There is this thing going around the internet lately: The Minimalism Game.
The basic idea is that you start on the first day of the month, and eliminate one thing from your household. Second day, two things; third day, three things, etc., etc. I need something to distract myself from November as it is generally a month full of suck for me, so I figured why the hell not. I can only do the thirty days of thankfulness thing on Facebook so many times. We get it. I'm blessed to even be in a position to be able to whine about having so many things to be blessed about. Insert hashtag firstworldproblems. I was looking for something different this year.
(Aside here...Alexis showed me a pound sign tonight and I told her it was a pound sign. She said, "You mean hashtag?" I clung to my defense of it being a pound sign. They don't say on the automated phone thingies to press the hashtag, now, do they? I rest my case.)
So far, I have faithfully thrown away, donated, or somehow eliminated items for 20 days straight. It actually hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be, which raises concerns for me that I may not be just crazy, but hoarder crazy. Like seriously, I know we have lived in this house for over 10 years now, but dear God, when did we collect so much shit? On one day alone, I threw away 11 medicine dispensers. Eleven. Like, why didn't I just tell Walgreens after the first three that I didn't need any more medicine dispensers? And one would think that they could have seen in their computer that this is like the 8th antibiotic I had gotten for Charlie because of ear infections in 6 months (wish I was joking here...she totally got tubes...) and that it is likely I did not need yet another dispenser. And why did I keep just tossing them into the silverware drawer?
Now in my defense, I do feel that we have an especially deep silverware drawer and that they honestly did just get shoved to the back. But that does not explain all of the other crap I have been able to eliminate.
Old shampoo and conditioners from hotel stays. Expired OTC meds and sunscreen. Old toys and dress up clothes that no longer fit the little girls. Freezer burnt food from the bottom of the chest freezer. Jars. Holy fuck, when did I accumulate so many jars and why was I keeping them? And the paper...OMG, the amount of old receipts, instruction manuals for items we no longer have, warranty cards for baby items...I am continually surprised at my ability to find things to get rid of with little to no effort.
When I started this, I fully anticipated the last few days being me taking a pair of shoes, removing the shoelaces, and counting that as four items. It has been surprisingly refreshing to purge this household in a deeper way than I usually do when I purge stuff. It's not just eliminating the papers brought home from school or clothes that don't fit. It's getting rid of baggage from the past in a way. Those medicine droppers, a time when Charlie was constantly sick with an ear infection. The dress up clothes, a time when the girls were little and required help to get them on and off when now they are pretty self-sufficient. The instruction manuals, a time when whatever item we had was shiny and new, but now is no longer needed/wanted.
It has been surprisingly refreshing to participate in this game. Maybe there is something to be said for the whole "less is more" thing. Maybe I can pretend that it was all of this stuff that was driving my crazy to be...well, crazy. Maybe the challenge is simply a welcome distraction from my dad dying, my dead son's due date, the unpleasantness of the election, and the general suck that is November in Ohio.
Or maybe I became a hoarder without knowing it and this is my wake up call. Who knows. I'd ponder this more, but I have to figure out what 21 items I am going to eliminate tomorrow.