Friday, March 30, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 30 + The End

So it's the last day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and I'm completely fried. But only partly to do with the challenge. Mostly it's been other obligations that kept me up most of the night, and so I didn't get the chance to take any pictures of the planned purges. And I didn't get the chance to go through the photo albums.

Though I did manage to take a couple pictures of some of the items that actually did leave my home today. (It was now or never.)

So I may update this post with the soon-to-be purged item pictures once I actually send them "packing" for the move, along with...
  • 4 fridge magnets that hold our keys
  • 2 grey containers with bamboo lids that "hid" things beneath our kitchen sink but now simply serve as a place to set our unused garbage bags
  • several more cleaning rags and implements
  • our cutlery tray that had to be disfigured to be put into our very, very narrow drawer
  • a few rubber shelf "liners" that didn't work to stop everything from slipping,
  • possibly a few more cables and wires (though I'll likely let my husband store those for just in case) and our two phone stand charges that won't be needed in the new space
  • and perhaps a few more unloved cat toys
But for today...

Day 30

Today I purged:
  • 7 books (give away)
  • 1 coffee scoop (recycle)
  • 1 bottle opener/key chain (recycle)
The other 21 (+2 extras) are items I will be getting rid of (purging, recycling, donating, giving away) next week along with all the items listed at the top of the post.

And yet I definitely feel like there will be more. Like when I finally find a second to tackle the photo album project, go through my decorative storage boxes and bins, have a second to breathe and take stock of what I actually need post-move.

The end...

I am a little sad to have reached the end of the game as I hope I'll never have to play it again - I don't want to have nearly 500 things to purge (unless it's a box of staples).

And I hope that in the next year or two I will no longer be striving for minimal but will have attained my minimal by then.

To be continued...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 29 + Binges

It's the second-to-last day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and I'm so thrilled it's almost over and that this month is almost over. March is always such a long month as it is, but with the anticipation of a move in my future, it's that much lengthier. Even with the fact that participating in this "challenge" has made things move along a little bit quicker.

Even though today's 29 picks were quite easy.

Day 29

For today:
  • 29 FLOR brand carpet tiles are on the purge pile.
We have four FLOR area rugs - in our kitchen, in our living room, and two in our bedroom. All in they are comprised of a total of 29 carpet tiles from FLOR.

As we need a much larger runner in our new kitchen, we don't need any rugs in the bedroom, and we will need a larger rug in our living room, we have no need of these four rugs.

Thankfully FLOR will allow us to ship these tiles back to them to be recycled into new rugs (and they'll foot the shipping bill). So we bought two boxes which should fit all 29, and plan on sending them off to FLOR in a week or so.

So that was an easy 29. And if I don't get the chance to go through my photo albums early tomorrow morning, I am likely going to have a very hard time coming up with the remainder of the 30 items I need to purge.

The problem with purges is that they are often accompanied by binges.

And during this purge I have had a few binge-y moments in addition to the must acquire items needed for the move.

While I don't have pics, here are the binge purchases I made during this challenge - that I am using and will use - but that I didn't absolutely have to buy:
  • Glass straws, cleaning brush, carrying case and a ball jar to hold them. Love the idea of the glass straws, but didn't absolutely need them - I can drink without any straws if I want to help the environment.
  • Wooden measuring cups. I got rid of the toxic ones, but as I rarely measure things and my husband has some plastic ones he uses for his cereal, I could have probably used them instead of getting some of my own.
  • Tote bags. I bought a couple of tote bags that I could stuff in my purse and use if I needed an emergency shopping bag, as they fold up so small. But as we are moving away from shops that I might need to hand carry things for a distance, I probably could have gotten by without any.
  • An 8 inch fry pan. I wanted one for ages, even though I haven't been cooking much lately. I had a coupon and it was on sale so I couldn't resist. But I could have. And probably should have.
  • Two "right-sized" bowls. We have two bowls already that are the "right size" for what we need as long as I hand wash them every night. But of course I decided to get two more in a different style that I thought were lovely "just in case" I felt like letting the dishwasher do the work for me in our new home. But I don't really need them.
  • Hangers. I didn't absolutely need new hangers, but I wanted them. I was just so tired of the pink, bright pink, purple and white hangers we had. I wanted something a bit more sophisticated, more space-saving. But I didn't absolutely need them.
And while I feel that many of the non-binge purchases I made for this move feel a bit splurge-y, they are either absolutely necessary, or wanted by both myself and my husband for our new space. So I'm only choosing to feel slightly guilty about the binge purges.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 28 + Guilt

Just three more days to go and I'm so stoked that this 28th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game is done. Because Day 29 is easy - I have the perfect amount of one thing to recycle - and that just leaves Day 30. Oh Day 30... But that is another day.

