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Posts Tagged ‘unclutter’

I don’t really need my Inflight Toiletries Ziplock Bag anymore. I used to fly a lot. All my university years were focused on saving enough money to travel to South Africa for summer breaks and before that I was living in the UK and flying to all sorts of fun locations with the super cheap flights available. Then last year I went on an epic journey with my fiancé to Colombia and then a whole bunch of other great countries which totalled many flights in a matter of weeks. The ziplock bag of goodies made all these flights more bearable.

I’ve realised that holding onto this bag equals holding onto that lifestyle. It’s like a little glimmer of hope in my vanity that I’ll be travelling the world again. But the reality is that lifestyle is not the lifestyle I now live. I’ve traded meeting new people and visiting new places for getting to know my own family and building my own home.

Of course I’ll still travel, but it will be a lot less frequently, and I think I’ll manage just fine without it.

Items: 208

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I know the main mantra of decluttering is ‘keep only what you need or use’ the problem is I have developed a lot of needs. 

Already I can see the improvement in my life from doing this challenge. Last night I started a Latin Dance class! I first took dance classes at the beginning of 2008 (that was where I meet mi amor) unfortunately we didn’t keep going, ‘life got in the way’. From that time I had a pair of pretty black satin dance shoes that had never been worn. This challenge brought them out of the cupboard and reminded me that dance is really something I want in my life. I’m so happy.

Zen Habits wrote today about the difference between simplicity and minimalism. Pretty much, minimalism goes all the way. And I’d call living with only 100 things very minimal so I am taking his definition to heart:

…how is minimalism different? It’s basically an extension of simplicity — not only do you take things from complex to simple, but you try to get rid of anything that’s unnecessary. All but the essential.

So I’ve discovered on this journey that dance is essential, now I have to resift my list of 211 things and purge anything that’s unnecessary – find the gold – find my essentials.

Out:

– baking soda face scrub (I can always use the kitchen stash if I want an at-home spa treatment)

– brown thongs (I don’t need two pairs and Mum was desperate for these)

– a detox book and an exercise book (I still like these books; they pass the smile test, but a friend at work is keen to get healthy and I don’t use them i.e they’re not essential, so I’m gifting them to her.)

Items: 211

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Like me you probably still own your old mobile phone. They have monetary value, sentimental value (all those old sms) and tick the ‘just in case’ box if you new phone fails.

But my iphone is going great. If it does die I’d like to think I can survive a few days or weeks without a mobile phone. So today the old nokia and 3 chargers were recycled with Mobile Muster. This company collects the copper wiring for resale and recycles the plastic cases.

Before getting rid of the phone I went through some of the sms  and hand wrote them out for safe keeping. But after only two I got sick of this and just left them to the history of time.

Items: 186

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While I was visiting Madrid in 2006 I noticed a lot of girls wearing leopard print shoes – it was love at first sight, and by the end of the day I had a pair of my own. A few months ago I finally wore through the sole of one shoe and I’m embarrassed to say I stuck a piece of sticky tape over the hole to get through the after work walk to my car.

Normally I’d just get new soles put on but unfortunately these were a cheap pair of shoes. The sole is a kind of foam (oh so comfy) and I can’t see how a shoemaker would separate it from the equally cheap inner-sole. They kinda pass the smile test, they are great to wear and always look good under jeans and black capris. But, a few minutes ago I gave myself an ultimatum; fix them or throw them.

I based the final decision on their overall shabbiness. If I’m only going to have 30 items of clothing they better be good; in quality, in wearability and in looks and these ballet flats, with their scuffs and mangled bows, just didn’t make the cut so out they went.

Also out; a half painted canvas. Going with yesterday’s flow – that painting isn’t a practical ‘hobby’ for me – I have stopped kidding myself that I’m ever going to finish the canvas. So into the bin it went, another tiny weight off my shoulders.

Items: 291

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I’m an artist. I know it, I can feel it in my bones.

