Day 24—It’s expired

I must have known these meds were in the cabinet. Today is the fourth time (give or take) that I’ve de-stuffed from our big medicine cabinet. Did it take three previous purges to even be able to notice this batch? Seeing with the brain is the name of the minimizing game. It’s all expired. What will I find if I open the cupboard tomorrow?

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What I got rid of today

  1. Expired prescription #1
  2. Expired prescription #2
  3. Expired antacid tablets, box #1
  4. Expired antacid tablets, box #2
  5. Expired mouthwash
  6. Expired antacid controller, pills
  7. Expired Slippery Elm supplement
  8. Expired Robitussin

The good news is, all this went unused and lurked around because we generally feel well (and almost never go through our med cabinet).

Goodbye unwanted stuff!

Day 23—Paper clutter

Today is day 23 of my November Pact to Purge. Today is also the first day I’ve even touched, or addressed paper. I hate it! Can you relate? I hide it. I typically glance at it, shrug, think I should probably hang on to it, then shove it in a drawer. Last night, right before bed, I emptied (the smallest) drawer I tend to shove stuff into. I left the clutter on the dining table.

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The next morning, it was there waiting for me.

Over breakfast, I sorted through this small pile. I focused on my original commitment—just five things. I knew this was simple enough. I used it to motivate me.

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Here they are! The five things I got rid of today. Plus, why I hung on to them, and how I’m getting rid of them.

  1. Feline dental kit. Uh…how is this paper clutter? Yes, yes, good question. I guess I can only respond with a “see! This is exactly how messed up my paper clutter is!” ;) … moving on … I kept this for a while since I thought we’d maybe give this a try. Then I decided not to put our sweet 12-year-old kitty through this. Since it is still sealed, I threw it in our donate pile.
  2. Feline dental cleanser. (same reason and discard method as above)
  3. Empty peripheral containers. I find I always hang on to these just in case I need to return. These two things are well beyond that timeframe, therefore tossed in the recycle bin.
  4. Gift bag. I hung on to as a “what if…” but it’s probably been in that drawer for over a year. It’s still useful, therefore added to our donation pile.
  5. Pile of papers! All the papers went one of three ways (recycle, shred, or file). I recycle things like assembly instructions for a coat rack I put together almost two years ago. I shred anything that has my personal info on it (like packing slip from an old delivery). I file anything I want to keep (like the owner’s manual for our dishwasher).

I’m so glad I did this today! Papers are always on the back of my mind. Also, for me, starting off small is the key. If I went any more ambitious with the size of my pile, I’m pretty sure I would’ve just watched TV instead. Now, I feel so good that I think I’m ready to tackle a second—mini—pile!

Until tomorrow  . . .

Lisa

Day 22—Consignment Shop

It went pretty well at the consignment shop this morning. They took seven things plus a ton of jewelry.

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November 10 — Five things I got rid of today (and why)

  1. Two sweaters
  2. Two scarves
  3. One jeans
  4. One shoes
  5. One belt
  6. A ton of my mom’s jewelry (not shown). She’s minimizing too!

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

5 Things Gone—Nov 21

November 21 — Five things I got rid of today (and why)

  1. Shower cap (Never knew I had this! Too bad, I ended up buying a few as a result. They’re handy for containing shoes in your suitcase. I already have enough for that, so goodbye to this one)
  2. Sponge holder thingy (Broken. Saving because it could be fixed. But will I? I don’t need to, I have other dish sponges. It’s clutter)
  3. Soap dish
  4. Soap dish
  5. Soap dish

What’s this all about? Check out 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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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 . . .

Day 13, storage purge (essential vs. excess)

Yesterday I came across Thrive With Less. The documentary, by a group of college students, who give themselves challenges to live with less (for example fewer clothes, less driving, no eating out). During their clearing process one gal used the criteria essential vs. excess. Just two criteria to think about when discarding. Just hearing it feels simple and reassuring. I feel calmer imagining my goal as living in a home with more essential, less excessive.

Excessive is one way to describe my basement storage area of kitchen things. Though, before hearing these terms, I might have described the contents as essential. It is practical in that it holds what feels essential, but only for special occasions (serving platters, cake stand, enormous stock pot). I guess that doesn’t sound very essential.

Today my five items come from this storage closet, but this time (unlike cow creamer) I really am getting them out of the house. I never use these things. It is still challenging to let go. I’m hopeful (fairly confident even) that once they all leave the house, I will feel relief and freedom.

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Today’s items I’m getting rid of (Nov 13)

  1. Popcorn popper—I’ve hung on to this for so long because it’s really cool! It works great, I bought it for cheap. However, I never use it. I try not to use the microwave. I need to cut this.
  2. Muffin baking dish—Again, super cool clay baker. I used it once two years ago (I’ve had it for 10). I used it because I was trying to prove to myself why I needed to keep it.
  3. Jelly glass—Such a great shape! Plus it was free. We have far too many glasses. Goodbye.
  4. Silicone ice/cube or baking trays—used once. Had high hopes for these. But, found the whole process really awkward.
  5. Oven mitt—This is another wonderful reason to decide to minimize. It forces you to assess your stuff. This thing was hanging on a hook near the stove. I can’t remember the last time I used it. Look at it! The tip is all gross and deteriorated. I can’t donate this. I’m trashing it. I was hanging on to garbage and I didn’t even know it!

I’m realizing that writing here and confronting myself (and my thought process) really helps me to see things with more clarity. I’m feeling better about letting go of these things already!

What’s this all about? November pact to purge