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...

Friday, March 23, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 23 + Decision Fatigue

It's now the 23rd day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and with just seven more days and "just" 189 items left to purge I kind of can't believe how quick the month has gone. With all my griping yesterday, another positive about this game is how much focus it's taking away from the stress of actually moving.

Usually by now I'm trying to pack things up and get ready to go. But due to the fact that we are in such a small space there's nowhere to put the things I pack and because I no longer use boxes to pack up the things I have - we own three large and one medium storage bins that we have used and will use again this time to move our non-furniture possessions - I have a lot of time on my hands to potentially stress.

But because of the stress and focus I'm channeling into this game, I haven't had much energy left to worry about the fact that I have nothing packed and ready to go (I have very strict sanitation/cleaning requirements before moving any possessions), we haven't actually received the official green light to move into our next space (no signed agreement/paperwork), and I will be leaving a home we lived in during a time when there has been a lot of change and loss.

So, I change my opinion just one day later - I think this game has actually been good for me. And so for today...

Day 23

I've manged to get rid of:
  • 14 articles I set aside to read "someday" - I read a few I recycled the rest.
  • 1 spatula - giving away (the nylon spatulas don't hold up well for us yet I kept buying them, so I'm trying out a different type of material).
  • 2 bottles of sealant and 1 applicator (unused) - giving away. Had planned on sealing up all the crevices in our current space to prevent pesties but never got around to it - and the areas I wanted to close up just in case I did with a product I could apply by hand.
  • 3 thank you cards, 1 gratitude card and 1 instruction/care manual - recycle, I don't need to keep any of these and have no idea why I kept them all for as long as I have. (I usually get rid of these type of things fairly quickly.)
So that's 23. And it wasn't too hard to part with any of these things - though I wished I'd kept the receipt on the tools so that I could have returned them. But someone will definitely have a use for them.

Decision fatigue...

I've used a lot of brain cycles going over and over my possessions wondering what I could toss, what I wanted to keep, what I think I might want to toss, what I might want to look through to think about whether there was something I wanted to toss. And while I've done a lot of this for this game, this is actually something I've been doing on and off again for the last decade or so.

And it's exhausting. And such a waste of energies and thoughts that could be used toward things more productive or positive or happy-making.

I've only recently heard the term decision fatigue, and I definitely think this term applies to my every day. Which is part of the reason I played this game - I just want to be done with this cycle of thinking about my things (or at least my conscious brain thinks it wants to be done with this).

I want my energies spent on making decisions that matter, decisions that are important to my life. I don't want to reach a state of decision fatigue that renders me useless to make the real decisions, the tough decisions, the decisions that affect my present and my future. Not anymore.

I've spent too many years thinking about my stuff, and it's just stuff. Unimportant in the scheme of things. If I use it and enjoy it and it gets destructed - so what? If I lose it or it gets taken - so what?

I've known what matters most to me for many years, yet I still have an unhealthy obsession with thinking about my stuff, making decisions about my stuff, and leaving no brain "energy" left to make the "healthy" decisions.

I'm ready for the change.

To be continued...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 22 + Challenge Woes and Where Things Stand

I'm still here and it's the 22nd day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game. Although I think the only reason I'm still "playing" is that I have this obsessive need to complete a task that I've started. Because I don't have very many purge-able things left, even if I get rid of photo albums - unless I dispose of photos.

But I did go through my tote of paperwork that needs sorting and have found a few things that I can use to count for today (and tomorrow's) game.

Day 22

While it may be tough to count there are 22 pretty recipe and gratitude cards in the pile that I'm recycling and/or giving away.

They were all just so pretty that I knew I wanted to give the duplicate recipe cards away, but I just couldn't find the time earlier. But with this challenge I've decided to give all the cards away after taking photos of the recipes I may make "one day" and get rid of the gratitude cards even though they are lovely. I have the pottery and use these items every day, the cards are just very lovely clutter. Especially for someone who rarely bakes - even if the fantasy version of myself does so all the time.

Challenge woes and where things stand...

But I have only one tote of unsorted papers - and I tossed all receipts and other non-essentials that I am not counting for the game. I have a few things to think on and a few more things to declutter, but once I'm done with that, I have very little left to purge, and 105 items (for days 24, 26, 27, 28) to find.

And I'm so stressed out.

Which makes me think that maybe this game isn't the best game for me as it's more stressful than motivational, and it's not so much simplifying my life as complicating it.

Because I spend a large amount of time wondering what else can I get rid of, looking through my cupboards and closets, and drawers. But there is very little that is mine or just mine and I won't even think of counting anything we get rid of that belongs to my husband as I know it will make me start to look at his things and want to purge them. Which is a huge no no. This is not his game. This is not his journey. And he doesn't have any issues with his stuff and readily discards things when they get too clutter-y for him.

So I find myself taking longer look at things that I might have been okay with as they were. And I've purged items that I don't like or aren't in great shape but do need, so will end up buying again - hangers, food storage containers, and a few (but not all) of the kitchen utensils I've let go of.

And so I feel like I'm consuming more in order to become the minimalist I want to be. Which doesn't quite translate. So I'll have to think on that a bit further.

But as far as my things go...

I've gone through my entire kitchen, and only have my toolbox left to sort through - though most of the tools in there are ones I use on the occasions I need to use them (I think). And while I may have one or two items in my kitchen I might want to part with (one of which I'd eventually want to replace), there is little else.

My living room has always had next to nothing. Only the cabinet beneath the TV which houses a few decorative storage boxes with keepsakes remains. But as many of those things are "shared" items, I don't know that I'll have a lot to get rid of. (I'd already gone through one box and emptied it a few days back.)

