Tag Archives: declutter

Crossing 17.5 Years Off of My To Do List

This weekend, I have been feeling pretty motivated to make headway on our home for four reasons:

  • We’re in a fresh, new year!
  • This is the last weekend of my holiday break.  I return to work tomorrow.
  • I am participating in The January Cure with Apartment Therapy.
  • My sister just took a job in the area, and she’s moving in with us today.

With The January Cure, the team at Apartment Therapy sends a task each day of January to encourage you to take action toward making your home the place you’d love it to be. Thursday’s task, the first of this project, had me sitting on the fence about participating in the Cure.  The assignment was to walk through your home and brainstorm about things you want to address in each area.  Daunting, I thought.  I was not concerned about the “walking around taking notes” part, I was concerned about the “seeing the whole list in one place” part.  Amazingly, though, tasks that I had avoided since moving in somehow seemed much simpler when they were just little line items to be crossed off.

And that’s where I kicked it into high gear.  Had I anticipated how much progress we’d make, I would have taken plenty of pictures to ensure a good “before.”  Alas, I couldn’t predict where the day would take us!

1.  The Big Desk [Time on To Do List: 1.5 years]

The Big Desk

The Big Desk

When we moved to town a year and a half ago, my sister asked if we’d be interested in taking over her lease so that she could move into an apartment that would better suit her needs.  Yes, we said happily! When she left, though, she left this one big piece of furniture.  One huge piece.  It is an L-shaped desk that is made from a solid wooden door and a 3′ x 3′ square addition.  It has two large glass pieces on top and seven spindle legs below.  It made a great desk for her, but for us it has just been a place to pile junk.  At first we thought she’d come back for it, but her Mini Cooper could never move this thing.  Then we thought she/we’d try to sell it, but we never got around to it.  For a year now she has been saying we could do with it what we want, but we haven’t taken action.  Finally, yesterday morning, I dug out our drill and got to work disassembling it.  My husband heard the commotion, came in to help, and we dragged two huge wooden pieces, two huge glass pieces, seven legs, and a bag of hardware out into the front yard.  I scribbled “Free, Please Take!” on a couple of signs and taped them to the pile.  We posted The Big Table on Craigslist and headed to brunch.  When we returned an hour and a half later?  Gone! (It’s a good thing I’m not a betting woman… I was sure it’d still be there!)

Empty Space!

Empty Space!

2. Vintage German Dishes [Time on To Do List: 4 years]

Vintage German Dishes

Vintage German Dishes

I bought a set of these dishes in 2009.  I thought they were lovely, and I still do, but they are not what I want to use every day.  There was a point in time that I was okay with having a spare set, but that day is long gone.  I posted about them on Facebook, and a good family friend who is originally from Germany expressed interest in them for one of her daughters in their early twenties.  I’m giving them to her.  I’ve long since forgotten about the money I spent on them, I really just want them to be used and loved.  I’m relieved they’ll be gone, especially since I won’t have to figure out shipping them if I sold them online or waiting if I sold them with a consignment store.

3.  Old Computer [Time on To Do List: 4 years]

I have a computer that stopped running well four years ago.  A friend borrowed the power cord when she lost hers, but she forgot to give it back.  I waited, thinking I’d recycle it once I had charged it and saved files the I wanted.  Four years later? I haven’t missed a single file, so I decided to take it by Best Buy for them to properly dispose of it.  Good news: they no longer ask you to pay for that service!

4.  Old Phones [Time on To Do List: 6 months for mine, 3 years for husband’s]

Verizon gave us a five dollar credit for each of these that we applied toward our bill. Note: both phones were able to power on, but were replaced because of operating problems, so donating them was not a good option.

5.  Old iPod and Old GPS [Time on To Do List: 4 years since I’ve used iPod, 6 months for GPS]

This is a little embarrassing.  In a move to finally get rid of these, I took them to Best Buy to see if they could recycle them.  The man said he’d be glad to take them, but he asked if I was sure I didn’t want to try selling them online first. Waiting to sell them is exactly why I have held onto them so long, I thought, now I just want them out of my hands. But, his question made me feel guilty for not doing due diligence, so I took them and went on my way.  My husband listed them online, and they each sold within an hour.  We made nearly $80 for the two (the iPod was from 2005, the GPS from 2008/2009).  Who knew?!

Lesson learned this weekend? Just take action.  These things that have haunted my mental To Do List for a combined (and unbelievable!) 17.5 years took hardly any time to actually get rid of.  We made extra square footage for my sister, a friend happy, $90, and a big heap of relief.  That’s a satisfying start to 2014!

Related reading:

“Try to do one nagging task each day, or even better, avoid having a nagging task” by Gretchen Rubin.

