Minimalist May with Becker, Fields & Nicodemus

Books, movies, podcasts, online communities, oh my! So many ways to get motivated by (and learn about) others and their experiences with minimalism.

The More of Less by Joshua Becker just released. It got me taking the bus again (so I can read on my way to work… funny how certain changes can improve seemingly unrelated habits). If you’re not familiar with Becker, here’s his blog, Becoming Minimalist. He has a deeply relatable way of processing the world, getting in touch with your values, and creating a life that fills your values (and it all starts at home).

On a recent Smart and Simple Matters podcast, Becker described his focus on creating a community. He gave examples of why it is so beneficial to tap into the support of others when making a change. I never really thought about that before. But, ever since, I can’t seem to get it out of my head. Combine this suggestion with some Deepak Chopra meditation and a saying on my teabag “let things come to you”, and before you know it I’m approaching people and chatting them up about their lives, daily habits and what matters most.

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Millburn (left), Nicodemus (right), introducing their film Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. May 3 at the Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA

My focus on minimizing began in October 2014. It’s now May 2016 and for the first time I’m tapping into community.

May 3 Somerville, MA — Showing of Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things followed by a live podcast by The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus). The show had been sold out. 800+ seats! I couldn’t believe it.  That many minimalist enthusiasts around me? I had no idea because I wasn’t tapped in. Thankfully I had the chance to hear about some other minimalists goals and stories while waiting in line, and even about the local meetup group.

Now I’m part of two minimalist Facebook groups. I’ve seen the movie and I’m reading a book. And Joshua Becker’s Uncluttered Course starts today. It’s spring cleaning season!

 

 

Progress to Date — 1,881 items purged.

 

1,881 items have been removed from my life!

It can be a challenge to actually stop the purging and share the count. The next milestone always feels so close! 2k for example. I’m so close to 2k! However, I’m long overdue from commenting upon 1,500 so here I am.

Today is April 28, 2016. I began my minimizing project 1.5 years ago (October 2014).

I’ve tracked (almost) everything I’ve purged. Why?

The short version

  • Awareness—Which is paramount to habit breaking. Awareness for what I had, why I acquired it, why I got rid of it. What types of things do I tend to accumulate and why?
  • Taxes/Donated Goods—Not a good enough reason. Won’t be doing this again. Filling out the forms added a ton of work to the inherent joy of donating. In my case, the monetary gain did not offset the effort (most stuff I let go of was only worth 50cents-$2 at best…that included brand new beautiful clothes that were in great shape, but too far off trend for the local consignment shop to want them).
  • Sense of accomplishment—I’ve been minimizing since October 2014. After a while I started to lose sight on my progress. Was it so bad before? Have I really changed much? As soon as I access my database of the 1,800+ and growing tally of purged items, I start to remember again. It’s pretty exciting! Recently I modified it so I can start tracking purchases too.

 

The long story

Do you avoid your basement because it’s too full of junk? Do you wonder why you never just own up to the mess and clean it? Have years gone by living this way? Do you make frequent (and justifiable) purchases from Amazon? Do you shove all the empty boxes into your garage, (instead of diligently break them down to recycle)? When your house gets messy, do you intend to make cleaning a priority, but instead you go shopping for organizational or cleaning supplies (supplies you don’t really need)?  Do you buy new clothes every time you have a special appointment, or maybe just because you feel blue?

I did. I did all these things. For years. I spent way too much money on stuff. I wanted to stop. I didn’t know how. I knew I had to stop, save my money, and to get rid of things that I didn’t love. However, I was apprehensive because I’d gotten rid of things before, only to acquire them again. It usually only takes me four to five years before I’m back in the mess I vowed to tackle.

This time I knew I needed to bring in a new technique that would get deeper into my psyche. I decided to track everything I donated or discarded. I reflected on two important dimensions; Why did I acquire this thing, and why am I letting it go? Doing these two things really allowed me to connect with what was going on inside of me, so I could examine my life and my behavior from a more meaningful perspective.

 

What else did I track?

Basically, anything that seems to help keep me motivated. Here’s a few of the key areas:

I gave every item a status: Every thing I get rid of is flagged as a Goodbye or as Store/Decide Later. Anything that I acquire (a purchase or a gift I keep) is a Hello.

