Clearing out the Cobwebs


If this picture could talk, would it scream?

Urgency Day 295

500 Things Project: An Inventory Before Item 200!

  • History: Highlights (and a lowlight) of 199 Things
  • Value: A pause to remember and refresh
  • Parting Pain: Not any so far (okay, significant unparting pain)
  • Un-possessing: Already achieved– with one notable exception!

Do you ever make a wrong turn?

Sure. Most people do, or at least they did before the GPS autonavigators took over. When you did, did you ever wish you had a picture of the moment you went cruising right by your turn? What would it reveal? Would it show you were looking the wrong way? Watching another person? Singing along with your soundtrack? Daydreaming?

Every time I take a picture of an item I’m un-possessing for this blog, I wish I had a picture of the moment I purchased it.

Man, I would scrutinize those pictures something fierce. Was I looking the wrong way? Watching another person? Singing along with my soundtrack? Daydreaming? I would love to recreate my thinking at the point of each purchase, because I am just consumed with curiosity:

How in the world did I get all this stuff?

I’m at a milestone with the 500 Things project: Item 200. I keep thinking about something my friend Elizabeth said about my project on her blog, that I am clearing out my house one bookshelf at a time. She is spot on. One bookshelf, one drawer, one bin at a time; I will clear out my crap. Individual small items may not make much of an impression, but the cumulative effect is becoming significant. And the shame of it all is, it’s all really unnecessary stuff.

Channeling my inner Lady Macbeth, Out, damn’d stuff, out!

…but I guess a few bigger ticket items might be satisfying, too.

So, today’s “item” is a bit of a departure. Not a big ticket item just yet—those will come! Today I offer a recap to clear out the cobwebs before moving forward.

199/500 Things: The Project, So Far.

  • Clothing, shoes, accessories: 26 individual items (plus 2 overstuffed bags)
  • Household items: 54 items (plus 1 box of assorted school supplies)
  • Kitchen items: 26
  • Books: 160
  • VHS tapes, DVDs and CDs: 29
  • Games, toys, sporting goods: 22

That’s:  26 + 54 + 26 + 160 + 29 + 22 Things.

Does anything jump out at you? I’m a bit over 199 things. I’ve actually un-possessed 317 Things! (Plus 2 overstuffed bags and 1 box.) Even taking out the one day, bookshelf-clearing effort of 127 books, I’m at 190 Things– plus 2 overstuffed bags and 1 box, which I assure you held way more than 9 things.

I really don’t know whether to crow or cry.

A few observations:

I look around at the amount of stuff remaining: the overflowing drawers; the cabinets full of hand-me-downs and still-to-pass-alongs; toys and linens and CDs and papers; the three identical vases stacked behind the other two identical vases; bin after bin, shelf after shelf; mistake after mistake, and I think the only thing I can think:

A reckoning is coming...

Let’s get rid of 199 more!

Or 317, and YES!

I am counting!


3 Responses to “Clearing out the Cobwebs”

  1. Donna Says:

    Recently there was a professional organizer on Nate’s new show (at least I think that’s where I saw her — doesn’t matter) who specialized, as I remember, in going into people’s houses and helping them de-clutter, especially after someone had “gotten on the bus.” Lots of antiques, older items with some value, vintage clothing, etc. Someone in the audience made the comment, “You must have wonderful stuff at home” since the pro has access to this treasure trove of ever-changing things from which to decorate her own place. Her reply was a very emphatic, “I have nothing.” She says she’s seen too often what it looks like to spend a lifetime acquiring things and then to leave it all behind — for someone else to deal with. I thought of you. In fact, I think of you almost every time I go into my basement. Someday…


  2. sthibeault Says:

    There are so many motivations for downsizing and decluttering. “Peace of mind” might be the umbrella concept. Thanks, Don.

  3. melanie Says:

    Lady Macbeth decluttering! Made me laugh. I love the concept of having a photo of the moment I by a thing that will later be brought to Good Will. So when I ask myself “What was I thinking?” at least I’d have the photo as a clue.

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