The Habit Chain

It takes time to form a habit. Positive habits are definitely worth the effort to build. They can slowly transform our life from the mediocre into an absolutely astounding existence.

When remaking your life it is best to start small. Analyze the things you want to change about yourself and select just one to focus on. This is how Benjamin Franklin did it. He would chronicle his success and failures in a journal for a time before switching his focus onto another habit, in a continual self-improvement program.

This year I have three habits I want to create. I want to read a little bit every single day, I want to write a single blog post, and I want to scoop the litterbox.

I added the last one because I didn’t want all of my habits to just be about me. One must curate a pleasant environment in order to be at their happiest, and I really dislike the results of skipping a day when it comes to scooping that litterbox. My litterbox may be large but I prefer it to be as clean as I can keep it.

In order to get a running start I began my project late last year. I would write those three items down on the daily pages of my planner each morning, checking them off as I completed them. I soon realized that I was spending time re-writing those three things that could be better utilized elsewhere so I began brainstorming a solution.

I recalled reading somewhere about a comedian who would place an X on an annual calendar every single day after he wrote one joke. His goal was to keep the chain going.

I decided to try it. I placed an X over the day after completing every blog post and circled the date when I completed my daily reading. I experimented with placing another mark over the date for the litterbox scooping but when I decided that it made things confusing I printed out a copy of my annual page and stuck it in my Book of Lists to mark off there.

That comedian was right. It is incredibly motivational to have a chain of marks that you want to keep going. I’ve found myself completing my unfinished tasks near midnight just to keep the chain intact.

If you have a habit you wish to acquire I urge you to try it. Use this link to print out an annual calendar and start crossing out the days as you complete the task. It really does help.

Preparing for the New Year

Twenty-eighteen has been an incredibly eventful year. I’ve come to terms with the fact that the previous stage of my life is ending and determined a new direction for my life.

I may not know yet how I’ll get to there from here. That’s okay. All I have to do is continue to move forward with my end goal in mind; the rest will fall into place in time.

The primary way that I maintain my focus on a daily basis is through my planner/diary. The book allots one page per day to keep track of schedules, tasks, notes, and highlights. This not only allows me to keep track of the things that I want/need to do but to look back and remind myself of what I’ve already accomplished.

One major change I have made in this habit over the past year was to finally settle on the At-A-Glance Diary instead of just using the computer or a cheap composition notebook as I have in the past. My plans are extremely important to me, I can afford the expense, and I’ve realized that it’s high time that I break myself of the habit of going cheap on everything. It is time I began to utilize the Diderot Effect for a positive purpose.

I’ve fallen into the habit of using a modified version of the Bullet Journal method of notation to log my entries. This allows me to jot down things as I think of them in a format that is easy to review. My primary changes are using a “$” signifier for financial information, an exclamation point (!) for important items (as opposed to an asterisk), a lower-case “i” to note informative/inspirational notes, the letter “w” for my writing, and the letter “s” for self-improvement items.

As I’ve prepared for what 2019 will bring I’ve transferred recurring events to my new planner and dedicated an empty page in the back for both my annual and long-term goals.

They are as follows:

Long-Term Goals:

  • Multiple streams of passive income. More than enough to live on comfortably.
  • Own my own home.
  • Long, healthy, active life.

I made a note after this set of goals to remind myself that I’m just hitting my groove. I’ve got 50 years of life left at a minimum with modern medical technology so it isn’t going to hurt one bit to utilize 20 of those years to attain my goal of financial independence.

2019 Goals:

With my long-term goals in mind, I sat down to figure out just what I wanted to accomplish next year.

  • Have a will created. I need to get in the habit of keeping one of these. Wealthy people understand the importance of these; since I intend to become wealthy I need to adopt this practice.
  • Acquire dentures. I want a set of partials to correct my smile as I move forward. This will not only improve my ability to eat, it will also give me an advantage as I strive to increase my income.
  • Acquire new eyeglasses. These will aid immensely as I study and continue to write.
  • Re-acquire driving permit/license. This will be necessary if I decide to invest in real estate or enter a field that requires me to drive.
  • Continue investing. I must keep moving forward, doing what I can do with what I currently have, if I want to accomplish my long-term goals so I cannot allow this to fall to the wayside.
  • Determine if a career change is necessary. This concerns my public job. I know I will have to keep a public job for the next few years at the least so I need to decide if I want to continue life as a cashier or take steps to shift into a different profession. This does not concern my writing and investing whatsoever–just what I do to pay the bills and earn extra money to invest towards my future.
  • Continue reading/studying. I’ve got a lot of educational ground to cover as I change my mindset and work out the best way to achieve my goal. This will be a priority to me.
  • Continue writing. I want to share my journey with others in order to provide hope and prove that one can accomplish anything they set their mind to. It will also serve as a form of personal clarification and therapy. I also want to brainstorm and write a new book before the end of 2019.
  • Change the stories that I tell myself. Life is 99% of the stories we tell ourselves. I’ve realized that I need to change a few of my personal stories. I’ll discuss this in a later post.

