Thursday, January 27, 2011

Week Two, Items 15-20

Seven items a week is a great pace, but I'm going to have to do a little more than that on occasion if I'm going to make it to 400 items. So, here are a few more for this week:

Argyle sweater

I bought this at a Zara in Beijing, and while I am deeply fond of both Zara and argyle, this sweater is now too short for me. I've only kept it because I got it in China, but I have other mementos from the trip—I've got memories and pictures, too. I can even distinctly recall my lungs feeling duped whenever they expected to take in oxygen but were treated to some nice, thick smog instead. Anyway, I don't need to keep something that could be useful to someone else just because I happened to buy it in a foreign country.

Binders 1 and 2

We've had these two empty binders for a couple years now. I think they might have been intended for wedding planning/organization stuff originally, but we never used them. They've just been taking up space in my office, but I'm sure someone else will put them to good use.

Tiny squirt gun

I've mentioned that we get many practical items in our Christmas stockings; well, we also get some things that are decidedly impractical. This squirt gun is about the size of a silver dollar. It would be useful to me if I had teeny little hands and a small vendetta against someone. But because that's not the case, I think someone else should have it.

Dead Poets Society

Another duplicate discovered when my husband and I consolidated our movie collections. We both love this movie, but since the chances of us wanting to watch it in different rooms of the house at the exact same time are extremely slim, we don't need to have two copies.

Biology textbook

I took biology when I was a sophomore in college. When the course was over, the bookstore wouldn't buy this book back. A new edition had come out, of course, because that's the way it always works. So I just kept the book. I guess I figured that I might look through it sometime, but that hasn't happened. Clearly, I don't actually need this.

That's 20 items down, 380 items to go!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Week Two, Items 8-14

Strainers 1, 2 and 3

My husband's family does Christmas wish lists every year, which is something I'm still getting used to. The first year I was asked what I wanted, I said I could use a strainer. I only had one at the time, and thought it might be nice to have two—that way, I could always have a clean one. Well, I wound up getting four of them for Christmas that year, which still amuses me. Five strainers is definitely too many—I still think two would be just the right number to have. So I'm keeping two and donating these three.

Crest travel toothpaste

We always get some practical items in our stockings at Christmas, which I generally appreciate. For example, this toothpaste is small enough to pack in a carry-on without raising the ire of a TSA employee. But we use a different brand of toothpaste, so this goes to someone else.

Travel Sudoku

This also could be useful when traveling. I actually really like Sudoku, but would much rather just use pencil and paper. Like Dodgeball, this is something I've kept because I love the person who gave it to me—not because I love the item itself (I mean, I haven't even opened the box). While I do appreciate the thought, I don't need to hang on to this.


We needed one more pitcher when hosting a cocktail party once, so I went and got this from a thrift store the day of the party. It served its purpose well enough (and I now know how to make a mean ginger martini). But we've since received other pitchers as gifts, so we don't need to keep this one any longer.

Sweatshirt t-shirt

I've owned this t-shirt—which is made out of sweatshirt material—for years. It's extremely soft and perfect to wear on lazy weekend days. Unfortunately, after years of being put through the washer and dryer, it's too short for me now. It needs to find a home with a person who has a shorter torso.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Week One, Items 1-7

Snowflake garland

When I was in college, I used this to decorate my dorm room for Christmas. Now that I'm an adult, my tastes have evolved. These days, I decorate for Christmas by putting a large dead tree in the living room.

The Royal Tenenbaums on VHS

My husband and I have lived together since 2006 and are just now getting around to consolidating our movie collections. He owns The Royal Tenenbaums on DVD, while my copy is on VHS. Because I'm not really a big fan of antiques, the VHS copy goes.


I'm sorry, Ben Stiller. I will always love Zoolander, but I don't feel the need to own any of your other movies. This was a gift from a favorite family member, so I felt obligated to keep it. It sounds obvious, but this is a fairly recent epiphany I've had: Giving it away doesn't mean I don't love or appreciate this person. It just means my house will be a little less full, and that's a good thing.


My husband and I are also just starting to consolidate our book collection. Turns out we each had a copy of 1984, and both were Signet Classic editions. In this case, my only option was to judge a book by its cover. One copy will suffice for our household, so I kept the one with the cover I like better.


In theory, this stretchy headband would be great for keeping flyaways from escaping my ponytail while I'm working out or playing sports. In reality, it's too big. It won't stay in place, and that totally defeats the purpose. Why keep something that doesn't work for me?

Brown heels

I can't remember the last time I wore these shoes. Years ago, they were the only brown heels I owned, so I think I've kept them out of habit. They didn't fit me that well to begin with, so I'm happy to let them go. They're not doing anyone any good just sitting in my closet, going unworn.

Mug with no handle

Some mugs might be designed without handles, but this one wasn't. It had a handle once, but that ship has sailed. I don't know why we've held onto it—we have enough mugs, and we don't use them that often, anyway.

That's it for this week!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Last year, I participated in The Great American Apparel Diet. It's a great project during which participants go one year without buying new clothes. When I completed that, I was energized and itching to continue simplifying my life. I had realized that I simply own too many things; I mean, I went a year without buying new clothes and still didn't wear everything I own. (I'm kind of ashamed to admit that, honestly.)

I decided that getting rid of seven items a week seemed like a reasonable goal. Some things will inevitably be thrown out, but I'll donate items or give them away via Freecycle whenever possible.

Inspired by a friend who made a similar goal, I decided to start a blog to track my progress. I hope you enjoy reading along!