Sunday, December 20, 2009

Discardia: A Holiday for Unclutterers

Monday, the 21st, marks the return of Discardia, one of my favorite holidays. I first learned about Discardia two years ago from a post on Jeri Dansky's popular blog; the full story (which is definitely worth reading) is at the website of Dinah Sanders, who came up with the amusing idea for this clever holiday in 2002.

Although it's celebrated throughout the year (between the solstices and equinoxes and their following new moons), the celebration nearest to Christmas is particularly worth noting. I've posted about the spirit of the Discardia in the past, but the basic principle is that it's a time of letting go of unnecessary things, "things that no longer add value to your life." That requires a significant change in the way we think about our possessions. What better time to reexamine the value of possessions than during a holiday season in which the focus too often is on mindlessly giving stuff to other people who probably really don't need it?

I love giving thoughtful presents so I'm not advocating abandoning the practice. I'm just very fond of the idea of using this time to let go of lots of my excess stuff, too. Also, the end of my year-long, 365 Item Toss Uncluttering Challenge is looming, so I've used Discardia to help me make sure I met my goal -- and I have. I've even exceeded it: 486 items have been donated, recycled, re-gifted or sold in the past year! You can get more details about the challenge here on the original blog post (updates are in the comments).

If you celebrate Discardia, you'll find that what you're really doing is giving yourself a gift: freedom from too much stuff!

(c) 2009 Cynthia Friedlob


Jeri Dansky said...

Loved seeing your list of items discarded, Cynthia - and wasn't at all surprised to see some perennial favorites such as mugs, food storage containers, pens, 3-ring binders, candles, and picture frames. Almost everyone seems to have excess in some of these categories, at least. (I too got rid of excess pens this year.)

Cynthia Friedlob said...

What is it with pens?! And where are they when I need one?

It was fun to have a specific uncluttering goal this year. Next year I think I'll work more generally on creating empty spaces. I've discovered that I really am a minimalist at heart!