Friday, March 31, 2017


If you've been reading this blog lately, you might have noticed that I've been stalling. I just don't seem to be making much forward progress. Part of the problem is the fact that I share my home with my family, part is that I've already eliminated the low hanging fruit, and part is because we've been so busy.

At this point, I have seen a difference between the beginning of the project and now, but I'm not making much progress right now. I'm trying, but I feel like I'm not making the progress and change I'd like.

Should I accept this as a seasonal reality -- I can't make big changes while the kids are so busy with activities, and I'm preparing for Easter. Should I just wait until May is over, and begin large scale change when school gets out? Should I just limp along for the next two months? Or is there something I should do right now to get things really going?

I've been making little changes, and they are beneficial. I've gotten rid of much of the stockpile of food in the pantry, and I'm buying things as we need them. Before I started a menu plan I needed to keep lots of "just in case" foods. Now is simpler. The shelf by the front door and the bar are both usually tidier than they ever were before. I've reduced the bags of frozen fruit in the freezer, and I can use it more efficiently than I used to. Actually, it seems that everything is more efficient now.

The improvement I have experienced so far encourages me to make more improvement, but I don't see an easy way to do that.

I know I'm droning on, but I feel I ought to post honestly. Minimalist-ing is not always an easy process, even though I really enjoy the results.

Daily Declutter

Last night I realized we had a duplicate copy of the Second Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. I love Kipling; The Jungle Book, Kim, Just So Stories. However, since I have a second copy, I will be getting rid of one. As I pulled it off the shelf, I thought I'd check to see if there were a market for it on ebay. Turns out there is! I'm excited to find out that someone else can use it, and I'm excited that the little bit of space this will save on my shelf is enough to display a pretty vase that has sort of been floating around.

I also listed a bundle of handkerchiefs. Someone might find them useful as wedding season approaches, but my family would much rather have new flannel handkerchiefs than vintage cotton. They are also not impressed by embroidery -- scratchy on delicate noses -- so those can go find a better home, where they will be appreciated, and not neglected in a drawer around here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Daily Declutter

Almost done with the shelving unit in the garage! I've been working on this slowly, so my husband can get used to the idea and not freak out, but I'm almost done. The things that were on there have either been decluttered or rehomed elsewhere (where something else was decluttered) and we will soon have room for our bicycles and our truck in the garage.

I moved some boxes closer to where I store ebay items. This should make packaging things for shipping easier, and it got some space freed up in the garage. I'm hoping to put the dog clippers on Craigslist this afternoon, and that spot will be open. I'll also be putting a beer making kit on Craigslist. It was a gift, and my husband enjoyed it, but not enough to keep making the beer. So hopefully the beer kit will find a good home as well. I packaged up most of the parts of the kit, and I am waiting patiently for my husband to finish off the last couple of beers before I post it, so I can include those bottles for the new owner.

I don't know if this is minimalist-ing topic, but it certainly is making my life better! My son has not demonstrated the ability to clean up after himself when he makes food, unless I remind him to do so. So I have been coming in to find the remains of his sandwich on the counter (bag of bread out, open; peanut butter, open; sticky knife on the counter; crumbs everywhere). Finally, in desperation, I warned him that I would make him clean the toilet if he didn't start cleaning up after himself. After all, if I have to do something I don't want to do (remind him to clean up after himself), then he can do something I don't want to do (clean the toilet). Today, he learned to clean the toilet! I didn't have to do my most-hated chore, even though I still had to remind him to clean up the counter. (I mind reminding him less when it means I don't have to do my most-hated chore). Either way, it's a win for me -- either he learns to clean up after himself or he can clean the toilet. (And in case you feel too sorry for him, he's in high school. When he moves out, and when he gets married, the people he lives with will appreciate this skill set.)

I decluttered a tiny cast iron frying pan that came with a Christmas gift. I have not used it yet, and although I love the way it looks, it clutters up the cupboard and makes using my real pans harder. So out it goes. I also found a few more silk flowers for school, and a couple more CDs. They will be dropped off and used for crafts at the annual fundraiser.

The weather is warm enough now, I don't think I need to worry about frost any more, and my basil will be moved outside. It will grow better with more root space, and it will no longer live on the bar, inviting people to drop other things on that flat space to keep the basil company. (Someone is keeping it company right now with a DVD, a script for church, and the box of stained glass still waiting for a trip to the hardware store for hanging hardware. That will be dealt with this afternoon, when it is time to pick my daughter up from school.)

As for the remainder of my day, I will make my grandmother's perogi, and freeze it for Easter dinner. Some will be tonight's dinner as well! Potato-cheese dumplings, topped with sour cream. That will take up the remainder of the afternoon, but it will be worth it!


