The “Get Rid of 500 Things Project” Starts!


pro not prod Goes URGENT Today!

Well, as urgent as a 500 day countdown can be. (When it’s 500 days until your beloved only-child goes off to college, it feels pretty damned urgent.)

But we will brook no wallowing for the next 1 year, 4 months and 14 days. No! Instead, we will be productive! pro-active! and project ourselves into The Downsizing with impressive Vigor and Optimism. And the occasional moment of abject terror.

Here’s the plan:

Every day, for the next 500 days, I will find another possession to:

  • Donate

  • Sell or

  • Otherwise Get Rid Of.

Call it the


At the same time, a daily counter on the blog will:

  • Count Down— to Sam’s departure as I

  • Tally Up— the number of items I have Gotten Rid Of.

Because I am a pattern seeker and oddly attracted to lists and statistics, I will track the following:

  • Brief history of the day’s item
  • Calculation of the value the item added to my life
  • Degree of ambivalence at parting
  • Method of dispersal: Sell, donate, gift, trash

A few guidelines:

  • No stunt choices, ie, a single Lego piece will not count as an item; a Lego set counts.
  • Some choices will be family pieces which will be gifted forward to the next generation for their enjoyment.
  • A thousand mea culpas to my loved ones if I part company with one of your gifts. (Please feel free to redistribute similarly any thing I may have sent your way.  I promise I will not pout.)
  • If I don’t post for a day or more, I will provide a catch-up list in the next entry to stay on pace.
  • It’s my exercise; therefore, I am the final arbiter of all quibbles.

Is this starting to sound like Asimov’s Laws of Robotics?

“No family or friends will come to harm as a result of my downsizing.”

I am especially thinking of the third bulleted guideline above. I know none of us believes things define our relationships, but it is sure not my intention to bruise any feelings! Hold me accountable on that one.

Some may wonder how I arrived at the 500 Day count starting today.

Back in my 3/10/10 post, “Peeling Off the Lamination,” I described performing a rough calculation to find Sam’s approximate departure date for college. It will remain approximate until he actually chooses a college and gets an actual Freshman Orientation date. I simply used the academic calendars of two of his current top choices to target a likely date in mid-August, 2011.

I fully expect to have to finesse the downsizing target date sometime around April Fool’s Day, 2011, when final college admission/rejection letters are received.

Gee, that’ll be fun.

In the meantime, let the counting-down/tallying-up begin!

Following  post, the first item!


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