So I am still on my treacherous journey to living better with less, however I’ve had a few roadblocks thrown my way. For instance; perpetual moving. We moved last year, and we moved again this year, plus for some added fun we moved our office last month.
When you have to move with deadlines, you tend to throw things where ever they will fit, and this only leads to more chaos.
Welcome to my chaos land. I have piles of crap, a storage unit that is totally filled again due to overflow from the business move, and a basement that needs to be transformed into livable space by Thanksgiving.
I hate it. I have been working on this for over a year. Sometimes it feels as if I am getting nowhere fast.
My focus yesterday was make-up. I didn’t take any photos (took the one above just now), because I just forgot. I forgot that, “hey maybe I’ll blog about this and get back on track.” Nope, my only thought was, “What the f*ck is all this stuff?” Tons of anti-aging shit. Really expensive brands that I never even used. I have wrinkles, because I should. I am the perfect age for me. But back when I didn’t even need the stupid wrinkle cream, I bought it. I was convinced I had to have it, time and time again. I bought into the hype, hook line and sinker.
And still I hang on to it; why? I mean seriously, some days I don’t have enough discipline to even remove my mascara before bed.
( best tip ever: use a little olive oil to remove mascara, I promise you’ll never go back to anything else )
What makes me think I will ever want to go through some “ritual” every night to see maybe a 5 % difference in fine lines in 60 days? Nothing. I would never see the difference anyway. In 60 days I would forget to even look.
In addition to the many miracle wrinkle creams, I found duplicates of various blushes, “glows” and even some Lip Venom. Lip Venom I bought maybe 4 years ago – unopened. Like I need Lip Venom. Big sigh.
I rarely wear make-up beyond mascara and lipstick and for special ” I give a sh*t days” days I may wear some cover. Even still haven’t pulled the trigger to go ahead and thrown away all these concoctions.
I can see now, I am really writing this post to psych myself into throwing hundreds of dollars of cosmetics away. Tonight is garbage night. Which means if I do it now, there is no turning back. (Update I didn’t throw anything away on garbage night.)
One good thing has come from this huge burden of material things, I have stopped purchasing items I think I want. I have been sticking closely to buying only needs. Lucky for me, my “needs” are really very few and far between. ( not to say big ticket items don’t pop up when unexpected -like brakes, tires, tie-rods, flight for children, and animal care, etc.) But I have stopped buying meaningless stuff, and that’s a step in the right direction.
A guy I know once told me that his goal was to ” live below his means.” I like that thinking. That’s where I want to be; less stuff, no debt, and a simple life. This is my goal. Everyday we are getting closer, but it’s a long process and along the way we do stumble.
The only thing to do after you stumble, I mean FALL, is get back up.
Here’s to getting back up. Cheers.
(*Ignore my foul language that’s just how the words came out today. )
I am currently drowning in a sea of paper. Paper that I never ask to recieve. All junk. Junk snail mail.
We closed on our new house in April, and I still have not changed my address. I am afraid of the mail. Actually I am terrified as to how much more will show up.
I have so many papers from the kids, the business, my many other non-profitable wastes of time, bank cards, student loans, medical billings….you name it, and it keeps growing. I am sure some of you can feel my pain. I just want to be left alone. Remember Kramer and the post office episode:
That’s where I am….. “I want out, permanently.”
I am tire of the mindset that something important will be in the mail…..it is never important. Never. If it is important someone will knock on your door and make you sign for it. Been there and done that a few times, and guess what ? It is usually important, and usually not good news, so why would I want any more of that?
This is all getting to my clutter “issue”…..Okay let’s call this one a Problem with a capital “p”. I have been trying to de-clutter for what feels like and eternity now, and I don’t feel like I am getting anywhere.
I want to be honest, but I can’t even bring myself to take a photo of where I am sitting. Okay, you talked me into it…..I am only sharing this photo to make you feel better…..here goes…..gotta find my iPhone…. still too lazy to get my big camera out. Ok ready……
This is bad.
