So I have something to show you:
It was a long time coming but we finally got rid of this stuff and the monthly fee to save it.
We still have some items at my Mother’s house and in our garage and basement but we are getting so much closer. During the course of this effort , many things have taken time away from our goal. I say that not as an excuse but rather a reality check for myself. You see I always think I can get everything down FAST! Life doesn’t work that way. More important situations come around that you have to tend to, or in many cases that you want to tend to.
It’s been a tough lesson, changing goals, deadlines, and lowering expectations….but I am better for it. I’m still cluttered, but only half as crazy as I was before.
There is no more time for delaying the final sort. ( just bought a house and we are closing soon) We measured the rooms and basically most everything will not fit.
I think I will start with the items I like the least….that would be papers and letters, and all that stuff you have to have or you feel like you have lost something if you get rid of it. But in reality you never even look at it. It’s stored somewhere, maybe even being eaten by mice.
The cool thing about this paper de-cluttering is that a while back I bought a NEAT scanner off of Woot. So if I wanted I could scan everything, and still have it if I wanted it. I think that would be a cool way to handle this mess, but I have never been that organized, and it kind of scares me. Lol…a scanner scaring me is ridiculous.
These papers, are weighing me down. I worry that I have kept the unimportant ones and lost the good ones. All this worry is fabricated in my mind. And I know it. But it still bothers me.
I put this off, I say it’s too cold, or I have to do this or that, or I’ll do it tomorrow. I am suffering with serious dread. All in my mind. I am mental. Maybe Icey gets it from me????
At any rate this is my goal for Saturday. You read it here, I’ll update as soon as it is finished.
3.Three secure file box for each child. Secure meaning it can close and mice and water wont get in. Most likely a plastic item. :(
4. One file box for the hub and me.
7. A glass of ice water, if it takes too long, I’ll switch to wine.
Tip: Just do it.
Inspiration: “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”- Peter F. Drucker
One-day one-thing: Reward yourself at the end of any successful day.
I am getting pretty good at organizing garage/house sales, and brother do I kill it with the signs.
I use Craig’s list and signs on major intersections. That’s it. I have a sale kit with a staple gun and signs and wire stands from old political signs. All you have to do is take the political sign off the wire holder and turn it inside out and tape your awsome sale sign to the plastic. So easy, and they go into the ground perfectly.
I never hold my sale if the weather is bad, and now because you can place ads for free at a moments notice that is easy to accomplish.
My signs are always florescent poster board, sometimes with added reflective wrapping paper. It makes a difference having a great sign. People always tell me they love the signs…lol. Some of my best slogans are: ” Don’t MISS this SALE” or “Something 4 Everyone Sale,” “Best Sale Ever,” ” Turn Around Cool Items. ” Often my signs are a shapes, maybe a circle or the shape of a dresser if we have furniture. Stars cut outs on top of the signs in a contrasting bright color also helps grab attention. And note: If you tell someone not to “miss” something they just can’t resist.
But this sale I am going in for the kill!
I am planning to have a table of “Name Your Own Price” items…..who can resist that??? Another sign will say, ” HAVE 2 HAVE sale” sign. “Useless stuff Sale. ” “TOO BIG wont FIT” Sale…. for my new house. And a “too little SPACE Sale” sign…..”Help me I’m a Hoarder, Sale.”
I think you get the idea, I am not planning to have many more of these sales, so I am going to have fun. I am thinking I might sell sodas as well. If it’s warm and the sun is out, I can make .75 cents a can. Plus it keeps people happy, they stay longer and might just buy something.
In our town, garage sales are the ultimate signal that summer is near. Garage Sale-ing a ritual, every Thursday is always the first day of any sale. People map out the sales they are going to hit and make a day of it. I like to be open on Thursday and Saturday. I cant stand Friday because it is too slow and Sunday people are too cheap. We’ll see how it works out this time.
My real issue here is most the stuff I have is what I decided to keep. Ouch. Now I am going to have to measure each room and be realistic. It’s going to be a challenge, especially since, this is it. My last chance. I am not moving all this stuff one more time, not going to do it. Minimalism here I come. That has been my goal all along, but talking and doing are two different things.
The tough cuts await……I have to empty the storage unit and a garage….ugh.
And you know what’s in those three containers? Pottery made by students and professors from Cleveland State. More average pottery than anyone ever needs. At the time,the pottery was the most important thing for me to pack up and protect, err to hoard. I still love it. Every item was made by someone learning about design and clay. Sigh.
Tip: Price everything, people are shy and don’t want to ask.
Inspiration: “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.” – Eric Hoffer
One-day one -thing: Remember the every decision is an action, and action is how you create change.
I would not have believed it but I saw it with my own two eyes. Look at these storage containers that are for all her shoes, bracelets, hats, her books and her love notes from Ken. She is getting her containers this month, just like the rest of Americans. I hope she gets them on sale!
