But What If I Need it? {Year of Fear}

I may be a bit slow or it may be that the flu-turned-into-a-late-night-cough-that-sounds-like-I-have-black-lung-disease which I got for Christmas has altered my brain, but I noticed that the world didn’t come to a grinding halt. Either way I am pretty happy about the world continuing to spin because I have more living to do

2013 has been dubbed my ‘Year of Fear‘ by your’s truly.


Its 2013 and it turns out I am afraid to do the Year of Fear.

Irony at its finest.

Nonetheless, here I go. I am all about doing it afraid and not living based on feelings, so why should this challenge be any different?

comfort zone

I hate how true this is…

The easiest path to this Year of Fear would be to do things like:

  • jump out of airplanes
  • hang upside down from tall buildings
  • hold snakes
  • swim with sharks
  • get a poisonous spider for a pet

Honestly, it is not very often I encounter shark infested waters that I need to swim through and rarely am I required to leap out of airplanes in my daily life. I fear all the things I listed above, but my fear of heights and dangerous animals don’t control my life.

Other, less exciting fears control my life.

Over Christmas, I came to realize a pervading fear in my life is, ‘But what if I need it?‘ For years I have been trying to keep things in an effort to protect me from the ‘inevitable‘ which rarely, if ever happens.

I have more stuff than is reasonable. In fact when I think about it, I get a little sick. Then when I try to get rid of it, panic sets in.


Last month I read ‘The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade my Life, and Regained My Soul‘. The topic and premise was interesting, but the book was not. Whatever you do, don’t buy this book. I will save you a few hours and let you know that we all have more stuff that we need and that you can be happy, heck even happier, with less.

No problem. You’re welcome.

100 thing challenge

There is part of me that likes to be ridiculous, but ridiculous isn’t sustainable. I want change and freedom that lasts, so I am only going to be quasi ridiculous with my first task in the Year of Fear.

In January, I am going to get rid of 25% of my personal things. I want to say 50%, but that is rather crazy. Or is it? Should I aim for 50%?

Voting time.

Looking for a few opinions…how much should I get rid of 25% or 50%?

I am married to a very nice man who seems to think I am one of the most amazing women on the planet. In an effort to keep him bamboozled when it comes to my faults, I will only huck out, sell, and giveaway my things. There is no reason to turn my greatest fan against me by getting rid of his things during my crazy making.

The Rules.

  • Only my things are up for getting rid of – clothes, books, hobbies, sporting goods, my office, and the kitchen because well, Jon wouldn’t care if we ate off paper plates for the rest of our lives.
  • If I haven’t used, worn, or enjoyed in over a year…buh-bye!
  • Duplicates and ‘back ups’ have to go.
  • Keep things I love, not things I like.
  • Things that are special occasion items or personally valuable (aka my wedding shoes or that ball of yarn from Soho) can be kept if there is space and they don’t put me over 75% of keeping things.

How I will tackle the project.

  • One closet or room at a time.
  • 1-2 hours a night two nights a week and Saturday afternoons.
  • Unemotional sorting according to the rules.
  • List of rooms and areas I will tackle one at a time.
  • Refusal to read organizing books and just get down to it.

Just typing these words out makes my skin crawl.

Hilarious thoughts about how to hide my fabulous shoe collection from myself keep entering my brain.

DL Shoes

I am keeping these shoes and that is THAT!

If I pack them all up and take them to my best friend’s house for the month of January would they be safe from the scourge that is about to descend on my house?

  • What if I can’t do it?
  • What if I fail miserably?
  • What if I can’t part with my stuff?
  • What if I can’t do it within a month?

The last worry is rather reasonable. I only have 29 days to do this and I have to go out of town for work next week. I suppose this is where the ridiculous part of my personality shows up.

It is time to change my ‘But what if I need it?’ to ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’.

What about the best?

I have a feeling I will be able to bless a lot of people with my things, make a little money, and live a happier and simpler life come February.

This month I will be posting my progress on the blog and sharing what I learn about this funny fear which causes me to hoard things like shoes and coffee spoons and do more maintaining of my stuff than living.

Do you want to tackle the fear of not having what you need when you need it?

I would love to have you join in the challenge. Drop me an email at dl@donloree.com, post on facebook, or leave a comment below and let me know how you’re joining in.

  • Get rid of some stuff and drop off your fears at the dump with me this month!

I have a strange feeling I am going to learn more about myself this month than I want to…

Why do you hold onto things? Do you fear not having what you need when you need it?

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  1. Wow! 25% is a lot to get rid of. It sounds like you’ve got a good plan in place though and I look forward to your progress reports.

    It sounds like we’re both going to be on a similar journey over the next few weeks. I’m going to be trying to figure out how to pack everything I’ll need for 4 months in China in one large suitcase and a carry-on! That will also involve lots of going through closets and drawers, sorting and asking myself what I can live without.

  2. I have lived as a minimalist for nearly 8 years. I no longer own a car, TV sets, furniture (other than my inflatable bed), and few clothes. Though I profoundly suck at most things, I do minimalism well.

    I can not recommend enough, learning the story of “Doc” Dorian Paskowitz — the ultimate minimalist. He did a lot of things wrong hen it came to the treatment of his family, but oh, he did so much right.

    If nothing else, rent the movie, Surfwise. Watch it more than once. Also, this is worth a few views: http://www.hulu.com/watch/289981

    All we need is a will to try…

  3. Tiffany Miller says

    Donloree, I started this challenge last year and then it came to a screaming halt this summer when work got overwhelming. I just put this book on hold at the library and I’m going to continue to get rid of at least 25% of my stuff this year. One thing that helped me last year was to put a spending halt on all new clothing. I think it’s crazy the amount of clothes woman collect. Not only am I finding the laundry suffocating, it’s so much easier to figure out what to wear when you only have a few things.

  4. Ive recently really been working on this! Fear.. and letting go. A big profound shift I had was letting go of a relationship that wasn’t serving my highest good and my ego was holding on to him out of fear of losing its comfort zone. I realized it wasn’t love, it was just my egos addiction to having that comfort, as love is unconditional and doesn’t require a certain person to perform a certain function in our lives..

    What has your big profound shift been this year and how did you work through it/

  5. Why are we so afraid? For myself and probably anyone reading this, we have safe, cushy lives. Our chances of going hungry, being eaten by tigers, or falling off a cliff are vanishingly small. So are we happy? No, we get busy fearing smaller things instead. Even when the things we fear are excruciatingly tiny and ridiculous, the fear can still stop us if we let it.

  6. This is so me! I am really good at the purge but my cycle so far has been to purge and refill. I cannot wait to see what you get rid of!

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