and items that we use every day are actually "needed" but if we compare our life to a poorer community or even right down to Third World communities, we are shown that everything we use isn't actually required for living - it just enriches our life.

    Loads to think about here - thanks.
    From Lucy Quick
    Yep 10 items is *never* going to happen!

    Good luck with your decluttering and decorating too! xxx
    From Mummy Beadzoid
    10 items only does seem a little excessive, but certainly we could probably all do with scaling back a bit. I'm in the process of tryng to declutter (and redecorate!) at the moment and it's amazing how much stuff is just stashed away that I'll never use/wear/look at again.

    I have a red box that if something has sentimental attachment for me, then in it goes. Otherwise, it can probably go to the charity shop.

    Good luck with your gradual zenning :D x
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