Daily Declutter

Moving forward again! I photographed several more items for ebay. My box of donations is full, and needs to be dropped at the charity shop -- I'll try to drive by there tomorrow. A vintage mechanical adding machine/calculator is finally posted. I'm glad it's dealt with, because I'm posting it for someone else, and I'm glad to get it off my to-do list.

I heard back from our tax accountant, and our taxes are all done! My to-do list, or really important things, is about done. I'll send in my auto registration, and I think that's all I have hanging over my head. It feels so good to have adult responsibilities dealt with!

I also had to run my son to sign up for a class in the fall, run him to a 4H meeting, run him to another meeting, run him home and then run myself to a meeting. So I didn't get as much done at home as I might like, but I didn't waste much time, either. (And while he was signing up for class, I got to read my book, which was nice!)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Is Minimalism for Me?

I loved the look of minimalism for a long time before I decided to pursue it. For many years I tried to simply declutter or organize my clutter. I have a lot of storage space, including two sheds and a garage. (We don't have any storage space in the house, except closets, so a little of the storage I can justify for Christmas decorations and such, but not most of it.) Why is minimalism a lifestyle worth pursuing?

Minimalism seems to be a much simpler, more focused lifestyle. I am seeking simplicity and focus. I don't like the scattered distraction I get so often. I have a busy life, and I would like to eliminate the inessentials. That is what minimalism seems to be about.

I look at the minimalism practiced by some people, and the pictures posted to Pinterest (I am breaking my Pinterest habit, and I spend a lot less time there, but I do check in). I cannot see my family supporting me if I moved to that level of minimalism, and they have to live here too.

Will I ever be a "minimalist?" Will I ever be down to 100 items, or just enough to pack in a dufflebag, or something like that? I doubt it. I do want my own version of minimalism, though, that contains the essentials without the surplus. This includes physical surplus, mental surplus and commitment surplus.

So what's the difference between just decluttering and minimalism? To me, decluttering involves getting rid of things that are extra, things that are in my way or not used. Minimalism is about identifying what is important and getting rid of anything that doesn't qualify as important. So I have to decide if the meetings I attend are important, or if they are something that just adds busyness to my life.

Dance class is important to my family -- or at least parts of it. Running is important to other parts of my family. 4H is important, but I can participate at a lower level. My version of minimalism requires I identify which commitments are essential and eliminate the others.

I have been working to discard physical things that are not essential. The extra car is extra, and keeping it in case I might need it in the future is contrary to how I want to live now. So the car was decluttered, and I feel much better without it.

So, I guess the answer to my question is yes, but it's not the same minimalism that other people practice. I think that's the best way to approach minimalism (or any activity): find the aspects of minimalism that apply to how you want to live and embrace them. If I get to define minimalism for myself, I think I can say minimalism is for me.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Daily Declutter

Being off my game this past week has certainly left me behind! I got a couple parcels posted, but ebay did get a few things out of my house. That was about it last week.

This week, I have a lot of general clean up to do. Today I worked on laundry, and general tidiness. I also ran a kid to the dentist (and sat during the cleaning, because I didn't have any shopping to do. I brought a book to read, but ended up just chatting instead, and I really enjoyed myself!), then to the junior college to register for classes. I will be running him in again tomorrow to finish registration. I did make dinner, instead of stopping by for burritos, thanks to the menu plan. (I have no idea how I got by for so long without a plan!)

Still, things look better than they once would have been, after a week of being sluggish. The bar currently contains a plant, a gift we received yesterday (I need to stop by the hardware shop to get something to display the stained glass created by a dear friend. I definitely want to keep the chicken stained glass he made!), the "gift bag" from the dentist, a book I was reading at the table while I ate a snack (a terrible habit, but there you are. Something to work on, eating mindfully.), and I think that's it! A definite improvement from years before. Reducing the amount of available clutter, and creating a schedule for meals has really helped.

Tomorrow afternoon will be about as hectic as today, but I am optimistic that I will make forward strides in the morning.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Daily Declutter

I got some things done today, but more things were half-done. However, I think I've identified the source of my tiredness and unmotivated-ness. (Sure it's a word.) I've been taking a Benadryl every night for my allergies. However, I was talking to someone else who mentioned that Benadryl leaves her groggy all day...and I've been pretty groggy. Hopefully my allergies will pass soon, because without the Benadryl I don't sleep, and I feel tired all day, and with the Benadryl I feel groggy all day...

Also, I'm going to try to get more exercise. It certainly can't hurt!

I did move some things around. I put away most of my winter clothes (my heavy coat, and things like that) as that season has passed here. I went ahead and pulled out my spring dresses, so I'm ready for Easter. I also pulled out my daughter's spring dresses, and a couple of dresses for our trip with my parents.

Three (!) things sold on ebay the last couple of days, and I'm thrilled to move some of these things out, especially the box of old magazines. They were too good to throw away, but we had no use for them. I think an antique store bought them; I'm glad they are going where they will do someone some good.

