Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What is "Rich"

Due to a series of events, I was having a mental discussion with myself asking the question "Are you rich?" I had a series of different answers as I discussed this with myself (as I was pulling laundry off the line, so no one heard me, thankfully).

My initial reaction was "no." I wouldn't claim wealth. It seems like claiming beauty, or intelligence, or most adjectives that are considered positive. No, I am not someone to envy. I'm only ordinary.

But, I argued with myself, consider most of the world. I have clean water, affordable health care, plenty of food for my children to eat (in fact, I doubt they have ever gone to bed hungry). I enroll them in extra-curricular activities that appeal to them, and in fact I do not have a paying job so I can support my children and my family in growing together and supporting the activities that are of value to us. Is there greater wealth.

I doubt my brother-in-law would consider us wealthy. We skip many of the outward trappings of wealth -- cable TV, smart phones, many types of electronics, new clothes. I cannot think of the other outer aspects of wealth, New cars.

This lead me to consider the material wealth of our country. I am spending a lot of time and energy trying to limit the material goods I own. Material goods are so easy to acquire in the US -- even homeless people have carts of goods they carry. In other parts of the world, and in other times, poverty includes a lack of things in addition to a lack of food. People had one blanket, one set of clothes. In Southern California, where the weather is temperate, homeless people carry multiple blankets, sleeping bags, sleeping pads. They have camps where more goods are stored. We throw away so much that people who are living without are able to collect their own surplus out of our discards.

I do not mean that homeless people should do without a second blanket to provide comfort. I do think that some of my wealth can go to help people who need it in better ways than throwing away a blanket for them to use.

I am rich. I have enough, and more than enough. I do not want for anything, although I may want things. Truly, I can have anything I wish for, although I may not have everything I wish for. I limit myself from grabbing everything that I wish for so I do not get sick on the surplus, like a child at a birthday party.

As I comb through everything I have brought into my home over the years, it is beneficial for me to acknowledge that wealth is present without material goods, and my material wealth allows me to operate without a safety net of "things I might use someday." My true wealth is not something that can be seen, stolen, or destroyed. I hope you also are rich.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Daily Declutter

Moving forward again. Boning (for clothing/costume making) was donated to dance class; magazines were donated to the senior center. I spoke to a gentleman who wants my old scrapbook; he has several granddaughters, so I can pass it along to him with a clean conscience.

A lot of things have been coming into the house, and I have not been recording them faithfully. I tell myself that they will replace things I have or they will move to another home, but I can think of a lot of new towels that have come in (old towels will go to the Humane Society or another animal rescue group), hair dye (to pass along to a little girl I know), and copper cups (for making Moskow Mules; they were a birthday present) that have come into the house in the last week or two. Likewise, a toy moved from the barn back into the house (it is not for sale, but to be played with).

The kids and I looked through all the art projects we still had from preschool and art class. The kids kept as much art as would fit in a mailing tube, and the rest went to be recycled. It was nice looking back, identifying pieces they remember. Amazingly, there was no sense of loss when we threw out the still-life drawing my son made when he was seven; my daughter did not regret the loss of a picture of a cute kitten. And now their artwork can fit conveniently and tidily on a shelf, in a container, next to other mementos instead of taking up as much space as a couple large plastic totes.

I'm really, really pleased with the overall improvement in the amount of storage space freed up in the shed and barn, and the living space freed up in the house. I will be dropping one of my obligations (I have others I need to evaluate) and hopefully I will use the time my daughter is in dance class to shop for the resale shop I'm hoping to open with my mother and sister. If I hadn't spent so much time making space and getting rid of clutter I would not have room for storing out-of-season stock, and starting this endeavor would have been much more difficult. I like being well prepared, and having a lot of stock ready to go on the shelf at the beginning of a season makes my much more comfortable than trying to buy things as we go; for this, I need storage space. I am so glad my efforts to declutter will make this new undertaking much easier, even if my life won't be more "simple." However, I am hopeful that I will be able to use non-family time to shop for the store, and still leave family time largely intact.

Speaking of family time, my husband were able to get away for a few hours of hiking and bird watching. And talking, uninterrupted. Beautiful birds, including a Lazuli Bunting and a Green Heron. I'm not quite a bird watcher, but I did enjoy the quiet and the activity of the birds. Not as appreciated were the two snakes that were out; I am not a fan of snakes, although I do understand their purpose in nature. Still, I would appreciate them better if they served their purpose farther away from me!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Daily Declutter

Hooray! Moving stuff out today, making good use of space, making the house more useful. China finally moved out of the house so we can use that cabinet as a bookcase for the kids. They mostly share reading material at this point (Hello, Harry Potter) so sharing a bookcase makes sense for us. Thus, they will have more room in their bedrooms. But, the china had to move out before that happened, and now we can finally move forward.

While we were moving the china we evaluated what we really want to keep. My poor, beleagured husband wanted to keep the things we use every year (?!), so we only got rid of a couple serving pieces and all our china coffee cups. We don't drink coffee, serve coffee, own a coffee maker or coffee. So they cups will move off to another home where people drink coffee (and presumably break pieces of their china) and we will enjoy the space we have.

We also cleaned up the barn so we'd have room to store the china. We got rid of a couple games, a string of lights, a box of books, a scrapbook someone gave us conditionally ("until we find another little girl who will appreciate it." Really?), a suitcase, a suitcase stand, a bunch of trash, and a couple sheets we used to cover furniture we no longer store. Everything is on shelves (I keep giving this as a goal!), and things are even grouped together so I can find them easily. Ebay stuff is all together, out of season clothes and linens are together, LEGOs are together. My husband found a display board from a school project from years ago; I kept saving it "just in case" but he finally recognized it for what it was: clutter. I guess all lost of the clutter is together as well -- in the donate bin!

I feel so good about making so much space. The kids books will be better available, and their rooms clearer. I have two shelves of stuff I'm selling, and I've got most of it posted, either to Craigslist or ebay. I scrubbed the bathroom hard and dealt with a lot of the hard water stains in the shower.

And now it's time for dinner, and relaxing with the family!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Daily Declutter

We are virtually done with the bathroom...renovation. I hesitate to use that word, because it implies removing walls or structures, but it was certainly more than just buying new towels. Hopefully, after this, I can get back to decluttering the house and simplifying.

I did have an excellent opportunity to go through everything we had stored in the bathroom, and evaluate it for utility. I didn't find much that needed to move out, but everything looks much tidier than it did before.

I need to declutter the desk area. We were looking for a picture we purchased last summer, to use as decor in the bathroom. Neither of us could find it. We did find souvenirs from our 2011 summer vacation, in a shopping bag. Not a great way to display mementos, and not a great use of the space. And we never found the picture we were looking for. (I put the 2011 mementos in with the other container of 2011 mementos we found, and that will need to be cleaned out, possibly some of those things will go on display, but not today.)

It's good to know what I need to tackle next, but I won't be too aggressive with the desk clean-out. We need a few days of playing and going to the beach before I force my poor husband to begin cleaning something else.

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On an unrelated note, my mother, sister and I are considering beginning a resale shop together. Reflecting on some of the details necessary to begin the shop, like where to store merchandise out of season, I'm really glad I have cleared out so much space in the storage shed. It will make beginning this project much easier. I don't know what we would have done (rented storage space in a self-storage facility) if I hadn't been decluttering all this time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Daily Declutter

We helped my niece and nephew move into their first home today. They have some wonderful friends, and it was grand to see them setting up their new life together. They've done a wonderful job furnishing their home with contributions from family and gleanings from Craigslist. I'm so proud of them, and it makes me reminisce fondly of the apartment my husband and I first moved into many years ago. I'm grateful that they have a first floor apartment, however, as I remember not loving moving everything up all our steps.

A young couple moving into their first home need lots of incidentals that they did not think about. They could use a couple of lamps (the bedroom has none), ice trays for the freezer, and a trash can in the kitchen. Things that you don't necessarily think of until you go to get ice... and there is no ice there.

This is an excellent opportunity to get rid of things we don't necessarily need, and an opportunity to evaluate things I didn't really want to get rid of, but which I don't need. My niece could use an end table, and my husband and I offered her one that we had in storage. However, when I was getting the table ready to drop off, my husband mentioned that he meant to give them a different table. (Yes, we have two end tables in storage. That I had never thought about getting rid of. That's why I'm working on this.) One table (which I offered) came from my husband's side of the family; the table he offered came from my side of the family. (Do you see where this is going?)

My table is part of a bedroom set. We are using the bureau, and the end tables and bed are all in storage. But you can't get rid of part of a set and keep other parts, can you? That would be breaking up the set. Even if you never plan to use anything except the bureau, because the bed is only a double and too small and we don't have a guest room and even if we did I'd rather have a queen bed with sheets that fit on any bed in the house and would be more comfortable for any couples that stay over because we tried to sleep in the double bed when my grandmother owned it and it was too small (all read breathlessly, faster at the end, until you run out of breath.)

In the end, after thinking it over, I will be bringing the table by my nieces, so she can use it if she wants to. I'll offer the other one as well, and the mate to my grandmother's table. Because how many end tables do I really need? I'll also be dropping off a mirror, and the trash can we used for recycling cans.

In all, the day was well spent with family and friends, celebrating a new chapter in my niece's life. And I got rid of a couple of things into the bargain.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Oh, how I love Craigslist!

I spent much of today painting, running errands and driving through traffic, so I don't have much interesting to report. (This is an ongoing excuse, but I hope I am almost to the end!)