My bathroom has (mostly) only what we need - aside from a few things that I might be able to get rid of... but unless I can find a responsible way of decluttering them, I may hold onto them until we use them (which we will soon-ish/eventually).

There is nothing but the four file totes containing photo albums, scrapbooks and important papers in my closet that I could purge. And I'm going to try to go through those this weekend and make a decision once and for all... which may require the small purchase of an archival box or two to keep whatever photos remain. (Yet another instance of buying to have less.)

I have nothing in the bedroom - any clutter there belongs to my husband. I just have what I need to sleep on, sleep with, function with (reading light, clock). And a few pieces of artwork on the walls that I love.

In the hall closet I've gone through everything and while I don't use anything in there (but shoes) on a daily basis, I do need everything that remains for my weekend hobby - sailing. Though I do plan to purge a pair or two of sailing shoes and some other gear at the end of the month and/or before the move, as they are worn out and do need replacing.

And I do have a small-ish stack of books - a couple that I'll be reading this month and can part with, but most won't be read and passed along until April and May, so I can't count those.

We are eating our way through the pantry and I think I've found anything that needed to be purged/recycled storage container-wise.

And I went through my small outside storage closet prior to the challenge and emptied the containers of everything that was mine aside from a signed baseball and my diploma.

But I do have sixty or so items that I have earmarked for the last two days of the game that will be getting recycled and/or purged when we moved two weeks later. We just need them until then. But I'm counting them!

I suppose I just wish I didn't have a huge clean up a week or so prior to the game. Or maybe that I chose a game that was one of those "ten things a day" challenges.

Or maybe what I really wish is that I wasn't quite so obsessive and instead of struggling to complete the game I could end the game early, happy with all that I'd gotten rid of.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 21

Can't believe I've reached the 21st day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game. While I have some things in mind for days 25, 29, and 30, I have absolutely no idea what I'll be getting rid of on days 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28. That's a LOT of stuff. Like a lot of stuff. So I'm currently having major fears of failing.

Though I haven't looked through my toolbox or the grab-and-go drawer for cables. And I haven't looked through all my storage keepsake boxes - because maybe there are a few things in those that I should part with.

Bur for today...

Day 21

Today I've managed to get rid of:

  • A coaster I've had since the 1990s that I haven't used as a drink coaster since the early 2000s when I began using it as a place to set the matches down when lighting the memorial candles I got rid of the other day. It only has sad memories and it has a burn mark on it now so I'm letting it go.
  • Two membership key fobs that aren't needed as the merchant has my information electronically.
  • Three pieces to an old mop head for a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Mop. I'd saved them in case they were needed to attach the replacement head, but it seems the replacement head included these things, so off they go.
  • I'm saying goodbye to a trucker's cap that just doesn't fit my head right, a plastic container that we used to use for tea, and the book goodbye things that I've read and am passing along to a family member (as the cats used it as a chew toy so I can't donate it to a library). And, yes, I would have purchased the eBook if someone on YouTube hadn't raved about the pictures. But as they weren't germane to the read, I could have made due with the electronic version.
  • A tiny photo album that held random photos that didn't have a place in the many larger photo albums I have. I took the photos out (for now) and while some are either keepers or can be sent to a family member, some are ones I really should destroy. (All have been scanned in electronically years and years ago.)
  • A bottle of gentle detergent for the goose down sleeping bag that I used to own that I gave away just prior to this month's game. The bottle is almost empty, and I should have passed it along with the sleeping bag.
  • A great, but old and now rusty, can opener that we have replaced with one not rusty and that also leaves a soft edge.
  • A rubber spatula purchased before silicone was all the rage. The edges are all chewed/melted, so it's time to let this one go. And, for now, I won't be replacing it with any tool, but if the need arises, it will be a long-lasting silicone spatula that takes its place.
  • An unused set of measuring cups and spoons I purchased a few months back that I didn't use for the purpose planned because I had thought about returning it since I hadn't realized it had the spoons in addition to the cups, and then time passed and I missed the return window (and lost the store receipt). I also just saw they do have some issues with the copper finish wearing off - so I'm glad I never used them. Though I am giving them away to a family member.

So that's 21. And so I guess it's time for me to think about tackling those storage boxes and bins I've been avoiding and making some decisions about the umpteen photo albums and printed photos I have. But maybe I'll wait for the weekend on those... I just need to figure out what to get rid of tomorrow and Friday.

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 20 + New Acquisitions

On the 20th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game I cheated just a little bit. I mean, not technically, but the items are so minute that I should really have counted all as just the one item.

For today...

Day 20

I got rid of 20 outlet childproof covers that were from a set of 24 (of which four were used). It seems the new kittens were not that curious about outlets and while I kept four covered that were near their furniture, I really didn't need to. Cables on the other hand...

So today was super easy. But of course I looked ahead to tomorrow, and I while I have a few things in mind, I definitely don't have 21 set aside just yet.

In this game I have not included expired pantry items or old cosmetics or other pharmacy items and I don't plan on counting any of those. Though I have discarded a few during the month and will likely discard a bunch more the week before I move.

As I am starting to run low on things to purge that aren't of this nature, I may have to figure out how to calculate papers and such - as I have lots of those.

And I will likely have to count the things I will be purging in the week-and-a-half following the challenge - as there will be many.

And...on the opposite side of the purging is acquiring.

New acquisitions...

While I am going to be getting rid of many things for the move, I am also buying a number of things. Some I've already purchased and are on order, and some I will have to purchase... or maybe not have to but need to... for us to feel comfortable in our new space.