A member of our church is ill, so I used up some frozen bananas and frozen grapes in a banana bread. Grapes work well as replacements for raisins, I've found, if they are cooked -- not so well in instant oatmeal! In overnight oats or banana bread they just come across as plump raisins. So I moved a bit of frozen fruit out of the freezer. I made two loaves, because I always make two loaves -- one to gift and one to eat. I'm glad I did, because my daughter seems to be entering a growth spurt, and she is eating everything she can get her hands on.

I know it's not much, but I'm glad to be getting anything done at all. I am really looking forward to getting back on track!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Daily Declutter

Yesterday I accomplished not much, and it was lovely. My daughter had a study group of friends over, and I tried to remain inconspicuous. Mom's can put a damper on conversation if they are too obvious, so I sat and read my book more than I have on a weekday in living memory.

Today I got some work done! I'm still working on clearing off a shelving unit in the garage. I hope I will soon be able to list it on Craigslist, but I'm working on it slowly. My husband adapts to change better if it happens slowly, and so I am slowly moving this large shelving unit out of the way. I cleared a couple shelves today, but I didn't post the dog clippers to Craigslist yet, I'll give him a chance to think about that first. Then I'll only have one shelf worth of items to rehome or remove, and the shelves can leave. Once the shelves leave the bicycles can take that spot, and the truck can move back into the garage.

When I moved the ice cream maker out to the storage shed, I spent a few minutes evaluating the snow gear I keep stored out there. It turns out I had a pair of snow pants that no longer fit anyone in my family, so those are now residing in the donation box, along with a pair of mittens that are too small.

I will be mailing a cake plate I sold on ebay. I am now down to only three cake plates, which sounds like more than any family could possibly use in this day and age. However, one is used primarily for birthday cakes, one is for Easter decorating, and the last is used every day as storage for muffins, scone and bread leftover. Much nicer than plastic, and they don't dry out. I haven't gotten rid of the two low use cake plates, but they are being considered for removal. We'll see how it goes, but that is for the future. As I have said before, I would like to work toward minimalism without making my family crazy, and not taking too much away too quickly is part of that.

A minor thing I worked on is my collection of CDs. We still listen to them in the truck, but we had developed too many, and they no longer fit in the CD wallet we have. So we thinned the herd a little bit, and the holder now fits better in the truck. Not a major thing, but every little bit helps. Old CDs went to the kids' school, to be a craft project.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today was crazy! My daughter had to get to dance class, while my son was presenting at two different locations today, and we managed to get everyone everywhere they needed to go, before lunch. We dropped my daughter off with a friend at 8am, then drove 45 minutes to my son's first presentation. He presented both of his speeches, then back in the car for another 45 minutes home, grab our chickens, then off to the library for a presentation on how to start backyard chickens. Home for lunch, picked up my daughter from class, ice cream for my son and a birthday present for a family member we'll be seeing tonight, then home for a nap. We needed that nap!

None of this is minimalist. It's not on the road to minimalist. But it is why minimalism is so appealing! I got it done, and I don't have a lot of other stuff to get done today -- I don't have to clean house, of buy groceries, or make dinner, or any of the millions of things that can place demands on my time. I took a nap. And it was good.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Daily Declutter

I wasn't good with decluttering today. I did make my menu, and I completed my shopping. Unfortunately, I needed to get some things at the thrift stores, and that's where things fell apart for me.

I bought a glass pitcher that looks like the one I had that I really liked, but broke. I will get rid of the pitcher I got to replace it that I never really liked. I got envelopes, and we needed them. I got some clothespins, because I always need clothespins -- they break or get lost from time to time. I got shirts and a dress for our vacation (my mother insists we need "Hawaiian" clothes. I got a beach chair for this summer, and beach shoes, and flippers for our vacation. I got an Easter present of a yoga mat for my daughter.

It didn't add up to much, money-wise, and a lot of the stuff is going to replace things we have or have run out of. However, I was surprised at how much stuff I needed to bring into the house.

Nothing was cleaned out, but by doing the menu and shopping today I did simplify the rest of my week, so that's a plus.

I am now exhausted (I took my son shopping for many of my errands) and I plan to make a pitcher of iced tea in my new pitcher, take my shoes off and read a book. I have a new book on hygge; I enjoy reading about how other people live, in the small details, and I enjoy reading about focusing on home and coziness. That will be simple and minimalist enough for today.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Daily Declutter

Next week we're expecting rain (hooray!),so I'm trying to get ahead on washing laundry. That way, I should be able to get through without using the dryer. So, I'm doing a little of this and a little of that. Actually, I seem to declutter by bits and bobs every day, squeezing it in between trips to and from school, laundry, dog washing, and other things I need to do to keep the home running. However, I do feel I have a little more free time than I used to. It may be the decrease in stuff, or it may be the decrease in shopping trips. Or it may be less computer time. Frankly, they all contribute to creating more time, or stealing it.