  1. Goodbye — Applies to things that I donate or throw away.
  2. Store (decide Later) — Applies to things that I want out of my living space, but am not ready to make a permanent decision on where it goes.
  3. Hello — Any thing I bring into my life. I’ve made so much purging progress, that I fear sliding backwards (I’ve done it before). So now I’m tracking my purchases. I don’t track food or consumables like soap or paper towels. I just track the things that could easily become clutter in a year or more.

I categorized all the items: A way of thinking about the types of things I tend to accumulate.

  1. Office Supply (paper clips, stapler, pens)
  2. Papers/Files (anything paper-clutter related, junk mail, stationery)
  3. Clothing (shoes, shirts, jackets)
  4. Decor (picture frames, wall art, candles)
  5. Furniture (chairs, shelves, side tables)
  6. Trinket/Small item (knick-knack, fridge magnet, party favor)
  7. Kitchen Item (spatula, timer, plates)
  8. Pantry/Food (stale crackers, expired canned goods, empty tea boxes)
  9. Toy (lone Barbie roller skate, doll missing an arm, deck of cards)
  10. Holiday/Special Occassion (ornaments, party hats, paper table cloth)
  11. Hardware/Tools (packs of screws that come with everything, and I never use)
  12. Electronic (clock radio, document scanner, printer)
  13. Organizing (jars, baskets, file box)
  14. Linens (bedding, towels, dishrags)
  15. Craft/Art Supply (buttons, glue, glitter, paint)
  16. Books/Media (Books, Manuals, CDs, DVDs)

I documented the reasons the item was acquired: Helps with “facing the music” and being honest with how the clutter is getting created. (Numbers 8 & 9 stole the show)

  1. Freebie/Swag (anything that comes home with you because it was free).
  2. Needed saving (anything that inspired you, but needed work to be useful)
  3. Imagined different priorities (I had all kinds of handbag-buckles, handles, snaps and straps because I thought I was going to be a purse maker. That was years ago! I loved it for a month. I no longer have that dream).
  4. Deal/on sale (anything you buy because it made you say “only $5!!!”). You could even add another category related to this—Couponing. If you have a stock pile of stuff you don’t need because you had a coupon for it, acknowledge that.
  5. Determined to buy something (when you can’t leave the store because you came for something, and your brain keeps telling you that this means you need to leave with something)
  6. Gift (a thoughtful person gave you something)
  7. Gift requested (acknowledges that registries don’t always mean you get what you need)
  8. Emotional/Impulse (if you feel an impulse to buy something, it’s often coming from some place of emotion)
  9. Emotional/Sentimental (anything you brought home because it sparked warm memories of your Nana, and for no other reason other than that)
  10. Don’t know (when you don’t know where that thing came from)
  11. Spouse (things that came with anyone you merge homes with). Note: This is used only if that person decided to get rid of something. No getting rid of other people’s things! That’s a rule.
  12. Needed at the time (exhausted and purchase a neck pillow at the airport…this could also go in the next category, it’s all how you think about things, and how you felt in the moment that thing came into your life).
  13. Emotional/Justification (just about anything I ever picked out for the cat, and didn’t plan on)
  14. Came with something else (an extra button or set of extra screws with DIY furniture)
  15. Felt obligated (charity events with auctions or raffles)
  16. Something I created (art that was fun to make, but awful to look at)
  17. Inventory awareness issue (we tend to buy crackers, without checking the pantry first, then they get stale)
  18. Attempt to solve a problem (for me it’s usually hair products with promises of volume)
  19. Wanted to try (eye pillow, fancy lotions)
  20. Wardrobe refresh (when you hate your wardrobe, and you attempt to spruce it up without sticking to the plan)
  21. Loved (anything you buy because you can’t bear to put it down!)

And finally, I track the reason I’ve purged an item. This helps me bring my thoughts full circle.

If I acquired something because I loved it, and I purged something because I no longer liked it…what was going on here? It’s helpful to evaluate my thoughts around stuff so I don’t keep repeating the same disruptive patterns.

 

 

This post was originally created Oct 2015… above is updated.

 

Can you get rid of 1 thing?

That’s what I kept asking myself in the beginning (after I acknowledged my problem, but before I started addressing it). That’s what started all this.

So, maybe you feel weighed down by too many things too. Maybe you’ve read Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying up, and feel that a six-month process (no matter how amazing the benefit) just seems too overwhelming.

You can start simply.