Granted we are in the middle of a total renovation of our house, and we haven’t yet finished even one room. The renovation is taking far longer than we ever could have imagined in a million years.
Dining room table/desk inventory: Wine glass from last night (nice touch gonna have to rinse that out for tonight), dog brushes thus add “dog hair to my clutter”, a paint palette, a white board, a printer, a stapler , headphones, a new light fixture from Ikea….and of course junk mail, and papers.
This isn’t acceptable. I gots me a problem.
What to do when you are overwhelmed and unable to focus:
1. Drink alcohol.
2. Stay up real late browsing the web.
3. Make zero attempt to fix this situation because you know it’s only going to happen again.
4. Acknowledge you have this problem, because they say that’s the “first step” to fixing it…..Do this so you feel better and can justify another glass of wine.
5. Talk with anyone around about funny things that have happen in your life….This causes you to laugh and forget you even have a messy desk/table.
6. Make a plan in the back of your head as how to procrastinate cleaning up this mess tomorrow. After all weekends were made to enjoy. We only get so many summer weekends in a year. Make it a good one!
Okay, so yeah this isn’t the way to get anything done. It’s the tomorrow of yesterday, and I am about to go to the park. By nightfall I plan to have a living room and a dining room that are identifiable. Wish me luck!
I know I have been missing from this blog, I have been working super hard on our renovation Project 1923. I have been without a kitchen and a real bed for quite some time now, and I think it has help to change my perspective. Simpler is better and easier for me. Oh, and we no longer watch TV……that’s huge.
If you want to get the trash out of your head, turning the TV off is essential. Try it for a week…. I dare you. For serious down time, too tired to move or think down time, I have Netflix. Not the greatest selection, but the documentaries seem to suit me well at the moment.
Bit by bit, I am applying what I preach to my own life. I have tamed the old wild-ass-consumer I used to be. Curbed the hoarder I became as a result my shopping and now I think more clearly. Literally I pause before each buying decision. This solidifies my desire to use less, have less, and want less. Not buying is incredibly empowering. It truly is.
Just recently I’ve caught myself walking away from negative conversations. That’s right, just walking away…..I don’t care if someone thinks I am a weirdo. Who cares what anyone thinks anyway? ( you never know what is in their mind, so quit thinking about it. It’s trash thinking, a waste of your own time and mind power.) Be yourself, be kind, and do your best. It is that simple.
As far as politics go, I have to turn it WAY off. I am very opiniated about my political beliefs, however, I am never going to change a right-winged mentality. I have learned that lesson and want no part of it. It’s all trash- doesn’t accomplish a thing. I am liberal at heart, and I have no problems with that. ( good thing I have a handful of political friends on line – or on-demand if you will – it’s nice to touch base without all the drama. )
Life is still hectic.
Our move has proven to be a great decision. We love our new town and our neighborhood. It’s diverse, interesting and people are super friendly. The house was a bargain, and the work we are doing to it is rewarding. I have learned many skills and am stretching my imagination. The satisfaction from a completed project is HUGE.
We are appreciating the good and actually ” living with less” is much more awesome than I ever thought possible.
I heard a friend say one day, ” My goal is to live well below my means.” That stuck with me and I have chosen it as one of my many goals. It’s fun.
Mini Update: I have weeded out my pottery, and actually am parting with some of my children’s art work. The storage unit is less crowded, we hope to move to a smaller unit by September first. Currently my focus is on our renovation, 29 days of giving, real work and family. Soon I will be paining ( art) again, it’s nice to even feel like painting again.
Whatever you want to change, you can – even if it takes forever – you have the power. Until next time. Cheers!
I bought a plastic cup. This goes against everything I believe, but I have become super tired of spilling everything in my car. I need to drink more water, we all do, but I was spilling more than drinking. So I broke and bought a cup with it’s own cover and straw. Wow, huge purchase!!!
I am trying to get rid of things and not add to the clutter…….but…..this purchase was meant to be.