I found a pair of hiking boots that I thought I'd given away. If I didn't realize I had them, I don't need them. They're in the donate box now.

I gave up the ghost on my large laundry basket. It was breaking, and it just made doing laundry harder, not easier. I got rid of it, and I will see if I can get by with my smaller baskets instead. I will tell myself that it is better to make two trips to the clothesline, and get more steps in. Let's see if I believe me.

I moved a large LEGO tote out of the house, and replaced it with a smaller one. The LEGO area looks better now, and since we've gotten rid of some of the LEGOs I can get away with the smaller tote (and get a little floor space back).

I used some homemade furniture I had made up before, and I was less than thrilled this time. So I dumped the remainder, and I used some Feed and Wax I've had since ... dinosaurs roamed the earth? I'm not sure. I moved the remainder of the Feed and Wax into a smaller container that is easier to use, and I now have more space in my laundry/cleaning cabinet.

I had a set of four canisters, and I've gotten rid of the largest. Not a big change, but it does take up a little less space this way. I'd like to get rid of all of them, but we use one for sugar and one for power cords. We really need to one for power cords, so for now the canisters are staying. I could downsize to only two, but that looked weird.

I finally got the truck smogged, and it's nice to have that done. Now I can send in the registration.

So again, a bit of this and that. All this this-ing and that-ing is making things easier.

Minimalist Easter

Easter is coming, and I am starting to prepare, at least mentally. I have to start early or I don't have time to prepare the way I want to, and feel I am stuck buying things just to meet expectations (mine, or the expectations I think other people will place on me). So here are my early thoughts on planning a minimalist-ing Easter.

All holidays have their share of clutter. Gifts, wrap, decorations all add up to more than you usually have. A lot of it, frankly, is waste. Gift wrap is used once, then discarded. Too many gifts are simply not wanted or needed, and they become clutter or they are discarded -- neither option conveys the love the giver (hopefully) intended to communicate.

Easter is, in many ways, the easiest to simplify. Spring flowers and Christianity are both pretty minimalist in essentials. Plastic eggs and grass are less so. Either you have to store the eggs for 12 months, or you have to make landfill waste every year. Neither option is exactly appealing to me. But no one wants their children to grow up and complain to a therapist that their mom never let them have an Easter Basket because they made clutter. So I need an alternative and not just an elimination.

Likewise, I'm not exactly a ceramic bunny sort of girl. But I do want to decorate the house, and we host our entire extended family (about 20-25 people every year. It grows with weddings and will shrink this year since my sister moved out of town). How to I decorate festively without making clutter?

I've come up with a couple of solutions that seem to work for us. I know there are a lot of other ideas out there, and I would love to hear what other people do, so if I don't say something that really works for you, please let me know!

For our Easter egg hunt, and our Easter baskets, I have in the past simply reused the plastic eggs from previous years. People bring plastic eggs, and we pass along the plastic eggs we don't need. Each kid gets six or seven plastic eggs full of candy and dried fruit. They also may get a movie to share, new summer gear (goggles, swimsuit, towel). I always fill the basket with things they will use, not just filler. Some years I even dispense with the "basket" and just place their gifts on the table under a cloth, if the gifts are too large. No one has ever complained about not having a "basket" if they have a new game or book that won't fit.  Lastly, I fill a real chicken egg with chocolate. When they peel it, instead of a hard boiled egg there's a chocolate egg! (I bake the hollow egg in the oven to sterilize it, just in case.)

The majority of the egg hunt eggs, however, are cascarones, or confetti eggs. The kids then have fun smashing eggs on each others' heads (grandpa's are also excellent victims), there's a lot of running around, and we don't have a basket full of  plastic eggs and candy to horde. This has gotten better over the years; my nephew was diagnosed with Celiac, and casarones are gluten free. The older kids still have fun smashing confetti on each other, and it gives them a chance to act like kids.

Inside, I have a few decorations of the ceramic-bunny school, but I am hoping to reduce that number again this year. Last year I made origami butterflies out of damaged book pages, glued them to a stick, and placed them in mason jars with wildflowers. At the end of the day, the sticks went back into the yard, the mason jars went back into the cupboard, and the paper butterflies can be composted or recycled (I can't remember what I did). By keeping the project simple I was able to decorate and discard everything at the end, without making a huge environmental impact.

I still set the table with real china and glass I only use once a year. I can't think of a good solution for me here: I don't want to keep china for one meal a year, but I don't want to use disposables at Easter dinner, and I don't want to have enough everyday china for thirty people! So I keep my good china, and the Easter table looks sparkly and special, which is my goal. (And food. Lots of food is another goal!)

