Tag Archives: de-cluttering

The Clutter of Unfinished Projects

file00074170513Unfinished projects, whatever they may be, can be double trouble when it comes to clutter. First, there is the actual physical clutter of the supplies needed, the stamps and scrapbook paper, the yarn and needles, the candle molds, the paints, how-to books, whatever the projects require.

Next, there is the mental clutter. Do you feel good when you look at your unfinished projects, excited by your progress, or do you feel a sort of dread because they still haven’t been completed. For me, looking at unfinished projects starts negative thoughts because I feel like I have failed. The unfinished project supplies mock me.

In my experience, there is the initial excitement of starting a project that may carry through for days or even weeks, and then something happens. Life comes along, the project gets put aside and there isn’t the time or motivation to get back to it. The usual response is “Of course, I can’t just throw it away, right? After all, I have already invested money and time into the project.”

So there the project (or more likely projects) sit, waiting. Sometimes we move them around the house a bit, from a desk to under the desk, to a closet or a tub, but like they never go away.

Letting go of unfinished projects is hard, but I challenge you today to try to release at least one unfinished project around your home. Maybe pick the oldest project. I’m going to do the same. Free yourself of clutter space in your home and in your head.

Meanwhile, out the door for me today are two large bags of clutter (garbage) and a car full of stuff ready for donation.

1 Comment

Filed under Home

It’s 1996, Let’s Buy Cheez Whiz

file0002020216998De-cluttering and becoming minimalist has had some fun moments. My husband is starting to get on board and agreed to go through old paperwork with me that was stored neatly, although obsessively, in our many (Eight! Seriously!) file cabinets. I found an entire set of folders of old grocery receipts, dated in the 1990s. I learned some interesting things about my husband from them.

“I never bought Cheez Whiz,” he says.

“Hoo Hoo, it says Cheez Whiz, right here. April, 1996. You bought Cheez Whiz.”

“Maybe I was making Macaroni and Cheese?”

“Cheez Whiz is the stuff that you spray out of a can, right?”

“I don’t eat that stuff.”

Pause for “the look,” which after 12 years of marriage is close to being perfect.

“It must have been for a party or something.”

“Uh huh.”

Days later, I proceeded to shred the evidence, along with stuff that had financial information and social security numbers, perhaps more damaging in the wrong hands than even the Cheez Whiz receipt. The somewhat ancient shredder died on me, so I bagged it up along with the paper shreds. I actually made it so far as to toss the whole thing in the trash can (cut me some slack, our recycling bin was full, and I just wanted the stuff out of the house).

Later, my husband rescued the whole thing.

The shredder was just temperamental, he said (sure enough, scared for its life in a land fill, it started right back up). The shreds were not cross-cut, so they needed to be burned in the backyard. (Yes, yes, green police, I know, strike two.)

So, what was the purpose of spending time with the old shredder if it still required burning paper in the backyard?

Booyah! score one for Minimalist Wife and the shredder is no longer taking up space in our basement. (Minimalist Wife is blessed to have a husband who can concede defeat when presented with logic.)

The shredder never did make it out to the donation pile in the car, so I have my suspicion it might have been quietly buried in the backyard where it will one day be unearthed and declared an ancient device used in religious rituals.

Progress is progress.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Minimalism

Money Saving March Day 5

money saving marchWelcome to Day 5 of Money Saving March! Each day during the month of March we will take on a new challenge that is easy to do and will save or earn us some extra money. 

Well, March is certainly coming in like a lion with yet another winter storm. Today, I think we need an easy money-saving task that will also help improve our homes.

The challenge for today is to go around your home and find at least five things that no longer add meaning to your life. Place these things in a box or a bag and set them aside to either donate or sell. Selling the items may earn you some cash, but if you donate them instead, you can get a write off on your taxes.

After doing this little purge, the items will no longer take up valuable space in our home, so you won’t be paying the square footage just for storing things you don’t really need or want. If you rent a separate storage unit, then today’s challenge can have even more impact. The more clutter you remove from your life, the closer you are to removing the monthly storage fee!

Ready? Set? Go!