Now that I know where I’m going it will simply be a matter of keeping on track. To close out the year (and eliminate the stress of drama) I worked out what I could personally do about a private situation, took a deep breath, and got it over with. Now that I know I have done all I can personally do I am free to let that issue go and continue with my plans to move forward.

I refuse to allow anyone’s actions to derail my plans for my future.

Taking Care of My Now

I’ve done all I can do to prepare for next year so it is time to focus on my now. I made another small investment in the stock market to celebrate, I’m composing a list of things I want to tidy and sort around the house (I’ve let things slide due to stress), and I’ve resolved to have this blog back on track with the coming year.

Starting in January I will resume posting three days a week come hell or high water. I refuse to allow myself to slack but I do need to reduce my current workload for a bit as I mentally prepare for next year since I want to hit the ground running.

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What goals have you set for the coming year? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Out With the Old

One of the traits I share with the wealthy is the fact that I like to wear things completely out before I discard them. I see no point in buying new when what I already own continues to serve its purpose.

Occasionally I allow myself to go beyond standard thrift and wear things well beyond their usable lifespan. I become comfortable with an item since I’ve owned it for so long and find it hard to actually let go. I am really bad when it comes to shoes; once they are broken in they become like old friends as they come along on my travels.

Three of my very favorite shoes have been screaming for retirement now for several months. While still extremely comfortable, the soles were giving out. A pair of favorite flip-flops even lost their bottom layer, yet I continued wearing them around the house, refusing to surrender to the inevitable.

Both of my daughters had passed on a number of pairs that could have easily replaced them but I still held on, even while occasionally tripping on the flaps that used to be sealed to the bottoms.

It is time I stopped doing this. I might not have a lot of money but I do have self-respect. It makes no sense to wear rags when I have other shoes to meet my needs. When I made the decision late last night I scooped up the first of the three pairs and tossed them in the trash. I dug out the remaining two pairs for one last photo before discarding them this morning.

I feel a sense of sadness as I move on today. That’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to feel a sense of loss but time moves forward and so do we. I will take comfort in the fact that I have nicer shoes to wear; shoes that are much more presentable than the ratty ones I discarded. I will also take comfort in the fact that I wore them completely out before I tossed them away. Bit by bit as time moves on I will slowly upgrade my wardrobe by attrition, saying farewell to the old me who wears rags as I dress a bit neater going forward.

Unlike in the past, I am not going to go crazy by tossing perfectly functional items as I follow some trend or whimsically decide I want to change my look. I will allow this progression to happen over time so the changes will be permanent while saving money as well.

Do you have anything around your home that has outlived its usefulness? Why not toss it out today and share your story in the comments below? That way we can celebrate together.

Making Changes

Life has been a whirlwind since I made the conscious decision to stay in this little house. The past seven years had been a holding pattern so I hadn’t invested much of anything into making this house look more like a home. There wasn’t any point in spending the money if I was planning to move, after all.

Along with the changes my old friend fear has raised its ugly head. Every single time I purchase something it rises, screaming at me to stop. What if you spend too much money? You’ll be broke! and What if you decide to move after all or get flooded there? All of the money you spend will be wasted!

I’m dealing with it. There is no point in shoving it to the side or burying it deep. I have to own it in order to move on. I’ve made the decision to live here, period. At most I’ll end up moving perhaps one or two more times for the rest of my lifespan; there is no sense in doing without the things I love and miss if I can afford them.

The first major task was to reorganize my computer area. It took up far too much space in my living room for the amount of storage it provided. I searched long and hard for a computer desk, one that would serve my small-space needs and be durable enough to last the rest of my life.

That was a bust. The commercially-available computer desks were either made of cheap composite wood that would fail in a few years or die miserably in a flood. The metal options had glass tops that would not hold up to long-term abuse…or my rambunctious grandson.

