Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tit for Tat

A colleague at work gave me a present today of a nice silk scarf she brought back from a trip to the far East. It will go nicely with a camel-hair coat I own, and so I'll be keeping the scarf. Of course, I felt duty bound to discard another scarf in its place. I went through a bag of hats, scarfs and gloves that I keep in our front closet and wound up discarding one scarf and four hats (do I really need two wool black berets---nope). Not a lot of decluttering, but at least I didn't add any additional stuff.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Church Sale

There is a Catholic Church on my block that is having a flea market this weekend. Last Sunday I went through the apartment and pulled out all sorts of things to give them for their sale. I focused on the kitchen and in the process pulled out all my pots and pans and organized them neatly in the cabinets. They had, over the years, been put backed haphazardly after being used and were a messy pile. I wound up giving away to the church sale:
7 books
Toothbrush Sanitizer (an unused present)
CD Rack
4 pots and pans
1 milk pitcher (I still have 2 left and I usually just pour milk from the carton)
1 mug- never used
1 T-shirt- new
4 letter tray- new
1 Pyrex casserole dish
1 spring cake pan
1 never-used digital camera (1.2 pixels)

Today I noticed the several bottles of good wine I had sitting on top of out book shelves. They were mostly Mouton Cadet had been given to me over the years by the firm I worked at. I have had them for between six and twelve years without ever having opened them. I brought seven bottles over to the church. A productive decluttering week.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Getting Back to Blogging

One of my issues is clutter and cyberspace does not need another deserted blog, so I am resuming this blog. Soon after my last entry my modem crapped out, and it took a week to get a new one. Then inertia and procrastination took over, and I kept putting off returning to the blog, which is odd since I actually enjoy writing it. Anyway I'm going to give another shot at keeping this going.

When I last wrote I discussed socks, specifically the large trash bag I had that was full of socks and pantyhose I don't currently wear. I did go through the bag and threw out or gave away about twenty pairs of socks of various types that I decided I would never wear. So continuing with the Clever Dude challenge I set myself back in October I have now gotten rid of 78 items of clothing, and still have 54 to go.

There is a church on my block that is having a flea market this weekend. So this past Sunday I looked around our apartment to see what I could donate. I was pretty pleased by what I managed to get rid of. I gave them 7 books, an unopened toothbrush sanitizer ( a present), 1 cd rack, 4 pots and pans, 1 milk pitcher, a new mug, a new T-shirt, 4 still wrapped inbox trays, 1 casserole dish, 1 spring cake pan, and one never used Olympus digital camera (1.2 pixels) still in its box with the software and instruction books.

Oh, with the donated T-shirt, that make 53 items of clothing to go in my clothing challenge.

Monday, October 22, 2007

How much is enough?

I started this blog by saying that I have too much stuff and that I want to get rid of some of the excess. So, while I know that I have too much stuff, I am less clear as to how much stuff is enough. I wrote last week about my turtleneck shirt hoarding, but I did not mention the full, large garbage bag of excess socks and stockings that is jammed into the back of my closet. I keep them there because my sock and underwear drawer barely closes. Now I do go through a lot of socks. I wear slacks to work with casual shoes that need socks worn with them. I also walk funny, with the big toe on both feet jutting up a bit, quickly pushing holes into the toes of the socks. Still, I do not the need the estimated fifty or more pairs that are stashed away in that bag. So again I ask, how much is enough?

I don't really want to get rid of too many of the extra socks, since I know that eventually I will need them and will feel like I am throwing out needed stuff. Then I will have to spend good money to replace them, which goes against a certain innate, if inconsistent, frugality I have. Yet, I am feeling oppressed and absurd that I have all these socks, so tomorrow that bag will be purged.

Re-reading this I find it too self-indulgent and navel-gazingish. I don't know if anyone is reading this yet, but even I am bored by reading about my excess socks. So, enough of this. Back to the census of what I have thown out.

10/20/2007-- Discarded nine men's shirts that my son and husband don't wear anymore. 74 more pieces of clothing to discard in the Clever Dude challenge.
10/22/2007-- Threw out ten mail-order catalogues. Also threw out a 1999 edition of the Encyclopedia of Associations (3 vol.); don't even ask.

