Introducing the “Object Permanence” Project (Week One)

One of my ongoing goals is to be disciplined about the objects I bring into my life.

I am painfully aware of the ways that I have bought — quite literally! — into materialism.

I try to take regular “buy nothing” days (weeks, months). I also practice “project 333” — every three months, I go through my wardrobe and select 33 items of clothing that I will wear for the next 3 months (I don't count undergarments, hosiery, workout wear, or pajamas). This has helped me both minimize my wardrobe and also brought awareness to what I really need so far as clothing.

I am interested in bringing this sensibility to the rest of my life.

But I wanted it to be fun! 

Has anyone else seen the “52 objects” project around the web? It began at the Marion House Book Blog (52 Objects) and took off in a minor way, with other bloggers following suit. Every week for a year the blogger chooses an object to photograph and document. Some have made this about establishing their personal aesthetic taste; others have made it about appreciating what they have; still others have used it as a way to bring mindfulness towards what they own.

Also, does anyone else take a guilty, voyeuristic pleasure in “haul&rdqo; videos? (These are youtube videos in which someone documents their shopping [we're talking pleasure, not groceries] for the world to ogle.) I do.

So I thought I'd combine the two.

Every week I will select an object or collection of objects that I own and love, with an eye towards mindfully appreciating what I have. I will also, throughout the week, assemble a collection of at least seven (one per day) objects to let go of (not counting trash and consumables — no old underwear or empty toothpaste tubes!).

I will then share a photograph of the object I love, and an "unhauled" photograph of what I'm letting go of (hoping that this might tap into some of the same voyeuristic thrill I love in those damn haul videos).

I will continue doing this for, ideally, a year, but realistically until I feel like I have acheived some sort of “object permanence.”

Here is week one!

What: My journals, dating back to August 1998. I have been journaling more or less continuously, never missing more than a few weeks, since that time.

Provenance: Assorted office supply stores and bookstores.

Why this is important to me: I love journaling. I love being able to look back and see what I've been thinking through the years. I've used (as you notice) plain black-and-white marbled composition notebooks for years, because the casual form felt freeing to me. I never felt intimidated by the blank page. It was just a cheap composition notebook. I couldn't possibly mess it up.

As of the new year, I switched to a Moleskine. I wanted something a bit smaller, that I could fit into my purse, and in my ongoing quest to journal every day, I decided it would be helpful if I had a journal with pre-dated pages. I figured the spectre of a blank page if I missed a day would help keep me on track. So far, it is working beautifully.

And what I am letting go of . . .

-Literary journals. I don't re-read them. I shouldn't hang onto them. I don't know why I felt obliged to hang onto these. Guilt? I recycle or pass on all my other preiodicals; I should let these go as well.

-Two books I didn't care for enough to want on hand. (If anyone wants either "The Peaceable Kingdom" or "Foucault's Pendulum," just let me know.)

-Cat harnesses and leashes. What were we thinking?

-A cowrie shell from a trip to Western Samoa. I don't display knicknacks so this was just sitting in a box. Also, I didn't enjoy the trip so much that I am attached to this momento.

And that's the “Object Permanence” project for this week. Back again next Sunday with more!