“It’s Not Too Late! Join Us & Get Organized in 2014: The January Cure via Apartment Therapy.

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A Fresh Start

As I scroll through posts from years ago, I am struck by how much has changed and how I am very much still on the same mission.  The process to simplify my life has been ongoing since 2008, really.  I find it comforting that I continue to see the value in this process and a touch frustrating (this is still so very much a process?).

The past few years have included many significant changes: I’ve finished my degree, gotten engaged and married, moved cities, and taken on a full-time job in a new career.  I’m living with my husband now, which means we have merged two households, and we received gifts from many generous well-wishers.  During my time away from blogging I (and in many cases, we) have continued to pare down.  I have settled into a new lifestyle, and that has helped the de-cluttering process.  Whereas in graduate school I could wear denim daily, I now need a business casual/semi-professional wardrobe for teaching high school.  Whereas when I lived with my parents my dishes were stored away, I now get to use my beloved Pottery Barn Great White dishes on a daily basis.  Now that a lot of what was once in flux has been settled, I am able to move more decisively toward living out the values that I continue to hone and reevaluate daily.

2012 and 2013 were years of transitioning and getting acclimated to all of the newness in my life.  Now, I am familiar with the expectations of my job, what it is like to live with my husband, the many things this city has to offer, etc.  I am ready to hit my stride in terms of aligning how I am living with what I claim to value.

For as long as I can remember, I have made resolutions.  My format has changed through the years.  A lot of years were long, daydreamed lists of things that I would love to tackle if the opportunity came along.  Attending wine tastings, finding a go-to hostess gift, etc. Some years, such as what I have chronicled previously on this blog, were more specific, targeted goals, such as to contribute a certain amount to my Roth IRA.  This year, neither strategy felt right.  I am optimistic about the changes I can make this year–new habits, fewer things, better choices–and realistic that I cannot predict now what might be relevant goals for me in six or eight months.

What I really need for 2014?  Accountability.  I am rejoining the world of blogging to chronicle the next phase of this journey.  I have plenty of the mundane to sift through, so I make no promises about this being a page turner (page scroller?), but it is here for anyone who, like me, finds it beneficial and motivating to find inspiration in down-and-dirty, realistic photographs and mini-victories.

Here’s to 2014!

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Decluttering Challenge, Round 8: 147-155

This Decluttering Challenge update has been in the queue for a while. I kept thinking I’d tack a few more pictures or a few more things onto it, but it just hasn’t happened. So, here it is, as is!

Speaking–typing?–of procrastination, I spent yesterday tackling a few things that have been hanging over my head for days, weeks, or years, even:

  • Days: I cleaned off my desk (a large pine table, no drawers) so that I could better dust the back area.  I spent an hour and a half on the phone with an old friend a few days ago, and I was mindlessly running my finger along the things on my desk while we chatted.  Dust city!  It was bad; I could tell where my finger had been…  When people talk about how minimalism makes it easier to clean, I always kind of laugh and think “but I don’t have problems cleaning as it is!” Apparently I do. Last night I cleared the desk, dusted, and reassembled. I think the process helped me find a few more things that are declutter-worthy!  There’s a big pile on the floor next to my desk to be processed now.
  • Weeks: I had written most of my thank-you notes from Christmas, but I still had three left to write. I took care of those yesterday and today, and I’m hoping that an apologetic-and-slightly-humorous opening line will help the givers pardon me…
  • Years: I was in a car accident almost three years ago, and in my state, the statute of limitation expires after three years. So, with a week to ten days left, I got everything together last night to settle. I intended to wait until almost the end of the process, but I didn’t mean to wait quite this long… We’ll see how it goes! The idea is that I turned down their upfront offer ($300) in exchange for having them agree to reimburse me for whatever my accident-related costs were. I am not holding my breath on this one, but I think I’d be remiss to write it off before giving it a shot. (Could I have squeezed any more colloquialisms in that last sentence??)

147.-149. Three magazines; one was a free demo/sample, it got trashed; two were loaners from my boyfriend, they’re being returned to him.

150. A key that I used when housesitting this fall.  It is to be returned to the owners once we’re able to meet up.

151.  A key to my aunt’s house.  She has let me keep this one in case I ever needed access to her house when she wasn’t there; it has been on my keychain for five years, and I have yet to use it.  I’m going to give it back now!

152.  A keyring. Donate.

153. I’m not sure what to call this… you attach an ID (or whatever) to the clip, then it is on a retractable piece that attaches to your belt (or purse, or whatever).

154.  Box. The inside of this one was pretty nasty, not great for re-using.

155. [not pictured] The brown herringbone flats that I considered giving up here (but then I didn’t follow through).  I once wore them on a rainy day, and it has been downhill ever since they got wet.  :/  Chucked them today.

155 down, 210 to go!


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