simplify

?Question? box your stuff.

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Once a pack-rat always a pack-rat?  Could this be my fate? I am disgusted with all the crap in my new fixer-upper.

Even after all this time of moaning and reasoning, learning, and purging, there is still too much crap!  I give advice like it’s nobody’s business, yet here I am facing a mess.  And when I see it I feel like, “Damn what happened?”

What’s my excuse?  Tell me because I would  like to know.

My guess is that I am fearful.  All the self help books out there claim fear is the strongest of emotions that guide our decisions….so I must be afraid.

Afraid of what?

I am afraid of being without, even though being without is my goal.  So I have a major problem here.

madonna-material-girl-video-cap-0056

I was raised in the material world, with the material girl.  I used to claim to my step sons that Madonna was my sister….they were kids (little kids), they didn’t now any better.  I also told them I was from outer-space  and that was even way cooler than being anyone’s sister.  Point being materialism runs deep in my veins.  I am ashamed to say, one of my nick names was “Shoppin’-Shirley.”

I held no limits and knew few worries.  Whatever, whenever as long as it was fun, and even better if I could buy something. My life was spinning without direction or boundaries.  Anything was possible.  Everything was an adventure.  Things were fun.  Buying was fun.  For me the late 80’s and all of the 90’s were out of control.  And I liked it!

Sorry if I am repeating myself

So fast forward to reality, ugh, do we have to?  Yes we do.  Now I am still on this quest. I call it my “journey to living better with less” but I am in a funk.  I have not reached my goals.  I am slowly pulling myself out of this funk, but that doesn’t make the extra stuff magically disappear.

Now for the: What am I going to do about it question?

I am going to start over.  I am going to the Start Here section of my blog and follow my own advice.  I may skip around the numbers some, depending what I feel like doing.  I am adding a new twist, I am going to hold myself accountable.  Astonishing right?  Accountability. Wow.

I have been lax in taking photos.  So regarding photos, I am going to try something new. I am going to take Reward photos, pictures of stuff packed-up and ready to go.  No matter where it is going.  The rule is there are only four places anything can go:

1. Donation

2. Sale

3.Trash/Recycling

4. ?Question? box. 

empty_box

The ?Question? box is new to me.  It’s my last thin thread of my holding-on tendencies   Items placed in the ?Question? pile can live there a week, and only a week.  Seven days.  After that week is up their fate is sealed.

This is my plan. If you are in the same boat maybe you too can kick-start your journey to living better with less. Wish me luck.  Cheers.

Helpful link: The January Cure.  This is a day by day plan for improvement in one month. Plus Apartment Therapy is an awesome site.

break

Tip: The more you put in the ?Question? box the better.

Inspiration: “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

One-day one-thing: Make a ?Question box? or area.

Free from the grip

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This is basically how I feel and what I believe in a nut shell.

Please watch and actually take a moment to see how materialism has shaped your life.  I was forced to look at my ways, and I am better for it.  At least, I feel better and I am happier.

I am free from the grip of corporations, and I strive to become even more free each and every day.

Cheers!

mindtrash fall-out

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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!

Time has come

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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.

Tools needed:

1.Shredder

2. Scanner

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.

5. Music

6. Determination

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 have never

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It’s difficult to believe this but I have never sat in a coffee shop alone with my laptop. I have never gone to a library to read. I’ve only once gone to a sit-down restaurant by myself.

I’m no spring chicken. I have done many many other things that maybe someone else hasn’t done. But seriously the simple things are foreign to me.  I never felt I had the luxury of time to do these things, or I would tell myself ,  “I can do that at home.”  Doing simple things at home is never the same as doing them else where, and they rarely happen.

I remember on one vacation I was happy to cook everyone breakfast, no matter what time they woke up.  Looking out the kitchen window there nothing but beach between me and Pacific Ocean.  I determined I could cook there non-stop. At home I might say to the late risers, “I’ve been up for five hours I just had lunch.”