2 Comments

Filed under Saving Money

Banish the Aspirations

file0001885192404Aspirational Objects are things that don’t serve an immediate purpose, but usually remind us what we aspire to do and to be. Sometimes these objects can be inspirational, such as a beautiful photograph that reminds us to seek out simplicity and calm. Most of the time, though, these aspirational objects serve only to make us feel guilty or inadequate, such as the three pairs of size 4 pair of pants we will never wear again, the tiny but expensive jar of truffle oil for a gourmet meal we haven’t gotten around to cooking, or the stacks of woodworking magazines for the home improvement projects that never happened.

These are the “someday” things. “Someday I’ll (fill in the blank).” If the someday ever does come to pass, won’t it be more of a delight to go out and find objects that fit your new reality instead of making do with something that might not fit?

While there is nothing wrong with aspiring to something better, something different, why not invest our focus on the lives we are living now, and own with objects that speak to us, serve a purpose or add value in our lives? Being surrounded by reminders of what we have failed to accomplish or decided didn’t work for us gives us negativity, not freedom.

My challenge for us all today (and I hope that you will join me), is to banish at least one aspirational object from your home and your life. If you take the challenge, please comment on your accomplishment!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Minimalism

Another One Bites the Dust Clutter List

IMG_1999Well. Whew. Another full car load of stuff for the thrift store, plus an almost-full garbage bag ready to go. I’ve been ruthless, ruthless I tell you. After being guided by two of my new favorite people: Peter Walsh and Joshua Becker, something really clicked, and our home is slowly transforming into a freeing space that we can love.  (Aside from their obvious talents, I’ve found both Walsh and Becker to be really nice guys.)

We still need furniture, having inherited a miss-matched collection. At midlife, with three kids, we are looking forward to a future where we stop treating our home as if it were our first rental out of college. Better to do without than to do with wrong. Letting go leaves the hand open to accept the worthwhile.

As you can see below, the list is getting long, which is both a source of pride and embarrassment. If this much stuff needed to be de-cluttered… I know I am not alone. Tell me I am not alone.

Here is my updated de-cluttering list. The items in bold are the newest accomplishments.

  • One section of the basement
  • Kids’ school paperwork
  • Old Word Processor (a whole project since it had data on it)
  • Hope Chest–emptied and ready for donation
  • Right food pantry
  • Second box of photos
  • Paperwork (10 minutes)
  • Inherited sewing notions
  • First Aid
  • One box of old photos
  • Sweaters
  • Towels
  • Sweatshirts
  • Underwear drawer
  • Make up and toiletries
  • Laundry room shelves
  • Recipe magazines
  • Baskets
  • Rags (Ugh, why was I keeping so many–was I worried about a shortage?)
  • One kitchen cabinet
  • Cookie sheets, muffin pans and platters
  • Pens and Pencils (Until I went around the house and actually gathered them all up, I had no idea how many we had! A bunch went in the trash and a bag full of nice ones were donated to my son’s kindergarten teacher, who will have enough writing instruments to last until said son is in college.)
  • One kitchen drawer (Goodbye chip clips. I sent them to a new friend I met online who was in dire need of some.)
  • More books! (The recent purging and a prompt from organizing guru, Peter Walsh, has made me brave enough to get rid of another large box of books.)
  • The Junk Drawer!!!
  • Master Bedroom Bedding (I even sewed a button on to our comforter cover–a bit of mental clutter solved)
  • Kids Puzzles and Workbooks (I somehow missed this when I did the toys earlier in the week)
  • Socks (All five of us plus the bag of single socks)
  • Utensils
  • Belts
  • Some photos (This will be a long project)
  • Children’s closets (3)
  • Flat surface two (Bedroom dresser)
  • Pots and pans
  • Small appliances
  • Flat surface 3 (Left kitchen pantry)
  • Under the kitchen sink
  • The Car (Hint for those in freezing weather: Grab a laundry basket. Make a mad dash to the car. Fill the laundry basket. Dash back in the house. Sort in the warmth of the living room. Oh, and don’t forget to wear shoes. Brr.)
  • One large food pantry
  • Magazines
  • Flat surface one (Produce bin)
  • Toys (one large contractor bag–whoo hoo)
  • Children’s books
  • Children’s videos
  • Adult Books
  • Cookbooks
  • Adult medicine cabinet
  • Children’s medicine cabinet

Leave a comment

Filed under Home

Interesting Objects

Some interesting things that I have found while de-cluttering our home:

My 80s Name Plate Necklace

My 80s Name Plate Necklace

 

Magnetic poetry

Magnetic poetry

 

C-3PO

C-3PO

What is the most interesting thing that you’ve found around your home lately?

