Sometimes we let garbage live in our homes, because we don’t know what else to do with it.
Today 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!
After an entire November of minimizing, I felt especially inspired to create something. This tree was a lot of fun to make! Even better, I didn’t have to buy anything. Being festive with what is easily available is a holiday tradition. Scrap paper, scissors and painter’s tape are the basic supplies. It’s a wonderfully forgiving project.
First, I cut something around 100 leaf shapes out of scrap paper (sewing patterns, old calendars, shopping bags, tissue paper… you get the idea).
Then, tape (painter’s tape) several horizontal paper strips to the wall. It helps with space planning. This also reduces the number of individual pieces of tape I had to stick to my wall.
Taping out the perimeter (big blue angled line, right) also helps get an idea of space. I ended up using it as a loose guide. A super straight edge or a triangle-tree can look a little stiff, especially since my “building blocks” were on the more rustic side.
Finishing touches include those easy-to-remove adhesive wall hooks, for hanging ornaments (see that one almost hiding in the photo below?) and lights. Lightweight lights! These are LED on a thin wire string. They’re easily secured with tape. You can hide all kinds of less-pretty tricks behind those leaves.
For more minimalist decorating ideas, visit Light by Coco. She is such an inspiration. Not to mention, one of the biggest most positive influencers on my massive decluttering initiative.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my DIY paper tree! Have a happy holiday (and crafting) season.
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:
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.
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!
I did get rid of my standard five+ items today (blah blah blah)…
- 10 pieces of mail
- two old dining chairs
- a plant-hook stand
- a lampshade
- 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
Shown above: 15 bags FILLED with unwanted CD jewel cases, and the shelves they once lived on.
… to this!!!!
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.
Another day, another pile of papers weeded out! Again, uncluttering paper is fascinating. Unlike objects, it’s far less about the volume in space you get back, and so much more about the effort and that ooooh-aahh feel when your daily chore is DONE!
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!!)
Grabbed a handful of papers from the “I’ll get to that at some point” pile by the front door Left: 29 pieces in today’s unclutter pile.
Weeded out the junk. Felt manipulated by some charity freebies (a calendar, some Christmas cards). Really don’t like this, or how it makes me feel. I put those things in my goods-to-donate pile. Not good to have this vibe living in ones home. It’s out!
Poured a cup of coffee (Barrington Roasting, really been enjoying their beans)
Sorted through the important stuff. Paid two bills! A great reinforcer to the necessity of clearing the clutter.
I couldn’t tackle as big a pile as I set out. I finally decided this was ok since my objective is to address the paper clutter. As long as I make progress and do at least five pieces/day. This is what I’ll commit to. I’ve exceed that.
I got rid of 22 pieces of mail today!!!
Thanks for your support. See you tomorrow!