I use Easter lilies or other potted flowers around the house. If I am organized, I can buy plants I plan to plant in the yard, stick them in decorative pots and spread them around the house for decorations. I've done this several times, and I like how decorative the house looks, without ceramic bunnies.

In conclusion, I don't have more at the end of Easter morning. We don't have toys that will break easily. We don't have much candy, but we do have dried fruit for snacking or breakfast cereal. We have replacements for summer necessities that have become lost or damaged the previous summer. We have a lot of confetti on the lawn (but it decomposes because it is paper). The table decorations are recycled or composted, the table settings are washed and put away. Easter has been celebrated, but not with an increase in the amount of stuff we need to store.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Daily Declutter

Sometimes, I start clearing out a space and I wonder how I kept some of this junk for so long. I recycled two buckets today -- one was an old bakery bucket with no handle, the other held kitty litter once, and it arrived at our house when a friend delivered some bare-root plants. We didn't like to use either one, but there they sat, taking up space in the garage. Both are now sitting in the recycling bin, waiting to be picked up from the trash truck.

Other times, I get so frustrated with the junk around here that isn't mine, it's ours. I had to call my husband and make sure he was ok with me getting rid of those two buckets. Because they weren't mine and I couldn't throw them out if my husband still wanted them. It's just not polite. He didn't care, and I think that's probably true for a lot of the junk that's lying around here. I don't want to force him to spend an evening or weekend approving junk for disposal, or worse yet, cleaning the garage because I have a be in my bonnet, but I don't know another way to get rid of some of this stuff.

Getting rid of those two buckets was further progress on the removal of that shelving unit, though.

I also spent a little time torturing bathing the dog. I decluttered about a pound of stink off that animal. He's now sleeping on the sofa. The other dog got groomed yesterday, and Archie was laughing at Murray for it. He has since stopped. I've never been a person to get my dog groomed, but Murray is a poodle cross, and he gets pretty miserable if he doesn't get a haircut.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today I got rid of a bunch of things, but they're mostly tiny. Still, it made a difference! I went through my bureau: I got rid of a box of vintage handkerchiefs, some jewelry I never wear, and a jewelry box I've had since I was a girl. If I don't love it, and my daughter doesn't want it, I don't need to keep it!

I sometimes think that I should keep certain things to pass down. I didn't have a lot of things from my "ancestors" when I was a kid, but I wanted a sense of history. I read a lot of books involving treasures found in attics, and I wanted an attic of treasures to explore. For that matter, I also wanted a secret compartment and a window seat. My daughter doesn't seem to feel the same longing, and I guess my grandkids can be happy with whatever survives the various purges through the years. They'll both appreciate not having to deal with all my stuff in the interim, as will I.

Anyway, clearing away those things eliminated most of the clutter that was on top of my bureau. All that's left is a clock, our wedding topper (a Lenox figurine of a bride and groom; it was a gift from my mother-in-law to-be) and a booklet of family coupons (good for folding laundry, or sweeping, or cleaning the bathroom. A precious gift to savor!). Now I just have to rehome a couple pieces of good jewelry, and the handkerchiefs on ebay. It is definitely cleaner looking right now, and it will be even better after I dust!

I washed out a pickle jar to store bulk oatmeal I've had sitting on the counter. It was on sale, and I overbought, but my family will definitely use it, eventually! I struggle with overbuying things that we will use, but I don't have room to store. I'm sure that will get better.

I did find a package of gnocchi in the cupboard that had gone bad. Really bad. I threw it away, rather than try to return it to the store, because I didn't want to look at it for the rest of the week until I went to the store. I figure that's an improvement. In the past I would have kept it to get my money back, but my piece of mind is worth more than the $2 I'd get from returning the gnochi!

Sometimes, it's hard getting rid of things I've had for a long time

I've been decluttering literally for years. Possibly even decades. Getting rid of Stuff is not easy at this point, although it once was. That stack of magazines? Gone. The old textbooks? Gone.

It's harder now. I look through piles or shelves of things (yes, I still have piles and shelves of things) and the things I see are all things I've chosen to keep. Some things have made the cut numerous times. That pretty milk glass cake plate is a collectable. It's almost an antique, if it isn't already! Surely I need to keep that! Likewise the copy of Tom Sawyer I got from my grandfather (I've always hated Tom, but I loved my grandfather. Don't I need to keep the book? I know I have other things from him, but he wrote an inscription in the book!).

And yet, I keep moving forward. I get rid of a few things, or a few tasks, every day. I move from a busy, cluttered environment and mindset to something...a little more open.

It's not a fast process. I've been doing this for years, but I feel like I've made a lot more progress in the last three-ish months than I have in previous years. It may be the power of naming, but I look at things a lot harder than I have before. And, frankly, I want to be able to write down that I have done something, and not look like a slacker.