And I've also purchased a few other non-necessaries while participating in the game because I've taken a look at some of my things and found them in not quite the same condition I thought they were in. And because I've also been looking to become more green.

In tallying them all up it seems I've purchased 80 things (against the 212 I've purged) which makes me feel like a huge failure, even though every single one of those purchases are/were/will be things I'm going to use regularly, love already, need for purposes of living comfortably.

And many of the things are items crafted locally, handmade here or handmade internationally, are sustainable, or are made so that I can live with less waste.

And as there are only 20 to 30 things that remain that I'll need for our future residence, the bingeing will be far less than the purging in the remaining 10 days of the game.

To be continued...

Monday, March 19, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 19

It's now the 19th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and things are getting very real. While it's getting harder, it's also getting easier.

Not easier in finding time to go through my things and come up with the quantities required each day. But easier in letting go. Because the more items that go, the more space there is in my cupboards, closets, drawers. And the more things that leave, the freer and lighter I feel.

Of course I do feel somewhat guilty because I'm doing a bit of acquiring. But it's only because there are certain things we will need when we move - and most of the sales are happening now, not in three weeks time. And at least I'm not acquiring nearly as many things as I'm getting rid of... though the things I'm acquiring are much bigger.

But for today...

Day 19

Today I'm getting rid of:

  • 1 and 2: One broken cat toy and an additional butterfly wand. (The felines played a little too hard with it - even though they don't like it - and it now just screams when it's powered on.
  • 3 and 4: A scrapbook that I'd used to house receipts from an activity I participated in. I decided to purge all pages with the receipts and am giving away the scrapbook to a family member. And the decorative storage box I used to house this scrapbook in is no longer needed. Give away.
  • 5-8: A vase that was a keepsake due to a memory that was strongly attached to it. I've held onto it for nearly two decades, but it's time to let it go. Although it was pretty, I never used it because of the memory and I've just been carrying it around from place to place. It lived in my kitchen cupboards and when I'd see it I'd smile or be very sad. I'll miss seeing it in there, but I don't need the physical object to remind me. These three candles were in candle holders that lived next to the vase. I stopped lighting the memorial candles years ago, and am now finally ready to let them go. (Keeping the candle holders as they were a gift.)
  • 9-14: Six coasters that we've used rather well over the past (almost) decade. They're scratched and stained and burnt and we've gotten new ones that don't make such a loud and jarring noise when they get knocked off the coffee table by the felines.
  • 15-19: Five various membership cards/fobs for expired boating memberships. They're not needed, even if they weren't expired, because I have everything electronically and the businesses keep everything on record and can look it up for you.

So that's 19. It was somewhat difficult to get rid of some of these things. Others it just took the energy to make a decision, to go through various cupboards and such. Because I have everything stored so carefully it's a huge time suck to get anything done. But since I'm participating in this game and I'm about to move, I just have to take the time to muster up the energy to do it.

After all, it's better to do it now in little bits, day by day, than in the day or two in advance of moving when I'm going to be stressed enough about moving all the things I actually want to (or need to) take with me.

And of course whenever I'm preparing to move I wish I could live that life where everything fits in a backpack.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 18 + Too Many Keepsakes

This eighteenth day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game was incredibly hard - and I know it's only going to get more difficult during the last 12 days of the game. Because I've almost run out of easy things to purge - or have to wait until closer to my moving day to purge them - so I'm forcing myself to make those tough decisions.

Day 18

I got rid of a number of really difficult sentimental items today, but have chosen only to share pics of the items that weren't so personal. For today I got rid of: 1 and 2) Two microfiber scrubbing cloths (recycle); 3-5) Three bendy cable ties (give away); 6) A small saw (give away); 7-9) Three cloth bags that came with linen purchases (give away); 10-16) Six cat food dishes and a container (not shown); 17) A cat placemant/food mat (not shown); 18) A kindle cover (not shown).

The two microfiber scrubbing cloths were easy to purge as they didn't work nearly as well as I'd hoped they would when I bought them, so out they go. The three cable twists were part of a set of four I purchased just for the white one which I used to bind the pull for our window covering so that it wouldn't be a hazard to my cat. The small saw was something I purchased to cut down some small boards to enclose an area that the kittens got into beneath our cupboards. I won't need this tool anytime soon so wanted to give it to someone who might use it.

The three cloth bags are ones that came with my bed linens that I thought were so pretty and that I'd use for something someday. I never did. But I finally took off the sewn-in labels and am giving them to a family member who definitely can use them to store things. (They are also serve as nice packaging for some of the items I'm giving to that family member.)

The sentimental items that I am not showing are: Six food dishes that belonged to my two cats who have since passed away - three for one who passed in 2013, and three belonging to the other who passed last year. I've kept a favorite bowl for each, but finally let go of these six. I purchased a small keepsake container in 2013 for my cat's keepsakes but never used it and found two identical keepsake boxes for their things which I've used instead. I let go of an older food mat that was previously used by my cat before we got her a new one that was easier for her to stand on when she got older. I let go of my Kindle cover that she used to love to knock over, rub against, chew on.

So that's 18, I think.

For tomorrow I plan to go into some of my keepsake decorative storage boxes and see if there's anything else I might be ready to let go of. While I have a few more non-sentimental items around the house, there are certainly not 294 of them.

Too many keepsakes...

When I was much younger I used to hang onto little knickknacks and all sorts of things that I thought were cute or were attached to a memory. But many of those things were discarded by my mother when I moved away. And while my father stored many boxes of my things when I went away to college, quite a few were accidentally destroyed in a flooded basement.

