Friday, October 26, 2012

Owning Less is Easier Than Organizing More

Did someone say easier? Music to my ears!

Don't Just Declutter. De-Own.
By Joshua Becker.

■ "It doesn’t benefit anyone else. The possessions that we rarely use sit on shelves in our basements, attics, and garages… even while some of our closest friends desperately need them.

■It doesn’t solve our debt problems. It never addresses the underlying issue that we just buy too much stuff. In fact, many times, the act of rearranging our stuff even costs us more as we purchase containers, storage units, or larger homes to house it.

■It doesn’t turn back our desire for more. The simple act of organizing our things into boxes, plastic bins, or extra closets doesn’t turn back our desire to purchase more things. The culture-driven inclination to find happiness in our possessions is rarely thwarted in any way through the process.

■It doesn’t force us to evaluate our lives. While rearranging our stuff may cause us to look at each of our possessions, it does not force us to evaluate them… especially if we are just putting them in boxes and closing the lids. On the other hand, removing possessions from our home forces questions of passion, values, and what’s truly most important to us.

■It accomplishes little in paving the way for other changes. Organizing may provide a temporary lift to our attitude. It clears a room and subsequently clears our mind, but rarely paves the way for healthy, major lifestyle changes. Our house is too small, our income is too little, and we still can’t find enough time in the day. We may have rearranged our stuff… but not our lives."

Read the rest of the article here...

And for more, inspiration and ideas from Joshua Becker, visit his website, Becoming Minimalist !

Thursday, October 25, 2012

You're Winning Space by Losing Stuff

My friends at 365 Things recently posted about the strategy of Focusing on the Space as a way to keep the energy up if (and inevitably when) your delucluttering mission gets discouraging or the amount of stuff you have seems insumountable.

It's true that our belongings can define us sometimes or feel like a part of us; oftentimes not even because we love or like them but simply because they've been in our lives so long.

Decluttering and reducing the stuff in our lives can seem like a punishment because sometimes it's admitting to yourself that you made a poor purchase and getting rid of them seems like a huge loss: I know they don't fit well and I never wear them, but I paid so much for these shoes!

But that's not the whole picture.

You're not really losing a pair of shoes if you don't even wear them in the first place.

Because losing 1 bad pair of shoes actually makes you a winner in 3 ways:
  1. It frees up a pair of shoes to someone who might love them
  2. It frees up your mind from the sight of a bad pair of shoes that remind you of a bum purchase
  3. It frees up precious closet space for a pair of shoes you love to wear which desserve to be there. (And if you're still on the hunt for the perfect pair of shoes, then you get to admire the empty, tranquil space which is also quite satifying.)

Focus on the gain, not the loss!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cindy's Not Perfect Either!

The Latest from Cindy at 365 Less Things: Cindy's Weekly Wisdom on Perfectionism!

"Perfectionism. Can you be too perfect? Oh yeah. Ironically, many cluttered people are perfectionists. Certainly perfectionism was one of the anchors that used to hold me back.

Wanting everything to be perfect can keep you from making progress in a number of ways:

  • You don’t have the perfect organization system, so you have no system.

  • You can’t get rid of something because you need to determine the perfect person / perfect place for that item to go next.

  • You know the perfect person – the exact perfect person – and the fact that you only see them once every two years is not going to budge you from hanging onto the item until that day comes around again.

  • You’re afraid that you don’t have the perfect amount of time necessary to tackle a decluttering job as perfectly as it deserves, so you don’t start…ever.

  • You fear that your efforts will get messed up – they won’t remain perfect, so why get started at all?

Good enough is good enough! Are your ideas about perfection – both its desirability and your ability to achieve it – holding you back from making progress? One day at a time, one thing at a time will get you where you want to go. No perfection necessary.   --------------------

Where to begin?   Start with the Easy Stuff : from 365 Less Things    

I'm so glad Cindy covered the topic of perfectionism, because I couldn't agree more - and speak from experience- that folks with too much stuff usually are perfectionists and perfectionism is a huge stumbling block. If waited for this blog to be perfect-- and I did for a long time-- I'd not be posting at all. Once I got that through my head, and reminded myself that everything  (including myself) is a work in progress, I jumped in.  Ready or not.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Keeping Clutter at Bay

Greetings from the top of the rubble pile! I've been busy moving ouf of my office and out of the apartment  and though I doubted I'd live at times during each process I can confirm that I have survived!

It's amazing how much stuff was in either location - even after purging a majority of it. The process reminded me that decluttering is a daily mindset that requires daily decisions in order for it to work-- just like diet or exercise -- and though the process of reviewing stuff and deciding its fate can be angst-ridden at times-- it does get easier with practice, and the results are so refreshing and rewarding it's worth it.

While I unpack belongings in the new locales, I'll make sure not to keep things I packed in haste or packed fearing waste-- because I only want what I need and nothing more. Until very recently, I thought that minimalists were snobs with no personality or interests. Now, I'm realizing they're just more realistic. How many file folders will I need at this job in a given week? Seriously. 25? 50? 100? 200? 300? From the looks of what I brought to my new office, I'll have to work about 60 more years to use them all.    

