Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 Word of the Year

Faithful readers in the Empty Nest may remember that for the past two years I have chosen a Word of the Year. In 2012 that word was exercise,  and last year the word was kindness. 

The first worked out swimmingly. I am quite able to stick with something that doesn't require any choices, and when I decided on exercise I decided this was not a choice and that I would get up and work out every single day I went to work. That way I wouldn't have to decide if "Am I getting sick?" or "I didn't sleep well" were good enough excuses to hit the snooze button. If I was well enough to go to work I was well enough to work out, and I have not missed a day since the Monday after Thanksgiving 2011.

Last year's kindness, on the other hand, I would consider at best a partial victory. My original resolution is that I would do something kind every day and document that kindness. But then the documentation became a problem--what constituted kindness? Could I count not getting irked with the sloooooow check-out clerk? How about letting that side-street driver into the long line of cars getting out of the parking lot? I found myself judging my kindnesses and giving them passing or failing grades, which kind of defeats the purpose. So I stopped the documentation and just tried to be mindful of being kind, which worked for a while, then I forgot about it altogether except for the occasional "oh, yeah, I'm supposed to be working on kindness" that wafted guiltily through my mind.

This year, learning from experience, I am choosing a word that can be quantified and does not leave room for choices. My 2014 word is.....(drumroll, please):

De-stuff-ify.

Okay, technically that probably isn't a word, since I think I just made it up. But the only synonym I could come up with was "downsize" and that implies we're moving from the House on the Corner to an assisted living condo and I didn't want to give that impression. (Although I do like the idea that someone else would do the cooking and cleaning...hmmmm.....)

Anyway, as I've mentioned before, I am a sentimental hoarder. It hurts me to throw away old programs, baby teeth, each crooked clay creation my Boys made during their summer rec center classes when they were six years old, a book I loved and may want to read again some day. As a result, the HotC is stuffed to the gills with stuff that someday my heirs will rolls their eyes to see, including the sweater I wore for my senior pictures in 1972. (Yes, really.)

This year, my goal is to get rid of 100 bags or boxes of stuff. On Saturday I started four piles of stuff--one of clothes, one of books, one of trash, one of Goodwill-worthy tchotchkes. I was able to fill the three bags and a box, and started another set of bags for next week. Husband is more than enthusiastic about this project and contributed some of his frayed-collar shirts to the clothes bag.

This is going to be a tough word for me to follow through on because I do love my stuff, but I also love my sleep and the exercise thing is going fine.

Get your final look at my senior sweater while you can: 2014 is the year I'm de-stuff-ifying.


6 comments:

  1. Ooo, I like the idea of measuring it in "bags of stuff." It activates a Game Challenge center of my brain: "What can I fill THIS bag with?" instead of "Oh, do I really have to get rid of X?"

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    1. Exactly! It also makes me look for bulky stuff so I'm clearing out a lot of tattered blankets.

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  2. I'm stealing this -- the word of the year and the goal of 100 bags. Luckily, this week I'll get half way there since our basement is being emptied by professionals (does that count since I'm not the one doing it?). I vow to do the other half in this calendar year. I am so very much looking forward to being 100 bags lighter. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Could I borrow your professionals? :-)

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  3. Believe it or not you will find this project liberating. Just remember to take pictures of items you want to remember but don't need to possess. Now guess what my project is for 2014. Yep, cleaning out pictures!

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    1. Are you for hire? Want to clean out my pictures, too? :-)

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