Thursday, August 30, 2012

39 Things: Week Two Update

I heard a man on the NPR recently say, "If it's not essential, useful or beautiful, what good is keeping it?" 

How many items in my house meet that standard?  More fail that criteria than meet it. 

I have completed Week 2 of the 39 Things Challenge.  Week 1, as I reported, was not only invigorating but successful.  I far surpassed the requirement to give 39 things away during the week, eliminating yet another car full, and I satisfied my $3 a day budget. 

Week 2 was harder.  I lost some of my steam in the clearing out process.  I did tackle the long overdue sideboard and as you can see I went from four overflowing drawers down to just one normally full one. 

Numerous drawers are more organized and leaner. 
However, since that yields itself to more trash than giving to Goodwill (which still counts as long as I trash 39 things, which I again surpassed), it felt less effective.  However, I did collect one more full box of items for Goodwill, numbering at least 39, and eliminated over two trash bags full of "junk."

Frustratingly, I busted my $3 a day budget.  Because I busted it last Friday, it set me off for the whole week (the challenge budget begins after each Wednesday).  I set aside $22 for a girls lunch during Houston's Restaurant week which had long been calendared.  I recognized going in that was my budget for the entire week, and I planned to spend nothing else, but I didn't count on the restaurant charging for valet parking.  It was SIX dollars.  So I went over my budget by $7 for the week.  I spent nothing else on me or the kids all week, but the budget was still blown.

One valuable thing came out of that experience.  I noticed that the valet cost $6.  Before my strict budget, I probably would not have batted an eye.  Now, I nearly broke down in tears at the valet stand.  There is such an increased awareness about what I am spending money on that did not exist before. 

The same awareness invaded my acquisitions process.  I had some Zulily packages arrive during the challenge which were purchased pre-challenge.  I was affirmatively mad at them.  I angrily chastised myself for having spent the money on things the children did not need.  And now I had to find a spot for them in hard-fought and increasingly clean spaces!  Previously, I would have been overjoyed at the arrival of more "stuff." 

There's a song by The White Stripes called "Little Room."  It is, appropriately, only 50 seconds long.  White sings about working on "something good" in his little room, only to have that something good require him to move into a bigger room, and there he is lost and has to consider downsizing to re-center.

I think that is where I am.  I came from a little room.  Seriously little room.  I worked and worked and achieved "success" and had to move to this BIG room.  But you know, it is not all good in this big room.  And despite its size, it has become crowded.  The stuff filling the big room is not essential, useful, or beautiful.  I am craving the little room.  And I am on my way. 

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