Reflections on Finishing the 2nd 1000 Things Project

bed 1286 41015
(#1286, twin bed; donated 4/10/15)

Two weekends ago, I finished my 2nd 1000 things project with a flurry by taking almost 100 items to Goodwill, which was possible since I had assembled them in staging nests over a period of time.

If the first 1000 things project was of a journey of self-discovery, gaining insights, and reflections on what I learned, how to characterize the 2nd 1000 things project? Here are some of the things I can say about it:

  • The 2nd 1000 things project was more of a journey of recognition — rediscovering, recognizing, and getting to know better the themes I had discovered on the first go-round: inner voices, stories, attachments, curation, gratitude, completing the cycle.
  • To some extent, it was also more of the same, but with the awareness of the themes which I had discovered on the first go-round. (More on that below.)
  • The 2nd 1000 things project was also to some extent an initial attempt to apply what I learned in the first go-round to the second round. In retrospect, I don’t feel that I was very systematic about it or did this as much as I’d planned. Maybe this is in part because I was documenting the first project while also doing the second, so I may have crossed my wires more than I realized at the time.
  • I also attempted to learn more and get better at the process. I read several other books about decluttering, focusing on the sub-genre of books that focused on decluttering as a form of life improvement, because I felt that my journey was most like those, as distinct from being a set of projects focused on being more organized or minimalist.
  • I also made more of an effort to elicit and harvest stories from others. Hearing other people’s stories has been very helpful and gratifying. Even though my own journey feels at times so individual and unique that it borders on idiosyncrasy, hearing other people’s stories makes has made me realize that dealing with our stuff is both an individual and universal experience. I continue to be impressed by how amazing my own stories are, and how even more amazing other people’s stories are. Dealing with our stuff really is, or can be, a touchstone experience — something that so many people can relate to, finding commonalities and uniqueness coexisting side by side.

I can readily see several noticeable accomplishments as a result of the 2nd 1000 things project:

  • The volume of papers and items in my home office has diminished greatly. In fact, I can say that my home office is almost under control, if not exactly tidy. (I’m not really the tidy sort.) One small file cabinet is entirely empty, as is one drawer of a second file cabinet. All the extra bins are gone, as are the stacks of papers from the storage carts. Tops of surfaces are almost clear. There are actual spaces on my bookshelf, even after I moved some of Chris’s books from his bedroom bookshelf to here for consolidation purposes.
  • The dining room is noticeably clearer.
  • A lot of culling has taken place in the kitchen, dining room, backyard shed, porch, basement, and all the closets.
  • I got rid of about 100 things at a time twice during this project, thanks to a strategy of gradual collecting decent but less valued items over a period of a few weeks and then hauling them off en masse to Goodwill, as described in my previous post.
  • Several nests are completely gone in the basement and dining room. The “staging nest” by the front door has been emptied several times and doesn’t have a whole lot of stuff in it right now.  Even though things still sometimes sat in my front door staging nest for months at a time, I definitely got better at dealing with them, especially once I become comfortable with utilizing Goodwill.
  • I’d started tackling mementos and made some progress in culling through various boxes and bins of those, for example:

ll bball cap 1685
(#1685, Little League baseball cap (SH = Sporting Hill); trashed 8/1/15 because it was too moldy to do anything else with it)

I got better at:

  • hearing the inner voices and at identifying more of them;
  • capturing the stories behind some of my things and the basis for my attachments to them;
  • understanding just how powerful and controlling possessiveness is;
  • curating my collection of things, including culling many items and bringing some others out for display and greater enjoyment;
  • Seeking opportunities to create gratitude, focused on others but usually generated gratitude within myself.

I especially got better at completing the cycle — about being very careful about what I took in to my home. It feels as if I have installed a radar system that’s pretty effective overall at keeping unwanted or unneeded objects out of my home. There are a few notable exceptions, which will make an interesting future blog post in and of itself, mainly due to the fact that I can probably identify almost every new object I’ve brought into my home over the past nine months, which in itself is an indicator of my success in this area.

I’ll write more about the specifics of these in future posts.

I still can’t really see whether my end goal of living in a dwelling where everything I own has identifiable purpose or value is in sight, but I do feel as if it is getting closer and maybe within reach. Overall, though, I feel that it was well worth it.

The process of getting rid of my 2nd 1000 things took about 10 months — a bit longer than I’d planned (I was shooting for nine months) but not by too much. In fact, the total number of items carried me well past the 2,000 mark, and the resulting momentum has, yes, taken me into another 1000 things project. More on that in my next post…

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2 thoughts on “Reflections on Finishing the 2nd 1000 Things Project

  1. Congrats John on completing this part of your journey
    I know that the decluttering that I did in the past few months has brought back a lot of memories especially the high school and college treasures that I found
    For me having fewer things. makes me feel more in control of my life as well as my home

  2. Pingback: Thoughts on Doing a 3rd (& final!) 1000 things project | Ideaphoriana

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