So we decided to add an update about the kittens we adopted a while back from the Animal Rescue League. We’ve since started fostering kittens for the Panora Animal Shelter, but those kitties keep getting adopted before we can post photos of them. Let us know if you’re looking for a new furry friend. As you can see, we train excellent old house cats (or we happen to be standing nearby when many kittens become awesome cats).
The Finale – Minimalism Game December 2, 2013
December 1! What a ride! I’m so grateful for this month of decluttering. It has been such an amazing ride, and completely changed how I look at “stuff.” Things that surprised me:
1. How much stuff lives here. We got rid of over 500 things over the past 30 days, I stopped counting the trash stuff, so we went over the daily count. I didn’t even touch my attic, and I still have so much work to do on all the bedrooms. I thought if we did this, my house would feel empty, but in reality, there are corners that feel right, but most of it still feels cluttered. How did we get so much stuff?
2. You have to change your thinking. Minimalism Game forced me to rethink clutter. Instead of “but I want that” or “I need to keep that” or “it’s too big a pain to sell that” it was “How am I going to get rid of this stuff fast enough?” Changing my thinking amped up my ability to let stuff go.
3. Clutter takes up too much mental energy. Seriously. I didn’t just get rid of stuff. I got rid of the nagging feeling the stuff created in my mind. Which meant I had time to think about staining my front doors, decluttering the alcove off our bedroom that never really got unpacked when we moved in two years ago, and finally got me to clean out all the too small clothes my son keeps trying to wear to school.
4. Life is too short for all that clutter. We had brunch with our friends Steve and Rachel, and the conversation turned to our decluttering project, and our fears that we will die as hoarders buried beneath piles of architectural magazines. Steve got a bonus of sweaters, and hopefully, the inspiration of Minsgame up their December….or at least January.
Days 24, 25, 26 – Minimalism Game – I Had No Idea How Much Stuff We Had November 26, 2013
In getting ready for my daughter’s birthday party, we converted the front parlor from summer use to winter use, which in the land of no garage means moving the bikes downstairs, which meant that I could then see the lost treasures of Spring gone by. Under a table, behind the bikes, was a huge box. In fact there were three boxes total that were hiding behind bikes (because like coats, we also have more bikes than people in this house). In two of the boxes, there were lights that I bought at a garage sale to change out some outdated fixtures in our rental house. In the third box, there was a giant pile of stuff. I counted: 76 items, all ready to be donated (and 4 items worthy of selling) that I just never got to the Thrift Store this Spring. JACKPOT!
I now realize that I had nothing to fear in this project. I thought this would be the hardest week. Where was I going to find 20+ things per day to get rid of? Now, I’m panicked because in four days, I’ll officially be done, and I’ve done one corner of the cluster f*%& that is our master bedroom. I haven’t gone through all the lotions and potions I keep in the bathroom but never use. And the attic…full of boxes of mystery, that I haven’t even cracked open. I’m pretty sure I could do Minimalism game for at least one or two more months and not be done. I’ve gotten rid of 351 things, and only in a few corners of my world does this place actually look decluttered. I’m going to have to think about how I want to use my last few precious official days…not at all how I expected to feel at this point.
P.S. That’s Pumpernickel, one of the mousers from Days 22-23 in the background, waiting to mail the silverware and collectibles out from our Ebay sell off. Remember my silverware stash? It sold for $214.05. Not a bad haul for junk in a box!
Day 22-23 – Minimalism Game – Live Mouse Attack! November 22, 2013
We live in an old house, and we have cats. I have become accustomed to the occasional small bird or mouse delivered to me as a prize. I appreciate this service that my cats provide as a primitive, yet communicative report from my feline exterminators of their chemical free termination of a household pest. I do not, however, want to be part of the process.
When I hear a commotion in the dining room, the last thing I want to see is two cats chasing a mouse around. I know I’m a much bigger threat to the mouse, hypothetically, than the mouse is to me, but I am just not cool with a mouse running through my dining room. I’m also not cool with my cat grabbing this mouse in her mouth with authority, but somehow not killing it.
I know, it’s my fault. I thought “You should take the cat and mouse to the front porch and remove the mouse now.” But I really don’t want to be a mouse killer. I want to draw the line at mouse killer owner, mouse killer enabler. That’s enough, I don’t need literal mouse blood on my hands. How the heck do you kill a mouse? I’m a city girl, and I’d prefer to stay that way. I don’t want to be the sort of practical Iowa woman who knows instantly how to dispatch a mouse ten different ways when faced with one in her dining room.
So I left the cats to their mouse, but those little suckers let the mouse go! Jerks! The mouse, who was very smart, made a break for the closet, which was a horrifying mess of all the things we’ve ever had to hide on the first floor in the past two years, in addition to a minimum of three coats for every conceivable temperature for each member of our family. Once I pulled everything out of the closet in a desperate yet fruitless attempt to give my killers access to the mouse interloper, I realized I had my day 22 declutter opportunity. Which turned into my day 22 and 23, because you wouldn’t believe how much crap you can cram into a closet, and yet still end up with a full closet of stuff you might actually use at the end, but 45 items later, my closet was a little closer to reasonable, and I may have just found my next remodeling project: sealing the holes in the closet and adding shelves to keep stuff off the floor. The closet will not be a mouse refuge much longer, interlopers!
Day 20-21 – Minimalism Game – Flatware From Another Life November 20, 2013
Remember how I hate selling things? I have a ton of stuff that falls into that “not willing to let it go/sell it”category. It’s so much easier to put the flatware from the beginning of our marriage in a box and forget about it. It was a really nice set, but looked kinda silly next to the new plates we got in….wait for it….2006. So I’ve had this set of flatware in a box for SEVEN YEARS. Because you could save it for the kids, for the apartment they might have 15 years from now. Or should I sell it to Replacements? Or Ebay it?
UGH! Decision time! Ebay it is. http://www.ebay.com/itm/321251514094
Day 19 – Minimalism Game – Did I Seriously Move All These VHS Tapes? November 19, 2013
I guess I thought VHS was making a comeback? Or that we would get a VHS player and I would someday take time to watch this stuff again? Er…again…as if “The Devil’s Own” ever got out of the package. (It was filmed in my hometown, and I think I bought it in a homesick weak moment).
OK, so I kept the videos of my senior year play and our graduation video, which I will convert to DVD, and I’m sad that my FIRM videos are no more, but seriously….when did I ever expect to play these?
This Minimalism stuff is pretty freaking cool. I’ve realized a couple things in this process:
1. I had so much more crap that I DO NOT need than I thought I did. I’ve gotten rid of over 231 items, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I need to toss/sell.
2. All that stuff is draining. It sucks the energy out of your life with an emotional weight about 100x it’s physical weight.
3. Getting rid of stuff makes me feel stronger. By doing stuff I’ve been putting off for years, I feel fearless about facing the next big challenge. Who knew getting rid of stuff would be so empowering?
I’m looking forward to seeing how I feel as we get into the big number days, but so far…I’m a huge fan.
Day 18 – Minimalism Game – Closet Cleanout November 18, 2013
You’re never going to wear it again. You used to like it, but you haven’t worn it in forever. It’s OK to break up with an outfit that’s not that into you anymore. You used to be OK with that shirt that would ride up, but that’s just not cool anymore. To St Vincent’s Thrift Store with you all!