Ten years ago today, I graduated from college. This is significant because today I also paid off my student loans, making me totally and completely debt free!
This is about how I feel:
As I’ve simplified my life in many areas (by getting rid of 800 things, crawling out of debt, and living a voluntarily simple life), I’ve started thinking about trash. Garbage, plastic, glass, food scraps, paper, and so much more.
The complexity of my trash situation hit me as I was cleaning out and organizing my kitchen cabinets for the Reverse 100 Thing Challenge. Under the sink, I have my regular trash. In two other cupboards, I have recyclable soda bottles and cans and another bag of recyclable plastic and glass. Another cupboard holds only a paper grocery bag with paper and cardboard in it and then there’s the plastic bag full of plastic bags. There’s another small bin for garbage in the bathroom.
As I was trying to organize and minimize this mess, I wondered how much trash I actually create.
For the past 15 months, I’ve gotten rid of 800 items in my home. It all started with Dave Bruno’s 100 Thing Challenge and then Courtney Carver’s Reverse 100 Thing Challenge. I thought I’d never be able to part with so many of my possessions that I’d achieve Bruno’s goal of owning only 100 things. Even Carver’s goal of just getting rid of 100 things seemed slightly impossible.
Ironically, two months before I planned to pay off my credit card debt, my number was stolen and used to make $200+ in purchases at two Target stores in Colorado. It’s been years since I’ve shopped at a Target and I’ve never even been to Colorado, so it’s odd to think of my credit card living a life of shopping thrills without me. I’ve put the expenses into dispute with my credit card company and, with any luck, I won’t have to pay them.
In the meantime, I’ve paid off my credit card debt!
Last year, I was intrigued by Dave Bruno’s 100 Thing Challenge, but could not imagine reducing all of my possessions down to just 100 items. The challenge seems more appropriate for digital nomads, travelers and, well, people who don’t have any art, books or photos. Nonetheless, it intrigued me, so I decided to do the opposite and see if I could give away 100 things.
On Tuesday, I blogged about the Burning House Project. The challenge is simple: If your house was burning down, what would you grab?
Many people have actually experienced this type of tragedy, whether from fire, flood, tornado or hurricane and many did not have a realistic chance at grabbing anything but themselves and a few basics. For those of us who have not had this experience, it’s a privilege to try this thought exercise under non-emergency circumstances.
Check out The Burning House Project: “If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It’s a conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.”
I love the challenge and intensity of this site!