Take the 52 Things Challenge

A recent study came up with what, to me, is a call to action. The study said that

the average American owns 52 things that, if they evaporated tomorrow, wouldn’t be missed.

As a career consignment shopkeeper, that number doesn’t shock me. In fact, I think it’s probably low. Why we all give space and attention to possessions we don’t care about is a bit of a mystery. So I decided to de-clutter my life of 52 things in front of the camera. Maybe this will inspire you to do the same. Here goes:

Step 1: Clear the Decks.

Empty drawing board, ready to receive the 52 Thing Challenge at HowToConsign.comI’ve cleaned off my drawing table in preparation to showing you all the stuff that I simply do not need in my life. I’m going to go through my house and let you watch as I realize I own a lot of things I don’t need.

I will restrict myself to my personal stuff only. That’s mainly because I have no kids at home and my main squeeze refuses to let me touch HIS stuff.

I’m also going to NOT show you the electronics and the furniture I don’t need. Let’s just stick to home items and closet clutter, at least this time around.

Step 2: Run around like a madwoman.

Ten minutes into the 52 Thing Challenge at HowToConsign.comThe first place I started grabbing from was the china cabinet in the same room. In ten minutes, I piled up rush placemats and plastic placemats. I also found 3, yes 3, hurricane lamps left over from a charity event I helped organize, and a glass ice bucket molded like an old oaken bucket…cute, but I can’t recall the last time I needed an ice bucket.

The fish tray’s another “cute-but-never-used” item and the ornate wall shelf/bracket has been a decorative piece  in many rooms over 25 years. Time to let someone else enjoy it.

Oh, and the purse: red and black wool. I love it, but I live in southern Florida, and there is not a season in the year when a wool handbag looks right. Count so far: 9 items in 10 minutes. Not bad. (I’m counting sets as one item.)

Step 3: Digging a (bit) deeper.

HowToConsign's 52-Thing Challenge: Serving pieces too.I’m already slowing down. I found a dozen feather-covered balls inside a decorative box and threw them into one of the hurricane lamps.

A pair of oblong Mid-Century bowls, a salsa bowl whose tortilla-chip plate is shattered history, and two hand-crafted bowls from an art fair are all I come up with on a second trip through the house. I’m getting worried: will I have 52 unnecessary things in my life to show you? Am I allowed to count the feather balls as 12 things? Count so far: 13 items in 20 minutes. At this rate it’ll take me all day to find 52.

Step 4: Raid the purse drawer. Always good for a laugh.

Purses and bowls and yoga knapsacks oh my Okay, now we’re cookin’.  Rainbow stripe tote (I kept the purse and the cosmetic case that match.) The black patent bag from Saks Fifth Ave NWT. Four black vintage handbags (how many does one woman need?) and a yoga knapsack. I have never in my life taken yoga and ain’t about to start. Count so far: 20 items. I’m on a roll here.


Step 5: Into the closets she goes.

Books and t-shirts too.Time to confront the closet. The cute chenille fairy-bunny-ballerina reminded me to be whimsical, but I’ve absorbed the lesson. Two sweaters, a jean skirt, 4 t-shirts. Satin mules worn to one wedding, ticking-stripe flats too uncomfortable to ever wear. Blue tote, straw tote, and (practically invisible in the photo) a wire-art shopping bag in honor of my past profession.

I passed the bookcase on the way, found 10 books that I should pass on so others can love them too, and the sea gull is another had-it-long-enough let-it-find-a-new-home sitaround.

Astute readers will notice the wool handbag’s gone. My sister came by in the middle of all this and claimed it. In its place, she left a straw Stetson, brand-new, that she bought at a garage sale. Great, but way too big for anyone we know.
Count so far: 44 items. Will I make it? Sis and I adjourn for a little refreshment. This getting rid of stuff is hot work.

Step 6: Finally 52.

Took some doing to get to 52. How about you?After our time out, Sis helps me tackle the jewelry box. Anything she says “I’ve never seen you wear this” about, goes in the pile. Sis knows her, or my, jewelry.

Stunningly, she fingers exactly 8 necklaces and bracelets (I am not letting her near my earring collection!)

And, drum roll please: 52 things I own and do not use or enjoy.

It took some doing for me to get to 52. How about YOU?

Stay tuned. What I did with those 52 items coming up in the HowToConsign blog!

3 thoughts on “Take the 52 Things Challenge

  1. I’ve had a habit for years that if I haven’t worn something for a year or so, it goes to the Salvation Army, or someone else that can use it. I admin, I’m not quite as good with tools and old hats (go figure), but I’m a huge believer in re-using, re-purposing and re-cycling.

  2. Pingback: Did you take the 52 Things Challenge? | How to Consign

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