Friday, November 23, 2018

The Black Friday trap

Photo credit: Modern Minimalism on Facebook
I've never been one for shopping on Black Friday.  It's mostly because there's almost nothing I want in the world enough to get up at those hours, deal with those crowds, or wait in those lines for.  And usually the sales don't have anything to do with things I want or need anyway!  I've always believed that buying something you don't want just because it's on sale isn't saving money, it's spending money you would have saved by not buying anything.

I was feeling a little bad about being broke on Black Friday, though, especially because this year there is a particular store I would have liked to check out during the sales.  It turned out that their sales weren't that good this year, though, which made me feel a little better -- but then I saw this image circulating on Facebook, and that made me feel good, too.

So, again, remember: You're not really saving anything when a sale convinces you to buy something you weren't going to originally.  You're only saving money if you find a sale on something you were already going to get.  So waiting until Black Friday to buy something you want at a discount might be saving money, but buying something on Black Friday just because it's on sale is not.

In the end, I didn't do any shopping today whatsoever.  What about you?  Did you save 20 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent... or 100 percent?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Envision your goals

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to get out of my goals to downsize and declutter.

One of my primary goals is pretty simple: just to be able to walk around my house without noticing clutter.  I've gotten tired lately of stepping around things, or noticing the dust collecting on things I don't touch very often.

I'd really also like to reduce the number of things I have in my house, with the goal of making things easier to clean and making it easier to find places for things and keep them put away.  I envision closets, cabinets, and other storage areas that are cleaner, less cluttered, and more organized.

I think it's important to conceptualize what I want to get out of this.  I don't want to become completely minimalist, I just want to cut the stuff that I keep down to what's most important to me.

Last night, for example, I finally put a pile of nightgowns into my giveaway box.  I'd been thinking about doing so for a while but was on the fence about it.  I finally took the plunge last night because I reminded myself that I haven't actually worn them in years.  Who knows if they even fit?  And if I don't like them enough to want to wear them, I'm not going to make myself feel bad by trying them on.

I'm trying to make more decisions like this, as I start thinking more about decluttering as well as in my life in general.  I've also been trying to think, Do I really need that? before buying something.  While I am not normally opposed to getting something, enjoying it for a short while, and then getting rid of it, I'm at a time in my life where funds are a little tight, and I'd rather save my money for things that are more important to me.  If I'm not going to keep it for the long term, it's probably not terribly important that I buy it in the first place.

This blog post seems to be leaning a little toward the original idea for this blog, where I intended to get rid of something else every day.  But I mean it in a different spirit this time.  My plan before would have been so much more time consuming per item, which I think would have made it more of a daily burden.  Instead, I want it to be something I can do with an item or two in passing, with maybe a little time each week devoted to going through things.

What about you? What goals do you have for downsizing, decluttering, or whatever it is you'd like to do?

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Making time to declutter

One of the toughest things I struggle is finding time to go through things, declutter, and clean.  I've been extremely busy lately, and my house is definitely showing the strain.  Not only do I have all the usual clutter, I've been adding to it by not putting things away as reliably as I usually do, and I haven't cleaned in forever, either.

I've found a good way to get around the lack of time is to keep a box, bag, or bin in my room or closet where I can stash anything that I run across that I don't want to keep.  That way, if I'm putting away laundry or doing some other activity and find something I no longer want, I can just add it to the pile, and take everything in that box or bag to the thrift store when it gets full.  It saves me from having to find time to go through my entire closet, or my entire kitchen, all in one sitting.

The problem is that right now I have enough clutter that I don't have enough room for such a box or bag in my closets or somewhere out of the way, so I have to leave it out where it's in my way all the time.  When I already have enough other things in my way all the time, it's annoying to add another.

Another thing I think I've learned is that I can't expect to do an entire room in a weekend.  I just don't get that much time, plus it's overwhelming to do anything like that for more than just a few hours.  After a while you start making bad decisions because you start second-guessing yourself all the time.  I start vacillating wildly between wanting to get rid of everything willy-nilly, and wanting to get rid of nothing.