Day 28

For today's challenge day, I have all sorts of odd stuff I'm purging - some will be going on their way today, some in two weeks when I move:
  • 12 shower curtain rings (recycle on move-out day)
  • 1 shower curtain liner (recycle on move-out day)
  • 1 plastic spray bottle (recycled)
  • 2 grout scrubbers (recycle on move-out day)
  • 1 sink scrubber (recycled)
  • 1 sofa pillow (discarded)
  • 1 plunger (recycled)
  • 1 toilet bowl cleaner wand + 1 toilet bowl cleaner caddy (recycle on move-out day)
  • 1 plastic cereal container (recycled)
  • 1 dental item + container (recycled)
  • 2 light bulbs, 2 light bulb converters, 1 power plug (give away or sell)
So that's 28. Yay! Though I wish I was moving out today so I could get rid of all of this stuff and not just some of it.

The curtain rings are rusting - we're getting new ones when we move. The shower curtain liner has not held up well either, so out it goes.

The cleaning supplies are ones we won't be replacing when we move - we'll be getting more eco-friendly products/items.

The pillow is being replaced as the feathers (which are super sharp) just won't stay in the pillow insert and end up everywhere. (Problems with cheap pillows.)

The cereal container is going to be replaced with a glass container - the plastic on this one, like the one we previously purged, is getting all chewed up and we don't want to eat bits of plastic. Yuck.

The dental item is no longer needed so I'm bringing it back to the dentist to recycle.

And the power plug with two Edison bulbs and two bulb to socket converters are either going to be given away to a family member or sold if they don't want them. I had grand plans for this to light our dark laundry closet that didn't have lighting, but I never found a way to wall mount it, the Edison bulbs got super hot so I didn't feel like it was safe, and then we got the kittens and I knew it wouldn't be. So it's never been used and as it's fairly expensive I'm looking for a good home for the bunch.

Ahhh guilt.

As this challenge has progressed I've started to feel guilty about all that I've accumulated and all that I'm sending out into the world in the way of trash, recyclable materials, and wanted and unwanted "gifts."

Sure I've had a few twinges when it comes to the amount of money I spent on these items, but I've had not nearly as much guilty feelings about the money as I have about the waste, about cluttering up someone else's home, about the impact I have had and continue to have on the planet.

I have not given much thought to the landfills I've been filling, or to the homes I've been crowding until recently. And when my purges were done in fits of anger, bouts of frustration, or in little "doses," the impact didn't dawn on me in quite the same way.

But as I head to the post office or UPS or FedEx each weekend, as I head to the trash room to sort out the recyclables or discardables, as I drive to the eCycling facility, as I head to the Container Store to buy another shipping box, I feel bad. I feel guilty.

The one bright spot is that I am learning a lot about sustainability. I am becoming more conscious of my waste and I'm trying to find solutions that won't be wasteful or harmful. I'm trying to reuse, buy local, buy handmade. I'm looking for sellers who think about the environment, I'm trying to take up less space and use less things, which helps alleviate some of this guilt.

But not all.

I just hope with our next move I won't need to go through my possessions in search of things to purge in large doses, aside from paper clutter. I hope I won't ever need to do this 30-day game again. And I hope I'll have learned to shop smarter, so that my things will be not only durable but be "want-able" for years to come. I'm keeping fingers crossed.

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 27

Today's purges for the 27th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game are being shared a bit later than planned. But I had absolutely no time today to go through my things. I'm just glad I found a few minutes to snap a pic of (hopefully) 27 things I'm saying goodbye to.