Here is one very simple way to begin decluttering your home

  1. Open up a shopping bag. Label the bag “Donations”.
  2. Keep it off to the side in a central area of your home (so that it’s not a chore to find).
  3. Every day put one thing in the bag that feels excessive in your life. Something that you just don’t care for or often gets in the way. Just one thing. Tip: a dried out pen in your junk drawer is an easy place to begin.
  4. Let the bag just sit there until it fills up.
  5. Drop the bag off at a thrift shop or church in need. Note: If you feel hesitation, second thoughts, or you’re just not sure you’re ready to let go, put the bag in the back of a closet or something. If a year goes by and you forget all about it. Get rid of it! You’ve already let go mentally, why not follow through physically?
  6. It’s that simple.
  7. Questions? Doubts? Let me know below.

 

That is the process I used which led to this…

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Additional Resources

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Purge your cleaning supplies!

I just rounded up a house’s worth of cleaning supplies. At least 35 different products here! Overwhelming. Is this volume normal? It’s nuts! I bet my grandma would’ve had just 3 products, (and a much cleaner house).

I discarded 1/3 of this mess, and you can too! Here’s how…

First, round up all your cleaning supplies. Scour your house for all items in this category (thank you Marie Kondo). I rounded up supplies from the bathroom, the laundry room and a hall closet.

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Next, group all your cleaning supplies by subcategory (gloves, sponges, soap, oven cleaner…etc). This is to help you better understand what you have. Now, you can make informed choices about what to let go of.

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Then, get some focus, pare down and purge! I used this cleaning mag to focus my needs (remember, minimizing is all about working to disassociate need from want). Don’t have a mag? You could search online for a good list of basics. You could also sit, and visualize your cleaning rituals then list out all the products you use.

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Lastly, put it all back. Be proud! Enjoy the thrill of being able to find things. Enjoy being able to grab (one handed) what you need. Enjoy having nothing topple over!

See, cleaning is really all about strategizing so you don’t have to actually clean or pick up so much.

Ta da! Everything I kept, put back. FullSizeRender (1)

I did end up buying some baskets. IMG_0235These fit the space well and I can slide them out easily. I also use binder clips and clothes pins to hang items, such as the rubber gloves.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if this helps you out. Post any comments/questions below.

 

Tossing Basement Junk (Legally)

Sometimes we let garbage live in our homes, because we don’t know what else to do with it.

IMG_9913Today our Department of Public Works hosted Oil and Latex Paint collection. This was hugely motivating! I discovered nine containers of old old paint. NINE! It was just hiding out in the basement. Luckily I’m somewhat organized, and although the basement is a bit of a disaster, like items have been grouped together (that’s a good starter tip).

This is the type of thing so many of us hang onto because we don’t know what to do with it.  If you have things like this, find your town website. Look up the DPW (Department of Public Works) or similar. Find days with special waste-removal events (toxic waste, computer monitors, recycling, large trash items). Mark the days on your calendar. Block off time at least 1 week before to ensure that you’re prioritizing any time required for pre-work. (This morning I almost missed my drop off window because I didn’t give myself a comfy-cushion of time). Follow through with whatever process is needed. You’ll learn a little bit more about the workings of your town, and you’ll get rid of junk!

Best of luck, everyone!

Lisa

1 Month of Daily Minimizing—The Results!

During the month of November 2014 I got rid of 662 items from my home. 411 donated, 244 trashed (they deserved it), 7 consigned. This does not include the 136 items I put in my basement for storage. I still have these, but now they’re out of my everyday space, and part of an ongoing what-do-I-actually-need experiment. I will revisit these items after the holiday season (February).

 

Here’s an image of what 30-days of minimizing looks looks like:

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For feel-good donations (things I gave to Somerville Homeless Coalition, to help set up apartments for families) the benefit was incomparable! All those donations made me feel great. I’d do it all over again.

For laundry, I got so rid of so much excess clothing and linens that I can easily get by only doing one load of laundry per week. Minimizing means I spend almost zero time sorting. I’ve also removed all the pile-up potential. Liberating!

For tax deductible donations I estimate $236 (Not bad considering almost nothing was of any real monetary value.

Update: For consigned items, $196.80.