It’s quite possible that I could have taken a swig out of this cup last night in the dark if not for my new sippy cup.
So there you have it. Beware of the creatures in the night.
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 am convinced that dogs have the world figure out. I know am not the first to say this, but I don’t care. When a dog barks he is not saying anything new.
Dogs can read another dog as easily as we can read directions on a cake box. Those direction are very clear and concise leaving no room for errors.
When dogs meets other dogs and there’s an instant positive vibe, then they are perfectly okay with that new friend(s). It’s simple. Dogs just trust their own instincts. If they don’t like what the meet , they bristle and let that dog know to stay the $%^# away.
Think of how many times you’ve gone against your own best judgement or a feeling you had but couldn’t exactly explained. We humans call that a “gut instinct” or ” intuition” but I really believe it lives as truth in the heart section of your brain. I don’t even know if there is a heart section of the brain, but I choose to believe there is.
I think we need to pay super close attention to whatever we tell ourselves inside our heads and hearts.
I have had some difficult times, we all have, and I have tried to fix problems I didn’t cause. ( May no good deed go unpunished)
I am here to say forget those problems. Whatever issue it is, if you in absolute truth can not control it, then it isn’t something to waste one once of energy trying to correct or fix. Don’t worry or fret, don’t ponder or gossip, don’t talk and re-talk, just choose live without it.
Shake it off. Wag your tail, take a walk and smell the air. Dig in the dirt. Be happy that you were fed today, smile and carry on.
Tip: Always put your keys in the same place.
Inspiration: ” We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.” -Barbara De Angelis
One-day one-thing: Plan a picnic for the next nice free day you have.
There’s something out there that wants to take me down. I swear, I am doing all I can and bad sh*t keeps happening.
This morning, I was on my way to the dog park. I started the engine and I hear a thump, and when I backed out there was a headless bloody creature dead on my driveway. I don’t do well with gore, so a took the poop scooper, shielded my eyes and flung it into the bushes.
A little bloody organ remained stuck to the drive but I couldn’t stomach it. So I left.
On my way home, the AC in the van didn’t work. I thought that was peculiar, but things got worse. Every single service light on the dash was on. Apparently every working part of my car was in distress. Next the radio went silent, and then the car no longer let me know how fast I was going or how much gas I had. All the gauges went dead. Just like the helpless creature on the drive.
I was able to get home but a car was blocking the drive. I parked in the street, and that is where the car took it’s final breath.
This isn’t the only thing not going my way. I have a person who wants to sue me over not buyer their house. I never signed the counter offer, so to me there isn’t an executable contract. This doesn’t stop sue- happy people. This seller refuses to sign the mutual release and the real estate company is holding $1000.00 bucks of my cold cash. Needless to say I am pissed.
I could use that money right now to fix my car problem. ( most likely an alternator $450 -$500)
But hey, things could be worse, and most likely they will get worse.
As long as I am held in limbo, I can not buy a house. House number #3 or #4 is back on the market, we lost it before in multiples. This is a second chance for us to buy it. However I can’t, without being released from the non-contract contract, all because of her
threat promise to sue me. <heavy sigh>
One day: We are going to have our own place and I am going to tell all the fuckers in the world to back the fuck off. People who are mean, nasty and lie. They put all their twisted efforts towards getting something for nothing. They and the people that serve them, the pond scum lawyers, are repulsive human beings.
And that is how I really feel right now.
Tip: Don’t believe anyone. Especially anyone who is in a position to make money off of you.
Tip2: Don’t believe elderly people when they say they don’t remember or when they say they can’t hear you- they are lying.
Inspiration: “Lying is done with words and also with silence.”- Adrienne Rich
One-day one-thing: Get rid of people you can not trust, no ifs, ands, or buts. Just do it.
Okay here we go, into the holidays a time when people buy gifts for people because they are supposed to, or because they really want to, or because it’s tradition. Many people do this knowing that they really can’t afford to spend their cash, or worse their credit, and they do it anyway.