But decluttering is still hard sometimes.

Today I found a bunch of silk flowers we used in preschool to make fairy dolls. I've been keeping these flower bits for so many years, repeatedly telling myself that I might need them to make dolls for a niece, or cousin. Today I got rid of all the remaining silk flowers. It should have been an easy decision years ago, but it hasn't been. Finally, this time through, they seemed like something I could pass on to someone else. And it feels good.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Daily Declutter

I feel so motivated after resting up on Sunday -- unless I'm down with a horrible virus like I was last week! Lots of little things done, all over the place.

Moved an empty plastic tote out to the garage. I'm pretty excited because it means someone other than myself empties a plastic tote!

Organized some donations to the church bingo game (for prizes). The things that won't be prizes are set aside to be donated to Goodwill. The prizes will be dropped off at a friend's house tonight.

I cleared another shelf in the garage. Soon I should be able to post that shelving unit to Craigslist.

Hung napkins and tablecloths out in the sun, to bleach. I found that one of my tablecloths has a tear in it -- it's not repairable, so I'm recycling the fabric. I also realized I have a LOT more napkins than I could use even if every family member came to dinner, and everyone brought a date (as appropriate). I will be getting rid of about 12-15 napkins, and I'll still have more than I need at one meal.

I also found a seed sack (like a flour sack, but more sturdy) in the bin with the tableclothes. Why, I have no idea. I had no idea it was there. It's now listed on ebay. Also on bay are more Life magazines, and a pretty white cake plate that I really do not need, and which I never use. Hopefully these items will find a better life elsewhere.

If everyone went minimalist, there would be no need for many of the items I post to ebay. On the other hand, if people buy them from ebay, hopefully they are not also creating demand for new stuff to be manufactured. But I think about what would happen if everyone embraced minimalism; what would we do with all the stuff that is already manufactured but unwanted. For that matter, what will people do with all the stuff that is unnecessary but people keep buying new anyway?

"Be Prepared"?

I'm struggling between two poles: do I prepare for possibilities, or do I embrace the minimalist option? Do I make sure I have what I need (in an imagines scenario), or do I get rid of the things I don't regularly need?

I recently posted to ebay an antique ice cream churn. We had been keeping it in case the motorized machine gave out. I wasn't using the antique machine (frankly, we mostly only use the motorized one for birthday parties), but we were keeping a backup just in case.

I have some serving bowls just in case we need them for Easter dinner (which we host for the entire family).

I also bought a bunch of breakfast cereal because it was on sale. Now I have to store it, but my family will eventually use it up. But we have to store it.

And on and on. What is the balance between wanting a clean, minimalist, easy home, and keeping the things we will want, or might want, later?

I don't actually have answers on this right now. I am getting rid of the ice cream maker, keeping the cereal, and I will seehow my family feels about getting rid of some of the serving pieces (because I am doing this with a family, and trying not to make them crazy in the process). I seem need to make the decision on a case-by-case basis, but I do feel pulled in two directions. Hopefully I will clear a path in the future that will identify what level of storage I'm comfortable keeping.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Daily Declutter

Today is my day for making a menu, grocery shopping, running errands, and that sort of thing. Today I had to remind myself that there is a reason I do it all at once, so I don't have to worry about it the rest of the week, but there certainly were a lot of stops. I came home worn out, but I'm really glad to have everything dealt with, food-wise, for the week.

Yesterday we used our second of three visit to Disney. We had a wonderful time and we are looking forward to going back -- this is not the sort of thing we can do in one day! We rode the rides, watched the Main Street Electrical Parade, got stuck in Small World, and had a great time talking together in lines. My husband and I reminisced a lot about going to Disney even as children, and it really was a wonderful holiday.

We're all a little worn out today, so I'm glad I accomplished all that I did. Groceries, Costco, miscellaneous Target purchases for school -- all done and accomplished for another week. I mailed three items I sold on ebay, so that's something completely out of the house.

I'm working to clear a shelving unit in the garage, so we can park the truck in the garage. We looked up wooden electric ice cream makers on ebay, and it turns out that they are available. Someone had told us years ago that they were hard to find, so we had two ice cream makers sitting in the garage -- the electric one, which had a dying motor, and a hand-crank we bought as backup. So we will sell the hand-crank, let someone else enjoy it, and replace the electric one if we need it. One more thing off the shelf in the garage! It's even posted to ebay already.

That's about it for today. I'm glad I have some forward progress. I'd like to clear off the bar and shelf by the front door (where things land as they come in the door, or before they leave), but I may not make it that far today.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Daily Declutter

I seem to be over the worst of the terrible bug that took over Saturday. No specific symptoms, thank goodness, just the general feeling that I'd been run over by a truck. Lots of sitting and reading, drinking tea and napping. Actually, it would be a great weekend if I didn't feel so squashed flat.

