Reverse 100 Thing Challenge ~ A guest post by my husband

In October, Courtney Carver at Be More with Less created the Reverse 100 Things Challenge; the aim is to reduce your personal objects by 100 items by December 15. An interesting challenge that I immediately forgot about until it reappeared in my Flipboard feed yesterday.

Do we have 100 things left to declutter?

Colleen started her one thing a day quest in January 2010, and almost a thousand things have left our lives over the last three years. Could I even find 100 more items to move on to a new home?

I grabbed a few items that had been earmarked for removal, rummaged through the cupboards and drawers, and found about forty things that had so far escaped Colleen’s decluttering zeal.

OK, that’s a start but were can I find another sixty things that we no longer love or need? Now I found myself on a mission to complete the challenge but I only had 24 hours to finish it.

An indecisive minimalist

Although I am 100 percent behind Colleen’s quest, I have procrastinated over every one of my personal items that left our home over the years. Some of that clutter had followed me all over the world for 33 years, and I felt comfortable with them sitting on shelves or more often in boxes. Sending them to new homes, or to my horror the trash, never came easy to me and I looked at each item a dozen times before it made the cut.

Why the indecision?

Some reminded me of past glories on the Rugby field. The shelves of books displayed in our living area showed the world I am well read and educated, and my collections reflected the diversity of my interests. To give up many or any of these items meant giving up a part of own psyche, my being and my raison d’être.

Turning indecision into action

Colleen has enjoyed the slow journey but I am more at home in the deadline crunch. My professional training enables me to analyse complex situations and continually adjust the variables to achieve our objectives; the response time to a problem is measured in minutes and often seconds. Give me a week to make a decision and I research, ponder and just plain old procrastinate until you demand the answer. With less than a day to complete the challenge I did not have time to worry and my process became ruthlessly efficient.

Every item passed through my hands once, and I quickly assessed it against three keys questions:

  1. Have I used it this year?
  2. Will I use it in the next three months?
  3. Do I love it?

If I answered any answer with ‘no’ that item went into the donation pile. A couple of hours latter I had a small mountain of stuff sitting in the donation pile, over 100 items ready for a new home.

Two questions I did not ask myself:

  1. Was this a present?
  2. What did I pay for it?

Challenge met

A lot of these items should have gone a long time ago; Windows software (we are an all Apple house now), broken watch (a present) and numerous excess tools and knick knacks that have haunted my spaces for years. Most of them will go to the Thrift Store, a very few went into the bin and the easel will be offered to a young artist but none of them will be missed by me.

It felt good to met the Reverse 100 Things Challenge, and it has helped me to focus on the important parts of my life; my family, travel, motorcycles and work. Now if I can just convince Colleen to reduce everything to fit into one carry-on bag each then we can start vagabonding across the world.

The 100 Decluttered Items For Today

Reverse 100 Thing Challenge

Eco Tip for the Day 

When the time comes to replace any of the appliances in your home choose energyefficient  and or water efficient models.

Today’s Mini Mission

Declutter something you got for free. In the photo above you can see a baseball park giveaway, a coffee mug from an aeroplane manufacturer, various toiletry items from a recent international flight and a souvenir from a foreign military establishment. Some of these have been around for quite a some time while others have infiltrated my clutter defences just recently. Hmmmmmm!!!

 


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About Steve

Steve writes occasional posts for 365 Less Things and is Colleen's husband, web designer and tech support.

Comments

  1. Wa-hoo!! Good job Steve!!

  2. I love Colleens way of decluttering because slow and steady wins the race. However, I totally love Steves way also because of the instant gratification of getting so much stuff out of the house. I think a good combination would be to do a big “Steve” purge every so often then do a “Colleen” purge once a day!

  3. Looking at this particular collection of stuff makes me realize even more that a huge part of my problem is stuff that isn’t mine. For example, out of all the electronics stuff in my house, I only know what to do with about 5% of all the items. I boxed it up, and every time the kids are looking for something, I ask them to separate what they go through into two piles: to be recycled and to be kept. I can take the recyclable items to Best Buy in the States, but that “to be kept” pile is still huge. When my son arrived at his first semester at university, he told us, “What I really need is such and such calculator.” We couldn’t afford to buy him another fancy calculator, but that very week my daughter was cleaning her area and found one–a $141 calculator that someone left behind. I’ve taken in too many stray kids over the last decade, so I don’t even know who left that calculator (I decided to think of it as inadvertent rent). And last week, in cleaning my dad’s shop (he died in 1981), I found that yes, I even have the proverbial kitchen sink (at least until I figure out if it’s recyclable or trash): http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlcrook/8252552823/

    • How clever of you Judy to recognise that there isn’t much among that 100 things that I am responsible for. Perhaps in February I might challenge Steve to another 100 thing challenge and see what else he can round up. Or better still perhaps I should do one of my own. I would have to be really ruthless to achieve that. Except with craft supplies it would probably not be hard to rustle up 100 tiny little bits and pieces to get rid of there. Hmmmm, I might have to think about that.

