Category: Challenge

Packing Party results – part 1

Hi there,

I’m sure you are all wondering if there have been any result from my pseudo packing party, at least with regards of items out-the-door!

I’m happy to say that yes, there have been 😉

There aren’t any big ticket items that I’ve found I can get rid off, but there have been a bunch of the little things. Those items that hide in between the stuff that is easily “seen”. The items you don’t notice because they are just part of the rest of the stuff or collection or… you get my drift 😉

This time around, we are talking result from the bathroom and bedroom packing party. The other ones will follow 😉

I am a bit shocked when it comes to my bedroom. Since I wasn’t doing my closet, I really didn’t think there was much left to toss, as I have cleared the place numerous times… but it turns out, there were, as you can see from below 😉

So let’s get to it. How did I do? Well, here it is, 87 items out-the-door!

Bathroom – 33 items

  • Bunch of cosmetics, brushes, nail files, nail clippers – 16 items
  • Bunch of creams and lotions – 7 items
  • Hair stuff – 2 items
  • 1 body brush
  • Bunch of random stuff – 5 items
  • Bunch of contacts lenses I can’t use – count as 1
  • 1 towel rack

Bedroom – 54 items

  • 1 old worn out small backpack, it’s travelled just about every place with me, it’s sad to see it go, but it’s beyond repair..
  • 1 laptop cover
  • 1 broken bracelet, that I’m obviously not going to fix as it’s been like this for the last three years
  • 1 broken hanger
  • 1 jewellery/watch tray
  • 8 jewellery boxes
  • Purse cover bag + some plastic cover bags – count as 1
  • Bunch of small tubes of massage oil, aeons old and probably no longer useful – count as 2 as I had 2 bags of them
  • 1 magnetic picture frame, never used
  • 4 instant hand warmers (bought for a bike trip long time ago, and never used)
  • 1 hand sanitizer and 1 bottle of ?? (for the same bike trip) – count as 2
  • 1 ice pack (Bought long time ago when I was a goalie (handball and soccer), I’m only keeping one bag for emergencies)
  • 2 covers for hanging clothes
  • 1 funny scroll about Norwegians (damn, I forgot to take a picture of the text before I tossed it 😦 )
  • 5 bags for packing stuff when you travel (I have several, and these I’ve never used)
  • 18+ pieces of misc stuff
  • 3 wall posters
  • 1 wall poster tube

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Packing party – Living room!

Hi there,

it’s that time again. Time for me to tell you how I’m doing with my living room packing party.

Like with the other rooms, I started a little early (Wednesday) but I have a confession to make… I didn’t really do all that OK with packing everything I have in my living room. Mostly because, I ran out of boxes, and truth be told, steam 😦

Let me explain. I started up, pulling everything out of my big credenza. But realised really quick, that if I was to fill my boxes with bowls and decoration, I would fill them up in no time and have no room for all the other stuff. So I used my boxes for stuff from drawers instead. Filled them up with computer items, table cloths, candle holders, cards, games, papers, small decoration pieces, all that little junk that I had stashed away everywhere.  And not to forget the DVD/Blu-Rays, that was a whole box on it’s own. And that wasn’t even all of them.. good thing I’m already working on a separate watch myself out of my movie collection project 🙂

After all the boxes was full, I took the decorations from any surfaces in the living room (with the exception of lamps and my grandfathers old typewriter) and stuffed them into the credenza instead, just to get them out of sight.

Right now my living room looks a bit bare (compared to before)… and I love it! I know I was only supposed to leave the room “empty” for 48 hours.. but I’m liking it so much I’m having a hard time putting things back on the surfaces. So I won’t. Yet!

I am however unpacking the rest of the living room stuff, to free up the boxes.

There are a few things that I know will be going out-the-door as a result of this living room round 🙂 Unfortunately I have also come to a conclusion, that will most likely result in me getting a few new items 😦

I have a lot of decorative pieces made out of clear glass, and they are really nice, but I’ve realised that since they are all clear glass it takes a “lot” of them to show up! And it quickly becomes cluttered.