What a wonderful month! It really did get easier. It also paved room for me to get creative with some Christmas decor. The last few days of the month were focused on junk mail and paper purging, so it seemed wonderfully appropriate that my creative outlet was all about paper! I’m working on a wall tree made entirely of scrap paper.

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Here’s a pic of my final drop off at Salvation Army this month! It’s always thrilling to see what is no longer in my living space.

And for the final daily purge of the month, I got rid of…

Five junk mailings & six Christmas ornaments

Thanks so much for reading!

 

MP3s Don’t Need Shelves

I did get rid of my standard five+ items today (blah blah blah)…

  1. 10 pieces of mail
  2. two old dining chairs
  3. a plant-hook stand
  4. a lampshade
  5. an old fireplace log holder… that was appraised and not worth anything

BUT, the real HOLY SMOKES award goes to my husband who consolidated the volume of his entire CD collection

from this…

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Shown above: 15 bags FILLED with unwanted CD jewel cases, and the shelves they once lived on.

… to this!!!!

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Shown above: FIVE books. Each filled at 75% capacity, to provide room to grow. This is some dramatic space reduction!!!

I want to linger on this point a little while. Look at that purged pile of shelves and jewel cases again. See how much space that is!!! This is the size of a beautiful big closet. I can’t get away from this thought. I feel like we just paid for an addition to our home. I feel like a carpenter was interviewed, hired, here and gone. Leaving in his wake one big closet, freshly built!!! But, it’s dreamlike because all this extra space cost only $150 (five big cd cases at $30 each), didn’t require any labor research or disruption in daily life. It required several hours on the couch, transferring CDs while watching House Hunters and other TV favorites. It can be kind of therapeutic to do this sort of sorting (I didn’t do any of it, I’m just thinking back to the last time I did anything like this, which was possibly about twelve years ago).

The shelves, we no longer need, are awesome. They seem super useful. I thought of keeping them to store my tchotchkes (oh wait, I got rid of most of those) or some toiletry products (ug! got rid of those too)… ok, ok, I’m illustrating a point in a rather goofy format. These shelves are great! But, shelves are for shelving things. If you don’t got much in the way of things, what good are shelves?

Happy November 29, Everyone! I’ll see you tomorrow for the final day of my November Pact to Purge. WOW! Really? Just for your info, I do keep checking the calendar to confirm November does only go up to 30!!!! HAHHA, this is how psyched I am.

Shopping While Minimizing

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Now that I’ve been unlcuttering for 27+ consecutive days, shopping is somewhat bizarre. Especially Whole Foods—masters of merchandising.

On the one hand I felt my head was going to explode surrounded by all the options. But, not like I was tempted, more like I was from another time and observing American culture.

Then, on the other hand I felt happy about my list (a few simple things so I could make what you see in the photo. Cranberry Pear Sauce.)

Before long I found myself staring at all the beautiful seasonal and holiday specialties like mini purple brussels sprouts and fancy mushrooms! Every thing that spoke to me, I caught myself writing a story for … “oh that would be so good roasted!” or “if I bought stroop waffles we could enjoy them with …”. That really woke me up. I was not there to fulfill a multitude of food fantasies, I was there to get the stuff to make Cranberry Sauce. I stuck with that. I left the store feeling proud. (Not to mention in an amazingly short amount of time).

Since minimizing I make sure I know why I go into a store. I feel more honest about this (that’s another challenging part of it. No emotional justifying). Shopping is fast and deliberate. It is also a bit exhausting (because I do lose focus around beautifully well-done merchandising). It feels a bit like I dropped something valuable in a lake and I have to hold my breath and go under super fast to try and find it. This is the part that worries me, although I’m proud of my project, is it sustainable long term? I believe it is, but how can I keep focus? I’m hoping that with practice and reminding myself of the value (which is so obvious and everyday. My husband and I are so much happier, for example…that’s another topic, but it is very powerful how my tackling clutter turned into our tackling clutter, and I’m thankful for that).

Oh, and today I got rid of five things from my paper drawer (most of which were pieces or mail from 2010!!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Day 20—Even more personal care clutter!

Nothing wrong with this batch. It’s all just stuff I have too much of. I want less of this! Less stuff evolves into more thinking space. That’s the catch 22. The more you’re able to say “this could be useful if …” The more you will actually never use that thing. This is because there’s too much of it. It’s either overwhelming (so you just spend your time Netflix watching), or you have too many things to manage so you never remember you were saving it when (and if) the moment actually pops up! That’s the catch. You actually have to get rid of it to need it. At least this has been my experience. And that’s ok. I’m ok with this because I’ve made peace with this. It is a necessary part of the balance to the clutter situation.