Folders? Going. . .   

Good Housekeeping with 52 Clutter Busting Tips

52 Clutter Busting Tips from Good Housekeeping

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's Time to De-Clutter If This Drawer Is Not the Junk Drawer

Welcome to my kitchen:

This is not the junk drawer.  


Now, have a look. 

Same old drawer with less! 

Almost new, yes?

Yay! We put everything on the table and donated a kitchen's worth of duplicative and rarely-used utensils to charity*. One notable rarely/never used item: melon baller. Now, a melon baller can be united with a melon by a melon ball lover instead of wasting its time at our house crammed in a drawer collecting dust and dirty looks from more popular items.

I kept the "I love you" toast tattoo maker for practical reasons. The tattoo doesn't show up that well on whole wheat but is probably super decent on Wonder white. Will advise.

* The Salvation Army now comes to you! They'll happily collect the items you've set aside for donation; simply call 1-800-SATRUCK to schedule a pickup, and everyone wins: more space for you, more help for others in need!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Where Did All This Crap Come From? Check Your Email

  • TWO DAYS ONLY 25% off - act now! 48-Hour Sale!
  • Last Chance to Save - These Sales End Tongiht
  • Factory BLOWOUT + Last Day FREE Shipping Coupon
  • Grab Our Value of the Day Before It's Gone
Don't buy into the lies and hollow threats. There's always another coupon, sale, bargain, blowout. Always.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

20 Things to Toss Today

20 Simple Ways to Say Good Riddance to Unwanted Stuff by Valerie Rains

Sometimes You Need a Reason

Back in the day, I didn't care too much if my floors were clear enough to crawl around on or sparkling clean enough eat off of. For what it's worth, Doodle never complained. Having clean floors just wasn't that important to me. To psychoanalyze, we could even suggest I didn't think I was important enough for clean floors. Who knows. Besides, isn't every floor clear enough to crawl around on after a couple martinis? Bonus if you broke your fall in a pile of fries: breakfast is served!  The Hoff knows what I'm talking about.

But sometimes you need a reason--a reason bigger than yourself--to make a change in your life. Sure, deep down you really have to want it for yourself in order for the change to stick, but to get started and see a difference, doing it for someone else can be the kick in the pants you need.

My reason for wanting floors clean enough to crawl on and clean enough to eat off of? This guy, pictured this morning:

Because despite what I think I deserve, he deserves no less. When John was born, clean became  priority. Then came the eventual "shoes off policy" we adapted when he started to crawl. We started  "shoes off" for his benefit, but ended up keeping it for everyone based on nothing other than logic: In NYC, our feet is our transportation, our sidewalks are our highways, and dog poop is our road kill. If you drove over a skunk, why would you then park your car in your living room?

It's been a clean space for a long time, but it wasn't always a clear space. I didn't see the importance of that until later when John was learning to walk. Once when he was toddling around, I never noticed the bag of crap I had put there for no other reason than I didn't have a place for it. The big bag of crap had probably been there for days, weeks or even a month before I noticed it at all, let alone that it was in the way, everyone's way, until I was taking pictures. Pictures of my beloved son, learning to walk, with this huge bag of crap in his path.

Yep, a big bag of crap, not important enough to have a place or purpose in my life, but somehow too imporant to discard. I moved the crap out of the way because it was ruining the shot. After I took the picture, I put it back.

Staging pictures in my own house? I care less that the bag of crap is impeding my child than the fact that the bag of crap is impeding the picture? What's wrong with that picture? Time with my family is more important to me than my stuff, and this stuff is costing me time? I toss the bag of crap in the middle of this floor only to find that I miss it, can't I always buy another one? I can't buy more time.

Bye, bag of crap.

Spaces clear of things are more open, brighter and easier to clean. Less time cleaning means more time playing!

What's your reason?

Now, can I interest anyone in a fresh floor Cheerio? Floor grape?

Feng Shui and the Energy of Your Home: How Clutter Stunts Your Energy and Your Life

They Want You To Want It

"We don't need to increase our goods nearly as much we needs to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it." ~ Donald Horban


Saturday, October 06, 2012

Moving: Bummer and Blessing

In one week, I have to pack up my office for a move downtown, and my family for a move while our kitchen is demolished.  Each move on it's own is annoying, physically and mentally exhausting, requring an intimate inventory of years of crap and requisite decisions made on the destiny of each item down to the tiniest, lousiest paperclip. What lives. What dies. What is recycled.

Multiply that by two?

Nothing makes you wish you were a minimalist or a hobo quite like moving does.

Get Rid of Clutter By Pretending You're Moving

Friday, October 05, 2012

Hi, I'm Anne, and I Have Too Much Crap in My House

Hi, I'm Anne, and I have too much crap in my house.

Hi, Anne. 


Anne, when did you realize you had too much crap in your house?

I'm almost 80 years old and it still takes me 3 hours to pack.

"I won't need a fleece, right? I'm not bringing the fleece."

I always need the fleece.

How Do You Know You Need To Declutter? by Cindy, 365 Less Things

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Step 1: Start Small. But Start. Now.

Perfection is the enemy of getting things done.

Welcome to my new blog!