I have finally pinpointed the source of my anxiety and depression, and am taking action to combat it.
In one hand is a trash bag, in the other, a donation box. Bring it on.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stop the Junk

I'm finding that living the life of a minimalist is not as easy as I thought it would be. I am having no problem getting rid of stuff, which is where I thought I would struggle... it's the not bringing more IN.

It doesn't matter how many times you purge, organize, shuffle things from container to container. If you are not being a good "gate keeper" (as Francine Jay puts it in The Joy of Less) then there is NO POINT to all of your efforts.

For example. A few days ago, I found a stack of junk mail lurking in my kitchen, and I gleefully pitched it all in the trashcan. Weee! Get outta my apartment, crusty junk! This filled up the trashcan, so I did my duty and dragged the stinky plastic monstrosity out to the dumpster. On the way inside, I stopped by the mailbox, grabbed the mail, and absentmindedly set it down on the counter before strolling off to do other things.

Now... wait a minute. What was the point of that?? I didn't accomplish anything, not really. Yes, I kept it from getting worse, but I didn't improve the quality. It's the same as it was before I "purged" the junk mail. I was still letting junk take up residence in my home.

Granted, this is a very superficial example, but it's the easiest to explain. I've been really struggling with telling myself "no" with impulse buys. It's strange, because I thought that I was a very frugal and reasonable shopper. The sad thing, is that I sort of am... in comparison to many of the people around me. Yet I'm often coming home with doohickys and deedads, flyers, free samples, and bits of this n' that, not to mention TRASH.

I'm thinking of putting a little note in my wallet, something to remind me to think twice before swiping that card. For that matter I should post a little plaque on my front door: JUNK NOT WELCOME.

 p.s. Receive a lot of "pre-approved" credit card offers? You should go visit www.optoutprescreen.com! It's offered for free through the credit bureaus. It can not only help keep junk out of your box, but help you to prevent yourself (OR OTHERS!) from opening up credit cards and dinging your credit and home with unnecessary purchases.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Baby Steps

Hello friends! I'm still here, slowly chipping away at the mountain. I have decided to challenge myself to a one-a-day accomplishment. I'm going to throw away or donate at least one thing every day!

It's not as daunting as it sounds. My one thing a day could be a stack of junk mail, old left-overs in the fridge, an expired and forgotten tube of mascara hiding under the sink, you get the idea.

I am not limiting myself to one thing every day, if I get on a roll then I'll just go with it, but I want to keep myself thinking along a stream-lined path on a daily basis.

Here's what I have been up to this past week (plus).

I have resumed my ongoing battle with my closet. I've managed to clean out a few shelves, I've pulled the bins fabric from the top, and cleared out some of the hangers. I'm not there yet, but I'm getting closer. A lot of these clothes that are left are still ones that I don't wear. Although they are the right "size", they don't fit right. I was wearing "Junior" styles when I was last this small. I've had two kids since then, I've got woman curves!

The problem is that if I just get rid of everything, there won't be anything left. I'm slowly trying to replace and upgrade my wardrobe. One good thing in, one less desirable thing out.  (The interesting blue and white pattern you see is a hand-me-down wrap dress from my grandmother. I'm still trying to decide whether I love it or not. Maybe I'll take a photo of me in it and let you decide!)

My little boys have also been "helping". I have a few boxes filled with things to donate, so I let sit them on the bed and go through those while I work.

William, my one year old, likes to lay in the clothes. Gregory, my two year old, thinks it's funny to try them on.

The day I took these photos I had just put a bunch of books into the box. The majority of them were the "obvious" donation books. (Cheap romance and YA fiction.) A lot of them have photos of horses, which excited Gregory. I love how he just cuddled in and started "reading", looking for the photos at the top of each chapter.

Things I found and kicked to the curb....

An old sewing machine that no longer works, lurking in the back of my closet under some shoes.

An expired and unneeded car seat. This photo was after I'd cut the straps. (To prevent unwitting dumpster divers from endangering their children with a car seat that is expired, which means the plastic has become brittle and dangerous in the event of an accident.)

WHAT is this, hiding under my desk??

Frickin' Baby Walker!??
This belongs to my dad. My baby hasn't used it in over six months, maybe more.
WHYYY is it still hiding out in my bedroom??
This needs to be returned. Pronto.

I'm hoping to start updating more often, especially with my One-A-Day efforts. I also have a reader-requested post in the works, about small kitchen appliances, so stay tuned for that!