I got several responses on our car, and we found someone to take it home this weekend. Even with the cold. I'm so happy to have finally made a decision on it, and I'm glad to have rehomed it. For a very long time we've been of two minds about having a third vehicle. Now we're down to two cars for two drivers, and I feel much better about that!

I'm optimistic that soon we'll be able to park the truck (moved into service, from storage in the driveway) in the garage. Right now the bicycles are parked in their spot, but if I get rid of a shelving unit it should work. The truck is so big, and the garage very normal sized, so it will be close. But, we did it once, and we can do it again!

I have another shelving unit almost completely empty. It has once small tote, full of out-of-season kids' clothes, that I technically could store elsewhere if I needed. I feel really good about having that much space! I downsized that tote today, after trying clothes on my daughter. Several things she wore last year no longer fit, and they are already at the charity shop. While we were there we also found a new pair of shoes for Easter, and two new dresses. I'm pretty sure we're set for summer clothes now.

Nothing come home from the thrift shop that I did not actually need. An Easter gift for my son, and a pair of swim flippers for a planned trip with my parents, and that's it. I didn't even seriously consider getting the classic Corning Ware casserole dish (white with the blue flowers), even though I was really thrilled to see it, especially after spotting one while watching Hidden Figures. If you haven't seen that yet, I highly recommend it! I'm pretty pleased that I didn't even consider buying the casserole, though, and just felt pleased to recognize it.

I'm also passing along a puzzle mat (so you can roll up your puzzle and eat dinner at the table, then put the puzzle back) and a puzzle to friends who love puzzles. I cannot remember that last time we actually worked on a puzzle. If it becomes a major hole in out lives, we can buy new (or used) puzzles and mat again, but enjoy the space in the mean time.

Little by little, changes are being made!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Daily Declutter

I have finally sold every book in the box of books we've been storing for five years! I'm just tickled that all the books have been sold, to good homes, like puppies. A copy box worth of books is a good bit of space freed up, as well.

I've also re-homed a LEGO set that has been sitting idle. I was starting to feel that the LEGOs weren't going to find homes, but I am encouraged at this sale. I am looking forward to freeing up the space the LEGOs are taking up. It is rather considerable how much space is dedicated to toys we don't play with.

As we work through these things a couple of LEGO sets have been resurrected for play. I'd like the space, but I'm glad that they are being used. After all, the kids are only getting older and I can sell these sets later, when they are not wanted. On the other hand, we still have too many things, toys included. I don't want this project to focus so much on getting rid of things that the people are ignored in the process. So for the moment these forgotten LEGOs can be played with by my family, and the truly abandoned ones can find new homes.

I am grateful today for my work yesterday. I have caught the cold my husband has been fighting. So, instead of going grocery shopping during dance class, I got to sit under a tree and read my book and rest. I'm so glad my errands are done and I can nurse my cold with a thermos of hot tea today.

And that is all I was able to accomplish this weekend. I will sleep early, and hope that my cold heals quickly. I'm itching to get rid of several things in the shed, including a space heater and the second humidifier, as we have not used them since the kids were babies. If we haven't used them in all that time, I think it's time to offer them to someone else. I hope that will free up enough space to allow me to get rid of one shelving unit in the garage!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Simple Living Isn't Easy

I know that it is no great insight that living simply is not easy. I'm not the first person to discover that taking the road less traveled is bumpier than the road pounded smooth with many feet. But sometimes I'm still surprised by this.

For example, as a family, we don't watch tv. As a result, we have to do something in the evenings, after work. Some nights we watch a movie together, but since we try to limit the nights we do that, we have to make an effort the other nights to actually do something together. Some nights we play a board game, some nights we read individually, and some nights we read aloud a family book (right now we're reading Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. If you are only familiar with the movies, I highly recommend the book.) Of course, lately, many nights we simply aren't home together so the choice isn't available.

I prefer the nights when we don't watch a movie, but some nights just are movie nights. We're too tired to put out the effort to do anything other than sit and watch. That's the way it is with a lot of simplifying.

Lately, I seem to be too tired or too busy to actively declutter anything. I have put in place some practices to make life simpler, but I seem to have stalled. I'm not moving forward. Progress is hard.

That's ok. What I have done so far is better than what I had before. I have more time to be home because I do all my shopping off a list, one day a week. Less clutter is piling up on flat spots. I have posted the extra car for sale, and I am looking forward to getting rid of a shelving unit because we have less stuff to store.

Some of the simplifying, decluttering, minimalist-ing is in the past, some is in the future. Not much is being done at the moment. But because of what I have done so far, we are discussing getting rid of things we never would have considered getting rid of before. That is an unbelievable change.