So I think I clung extra hard to the things I did have. The lack of control over my things and over my life in those early days and the inability to say goodbye to them on my terms made me hold on that much harder.

But when my things started to become a huge burden - especially those keepsake items that didn't have a proper place, didn't store easily, weren't useful - I knew I had to get rid of them. And yet, for the most part I couldn't.

Because I'd hung onto things for such a long time I couldn't imagine letting go of them. If I let them go it was like I'd wasted all that time. Or if I kept them for so long they must be valuable to me.

Over the years I sought out different storage solutions and came up with some pretty good ones for many of my items. But there were always those ones that were oddly sized or shaped that didn't have the "perfect place." So I'd find new solutions. And so on and so on.

And I did purge some of those things, slooooowly. But ended up with three file totes of scrapbooks and photo albums, and eight decorative letter boxes and card boxes which contained other scrapbooks, notebooks, and other miscellany.

While it isn't all that much for a lifetime of living, it is quite a bit when I'm someone who moves every couple of years and who lives in apartments where pests are always a risk, so everything needs to be secured and sealed "just in case."

And as much effort and love I put into storing things in such a pretty way (and digitizing most of those things), the physical and emotional weight of them, year after year, move after move, takes its toll. And my love for these memories does get tarnished by the weight of having too many keepsakes of those memories.

So I'm hopeful that I will have the courage, once and for all, to just let go of some (if not many or most) of these things.

To be continued...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 17

For the 17th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game I took a hard look at certain areas of my home and asked myself (and my husband) the questions that demanded honest answers - When did you last use this? When do you think you're going to use it? How much do you love it?

And I also took a look at some of the things I thought I was going to add to my keepsake pile, though most of that I'm saving for a future purge.

For today...

Day 17

Today's purges include: 1 and 2) Small olivewood cutting board and spoon (give away); 3 and 4) Plastic measuring tape (give away), empty "old fashioned" milk bottle (recycle); 5 and 6) Plastic bin and foul weather gear (give away, recycle); 7) Torn pillowcase (recycle); 8-11) Cable clip, furminator, two pieces of swag (recycle, give away); 12-17) 6 destroyed cat toys (beak not counted as an extra) (discard).

We have a large cutting board that my husband never used because he said it wasn't accessible so we purchased this small one to keep on the counters for easy access. He never used it and I continued to dust it. So I'm giving it away to a family member along with the "matching" spoon. As I just received a beautifully handmade in the U.S. spoon, I don't need this - one's enough.

I received this measuring tape for free when I purchased my scale. I never used it so out it goes. I'd planned on hanging on to this milk bottle and finding a way to scrape off the lettering so I could use it as a vase. That didn't happen, so it's off to be recycled.

These foulies are too big and I never wear them - I wear my black pants instead as they're so much lighter to carry. The bin (this is just a representative bin) was an unexpected purge when we went to the eCycling center with many, many cables and wires and they took it and asked if we wanted to get rid of the bin that was holding them. I said yes.

This pillowcase I've had around for decades. It is one of two pillowcases that were the very first linens I purchased from Shabby Chic. But it came apart at the seams, literally, and started to tear down the middle, and so it hasn't been used since 2013. I'm finally saying goodbye.

The cable clip is the one missing from the full set of new clips I sent to family. This had come loose from where it was clipped and is covered in tooth marks. So out it goes. The furminator is the wrong size it seems and made the felines very uncomfortable so I'm giving it away. The two items of bookish swag are going to a family member, as I don't tend to keep swag unless it's a tote, or something I'm going to use.

The cat toys are ones I was planning on putting in a keepsake box for our felines. They played hard with these toys, loved them a bit too much, but destroyed them even under supervision. As it's starting to feel a bit too morbid to think about items to keep for when they're gone, I'm getting rid of them. The picture will provide enough of a memory should I wonder what the cats were like way back when they were kittens.

So that's it. And as this post is really long and I have to find those 18 items tomorrow I'm signing off.

To be continued...

Friday, March 16, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 16 + Sets of 6

It's now the 16th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and I'm excited to find that still I have more things to purge. Though it actually would be nicer if I had nothing left to purge, which would mean that I have reached that stage of minimalism that I want to be at.

So maybe being done with this challenge early won't be such a bad thing. And I'm going to have to try really hard not to get rid of things I do use just to meet a particular day's goals. (Yes, I've started looking hard at some utensils I sort of use and kind of like...)

But for today...

Day 16

Today I gave away: 1 and 2) Digital camera (eCycled) + camera case and strap; 3) Magazine (recycled); 4) Fringed throw (gave away); 5 and 6) Ladle and whisk; 7) Digital watch (eCycled); 8 and 9) lanyard and carabiner clip (discarded); 10-13) 4 cork coasters (gave away); 14 and 15) 2 plastic hangers (recycled); 16) Knit cap (gave away).

My husband had been storing my camera and case (I thought I had purged it a couple years ago). But when we went through his bins to get rid of some of his excess wires, a camcorder, and other electronics (including an old Apple mouse of mine that I gave him), this appeared. And while I would have tried to sell it, he must have discarded the battery charger and so we opted to eCycle it instead.

The magazine was quickly read (steering clear of 75% due to the ads) and so was sent packing. The throw has fringe that's too tempting and dangerous for the felines, so it's being given to a family member. The ladle was too cumbersome to use, and the whisk was never used to make those fluffy omelettes and so both are being given to a family member.

