100 Crates

In February of 2012 our family started the 100 Thing Challenge.  I wrote about it here and here, but this is a summary of what the 100 Thing Challenge meant for our family.

“Americans own homes that are three times larger than they were in the 1950’s.   Our homes are fuller than ever, and we still spend 22 billion dollars on storage units to store the stuff that will not fit in our homes.  At some point, our excess stuff started to take over more space than our homes allowed.  Our stress levels and quality of life actually started to decline.  The 100 Thing Challenge is less about counting to 100 and more about increasing your quality of life.   It’s about taking back control of the things that matter most and putting your stuff in its place – figuratively and literally!”

The concept came to my attention when several blog writers wrote about a new book that was out with the title 100 Thing Challenge.  While the author elimated everything , but 100 items in his life we decided to be a bit more realistic for a family of 6.  We allowed 100 items per person including clothes, shoes, toys, etc.  If you are thinking that you yourself might benefit from a similar challenge let me encourage you to think less about the legalistic rules and more about what you are hoping to gain.  The hardest part is just getting started.

One of the rituals I created for myself was touching each and every single possession.  Asking myself if it was worthy of my money, time and space.  If it was I gave it consideration and if it wasn’t then it found a new home.  I realize now that the desire to do the 100 Thing Challenge was really a step towards us following our calling to farm full time.  Choosing the most narrow path always is.  At the end we had more money, time and space to fill our lives up with something new, something more meaningful.

But you know what happened?  Life happened.  We made the decision to farm full time which meant a thousand small decisions to make that happen.  Nathan set out to finish his masters degree-finally.  He gave his notice to work and finished his commitments there.  I became-for the first time in a few years-consumed by work as we prepared for starting our year round CSA.  And Nathan’s mom was diagnosed with liver disease and passed away a month after we began farming full time.  Our home became full of clutter, trash and stuff that steals what’s important.  Life happened.

It also began to become obvious that we really do NEED MORE ACRES.  We advertised our desire and hunkered down for what we thought might be a long farm hunting process.  And it has been-two years, in fact.  But with prospective farms on the horizon I know that it is time.  It’s time for me to reconsider each and every possession one by one.  To do the hard work of starting the process of removing items I love, from shelves that have held them for over 12 years.  Shelves in a home, in a neighborhood that we love.

As I was considering just starting the 100 Thing Challenge as before I mentioned to Nathan that I needed some moving boxes and a good old-fashioned kick in the pants to gather the motivation to get started.  Nathan said, “I have 100 wooden crates in the barn”.  He wasn’t sure what he had just said, but he said that I got that look I always get and there was smoke rolling out of my ears.  I’d say that it was simply divine intervention.  The motivation I needed.  I’d fill 100 wooden crates with our most important stuff and get rid of the rest.  Yes, I do realize that our furniture and other large items won’t fit, but remember that I don’t like getting too legalistic.

So I’ll start filling the crates one by one-starting with the things most important to me- because that makes everything else easier.  And I’ll wait patiently as we remain hopeful for our next farm with more acres and lots of extra space.  Life is happening.