Busy Times = Less Purging

It's my "busy season" for work right now. I look forward to the creative shot in the arm that living, breathing and sleeping with my work makes happen, but the rest of my plans tend to get de-railed (at least temporarily).

So if I'm not posting like I used to, don't be alarmed. I'll be back with new tales of clutter crusades, moments of minimalist inspiration and progress photos by the time the trick-or-treaters have haunted my front steps....

TTFN, I hope I don't get buried by the neglected accumulation over the next few weeks.


Handing Over the Reins

Miss Minimalist is one of my regular reads. And one segment she does regularly is "real life minimalist" where the minimalist shares their journey in their own words... very cool stuff reading the different motivations for simpler living. This week it is Sandi, and her story is of living abroad and of being robbed a few times motivating her to really evaluate the true value of her possessions.

It got me thinking. My hang-up is not my desire to live with less, my stumbling block is making the decision of what to keep. How can I simplify this process?

Experiment Time:. I am going to let my sister "rob" me one afternoon. I will provide boxes and tape, and she can box up anything that she thinks I can live with out. If I don't miss the items after 60 days I will be donating the boxes to my friend Spider for her charity work....  if I do miss an item, my sister can remove it from the box (without me seeing what else is in there).

(Even writing this out gives me shivers of fear, so I think it could be a very telling exercise!)

I'll keep you posted as to when this will happen....


Tough Measures

Boosted by my successful release of 4 boxes, 2 bags and a piece of furniture yesterday (all from my stuff stored at my sister for the "sale" of our home (ugh), I am waging war on my storage shelves in the basement today.

I am happy to report that the boys agreed to let go of 3 really bulky remote control vehicles and a pair of roller blades - straight off to the charity shop. The oldest boy SOLD his long board for $30 last week after finally admitting that he preferred his bikes by about a million percent too! (proud mommy)

I am horrified at the volume of crap that me, my husband and our 2 boys have been clinging to with the lame excuse of  "having the space". It would be truly wonderful to cut my shelving in half to be able to tuck my freezer in the space instead... I am getting there, slowly but surely.

My focus has to be on the goal. It is a mountain that I am determined to climb. Like an alcoholic that has tried to quit a thousand times, my clutter habit (the fact that I keep bringing stuff home) is not going away just by knowing it's the right thing to quit. It's not even enough to know the benefits of quitting or WANTING to quit. I have to feel it in my bones that's it's life or death. I have to beleive with all my heart that that phase of my life is truly, once and for all, OVER. The packrat must retire her bins, boxes and attachments. She must find the strength to overcome bad habits, the fortitude to NOT look at garage sales, thrift stores or sales racks. She must find it within herself to say NO to hand-me-downs that look useful and recognize when enough is enough... and whoah baby do I have enough!

The original Twelve Steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous* can easily be adapted to what us serious recovering packrats should follow:

1.We admitted we were powerless over [the potenially useful items]—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.Came to believe that [less stuff] could restore us to sanity.
3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of  [faith in what we can do with less].
4.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves [and our stuff].
5.Admitted to ourselves, and to other human beings the exact nature of our wrongs [that we let be in our home]
6.Were entirely ready to remove all these defects of character [and obstructive things].
7.Humbly ask [thrift shops, charities and garbage disposal] to remove our [excess stuff].
8.Made a list of all [spaces] we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9.Made direct amends to [remaining valued belongings] wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10.Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11.Sought through [careful consideration of belongings] to improve our conscious contact with [our true space and core values] and the power to carry that out.
12.Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to [packrats/shopaholics] and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
* I mean absolutely NO disrespect to AA, I am just drawing a parallel from one addiction to another and honouring these proven steps that work so very well for so many sufferers.

In addition to the physical decluttering, I will be going on a spending diet. I pledge to only buy immediately consumable items (ie: food, fuel, paper products) until Halloween - unless there is an absolute emergency of course. That's only 51 days, I am quite sure I can manage that!

The boys have enough clothes, the school supplies are in their bags, there are no birthdays for a bit and there is nothing I "need" right away. To launch this endeavour I will be pantry-shopping for as long as I can... it'll give my canned goods and freezer items a good use-it-up rotation!



Yesterday I went to my sister's house and got serious about clearing MY stuff out of there from when our house was staged.

My husband almost cried over the volume of crap returning to the house.... he was loving the show-home level of clean and tidy.

Box after box stacked into the pickup truck (and I have one more trip to make!).  I decided to approach one box at a time before it came into the house and deal with the contents immediately before really letting any stay. I talked the boys into filling one box each of their stuff to donate (I bribed them) and collected one bag of trash. With my stuff I have filled 2 boxes (and counting) of donatable items, and one special box of more valuable stuff for my friend Spider's fundraising.

Still... I'm nowhere even close to coming to terms with the influx of belongings... ugh.

Smothered, smothered, smothered. The tea cupboard is ready to burst again, and so are the spices... a month without a dozen varieties of herbal tea wasn't really that bad.... maybe I should just ditch them. How many bags of different kinds of hot-chili rubs do I really need when only one of them is my favourite?

Obviously I still ahve some purging to do before this avalanche of new old stuff threatens to bury me.


Bye Bye

I have a sock thing. I love socks. They are a cheap source of happy for me.... but enough is enough.

Today I purged:

7 pairs of boring socks.
2 t-shirts
1 pair of shoes
a few toys (shhh.... don't tell the kdis)
1 pair of capris that I haven't even tried to wear this summer

oh ya baby, that feels good! what else can I find?


It all has to come home

Now that my house is back OFF the market, I need to make some tough desicions about what is coming back into the house.

I parked some of the de-personalizing boxes of things in my sister's garage, but now they have to come home. Living in a "show home" was really quite nice (see my other post on that). It won't be easy. I will fight every box I'm sure. There were some things that I genuinely missed... but most things that I have pretty much forgotten about.

So far :
- a box of toiletries has been gone through... not too much luck there, I removed some perfumed lotions and some old nail polishes.
- a box of office stuff... I cleared out enough books from my bookshelf to find space for this box of circa 1960s Popular Mechanics Magazines (I still love them). TTFN seldom-used-reference books!

2 boxes down, 30 more to go!