The Elimination Challenge

I had a brilliant idea for a blog the other day, but I'm not sure I have the guts to follow through with it (also, someone else has surely done it already).

I looked around my cluttered house and thought, what I would like to do is get rid of one thing every day for a year, and blog about it.

Oh, the first days - weeks, even - would be easy. The ill-fitting op shop skirt bought on a whim - GONE. The lumpy clay object that Alice made at kinder six years ago, gathering dust on a window sill - GONE. The manky old shampoo bottle that Evie plays with in the bath - GONE. Outgrown clothes, neglected toys, the jar of dried beans that's been in the back of the pantry for three years.

But then things might start to get a little tricky. There are books I could sacrifice. There are stuffed toys I would gladly see the back of. I could probably tip out the big fruit bowl full of accumulated crap and buy myself a month right there - scraps of wool, pencil stubs, tram tickets. But when all those easy items have been removed, what next?

What could I live without? Do I really need four vegetable peelers? Eight saucepans? A cupboard full of ancient lunchboxes and superseded drink bottles? All those frocks? All those BOOKS? Those essays from Year 10?

If I was brave enough, I'd go through every room of my house and apply the classic tests: is it useful? Is it beautiful? Do I love it for some other reason? (Because it was made by a child, or inherited from an ancestor, for example - the only possible reason for hanging onto Nana's old perfume bottle in my sock drawer.) And I wonder, at the end of it, what would be left. And I wonder how much resistance I'd meet from the rest of the family. Michael would be into it -- he's a great one for chucking out (sometimes a little too enthusiastic, if the truth be told). But the girls would HATE it.

What I really need is a catchy name for the exercise: My Year of Paring Down? The Simplification Test?

Yeah. That's what's stopping me.


  1. Kate we just seriously downsized our house/home and one thing a day would not have even made a dent in our possessions! I am really curious about your idea. What are you going to do with the item you discard? Op shop, give to away to a friend or sell it? Before Christmas I used to make the kids cull their rooms; if Santa was to visit then they had to make the equivalent space for the new items they wanted. They controlled it. The motivation of the new worked. Good luck.
    PS The perfume bottle has to stay.

  2. Oh, you know what, I want someone else to come here and hold up objects and make me justify to them whether it should stay or go. So that can be year two of your challenge ;)