4 Comments

Filed under Photos

Let Your Library Reduce Your Clutter

IMG_2013We love our local library. Not only does it help us save money, but it also reduces our clutter. How? By providing us with education, entertainment, things for the home, and so much more, thus reducing the pile we have in our house.

Here are some of the areas in our home where clutter has been reduced, thanks to our local library. You may be surprised by how many different areas of our home we are able to keep clutter free just by having a library card.

I strongly suggest that if you check out your local library, especially if you haven’t been there in a while. Chances are there are plenty of opportunities you will enjoy.

Kids Craft Supplies

Our local library provides our children with many different opportunities for creative crafts. Often we can just drop in during a particular time period and do the craft together with supplies that are already laid out. Other times, the craft is directed by an instructor. Either way, the kids have some creative fun, and I don’t have to purchase and keep mounds of craft supplies in my home.

Magazines

For a while, magazines were one of the major sources of clutter in our home. We use them for entertainment, research and knowledge. Plus, we like trying some of the new recipes that we find. It was always hard to recycle magazines, since I worried that I might miss something.

Our library now offers popular magazines in a digital format, free to download. There is no limit to the number of current issue magazines that we can view–the library makes all of the most popular ones available, as well as some trade magazines, so we always have access.

Plus, if we really want to read paper versions, we can spend a few moments at the physical library reading current issues or borrow older issues and take them home.

Entertainment or Media Center

Video Games

We used to save money by purchasing used video games, but we still wound up with quite a collection that cluttered up our living room. The library has helped us eliminate that clutter by offering video games for our home system. The kids can check out a new video game for an entire week at a time. The games also come with any extra controllers or special devices that are needed to play them, so we don’t have to worry about having to buy and store a special board to do some virtual skiing, for example.

DVDs

Thanks to the library, we can check out new movies any time we want. There is a good selection of DVDs available that can be borrowed from one to three weeks, depending on the popularity of a particular title. This eliminated our previous practice of purchasing whatever new family movie became available. Now, we only purchase a movie if we’ve checked it out more than five times. We get to watch new movies all of the time, without having to commit to the space to keep them all organized.

While most libraries offer DVDs for free, some do charge a nominal fee for this service.

CDs

Need a new CD for the car or just to listen to at home? While the library may have been the last place you would think of for new music, the truth is that it is a wealth of a resource, especially for children’s music, world music and popular tunes.

Bookshelves

This month alone, I saved at least three feet of bookshelf space in my home simply by avoiding book impulse buys and checking the books out at the library instead. Thanks to our library’s online access, I can “order” new books and have them waiting for me to pick up for free. When I am done reading, there are more wonderful books to be had. Since my family consists of avid readers who tend to bump into walls because we have our noses in our books all of the time, the clutter reduction is significant. Thanks to the library, boxes and boxes of books have left our home and given us a lot more space.

What about rare books or less popular ones that may not be available at your library branch? Request them through intra-library loan.

Reference Library

We often kept certain books around for reference, such as cookbooks and home repair books. While we still have a few of these, most of the time, we can simply check out the library when we need to learn or be reminded of something. Physical reference books can be viewed or check out of course, but our library also has a number of online references that we are allowed to access. The library offers solid and reliable reference material. Reference books tend to be large, so it is nice to not have to find permanent space in our home for them.

Toys and Games

Our local library offers a number of board games that can be played with while in the library, including both the classics and some new favorites. It also sponsors different toy and game events from Lego building for kids to card games for seniors. Not only can this reduce the need for tons of toys and games in the home, but it can also offer social benefits, as well.

Some libraries also allow toys and games to be check out of the library for a number of weeks, so you can take them home to enjoy.

2 Comments

Filed under Home