However, yesterday we got rid of a large piece of furniture that we eliminated from my daughter's room, and it makes me so happy! I am happy to have the furniture out of her room, I am happy to have the furniture out of my garage, and I am most happy to have given this large piece of furniture to a good home.

Several years ago my husband built a freestanding window seat for my daughter. She loves Romantic fiction, Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden and other things like that, and she had developed a desire for a window seat so she could sit in her room, reading her book and looking out at the garden while hidden from the world. However, she has outgrown the window seat, and it did not make the cut for her new bedroom decor.

A window seat would probably not find a home if donated to Goodwill. Instead, we advertised it on Craigslist, and now other little girls have a secret hideout/princess tower as part of their bedroom decor. I am so happy to be able to make other little girls happy, and I am happy that the effort my husband put into this structure is being kept out of the landfill.

That's the beauty of Craigslist. I can post something and leave it available until someone comes along who really needs what I have; I can keep checking Craigslist until I find what I'm looking for. I don't need to go to the store, and I certainly don't have to create pollution and a negative working environment in order to get what I want. I just have to wait for the community to come to my aid.

I love knowing that someone else, and actual person, is taking advantage in the changes in my life, and I can take advantage of the changes in someone else's. If my baby grows out of her clothes, someone else's babies are growing out of theirs and I can find the community that will allow everyone to shift their clothes down to the next size, and absorb someone else's growth spurt. If I buy a ceiling fan or bathroom sink that I didn't actually need, someone is happy to get them at bargain prices.

And I can take advantage of the same system in my turn. So I no longer need to keep something "just in case." I can let my bookcase or sink or extra tent go into the world, and I will get someone else's when the time comes. It's sharing and community, simplified.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Daily Delutter

Not much forward progress. I am working on listing my weekly/monthly activities, so I can identify activities I can cut. I haven't decided for sure on any cuts, but I do have a couple of ideas. I'd really like to simplify my activities because the whole family is impacted when I have things to do. If I have a meeting it moves dinner up or back, for example, limiting the rest of our activities for the night. Our evenings are disrupted enough as it is.

I didn't get rid of anything today. My husband did not manage to avoid the wine glass party favor from last night, so that came home with us. If mine follows me home (which it might) I will get rid of other glasses in favor of these. If mine does not follow me home I will be donating his. I visited three thrift shops today and I did not buy any impulse purchases. I did get a new shower curtain for my bathroom, to replace the grubby one I had. The new one is blue, to match the new towels. I also got a game I will give as a Christmas gift. I feel pretty good about both purchases, especially as I will not be making as many gifts this year (the "I don't enjoy projects" realization).

I found several new items of clothing for my daughter's back-to-school. This is necessary as she is still determined to continue growing out of her clothes. Middle-schoolers!

I took a "perfectly useful" empty bucket out to the recycling bin. It was empty of wall texturing compound, and I was tempted to keep it, but we have lots of buckets that sit on shelves, and we do not need to add to that number.

Today was grocery shopping day. I am mostly reusing the menu from last week since we ate in so rarely -- and we will be out for dinner a couple times this week. It made shopping a lot easier, but menu building is still much harder in the summer.

Nothing earth-shattering to share today, but I continue incremental progress. They say slow progress reduces backsliding later, in weight loss at least.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Decluttering is about more than Stuff

Today was spent texturing the walls in the bathroom. Again. Thankfully that part of the task is done. Now all we have to do is paint, panel the remaining wall, put up shelves, and clean up after ourselves. There's a reason we've put this off for so long.

While I was working, my husband took out daughter to camp, and I was alone. I listened to a few Ted Talks while I was working, and they kept playing a new talks after each talk finished, so I didn't have to push any buttons with my grimy hands. It was interesting, seeing where the internet took me on its own, but there were a couple talks that have kept me thinking all day.

Sarah Knight spoke about "The Magic of Not Giving a F***." It sounds really fabulous -- instead of decluttering every thing that doesn't benefit you, you give up activities and obligations that are not beneficial. Give up baby showers and going-away parties for people you don't like. But the more I thought about it, the more difficult it is for my to identify the things that aren't important to me.

I hate showers (bridal or baby. I like the water kind.). I really hate showers. I was glad on one occasion to spend the day with my sister, in the hospital, because it got me out of a shower. But I love my family, and if I have a niece who is being honored with a shower I'm not going to just decline to go because I hate showers. (I hated all of my showers. If I went through that time of life again I would refuse to have them.) But I love my nieces, and my family, enough that I am not going to make this about me. I will go to the shower, and I will play inane games, and I will be happy that my family is celebrating their lives. So how do I identify what activities are not in the "budget" for my time, money and effort?

I'm not certain. I will be writing out a list of all my obligations, and the obligations that my family members oblige me to commit to. Driving underage people to classes is on that list. But I will be trying to cut back on the commitments I have made so I can better use the time, money and effort I have.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today's declutter was short because I spent much of the day plastering the bathroom. However, we did manage to declutter a bowl in the kitchen, by smashing it to pieces. It was a favorite, but these things will happen. I can look for another perfect blue salad bowl in my journeys.

I bought a new toaster at Target because the old one stopped making heat. I left Target without anything else, and now I can make toast again.

We did manage to have a little fun, after the work in the bathroom. We spent a little time at the zoo after we picked my daughter up from dance. Walking around in the not-too-hot, looking at birds and the bear trying to escape, was a great stress relief from the cleaning-patching-painting routine.

Tomorrow looks to be much the same, but I'm hoping I'll be able to shower in my own bathroom starting this Satuday.

Daily Declutter

I am decluttering because I have clutter. Lots of clutter. I keep finding clutter during everyday activities, and I would like to have the things I own be useful or meaningful. I'd like to make better use of the storage space I have, or get rid of the storage space. I'm willing to get rid of shelves, although my family is shocked when I say things like that.

Today I found two large, plastic, deteriorating buckets full of rocks out in the garage. I had those tiny gravel rocks from the bottom of fish tanks and a half bucket of round, decorative rocks. So now the rocks are "landscape rocks." I threw them out in the yard. If I need the round rocks they will still be there (we've used a few over the years); we started a new fish tank this year and didn't use the stored rock, so they are now part of our gravel path. I couldn't think of another way to dispose of them usefully.

My husband got rid of some electrical connectors. He told me to write that. :)

I found a home for the felted sweaters I previously realized I would not be using. The woman who took them was excited because she wanted to make stuffed animals but didn't want to make the felt. Hooray! I also sold a hand-crank ice cream churn on ebay. I'm really excited about that one because it is large and didn't fit on the shelf, so it has been sitting on the floor being in the way. Now it can go somewhere else and be loved (especially for its beautiful color!).

Menu planning has not been terribly successful this week, but we do have food in the house. We've been much more out-and-about than usual, and meals have been a little more haphazard. For example, we went up to visit my parents this weekend. The meal planned for that day is still sitting in the fridge, waiting. I'm not complaining, because this week has been fabulous with activities, but I need to plan more flexibility into next weeks plan so fresh food doesn't linger into the following week.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Daily Declutter

Or, maybe not so much "declutter" as "de-uglify." Sure, it's a word.

When we bought the house 18 years ago, the color scheme was ugly. It had a shade of teal that did not appeal, and a shag carpet that was shocking in as much as it was from a prior decade. We hated the colors but loved the location and floor plan, so we bought the house. Over the years we've removed the valances, carpet, and teal. All that was left was the ugly master bathroom, and we have finally stripped it.

In the process we're getting rid of a few things. We're removing the too-small medicine cabinet, and instead we will each have a small box on the counter for our personal items, like moisturizer or electric razor. The medicine cabinet is a terrible place to keep medicine anyway, because the bathroom is so moist, so we will be doing away with it entirely. The collection of random nail polish and essential oils will either need new homes or they will need to be discarded entirely.

Ugly shelves will be recycled. The ugly towel racks will be painted.

Unfortunately, the ugly cabinet will not be able to be replaced. The plumbing in out bathroom is really weird, so we will not be able to put in the pedestal sink I was hoping for. Instead, the sink will be placed on Craigslist, and we will get the space back in the garage regardless.

I didn't get much done outside the bathroom, but we did get a lot done in the bathroom, and at Home Depot. I am hoping to get the sink photographed and posted tomorrow; that will make a difference. We will also be using up some cedar planks we've been storing for this project, freeing up even more space.

We will be up some scrap lumber as well to make a shelf over the sink. Again, I didn't get much done, but now we have a plan and we are moving forward. The bathroom is pretty unusable tonight, but hopefully tomorrow I will be able to report strides toward using is again. I might even be able to report positive decluttering changes.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Daily Declutter: Beach Trip Edition

We went to the beach today, and our beach trip is something else that needs to be minimalist-ed (sure, that's a word. All four of us were heavy-laden as we walked from the car to the beach: two umbrellas, a blanket, dufflebag full of towels, extra swimsuits (!), two chairs, two inflatable hammock-things, boogieboards, a basket full of lunch, water, iced tea (in thermoses), a watermelon, sandcastle building equipment. Wow! We, and our car, were struggling, to get everything where we needed to go. Surely we don't need so much!

I've already trimmed down the extra swimsuits. It is over 100 and humid outside, so my family is hiding in the house right now, but my kids will be weeding out the beach toys as soon as the weather cools off a little tonight.

While we were at the beach I couldn't find my book, because it was hidden somewhere in the dufflebag, under towels and snorkel gear. I had to pull almost everything out to find what I was looking for and I hate that feeling. I just want the outing to be easy. I want to grab a couple things, hit the beach, and relax. So we're going to need to carve away the things that get in the way.

