365 days of making more with less


My birthday is this week. It’s not a “milestone” birthday in the sense of a grand celebration for a decade-related number, although I find nothing wrong with grand celebrations for any birthday.

However, this birthday will mark the start of more than 300 milestones for me, as in 365 Days of Divesting.

That’s right; every day for a year, starting today, I will divest myself of at least one item per day. By item, I mean household goods, clothing, shoes, books, CD’s, and maybe some of those phonograph albums I’ve been lugging around since high school.

And I foresee that these “items” could show up in other shapes. First, I think I’ll throw away second guesses. Then maybe let go of a grudge, forgive a debt (of any kind), kick regret to the curb, and discard outdated ideas and beliefs.

Divesting, to me, has become more than recycling clothing and small appliances by donating them to the ARC. More than weeding out duplicate books and CDs to share with family and friends. More than giving away or selling possessions (craigslist is my friend), I no longer want to need, or that no longer fit my lifestyle.

No, I’ve found that some of the greatest satisfaction in divesting comes from items that also carry a small part of me to the receiver.

For example, one evening after a poetry reading with other authors at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, a fellow writer approached me to express her appreciation for a delicate silver symbol I was wearing on a black cord around my neck.

In retrospect, I’m astonished that I was actually spontaneous enough to slide the cord over my head, and hand her the necklace. We were both somewhat taken aback, but she has contacted me a couple of times since to tell me that she wears the necklace all the time. That makes me feel good.

I want my divesting to feel good — for both me and for the recipients, even when both of us remain anonymous.

Of course, by divesting my home and my life of dead wood, as well as precious things, I will eventually be making room for more stuff. But I’ve already become judicious about what I bring into this home and this life.

My volume of books has always exceeded my volume of space to house them, but that won’t stop me from adding more literature, poetry, and overall just fine writing.

The young people in my life have already moved away from CDs in favor of electronic downloads but I still like to pop a favorite album in my home or car stereo and belt out beloved songs ... although I know people in cars next to me often think I am shouting to myself.

Flowers and plants — though I’m not the best nature nurturer — are always welcome. But I don’t need anything, really, for the house. (Oops, just picked up a one-cup coffee maker, though).

However, I have more sporting goods than some small stores, so whatever I add to that collection better be pretty darn special or in replacement of something else. And I don’t really need new shoes, but ... but ...

So, what do you think about this “365 Days of Divesting” journey?

You can follow along to track my progress, if you want, at doraydoray.wordpress.com. I’ll also be tweeting (I kind of like it) at @AndreaDoray.

Think I can do it? Would you do it? I’d love to hear from you.

Andrea W. Doray is a full-time writer who previously shared her views on divesting with Our Colorado News; see her column, Divesting: It’s all about the meaning, by searching the online archive at ourcoloradonews.com. Contact her at a.doray@andreadoray.com.


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