The watch was rendered useless when a family member purchased another one that served that exact purpose two-and-a-half years ago. I kept thinking I might need it some day, but hadn't. But because it's scratched it went to eCycling. The lanyard and clip went to (or go to) some kind of sailing-related item but I have no idea what they go to and I've never used them in the four+ years I've had them so off they go.

The cork coasters were an attempt to get coasters that don't get sent to the floor and make the most horrible noises when the cats go a little crazy. But they are chewers (as can be witnessed by some of the items I plan to get rid of for tomorrow's purge), and apparently cork is quite dangerous if ingested by cats, so they're being passed along to a family member.

The cap was used and loved but has begun to shrink with all the washes and so it's going to a family member. (And I have another hat that was given to me that works wonderfully.) The hangers are part of the previously purged set, but were discovered beneath two clothing items of my husband's.

So that's 16.

What is it about sets of 6?

Many of the things I love come only in a set of six. I wish I could ask the merchant just to send me four, or three, or however many I need, even if I have to pay for six.

At least if things were sold in sets of eight I could sell the other four, or give away a nice set of four items to a friend. But a lonely pair of things typically only works well when your friends are minimalists or don't mind having mismatched items.

So I have these amazing glasses to drink from, but I have six of them - two of which I will likely never use. I want to purchase just one of the round welk jars, and while they sell them single on sites like World Market or Target, they don't sell them singly on Amazon where I would get free shipping and it would make it financially feasible to do so. (I only need just the one.)

The fewest eggs they sell in the market come in a container of six (we really don't eat more than four before expiry dates).

So, what is it about the set of six that seems to appeal to both merchant and consumer? Do people really want that many things or is it just that they've been conditioned to want that many things?

I have a "set of 6" flatware, of which I use almost every single piece before they get washed. But I had a "set of 6" dishware, most of which went unused.

I'm not sure why I felt the need to have six. Or why I felt the need to have them match. But at some point in my life I was conditioned to the "set of 6" idea, even if it was one that never once suited my life.

To be continued...

Thursday, March 15, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 15 + The Things I Use Sometimes

For Day 15 of the 30-Day Minimalism Game I caught a break, as I have the perfect number of something very easy to purge.

And I'm just so thrilled I managed to make it halfway through the month-long challenge without failing...though I can't say the same will be true for the latter half, as I'm scrambling to find the 16 items for tomorrow's challenge. (I am sure I have 16 items, I'll just have to either locate them or be prepared to part with them by tomorrow.)

As of today I'll have purged 120 things. Which feels like a lot, although I don't really notice much of a change in my home - as most of these things were items in not-crowded cupboards and closets, so they (mostly) flew under the radar. However, in anticipation of my move, I am relieved that I'll have that many fewer things to have to clean, pack, and unpack.

Day 15

Today was an easy day and I am giving away 15 plastic hangers. We've had these for years and years - over a decade - and they've served us well, but we needed something a bit less bulky for our closet space and so I've upgraded to stainless steel and aluminum hangers which will hopefully last our lifetime.

These also feel a bit juvenile and a bit too whimsical and it was time to make a change. (And, yes, *spoiler alert* there will be more hangers swapped at a later date during the challenge, because I have that many hangers.)

From now on, except for that anticipated additional hanger purge day, I have a feeling there will be a lot more of a hodgepodge of things being discarded. Because I just don't have that much of an one thing in my home...or even things that are related/similar. But we shall see...

The things I use sometimes...

Over the many, many years I've been attempting to cull my possessions so that I only have those things that I use or love, love, love, I've always hated those items that I use just sometimes.

These are things that take up space, that do have a use, that I have to keep but wish I didn't, as they take up most of storage space in my closet, most of the space in cupboards and drawers.

The sometimes things:

While there are many, many things that serve as sometimes things in my home, I'm only going to list the ones that irk me the most. Because they take up space, because I have to "worry" about their well-being, because I have to drag them from place to place because they are necessary, just not always necessary.

Extras and spares. Because we can't live without a backup fitted sheet, pillow cases, dish towels, USB cables, lightning cables, hard drives, pens, sunglasses, sailing gloves, sailing shoes, tote bags, office supplies, dishes and glasses and flatware, chairs.

Specific use items. Overnight sailing gear/equipment (head lamp, flashlight, sleeping bag, camp pad, etc.), foul weather gear (harness, boots, rain jacket and pants, etc.), safety gear (PFDs, gloves, etc.), emergency provisions (hand crank radio, batteries, etc.), kitchen supplies (serving bowl, wooden spoon, large pots, etc.), suitcase, mops, dusters, side tables, reference books, important papers (tax documents/returns, etc.).

If I didn't have to keep these sometimes things, my home would feel a lot emptier, simpler, lighter. But most of these items are ones that I can't simply buy instantly if needed, and the rest are ones that we are required to keep, or that are necessary for our family and for our lifestyle/interests.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 14 + the trouble with storage containers

It's now the 14th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and I'm really reaching for things to purge. Fortunately I found some things hidden beneath the kitchen sink or I might not have made the count today.

Day 14

For today I got rid of: 1) A small 4x6 guillotine (give away); 2) A pair of kitchen gloves (give away); 3) A wooden spoon (give away); 4 and 5) Two kitchen scrubbers (give away); 6) A spatula (discard/recycle); 7 and 8) Two scrubby sponges (discard/recycle); 9-14) Six pop-up sponges (give away).

This is not my first guillotine. I bought one years ago to crop photos, but when everything was cropped and done and all else was digital I didn't need it so I gave it away. Then more recently I thought it would be perfect to use to crop the add-on pages for my sailing log. But I kept it in a drawer, I'd forget I had it, and would just cut them with a scissor - as I had always done. It may not be as nice looking or as consistently sized, but I use a scissor for many things, and this just took up a lot of space.