I used to love the holidays. Loved them. One year I even dragged my DH to the mall on Black Friday just because I wanted to be part of the chaos. Another year I flew to NYC and back the same day, just to be there on Black Friday for the fun of it.
I use to buy things for people I barely knew, just because it was fun. Fun to shop, fun to buy, fun to wrap and fun to give. Also I bought gift for people in case I ran into them somewhere. Many of those gifts are in my box of “new” things in our storage unit. ( somewhere )
When the children were little I spent every Christmas Eve wrapping while watching “The Christmas Story” marathon, I never went to bed. I would finish about six a.m. and they would be wide awake shortly there after. Those were the good years, even if I was sure to end up exhausted and full of champagne by noon. It was fun and exciting. They were always so surprised and honestly very cute. It was unpredictable and all brand new to them..
After many years of playing Santa Claus I started to find myself a little burned out, but it was still fun.
This year is drastically different. Here are the factors: My children are young adults. They either don’t want anything or what they do want is way too expensive. As for us, we are trying to declutter, so we don’t want anything. Nothing please. Additionally we are in a savings mode, because in the back of our minds we think we’ll be looking for a house again soon.
There will be no decorating, because we aren’t living in our own home. We won’t have our own tree, our own music or anything. And seeing as we were never church goers, we don’t have that tradition to fall back on.
I guess we’ll do the usual, the annual Christmas exchange of cash inside cards for the cousins. (that’s what everyone in the entire family does – every year) We never know if they will be there or not? But I always have the cards with cash ready.
It will be cold. It’s always cold.
This past many years have taught me so much, but right now I am tired of learning these life lessons. Enough already.
( which normally means I am about to get slammed with another one )
So this year I’ll be asking Santa for a big red velvet bag full of love, joy and peace, life lessons NOT included. That’s all I want.
“Pssst Santa, can you hear me? “
Tip: Remind yourself it’s only one day and read Gandhi before company arrives.
Inspiration: ” Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi
One-day one-thing: Send someone who has crossed your mind a seasonal card even if you haven’t stay in touch.
This is particular difficult to achieve one hundred percent of the time. I mean if you are like me, you spent the last 20 plus years buying stuff. You bought for your house, your garden, your dogs, your cats, you bought for the new baby, and the new baby after that and so on. When I am faced with looking at those things I bought sometimes I see the joy it brought, but more times than not I see a price tag. Front and center my mind tells me, “Man that was expensive.” The next thought is “and we barely used it.”
My item today: our pool table. I bought it as a birthday present for my husband, back when the children were little. We thought they would grow up have friends over and shoot pool, like we did when we were younger. Not so much. Video games, organized sports, movies and social networking was the main stay of their teen years.
This particular purchase is more “dwell” worthy than just it alone, because when we moved we actually put an addition on our house to hold the table. Ugh! I recently tried to sell it for weeks – not a single bite.
I can’t dwell. Currently the pool table is in storage, at a U-store-it place. It’s been in storage before , so there still may be hope for future usefulness. I am not sure.
My key here is do not dwell on it. It is what it is. Move on and do one thing today to move closer to living better with less.
I realized the other day that I lost out on 200.00. It’s as simple as that. I saved the coupon that encouraged me to go to a new bank and open a new account. I saved it, I put the coupon in a file for future use. Problem is I opened my new account forgetting all about the coupon. BAM! Two hundred bucks straight out of my pocket. I didn’t find this “saved” coupon until well after I opened my new bank account, and way past the coupon’s expiration date.
This is just one example of the many dollars I have lost due to my cluttered life and cluttered mind.
Suggestions: Only save food coupons for items you know you will buy within the next 7 days. Place your coupons on your refrigerator in plain sight.
Be strict with yourself. Write down the item or service that you will be using on your to-do list or make sure to mark it on your calendar. For service coupons, schedule the appointment right away, do not delay. You’ll will find over time you will be able to identify coupons that work for you, in reality, not just in your mind.