Reflections on my 617 items...

And still counting!

Good day to you!

Max’s been in Lisbon with us for a few weeks already. It’s so good to be together after months away. Max’s arrival coincided with a time when we decided that Thursdays were meant for AFK (Away From Keyboard) sessions, that we like to call ‘Brain Sanity”. We’re constantly trying to improve our productivity, and after months of experiments, we came to realize we achieve way more in 4 working days + 1 Brain Sanity than the standard Monday-Friday. Like, a LOT more! (OK, we regularly work on weekends, too.) Plus we feel more relaxed, connected to ourselves and to each other, we read, we debate, we embrace the present.

So here we are, facing the ocean with a Sagres. ☀️+ 🌊+ 🍺 = perfect setup for introspection. Individually, why are we so passionate about this mission? Deep down, what motivates each of us?

  • for Kev, there’s something about competition. With himself and with others. He loves to play games (“I never lose” 🙄), and especially to level up.

  • for Max, there’s a need for the big picture, he wants the data, he loves to “fill in the blanks”. He likes it when it’s organized, detailed, nerdy.

  • for me, there’s a sense of wellness, that comes with feeling in control. “I own my stuff, they don’t own me”. Same goes with my personal finances or the way I like to plan ahead.

I’d say it’s actually quite accurate when you know us three :)

Beyond our singularities, most importantly, this is where we all meet:

I want harmony between who I aspire to be and what my stuff say about me.

In our countries, 1 adult in 4 declare “aspiring to own less” (source: CivicScience). There is pain here. And we want to help.

Reflections on what I (now) know

On July 1st, we launched our very first challenge (in short => document X items on the Xth day of the month, during 1 month). Today, we’re two-thirds into it, and I wanted to share my struggles and take-homes.

Our aim with this challenge is to get to the starting line = know what we have.

I have already documented 617 items. While in this process, I couldn’t help but start kissing goodbye to some: I can tell you now that I already donated 15% and trashed 0.5%.

Does it take time? Yes it does. Probably 20 to 30 minutes every day.

It’s funny how the more sub-(sub-)categories you document, the sharper your become on knowing what’s a burden from what’s actually making you feel good. I love asking myself this question: If you happened to lose it, would you buy it again?

Facing your possessions can bring its own mix of feelings: guilt, shame, pride, joy, maybe tears too. For me, taking pictures of the items I am no longer comfortable with helps me discard without feeling bad. Present Mathilde’s making the decision.

I am expecting to keep this documenting pace until I am completely done with the place I live, and my guess is that by August 31st (I am going to France early September), I will be done. I want to. Last step will be to document what remains at my parents…

The same way cleaning your photos, your desktop or knowing what’s in your bank account can bring you a sense of control and comfort. To me so far, documenting has been like a therapy. I think that for the first time in my life, reality can’t help but strike me: knowing I have too much is something, knowing what is too much is something else. I know for a fact that I don’t want to be this person who owns 32 pairs of shoes and 14 jackets. And I will be looking for fun and social ideas to help us become the better and happier self we aspire to be.

Glancing at my stuff in one single grid view (below 👇) helps me notice right away what makes me uncomfortable from what I just enjoy. The more items you document the easier it gets.

I enjoy getting back to it, asking myself which of these jackets is next on the discard list?, just for the sake of it. I happened to add to the ‘donated’ pile 4 more times after I thought I was done.

📆 10 more days to go : a few tips to document faster 👇

📷 1. Take your pictures upfront, upload later

Here’s how I do it:

  1. I choose a sub-(sub-)category and gather every single item in my house that belongs there

  2. I line them up in a bright room (no direct light!), I go get a hanger

  3. I start taking pictures of each of them, one after the other, mechanically (1 stuff can now have multiple photos! / tip= I use the ‘square’ frame from my camera, it saves time later one, trust me)

  4. if sizes are important to me, I take a picture of the label after each item

  5. I fold back and tidy these items, right after I am done with this photoshoot. Chances are, I will already be ready to discard some of them :) What I do in that case: I tidy back only the ones I keep. The others are going to a pile of “donated” (or “trashed” if they really are in poor condition)

  6. now that I have a pool of pictures ready to be uploaded, I an just enjoy using the app when I lay down, waiting outside a grocery store, in a cab,…

🎯 2. Set yourself a goal

1 sub-(sub-)category every day? Participating to a challenge? :)

⏰ 3. Set up a daily reminder

Can be an alarm after lunch, an event in your calendar or a box to tick in your to-do list.

👄 4. Tell a friend you’re documenting your possessions

Although they might tell you you’re completely nuts… which, let’s admit it, makes it even more exciting.

👋 5. Ask for help!

You’re not alone feeling overwhelmed and tired of your own mess. Reach out for a good joke or to share your struggle!

Dying to try the app?! 📱

Join the waitlist and we’ll get you on board in a snap 😎

Have a beautiful day!

Mathilde 🐠

if you ever happen to be in Lisbon on a Thursday, this is where to find us - reading, talking, becoming a better version of ourselves 😎