The gloves were a bit too small when I got them, but I put them under the sink and forgot them for the past two years, just like all the remaining kitchen cleaning items.

The spoon is one that was a gift, was well used and loved, but I have a second spoon that's just the same size and don't need two, so am giving this one away to someone else who needs another. The spatula is also well used and loved (mostly), but the curved end made it difficult to flip eggs and it was getting a bit manky, so I'd purchased a new one a few years ago, and have not used this one since. As it is a bit too chewed and perma-stained it is being discarded/recycled.

The trouble with storage containers...

Is that they store your stuff so well that you forget you have it.

While most of the storage containers I own are either clear and in plain view - used to store linens, keepsake items, important papers - or are in a bit fancier boxes with labels, I did have a couple of containers beneath the kitchen sink that I forgot all about.

They are grey, and stacked, and were used mostly to keep our trash bags and ziploc baggies at a higher-than-ground level for ease of access. And while I knew I had some stuff contained therein, I thought it was just a few swiffer sweeper wet cloths that came free with the duster. I forgot all about the fact that when I first moved in I bought pretty gloves, and scrubbies, and sponges - none of which I use to do dishes or clean the sink.

Storage containers are great for storing things out of the way that you have to store, to keep them pest- or air- or water-damage-free. But for products that should be used frequently, the storage container system isn't ideal. Even if you have limited space to house these items.

Because for many people, out of sight is often out of mind. And while the possessions I own that possess my thoughts in a burden-y kind of way are never out of mind even if out of sight, there are clearly some items that take up space in my home that are forgettable and should never be put in "hidden" containers, stacked out of the way.

As I strive for minimal this month, I am hoping to reduce the number of containers I own. And while I will always have a few things that need to be kept boxed up for safekeeping, I am hopeful those containers will be filled with items that are either cherished or important.

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 13

Welcome to my 13th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game.

I am almost half of the way through - though not nearly halfway done given the quantity of items in the second half of this 30-day game. But I'm still feeling hopeful.

I did, however, do what I think of as "cheating" for today's purge.

Day 13

Today I got rid of: 1 and 2) Rubbermaid food containers (recycle); 3) Threadbare not-able-to-salvage pillowcase (discard/recycle); 4 and 5) Two hangers; 6-13) Cable clips (give away).

The two containers were old and smelled of food and dish detergent. The pillowcase is a favorite but trying to sew the rips and tears caused the fabric to rip and tear. The two hangers were getting a bit too flimsy to hold the two PFDs they held, so I've moved them to aluminum hangers and am letting these two go. And the cable clips were purchased two years ago for my husband's desk cables. One was used but didn't stick to the desk and the cable kept falling to the floor. The rest of these have been sitting in a drawer, and are now being given away to a family member who might have a desk that these will actually adhere to.

Why do I feel like I cheated? Because those eight cable clips should have counted as just one item since they were on one sheet. I thought about taking them out of the packaging so that it would look more like eight separate items and make me feel justified at calling them eight, but oh well... at least I didn't pull the lids off the containers so I could call those four instead of two.

To be continued...

Monday, March 12, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 12 + it's not money lost...

Things are getting really difficult 12 days into the 30-Day Minimalism Game. Though I am glad I'm attempting to "play." Because while I think of things to purge, I'm also being more thoughtful about what things I'm purchasing in anticipation of our move - I think for the first time ever.

While there might be many things that would be great to have, I don't want to be thinking about purging them in a year's time should we consider moving again. I don't want to have enough purge-able things to merit playing this game ever again. So while this super cute rolling narrow shelf would coordinate perfectly with my desk, and would come in handy to place my work things on, I'm going to wait a bit, not fill that empty space I will have before I even have it. If, in six months time, when it goes on sale again I still have need of it I might buy it. But until then I'll relish the empty spaces.

For today, though...

Day 12

I have: 1) a Coach sunglasses case (give away); 2) A broken pair of Coach sunglasses with a missing arm and scratched lens (discard); 3) A marine-grade knife sharpener (give away); 4) A sailor's knife (give away); 5 and 6) Two books I've read (give away); 7) An accidental one-click purchase I was remiss in returning of Season 3 of Angel (give away); 8 and 9) Old earrings for my tragus and daith piercings (discard/recycle); 10) Extra lights for the faux Christmas tree pre-wrapped with lights that I gave away a week prior to this game (discard/recycle); 11) A utility holder from Umbra that didn't work for what I'd hoped it would work for (discard/recycle); 12) A T-shirt with a marketing slogan that I won't wear (repurpose).

And so ends Day 12. If I hadn't opened that one container I might never have spotted those sailing items that had been unused for so long. I had to scour the bathroom cabinets to find a few items hiding in drawers and beneath the sink. I'd all but forgotten about those DVDs (I don't have a DVD player) and my intent to give them to a friend who likes the show and has a DVD player. And I hadn't wanted to purge those sunglasses that lived in the console in our shared car, as I kept hoping to get them fixed. I just never realized the arm went missing and were beyond repair.

It's not money lost...

When I first started purging my things, I would get so upset about the money lost - as I imagined everything had the same value as it had when I bought it. (I also imagined the items had somehow magically increased in value - most times that wasn't the case.)

But with each move I'd get so sick of having to pack these things up, I'd end up just leaving them behind near the trash bins. Paintings, furniture, musical instruments, dishware - all would be left for someone else to scour through. And while I'd ache for the money lost, my desire to be rid of these things outweighed the heartache over the money.

