Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I attended a dinner party recently where people were comparing their
spring leaning strategies. After a couple or three glasses of wine
everyone made a commitment to minimize, to the best of our ability,
and we came up with a plan. It goes like this. One the first day of the
month you throw out one thing. One day two, good-bye to two things
and so. Assuming you count each object separately (read one fork as
opposed to a full place setting, that is almost 500 objects!! I could
shed many things without feeling the loss terribly, but that does seem
like a much bigger commitment than spring cleaning. It also takes
time that I don’t have each day, and an organized plan to put things
out of sight so they do not migrate quietly back to a drawer or closet.
Do you have any good advice about how to follow through? There is no
prize at stake, btw. Just honor and more breathing space in my home.
The first thing to do is reframe the idea of loss into the idea of sharing
your wealth. Identify a family in need or specific group that helps
families to donate to. Instead of dumping your unneeded things at a
Goodwill and collecting a tax slip, give your gently used possessions to
living breathing people in need. As you hold each item and think about
whether you can let it go, visualize someone who would love to cook
and serve their holiday dinner in one of your many casserole dishes, or
send their kids to school in clothes your family isn&'t wearing any more.
The joy of reuse and recycle is much more than keeping piles of things
out of landfills.
I agree that tossing 500 items in a month is a lot, unless you’re
committed to it fully. I suspect the other dinner party guests are facing
the same challenge. Agree on a more reasonable schedule, like before
Memorial Day weekend. Perhaps have a party at the end of the
process and see who gave the most away.