So instead, this weekend I made time to work on one box in my office.  As some background, I have a number of boxes and bins stashed in my office of old paperwork, receipts, and other miscellaneous stuff.  I have been meaning to go through it all for at least half a year, but finally I decided this weekend to do just one box, and it was the best decision I've made.  I put a bunch of things away to get to that one box, and once I cleared out that box, I felt like so much space had been made.

I'm not done with the contents of the box yet -- some of it was added to the pile of stuff to be shredded, some of it was added to a "to do" pile, and some of it is mementos that need to be filed away -- but it's progress!  I think if I can do a box or basket of receipts or something every day or every few days, I can file everything at once, recycle everything at once, shred everything at once, and then be done with the entire thing.

Ideally I'd like to do a little more with it tonight, but we'll see if I can find the time -- I have a bunch of other work to do too.  Hopefully I'll be able to find some time in the coming holiday week at the very least!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Goodbye, Things... some things, anyway?

Lately I've been reading a book called Goodbye, Things.  It's similar to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, in that it's another of these Japanese minimalist culture books encouraging people to get rid of all their things.  It's a little more extreme than Life-Changing Magic in some ways, and a little easier to follow in others.

In Life-Changing Magic, the author encourages you to get rid of anything that doesn't give you joy.  This means taking every thing you own in your hands over the course of six months or so, and seeing if you feel joy associated with it.  If not, get rid of it.

I don't know about you, but I get overwhelmed super quickly when I try this.  Before long, everything give me a strange mix of joy-not-joy that I can't feel my way through.  Which is why I like certain aspects to Goodbye, Things, even if his overall approach is more extreme.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Moving forward, out of the mess

Recently I've started to feel really tired of living in such a pigsty.

My house isn't super dirty, but it has become quite cluttered.  Some of it is stuff I just haven't done, like putting laundry away or taking out recycling.  Some of it is stuff I'm already planning on getting rid of, like things I'll be taking to a show and sale later this month.  But quite a bit of it is stuff I don't need, stuff I've just learned to look past and not see when I'm going through my daily motions of making coffee, working, cooking, and relaxing.

I'm tired of not seeing the mess.  I'm tired of navigating around the mess and not noticing.  I'm tired of being ashamed anytime anyone comes over.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Pro tip for getting rid of clothing

This week, quite accidentally, I hit upon a great way to get rid of clothing you no longer wear.

Step 1: Don't do laundry for a long time.  And I mean a long time.  Run yourself down until you are literally scraping the bottom of the barrel (or closet, or dresser drawer) trying to find something to wear.

Step 2: When you feel like you don't have anything else seasonal to wear, go through your clothes.  While you feel like you don't have anything to wear, chances are there are actually quite a few things remaining in your closet or drawers.

Step 3: Get rid of anything that's left in your closet, unless there's a good reason why you haven't worn it.  Too dressy, not seasonal, etc.  Be ruthless!  If you still haven't worn it, even with almost nothing left to wear, there's a reason for it.  If you won't wear it when you're practically out of clean clothes, are you ever going to wear it?

Step 4: Drive to the thrift store and drop everything off before you change your mind!  Most likely you won't miss anything once it's out of your house (especially if you wouldn't wear it even with nothing else available), but the longer you have it there, the more chance you'll change your mind.

And yes, I just did this.  I recently went through my clothes, but even so, I found quite a few more T-shirts to get rid of!  One step closer to have a cleaner, clutter-free closet.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Downsizing 101

I still remember the DSL tech who came to my little studio to set up my Internet, back when I was separated, and he and I joked that I was downsizing my husband.  I really was using the divorce as an opportunity to downsize... for a while.  I kind of lost sight of that goal for a while.

But I'm back to trying to downsize.  I got tired of accumulating (more) stuff since settling into a bigger place again.  I finally had more space, and so I promptly filled it... and now I'm out of space again.