5 things are
• John Masters sea mist (highly recommend travel staple
• Shampoo
• Face mist
• Makeup sponges
• Contact lens case

5 Things Gone—Practice Art

Not all art is sacred. Not all artists are born with talent, either. Therefore, practice art! Today’s purged stuff dates back to 1992-1998. I can’t say my newer art is light years ahead, but at least I know it’s time to let go of these very important (to my development) practice pieces.

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5 pieces of practice art gone today!

  1. Practice painting, lady
  2. Practice painting, fruit/still life
  3. Practice painting, dream scene
  4. Practice pad #1
  5. Practice pad #2 (Referencing my definition that a “thing” is a decision (every decision to toss equals one thing) this pad might count as 30 decisions (the number of sketches I flipped through, and decided to discard).

Have a nice day, everyone! I’ll see you tomorrow for day #20 of my November Pact to Purge

How Many Dishtowels Do You Need?

How many do you think you have? How many do you want?

FullSizeRenderIf I hadn’t been minimizing, my guess would be around 20. Because I actually laundered (finally) and folded every single dishtowel in my house. I now know I have (had) 33! That’s a little excessive, wouldn’t you say? Even worse, this suggests some big pile-up potential in the laundry room.

My new goal is to never let laundry pile up. I thought about this and how I could only minimally alter my habits to get this to be easy. This brought me to ask “How many dishtowels do I actually need?”

Every Saturday I’d like to routinely do 1 load of clothes and 1 load of household. The household would consist of something like; 1 set of queen sheets, 3 additional pillow cases, 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels, 2-5 washcloths, 1-2 dishtowels, 1-2 dish rags.

The good, I edited my kitchen down to 12 towels (7 towels, 5 rags) to support this new method. Here’s how it looks!

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The bad, I know I need to get that number down further. However, it seems that trying to manage a balance of festive (those bottom two are ready for the Christmas season) with “ok to get dirty” is getting in my way.

This is exactly the benefit of committing to getting rid of only 5 items/day. It allows you to get momentum without going too far and feeling overwhelmed.

Regarding the dishtowels, and what they symbolize for me, I’m working on detangling like and want. I’m working on appreciating a thing in the moment and not bringing it home because it made me smile for a few bucks.

All that and I was only able to get 1 towel out of the house! The remaining 20 are shoved in a plastic bag in the back of my closet.

Here’s what I was able to get rid of today

  1. Sunny-side dishtowel (because folding it to look right was more complicated than I’d like)
  2. Duvet cover
  3. Pillowcases that match the Duvet cover (note: separate decision equals separate item. I thought about keeping these, at first. Feeling great about letting them go!)
  4. Flannel pillowcases
  5. Queen top sheet (fitted fell apart years ago)

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Minimizing. Day 17—discovering a smarter laundry strategy.

That’s what lazy people do, right? We sit around and think about different ways to do things.

All of today’s items are duplicates. Regarding the two little towels, I have this idea that if I reduce my volume of clothes and linens, I won’t need to do so much sorting and thinking. That is the part of laundry I hate the most! Who wants to think about details of laundry? Yuck! Just do it. Shove all the towels in one load and be done with it. If I edit my collection to be one load/week and only things that can all go in one load together (same temp, same color) then that sounds pretty sweet to me!

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Today’s purged five are (it’s Monday, I went easy, just five items).

  1. Broken cooking thermometer
  2. Duplicate steak thermometer #1
  3. Duplicate steak thermometer #2
  4. Face cloth
  5. Hand towl

Day 16—More Square Footage!

I’m not a scientist, but I did enjoy Jr. High physics class. It’s the first time I heard “matter is neither created nor destroyed”.  It feels that way at home now. All the time I’ve invested in removing excessive things from my home, is coming back to me. For more than two weeks, I’ve been going through daily clutter purges. I did not lose, or waste, that time at all. It just shifted. Removing stuff means you’re removing choices. Fewer choices means fewer decisions. I’m talking about trivial choices and decisions. Ones that don’t matter one bit. For example, should I moisturize with coconut oil today or sesame? Who cares!!! right? This is exactly the type of choice that brings a false sense of freedom. I removed it, therefore I have more freedom. I have more time. I have more square footage in my house! Look at these piles I dropped off at Salvation Army yesterday (batch one above, batch two below). Does it seem like an insignificant volume? It is the size of a small hall closet. I just increased the size of my living space and removed brain tax. Ahhh! Hello Sunday!