Day 27

Because things were a bit rushed I have added three items to the list today that I won't be purging until we move, though I'd only planned on listing those later purges on days 28 through 30. I just had no time to go through all my things for three items I could purge tonight. And those three items are also not shown in the pic as I didn't get the chance to grab one in time to add them to the collage. But here are my 27 items:
  • 18 articles/reference docs/materials on sailing and racing (recycling).
  • 1 sail bag that is just too small to fit all the things I need (giving away).
  • 1 scale - we had two and don't need them both (giving away).
  • 1 pair of worn and torn sailing shoes (discard) + 1 plastic storage bin that contained them (recycling),
  • 1 length of throwing line (giving away).
  • 1 doormat (recycling).
  • 1 cat litter mat (not shown).
  • 1 cat litter box + lid (not shown).
  • 1 cat litter scoop (not shown).
So that's 27. It was fairly easy as I'd read and/or scanned in all 18 reference docs/materials, and the rest were things I was ready to part with. We also get new litter boxes and accessories when we move - and we already have a spare scoop, so that is taken care of.  And the doormat is just so scuzzy as it's outside in the hallway, that there was no way we were bringing it to our new abode.

Hopefully Day 28 won't be too difficult. While I have a few "future purge" items on tomorrow's list, I had hoped to fill the rest with immediate purges. So I'll need to come up with a few more (try 22) items to let go of - time-permitting it will be photo albums. But we shall see.

To be continued... 

Monday, March 26, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 26 + Not-so-perfect Solutions

It's the 26th (and almost final) day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and due to unplanned delays yesterday I didn't get a chance to pull out of my storage boxes the umpteen photo albums I was hoping to have ready to get rid of today. So there was a bit of a scramble going through the bathroom cupboards early this morning ad my tool box just moments ago, to hit today's magic number.

Day 26

For today I managed to get rid of:
  • Two Sailing magazines - read one, the other they sent a duplicate.
  • One Weck jar lid + rubber seal and two clamps (counting all as one). Have a wooden lid coming - as I plan on using it for small batches of ground coffee, the clamped lid is just too complicated.
  • One Ball jar lid - use this for multiple purposes but none of them require the lid so I'm getting rid of it.
  • Two phone charger stand accessories - the final rubber holder that was on the charging stand, and one insert for Micro USB devices - we don't charge any of those on the stands.
  • One display bowl - used to use for fruit but it was too fragile and was sure to get destroyed by the felines. Giving away to a family member since we have no other use for it.
  • Nine bathroom cupboard items - a travel soap dish that we haven't used for years; three toothbrushes given to us by dentists that we have no use for and while we might need them someday, these have been in our cupboards for months (if not a year); one electrode device for back pain that was ineffectual; four expired medications.
  • One book I've read and plan to give away.
  • Eight items from the toolbox - three adhesive products used for intended purpose and no longer needed or ineffectual for intended purpose; three caulking/sealing products used for intended purposes and no longer needed; one sanding block used for intended purpose and no longer needed; one bag of picture hangers not needed as they were too small and have been hanging onto them for years.
  • One very large photo album used to store 8x10 and 9x12 photos. Photos were removed to put in a photo box with other photos and/or given away to other family members. Plan to donate, give away or sell along with other photo albums I'll be going through this week.
So I think that's 26.

I am more than a bit disappointed in myself as I had planned on going through all my photo albums, but carefully removing the photos from this album took many hours (there were 59 very old, very fragile pictures in there that got a bit destroyed due to their removal from an album that was put together about a decade ago).

As the beginning of the week is always more hectic than later in the week, I may end up sharing those items due to be discarded in two weeks over the next few days, then doing that huge album purge later in the week. But if I get done with work early enough today I might have enough energy to tackle things. We shall see....

In the meantime...

Not-so-perfect solutions.

What I've come to learn over the course of the many years that I've been struggling with my things is that there is no perfect solution to their storage or their discard.

I used to seek the perfect storage solutions. I spent countless dollars and even more hours on trying to find the right tools - solutions that would be perfect for the hodge-podge of things I owned.

It/they weren't out there.

I despised the fact that I couldn't find the perfect way to store all my cards and photos and trinkets and media.

I hated that I couldn't group things together in such a way that they'd "fit" within the constraints imposed by the solutions I found that I thought would be perfect.

Everything was a bit too big or too small or didn't account for X item.

And even those solutions that seemed to be more than adequate would always be a problem as I just had too much stuff contained. So I bought shelves and racks and bins and boxes to store these storage solutions in that contained the stuff I owned.