Which naturally makes me think of minimalism in general ('cause I have a blog about it, and it's what I do). I need to carve away the extraneous things from life to limit the frustration. I want to get down to essentials so I won't need to rummage past so much debris to find what is important.

I think it's getting better. I think life is moving more smoothly, but we're on summer vacation so I can't tell for sure. Hopefully, as I care away the excess this summer I will create a home that will work as smoothly when school starts up again.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Daily Declutter

I have removed nothing new today, but I do have a confession on that score. A lot of the things that I have removed from my possession have not actually left the house before now. I had a large stack of silver waiting for sale on ebay, and a couple other items I was hoping to sell on Craigslist. However, the clutter of these items was making the shed difficult to use. As of today I dropped all the remaining silver and two Craigslist items at a community rummage sale, and I have the floor and shelves cleared up.

We finished my daughter's room as well. Everything that's not in her room (or in storage in the attic) will be dropped at the donation station. I need to stop by Costco before I can drop things off because we have more donations than we have boxes for delivering donations, but I'm happy with that. I'd much rather need to go get more boxes than try to shove more stuff into the house.

As part of the renovation in my daughter's room we've decided to create a shared bookcase for both kids in the hallway. My daughter started clearing out the case they will share. We will use some (newly available) storage space in the shed and my bedroom for displaying some of the things in the hall. I know, it sounds confusing, but the essence is: by getting rid of things in a variety of locations we can have more of our desirable collectibles where we will better be able to appreciate them. In the long run I am hoping to reduce the number of collectibles, but if we don't at least we will be making better choices about what we display, and we will be looking at things we most admire.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Daily Declutter, Family Style

My daughter's room is just about finished. I think everything has been moved in that will be moved in. All that's left is a trip to the donation station and we will get our garage back (an living room, and hallway).

We didn't make a clean break with everything. She has one box of toys that she admitted she hasn't missed, but she knows she'll recognize them if she opens the box and she would feel too sentimental to donate them right now. We left them in the (shoe) box, in her closet, and in six months or so we will revisit the box. Anything that is too special to discard will be kept, but in the meantime her room is that much tidier. She also dedicated a shelf to display items, but she chose a small shelf, and some of the display items will be stored and display will be rotated, like at a museum. That way she can keep a tidy room and also keep the things she most values.

I am happy to report that my daughter did thin the collections she kept. Only her favorite doll clothes will be kept, and only her favorite display items. About half the items in each collection were purged, and I am confident the remaining items will be of greater value to my daughter in the future. I did not push her to get rid of any item, even if I did not see the value of the things she decided to keep. I would rather she have a second purge later on than resent the decluttering process, and me, because I pushed her to get rid of something she valued.

On another front, my husband also felt the decluttering bug today. He cleared up the desk area, and moved a lot of sentimental items out of our living space. When our dog died several years ago the vet gave us the ashes, a paw print in clay, a personalized wooden box (for the ashes) and a velvet bag (to protect the box), We have scattered the ashes, but we still had the box with the dog's name, sitting empty on a shelf. This is not the best way to remember our dog -- we're actually more likely to remember him at the beach, or when we see a dog the same breed -- and we will not feel a loss for disposing of the box. My husband also got rid of a couple crafts the kids made when they were very young, and instead uncovered a photo of him and the kids together. I prefer the photo to the crafts made in preschool, and if that's the way we both feel we should not hang on to the crafts just to prove we were present during our children's childhoods.

I'm really excited about all the sentimental items we're decluttering. I don't feel I can declutter these things alone, but I am happy to remove the items that "should" hold sentiment in favor of activities that are important and items that actually do hold memories.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth of July!

I won't be decluttering today, but I will be focusing on the things that give me joy. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. If you don't happen to be reading this in the US, I hope you still have a day focused on the things that are most important to you.

So where ever you are, enjoy a day of love and family at the beach, or a parade, or a hike, or a picnic, or fireworks. Enjoy ice cream and pie and coleslaw and whatever your family likes to throw on the grill.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Daily Declutter

I am working on decluttering in order to focus on the most important things in my life, both material and intangible. I would like my home and my life to be simple, without clutter interfering with what I want to do. And I do this because I continue to find clutter sitting around, looking at me, whenever I am working on something around the house!

I spent a good amount of time in the garage today as my daughter painted the interior parts of her closet. We're almost finished painting her room, so I looked through the paint we have sitting on the shelf. At least two pints of paint were 20 years old -- even if they aren't dry then I'm sure they won't be used. They went to sit with a few other containers that need to be taken to the HazMat disposal site. Since I am no longer planning to work on "projects" I do not need to keep materials around "just in case," and 20 year old paint is definitely a "just in case" item.

 I also found shelf brackets I had forgotten were there. We'd like to add an additional display shelf for my daughter's room, but I found two sets of brackets and a complete shelf kit -- in addition to the shelf I did know I had. We'll choose her favorite, and the rest will be donated. In fact, they're sitting next to the donate pile to prevent re-absorption by the garage-at-large.

On the potting bench I noticed a couple flower pots that I do not like. I do not care for the colors, and I will not be planting anything in them. Why do they take up space that could be used for potting? I have no idea. They're also gone.

In the attic, I saw a couple of pool noodles sitting unloved and unused. Since we can't use them at the community pool, and because we don't have our own pool, they have no business keeping those toys. However, when I suggested taking them to my parent's pool my daughter responded gleefully. Playing with toys is much better than storing them in the attic until all the kids grow out of them.

And so it goes!  As I go through each area of the house I find things that I don't need, won't use and won't miss. I do notice more space, especially in storage areas, and I'm really happy when I have a productive day, with lots of clutter moving out. I feel like I'm making a difference!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Minimalist Camping -- Or Not

The last couple days I've been away, camping at a local campsite. We had a great time playing games, walking around the lake, and reading books. I kept thinking of minimalism (duh!) and how our camping habits converge and diverge from my minimalist ideal.

First, I love the simple lifestyle we follow when camping. My husband and I spent at least a half an hour talking and watching the ducks and turtles in the lake. (Two of the ducks had ducklings, and they were adorable.) There was no rush, there was no clock, we just sat and talked. Then we went back to camp, started a campfire, made cream puffs out of crescent rolls. The next day was more hiking, card games, reading in the hammock. The kids rode bikes and trained the dogs to run alongside the bikes. (The dogs had a blast, running ahead of the bikes but they are sleeping now. They are sleeping hard.)

On the other hand, we brought a lot of stuff. We brought kites and croquet and card games and trackball. We brought two tents, four sleeping bags plus extra blankets in case we got cold. We brought air-mattresses for us, and for the kids. We brought non-inflatable sleeping pads for the kids. We brought so much stuff!

As we packed up we determined that some of the stuff we brought was unnecessary, and we have either already gotten rid of it, or we will do so soon. However, a lot of the stuff we brought was stuff someone thought we might need. People in my family would rather pack more stuff, and shift it around the campsite, rather than think of something we would want (want, not need) and have to do without it.

And so it goes. We will continue to work forward, trying to eliminate the pieces that are weighing us down. We will try to leave behind the stuff that isn't actually useful and I hope we will learn to give up some of the things we are bringing "just in case."

The most memorable moments of out trip required very little material supplies at all.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today is the day we celebrate finishing my daughter's room. We've started putting back furniture, and getting garage space back. Her bureau is back, her desk is finally in her room (finally! I get my kitchen space back!) and it is time to bring back all the little things that she uses.

Her room is so beautiful right now! It isn't cluttered with all the little things that she's collected over the years, and I am taking advantage of the room's empty beauty. As she puts things back (we had to empty her bureau to paint it) we are evaluating the things she has. As we evaluate her things she has been finding a number of things that don't look pretty in her room anymore, or things that take up space and make other belongings become cluttery. Case in point: my daughter has two small jewelry boxes on top of her bureau. One is very small and the other is very young, so my daughter cleared out all the jewelry she doesn't like or won't wear. A necklace with the original tags didn't make the cut (I think it must have been a gift). Another necklace that no longer fits also didn't make the cut. With the reduction in the number of items, we should be able to reduce the number of jewelry boxes to one. If necessary we can buy one box to replace two, but her room will look less cluttered.

What's really different about this project is our ability to add things until we are done, instead of subtracting things until we're done. If we were subtracting items I think we'd stop sooner because an improvement would look like enough improvement. By adding to a clean, empty room we should be able to tell when we've added too much -- I'm hoping we'll have much less overall by decluttering this way. We're not done yet, but I'm very optimistic about our outcome.

On a different note, this project allowed my husband to discover a tool that was not valuable to him. While cutting corners for the crown molding his miter box was just too flimsy to be useful, and his table saw worked well enough. So the miter box is going to the donation center, and we'll have that much more room in the garage.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Little Changes Make a Big Impact

I've spent most of the day washing laundry or helping my husband with my daughter's room. Today was crown molding and baseboards, which involves a lot of "here, hold this" and not much else from me.

We spent some of the time talking, which is nice, but I also spent more time thinking. Honestly, part of the time I've spent fantasizing about the space we're gaining my giving up soda. I know, I could possibly be geekier, but not by much!

However, we have to store the boxes of soda in the house, store the extras in the garage. We have a recycling bin just for redeemable cans and bottles (in addition to curbside recycling). We have a recycling bin outside for emptying the little bin before we want to go down to the recycling center, and we have another bin in the garage for cans that are in the car, so we don't have to carry them in the house to recycle them. Seriously, this is too much stuff and work dedicated to an unwholesome beverage!