One more thing, I just realized that i did not get anywhere near answering the question of how much is enough. I'm sure I will be re-visiting that issue as I get on with this.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Baseball Night

I watched the Cleveland/Boston playoff game tonight and did not do much decluttering. I am throwing out a few things, and am falling behind on the clothing challenge I set myself. I'll be upstate this weekend, which is where I store many of my clothes, so I should be able to get rid of a lot of stuff. I also realized that, except for food and cleaning supplies, I haven't bought anything for at least five or six weeks. That is a good sign.

10/18/2007-- Discarded an old pair of slippers, a wool headscarf and a pair of suspenders I bought my son several years ago that he never wore. Three items of clothing discarded. 83 pieces of clothing to go. Also got rid of 3 books.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Clothing Challenge Continued

This challenge is harder for me than I thought it would be. About a month before I started this blog I had a garage sale and put out over a hundred clothing items to sell. Some sold, but most didn't and what's left is stored in large garbage bags. I already have bought two of the bags to the Salvation Army and to a local clothing pantry. I'm still keeping a couple of bags as I may have another sale, before the weather gets too cold, since a friend wants to join me in garage sale. This is a long way of saying that many of the easily disposable pieces of clothing have already been winnowed out, so I am still left with too much stuff, but it is stuff that I consider to be useful.

For example, I haven't been able to discard either new or good condition turtleneck jerseys, a staple of my winter wardrobe, even though I own about fifty of them. About a dozen of them are in drawers and get worn with some regularity. However I have some thirty or forty, mainly new ones, ( I should count them this weekend) stored in a trunk upstate. I figure that each year I will add a few new ones to the rotation and get rid of the ones that get stained or too worn. I can call this planning ahead, but it is dangerously close to being hoarding. I should just throw out some duplicate colors--I must have five or six pink ones. This is the part of decluttering I find hard, getting rid of perfectly good clothes. But then again, who needs six pink turtleneck shirts. This is something I need to work on if I truly want to declutter and not be ruled by my stuff.

So continuing the Clever Dude challenge I went through my drawers and closet looking for more stuff to get rid of, but as I noted it is getting harder. I cheated a bit and also am counting things like belts and wallets, as well as socks and scarves. However I will keep at it until I get rid of 132 pieces of clothing, or clothing related items like wallets and handbags.

10/17/2007--Ten belts, three pairs of shoes, four scarves, one sweater, three shirts, two wallets, two underwear. 25 items of clothing discarded. 86 pieces of clothing to go.

P.S. If anyone out there knows how to move the "Blogs I Read" list which is at the bottom of the page to the side of the page under the profile view link, I would appreciate the help. I am new to blogging and I could not find how to do it on Blogger's help screens.

ETA- I finally figured out how to drag the blog list to the sidebar area.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

132 Pieces of Clothing Challenge

Yesterday, in one of the personal finance blogs I read, Clever Dude described how he and his wife went about discarding 132 items of clothing. Being suitably inspired, I've decided to set myself a challenge of getting rid of another 132 pieces of clothing that we own by the end of this week. I just finished checking the clothes my grown son had left in the closet of his old bedroom. There are at least 15 shirts in there. We still keep some of his clothes here for when he visits, but he certainly does not need that many shirts. I immediately decided that five of them can go, since he does not wear plaids. More will probably go once I talk with him. They are all in fine shape, and one of them still has tags on it from the Gap. Also in my son's dresser I found a 6 pack of Hanes briefs, unopened, in a size that is now too small for him. I will list the shirts and the unopened underwear on Freecycle.

Giving a quick look in my bedroom I found three pairs of my shoes and five of my blouses to discard. I didn't spend much time going through my room as my husband went to sleep early tonight, but I will look more tomorrow. This challenge will be fun. Thanks, Clever Dude.

10/16/2007--Five shirts, six blouses, three pairs shoes, six men's briefs, 1 faded Culinary Institute T-shirt . 21 items of clothing discarded. 111 pieces of clothing to go.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Decisions are hard to make

While I really do have a ton of stuff to get rid of, I already am having trouble deciding about some items. For example when my mother died five years ago I kept her good linen tablecloths and matching napkins that she used for holiday meals. Some of them are stained, though they probably could be successfully cleaned. I haven't used any of them in those five years. I either use placemats for everyday dinners, or more casual fabric cloths when entertaining. I just don't do any fancy entertaining and usually go to some cousins or friends for holiday events. However I can't bring my to get rid of those tablecloths. They are clutter, but they are sentimental clutter. Maybe as I continue this blog I will get some clarity about how to handle these types of items.