  4. Good job Steve!
    After reading Colleens blogpost from yesturday (I read it this morning) I decided to do a little reverse100 things challenge myself to get the decluttering back on track. Since this morning I’m at 32 items, but I’m giving myself until christmas to find 100 things to get rid of. Funily it is nearly a hundred days ago (well 78 actually) since I stopped decluttering. (my baby was born then)

    I think it’s a great way to kickstart the decluttering gear again after having it sitt idle for so long!

  5. Way to go Steve. I know Colleen is excited to see you do this. You have started me to thinking and I am going to see what I can find today. There has to be more things I can convince Mom and I to get rid of.

  6. Awesome job! It is amazing that just when you think that there is no way that you can come up with that many items to get rid of, it only takes a little thought and more items make the cut. As I have started my journey, I am becoming more and more realistic about what is considered a necessity to me. Time has passed since I have went through what I would call the “surface clutter”, things that do not take a lot of time to make a decision on, now it is time for a second look to find those items that have gotten overlooked. Love the idea of having only a bag each and traveling the world!

    It was great to have Steve involved. In my home, I do not usually deal much with my husband’s things, unless something is really bugging me :). I mainly unclutter items that are specific to home decor, kitchen, my things or the kid’s things, etc. I have learned that for me, I will get my husband involved when I know he is in the mood to declutter or when I offer to help him sort through an area that needs work. Otherwise, I will pick an item on occasion that is his to make a decision on, so that no one is overwhelmed.

  7. Wow! It didn’t take long for me to find 100 things. About 2 hours. I didn’t even get into Mom’s area yet. I got into things that I have put off for a while first due to the heat and then due to all that’s been going on with the holidays. First I went out to the shed and just went through one drawer and a shelf. There goes about 25 tools and some electrical dodads that I now know we won’t need. Then I got into a couple of misc drawers in the craft stuff. Mom said the other day that she didn’t plan to make any more jewelry or things like that so I already knew I could go through that. I took out all sorts of little rings, fasteners, etc. I kept a few of some of the things to use to repair what jewelry she wears and out goes the rest. By the time I got done with those two areas all I had to do was pick up a few things here and there. Most of those here and there things were items Mom had either said she didn’t like to use them (a square microfiber “glove”) or items that we no longer have a use for now that we have made some of the lifestyle decisions we have made. Feels good. Thanks Steve.

  8. As we were moving furniture to put the tree up this weekend, my husband found some old hockey ticket folders that he had kept for who knows why and tossed them. I also went through some of his old shirts since I got him some new ones for Christmas. While not at a 100 count, I am still finding lots of things to donate or toss depending on its quality. I have a large bag for the Salvation Army to pick up and will wait until after the holidays to call them since I am sure there will be other things once we put away new clothes and such. My goal of keeping things tidy for Nov and Dec lanquished only one day. I left dishes in the sink Friday night but hated seeing them there on Saturday morning so am renewing my “tidy goal” for the rest of December and January. I really need to think of this as a renewal each month to keep it in the forefront of my brain but am liking the clean sink and made bed each day.

  9. „ If you’ve always thought that the 100 Thing Challenge is extreme, and that it would be impossible to only live with 100 things, then giving away only 100 things should be a breeze.“

    Love Courtney Carver‘s logic here!

    And Colleen, congratulations on having more baseball items leaving the house. Will they ever cease? 😉

  10. It was so interesting to read what your husband said about the two different approaches to decluttering! I try to do the one item a day at least but sometimes I get on a roll and lots of things are sent on their way. When I told a friend this weekend that we are planning to put our house on the market early in the New Year and downsize she said she would love to do that but she and her husband had so much stuff she couldn’t even think of it. I took the opportunity to talk about how I had decluttered using Colleen’s blog as inspiration. She was intrigued because my friend thinks my home has always been quite minimalist – she has never seen inside the (too many) closets we have in our home! Hopefully she is now reading your wise words and she and her husband have two approaches to decluttering as they begin their journey to serenity.

  11. Well done Steve! I am like you, in that when I have the luxury of time I think I am progressing in a calm, controlled way but the realty is that I am tying myself up with a lot mental red-tape debating the cause, forming subcommittees and working parties in my head to fluff around discussing the merits of the item. Then, like you, either the deadline looms or something out of left field happens (in my case, Adrian pushed the dresser out of the lounge and said “get rid of it, my tv is going in that spot”) and then a flurry of action happens.

