As you can probably tell, I’m a bit behind with my blog and am still catching up with last year’s events! Way back at the start of December, I embarked on the Advent Challenge. The basis of the challenge is that you give away one item you own every day for the 24 days leading up to Christmas. I decided 24 items would be too easy for me, so I went for two items per day instead. I tend to get on a roll when I start a clear out, so I didn’t actually track down one item each day, I just had a couple of tidying up sessions and then counted how much stuff had amassed. It was a lot! I ended up exceeding my 48 item target – I gave away 57 items, plus around 10 pieces of jewellery that I was too lazy to count!
Some of the items that have now left the building include:
- A freebie inflatable happy hand from the World Cup in Brazil. Cool at the time, not so cool once the party is over!
- A face mask and an eye mask I haven’t used in years. I happily handed over the latter to a friend; it’s nice when can rehome your stuff to somebody you know.
- Kitchen items: poaching pods, an assortment of crockery I never use, a shot glass from Seattle, a lunchbox and a timer.
- Two handbags and a rucksack.
- Six scarves… I still have quite a few scarves.
- Two picture frames.
Although I come from a family of hoarders, I’m fairly ruthless with my stuff; if it doesn’t fit, doesn’t work, isn’t needed anymore, it goes, usually to a charity shop, but sometimes to FreeCycle. So I was quite surprised at how many things I had hanging around my house that didn’t need to be there.
Actually, I had already got together some unwanted clothes prior to the Advent Challenge, because around October or November I start thinking ahead to Crisis Christmas. Many Crisis volunteers bring donated clothes along with them to the centre, and they are very gratefully received by the guests. My collection started small, with a few bits from my own wardrobe and a few from friends in Southampton:
By the time December came around, and I’d mentioned to people I was aiming to get a car load of clothes to take with me to Crisis, I ended up with quite a haul. The photo below doesn’t show very well how much stuff there was; one holdall is hidden behind the others and the box on the back right was packed with socks and hats, which were kindly donated by a family friend.
Then a few days into Crisis, my dad added some more clothes:
Knowing you’re giving away your things to people who will appreciate them far more than you definitely makes the process easier.
Doing the Advent Challenge highlighted that while I’m probably better than a lot of people at not keeping stuff I don’t need, I could still free up some space in my cupboards. I intend to continue weeding out this month and taking what I call an essentialist (more realistic than minimalist?!) approach to my possessions. It’s actually pretty liberating.