I haven't gotten rid of anything yet. I don't want to spook my husband, who embraces change only slowly. I hadn't even realized we had so much space dedicate to soda. But now, I realize we will be getting a lot of this space back and it invigorates me!

I've said this numerous times in the past, and I'm sure I will say it again, but I am often surprised when I discover something we can eliminate without a loss. I've found clutter that is essentially trash and clutter we've grown out of year ago. We've gotten back usable space by decluttering things that we've overlooked for years.

I'm looking forward to streamlining the recycling process, and I'm looking forward to freeing up the storage space we've been dedicating to something that has suddenly just become "something we used to use."

Monday, June 26, 2017

Daily Declutter

We spent a large portion of today painting my daughter's room. We primed two walls and painted all four walls (two white, two aqua). We also had a chance to have lunch with my mother, then my son had a dentist appointment. All in all it was a busy day, but not much decluttering occurred.

However, early this morning we (almost forgot to) took the dog to the groomer. In the basket where dog leashes belong we found four leashes (we only have two dogs), a chicken harness (yes, for walking our chicken), bandannas, an eyeglass repair kit and lip balm. Most of those things are necessary, and in fact they slowed the emergency "get-the-dog-to-the-groomer-before-we-lose-our-appointment" run out the door. So that did get decluttered, and next time we will only have two leashes trying to permanently entangle themselves. A small step, but this is the sort of thing I want to resolve, in order to make a minimalist, decluttered, peaceful home.

I'm glad I got something accomplished toward the overall goal.

Another change around here, although not really "minimalist" is the joint decision to give up soda. I have been resisting soda with greater or lesser success (this weekend was lesser). I've known it's not good for me, but my husband and I decided today to stop soda entirely. The amount of sugar in conventional soda is too high, and the artificial sweeteners mess with your microbiota, causing insulin levels to be elevated (and fat accumulation). I'm writing it up here because giving up soda is healthier, and health, mindfulness and minimalism are all related to me. And because if I write it on the internet it must be true and I will feel more accountable. If I feel accountable, hopefully I will be more successful this time (and having my husband on board will help!).

Saturday, June 24, 2017

You have to ask

I don't usually check in on weekends, but I had one of those moments and I thought I'd post it before I forgot.

I was squeezing lemons yesterday, and rather than grab the juicer I prefer I grabbed the one in front. Why do I have two citrus juicers when I'm writing a minimalism blog? I have two because my mother gave one to my daughter. (My daughter likes my mother's juicer, and she often juices citrus fruit for my mother when we visit.) I assumed that my daughter's juicer was something she valued; that's why I kept it. I was even ready to get rid of my juicer (since I usually use hers rather than crawl around to reach mine in the back) but I thought I'd ask. As it turns out, my daughter was surprised I asked, surprised I thought it was hers, and not at all interested in keeping a vintage citrus juicer until she sets up housekeeping at some point in the future.

So I will be posting the vintage juicer to ebay and I will return to using the juicer I have. With a little more space in the cupboard, and one step closer to minimalism.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Daily Declutter

The plumber was fast and effective. He spotted the problem quickly, and it was not that bad a fix. We're cleaning up because we'd rather patch the hole ourselves while we're prepping the room than pay the plumber to do it.

While my husband was home performing homeowner duties I ran my weekly errands. The menu is prepared for the week, and shopping was pretty easy, except they ran out of the milk I like (I'll have to go back tomorrow for that) and I forgot something I needed to return. I think I'm more peeved about shopping multiple times this week than I would have been when I went down to only one trip a week. I really like not running to the store all the time!

I took my daughter with me because she needs to choose some things for her room. We didn't find everything we wanted, but I also didn't find anything I didn't really need. Not only did I not buy anything I didn't need, I didn't see anything unnecessary that I was tempted to bring home. I tell myself that this means I am becoming more self-aware and embracing a minimalist mindset. Or maybe they just didn't have anything I wanted. :) I did buy a set of poker chips for my husband, but he specifically needs them for a game, and they aren't for me, so maybe that shouldn't count?

I have found a lot of what I consider "hidden clutter." Hidden clutter is clutter that I find after I have already decluttered an area; it's stuff that I would have considered clutter the first time if I had seen it, but somehow I overlooked the clutter. Last night I found two expired antibacterial sprays and this afternoon I found craft supplies that I would have discarded if I had seen them before. I'm glad to have these items gone, but they always make me concerned that the reason I have so much clutter is because I'm not seeing clutter I have lying around. At any rate, the sprays are gone and a whole box of craft supplies are on Craigslist, hoping a crafty person will be grateful to have them. And I will continue to declutter bit by bit.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Daily Declutter

A lot of stored clutter got moved today. I went through the craft supplies again, and got rid of a bunch more. I put a bunch of rubber stamps in the donation box, as well as some punches and other stuff I cannot even remember at this point. I also pulled out a bunch of ...kid craft supplies. I don't know how else to describe them. I put cotton balls, q-tips, googly eyes, popsicle sticks, stamp pads and other things in a box to go to church for kids activities. I also gave up on a baby sweater I was supposed to be knitting for the church. Any baby who wore that sweater would cry from the hate I have knit into that sweater -- I do not like knitting with acrylic, but that's easy for a new mama to wash! So I will frog the little bit that I have knit and pass the project off to someone who will knit it with love.

I pulled a couple cute bottles out of storage. I will make chai infused honey in them, and give the honey as a gift at Christmas. We always have a lot of people to give to, and I'd like to make use of these jars, rather than keep them around for "just in case." Plus, chai infused honey will be quickly assembled (avoiding the problem of "projects") and it will not become clutter for other people (unless they too save the cute jars for "just in case" and I cannot take responsibility for that. Clutter out and gifts prepared in advance? I call that a win.

I have held on to old calendars for many years. Will they someday be valuable historical documents, describing the life of an ordinary woman in 1990? I doubt it, but I have kept them for much too long. I finally moved them out, combined the not cards that were in the same container with craft glue and glitter (all the things I bring in the house regularly) and now I have another suitcase to hold out-of-season clothes for my husband. This freed up a tote, making it easier to empty things out of my daughter's room prior to painting.

My wonderful husband gave up a set of books he has kept since childhood. Or possibly it is a set just like a set he had since childhood -- he can't remember if they were actually his or not, and is ready to let them go. I already got them posted to ebay!

Lots of books, shelves, and other things have moved out of my daughter's room. We'd be all ready to paint her room, but we found mold behind her baseboards next to where the shower is (on the other side of the wall). So right now her room is largely on hold as we wait for a plumber to some out and fix the leak. I am not thrilled at this, but I am glad to catch a leak, mitigate the mold and keep the air clean in her room. Additionally, we have decided to add another color to her room (for shelves and such) so we have time to pick out paint and add the color to her furniture, which will be cute and enjoyable for her. I'm really trying to look at the bright side.

I should be more pleased with the progress we made today, but the plumbing problem is discouraging. However, these things do happen, and we will make the best of it!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Daily Declutter

This morning I had the most amazing experience with a neighbor. Someone I had not actually met (but with whom I had exchanged peaches) dropped off a bag of backyard tomatoes! I am so grateful! We had tomato sandwiches and tomato salad for lunch -- a proper celebration of tomatoes.

As is happened, just as my neighbor arrived with her grandchildren I was moving donations to the donation box. (I keep a plastic tote in the house for donations because I have a horror of silverfish, which often live in paper products like cardboard boxes. I transfer donations to cardboard before I drop them off. I keep an ongoing donation box so members of my family can get rid of too small clothing as soon as they realize the items are no longer wanted, rather than requiring us to remember later.) I had a too-small pair of gardening gloves that might work for her grandchildren. As I passed those along my husband remembered that we had a set of child-size gardening tools. This is one of the reasons I want to declutter! We still had gardening tools appropriate for preschoolers when my children are in middle and high school! Surely there are other things hiding in plain sight that can be utilized by other people, rather than sitting around our garage. How did those tools get overlooked so many times? My husband just cleaned the garage recently, yet these tools got away! Thankfully, they are now in a better home.

Other things are getting better homes as well. We are painting and decorating my daughter's room; this requires us to remove almost everything from her room to give us access to the walls. As we remove everything she has been evaluating the things she has been keeping. Books that she has grown out of are (largely) being offered to friends with younger readers (who have recently passed along their too-young books). Doll accessories are being passed along to other girls who will play with their dolls more. LEGOs that are being store -- but not displayed -- are being reconsidered; they may be disassembled or displayed, but they are no longer being taken for granted.

And lest you think I have been working too hard, the second part of the day was spent at the coast. The kids attended a beach party, while my husband and I visited the farmer's market, watched the waves, ate hand-made chocolates (dark chocolate caramel red pepper and sea salt chocolates are definitely worth trying!) and played foosball. We also talked without interruption, and concluded (like Julhi suggested) that I don't actually enjoy many of the projects I begin. I have long felt obligated to make things, and I enjoy having made things, but I don't love the process. Sometimes it helps to have an outside perspective. Realizing this, I will be minimalizing some of my craft supplies, and more importantly, I will be minimalizing the need to begin projects simply because projects are something I am accustomed to doing.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Daily Declutter

Tyranny works. Instead of gently reminding the children, we are imposing stern measures to make them fulfill daily obligations, like cleaning up after themselves when they make something to eat. It's not as pleasant as if they remembered on their own to put away the mayonnaise, but on the other hand, the mayonnaise isn't left out. The house is tidier and I'm not growling around because things aren't being done.

