Don’t Take It Personally

I woke up to a tweet this morning from Zealous Good supporter @DS26 a.k.a. Bobby Z. He sent a link to a GOOD article about a couple determined to get rid of the stuff they didn’t need. If you haven’t figured it out already, we take unused items and make them useful again. So this article was of extreme interest to me.

In the article, the couple talks about taking part in the “100 Thing Challenge.” To win the challenge you must reduce your personal items to 100 items or less. When the couple first took inventory they claimed 300 personal items each.

Sure, you loved Justin Bieber then. But how much do you love him now?

Naturally, I started thinking about my own belongings and the items I consider “personal.” A quick look in my closet and you’ll see my downfall is paper. But not just any paper, I’m talking about postcards, and birthday cards. Newspaper clippings, magazine articles, inspirational quotes printed on computer paper, Cathy cartoons my mom sent me throughout college. These are items I will not budge on.

Thankfully, none of the charities listed on Zealous Good are requesting my cache of Cathy cartoon strips.

There are, however, personal items that you no longer feel compelled to keep. The obvious examples of these would be gifts or items you purchased with an ex. Clothing, jewelry, that Wedding Crashers DVD you bought as a reminder of your first date. If you’re ready to move on, consider donating your items to charity so that they may feel useful again.

The article also makes a good point about not confusing “personal” with “item I might use someday.” I often fall victim to that excuse. It’s true that every item you keep MIGHT have some use down the road. It’s also true that this thinking will drive you crazy and leave you with an organizational nightmare. Not to mention, we have a list of people who have IMMEDIATE need for your goods. If you really can’t part with a certain item, attach a time frame to it. If you haven’t used your Magic Bullet in six months, maybe it’s time you donate it? If you haven’t found an occasion to wear that bridesmaid dress in over a year, why not give it to someone who could use it now?

We are a country of consumers. And that’s great! We like pretty things, we like gadgets, we love Ikea. Yet there are few items we need with us for a lifetime. For all the in-between items there’s Zealous Good.

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