It took all I could muster up not to buys these, if as nothing more than a reminder, that out of sight is out of mind, and out of mind is out of use. I don’t need more clutter no matter how darn cute it is!!!
We live in a world where even the toys our children play with, multiply and eventually end up unruly and in desperate need of their very own storage system.
In my household it’s Lego’s and Brio Trains. I have them stored. It literally never ever crossed my mind to think of those “holy” toys as something I would ever consider as clutter. These toys belong to my babies, they are sacred. (I am kind of shocked at myself)
I have high hopes that one day I will have grandchildren who will like Legos. Is that far fetched? My realistic mind tells me I am crazy. I mean seriously – who am I kidding? When I see little children now they are playing on cell phones.
I will keep these toys until the bitter end of my journey, because I can’t bare to think about it…..about any of it right now. That’s the truth.
The good thing , I like to let you know, is I didn’t buy the mini containers, and I only swore
twice ten times today.
Life is hard. And life is cruel. Sometimes it’s okay not to be super productive.
(Barbie has all sorts of stuff it wouldn’t surprise me if she had a storage unit. )
Tip: Everyday write your current goal at the top of your to do list. This serves as an affirmation and helps keep you on the right track.
Inspiration: ” What if Andy gets another dinosaur? A mean one? I just don’t think I can take that kind of rejection! ” ~ Rex , Toy Story
One-day one-thing: Throw away something that is in your way. Just throw it away. It wont be in your way ever again. :)
So another year’s over, and what have you done?
I’ve made excuses as to why I can’t get past my personal road blocks. That stops today. I know it’s cold as heck out there, and personally I am not a snow bird, but I have let the weather squelch my forward momentum, and for no good reason.
If I told you that everything inside this house was sorted and reduced to a minimum I would be only playing make believe. That would be easy to do, but it wouldn’t help me in any way. Oh I know I said I can’t sell anything in a garage sale in the snow, but what about all those pesky little things…like my belts.
Because little things don’t take up a lot of space they seem to be allowed to stick around. This is not good. They have to go.
No matter how large or how small your crap is, you have to get rid of it. Space displacement is not the determining factor when eliminating clutter and crap in your life. Think about it like a junk drawer. Who wants it? Who likes it? Every little space, drawer and/or container filled–I can’t even breathe when I think about it this way.
I read something recently, that said storage isn’t good. It only serves as vehicle to neatly hide your junk. It doesn’t solve any deeper issues, and it does not advance you to a goal of living better with less.
Advisory: Don’t go to Target, January is “store your stuff” month, containers galore on sale! All so you can make more room to buy more useless stuff, from guess who? -Target.
So for this week, and for the rest of these gloomy winter months, I will work on the little things in the little drawers and in the little containers. I actually wonder what I might find.
Tip: If there is something that needs to be fixed that you have been putting off – bite the bullet and fix it.
Inspiration: ” Now that it’s all over, what did you really do yesterday that’s worth mentioning?” ~Coleman Cox
One-day one-day: Old stationary-clear it out, when is the last time you actually wrote a letter?
Well the bird food was all eaten, and there were mice droppings everywhere. I am referring to the garage. So gross.
I am a painter who doesn’t paint at the moment. But I have an abundance of art and painting supplies stored all over the place. I have been waking earlier, that has been good, and getting enough sleep, but I still find my self running like a mad woman. So today I took on the garage in a couple areas, canvases and large framed photos, and one heavy box of documents.
I decided after seeing the sunflower seed shells and mice droppings that I best get anything that wasn’t completely sealed out of that nasty garage.
Notice the top right corner of the file box has been chewed. I didn’t do that. Look at all these ridiculous papers, I don’t even know the years, maybe 2006, 2007,08 ? This box was packed full with hanging file holders containing labeled manila folders which were holding these worthless statements and paid bills, for years. It weighed a ton.
I decided to move all these various boxes, holding the papers, canvases, and framed photos to my office, where I could sort in peace. Plus I am attempting to get all my art supplies in one area, the corner of my work office.
I had to use a hand cart, dolly whatever they are called. Four trips from the car to the elevator to the office. I worked on the box filled with papers first. Out of the entire box I kept only one paid medical bill. One piece of paper. That’s it.
My shredder started acting up, but I got it going again. It made a huge mess in the meantime. I feel bad for making such a mess and leaving it, but we don’t have a vacuum at the office. It will have to wait for the cleaning crew. It’s good thing they are really laid back, every day is good to them. “Better than Russia,” they say.
