Week Three: Possessions

This week is fairly self-explanatory and goes to the heart of what ‘7’ is about – the excess of ‘stuff’ in our lives. It is also a nice change in gear from denial (food and clothes weeks) to generosity as we will not just be decreasing our ‘stuff’ this week, but hopefully finding it a recipient who may need it. Each day this week we will be giving away 7 items, with a different category of giving each day: clothing, books, music and film, kitchen equipment, linens and blankets, kids’ toys, decorative items. This stuff should be worth passing on and I’m expecting that some of these 49 things will be difficult to part with. I’d also really like to have some of the items go directly to a person we know has a need for it. In other words this is not the week when I take bag loads of crap to my local charity shops.

William Morris once said,

‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’

This will be the mantra as I delve into cupboards, wardrobes, bookshelves and toy boxes this week. It is these places that will tell me what kind of consumer I have been. Jen Hatmaker talks about, ‘thoughtless, default consumerism: see it, like it, buy it’ and I know even before I start opening closets and drawers that this defines a lot of my shopping.

Probably my worst area for this kind of consumption, and today’s category, is clothes. If it is cheap, fits and looks halfway decent on me then home it comes. There may be a 10 second justification in there somewhere if I already have something like it/don’t really love it/have nothing that goes with it. This usually smooths things over and ensures that said item gets bought, worn once and then retired to a dark, smelly corner of the wardrobe.

By happy coincidence, tonight is Clothes Swop Night. Rachel and I have invited all the women from our community to come with their cast-offs to her house where we can have some wine, craic and a marathon trying on session of each others clothes. This is a great way to re-invigorate our wardrobes without consuming and has the bonus of being environmentally friendly. I will, however be reigning myself in. This week is not about giving things away to create space for more. The aim is simplicity and so, ‘Do I really need it?’,  will be following me round the piles of clothes tonight. Rach, you can cross-examine and search my bags on the way home, ok? I need all the help I can get when faced with mountains of free clothes, especially if fueled with wine.

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