Monday, March 03, 2008

The 127 Things You Need

After writing about needing a little spiritual uplift, I received the Smart Woman's Guide to a Simple Life newsletter :

which had an interview with Donna Wilkinson, the author of The Only 127 Things You Need: A Guide to Life's Essentials-According to the Experts. You can read the full interview and information at the above list, but I liked her answer to this:

Q: Did writing this book prompt you to simplify your own life? If so, how?

A: Yes, especially after interviewing Peter Walsh, the organizational expert on TLC’s Clean Sweep. I immediately wanted to throw out everything and start from scratch. Peter said you have to look at your stuff and ask yourself this question: “What is the vision for the life I want?” Once you decide what your vision is, then ask yourself, “Does this item help me achieve that vision?” If it does, keep it; if it doesn’t, then let it go. It’s as simple as that. So I find myself using that as a guide—not only when cleaning closets but also when buying things.

* * * *

I think that question "does this achieve my vision?" helps us in all areas of our lives, not just purchasing. In making choices on how we spend our time, where our thoughts are, what we're reading or watching.

I don't think we need to go overboard and then create a series of strict rules for ourselves as I believe life is buffet and the occasional Twinkie never hurt anyone. But in a larger sense, as we move forward with our choices and experiences, it's a good thing to keep in mind.


  1. I have tried that "is this essential to my life" thing while cleaning out closets, bookshelves and storage boxes. Is a 1996 issue of Entertainment Weekly with Gillian Anderson on the cover from X-Files really something I need to have when I'm in my rocking chair? Everytime I try to throw it out, my fingers just won't let go.

  2. I really like Peter's philosophy when it comes to creating the life you want. But it's a continual process of clearing clutter. But I like the idea of taking control of all that suff--very proactive.

  3. I thrive on disorder at my dest until it actually becomes an impediment to something I want to get done. Then I start a frantic sort and pitch until I've cleared the path for doing what I want. Then I start the seeping litter routine again. This is surprising since I can't stand a messy kitchen. Every one I was ever in charge of was clean and lean. Also, at home I also insist on things being picked up and put away neatly.

    It is as if I was this tidy person with an odd couple alter ego. Your observations were fun and interesting to read, but I'm afraid I'm too much of a skitso to pull off that level of order.

    I'm afraid I'm just a hopeless bohemian half-slob!


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