I'm really enjoying summer, but I'm off schedule (which I guess is part of the definition of summer). The past two days I have gone shopping -- once for a bicycle inner tube and once for hot dogs for the kids' youth group bonfire. My menu plan will need to have more freezer meals, in case we decide to eat out or picnic instead of following the plan. I am not going to turn down an activity in order to stay home and follow my menu plan -- the plan is to serve me and not the other way around.

Despite my lack of organization and decluttering I feel like we are living in the heart of what minimalism should be. I was able to sit in on interviews for a new teacher because I wasn't stressed about other obligations. We spent the evening at a park by the beach, with a picnic dinner, playing croquet and flying kites.It felt like vacation; it felt like the way I want to live all the time.

I will be decluttering the rest of the house as things go on, but this week has been slow. I posted a toy to Craigslist, and I have someone who wants to meet with me when I go into town tomorrow morning. I shipped a book I sold on ebay. I'm using my library to watch The Hollow Crown from BBC, so I don't have to buy my own copy. And I'm taking it easy.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Daily Declutter

I'm back on the straight and narrow. Well, sort of. I cleared the peaches that needed to be frozen, and I cut up loquats to be dried. I put blankets and clothes out in the shed. I hung the string lights my husband received for Father's Day. My home looks much tidier.

I did not move anything out, but I dealt with a lot of the clutter that had begun building up. Unfortunately, due to the nature of summer, I have more peaches sitting on the counter, waiting to be processed. (I will make jam out of them Wednesday morning, so I can escape the house for the remainder of the day.) Fresh fruit will need to be picked and processed (or given away) often in the coming month. Hopefully zucchini will begin to come in, and zukes will sit, green and glowering, on the counter next to the peaches and grapes.

As I often do when I see so much bounty sitting around, I remind myself that I am fortunate to have so much. I'm also grateful for my earlier efforts to clean away clutter so I have room for the bounty that is coming in. Truly, a lot can be said for clearing clutter so I can receive new blessings.

I also am reminded that I need to just buckle down and complete projects, even if I don't feel the spirit move me. I did not finish the trivet I've been working on (for a couple months). For a while I was waiting for my son to be interested in finishing the project with me (he expressed interest. Once.). Now, I will finish this project the first opportunity I get, and just be glad it's done.

There's a lot to be said for done, and having space (physical and mental) to move on to the next thing.

Daily Declutter

I have been so busy having fun! I'm sorry I didn't post Friday, but I spent much of the day going shopping (shopped with my husband, so I bought more than usual!), picked the car up from the mechanic (regular service, nothing bad), and came home and collapsed for a while. The we played a game as a family, and watched a John Wayne movie outside, in the cool of the evening. We went back to the fair Saturday so my son could show his chicken, then we spent the rest of the day enjoying the fair again. We got to bed a couple hours after bedtime two days in a row, and I'm feeling it!

I will take this moment to pitch John Wayne movies. I love John Wayne, as a person and a character, and I am always surprised how far from stereotype his films exist. We watched El Dorado Friday, and we all enjoyed it. Robert Mitchum was much funnier than I expected, and the whole film didn't progress how I expected it. The kids enjoyed it, too. If you haven't gone back and seen these in a while (or ever!) it's worth a viewing. Plus, it's on Netflix right now, which makes it easy.

Ok, advert over. My darling husband has been patiently and pleasantly pointing out that a lot of the clutter around the house is mine. Unfortunately, when I look at it I don't think of it as clutter, I think of it as "Projects I'm in the middle of." Which, yes, technically looks like clutter. My brain certainly perceives these projects as clutter! So today I will work on cleaning up these in-process projects. Once the "project" clutter is under control again I will be able to attack the stationary clutter with a good conscience. My list for today is: slice and freeze peaches, slice and dry loquats, hang lights (porch lights my husband received for Father's Day), school clothes go out to the shed, last winter blankets go out to barn, locate totes for both, finish the trivet I was working on a month ago (with or without my son). Plus regular household tasks like laundry and making yogurt, and a trip to the orthodontist, the  bicycle store, Costco for a return, and someplace that sells vegetarian hot dogs because I found out yesterday that the kids will need some for a church event this week.

In essence, this weekend has been about fun. Today we will work hard enough to get to have fun later this week.

Friday, June 16, 2017

County Fair

I love the county fair. I love it! Frankly, I love any event where people can share whatever they are passionate about, and we attend a lot of events just to see people demonstrate their blacksmithing skills, or quilting, or caber tossing, or whatever. The county fair is an opportunity to see kids (and adults) show off the goat, or cow, or chickens they have spent the year raising. Yesterday I saw someone shaving the back end of a cow to make her look a little more perfect. You have to really have an animal trained for her to allow you to groom her so personally.

Children were there, looking at animals they do not see the rest of the year, and there were people comparing the competition chickens with the chickens they keep at home. (I remember when keeping chickens at home was unusual, and it wasn't that many years ago that chickens at the fair were as unfamiliar as the goats and cows.) Burros and piglets stood around looking adorable and photogenic (or slept, in the case of the piglets).

I love the display of arts, paintings and furniture and welded metal. Someone yesterday created a model plastic digester, which is designed to break long carbon chains in plastic down to methane and propane in the presence of argon (to prevent combustion and the creation of toxic by-products). This would be an amazing alternative to simply burying plastics in the landfill (if it is viable). Someone invented this, though, and brought it to the fair for display. I love all of it!

Another part of the fair is all the selling. The fair is an unparalleled opportunity to buy thing, things you can't buy the rest of the year, or things that are fair specials -- such amazing deals that you cannot afford to miss! We were repeatedly offered free trips to Hawaii, free gifts (aren't all gifts free?) and improved TV service. I was offered skin treatments to make me look younger, and a better straightening iron to eliminate the curls in my hair. There were exercise machines that you could stand on and the machine would jiggle the fat off you. There were several different installers and manufacturers of saunas. (I don't know where you live, but the last thing I need going in to summer is an indoor sauna. I usually work to minimize the amount of outdoor sauna that I am exposed to!)

I don't spend a lot of time watching TV, reading magazines or shopping the mall, and maybe that made me unusually aware of the degree of inadequacy the merchants were selling. Your shoes are too dirty (after a day of walking in the dirt, everyone's are!). Your home needs a better shower, kitchen, barbecue. You need to be younger, and your hair is all wrong.

As always, we enjoyed the fair. I didn't bring much home with me, except the new tags for the dog (the tags there worked better for us than the ones we get at the petshop) and new sunglasses for me (they even had bifocal sunglasses, for reading at the beach!). I did not buy the reusable instant hand warmers (even though they were really cool, we live in southern California -- it doesn't get that cold!). I didn't buy the drill attachment that allows my husband to cut sheet metal (I have no idea what he, personally, would do with that. He works in wood, almost all the time.) And I didn't buy the concept that something we could buy at the fair would make us better.

(Disclosure: we have bought some really amazing things from the fair in the past. The extendable ladders have repeatedly been useful to us, and my husband is grateful every year that we purchased one. But we are no longer new homeowners, and there's not much that we really need to acquire at this point in our lives.)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Daily Declutter

The fair opens late, so I was able to tidy away a few things left from yesterday. I put my daughter's winter clothes out in the shed. I decided to get rid of one of her ski jackets (we live in southern California and we don't ski!). I made up a picnic lunch.

And I contemplated the stuff my daughter wants to save forever. I can't even complain, because these are things that I handed down to her, and now she wants to hand them down to her daughter, because she loved having things that were handed down from me.

Because I held on to two giant stuffed animals I will now be storing them until she moves out. I will also be saving the dollhouse my grandfather made for me, which I saved for my daughter. Not knowing if I would ever have a daughter (I might have had a troop of basketball-playing sons who would never look at a doll. I didn't know.)

At this point in my life, I don't want to save stuff. But I also have to recognize that it is unfair to force my daughter to get rid of things that are special to her because of their history.

I am glad that she didn't want to keep the Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames books I saved for her from my childhood. But I do wish I hadn't passed down quite so much stuff.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Daily Declutter

When I don't write things down, I forget things. Yesterday I thought I spent most of the day driving my son to the fair, but that was only because the trip to the fair took so long and I wrote late. Upon further reflection, I realized that I spent most of the morning encouraging him to clean his room. By encouraging, I mean I sat on his bed and told him to "pick up any group of things you see on the floor. Ok, pick up all the pens. Pick up all the post-it notes. Pick up all the school papers you no longer need." He thought the best way to clean would be to dump everything from his school bag and desk (including drawers) into a pile on the floor, so it was quite an undertaking. However, his room no longer makes me hyperventilate, so that's a good thing. He got rid of a lot of papers; he also got rid of a few toys, to give to his cousins, and I got rid of a plastic tote to carry the toys.

I will try to remember better today, and not write quite as late. (I typically check in a couple times a day, as I accomplish things, and that prevents as much forgetfulness.)

I didn't get much of my stuff decluttered, but I worked with my daughter today, cleaning out her room. She had a lot more ...stuff... sitting around. We got rid of clothes that no longer fit, clothes that are too warm (a ski jacket still in her closet in June?), and a few toys she hasn't played with in over a year. She like working together, so it was good time together, and she will be happier if she is better able to find her stuff when she wants something.

On a related note, I pulled my husband's teaching shirts out of the closet. They will sit quietly in the shed until school starts up, and in the meantime he will have better access to the clothes he will wear this summer (that is not you, dark blue high school t-shirt!). Maybe he will enjoy having fewer items in his closet, and groom his wardrobe a little closer next year? One can only hope. (I am the person who puts clean clothes away in his closet, so I do have a vested interest.)