I decided to get creative. I located a wire metal pull-out shelf that could be mounted on my current wire shelf for sixty dollars and went to work. I pulled everything off of my gigantic shelf, rearranged the shelves, and converted it into a computer desk.

It’s absolutely perfect. My CPU is close at hand but out of danger and I now have space for my router and those annoying piles of paper that I allow to build up until I get around to scanning them for permanent storage.

Even better, I can shove my keyboard and mouse out of the way when I want to write something by hand.

Once that was complete I ordered a corner shelf to make up for the lost storage space. I made a mistake with that one; instead of ordering the heavy-duty NSF shelf that I intended I accidentally ordered a lighter-duty version of the shelf I wanted. It works but it doesn’t match up exactly and definitely doesn’t hold as much weight as I like. Since it was my mistake, I plan to use it until it dies and replace it with the shelf I originally intended to purchase. I see no point in returning something I ordered when it was my fault for not paying attention.

The kid decided she wanted a larger bed so we decided to save a bit of money in that area as well. Instead of the kid buying a full-size bed we just swapped out the sofa sleeper in the living room for her twin-sized bed. She gets to have a larger bed, and I get something new to sleep on. I placed one of my shelves at the head of it and plan to use it as a makeshift daybed/chaise lounge. In time I’ll locate some of those pillows that support you while you sit on a bed, but that will be farther down the road. In the meantime the kid gave me a few of her extra pillows since she has quite a collection. I pile them behind me when I want to sit up and read.

new bed

I’m rather exhausted at all of the changes so I’m currently taking a break. I’ve yet to clear off the table that I had used as a desk for many months. Since the table is smaller than the big plastic table on my front porch I gave the big table away so that I can shift the smaller table out there.

It will be nice to have more space on the front porch.

I’ve one more major purchase that I plan to make in upcoming weeks. I’m going to invest in one more shelf to hold the library of books I am rebuilding. I’ve missed my library so by golly I’m getting it back. I can’t count how many times I’ve kicked myself for eliminating it when when I minimized my possessions. While it made sense at the time (I moved six times in four years, after all) I miss it terribly. Ebooks and Internet sources cannot compete against just pulling a book off of a shelf to look up a word or reference something you’ve read in the past for this old-school girl. While I intend to limit my library to what I can comfortably store in the space I will assign to it, I’m getting it back. Period.

I’m including some pictures on this post to show my current progress. I am so thankful that this place is finally shaping up. I’ll be glad when I finsh with the big purchases, however. Despite the fact that I’m buying for long-term use, I really hate spending the money.

What changes have you made in your home lately? Please share your stories in the commenbs below.

Moratorium

Everyone’s needs change over time. You may slow down or stop using an item, or you may start to use something else instead. It’s just a part of life.

For instance, I was a big fan of pencil and paper. I not only write copious lists, I also composed my book/blog drafts and kept a journal in paper format. To save money I stocked up on pencils and notebooks the other year when I caught them on sale.

Since then my needs have changed. My journals are now stored electronically, written in plain text format and stashed on my computer. I save photos, scanned papers, and other relevant items in an annual folder with the file names sorted by date. While I still use pencil and paper for my lists, my usage of these items has went down drastically.

While I’m delighted at the lower cost of maintaining electronic records, the change in my habits left me with a small stockpile of pencils, pens, and notebooks. Instead of having a year’s supply on hand as per my plan, I have a tote of supplies now that won’t get used up for several years.

Since the items will get used eventually it doesn’t make financial sense to eliminate them. In fact, I’m sure my daughter and grandchildren will make a dent in them over time even if I don’t. Even so, it would be stupid for me to add to my stockpile this year. A stockpile is only worth the time and expense when it actually gets used in a reasonable amount of time.

As a result I have now instituted a spending moratorium on certain office supplies. No more paper, pencils, or similar items will be purchased until we use up what we have.

Period.

It doesn’t matter if we stumble upon a cute little notebook with a funny little saying or a crazy-cheap sale during Back To School Season. I refuse to buy what I don’t actually need.

Spending moratoriums can apply to all areas of your life. If you have a sizeable collection of books, music, movies, video games, or whatnot that you haven’t used, it makes sense not to purchase any more until you’ve actually enjoyed what you already have.

If you have food in your pantry that is in danger of going bad, don’t buy more until you use it up.