It was overwhelming. Which meant it was not perfect.

Sure, everything looked organized and well-kept and contained. Everything seemed sorted and had a proper place. But I was never happy. Not once.

And so the cycle would start again. At least until I started getting rid of many of my things and going digital with others.

Even those systems started to weigh heavily and over the past five years I've been getting rid of those things too. At least the ones that didn't have any meaning to me.

My keepsakes are stored in some not-so-perfect solutions (have been for almost a decade) - although some might say they are perfect. I have identical shaped scrapbooks, identical shaped and colored photo albums - except a few which are in the same product line but are different sizes. And for someone who had a less transient life than we do, they might be perfect.

If I could put these things on shelves in a closet - easy to access if I wanted them, out of sight if I didn't want to see them, I might be okay with the solution and with the quantity. But that's not my life and it won't be for a long while.

As I can't get rid of everything - or at least I won't right now, I will have to redo many of those not-so-perfect storage solutions and come up with ones that might seem less perfect, but are more suited to my current existence.

And I think I can live with not-so perfect solutions as long as I don't feel the weight of them with every move. At least I hope I can.

Though I imagine in a year's time as we think about moving again, what I have will feel heavy again. And hopefully at that time I'll be ready to cull things even further - even if the result will be an even less perfect solution than the one I'm moving toward now.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 25, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 25 + KonMari Method Sparking Joy and Sparking Sorrow

This 25th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game was an easy one, especially as I earmarked the 25 things I was getting rid of on this day of the challenge on one of the first days of the game.

For today...

Day 25

For today's challenge I'm getting rid of the last 25 of my/our plastic hangers (a.k.a. giving away). We had them for years, these pink ones were mine (light pink for clothes, darker pink for outerwear and sailing gear). They served me well but I wanted something less bulky, less colorful, more me. I have that now. And unless the hangers we have break or become damaged in some way or my life changes radically, they will be our hangers for life.

And as it was such an "easy" day and I have little to say about what I'm purging, I thought I'd chat about another decluttering method that appears to be quite popular.

The KonMari Method...

I first learned about this from watching YouTube videos this past February. I had never heard of this -  aside from a book on the psychology of stuff and The Minimalist's film, I hadn't really been on top of these ideas/trends/fads in this area for some time.

But it seemed like an interesting way of thinking about your things so that you could get rid of them - even if it didn't quite apply to me at my stage in my journey. And so I bought the eBook...

...and I haven't been able to make it to the end (unlike goodbye, things by Fumio Sasaki which I loved and found had quite a lot of valuable ideas and food for thought).

The KonMari Method just doesn't gel for me - or at least reading about it. I think it's perhaps the concept of "sparking joy" that doesn't resonate.

Watching the videos I see how people apply the Method itself to what works for them, changing it in subtle (or not so subtle) ways - which is wonderful as whatever works to give people the life they want is always a plus, though the changes in the Method sort of make it not the Method. As the KonMari Method seems pretty rigid.

While I do love the idea of categories - that makes a lot of sense to me - I, like a few others I'd seen on video, wish she'd broken down some of those other categories into subcategories as I have little in the way of clothes and books and other household items, and a lot in the way of paperwork and keepsakes.

And while I do think there are very interesting and valid points in what I had read of the book, I can't seem to move past the "sparking joy" idea which seems to be at the forefront.

I often mistakenly say I "love" my possessions, but what I really mean by that is that I enjoy having them around as they are useful and they don't bother me (and some of them even look nice). But I only really love the people and beings in my life (and occasionally myself). I don't love stuff.

And so I don't like the idea that I should be deriving any type of happiness from my things or relying on my things to spark happiness, as that will make me form a stronger attachment to them. Therefore if and when they do get taken, destroyed, or I have to part with them, it will spark sorrow.

I am not striving to be a minimalist who has the fewest amount of things they possibly can (at least not at this time in my life). And I do want the things that surround me to be useful, hopefully beautiful, well-crafted, and perhaps sustainable. But I want them to just be the things that get me through my days in as simple a way as possible.

I want my joy to come from my experiences. I want my joy to come from the people and beings in my life and those I encounter on my life's journey.