Since yesterday, I have said . . .

  1. Goodbye Marimekko paper placematts that I forgot I had
  2. Goodbye THREE decks of cards. Because the two decks my husband added  weren’t enough . . .
  3. Goodbye six bath and body products that I never liked using (Moroccan hair oil scent goes from lovely to OMG WTF really really fast)
  4. Goodbye umpteenth med item that expired in 2010
  5. Goodbye unneeded tablecloth that I always idealized for being classic white, but ultimately was also too fearful to use

Here they are, forever in photography…and thankfully no longer in my home.

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Hats off! (then out the door). Today’s purge, hall closet.

It’s Saturday! Naturally I do bigger purges on days I have off. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. I thought it might be useful to document my process.

Step 1 (it’s a two parter)—Find a space you care about (that is also driving you a little crazy), like a closet shelf (with an avalanche issue). Then, clear it out! (There it is. My clear shelf.)

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Step 2—Dump the stuff on a work surface (such as your dining table).Step 3—dump the pile on a work surface (like your dining table).

Step 3—Sort. Sun hats, mittens, gloves, baseball hats . . . etc.  A lot of “what ifs” here clogging up my valuable space.

Note: a “what if” applies to anything you rarely use but keep it just in case “what if a group of friends stop by and want to go for a walk and it’s cold out and none of them have hats! I better keep all these hats just incase that happens.” That’s not gonna happen. Don’t keep the hats for that reason.

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Step 4—Inventory. Use this to help you identify your excess items. Make decisions like “I will keep 10 hats” (or more, or less. This is a personal choice). Pick your favorites. Take the rest to Salvation Army.

I’d like to emphasize how valuable it is to confront yourself with the question of “how many _____do I need?”. This type of question gets you focused on you and your home (not the actual things cluttering it up). What you don’t want to do is emotionally connect with every hat you evaluate (“oh this would look so cute if I ever find that green plaid coat…”) This is the most challenging part of decluttering (or any change of meaning in your life), you have to change your thought process.

Also, if you’ve ever had a close relationship with someone who lived through The Depression (for me it’s my grandparents), this can make you feel ungrateful when you decide to let go of anything. You’ll need to work to get over this hurdle. Remind yourself that 2015 is a different time, with different challenges. Call upon others’ lessons who have also learned to let go, or embrace a life with less stuff. YouTube is full of tips. Here’s a video playlist of some of my minimalism favorites. On a few videos (may or may not be on the playlist) it was pointed out that just because you have it, doesn’t mean you’re using it. So many people in this world don’t have what they need. You hanging on to excess is preventing others from benefitting. This really spoke to me. I used this to motivate me. It really worked. Especially with the hats and winter approaching.

Step 4—Inventory

Step 5—Put all the keepers back. Woah. Lookin’ good!

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What did I Get rid of today?

  1. Eight hats (3 baseball, 3 winter, 2 summer/sun). Not great, considering 29 was the start. Still good. No shame in baby steps.
  2. Three, and a half, mitten/glove pairs (trashed the poor loner “half”, donated the mittens that still looked good, trashed another . . . placed the remaining one with my crafting supplies for the wool (shrug). Ok, ok. That one doesn’t count as a purge (focus on the other ones).
  3. Desk clock (not shown). Super cute, but loud as a knife stabbing your eardrum (at consistent intervals). Horribly unpleasant.
  4. Bathing suits (not shown). Some trashed for being old, others donated for looking new.
  5. Tights/stockings (not shown). “Hosiery” as my nana may have said. Basically, they were old, never used, duplicates or just no good.

Enjoy your weekend! Will these leaves ever finish falling?

Until tomorrow . . .

5 Things Gone—Nov 11

I’m excited about this one. Blankets.