Additionally, a pair of too-small work gloves got donated out of the garage, and some scrap wood is now cute spools for gifting ribbon at Christmas. The scrap wood bin is being reduced slowly, but as I have said so many times before, slow decluttering is better than acquisition.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today I spent four hours dropping my son's chickens at the fair. The actual process was smooth, but the traffic was outside what I would imagine. I know some people deal with traffic like this every day, and I am so grateful not to have to deal with that sort of thing. Reducing my wants, so I can avoid driving an hour through traffic, is worth it to me, especially when I am reminded like this! We made it home safely, and I am grateful. We were force to resort to our "emergency bubbles;" I keep a bottle of bubbles in the car, and my son blew bubbles out the window as we sat in traffic. The bubbles definitely elevated my mood, and I am hoping it helped some of the other drivers as well.

At home I did not make a lot of progress decluttering, but I did get most of the laundry washed. It is necessary, and it is almost done. Tomorrow morning I will was a couple more loads and make sure everything is put away. I found a couple more items of winter wear and I will make sure all our winter clothes are collected together and put out to storage.

The only thing I can really say I got decluttered is a wooden chair we have been storing in the garage. If it's only being stored it is not something we need to keep. I know it won't make a big difference, but every little bit helps. I hope to get a wooden window seat posted to Craigslist (my husband built it as a stand-alone, and my daughter no longer wants it. Hopefully someone else will have a little girl who wants to live in the olden days.).

I am wondering if my version of a minimalist life is the same as life on vacation. Both are (ideally) simple and focused on family. When I think about what I like about vacation I think of a minimalist life, either in a campsite or in a rented suite I appreciate how everything I need is present, but I don't have too much to deal with. Can I make everyday more like summer vacation?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today is predicted to be our last day of beautiful weather before the heat arrives. I did not use the day to work outside, which would have been wise, but I have dealt with a little of the indoor clutter. We had a bunch of peaches and a bunch of loquats that needed to be processed, and both have been cut up and moved around. The loquats and some of the peaches are in the dehydrator right now, and more peaches are in the freezer, waiting to become cobbler.

In preparation for the hot weather we got window fans out. I purchased a new fan for my bedroom, but it will be going back to the store because it did not fit my window. The fan that will be in there (the one we had before is no longer powerful enough to cool the room) is much bigger, and I will need to create some sort of covering for the glass part of the window to keep light out. Hopefully we can get that done this week. I found directions on Pinterest for a cute shutter, and that will be both nicer than the cardboard suggestion that preceded the shutter plan. I need to get it done in the next day or two.

Tomorrow will be a day for being an adult. The phone is not working, and the repair person will be coming out tomorrow morning, followed by the termite guy. I am telling myself this will give me lots of time to work on house projects.

I did sell a box of books on ebay, and it is already packaged, labeled and ready to drop off at the post office. A box of books is very large, and I feel like I have moved a lot of stuff simply by selling one item.

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the beginning of summer. We will not be so slothful all summer, but it certainly is nice to take a couple days to really relax!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Daily Declutter

Last night I went to the thrift shop to look for picture frames for my daughter's room. When we painted her room when she was three we decorated the walls with an underwater theme: fish and seaweed, with waves and clouds above. However, now she is in middle school, and we are going to repaint, but she would like to keep some of the fish on the walls as mementos. We decided to frame those fish, and paint around the frames -- as if the fish were pictures, not part of the wall. To do this we need frames.

I actually had a need when I planned to go to the thrift shop. Everything was going well, except I brought my husband with me. Now, this man has many lovely attributes, but he is a clutter-er. He has no problem with his clutter lying around. To make a long story shorter, we cam home with a lot of stuff last night: a pile of comic books, a large thermos for water at the beach, a shirt for my daughter (to replace one she has grown out of), and a new hole punch for my son (his broke). In the grand scheme of things it's not a lot of stuff, but it certainly isn't moving in the right direction. (You may have noticed that picture frames are not on the "purchased" list. I will need to venture out again.)

Tomorrow we're finally celebrating my daughter's birthday with her friends, so the bulk of the morning was spend making a birthday cake and cleaning up from that. The remainder of the day will be spent with the family, sailing. (We rent a boat, which is the minimalist answer to boating! The upkeep on a sailboat is tremendous!) Tomorrow we will eat pizza, puppy chow and cheeze doodles, and run around playing laser tag.

In total, I don't expect to make a dent in our material load, but I am pursuing minimalism by focusing on my family and enjoying these beautiful days without responsibility, packed lunches or homework.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today is the last day of school! I'm so excited for summer, and I'm so excited to be done with the responsibilities of school for a while. We have a full schedule, but once school is over it lightens up a lot -- we don't have to leave the house early, I don't have to have packed or packable lunches, I don't have to nag people to complete and turn in homework.

I was feeling motivated to declutter something today. I can't deal with my daughter's desk in the kitchen (and the lunch bags lying around, and the general mess she has created) until school gets out. But I tackled the wrapping supplies I have had under the bed. Under the bed is a storage space that keeps stuff out of the way, but it still looks messy to me, having a plastic tote peeking out. Especially since my bedroom is situated so I can see it from the kitchen. I finally looked through that tote, and I found that it was full of stuff that I don't use, and things I will probably never use. I had three rolls of plain wrapping paper -- but I don't wrap things in paper, I use reusable gift bags. Those paper rolls have been there literally for years, and I have had to keep the large storage tote to fit those rolls that I never use. In the next week or two I will decorate these blank rolls and they will be included in the "everything you need to wrap Christmas presents" gifts I give to 4H leaders and people like that. The wrap will be both used and gone.

Getting rid of the tote under the bed is pretty exciting to me. The remainder of the gift wrap went into an adorable vintage suitcase, and it is now living in the bottom of my closet, looking cute. I was planning to use a vintage hatbox suitcase, but that was fiddly to open and sort of odd-smelling on the inside. I decided to let that go to someone who will enjoy it exclusively for its exterior, and it is off to the thrift shop.

I also spent a couple hours weeding. Does weeding count as decluttering?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Daily Declutter

Sometimes the clutter turns invisible, and I overlook it. During the winter my husband keeps a couple of overshirts and a sweatshirt by the front door, so he can grab something warm on his way out the door. However, that season is passed, but his clothes continued to hang by the front door. I finally noticed, and they are now in the laundry, on their way out to the shed.

Likewise, I had a couple gallon storage jars sitting on the floor near a cabinet (out of the way). I finally realized that I have room to store these inside the cabinet now, since I've cleared out a lot of the stuff that was in there. More clutter gone.

I posted a toy to Craigslist, dropped an ebay package at the post office, and dropped a bag of jewelry at a the historical society for their shop. I spoke to the main office of the historical society, and they do want some local ephemera for their collection; I will stop by next week to drop those off in the collections office. I rehomed some clutter that's been piling up, and I tossed a shopping bag that has a hole in the bottom. I've had this bag for a long time, and I never use it because it has a hole. By getting rid of it, I will no longer have the frustration of picking up a bag with a hole then returning it to the car for another one before I can go into the store. Why would it take me so long to do this simple thing?

I am really looking forward to tomorrow afternoon, when all school materials must be turned in. The schoolbooks that are cluttering every flat surface will be out of the house, and I can begin working on some of the clutter the kids have accrued in binders, desks and floors (sigh).

This summer we will be redecorating my daughter's bedroom. I have new bedding and some decorative objects for her room; as soon as we have her room painted I can move her new decor into her room and out of my storage spaces. Us it or lose it, and we're finally going to use some of the stuff I've been storing for years!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Daily Declutter

This weekend I reread the first couple Cherry Ames books I had saved for my daughter. There were fun, and a nice relaxing read for this weekend. My daughter admitted that she has no interest in every reading them, so they can go to ebay and someone else who will love them. The stories were especially interesting from a historical perspective; the nursing program was very different from the program nurses follow now. Also, the first books are set during World War II, which adds an additional historical element. (In later books Cherry serves as a Dude Ranch Nurse and a Department Store Nurse, among other titles, which makes me curious about what was going on back then!) Today I will need to photograph and post these books in anticipation of moving a box of books out of the shed.

I decluttered a vintage Nancy Drew title that got lost and didn't get posted with the Nancy Drew books I sold earlier. It's not worth it to sell one book.

I also successfully found a home for the sewing machine and wringer washer my daughter no longer wants. The friend who gave them to us in the first place is happy to have them back. I'm glad they'll have a good home so quickly! I have a load of donations in the truck; after I drop them off at the thrift shop I'll load of these things and drop them off too. I'll have a bunch of new space by this weekend!

I finished emptying the chest freezer. Now all I have to do is empty out the water (it is not frost free!) and it can sit idle for a while. If I need to fill it this summer I will be happy to have it, and if I don't need to fill it this summer I will have evidence that it is not needed, so I can convince my husband to get rid of it.

Looking over what I've done today, I'm please that I've done so much. Granted, not much physically moved out of the house today, but I moved a lot out of my brain; things that were in my mind as "things I need to deal with" have had decisions made, and actions taken, and now they only need wait until someone else moves (or I drop off other stuff) so I can finish what I have decided to do. It feels almost the same, emotionally, as actually getting rid of stuff. Especially since I'm storing things in the shed until I actually get rid of them. (This is not a good strategy unless I already have a plan for them to leave permanently.)