If your closet is overflowing, stop buying more clothes!

That’s why we stay broke, folks. We spend money on crap we don’t need when we have more than enough already. It’s one thing to stock up on stuff we need and actually use, but when it gets to the point where we have more on hand than we can use up in a reasonable amount of time, we need to stop.

Buying for the sake of buying is stupid.

What areas of your life do you need to impose a moratorium on? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Evaluating My Possessions

My daughter and I make a point of going through all of our possessions at least once a year. This allows us to refresh our memory about the items we own, reorganize these items to better accommodate our current life, and to figure out what we need to buy (or not buy) for the coming year.

As we were sorting through one section my daughter held up a tennis racket. “Where did you get this?” she asked.

“I thought it was yours,” I replied.

Katie chuckled. “Me, play tennis? You’re joking, right?”

I thought for a moment. “Maybe Little D brought it over to play with when he spends the night,” I suggested, naming my grandson.

“If he did, I’ve never seen him use it,” Katie replied.

“Fair enough.”

With that, we eliminated the mystery tennis racket from our life. There’s no logic in keeping something that never gets used!

Regardless of how much or little you own, everyone should go through their possessions occasionally to make sure that they aren’t holding on to things they don’t need or use. Why store something if you don’t have to? Owning things for the sake of owning them is just plain stupid. Why spend your precious time and money hoarding useless crap?

This week’s challenge is simple. Go through one area of your home and eliminate everything you don’t need and use, then share the story of your success in the comments below.

Have a great day!

It’s Okay to Own Things

It’s become fashionable to throw things away. Out with the old, to make room for the new. There are even groups out there that will help you get rid of your things and encourage you to eliminate as much of your stuff as you want.

I know. I was one of them.

In time I realized that the Minimalist movement had devolved into little more than a pissing contest; a competition to the bottom. “I’m better than you, because all I own fits into my backpack.”

“Tough,” someone might respond. “I got rid of my backpack last week.”

There is some good to be had in the Minimalist movement. If you find yourself overwhelmed with possessions, especially if you have reached the point that you are tripping over stuff, you might need to thin down.

However, unless you’re preparing to move house or backpack around the globe it’s not really beneficial to get rid of all of your things, especially if you use and enjoy them.

The trick is in the using. If you have a cabinet full of dishes that you’ve not touched in years, you might want to pass them on to someone who will enjoy and actually use them. It doesn’t make any sense to clutter up your life with a bunch of stuff you don’t actually use.

Now that I’ve decided to settle down in this little town I’ve allowed my possessions to increase as a result of my revelation. I enjoy reading so I collect interesting books when I stumble upon them for free or cheap. I keep a decent-sized collection of unread material now but as I read them, the ones that I know I won’t need for future reference are passed on to friends or donated to the local library.

When I stumble across a clothing stash that someone is giving away that actually fits (and is something I will wear) I add the items to my wardrobe. I discard the pieces as they wear out.

I don’t go crazy buying things but I do make room for things that come into my life that I will actually use. Since I have no intentions of moving in the near future (and I am nowhere near the point where I’m tripping over things), this allows me to increase my comfort level while saving money as well.

You should start doing this as well. Once you eliminate the things you really, truly, do not use, don’t hesitate to add something you will use to your collection of possessions if the price is right (preferably free, of course!).

Just remember that this isn’t an excuse to start buying everything in sight. If you have something that does what you need, use it instead of buying new. Just because you can own it doesn’t mean that you should.

Minimizing Relationship Stress

It’s painful to watch friends self-destruct, to watch them slide down the slippery slope of insanity. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You’re unable to turn away. You reach out your hand, only to have it slapped away time and again. Either they realize they are slipping and don’t care, or they’re enjoying the ride. Regardless, you try to help.

Eventually you realize that this person is causing you misery. You dread your encounters. Instead of offering them another hand up, give them your foot–to shove them out the door of your life.

There is no shame in this. It is not beneficial to keep people in your life simply because they are friends or family when all they do is give you pain. Loyalty is stupid when the person in question bites the hands that feed them.

Minimalism is about so much more than stuff. It is about curating all aspects of your life to bring peace and tranquility. While you cannot eliminate all of life’s storms, you can reduce the day-to-day strain on your emotions.

Today I urge you to look at your relationships. Determine that one person you would be better off without.

Then let them go.

Second Chances

It dawned on me this morning that I have been blogging since early 2009. It started as an experiment after I got laid off because my friends told me that blogging was a BIG THING just to pass the time.

