Saturday, February 18, 2017

Staying Downsized

After much back and forth and a few sleepless nights, my guy and I decided to stay downsized in our 794 s.f. apartment. While the idea of more space was alluring, the idea of moving again didn't thrill.

Aside from the cost to move from one place to another, the physical and mental toll it takes is enormous. And although we did consider moving within our current community, we just couldn't find a larger space that met our needs - the two potential units either had no view or no sunlight, and as much as I loved the sun-free apartment, I know our sun worshipping cat wouldn't have.

So we've decided to make things work in our smallish space. Even though it means there's next-to-no privacy, we can't stretch our arms out without potentially hitting something, and we'll have to actually purchase a few more items to make the space work better for another year.

Yes, more things. Which seems completely contradictory.

For such a small space I would have liked to have reduced what we already have. But that's impossible, as we pretty much use every single "large" item we have. It's only the small stuff we store in cupboards or our closet that could potentially be minimized.

But we need more light. The lighting we have is insufficient. And we need a few wall-mountable shelves for easy access to our most-used things.

Without these necessary items our space isn't fully functional. And while it was acceptable for the almost-year we've been here, it isn't for the long haul.

Of course it's hard for me to stop at just a couple of things when compiling a list. There's always this urge to create a much, much longer list.

I could certainly use a new duvet, a new sofa pillow, some art for the walls, a mirror to make the space look larger.

And come to think of it, I could use new office supplies to keep my work things tidy. I could use a drawer-ganizer for my serving spoons. A new round oven by Le Creuset to cook with. A new Kindle. A new iPhone. And on. And on. And on.

I clearly still haven't quite figured out where the line is between what is needed and what is maybe/possibly wanted. I still can't quite figure out how to deal with the disappointment of not getting what I want without resorting to using the rush from buying something I want to compensate. I still can't figure out how to shut my brain down when it has the time to create those lists of things I likely don't need.

And I still can't quite figure out how to balance my desire for nice things with my ability to pay for them.

To be continued...

Friday, February 17, 2017

Binges and Purges: February 17, 2017

I had a visitor in town the past week and so I tidied up a bit - which meant that I did end up tossing a few odds and ends. But I didn't really do much in the way of purging. At least not that I can recall. Though I somehow managed to find the time to acquire a few things over the past week and I have a few things on order.

The Binges

We bought a new shower curtain and liner at Crate and Barrel. The liner needed to be replaced. And we found that having just the one curtain didn't work for those times when we needed to send the existing curtain out to be laundered. So we got a second. (Needed.)

We purchased an inexpensive set of measuring spoons - required for some medication we need to give to our cat. (Needed.)

I purchased a replacement pair of sailing shoes for the ones that were an embarrassingly hideous color. (Needed/wanted.)

I finally used my gift card toward the purchase of yet another Nelson clock which I can't wait to arrive. (Wanted.)

I ordered two new small area rugs for the entry/kitchen - one to replace an existing rug and one as a new addition. While not mandatory, both are useful - to keep detritus from coming in when we open our door and to keep the noise level down for our neighbors downstairs when we walk in with shoes on and head for the coat closet. (Needed/wanted.)

And I ordered two more Nelson Bubble lamps - one for the bedroom, one for the dining area - as our space is just too dark in the evening and the built-in lighting is atrocious. (Needed/wanted.)

As most of this is still on order/in transit I don't have pictures just yet.

The Purges

Not much purging was done this week. Though there was quite a bit of decluttering done - how does paperwork accumulate so fast?

We discarded the old shower curtain liner that we'd replaced.

I discarded the horrifically-colored sailing shoes that I'd replaced.

I reduced our dinner set of eight to a set of six by discarding two dinner plates, two salad plates, two large bowls and two small bowls - though I wasn't quite ready to give up those extra two mugs. Some of the glazing had come off a couple of the plates which is what gave me the idea to reduce versus replace. We never used eight dishes before running the dishwasher so a set of eight just was excessive.

I finally got rid of the drink coaster holder that I'd been hanging onto for years and years. It was completely unnecessary unless we were moving and gathered up all of our drink coasters. But it wasn't needed and just wasted an inch of space in our junk drawer and so I got rid of it. Our coasters live on our coffee table, kitchen table, and desks and there just isn't any need for a holder.

The Count

Binge Count: 9
Purge Count: 11

And while the count seems to be working in favor of purges, the space that will be taken up by the binges as well as the cost of those binges is far more than what was purged.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Would I Buy It Again?

A recent blog by The Minimalists asks a few questions that I've often asked myself over the years when looking at all my stuff. And so I thought I'd once again ask myself and attempt to answer honestly those questions they have asked here.

(In looking at what I owned in the past) The Minimalists ask: What did I own that I didn't enjoy?

In the past there were many things that I'd purchased that I wish I hadn't because they never made me as happy as I thought they would, they weren't part of a lifestyle I could maintain, or they weren't of a quality that would make me miss them when they were gone and certainly wouldn't make me wish to buy them again.

I spent umpteen dollars at Ikea, at Pottery Barn, at Bed, Bath & Beyond, at Gracious Home, at Ethan Allen, at Shabby Chic, etc. trying to create a home that made me feel happy and safe and comfortable. Nothing I purchased from any of those stores made me feel happy for more than the short term. And while some of those things were comfortable, having to pay my credit card bill made them very much less so.

The Minimalists then ask: If I could start over would I buy those items again today? The answer is a definitive no.

Because I never needed more than one set of dishes. I never needed that extra vase, the newer coffee tables, the fancier sofas, the headboard, the rattan chair, the decorative pillows, the computer hutch, the book case, the curio cabinet, the candle holders.

And of all those past purchases I only have one of those things today - and that one only because it has a memory attached to it.

(In looking around at the things I own today) The Minimalists ask: What do I own that I don't enjoy?

Nothing, really. Though I might enjoy different versions of the things I own a bit more. Or I might enjoy some of the things I own more if I were in a different living space.

My sofa is nice and comfortable. But would I have loved one that was a bit more comfortable and a bit bigger and nicer? Yes. But it's not in the budget right now.

My bed frame is one I'd wanted for many years. But there's one I know I'd enjoy a bit more if I were to settle down in a space for some time - one that's far less mobile.

My desk is just a bit too "precious" for daily use for work and I would love to have the Nelson Swag Leg Desk (my dream desk) instead. But I don't regret the purchase and I use it ever weekday (and will continue to do so until I can either afford the nicer desk or have no use for an office desk at home).

I would love a bigger kitchen table if I were in a space that could accommodate one versus the four person table I have right now.

And I would love my entryway bench a lot more if I were in a different space that actually had an entryway to put it in.

But I am content with these things I have and will be for some time. They're not things I actively want to get rid of, I'd just perhaps want to upgrade them in the future if my situation changed.

I don't have any clothing I haven't worn for months except those reserved for specific occasions or seasons. I purged all my trinkets except for a worry stone given to me by my college professor. I don't have a garage, a storage locker or basement - so no hiding places for my unused stuff.

And while I have a few bins filled with keepsakes that I might not want to keep forever, I use just about everything I own just about every day.

Though it is time to go through that junk drawer and get rid of those Command hooks and other small item extras that haven't been needed or used. Sadly I needed to buy those, I just didn't need the quantity that came in the package.

To be continued...