All is good, I am working away so next I tackle the canvases, and large framed photos. They were in boxes that I needed for something else, so I was emptying them. I got to the third one and I SCREAMED. I’m embarrassed to say this but when I see mice I scream. It’s an immediate and involuntary reaction. Especially when they are jumping around frantically. I was lucky I could shut the box in time. I held it closed with one hand and searched for tape the other.
I had to get this mouse out of my office, out of the building and out of this box.
I felt much better once I taped the box shut. I relaxed a bit and I began to feel sorry for the little creature. I decided to chauffeur the mouse back his home in the garage, at least if he had family or friends he could stay with them. The
city high-rise seemed like certain death for the little guy. ( look at his scared worried little eyes…awe )
So that was my day, more or less.
My take away – if you have anything stored outside or in areas where there could be mice, there will be mice, and all your “stuff” is on it way to quickly becoming garbage. I found a pair of shoes that the mice ate. Shoes! Who eats shoes? Those mice were likely making their condo out of shoes parts.
Another thing I will suggest since the New Year is coming; buy a cheap accordion file labeled by month or alpha however you like to file bills and such. Mark it 2012, boldly. Only put items in this accordion that are records you can throw away next New Year’s Eve. Do not mix important papers, cards, photo or notes with worthless statements and bills. Repeat that to yourself [really for me] – Don’t mix important things with worthless statements and bills. Prepare to destroy this self-contained file in a celebratory fire or toss it at the dump. You can seal it closed with duct tape if you worry about identity theft. Personally, I pity any soul who ever steals my identity, that would be a real bummer for them.
I’m feeling more optomistic and much more focused on moving in the direction of my dreams. I guess that’s what people mean when they say the most important habit to have is to be pro-active.
If I can get back on track so can you. No excuses. Remember you only have to do one-thing each day! Cheers!
Tip: If you have to store items, invest in heavy duty Rubbermaid containers. If your stuff isn’t Rubbermaid “worthy,” do not save. :)
Inspiration: ” First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” ~ Epictetus
One-thing one-day: Plan your dream; doodle it, make notes about it, cut out articles that support it and keep it all together in a place you can look at it every so often, make a ” My Dream Project “
I have to admit, I have been avoiding this area of sorting like the plague. As a matter of fact, as I write my stomach is getting tense. You see I don’t want to sort all my old photographs. I can’t bare to spend the emotional energy needed to get through all these photos. It’s not inside me yet. I am not that strong.
It makes me sad to see how much time has past. It makes me sad to see those I’ve lost, and what will never be again. Even when I look at the most precious pictures, I love seeing them, but it’s a very bitter sweet experience.
Thousands, and thousands of photos and many were “bogo” – buy one set get the second set free. Add in all the school photos, and the sports photos, it’s a mountain of memories
My answer here is not the best. I am not going to sort them. That’s right. I bought three large blue bins and today my big contribution to de-cluttering is moving these bins to the storage unit. These bins are heavy and it is quite a task moving them. So it is a start, and it will be an accomplishment.
My rationalization here is that when I finish sorting all the other areas of my life, then I will be free to leisurely look through a few photos at a time.
Will I?… I don’t know. But I know I won’t let this become a roadblock to my journey to living better with less.
Tip: When visiting your storage space never look in any of the boxes.
Inspiration: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~Buddha
I swore I was never going to have another sale ever. I have been downsizing for what feels like forever, and I want it to be over. But we still have way too much stuff. I want to sell more of the large items. The items I thought I should keep when we first left the house are in storage. We really don’t need them. One piece in particular is in there and it’s huge. It’s a dining room thing….what do you even call them? I don’t know, but it lights up inside has glass doors and a mirrored back. It’s a large and it’s one piece so it’s a super awkward heavy thing. And it cost me a ton of money.
My reason for keeping it? I couldn’t sell it. Plus I thought I’ll never buy another one of these things, what if the next place is perfect for it. And on and on my justifications went.
It’s hard to make solid decisions when you don’t know where you are going to be living next. It is exciting to have the flexibility, but you don’t know until you know. Right now we are month-to-month on the business lease so very little is holding us back. We have employees who may like to keep this office open or they may like to move, we don’t know. We have other commitments that will keep us here through spring 2012 – so we have time. Time to get rid of all this stuff.
I sold two upholstered chairs last week and it doesn’t even feel like I made a dent. Heavy sigh.
And now I am considering another sale to move this merchandise (my stuff ) before winter sets in. I don’t even like typing the word “winter” or “sale” for that matter. Once that snow falls (yard/garage/house) sales are over until spring. People hibernate. Life stops. Everyone gains weight. The only ones who like snow are Batman and Ice, the Minimalist Gods.
What I know is, this time for sure, I am not beating the winter blues by shopping. No way no how. I am so over that. Maybe I’ll drink instead. This could be the year of the never ending winter party, ” beat the winter blues with booze.”
I need to some focus and some good weather. One more sale before the snow, and then, “Cheers, I’ll drink to that.”