Here is the key, when you get home, there’s always something tugging at you. If not physically then mentally. At least in my case there is. Considering what lives at home off and on; two dogs, two cats, three children, a husband and my mother, tugging at me comes as no surprise.  That’s another reason I am heading to minimalism less stuff to even consider or clutter your thoughts.  You don’t have to bother yourself with items that have to be stored, or saved for another time, or cleaned and repaired.  No.  No Mas. The time is now.

Time to change it up a bit.

I figure I can spare one hour a day, with a minimum of travel time on either side.  So lets make it two hours.  Two hours instantly scares me into thinking I cant do this.  But I know I can if I really want it.  If I want it more than doing laundry today, or lingering on the internet,  I can spare some time to hang with nature.  That’s what I like to do.  You might like something totally different.  Maybe you won’t get to it exactly at the time you wanted, but if you want it, you can get there.

Time to let yourself know, you make the your decisions.  Face it, when we make excuses many times we still don’t even do “the excuse” of why we couldn’t do what we wanted.  Time sucks are everywhere.  You need to identified and destroy those time-leaks.

For a while I was taking the dogs to the park , throwing down a blanket and sketching with my colors pencils and reading.  With this small outing, took my hectic-life and I made it stop.  I was there.  Nothing else was allowed to tugged at me.  It was pretty awesome.

Start simply: here’s an idea you can do at home tonight.

How about a  luxury bath?  Even if you don’t usually take baths, try this on for size; 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of baking soda, and 10 drops of lavender oil to bathwater as hot as you can tolerate.

I am doing this tonight.  I think I will light a few candles as well.  Love to hear how you like it , if you do it.

Cheers!

Tip: Start small, little changes every day is the best way to change your life, but don’t allow yourself to miss even one day no matter what.

Inspiration: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”- Buddha

One day – one thing: Take ten minutes, close your eyes and visualize your life as you want to live it.

Waiting

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Waiting is hard.

Have you ever found yourself waiting and getting irate, grumpy or even snippy. It’s all a waste of your time life. You end up hurting those around you and also making everyone miserable including yourself.

Right now we are still waiting on our final contract to buy this house Project1923. We have signed everything but they made one error on the original, and boom everything stopped. One box was checked incorrectly. I could finish that correction in a nano second, but we are dealing with people who have thousands of these deals hitting their desks everyday. We dealing indirectly with Freddie Mac, they own the majority of the foreclosures. The banks just unload those properties to the government. We were warned. Everybody told us that it’s nearly impossible to deal with them.

Before we notice that incorrectly checked box, we were working at rapid speed. They “required” a 24 hour turn around from us, and we gave it to them. Unfortunately, they made a mistake. And now we wait. They have to correct it, and send it to us. Whenever they get to it.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

This is were I am working really hard at patience. I try not to think about it. I just tell myself everything will be okay. And actually to my own surprise I am not at all concerned or worried. I think time and life events have beat me into submission. I can recall so many instances waiting. Usually waiting for something so important that I could not sleep or eat. And now, I don’t give it much thought.

Why? you ask. Because I can not do a damn thing to change it. I couldn’t change any of my previous “waits” either.

This is one of the many keys to life. I would classify this as a big huge key to life. I am not an alcoholic but AA sure has it covered with that “Serenity Prayer” they quote.

So let it go if you can not control it. As you practice this habit of letting go over time you will come to the realization there is very little in life you actually control. That is, except your very own peace of mind. Think about it. Then live it.

I guarantee you will love it.

Cheers!

Tip: Practice being the person who doesn’t make sour faces while waiting in line, smile instead.

Inspiration:” Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there’s always something we could be grateful for.”- Barry Neil Kaufman

One day – one thing: Patrice breathing at stop lights; count to 2 as you inhale- to 4 as you exhale, and increase as you are able.

Sale time, yet again

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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!

Eat your heart out Storage Wars.

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.

This was the first day of having a storage unit, it looks so naive.

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.