My soft spot is paintings, especially colourful acrylic ones and my favourite styles are contemporary Australian aboriginal and Cuban naïve style. (See below)

When I was studying for my business degree in Melbourne, Australia, I was luckily enough to work for  Sotheby’s International, one of the world’s premium art auction houses. There my eye quickly became tuned to beautiful pieces and excellent technique.

My eye also quickly picked up that I sux as a painter, I can’t really put it any more eloquently than that. This is unfortunate but its just the way it is. I guess I could practice for years until I can produce something of quality but the journey would be a painful one. I learnt to see the freedom and joy of the artist visible in the brushstrokes of their work, I learnt to see when a painting was forced or painted without soul (often occurs when an artist keeps repainting a popular work). It was a hard lesson, but then I came to see art in many other mediums; gardening, sewing, cooking the list is endless when it is work with passion and I opened my eyes to other pursuits;

One of these is cheese making, another is Spanish.

My 100 thing list has made me see that these passions are important enough to rank high on the list, but like most people, I often don’t make time for them. But what is life about if not for doing the things you love? Why own these things if I’m not going to use them, and use them often? So this morning when I woke up I raced to the kitchen and make two batches of Italian Ricotta cheese. Watching the milk curdle into whey is astonding – it’s magic. It makes me happy to create something, and then it makes me happier still when I get to eat it.

So I’ve decided to make space (and free up the guilt of not using these things) by gifting my paint sets and paint brushes to my Mum. She has just taken some art classes while on holiday in Cyprus and loves it. Again, it feels great that these resources are going to someone who wants and needs them and not sitting in my cupboard.

What hobbies are you holding onto that don’t suit your current lifestyle? How can you free up your life (physical and mental) so you have space for the things you truly are passionate about?

Items: 293

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One annoying thing I owned was a financial folder from my financial planner. Blue leather-bound with an engraved name plaque on the front and the year engraved on the spine. I can see the idea is for clients to line these folders up in a regal line along the shelf of a study bookcase. It is also a great marketing tool to make people feel better about spending $1500 on an annual service fee when you get a ‘free’ folder. Obviously I abide this kind of thing. What a waste of resources.

So today as part of my mini challenge to break into the 200 list zone I threw out the folder. Not ideal as it will go to landfill, but better than taking up space in my home. I have taken out the paper work to scan and keep as an electronic file (online backup) for reference. I will then shred the original.

I have cancelled my annual reviews with this financial advisor, and in the future when I do go for meetings I’ll ask them to hold the ‘glamour file’ and just show me the presentation on the overhead projector (which they already do) and email me the file in soft form.

Also out – 2 childhood books which I passed on to my sister.

Items: 397 (I had accidently listed the finance folder twice in my 100 thing list so it has reduced by a total of 4)

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I’m finding the hardest part of this challenge is getting the things out of my house. It hasn’t been too difficult choosing items that should or should not make the final 100 list but finding new homes for the things that don’t cut it is hard.

I’ve discovered its even harder because I have the following traits; I care about the environment so I don’t just want to send stuff to the tip, nor do I want to create more consumption my re purchasing things in the future that I already own. I’m frugal, so I get uncomfortable about parting with things I haven’t gotten value for money with – like the part of shoes I’ve only worn once. Also, I’m too tight just to give it all to goodwill. My friend who moved cities a few weeks ago just sent boxes and boxes of things to St Vinnies, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe in the last few days of this challenge I’ll get desperate and finally give it all away for free. It really is a nice thing to do.  Finally, I’m lazy. Because I ‘can’t’ giveaway the stuff to goodwill I now have to try and sell it. I know I should be taking photos of everything and putting it on eBay, thereby making some cash and finding a good home for my things. But I keep procrastinating. Is it really worth the effort to take photos of all my old necklace pendants and upload them online?

The options I have to get rid of my possessions include (in order from easiest);

  • Recycling bin
  • Rubbish bin
  • Goodwill bin
  • Friends and family giveaway
  • Friends and family regift
  • Secondhand stores
  • Ebay

I’ve used the first five strategies and I’m planning to use a second-hand store to sell some clothes, shoes, bags etc soon.

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