Imagine Replacing it All

A while back I was reading on another blog, More Time Than Money, about the concept of an “enough list.”

She used her child’s birthday party as an example and listed what would be enough for the party and what was not needed.

I fell in love with this idea because it assumes what we all know to be true–we overdo it.

Not just birthday parties, but work, schedules, decorating, buying, volunteering, etc.

For example, at school conferences last year my son’s teacher had a list of supplies that were running out.

She asked parents to sign up to replace one item. I instinctively wanted to pick 4 or 5 items to replace and feel heroic….but I resisted and simply picked tissues.

Tissues were enough.

We do not have to overextend ourselves.

Replacement List

With this concept of enough in my head, I walked through each room and tried to mentally simplify.

It didn’t work.

I could not get motivated to get rid of stuff.

So I pondered this idea of enough and I was inspired in a different way.

Sometimes re-framing an idea gives fresh inspiration.

So the idea of a “replacement list” came to me. If all my stuff went up in flames or vanished–what would I actually replace??

I understand this is an extreme scenario and imagining all your possessions gone is troubling. But I thought it was worth a try.

Imagine walking into that new house or apartment that is completely empty. It is a clean slate waiting for you.

How will you fill the rooms?

Maybe you have felt this feeling recently with a move or maybe it has been many years.

Or maybe, unfortunately, you have actually experienced the heart wrenching experience of losing everything.

Whatever your experience, imagining a clean slate makes simplifying easier.

I love mental exercises that challenge me to ask the tough questions.

So I walked through every room of our apartment and made a list of what I would replace. It felt like a different version of an enough list.

I was deciding on one sheet what was enough for our family of four.

I finished this mental exercise and compared it to the current state of our apartment.

I noticed many differences.

If my “replacement” bedroom only has a bed, a nightstand, a few clothes, and a desk–why am I keeping all of the other stuff in my real bedroom?

If I wouldn’t replace it, do I really need it now?

These are tough questions that only I can answer about my space and it is different for everyone.

Yes, I would only replace one coffee mug for me and one for my husband. But this does not mean I will get rid of my current coffee mug collection….because it’s awesome.

Just because something is not on the replacement list does not mean it has to go. It helps me consider if it could go.

Keep the Best

Once I had my replacement list in hand it helped me see the best.

I look in our rooms now and see the items that truly matter and the items that are truly functional.

Everything else seems unnecessary.

Will I take immediate action and have an immaculate space? Honestly, probably not.

But I like the idea of stripping it all away and starting from scratch.

I like knowing that I am armed with my “replacement list” and can use it to continue creating a space I love.