Tip: Don’t ever worry about the weather – you can’t change it.
Inspiration: 7 Little Things That Make Life Effortless by ZenHabits
One-day one thing: Price things for a sale and pack them in boxes that close for an upcoming sale. Be sure to clearly label contents for each box. If you decide against the sale, donate the boxes.
During my years of irrational consumerism, I could see the future. It’s true. I knew exactly what everyone needed before they even thought about what they needed.
Once, I bought an alarm clock guaranteed never to turn off, until a person caught it and turned it off. It was self propelling, and if it wasn’t turned off by the sleeping human quickly, it would jump to the floor and run away by rolling under the bed, or any other out of reach place while still sounding the alarm.
I bought this two years before my son went away to university. Every single day of his high school years, I had to wake him up over, and over, and over again. In the future, I wouldn’t be there to wake him up. I could see this clearly. The clock still sold by MOMA today runs 48.00, I think I paid more. That never opened brand new clock, sits inside a blue plastic container that contains an assortment of new things, on the second shelf inside U-Store-It unit #227.
I know of another new thing that’s in there. I bought it for myself. It’s a bank that is a replication of a wooden water tank like the ones on top of buildings in Manhattan . I was “saving” this for when I had a “cool” office not a cluttered mess of an office. I have an awesome office. It’s not yet “good enough” so I am using old tea bottle for loose change. As I am write those very words I see how pathetic this is. ( I’ll fix the coin bank issue Monday)
Other purchases are back-ups, duplicates. I bought these because I already owned the item and I liked it. Like a certain Ikea scrubber, I could see in the future this scrubber would no longer be available. I even taught my daughter if you like something – buy two of them….ugh! Some of those thing I don’t even like anymore. Other “new” items I bought for future gifts. I could see who needed the gift and what it was before I even met the person. I was good. Unfortunately when it came time to give these gifts away, either I couldn’t part with them, or they weren’t the right gift for the occasions.
When I shopped I shopped with conviction, no second guessing, everything had a purpose. A purpose in the future that I could clearly see. I was clairvoyant. I could see the future as far out as I needed, to infinity. That is, until I could not.
What I could not see in the future was not being able to sell our house that was on the market for 14 months. What I couldn’t see was all our equity was going to disappear. What I couldn’t see in the future was losing our home of twelve years and having no place to live. Once I lost my ability to see the future, I was sad for a long time. I could not see anything and I certainly could not see joy or any shred of happiness in my crystal ball.
But that was then, this is now. Nothing much has changed except me. And to tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I have ever had a more defined idea of what’s important in life. I have learn so much about how we spend our time, how we spend our money and how we interact with people. My life has completely changed it’s trajectory and I like it.
The more stuff I shed the better I feel. Simplifying is intoxicating and addictive. Simplifying has helped me to focus and grow. I like it. I have a long long way to go, but so far it’s good. I am examining my life on a different level, from a different place. I am learning about myself and my family and what I am learning brings me great comfort. We are all in agreement that we are on the right track to “living better with less.”
UnPacktheRat is more then a blog to me, it’s my teacher, and for that I am grateful.
One Day -One Thing: List at least one new (or not) item on eBay
Here’s an assortment of our attic people. Who are these people? What did they do all day? Was smiling against the law? That one dude is is kind of haunting, somehow I can’t look away- but I am positive he is not going to be hanging out on any wall of mine.
At any rate, these people put forth considerable effort to have these photos created. They bought photo fancy clothes, hired a photographer and picked out eloquent frames. I don’t imagine they ever thought they would end up in my attic , let alone in a blog post. They are kind of scary looking to me. I
know think they in some way are related to my husband. So he has to say “keep” or “rid” before I can proceed. Heavy sigh.
What I have done to move this process along is, I have taken digital photos of each picture. (Tip: Taking photo of anything you get rid of, but still like, is a perfect solution; the item(s) lives on your hard drive and is easy to find if you ever want to revisit.) Once we decide on the “rid” group I will email the photos to my husband’s sisters and offer to ship them and that’s that. Mission accomplished.
Family heirlooms that are handed down, should be given more care, but that doesn’t mean that you have to hold on to them. It’s your life, you didn’t ask for these things, remember no guilt.
Personally, I love taking photos blowing them up and framing them. I had so many framed photos that my house had zero wall space left. I have sorted through them once, and de-framed many, which makes storage and moving them easier. Next step will be to sort and de-frame the remaining framed photos that are in the garage. This is a challenging area in this entire process, it can be very emotional and should be saved for a day you feel strong.
(I also have thousands of printed photos (another task) of our family that were taken prior to the digital age, seen here. The only good news is I can identify the people and places in my photos.)
Today is attic people. I must stay focused. One-day one-thing. Cheers!