    Just the other day I commented to my daughter that sometimes I feel I have decluttering angel on one shoulder and a decluttering devil on the other shoulder.

  12. Congratulation on succeeding in your challenge.

    I think it is great that you understand how you work best, and similarly for Colleen.

    Personally I am a mix of slow, regular decluttering and fast, mass exodus style declutterings. I just go with the flow of how I’m feeling at the time.

    Thanks for a great guest post!!!

  13. Excellent post, Steve. I’m impressed when you declutter that you don’t ask yourself how much you paid for an item. That’s often a sticking point for me in trying to decide whether to declutter something.

  14. oh wow. Thats excellent!! you did well steve. and colleen must be thrilled getting other baseball items out…

    you and Deb J (2 hours for 100 things!!!) got me thinking now, maybe I can find 100 things until christmas, or more precise until friday, as I will leave my place and spend the holidays at my mums house, where I will be able to declutter the next layer of old stuff. so if I dont make 100 things until , I will finish that goal until new year eve for sure… thats kind of exiting – now I cant wait to start.

  15. I’m more like Steve, too. While I intend to declutter one thing a day, I end up just forgetting. But once I begin, I can keep up the momentum and declutter a bunch–maybe not 100 things, but certainly more than one at a time.
    I congratulate you, Steve! I hope to inspire my hubby to do some decluttering over the holidays.

  16. I am reading this at work but was immediately able to get rid of something – the free-from-some-company mug that holds my spare pens! I have a prettier mug that I much prefer but don’t drink out of any more, so it is now my pen holder and the freebie has joined the communal mugs in the kitchen.

    Getting rid of 100 things won’t be too difficult either but I’ll make that my task for when I get home. Perhaps they won’t leave the premises today but they can be boxed/bagged and ready to go 🙂

  17. Way to go Steve!!! (Care to give my husband a crash course??? 😀 , just kiding) I like Colleen’s aproach, but most of the time I get a box and fill it with stuff to declutter. I am not a very patient person so I like to “see” results faster and get really whinnie when things don’t go as fast as I like. I am a true procrastinator, because if I have two months to do something, I will do it in the last two days. So Colleen’s aproach works for me on my sentimental itens and the deadline aproach works on procrastination clutter. I did not count, but I think that the books I decluttered, come to a 100… 😉

    • Andreia – 100 books is a BIG step forward. I reckon that my first 100 books were the hardest ones but it became easier and easier after that. That’s not to say that I always find it easy, some were rather difficult to part with and there are still some left to go through and some that unfortunately can’t be gotten rid of (for various reasons) but a BIG high five to you!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Thank you Moni! What pushed me foward was that most of these books really meant nothing to me. They were mine, but some of them I read but did not like, some I had just because I might read them someday or might need for consult one day (these ones were work related, but I don’t work in the area they approach and never will) and last were books that are outdated and therefore useless for consult and only useful for research if I ever need it(also work related), but I can get any of them at the library or even online, if the day comes I need them. And my shelves are still full… It is not easy to part with the books, because as Steve put it, they are part of our persona, part of who we built ourselves to be, or imagine being. To my great abashment, I have once or twice (or at least a hundred times 😀 😀 😀 ) shown my little library to tell people “who” I am. I have not been the only one I know to do that. But we live and learn, lol. Tomorrow I am tackling my office that, once again has slipped, so wish me luck, because I am so going to need it 😀 😀 😀 …

        • Andreia – As someone who loves books I understand. I do not feel that kind of sentiment to many things, but books, definately. Yes the key is definately one book at a time. Even now if I see a pile of books I dither, but one by one they are easy to make a decision on. I, too, will be tackling some books tomorrow so will think of you!

  18. Nicely done!
    It’s really not hard to find 100 things to part with. Actually, it’s hard to stop at 100 once you get going!
    Speaking for myself, once I got over the initial guilt hurdle & stopped bemoaning about the sunk costs only then did my decluttering get kicked into high gear.
    Sure I could have taken it a heck of a lot slower than I did, & sure, I could have had it done months ago. But arbitrary deadlines gave me the leeway to futz & dawdle around with it….which in hindsight seems a bit silly now knowing I could have had that behind me all this time. Ah but that’s hindsight.
    Looks like you got some old-school pilot or loadmaster mickeys in the 100 item giveaway.

  19. I enjoyed your post, Steve! I’m a declutterer from way back, and my husband is finally starting to get on board too–yay!

    For those who are talking about books, I have one more challenging thing about getting rid of them: they are just SO nice to use for altered books, art journals, even making those wreaths from book pages that are so popular now.

    It’s easy enough to move the books off the shelves, but sometimes harder to get rid of them, when it’s so easy to see the art possibilities that they offer. 😉

Trackbacks

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