Long story short, I realized that I deleted almost eight years of my life just to defeat some hackers and protect my friends.

That is terrifying.

The worst part here is that I’ve got a backup of most of it. I could stick those back up if I could figure out how.

But you know what? I can either look at this as a loss or accept it for the second chance that it is. I now have the opportunity to completely start from scratch without the burden of my past.

It’s not really different from the time I tossed the things that would fit in my old van and moved across the state to start over. The only difference is that I lost my history instead of physical items.

When was the last time you started from scratch? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Surprising Myself

Today I decided to stop procrastinating and eliminate the shelf from the kitchen that I no longer needed. Through my simplification/minimalism efforts I had purged more than enough from my cabinets to contain what the shelf held so it was time to take the next step.

I began cleaning off that shelf, getting sidetracked and forcing myself back on track.  I saw things here and there that needed to be tossed or purged—then would force myself back on track.

It was a challenge just to stay focused today but part of simplicity is doing just one thing so I plodded on and ended up surprising myself.

Not only did I eliminate that shelf but I also eliminated the little metal shelf as well!  Both are now awaiting repurposing in another area of the house…

At this rate one day I will find myself with shelves to eliminate from my life.. I like that thought!

While in the midst of simplifying this kitchen area  I decided to rework my laptop area.  Instead of using the cheap speakers and letting the good ones go unused I moved the good speakers in here. Where is the logic in not using the good stuff?

I also drug out my wireless keyboard/mouse set from storage and hooked them up to eliminate some cables from this area. Yes, they will use batteries, but I have rechargeable batteries I can use in them.  Also I already had this set so why let it sit and rot when it can make life a little easier? This will eliminate a USB hub from this area while keeping a port open on the laptop for when I need to plug in additional devices like my external hard drive or my printer.

I moved the phone and speakers off of the table, which will make moving the laptop to reclaim the table for other purposes.  Now instead of having to move the laptop, speakers, phone, keyboard and mouse I will only have the laptop, keyboard and mouse to move.

I ended up with another pile of things to give away from my roamings elsewhere in the house today.  Even made it to the storage building for a bit to get the wireless set and eliminated a few things there as well.

I could list everything here but tonight I don’t feel like it is appropriate. I am simply content with eliminating even more from my life.

To celebrate I fixed a quick stir fry and filled my hungry belly.  Now I’m ready to walk the puppies and settle down for the night.

This day may not have went in the exact direction I planned for it, but I accomplished a lot today. I hope that today was every bit as productive for you as it was for me.

Two out of Ten Things

I eliminated two things today. I guess this wouldn’t be news except those things meant something to me once upon a time.

The very first backpack I used when I started working on computers

It was old and tattered but still I held on to the hope that I would still use it when in fact it is in such poor condition I am afraid to trust anything valuable in it. TOSS!

My favorite Summer Sandals

Okay, so they were falling apart and looked hideous—they were still comfortable!

I have to realize that there comes a time when we need to let go. They were so tattered I would not wear them in public which means I would not really wear them at all. Goodbye, dear shoes.

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I know this may sound silly to most of you out there, but eliminating just these two items was a big thing to me today.  It shows me that I am becoming less attached to stuff, and more committed to simplicity and minimalism.

I look around this kitchen and see open spaces where once clutter reigned. Even the shelf I placed in here recently is becoming more empty with each passing day. If I applied myself I could eliminate it from the kitchen entirely, so little is contained upon it. Amazing when you consider the fact that it was packed full!

I’m not where I want to be, not by a long shot, but I’m getting there. One little piece at a time.

Further Elimination

I am still inspired by The Happy Minimalist. As a result I managed to thin down even more.

Like a lot of people I have a lot of things I do not need.  Some of that stuff (a lot of it actually) falls under “why did I buy that in the first place?”

Two more pairs of jeans, some outdated computer books, a phone book that never gets used, some craft books, a crock pot (I had 2) and several other items have been sacked up to go to my sister’s.

The futon mattress has been placed in the closet for when company comes.  For now I think I will sleep in the sleeping bag.

I found that I have unnecessary duplicates of a lot of stuff, and those duplicates are slowly leaving. I am even passing on the stainless steel skillet that goes with the rest of my cookware.  It hasn’t been used in years since I started using a cast iron one.

It is rather hit and miss as I purge these items. If I am the least bit nervous that item will stay—I do not want to push myself harder than I am ready to go.