If I pick up each item, make myself connect to it, treat it in a way with respect, then it gains importance in a way that might not be healthy. What if I do tear a hole in my shirt when on a sailing adventure? Does that mean I'm not being respectful of it? Or if I don't take the time to fold it in just the right way - should I feel guilty for causing it stress?

I understand that if you treat your things well, they will treat you well. But if caring for your things becomes stressful, is it worth it? Or if you won't let someone do the laundry when you're feeling ill because they'll do it wrong, is it worth it? Or if you won't let someone use something because you're so concerned with its potential for damage and it causes you and that other person unhappiness is it worth it?

I say no. And, for me, by revering my things, treating them in the ways suggested in the book, attaching emotion to them, will lead down this path I had already been down before.

If something can spark joy, it can turn around and spark sorrow and spark anger. So while I will appreciate my things, care for them as best as I can, they will always be labeled as "just stuff" - important for my comfort but not important enough to risk my life over if they were threatened by fire, flood, theft, etc.

To be continued...

Saturday, March 24, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 24

Welcome to day 24 of my version of the 30-Day Minimalism Game. And it seems at this point in the game I've lost my ability to count. I was all set to post and realized that I was five items short. So I had to track down those wayward five and add them to the pic.

As everything is so random, it's no wonder my count was off...

Day 24

Today I purged:

  • Two cat toy balls that were unsafe for the kittens as they already started to chew the foam off the one ball and unravel the sparkly string from the other (discarded)
  • A rubber finger puppet intended for a gift until one of the kittens found him and bit off the hand. (As the original recipient thought it would be hilarious to have a single-handed finger puppet I will be sending that along.)
  • Two half-used packs of seasonal stamps. Every time the holidays roll around I buy another book of stamps and never go back to the old. This is two year's worth so I'm giving them to someone who will actually use them.
  • One more plastic hanger I get to give away now that my husband has gotten rid of another unused piece of clothing.
  • A book I just finished reading and reviewing so I'm going to pass it along.
  • Two kitchen utensils that have been used for quite a few years and are a bit past their prime. The tongs don't open quite right and were always impossible to clean. The pasta fork is quite scratched and did not work well with my pasta pots since it would scratch them. The tongs won't be replaced right now as we haven't used them in some time, but the pasta fork is being replaced with one with silicone ends that won't damage my cookware.
  • Two Shabby Chic pillowcases that I have had forever and loved but never once put on the bed. They're very fragile so I can't use them with the kittens, the material isn't very soft and doesn't feel cool against the head, so I'm finally passing them along to a family member who will use them for decorative pillows (of which we have none).
  • A water bottle I purchased which turned out to be a very realistic looking forgery. Amazon let me keep it to do with what I will, but I've no plans to keep it, have contacted the authentic manufacturer and am sending them the bottle so they can hopefully catch the forger.
  • An unused insert for a K-cup coffee machine and an unused strainer for the insert. We had purchased an extra (they came in two packs) back when we had a K-cup coffee maker, but haven't had one in over two years. Apparently it was hiding behind my husband's AeroPress. So I'm going to donate these to my office who use the K-cup machine but sometimes like ground coffee.
  • Seven rubber inserts for the phone charger stands we use. We don't use them for any of the devices we have (though I think one is actually on the stand that I can remove as it doesn't assist in keeping the devices securely in place). They've been sitting in our tech drawer "just in case." And even if we do give away the stands one of these days, it's not worth holding onto these rubber pieces that I'll have to wash and pack when we move. (I'm hoping they're recyclable.)
  • Two plastic food storage containers - both of which are recyclable. The cereal container is all roughed up inside (darn those grape nuts) and has become discolored from years of use and the dishwasher. We have another, newer one, which holds our cereal (for now). But we haven't used this one in months - if not longer - and if I do end up needing another, I'm going to opt for glass. The sugar container is starting to lose its ability to seal after years of use. It was also just a bit too small to house a box worth of sugar - mostly due to the amount of space the lid took up. I've just purchased a hand-turned mason jar with a wooden/metal lid that seals, and it's the perfect size.
  • One magazine that came in, I've perused, and am sending on its way instead of letting it sit in the pile of "things to read."
So, I think that's 24... Phew. Not easy today. As I already have tomorrow's purge planned, it will be a much, much easier Sunday... though I may end up jumping ahead and tackling Monday's purge then. We shall see.

To be continued...