November 11 — Five things I got rid of today (and why)

  1. Blanket
  2. Blanket
  3. Blanket
  4. Blanket—It’s the right time of year. All these blankets were washed, neatly folded and stored. It’s been at least one year. I never touched any of them. They’ll do someone else far more good, than our linen closet.
  5. Tote bag—Came free with an online order. I have so many,

What’s this all about? Check out my November pact to purge

More Shiz Gone!!!!—Nov 9

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November 9 — Five things I got rid of today (and why)

  1. Toiletry bottles—last night I went around the house and collected all my travel bottles. 72! I had 72 toiletry bottles. Now I have 50. That is still too many, but tossing 22 is a big step forward.
  2. Wire tree—it’s cool! I wasn’t using it. I just kept moving it around and hanging different things off it. It kinda stressed me out.
  3. Misc bathroom stuff—plastic cups that came with the house (I’m not touching these. Why did they take me four years to trash?), hair brush (I have about six more to figure out), unopened blotting papers.
  4. Expired meds—more than one thing expired in 2007. We moved in 2010. Yup, that means I packed this junk.
  5. Big plastic wine glass—I thought was going to artfully display cute soaps in the bathroom . . . huh? I dunno. Anyhow, the cup is in the donations bag now, ready to move on.

Well, that’s today’s purging effort (looks like I knocked out 31 items). It is rewarding and pretty overwhelming at times. That’s why I began experimenting with the limit of 5 items/day…but what I’m discovering is that opening your eyes to clutter awareness is like exerting force on a huge boulder. It’s just not simple to stop or control.

Curious about what this is all about? Here’s my November pact to purge

Day 4—The Insidious Weight of Itty Bitty Trinkets

Today was tough. It took a while to decide. I was not expecting this. It goes to show the power of the exercise. Look at these things. Nothing special. Would you want this junk? It’s obviously junk. It was also a mildly draining decision-making process to let it go.

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November 4 — Five things I got rid of today (and why)

  1. Toothpicks (after cleaning this weekend I revealed three other full containers of toothpicks, Whu? What is it with me and toothpicks.)
  2. A dried out marker (I lost one of the caps. It was no longer an easy marker, I paid a couple bucks for it. I was in denial. I finally decided to let it go)
  3. Kitchen magnet set (Cute, but I wasn’t using)
  4. A piece of wine foil with an embossed sheep (Sigh. This is exactly why I ned to purge. Would you believe this was today’s most challenging decision? There’s no special meaning behind it, I just liked it. It really did nothing for me other than have me say “oh cute! cool wine branding”)
  5. A space-helmet key chain (I think this was schwag. It’s fun. I had it on a Fisher Price gal for a while. She looked cute, then I got over it. Goodbye space hat)

Here’s my November pact to purge

5 Things Gone—Tiny Kitchen Things

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November 3 — Five things I got rid of today (and why)

  1. Cow creamer (because although I love her, I’ve only used her 3x in 10 years)*
  2. Expired Plantain-infused Olive Oil (completely forgot about it. part of a  fundraiser-auction set. It’s been in my fridge for two years!)
  3. Old bottle of anchovies #1
  4. Old bottle of anchovies #2
  5. Pincer thingy (For test tubes. My father made me one of those spice racks! It’s great. But, this piece just isn’t needed)


*Sometimes we want to get rid of something but it is so hard to do! We have fear of regret. To help with this, I just started using a fixed amount of storage space in my basement. Cow creamer is there. The rules are, if she needs to come back, something else has to go. I want to get rid of things, but I also want to satisfy my need for loving new things to look at in my space.  So, I came up with the swap-out storage area as a test.  We shall see!

200+ Things Gone!—Weekend of Nov 1 – 2

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I spent all weekend going through things. I successfully donated 200+ items to Salvation Army and Somerville Homeless Coalition (find whatever makes you feel good about letting things go).

IMG_6195The only things in this photo that stayed are the bikes.

I found these egg holders with my camping gear. I have very minimal camping gear. Why did I decide egg holders were a must have? Wish I could remember. Hopefully someone else is putting them to good use soon.

Minimizing Project—30 Days of Consecutive Clutter Removal

With a name like Shiz I Bought Today, is it any wonder this lifestyle needed a shift? I have too much stuff. See garage picks below (I had help from an awesome Boston-based home organizer, Morganized). It was just what I needed to take the ball and run.

garage

I’ll get into the feelings about that process (and how I came to terms with my relationship with stuff) at some future time.

For now I’d like to kick off my November project, getting rid of, at least, five things every day for the entire month of November.

Care to join me?

Check out the progress