My closet has been thinned out considerably yet I still have a lot of things that I enjoy wearing.  I have yet to thin out a single item that I actually wear other than some of the jeans cause the cut looked horrible on me and I have several others that look nice and are still comfortable.

It feels good to know that I don’t NEED all of this stuff around here. To know that I can get by with less and still be happy.

Right now I am curled up in one of those heavyduty folding chairs that store away in a bag.  I have had this thing for several years.  It is comfortable and has survived a lot of abuse. I sit here in my much smaller bedroom with the laptop on my lap.  The only electric devices running are the refrigerator, an LED nightlight in the bathroom, an LED desk light in here, my router and this laptop. The LED desk light uses 1.5 watts of electric.  I do not know how much the LED night light uses—it is one of those that doubles as a small flashlight that comes on in the event of a power outage.

I was getting low on towels so I washed them despite the rain.  I am using a clothesline placed in the hallway to dry them. This way it is no issue if the rain continues for a day or more, and I am still not using the dryer.

To my surprise I  have not had the desire to fire up the kerosene heater this evening.  The laptop on my lap has generated more than enough heat to knock off the chill.

To move to this home, I sold my couch, loveseat, bedroom suite and Katie’s oversized bunk bed. By doing this I avoided having to beg people to please come move me, help me carry this.. The two moves before this ended with me hiring a guy off the street to help with the heavy stuff the first time and begging a friend the second. 

This time, with the exception of the refrigerator, washer and dryer—I moved everything in my van.  It took multiple loads but overall was not that bad.  I could have lay the big appliances down in the back of my van and hauled them that way but I had a volunteer with a truck and did not refuse the help.?

My friends considered me insane for selling most of my furniture (well, technically I traded it off for this trailer) but I considered it smart.  If I can’t move it, I honestly don’t need it.  I can move the appliances with a dolly, but the things that take two people to maneuver just HAD to go.

I am thinking that instead of a refrigerator that a small chest freezer and a large cooler may serve my purposes better than what I have (and use less electricity). Not much actually gets stored in the fridge honestly.  When I get meat, I freeze it individually on a pizza pan before transferring it to bags for individual portions without the packaging expense. Figure if the big companies can do it, why can’t I? I would have more room to store things that I actually use, like meats on sale, with less room to house things that normally go to waste here (a.k.a. leftovers). Two-liter bottles could be frozen and used to chill the contents of the cooler, exchanged on a regular basis with fresh ones from the chest freezer.

I have no intentions of getting rid of my refrigerator and buying a small chest freezer—that makes no practical sense when I already have a refrigerator, even if the freezer on it is smaller than I would prefer.  It is something to consider for the future, especially since small chest freezers are almost half the price of even a small refrigerator!  I have no idea how old this little fridge is, though it looks fairly new, so it is nice to plan for the future a bit.

If I could go a whole year without my dryer I would sell it and not look back. I’m sure that thing has contributed substantially to my past electric bills. People the world over do without clothes dryers and they survive just fine.

I would have to make small changes, use lighter blankets instead of heavy comforters, especially in winter when they would take a long time to dry indoors—but if I’m sleeping in a sleeping bag that point would be moot.  Katie’s bedding is small enough not to be an issue.

Here I am rambling about what I think I can do without.  It is almost midnight here, contributing to the diarrhea of words tonight, sorry.

I’ll go to bed and leave you to your life. Good night, good world!

Downsizing

I decided to see how to live in a much smaller space.  In our 2-bedroom home, one of the bedrooms is 8 x 10 feet with a built-in dresser. The other is 12 x 12 feet.

My daughter has had the little bedroom since we moved here, swapping out her numerous toys and keeping her pets elsewhere in the home.

I decided to surprise her by switching the bedrooms.

This is a challenge.  My bedroom also doubles as a storage room and the smaller one must do double-duty as well.  This should give me ample incentive to downsize.

So this morning I removed everything from her room and started placing my stuff within.  One wall was perfect for my shelves so it was completely lined, floor to ceiling with my personal items and the extra stuff we haven’t managed to part with yet. To conceal this I took a piece of wire and some hooks to hang up two white sheets—it totally changes the look of the room!  Even though the space is smaller it actually looks a bit bigger somehow with all of the white. I wonder what that room would look like if I painted the walls white as well? Give it a combination of minimalist/shabby chic look or something…

I didn’t think to take any before photos but I took some after photos.  The room is not decorated yet, but I wanted to give an idea of what I’ve been doing. 