Clutter-free Father's Day Gifts

Father's Day is just around the corner, lurking. Somehow, I always find Father's Day to be more difficult than Mother's Day (possibly because I have to get my husband a gift, and not the other way around). Since I compiled a list for Mother's Day I thought I'd try a similar list for the men.

Rachel at Nourishing Minimalism has a great list, and I'm using a few of her ideas here.

I prefer to give homemade gifts, in part because the people in my life mostly buy what they need when they need it, and they don't have a lot of "wants." But they do often have interests that can be supported. I'm sure the men in your life will have some different interests than mine, so approach their gift giving from the perspective of "what do they like" instead of "what do they want" for clutter-free ideas.

My dad likes to eat, and he likes scorching-hot foods. Seriously, he has on hot sauce that the grandkids aren't allowed to touch because it's so hot, and he has to wash his hands after he uses it. I plan to make him hot sauce. I've made Thai chilis in vinegar before, but I've also seen sriracha recipes on Pinterest. Chili oil, for salad dressing, dipping bread, or barbecued meat would also be a great option. Many men have an interest in food, one way or another, that can be supported with gift giving. (Rubs or sauces for the grill enthusiast, for example.)

My husband immediately suggested tickets to a baseball game. If you don't live near a major league park, all the better! I love our minor league team more than our major league team, and a day out there with snack and beer is a great way to celebrate Dad. If you need a souvenir of the day, keep score and bring the record home. If baseball's not his thing there are lots of other sports, or even tickets to the theatre (there are lots of summer festivals that are worth exploring).

Museum tickets (for the day or the year) are another way to support his interests. We have a machinery museum, a railroad museum and a maritime museum near us, all of which are traditionally masculine interests, in addition to the local history museum and the air and space museum. Taking him and showing interest in his interests is a good way to connect with your dad, or you can give him a chance to geek-out with other people who are really enthusiastic about his interests.

My last suggestion is for a service that he doesn't want to do. I know I'd be thrilled (mostly) to have someone else clean my house (I'd have to clean it first myself, because I have issues, but that's another subject). Give him a certificate to clean the garage, an oil change, lawn service, or clean the house -- whatever his personal chores fall out to be. Someone can haul away the old shed in the back yard, or even lay the patio he's been wishing for.

Clutter-free gifts are often challenging to conceive because so much of our culture is focused on material gifts, and having "something to open" at gift-giving occasions. I hope my list can be a springboard for your creative gift giving!






Saturday, June 3, 2017

Daily Declutter

I don't usually write anything on weekends, but today was special and I feel it needs recognition: when I got home from my daughter's dance class (and grocery trip) my husband was almost done cleaning the garage! We can park both vehicles in the garage again!

This was especially challenging because we have an enormous truck, and it takes up a lot more room than the old car. My wonderful husband got rid of a bunch of stuff (in said truck, to take to the thrift store), some stuff went to school (if he wants to keep clutter there I will not say anything about it), and some was just stored better. The almost-empty shelving unit is still there and still almost empty, but for the time being I will just let it stay empty. Hopefully he will get used to the idea that we don't need to fill it up with anything. Or we will need it, I'll be wrong and we'll be happy we have it. Stranger things have happened.

I couldn't finish my shopping trip yesterday because the police helicopters were circling the store I wanted to go to, and I just didn't need to go that badly. So today I finished up (we were out of oatmeal, among other things. Oatmeal will be used in end-of-the-year gifts of granola or muesli for the teachers), then went to the zoo and watched the orangutans for a while. I did not go shopping, as much as I was tempted. I do not need anything, and I could not even invent anything that I needed. I was better off at the zoo, although the orangutans always make me sad because they have such sad faces, and such sad fates.

On an unrelated note, we picked up my daughter from school yesterday and we went to see Wonder Woman. I was very hopeful for this film, and it lived up to my every expectation. I am so happy with how it turned out -- I was so happy to take my 12 year old daughter to see a superhero movie with characters she can admire. (So far she's been really interested in Black Widow from the Avengers, and I'm not 100% comfortable with that.) The script was good, the actors were very good, and the setting was beautiful (except for the war parts which were not gratuitous. In fact, at one point a queue of wounded soldiers are leaving the front, and they were less gruesome that accounts I have read.) If you are considering going to see it, I definitely recommend you go!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today is shopping day. I have a menu made out, my shopping list written up. I just have to get it all done in an hour and a half while my son is in class. More likely he'l have to wait in the media center for a bit, but he can use that time to study for finals.

List night I had a hard conversation (for me) with my daughter. Years ago she was really into Little House on the Prairie, and she received a couple of antiques to help her play "olden days." I had the only little girl (5 years old?) who was ecstatic to receive an old wringer and washtub for her birthday. She's wash doll clothes with it, and even bought a washboard to go with it. But she hasn't used it in years, or the treadle sewing machine she received a couple years later, and they both take up a lot of space. So last night I asked if she still wanted them...and she was completely causal about getting rid of them. "Oh, no, I had forgotten about that, and I don't think I'll ever use it again." I've been putting off asking her, but it was so easy! Next chance I get I'll post them to Craigslist, and move them out!

That's about all the productive I'll be today. Go shopping, put food away, then we're off to see Wonder Woman, then a family birthday. I really, really, hope Wonder Woman is good -- woman-positive and no moony romance. I haven't been to an opening weekend movie in a long time and I hope it works out!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Daily Declutter

I got an item shipped for ebay today. That's about all the decluttering I was up for. I didn't increase clutter, though, so that's something.

As I was driving my son to school this morning I noticed that one of the main branches of our peach tree had split. A few years ago the same thing happened, and the tree healed after we wrapped it, so I spent a good part of the morning wrapping the tree, and pruning branches that were weighing the tree down. There might be a metaphor here that I could use, something about having too much, even too much of a good thing, can be destructive. Hmmmm.

However, with the aid of my valiant daughter (seriously, the break was above my head. My arms are aching from holding the branch up, and my 5-foot-1 daughter had to do most of the wrapping above her head as well. However, we rescued a number of peaches that are almost ripe, and they will ripen as best they can, and they will go into cobbler next week.

I stopped by the store on my way home from my husband's school; it's not my usual day shopping, but I haven't gotten birthday gifts for two nieces whose birthdays we are celebrating tomorrow. I went into the store with minimal inspiration, and came out with the foundations for two gifts. One niece will get an Oreo/lunch package (lunch bag, package of Oreos, Oreo box, something else I haven't figured out) and the other one will receive a beach bag (bag, beach towel, sunscreen, chapstick, maybe flipflops). They're both on their own this year, so I figure they can use a lot of adult essentials, but packaged to be fun. After all, they're not going to want to buy lunch or sunscreen, but they're going to need it, and they can spend their money on things that are more fun instead. I bought a pair of shorts for my daughter, but I did not get anything else for me. I did not get the grey linen blouse I almost bought, because I knew I would never actually wear it (I wanted it to be white, but it just wasn't). I'm feeling pretty pleased that I recognized that I would not wear the blouse, and I did not bring home clutter.

School is wrapping up for both my husband and my kids, so we have lots to do in the coming week. However, after that summer is here and we will be free! Today we have an event at my husband's school. I am realizing that simplifying, minimalizing, my schedule is difficult because I'm the mom. Even if I minimalize my schedule I still have to facilitate everyone else's schedule. I'm going to still try to streamline everyone's schedule, so I can drop off one person to the way to another event, but I don't want people to miss out on the end-of-the-year pool party just because I'm trying to reduce my own schedule. (On the other hand, people do have to limit their own commitments so they know how to balance their time. I don't have a perfect answer for this, and I may not get one while the kids are still living at home, and especially if they aren't driving. I guess it gives me something else to work on. In case I run out of physical clutter.)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Daily Declutter

Still working on clearing out the shed. I have a fondue pot that we had fun with, once, after going out for fondue. Making fondue at home is way more complicated than it seems at the restaurant! I would rather spend the money and let someone else deal with all the details, so the set and the fuel are both on Craigslist now. (I'd just donate them, but I don't think the thrift shop would sell the fuel, it would just get trashed, and I'd rather that not happen.)

I posted to ebay the large, metal, paint storage/organizer thingy that I have hated for years. When I bought it, I thought it would be an excellent way to organize craft paints. However, I don't have a spot large enough for storing the organizer, so it just sat on the floor of the shed, being in the way. I hated it actively every time I tried to work in there. Today, my paints are all inside a plastic storage bin, on the shelf, looking tidy and out of the way. Bonus, the paints are in a sealed container, which hopefully will keep them from drying out between uses.

Today is laundry day, so that takes up some of my time and reduces the amount of time I can spend on decluttering. However, it keeps me out of trouble, and clean sheets are one of the great little joys in life, so I will look forward to that tonight. I really enjoy focusing on the joys and results of what I do around the house. By remembering why I clean/was/declutter/organize I feel better about how I spend my time. Also, on the days that I don't work around the house and spend time with the people I love, I enjoy reminding myself that this is the point. Decluttering isn't the point in itself; relationships and the results of decluttering are the actual point.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today I have been fabulously productive, and I feel good. Last night my husband pulled a bunch of winter clothes out of his closet, and I put them away and pulled out a few summer items he's had stored. Our closet and drawers will be less crowded as a result, making life easier for me (I put clean laundry away) and for him (when he's looking for something to wear).

I put a bunch of silver on ebay -- photographed, described and posted. I'm not asking much for each item, and I'm really hopeful that these pieces will get good homes somewhere else. Looking around the shed this morning, I can see a dramatic difference over what I had in December. I probably should have taken pictures, but I really don't want to look back at how bad it was.