I know it's hard to simplify, hard to minimalize, but I have faith that it is worth it. Just as an evening playing games or reading together is more challenging than watching something on tv, I am confident that we will be better rewarded as a family for getting rid of the detritus that is making life harder than it needs to be.

I just need to remind myself of that.

Daily Declutter

Today didn't see much move out of the house. However, I did get my grocery shopping done between dropping my kids off to school and picking my son up after his one class. I wasn't even that late picking him up.

So, I

  • made my menu, 
  • made my shopping list, 
  • actually shopped. 
  • emptied the bag of stuff from the car that's for sale, and re-homed everything we're keeping. A bunch of stuff went in the trash or recycle bin.
  • washed and hung out a load of sheets. My last load of make-up laundry since the machine was "repaired."
  • made more chili-lime salt for gift giving, with lime zest I dehydrated. So it is no longer sitting out on the bar
  • I did not go shopping for a new hat for me. I wanted to stop and look, because the sun is warm today and I am feeling like summer. But I don't need a new hat, I have one that I like. I was already late to pick up my son or I might have stopped. I consider not stopping to buy something I don't really need and which would be an impulse purchase (and probably clutter later) to be a victory.
Not much accomplished toward decluttering, but the bag of stuff from the car didn't sit around becoming clutter. The bar was clean, except for the lime zest, this morning when I got up. We are set for food this week. That's not a bad way to go into a weekend, so I will enjoy that and not sweat the lack of progress.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Daily Declutter

The washer got "repaired" yesterday. Apparently, there was too much dirt in the load of laundry, and it filled up the crevices of the machine. I was supposed to run several self-wash cycles in order to get rid of the dirt and get clean clothes again. I was not ok with the answer, but I understand that's what the manufacturer says. I will not be buying any more products from this manufacturer, but in the mean time I had to vacuum out my washer so I could wash clothes again. I did so, and I'm spending a lot of today doing laundry. Fortunately, the sun is shining and it is a great day for hanging laundry on the line.

I got rid of my flour sifter. I cannot remember the last time I actually sifted anything. Did I sift the flour for my sister-in-law's angel food cake last year? I'm not sure, but I can stir the flour if I really need to, and free up some cabinet space.

I posted a bunch of LEGOs to ebay. Hopefully they will find new homes and move out of mine. When they do I will have about one shelf additional space in the shed. I can use that space to make access to things easier. Just live a little more spaciously.

I also washed, vacuum, photographed and posted my extra car to Craigslist. We will be back to two drivers and two cars. If we need a car for my son in the future we can either use the money we saved from selling this car or we can trust that some other opportunity will arise. In the mean time, we don't need the extra vehicle, the responsibility for maintaining three cars or the vehicle that doesn't fit in the garage.

I know I haven't accomplished much dramatic in the way of minimalisting, but I am making steps forward. (What is the correct form? Minimalist-ing? Minimalisting? Something else?)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Identifying the Problem

I have been struggling in my efforts to minimalist (minimalize?) my home. I move things out, but I am having difficulty identifying things that we do not need, or use regularly. I sort of feel like I've gotten rid of everything I can get rid of. (I can identify things that belong to family members that we can get rid of. But everyone needs to move at their own pace, and I cannot go through and get rid of all the junk others in my family are hanging on to.)

Part of my problem is all the stuff that comes into the house. This stuff has to be moved back out again, responsibly, and that increases both the mental and physical clutter I am dealing with. I have magazines to take to the senior center. I have hand-me-down jeans to pass down to other people (because they don't fit anyone here). It's a couple of things here, one thing there, but it becomes a lot of clutter pretty quickly.

Add to that the things I need to do to get stuff out. I need to photograph and post LEGOs to ebay. I need to wash and vacuum the extra car, and photograph and post it to Craigslist. I need to do taxes. I need to get a smog certificate for the truck (that's physical and mental clutter, because it's sitting on the shelf by the front door. I tried to get the certificate earlier, but the machine was broken at the shop, and I'm waiting for that to be repaired.)

I can't keep the mental clutter out, or at least not very easily. I have to do taxes. I could just donate the car and ebay items, but I would rather have the money. It's not inconsiderable (enough to cover a car payment, or an extra car payment to pay down the balance).

I can reduce the amount of physical clutter that comes into the house. This will be hard for me, because I will have to decline things that people offer me. People offer me things because they think I will want it, or like it. My mother gives me magazines because she thinks I will want to read them, and that is lovely and generous of her. In actual fact, however, I don't read them and they cause me stress. Hand-me-downs that are much too big need to be donated elsewhere. At this point, my kids have enough opinion on their clothes that, unless they like the clothes and they fit when the clothes are offered, I shouldn't bring them home. The possible usefulness is not worth the clutter.

Declining things will be hard for me, but I hope it will get easier with practice. I am afraid people will be offended if I decline something. However, if I am going to reach my goals I will have to make changes, and I think this is one of them.