I am hoping that not only will my daughter enjoy the much-enlarged space (I even put the guinea pigs in her new room), but that I will learn more about myself.  I am already trying to figure out a way to obtain a twin-sized futon pad—anyone in Western KY want to trade a twin futon for a full?

Honestly, I only use my bedroom for storage, reading and sleeping.  I spend most of my time in the kitchen on the laptop so how much space do I actually need? If I managed a futon frame I could put it in the living room as a couch and allow that to serve double-duty as my bed.

Anyway, here are the photos:

 This is the view from the doorway.  The light is a wall-mount and a bit glaring.  That big white fabric wall is hiding floor to ceiling shelves (mismatched of course!). It looks kinda neat in there with all the floaty white fabric, especially where I used it for the curtains as well.

This is my full-size futon folded up in thirds for daytime storage. I would love to have a twin-size one, small enough to fold and put away like the Japanese are famous for, but right now a Japanese shiki futon is out of my budget.

This is from the  fabric wall looking toward my closet.  I am really thinking of painting all of the paneling in this house white to brighten up the place!  White on white would be a fascinating look, and if I got sick of it at least I would have a base coat already down. ?

This is the little built-in dresser.  There is a LOT of wasted space above that built-in and I don’t have so much as a mirror to fill it with.  I’m thinking of scavenging some old wood I have outside to put a small shelf or two in all of that space. For the moment those old crates will have to do (sigh). Sorry about the light glare.. Next time I will try to take pictures while it is still daylight outside!

Overall it looks pretty good for a day’s hard work!  Almost all of my stuff fit, though I am placing a shelf in the living room that was a bit much for the small area!

I will keep you posted on how I cope with such a small bedroom though I must admit—so far it feels like a good change!  Just today I eliminated several boxes worth of items and consolidated some more, making for a bit less junk than I had…

On a sad note, I stumbled upon the papers from my mother’s death several years ago.  I took about an hour to go through them, reading the statements (she was killed in a car accident in December of 1992), looking at the photos and the picture of the officers freeing her from the car after the accident (it made the front page even so I have that article).

What do you do with stuff like that?  I detest that memory.  I was 22 and she was my last surviving parent. I want to take that bag and burn it—and the memories with it—but what if Katie wants it when she is older? I really want it out of my life, but Katie is only 10 and too young to understand what it contains.. What do you do in that situation?  Every time I look through it and my father’s papers I just sit and cry, but I gather I’m under an obligation to keep this stuff for Katie for when she grows up—but she never met them—she was born many years after they walked this earth. I’m just torn by the entire subject.  A need to eliminate things that trigger painful memories and an obligation to pass things on to their grandchildren.  What would YOU do?

The Egg Slicer

This is funny so I have to tell on myself!

I set that egg slicer in front of me,  planning to use it on some eggs tonight.  Boiled the eggs, fished one out…

…And chopped it up with a knife!  I was cutting up the second one before I realized what I was doing!

With a laugh, I tossed that stupid egg slicer.  I don’t need what I never use!

It was cheap anyway!

10 Things Challenge Update

I wandered to the outbuilding today and tossed a few things from there. Most of what was discarded was in the building before I bought the place but such is life.

  1. Three mismatched Hubcaps
  2. non-functional lamp
  3. empty box
  4. cigarette making gizmo
  5. Bag of unknown items
  6. Broken carafe from unknown coffee maker
  7. Springs from old chair
  8. rusted brake drum
  9. Some broken toys
  10. Broken knife

There were some other things, but I didn’t know what to call them-enough to almost fill my Herbie. I left space within it for any trash I will need to discard between now and next Thursday.

I did discover some things I had considered lost: my whetstone, some matches, the missing clothespins (how they got there I will never know), 2 plastic glasses and an egg slicer.

I probably should just discard the egg slicer—it’s not like I ever use it.  In fact, I didn’t realize it was lost until I located it because I always use a knife to slice and chop my eggs!

It really feels good to thin down. I am in hopes by summer’s end to have that outbuilding thinned down to a degree where I can shift some of my more permanent storage items down there. I know—the ideal situation is to get rid of the junk, but some of this stuff I am just not ready to part with yet.  As they say on that hoarding show, if you part with things too quickly or easily you will accumulate more junk.  My goal is to do this gradually, for a more permanent result instead of a temporary fix.

