One of my challenges as part of the big camper van adventure is to reduce my life down to 100 things.
Plenty of people gasp in horror and disbelief when I say this. Particularly in London, where possessions are the reward for hard work, long hours and the lack of life outside of the office. The idea of getting rid of those possessions understandably leaves people feeling anxious. Throw away all those hard-earned possessions and what would they have left?
Which is, of course, the whole point.
Clear out the clutter and to see what remains. If it’s not rich relationships and daily experiences that make you come alive, then you need to do something about it…
But off the soap box and back to the challenge in hand!
I’m still figuring out what 1 THING is. In some cases 1 THING is a COLLECTION eg. plates, cutlery. I’m undecided if bathroom basics are one thing or if toothbrush, dental floss, soap are all separate things.
Socks are definitely 1 THING. Things that come with the van, like curtains and a table don’t count.
And I’m allowing myself a box of things to put in storage which includes things like paintings and photos.
However I work out the finer details, by the end of this I will have a list of all my worldly possessions. The idea is to strip my life down to the bare basics and the odd carefully thought-through luxury. It’s about quality not quantity. It’s about simplicity rather than frugality.
And I can’t wait. I’m already loving the decluttering and getting rid of stuff.
See I don’t actually like having stuff. I don’t shop for pleasure. I don’t shop at all if I can help it and yet I seem to still amass ‘stuff’. I can’t bare to chuck things away so I hold on to them, hoard them, let them sprawl and take over my bedroom and the kitchen and the living room, to the despair of my housemates. I live in a permanent state of chaos in a mountain of stuff, most of which I don’t even want in my life.
Finally, with this 100 things challenge, I’ve given myself permission to finally be completely ruthless and only keep hold of the stuff I love and really want in my life.
It is so liberating.
All that stuff that I was holding onto because I felt I ought to, felt I should, felt bad about getting rid of it. They’re all going.
Gifts that I’ve never used or don’t even like, but feel guilty of giving away. Things that I stuff into the bottom of drawers because ‘what if one day I need it?’. Things that I can’t bare to throw away because of the nostalgia attached.
I’m reducing my life down to a just a few possessions, until I can look at every possession I have with fondness. Every one is there deliberately, has its place, has its role, is valued and cherished.
Quality, not quantity.
And as I do it, it gets me thinking. What if we did this in all areas of our life?
How much of our lives are filled with stuff that we don’t really want, don’t really care about, but that we keep hold of because we think we should, because we feel we have to, because that’s what is expected? And I don’t just mean possessions. I mean the people, the places and the activities we fill our lives with.
How much simpler, freer and more comfortable life suddenly feels when you give yourself permission to let go and only keep hold of the cherished people, places and experiences that you love.
Try it and just see what it does for you…