10/15/2007-- Discarded six cookbooks I don't use. I have many more that I don't cook from, but get pleasure from browsing. More of these will have to go.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My old computer is now stuff??

I'm writing this entry at 11:15 PM, because I had to wait until I got back to New York City. The old computer I use upstate, bought back in 1998, seems to have fully conked out. The CD drive has been broken for years, so no new or updated software could be loaded, but it could still connect to the web via dial-up at an arthritic 31,900 baud speed. Today it could still connect to my web provider, but then could not even load Google or Yahoo. Nada. I assume that the some minor upgrade has made my ancient browser totally useless. So now I have another piece of useless junk in my upstate house. I'll have to see if I can attach a flash drive to it and download a few needed files, if not I can use floppies, since my "new" machine is old enough to have a floppy drive. Then I have to see if the main recycling place in my upstate county will accept it as junk.

I got a rid of few more items today, still the easy stuff. I will have to see how I am about discarding nice and useful stuff, that I don't use. I have two large 13 x 9 Pyrex baking dishes. One is certainly enough for me. If I am serious about this destuffing (really should be a word) program, that is the type of suff I need to get rid of. Yesterday, I found a community resale shop upstate that will be a good place to donate stuff like that.

10/14/2007--Got rid of one stained t-shirt, one torn turtleneck ( I had another in the same color), one stained cookie sheet, and six books.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Some stuff goes.

One reason I have so much stuff is that I have two homes. One is an apartment in New
York City, and the other is country house in the Catskills. The upstate house has four bedrooms and three of them are being used for storage. The largest one is full of my grown son’s stuff and it badly needs to be tackled. It is full of boxes of old books and schoolwork, as well as clothes and furniture he currently isn’t using as well as his “memorabilia”, that is old birthday cards and letters, school newspapers, minor athletic trophies (he was only a minor athlete:). I nag him to decide what he really wants to keep, instead of letting inertia make the decision, which is currently the case. However, until I clear out my own unnecessary junk, I don’t think I have that much moral authority to bug him. So first I work on getting rid of my stuff, and then his turn will come, and I will go after his stuff.

Besides my son’s stuff being piled in the biggest of the upstairs bedrooms, I have bins and bags, big leaf size bags, filled with my own clothes. I have thin clothes, fat clothes, winter clothes, summer clothes, more clothes than I can remember to wear. The 80/20 rule is certainly at work here, though it probably is more like a 92/8 rule. With the season change I will be sorting clothes this weekend. I can easily throw out half of my summer tees. I will report back about how many I was able to discard.

10/13/2007—Threw out several pairs of sneaker socks that were too bulky and three stained summer tee shirts. I also brought to our apartment basement four books to a recycle bookcase and then donated a full banker box of books to my local library upstate. That was another twenty-five books. I then donated ten pairs of slacks (men's and women's), four tee shirts, five skirts, one nightgown and two pairs of shorts to a local clothes "pantry". This barely makes a dent, but it is a start.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Starting Out

I have too much stuff. My cabinets are stuffed. My kitchen counters have stuff that lives permanently on top of them, since I have too much stuff to put away. I have too many clothes to fit into my dresser and the overflow is piled on the top of the dresser. I have bins of extra clothes stored away. I have piles of books sitting in bankers boxes and on the floor in the corner of my living room. I keep far too many of our financial and household records. I usually have to struggle to find items and records that I need.

I want my life to be more organized. I want to gain control over my stuff. Most of all I want to get rid of much of it. I’ve started this blog to help me in this process.

I will sometimes discuss personal finance, since stuff costs money as does storing the stuff. I will often discuss my attempts at becoming more organized as that is a key aspect of my problem. But most of all, I want keep a record of my getting rid of my unnecessary stuff. Everyday I pledge to get rid of at least one thing, one piece of stuff. Most days I hope to get rid of much more.

10/12/07—I threw out a bulky, ugly orange, salad spinner that did not spin all that well.