The Subraction Project

This project has been around for a good while and I always enjoy the prompts I get from them but I’ve never ‘joined in’ before.  The point of the project, very simply put, is to tackle little projects everyday and subtract some of the clutter/chaos/extra out to make life overall easier.

I signed up for September all ready to go but apparently my subliminal brain is one step a head because out of the first 5 prompts I have done them all myself in the past month….  I really do give this project credit though since I’ve been reading about it and as I come to a nest of things I think “what can I subtract…”

If you are interested, here is the project and full link to the first 5 projects

Basically day 1; edit the pens/pencils and/or utensil drawers.  I did both of these in the past month and it has made life much nicer.  There is a cache of markers in the kids room that I have not audited but technically I like that if half don’t work then Fiona is 50% less likely to draw on herself and the wall.  ** Mom Pro tips, never ever bring a non washable marker or crayon into the house.  Our sharpies are guarded and up high.

Day 2 was more mentally getting read for school, subtracting the drama.  I had a year of trying this and that to get us out the door without fear of panic attack or stroke and we are doing ok so far.  Getting up at 7:30 seems to be the key, we end up with 30 min of ‘nothing’ but easier to fill that then be panic.  For some reason waking up at 8 means everything is a tragic rush and is really stressful.  7:30 it is… we will see next week how mixing in Zoe to the bus too will help or hurt.


Day 3 Piles of paper.  Ok this will be life long and no, still have not totally done anything with Niamh’s kindergarten work – BUT I have been attacking other piles of paper so I count that.  I do like her suggestions of how much to save so I’ll build that into the project that is ‘maturing’ in my mind.


Day 4 Leftover containers.  Not to brag, but, I’m ruthless on these in general.  I love containers but I have held off getting out of control.  The most organized spot in the kitchen is the two places I have reusable containers.  Last year I made it a goal to have minimal waste in Niamh’s lunch box so other then some pre packaged food like yogurt, everything goes into a container.  The little snack bowels I got for baby food way back are now my go-to for components of lunch and we have 2 styles of container that we stick with so no strays or extras.  I did give it a look just because and I tossed one lid that looked a bit melty.  Lars is always sneaking containers into the trash that are just too gross to deal with so no stains either.  For the record we use Glad square boxes and a random Costco brand that is a shallow rectangle but it was 50 for about $15 so tossing one now and then is ok.


Day 5, today, was to let go of 5 things and the prompt indicated shoes, makeup, and lotions (in a list) and I bit the bullet 2 weeks ago and purged the make up collection so I’m down to less then one box and half of that is novelty stuff for crazy makeup.  I did take a real look and I’m letting go of three pairs of shoes.

The red ones I wore to my sister Sinead’s wedding and countless other things and they just need to retire.  The sparklie high silver ones I wore once and they hurt and I’m really not ever going to wear them in my life so away they go (donate). The slippers are from my sister Josie’s ex boyfriend and they are a tad uncomfortable but I have not worn them ever really because he was out the door about 2 months after I got them and I don’t want to really be reminded of him because he was just a ‘mah’ person and her next boyfriend (now husband) is 210% more awesome. (also donate)


It is hard to let go of some things and I’m not ready for everything she prompts but I have proof that just reading the prompts gets them into my brain and eventually I get to a place where I can get rid of things…. like I finally delt with the box of stuff that came from my old work.  It spent 2 years in a box in the garage since I didn’t want to deal with it and 85% went directly into the trash when I did open it.

Anyone want to join me in the project?


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5 responses to “The Subraction Project”

  1. allthoughtswork says :

    I don’t understand the shoe thing, never have. All you need is one good pair for any activity you engage in on a regular basis and you’re done. Just coordinate your closet with that simple footwear line up and save yourself a buttload of money and anxiety medication from now until the day you die.


    • kateluthner79 says :

      Shoes are to women’s wardrobes as ties are to mens. A dull outfit is made awesome with the right shoe. BTW, I do a lot of things so just my normal shoe needs are a ton… I have a running training shoe and fancy race shoes, sneakers that I can wear in the gym that CAN’T be worn outside. Boots for winter, flip flops for summer, rain able shoes too. Then there are the regular day to day shoes. This isn’t even touching fashion shoes in any way 🙂 Shoes are fun and don’t care about your BMI~


      • allthoughtswork says :

        Wow, yeah. Just think of all that time I wasted climbing mountains, exploring ocean coves, and having sex when I could have been standing in some stuffy store, shopping for footwear. The horror.


  2. Karen Moldenhauer says :

    Well clearly you do not enjoy shopping for shoes or finding the right pair to go with your outfit. That’s fine – to each their own. I could see wearing the same shoes for climbing and exploring, but not for lounging at the beach or hiking through snow drifts. I think in Minnesota we definitely own more different kinds of shoes due to the extremely variable weather and seasons. What I do admire about what Kate is doing here is the focus on moderation and simplification.


  3. Becky says :

    That is a lot of anger toward an anonymous person on the internet about shoes. Perhaps in you list of things you do you should include some meditation and self reflection.


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