As time passed I'd recognize that I'd likely be purging things before a move, and so I'd try to make the time to donate what I could, sell what I could, give away what I could. It made me feel better that someone was enjoying my things and/or that I was getting compensated in some small way.

Now, though I think differently.

I think it's not money lost. It's money spent. Because I bought the item, I lived with the item, I either loved or hated the item, I either used or didn't use the item. And while I might not want that item any more, I did at one point. It served a purpose. It had a value.

Do I wish I had known then what I know now? Sure. Do I wish my tastes never changed? You bet. Do I wish I had all that money instead? Definitely.

But if I hadn't made those choices then I wouldn't be the person I am today. I might not have discovered more about myself. I might not have grown to appreciate minimalism or simplicity. I might not have wanted to be more environmentally conscious. I might not have appreciated the things I do have.

And for those who think of all this waste or excess that I, or others like myself, have gotten rid of, I say that there's nothing I can do to change the past. And I prefer to think of it from a positive POV: Think of all the waste I won't be creating now that I'm looking at things in a new light. Think of all the items I won't be consuming now that I'm striving for minimal. Think of all the money I will be saving by not wanting to fill up every empty space in my home.

I have a lot of years left on this planet, and by opting to start on the right-for-me path now, I'm giving the earth, my wallet, myself a break.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 11, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 11

It's Day 11 of the 30-Day Minimalism Game and I'm struggling...or rather avoiding the tough stuff...and instead am desperately searching for things that I absolutely won't need in the next 35 or so days until I move.

While there will be many things that get purged on moving day, those things will be needed right up until then. So for those last few days of the challenge, if I absolutely have nothing else that can be discarded and so that I don't end up counting trash as discards, I might just end up listing those big "dump" items that won't be moving with us but that I will need for a week or so beyond the game's end date. (Like area rugs, cat furniture and supplies, cleaning tools.)

But for today...

Day 11

I know the picture shows only 10 items (well, 11 if you count the chair, but that's not being discarded, it just serves as a place to hold the stuff being purged), but the 11th item is a spoon used exclusively for our kitten's food that they (unbeknownst to me) knocked into the kitchen sink and shoved beneath the cover to the garbage disposal which they closed up somehow. It caused quite the surprise when the disposal let out a loud metallic screech and I pulled out a mangled spoon. As it was super sharp and had metallic filings falling off it, I had to wrap it up and then dispose of it in the recycle bin right away, instead of sharing its mangled "corpse" here with the rest of the day's purges.

So for today I have six plastic hangers which I'll be giving away to someone in need, an old bathroom cleaning scrubber whose orange pad leaves bits of itself behind, and whose handle sheds rust (which will be recycled in part), two wood boards I purchased for a project but which turned out to be the wrong size (give away), and a foam roller from Amazon Basics which is way too firm for what we needed it for (give away).

So that makes 11. Yay. And while I have some ideas for Days 13, 14, and 15, I have not yet been able to figure out what to discard for Day 12. Because much of the stuff that actually should get discarded for this game is of the "memento" variety and I'm delaying those decisions for as long as humanly possible.

Off to scour... to be continued...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 10 + the pros and cons of moving

I'm now into the first of many double-digit days here on Day 10 of the 30-Day Minimalism Game. And while I'm still eyeing all those hangers for future days in the challenge, coming up with ten items for today's "game day" wasn't easy.

[And, yes, I did end up purging ahead on a few days of this challenge, like today, as I knew I wasn't going to be at home and able to play the game on certain days.]

Day 10

I feel like today's game day is a total cheat. Today I got rid of nine manky, barely functional microfiber cloths. And I also am getting rid of (via giving away to a family member) a small hole punch that I bought to use for Christmas 2016 and haven't used since.

My home doesn't feel less crowded by the removal of these items - though the microfiber cloth drawer, filled only with new/barely used cloths, is much more spacious. (And I do love space.) But I do know that with each item that leaves my home, there is one less decision I will have to make come moving day next month.

The pros and cons of moving...

We move often - well, often for me anyway. And with each move I'm made aware of each and every one of my possessions, which is both a pro and a con. If we were more "normal" movers, we'd hire movers to box up our things, move them, unpack them. But in the past we've done every single move on our own. Which is incredibly fatiguing. And while for the first time ever we are going to hire moving men to move our actual large-scale furniture, I will be thoroughly cleaning and packing up all our possessions and moving each of those items once again. Which has its pros and cons - a few of which follow below...

The pros.

  • Knowing what I own and taking only those things I can't bear to part with. By handling every single item I own (and the ones my husband owns), I am able to assess its value, see whether it's worth taking with us to that next place. Not a single item is transported that hasn't been looked at, touched, cleaned, packed up, or moved without a decision made by me. So I am able to pare down the things I've accumulated since the last move and reassess those things that I have owned since then that might no longer have meaning.
  • Getting a clean slate. By moving so often I have the chance to start over with a clean slate. My new space is empty, calming, minimal. It doesn't hold the negative energies that have accumulated in the previous space. I have the opportunity to start fresh, not let the space get filled with negative energy. The possibility exists for the simplicity I desire.
The cons.