I sold a piece on ebay, and I am including a little extra something in the package when I ship it. I had a drop spindle that never had been opened, and I also had some wool roving that never was actually used. Both items will be shipped together, hopefully to be used for a change. Now, I no longer feel the compulsion to come up with a project to use up the roving, and my buyer gets a bonus!

I only have half the things I started with, in my deadline craft box. Half the things I'd planned to use up before the end of the year have already been used up. (Sadly, some of them look like they'll never get used up. Does anyone have an idea for forty "soot sprites" from My Neighbor Totoro? I don't know anyone who needs a banner, and that's all I can think of.) I'm glad I am making progress with some of the things, and I'm also glad that I will not keep the others forever.

The house still looks tidy and peaceful today, with the silver back out in storage, the school books put away, and a lot of the general family debris still in its place after everyone pitched in yesterday. I even put away the dish drying rack, which makes a huge difference in the kitchen! On days like this, I feel like I'm making progress toward the house I really want to live in. (Also, I've been working on my vision board on Pinterest, like Juhli suggested. I find I'm really drawn to the images that look clean and not staged, hich is another way of saying tidy.)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today is Memorial Day, so my family is all home. Our kids'school doesn't assign homework on holidays, so they had the day off as well. As a result, we really got to enjoy the day as a holiday together.

Everyone did a little bit of housework -- my daughter cleaned up her desk, my son finished a school assignment, my husband weedwacked the back yard a little (and finally found the dog's collar!), and I polished the silver to post to ebay. I growled quietly, and everyone pitched in to clean up the detritus people have been leaving lying around. (The kind of detritus I'm hoping to eliminate). But those tasks only took a little while, and the rest of the day we've been able to relax together. We played games, and talked, and ate, and read our books.

The rest of the week we can be productive, and post things to ebay, do laundry, and declutter the cabinets. But today is a day for being together and enjoying each other. That's the purpose of minimalism, so I'm pursuing that today.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today was the last day of project week at school. The kids worked hard all week, and they produced wonderful results, but I am looking forward to next week, when I can get back on schedule.

After taking people to school, and to projects, and back to school, and home again, I did my weekly shopping. I'm happy to report that I did not bring home anything extra from my shopping trip. I stopped by Goodwill and came home with a necklace (for my niece, the reason I stopped by the store), a shirt for me (because I have a hole in the shirt I am wearing. I literally am wearing out my clothes), and a cluttery Oreo box as part of my other niece's birthday gift (for next week). I did not buy a Little Miss Sunshine lunchbox for $2.99, even though it was cute. I don't need it, and I passed it up.

I'm glad I got my grocery shopping done for the week. Last week (with school activities) I didn't get everything I wanted, but we got through without an extra trip. This week I spent a ton of time shopping, but I feel confident in my menu plan and grocery shop. I'm ready for the week to begin.

On a different note, I think I will be following the advice of Juhli, to create a vision board of what I want our home to look like. If I can demonstrate to my family what I want, instead of just trying to get rid of the clutter, maybe they will be more eager to simplify, declutter and minimalist the home. (Also, I'd really like a verb form of minimalist. Minimalize?)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Daily Declutter

There is clutter everywhere in my house! No matter what I am working on, I find little bits of clutter that I can get rid of. Sadly, I don't feel like I am making progress, although I know I must be.

I went out to the shed to check for a couple things for the craft project I was finishing. While I was out there I found a chalkboard that needs to go back to school, and some glow-in-the-dark stars that I bought when my kids were little. I have obviously never put the stars up, and the kids can no longer be considered little, so the stars can go to someone else (and yes, they still glow). I was also reminded of the Cherry Ames books I kept from my childhood. (I'm not sure if anyone else remembers her, she was a nurse in the '40's.) I will not be rereading these, at this point, but I offered the first ones to my daughter. If she loves them these books will not be clutter; however, if she is indifferent, I do not need to keep them for another generation. Either way, these books need to be read, and they do not need to remain in a box, just taking up space.

I also finally replaced my too-soft pillow. The old pillows (it took a while to find the right one) will go to my sister, who just moved to town and is waiting for her house to be available. I am sorry it took so long to replace my pillow; the replacement sat around the house for a long time before I finally put it on the bed. The old pillows sat around for a couple days before I took them out to the car (to deliver this weekend). I know the replacement and removal process should be automatic, but it wasn't in this case. That is disappointing to me. I need to get better at that.

Still, I haven't brought home anything other than food or library books this week. I have removed several things, and I am slowly clearing the bookcase in the shed.

By jumping around (now in the garage, now in the shed, now in the house) my family does not feel like I am denuding the house. If the shelf in the garage sits empty for a month I can give proof that we don't really need that shelf, and instead it would be better to store bicycles there; if I empty the bookcase in the shed, I can prove to my family we no longer need that storage system. They won't feel threatened and I will make progress. I know this, but it does make me feel like decluttering is not making as much progress as I would like. Slow progress is better than no progress, though!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Daily Declutter

Still moving forward. I sold a ceiling fan on Craigslist. Now I have a little more space, and the guy who bought it was really happy.

Other things are piling up. I'm working to get the silver polished so I can put it on ebay, and that't sitting around on the bar. The felt balls I'm using to make a trivet are drying, as is the birthday gift for my niece. The visible clutter is bothersome, but I know it is a step in the right direction, so I am working to get these tasks finished up so I can move on. By the end of the week everything should be finished and put away.

The library is my friend for reducing book clutter. Stopped by today to exchange books. I picked up a book I know I owned in the past, but it only took a couple days to request it from the library. For the most part, however, the things I read from the library are books that I will only read once, and I'm really glad I don't have to rehome them when I'm done.

The rest of the day was spent driving kids places. Not productive, but that's my job at this point.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Minimalism and My Family

I've gotten rid of a lot of my stuff, and I have a lot of stuff to work on still. But I also have a lot of stuff in my house that isn't mine. There are a lot of things that belong to the family collectively, live movies, books, dishes, paint (in the garage) and other stuff. I have to look at it, clean it, organize it (or organize around it) and otherwise deal with the quantity of stuff that exists. How do I balance my family's right to own what they value with my right and desire to reduce the amount of stuff I have to live with.

This is an popular question for people who are adopting minimalism. I've seen lots of blog posts elsewhere about how family members adopt minimalism. Usually it's a matter of "let them make their own decisions, and when they see how happy you are with less they'll come around."

But what about in the mean time? What about when your family is afraid the house will "look like a hospital room" if you get rid of all the clutter? What if you're going crazy every time you need a serving bowl and you have to shift things around because there's so much in the cupboard? (And I'm sure the two examples here are completely random and not something that has happened in my own personal life.)

I don't yet have a lot of answers.

 As I was on my hands and knees reaching to the back of the cupboard to get the dish I need, I swear that I will get rid of a lot of this stuff to make room for the things I need, and to make access to the things I need a lot easier. I will move some of the things that are in my way, to make my immediate life easier. Hopefully my family will become less attached to the things in storage, and hopefully they will not mind if I get rid of things that have been in storage a while. Hopefully they will find a clearer house more pleasant than a cluttered one.

It makes me grateful that I have spent so much time moving clutter out of storage, so I can move house-clutter out of the house. I'd rather get rid of it entirely, though. But decluttering shouldn't happen at the expense of my family's comfort, and sometimes they feel stressed or threatened when I change too much, too quickly.

Most important, the pursuit of minimalism shouldn't be about "stuff." It shouldn't be about material things. I am pursuing minimalism because I want to improve my life. I want to spend more time focusing on what is important -- my family, my friends, people -- and less time dealing with clutter. Sometimes, after I spend a couple of busy days with my family, I think that I am not decluttering "enough." After all, if I've been busy driving people to lessons, attending the fair and the zoo, I haven't "minimalist-ed." (Yeah, like that's a word.)

I need to remember that minimalism is a tool to improve my life with my family. If I am making my family unhappy by getting rid of stuff, I am working too fast. I'm prioritizing stuff above my family. Getting rid of stuff in preference to the needs of my family is not better than collecting stuff in preference to the need of my family.

So I will continue moving forward, slowly. I may slow down as the school year comes to a close, so I can be present with my family as they conclude their school years. I will remind myself that focusing my on family is minimalism, if I carve away the need to get rid of stuff and instead focus on what is most important.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Daily Declutter

This weekend I added a couple items, and didn't get rid of anything. I have needed replacement sunglasses, and this weekend I bought an emergency pair. I've been looking for a pair I like, but we went to the zoo Saturday and I needed a pair immediately because the sun was so hot and bright. I have been happy since then, because I have really missed having sunglasses.

I also bought a new reusable cup. I've had a large plastic cup that I have been using a lot, for a long time, but somehow it got lost. I was sad, because the weather is getting hot and I need water. So the new cup will replace the lost cup, and if the lost cup turns up then I will give it away (and not keep it for just in case).

On the other hand, I did ship an item from ebay. Slowly getting rid of stuff that way. I did decide to post the silver/silver plate, because I would like to pay off my car early. That adds another task to my list, but it will be worth it in the end. I've made enough to prepay two car payments, and that's definitely progress.

The remainder of the day was spent with family: we went to the zoo, to dance class (and a volunteer meeting) and a celebratory dinner in honor of my son, who worked so hard on preparing for his (unfamiliar) competitions at the fair. I didn't make much progress with "stuff," but I did spend time on the important things, which is what minimalism is really about.