Happy 2011, blogfriends. Hope it’s been good to you so far. I think I’ve already established that 2010 kind of sucked for me, but with the flip of the calendar, I can honestly say that I feel pretty good about this year ahead. I’ve always liked the fresh start that accompanies the new year. I mean a lot of stuff stays the same, right? So maybe my embracing of the fresh start is based solely on the marketing and advertising I’ve been exposed to over the years. After all, this is the time of year when we’re supposed to vow to get in shape, eat better, exercise more, find true love, yadda yadda yadda. Am I brainwashed? Perhaps. But however you look at it, the year is new and whether or not you are looking for a new you is up to you. (most use of the word you in any sentence award – sorry.)
So much of what sucked about last year – loved ones dying, getting sick, friends who had loved ones die or get sick, etc. – actually went a long way into helping me truly get what’s important. In my adult years I’ve tried to be the thankful type – happy for my health and the health of my family, grateful that we are able to do what we do, that we earn enough money to live comfortably and to be able to enjoy life as much as possible. And over the past few years as I’ve aged (wow, does that sound weird) I have become even more thankful and more aware that health is so very important and that happiness and stuff are not at all related.
This isn’t rocket science, of course. Do you remember when you were a kid and hearing adults talk about how they “had their health” and how grateful they were? And me, all the while thinking – health schmealth, dudes, what I really want is an Easy-Bake Oven, ok? But it’s so true. And not to get all down on this and shit, but dammit if you don’t have your health….well, you know where I’m going with that.
So back to the stuff aspect of it. We had to clear out my mum’s house when she died and in spite of the fact that my mother was no pack-rat, she still had a lot of stuff. It could have been much, much worse of course, but there was still an awful lot of stuff to contend with. Because the whole thing with her getting sick and then dying happened so quickly, I was in a very vulnerable condition when it came to her stuff – I truly wanted to keep it all, even though my brain was telling me that a lot of that stuff? Was just being kept in the attic until she could get someone to drive her to the Goodwill store and drop it off. So it was hard, so hard clearing out the house I grew up in, where every single thing I pulled out of a box or a closet had a memory. Still, I think I did pretty well (although you might want to ask The Genealogist who might have another opinion) all things considered. We have a lot of boxes in our attic and in the kids’ playroom. We have extra furniture. But it’s cool, because I have a plan to go through it and make decisions. And not just of the “keep or toss” variety. No, I plan to go through it all and if I decide to keep it, I will immediately find a use for it. Not just leave it in the box and say “I’m keeping it”. This is pretty huge, and I think it’s going to work well. Basically it will go something like this: if I am going through a box and I find a teapot that was my mum’s and maybe it was also her mum’s and I think I’d really like to keep that, because it’s lovely and also it has sentimental value (I remember drinking tea from that very pot) and it would be a shame to give away something that has been in the family and I will use it fairly often? Then I will keep it. BUT – and this is important – I will immediately search out a teapot that I currently own that means nothing to me (other than tea) and that less meaningful teapot? Will be put into a box to be donated. And the lovely 3rd generation teapot? Will replace the other one in the cupboard. Immediately.
And then I will do that for absolutely every single thing in every single box in my attic. I get that people probably do that all the time – it’s the whole “one in, one (or two) out” philosophy which I have tried with varying degrees of success to support. Sometimes it’s easy – boy needs new pants, boy gets new pants, mother throws out old pants because old pants are full of holes and are disgusting. Easy. Other times it’s not as easy, and it’s in these harder situations that I am going to try my best to be more ruthless.
And while I’m at it – because there is nothing like jumping in with both feet and your whole damn body – I have also signed on for Project 333. This is, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is a 3 month project where you whittle down your wardrobe to 33 things, excluding things like workout wear, underwear and sleepwear. So from January 1st to March 31st, I have chosen 33 things to get me through, and the rest of my clothes are boxed up and won’t see the light of day for three months.
Scary, right? I know! I love clothes and I have quite a few. With my clothes I am honestly quite good about the “one in one out” thing (except maybe for tights. I have a tights problem), and what I was finding even before I read an article talking about the project, and then went to the website (www.bemorewithless.com) was that I pretty much wear the same combination of things every day. You know, black skirt, grey sweater and black shoes; or purple cardigan, black tank, skinny jeans; or grey sweater dress, black leggings. Or any variation of the above, with a few other things thrown in for good measure. The catch with this is that the 33 things have to include outerwear – which is a bit of a pain during winter in Ontario, because the weather can be so varied. So I have to include a winter hat, gloves, boots, big winter coat, lighter winter coat and a scarf or two in my 33 things, so it did take me a good amount of thinking to organize it all. Jewellery is also included in the 33 things (except for wedding bands or other sentimental jewellery that you don’t take off) so I had to limit myself to just one piece.
I realize that for anyone who enjoys clothing and accessories this all sounds pretty awful. But you know what? I am loving it. It might be a control thing, I fully admit that. Just having lived through a year where I had little control over anything, it feels pretty good grab this year by the (hypothetical) balls and say “this is what I am doing, and do not try to stop me or change my course, ok?” I am also all for trying to live more and be more with less, which is kind of the point of the website and its project. Minimalism is something I can totally get behind, and between Project333 and my plans for clearing out my house and some of my inherited possessions, I think I am off to a good start.
Who’s with me?