  • Knowing what I own. While this is also a pro, it's very much a con. If we were to stay in one location, and I were to find a home for the things I own, I would not have to think about them. I could use them if they were items that were meant to be used. And I could store them if they were items that were meant to be stored. I would not have to spend my current energies thinking about the weight of my keepsakes. If we didn't move I wouldn't have to find unpack them, make sure they were still preserved, re-pack them, move them, and find new homes for them. If I didn't move I might not be so concerned with these items and I could either part with them more easily or be okay with them occupying space just as they are.
  • The physical toll. No matter whether you have movers or not, unless they're of the white glove variety and do every single thing for you, there is a physical toll in getting your home dismantled and put back together somewhere else. Even if you sold everything you owned you'd have to buy new and get those things put together and set up in the new space. (Unless you were so thoroughly minimalist that you didn't opt to have a traditional setup with bed, sofa, tables, chairs, et cetera.) So there is a physical component that comes with every move, and depending upon your age and capabilities, there is a price.
  • The emotional toll. Moving is stressful. On top of the fact that moving your home is a huge change - and change can be as stressful as it is exciting - there are many other factors that cause stress - worrying about the state of your possessions while in transit, worrying about all the "to dos" that need to be handled in order to detach from one space and attach to another, worrying about all that needs to be done in advance of the move and all that needs to be done following. If you have a partner, there's also dealing with someone else under stress, which often makes things even more stressful.
In sum.

While I love changing environments, doing so at this stage in my life is starting to wear thin. I have possessions that force me to deal with them in ways I wouldn't have to if I were to stay in one place. I'm of an age where I have things and need things in order to function that aren't as conducive to moving as the things I owned when I was younger - no "fast" furniture, not as many "disposable" goods. And I've accumulated more important papers and memorabilia than I had when I was younger - rather, I am responsible for my memorabilia now that I'm older, as my parents no longer hold onto any of that stuff for me.

All of this makes me long for a more nomadic existence (not possible) where I can live with just a handful of things that fit in a travel bag. But I love my husband and my felines and I have responsibilities that just won't allow for it. So maybe it's time to think about not moving, and maybe just have a packing party to address those things I don't need in my life anymore.

Friday, March 9, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 9

On this the 9th day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game I wasn't able to come up with nine related things. And so I had to scour my home for a variety of things that added up to nine.

And it wasn't easy...which makes me a little anxious about how the double-digit days will be for the remainder of the challenge.

Day 9

I was able to part with two hardcover books I received - both will go to a young family member. I found two cat toys that our kittens did not like that will either be discarded or given away. I had a set of three Scandia Home towels (bath sheet, bath towel, hand towel) in a color I didn't like ("Iris") that I'm giving away to a family member - I wish they looked as grey in real life as they do in the pic, as I might have opted to keep them. I'm giving away our old Bodum French Press to someone who doesn't mind purchasing a new filter. (We made the move to a Chemex and won't be going back.) And I've passed along an old Menu toothbrush cup (the interior was recycled) whose exterior is coated steel and can serve as a small vase or pencil cup.

So that seems like it's nine. But it wasn't easy to reach that number without opting to start counting things like bent paperclips. Which makes me a tad anxious for tomorrow's purge.

Off to poke be continued...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

30-Day Minimalism Game: Day 8

The eighth day of the 30-Day Minimalism Game is bit of a hodge-podge purge-wise. Though I've tried to keep it to similar-ish things.

As the game/challenge progresses, however, I have a feeling it will get harder and harder to find items that are alike in any way, so the piles will become more random. And it's very like the stuff being discarded/donated/sold will be less meaningful/valuable vs. more meaningful.

For today...

Day 8

In the heap of linens (left to right) is a bath mat from DWR that I never loved and had long since replaced with ones that feel great underfoot. It will be finding a home with a family member. Beneath that is a very much loved fitted sheet from Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic that got destroyed (in just a week) from our kittens - too many tears and holes to sew (I tried). Next is a ratty, well-used microfiber cloth that no longer picks up dust like it should. Hidden beneath that is a bra with a recently broken strap. And on the right are four kitchen towels from Williams-Sonoma that I loved for a few years, but replaced with new towels about six months ago that left less lint behind yet never gave away or discarded. (They are being used as packing material/cushioning for the box being sent to a family member who may or may not keep them for their kitchen or repurpose them as cleaning rags.)

The problem with purging...

As I purge and empty spaces start to appear I get excited for the emptiness. But I also start to think about what things I might want to purge in order to replace them with nicer things, or more sustainable things.

This "modern" minimalism concept seems to be all about surrounding yourself with things that are useful and/or beautiful. So this desire to acquire things that serve both functions holds great appeal. And while this concept as it applies to my possessions might not mean I'll be increasing my possessions, it certainly isn't helping to reduce them.

It also feels like yet another way to "cheat" the game - dispose of 10 items for Day 10, but acquire 10 more better/nicer/more beautiful items to replace those 10 items going away. No one ever really talks about how much they've acquired during their 30-Day Game vlogs.

Since starting this game I've acquired:

  • 2 new fitted sheets (one to replace the one discarded for the game today, and one to replace the one the kittens destroyed last week pre-game). Both sheets were needed as we had zero after their destructive claws. But this game purged item hasn't caused my number of things to go down. [Net zero]
  • 2 new duvet covers. While our existing duvets had not been destroyed, they are loved and were expensive, so we purchased two less expensive and more durable ones until the kittens get older and less destructive. [Plus two]
  • 1 new container to hold our duvets. Because we now had two duvets that used to get cycled onto our beds that were just going to be storage for a while, we needed something to store them in. [Plus one]
And I know for future days of this game (spoiler alert) I plan on swapping out our existing hangers (which we've had for a decade, if not more) for more sustainable, slimmer, better quality hangers. So those will net zero as well in the reduction of items count.

Still hopeful...

I am still quite hopeful that this challenge will result in many, many fewer possessions - especially those that don't have meaning and/or function in my life. And will hopefully make our move next month that much simpler and more stress-free.

To be continued...