What I Don’t Need: ‘My Eleven’

When I saw the prompt (from Sam Davidson) for Day 11 of the December Reverb10 challenge, I was very excited!

Then a little anxious.

Finally, a bit overwhelmed.

Here’s the prompt:

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?’

The thought of coming up with 11 things to jettison from your life is thrilling to me. Sounds like an interesting take on New Year’s resolutions.

Out you go. No more _______ (fill in the blank).

Alright, enough of that. You’re done!

Determining exactly how to eliminate ‘my eleven’ as I’ve come to think of my list, and then imagining how my life might change (and be changed) were just downright daunting.

So I’m going to cheat a bit and do this in three steps. First, I’ll post ‘my eleven’ today.

Then over the next few weeks I’m committing myself to seriously thinking through how I should go about eliminating these things on my list. Some might be easy, some incredibly difficult. But I believe I owe it to myself to put in the time, thought and effort to come up with a true course of action.

More importantly, I’m going to start. Just begin trying to get rid of the things on the list.


Because there’s nothing like the experience of trying to do (or not do) something to help inform you as to what’s working. Or not. It helps provide feedback for tweaking and adjusting.

I’m honestly not even sure how my life might change or be changed by trying to elminate ‘my eleven’. I just sense that I’ll be in a better place if I do.

I’m going to come back sometime in 2011 and review the list. I’ll let you know how I’m doing. (Ooh I do love accountability!)

And now for what I would/will try to eliminate from my life, here are ‘my eleven’. (No particular order.)

1. Procrastination.

Some days I think I’ve perfected it to an art form. If it were an Olympic event, I might just make the national team.

2. Clutter.

I’ve actually gotten better about this over the years as I prefer being organized and not surrounded by piles of stuff. But as with most people, I still have a few areas in the house (e.g., a desk, two closets and a corner of the spare bedroom) that I’ve procrastinated over. (See #1.) I just need to put my head down and plow through.

3. Harsh Words and/or Tone.

Generally I am a happy sort. I thrive on having lots going on. But when I get tired and truly overwhelmed, my patience wears thin and I get irritable. And when my buttons are pushed, I do snap. Just because something is true doesn’t mean it has to be said. It’s not that this happens often, just that I’d like to work on eliminating any form of harshness from my life.

4. Unnecessary, wasted time spent surfing the Internet.

I realize that some time spent doing targeted research or seeing what’s out there is important. Over time I have minimized my wanderings. But I can do better.

5. Impatience.

I’ve always been keen to cultivate patience in my life, and have had some success. Still, there’s always room for improvement.

6. Clothes more than 2 years old unless they’ve been worn recently.

I’ve learned to cull, but I need to go back again. Then again. And then one more time.

7. My three boxes of old photographs.

Actually, I need to go through them and only keep the good shots. Then I need to get the rest scanned and saved online, and put into nice albums (digital and otherwise). What is the point of saving old photographs if they aren’t in a form where you can access them easily and enjoy them?

8. Excess Books.

We have some that we’ve read and aren’t going to read again despite our protestations. We don’t necessarily need to save them. Better to donate them to the school book sale. That way the school earns money for service projects and someone else gets to read the books.

9. Costume Jewelry and Small Decorative Items.

The latter are also referred to as tzotchkes and doodads (Free Dictionary defines doodad as ‘unnamed/nameless gadgets or trinkets’.) Over the years I’ve ended up with quite a bit, most of which are never worn, used or appreciated. Probably never will. I need to go through it all and keep only that which is sentimental or worn often enough. The rest needs to go to a good home.

10. An old grudge or two.

Again, I’m generally a happy sort. I tend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I’m not one to let things fester, or avoid dealing with something. If something concerns me, I try to get it resolved. But I do think I’ve been carrying around a couple grudges that need to go.

11. Unnecessary snacking.

A little bit here, a little bit there and the calories begin to add up. It starts out harmless, but can become a bad habit. Enough said.


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