Overall, I’m not doing too bad. 

Saving Money by Cleaning Less

Sometimes you can save money by changing little things you do in your daily life. These little steps can prevent dirt from entering your home, giving you less to clean.

Less to clean means less money spent running the vacuum cleaner.  Less to clean means less water and cleaners used to mop the floors. Less to clean can mean washing something less often because it doesn’t get as dirty.

Check out this post to learn one simple thing you can do that will significantly reduce the amount you have to clean.

Have a nice day!

Having Less to Clean

Simplifying your life can take the form of reducing things that you are obligated to do.  Cleaning is one of them.

One way to reduce the amount you have to clean is by removing your shoes at the door, outside the home even.

Leaving your shoes at the door will prevent a lot of dust and dirt from entering your home. If you have one spot at the door where shoes are deposited you will notice a significant difference in the dirt level of that area compared to the rest of your home.

The Japanese have done this for centuries to protect the tatami mats they use as flooring, and it is something that we can do to protect our floors as well.

By reducing the dust and dirt that enters the home, you will have less dust and dirt to clean.  This means that you will have to dust and vacuum less often, freeing up valuable time.

Another benefit is for your feet and your shoes. By allowing your shoes to air out regularly while you are in the home less bacteria will grow within them.  They will have time to dry out between wearings, giving a less hospitable home to these smelly companions.

You feet will also be freed from the damp and smelly environment of your shoes which may help with foot odor as well.

The Japanese have special house shoes that are worn while in the home. You can designate some simple sandals for this honor. 

I tried using the special set of shoes for the home.  I constantly forgot which pair I had on, wearing the house pair outside or the outside shoes inside.  As a result I gave up on that idea and just removed shoes entirely when I am in the house.  The difference in my kitchen floor alone is astounding.

Place a small rug near your door to hold your shoes.  This rug will catch the dust and dirt that falls from them.  Shake out this rug on a regular basis to remove the dirt from your house.  If you have an enclosed porch keep your shoes there and prevent any of that dirt from entering your home.

Sometimes the simple things can add up to save a lot of work.

Pieces of the Puzzle

Sometimes we get overwhelmed when we look at everything that needs to be done. The dishes are piled in the sink, dirty laundry is scattered through the house, the beds aren’t made and the dog has left you a gift by the door.

It just makes you want to cry, doesn’t it?

Stop looking at that big picture.  It is merely a giant puzzle of many little tasks. You don’t solve puzzles all at once, you solve them one tiny piece at a time.

Make a list of those tiny pieces, and focus on just one piece until it is accomplished.  Then, and only then, worry about another piece.

Soon you will look up and discover that you have finished the entire puzzle. 

Time to celebrate.

Time Magazine Article on Living with 100 Things

Time Magazine featured an article titled  How to Live With Just 100 Things.  This article talks about David Bruno’s challenge to do just that.  There is also a link for 5 Steps to Clutter-Free Living.

If you are serious about simplifying your life, you may want to read these articles for inspiration.

Anyway, I just ran across those articles and I thought of you.  Have a nice day!

Corraling the Closet

I did it:  I managed to reduce the amount of clothing I possess to just enough to be contained in a single side of the closet!

Hooray!  No more clothes hangers draped off of the shelves!

I turned the hangers around backwards to better determine what I actually wear and what I don’t of the remaining clothing.  By this time next year (I don’t store out-of season clothing–it must all fit in the closet) I will know what I have used and what I have not.  What I have not is leaving, period.

The only things that I do not currently hang in the closet are pants, shorts and coats.  I hope to thin down my wardrobe where I can hang even these items there to simplify my clothing storage needs.

My sister is getting first crack at the closet gleanings before they get shipped to Auntie’s house for distribution among family and friends.  I’m not sure how much she will keep out of the pile.

Oh, yes–and I lost a pair of shoes today.  My cheap generic Crocs–the ones I slummed around the house in.  After three(?) years of heavy use they finally died.  Not bad for a $4 pair of shoes, especially considering the abuse I put them through!  Now I debate whether or not to replace them.  Since warm weather will be here soon I am thinking that I can make do with the sandals that I have though none of them will work with socks.  Those things were horribly ugly, but so handy, comfortable and inexpensive!

I also have the dressier clogs I purchased the other day, but the heel is a bit on the high side for tromping around the house and yard… Time to dig through my box of shoes to see how to make-do….