On Sunday, February 8, the Nexus community was asked to consider the risks material possessions bring to living a content life and to embrace Jesus call towards a more generous, simple and minimal lifestyle. The teaching was called The One About the Hedonic Treadmill and it concluded with the Nexus February Challenge = to give away 100 material things that you currently own, take a photo of that and then make a list of the 25 material possessions we value most and why. These are our stories.
Story 9 – I’m including a photo of some of what we’re getting rid of so far… We will eventually be getting rid of a LOT but there’s a ton on the go for us (I realize I’m not needing to defend this…haha).
But here’s a photo of George St. Pierre with our first 40ish things! (And yes, if you’re wondering, I’m giving those GSP videos to someone now that I have arrived at the point of looking like him. Cheers!
Story 8 – The kids have two words to say about the 100 Thing Challenge: weird and hard. We didn’t get to focus on the toys yet, but the clothes, books and art supplies went well. The clothes will be passed down to cousins. I intend to ask Suddaby PS if they want the books. The art supplies & games were gratefully accepted by our local elementary school with cold temp indoor recesses in mind.
One of many effects this challenge has had on us is that it made us approach birthday gifts differently. There were two parties this month and we opted to give experience gifts rather than stuff (movie gift card and butterfly conservatory visit). We also hope to approach Christmas differently this year.
Story 7 – This challenge demonstrated how stuff really weighs me down. It was great to get some of these crossed off in the process. Looking forward to getting to all of these over the next four months.
Story 6 – Sure didn’t find it hard, but well on my way of doing even more extensive purging of my home office and professional office. – Want to maintain a more streamlined approach for our things. As we bring stuff in, be sure to move stuff out. – There’s an element of just being comfortable with what we’ve got. There’s no need to get rid of it. No pressure because we have the space. The benefits aren’t tangible. – It was hard to get rid of my comfort clothing. It’s beaten up and not something to wear publicly, but hard to let go.
Story 5 – Giving away 100 things was really difficult for us, but for different reasons than I suspect most others found it challenging. We are anti-hoarders and just did a huge purge when we moved a couple of months ago so there wasn’t too much left! I literally went around the house search for something, anything!, that could be given away. That being said, we still felt “lighter” after getting rid of these 50-60 items.
For me, I know I place HUGE value on a small number of items. My laptop, phone, and running shoes are the ones I particularly cherish. This challenge helped remind me that I have a habit of buying cheap things and then seeing them as disposable. I’d rather invest in a few, quality possessions and not contribute to extra waste through future purging sessions.
Story 4 – I was quite confident that finding 100 items would not be challenging for me. This fact alone disturbed me a bit. I mean, it should be difficult for me to find 100 items I no longer require, right. But, as expected, it was not hard to reach 100. In fact, I went over that number quite a bit. But to get there was a little harder. I really wanted to push myself to get rid of at least some things that I wasn’t sure I was ready to part with. One of the most challenging areas for me to do this was with my clothes. Which is weird because I can easily say I have too many clothes but I just found it really hard to part with anything. At first I thought this was due to the fact that I hate clothes shopping and so did not want to part with anything I had. But, honestly, I could get rid of many items of clothing and still not need to go shopping for more. So I am not sure why clothes are so hard for me to get rid of. Anyways, I was able to get rid of about 40 clothing items (and 3 pairs of shoes Brad!).
I am still going through some items so I may have a follow up post. At this point though I have come across a few items that I would not want to part with. The first is my photo albums/scrapbooks. I also have a few items from when my mom and dad were younger such as items from their time in the army, wedding rings, wedding photos, etc that I want to hold onto. I think these items are important to me because they remind me of a time when my mom and dad really loved each other and we were an ‘official family’ (my parents divorced before I was 2 – though they still get along these days 🙂 An odd item that I would not want to lose is my book “Barbapapa’s Ark” (see image above), copyright 1974. I loved this book as a child and I still read it occasionally. I laugh now because a lot of the morals in the story are integral to who I am as a person even now! I highly recommend reading it 🙂
Story 3 – I’m pumped about this challenge. My theme this year is “Lighten Up.” I want to be lighter – my weight, my mood, my stuff, my brain. I’ve already been purging. This challenge will take things to a whole new and difficult level.
100 Things Challenge: MY APPROACH
Material Things I Value: Made this part of a daily gratitude practice for each day in February. Will send collective at the end of the month.
Phase 1 MY STUFF: Books, Clothes and Kitchen Items
Remove from the house 100 items from each of these categories.
Phase 2 KIDS’ STUFF: 100 Things Each / Books, Clothes, Toys, Art Supplies
I’ll keep the kids, but they each need to collect 100 things of their own to get rid of. I’ll regroup these items and add to them aiming for a collective of 100 items for each of their categories.
Phase 3 THE TOUGH STUFF: Projects and the Things That Weigh Me Down
Identify 100 things weighing on me and either get rid of it or set a plan and timeline for it, such as:
– things to be fixed
– valuable things to sell
– family photo collections from both sides of the family
– things I owe people
– half completed gifts
– books to read
Story 2 – Doesn’t look like much with winter sludge on it, but I’ve put almost 250,000 kms on my car since 2006. It’s been with me through most of my time being self-employed and never failed me; but it’s starting to cost me money and the body is showing its age, so it’s time to go. I’ll miss it…a lot. I likely won’t own such a nice car again, largely because I have a hard time rationalizing the expense. But it was fun while it lasted.
Story 1 – My plan is to try to give away 100 things from multiple rooms in my home and to make a list of at least 10 material things I value for each 100. The first room to tackle was our children’s play room which also happens to hold our largest bookshelf. My first task: get rid of books, lots of them. I went through each book on this shelf and tried to be as ruthless as I could. In the end, I collected 209 books from my library to be given away. Currently, 74 books remain to be brought to the Nexus Book Swap Day, the other 135 books were either given away to friends, Second Look Books or thrift stores.
Now, a list of at least 10 material things I am grateful for and value immensely.
1. Books (getting rid of them made me realize how much I love them…the way they feel, the joy of underlining, a well worn cracked spine, the different categories of books I own, the stories they have given me and the ideas they have formed in me…I like to think of my remaining books as my close friends)
2. Glasses (they help me see and in the words of George Constanza, every time you get a new pair of glasses it is ‘like shopping for a new face’)
3. Cool Mist Humidifier (it is dry out, grateful this little machine helps combat that)
4. Earphones (music sounds great in these and I love the freedom they give me in the evenings where I can watch television without waking up the kids)
5. Lamps (love the warm light my lamps provide in both our living room and bedroom…the light they provide just seems to make things more cozy)
6. My Special Pens (all pens are not created equal…love the way certain pens feel in my hand and on paper)
7. My Office Chair (love the way it tilts and rolls and swivels)
8. Kindle (prefer physical books, but my Kindle, with its lightweight, makes reading in bed so much more enjoyable)
9. My Screen Door (the way my feet sound on my front porch and the squeaking sound the screen door makes when you open it – reminds me of those old cottage and country home screen doors, something about it just feels right)
10. Kids Play Tent (for all the fun and stories and laughs and playing and hiding and wrestling and make-believe times I have with my kids in this cheap little tent)
11. Picture of Our House (last people who owned our house left one thing in it when we moved in, a series of three pictures of our home throughout the years…love looking at those photos and how it reminds me of the history of our home)
12. My Purse (I strongly dislike carrying things in my pockets…glad my little purse can carry those things for me)
Hopefully more stories and lists to come, very glad for the opportunity of this challenge.