I think I need to change it up a little, maybe bring in fewer and bigger pieces. We will see! Right now I’m just going to leave it nice and “empty” and slowly incorporate items as I find the right things.

So what room is next?

I seem to be having a bit of trouble with this one. You see, since I live in a small home, the only rooms left are the kitchen, entrance hallway and guest-room.

Doing the entrance area would just be teasing you guys, since it is the size of a stamp. Seriously, you open the front door, take one step in, then take one step to the left.. and you’re literally in the kitchen.. the hall is that small. The only thing I have in my “hallway” is one closet for outerwear and shoes.

The kitchen, I have gone through so many times and it is about as streamlined as I can get it.. that I’m not sure what purpose the packing would have..

And then there is the guest room. This is the room I have been using as a stash space during my packing party, which have resulted in it being filled with all the other rooms “leftovers”. It seems like I need to leave this room for last, as I need to clear out the other rooms leftovers first. And I could need a week or two for that 😉

What to do, what to do???

OK, I know.. while writing about my last rooms, I’ve decided I could probably do with one more round in the kitchen 🙂 So guess what?

Kitchen it is! Are your coming?

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March in a nutshell!

Here we go again! Another month just flew by!

I thought February was a busy month, but it was nothing compared to March…  I sure hope April will bring a little more relaxation… well I can hope, can’t I? 🙂

My step-mums move is finally over, and I believe that the things she needs me for is mostly done. Pictures are hung, office is installed, machines are connected, curtain rods are up, furniture in place, TV and internet – check.. the only thing I know I have left to do is to fix up her entrance door, but that has to wait for warmer weather as it involves paint and oil.

Spring seems to finally be on it’s way, I think.. maybe! Plants are thinking about popping out of the ground, but there are still the occasional waking up to a bit of white outside, so I’m not quite sure 😉 The weather right now is beautiful Easter weather and I’m hoping this is a sign of how the spring season will go, as that would mean a lot of days outside.

But, let’s get back to how I’m doing with some of my goals.

March in a nutshell!

Declutter
As most of you know, I’m in the middle of a pseudo packing party, so far I’ve done my bathroom and bedroom, and I’m currently working on my living-room. I’m sure you all wonder if this little project it’s wielding anything out-the-door! Well, yes it is, a black bag full of stuff went out-the-door yesterday, and I will tell you all about what the stuff was. I just need to sit my butt down, sort through all the pictures I took and actually write the post 😉 

But as you all gathered by now, unfortunately it’s not counting as March out-the-door, as yesterday was April 🙂

Activity and exercise
Hmm, sport wise I did pretty shitty during March, but I sure was active… between cutting and trimming fruit trees in my step-mums allotment garden, hanging curtain-rods and pictures, lifting heavy boxes, moving furniture, working in my own garden and actually getting the occupational walk in, I averaged 3 times a week. Still not quite according to plan, I’ve gotta do better, hopefully now that the weather is perking up…

Only buying necessities
I’m on schedule. But what about my allowances?

  • Books – none
  • Eating out – we are still doing pretty poorly, like I mentioned before, with all this “working for someone else” it’s hard.  Now that this moving business is out of the way, hopefully we can do better…
  • Flowers and plants – no purchases
  • Buying a non essentials – yes, one purchase, I got myself a new casual top, a thin cotton hoddie, to replace a couple of ragged tops I had

Other financial goals
Mortgage: After my one time lump sum payment, I won’t be doing anything on my mortgage other than pay the monthly interest. But, on a happy note, with my extra payments the last few months (I had a lump sum payment last year as well) my monthly interest payment is now half of what it was 7 months ago 🙂

Other activities/projects this year
Hmmm, now that the move is over…  I have nothing 🙂 But I’m sure that won’t last long.. so stay tuned 😉

Well, that it for now, see you around in April!

Packing party – Bedroom!

As you probably know I’ve started on a small pseudo packing party challenge. I started out last weekend with my bathroom, as I thought that would be an easy place to start, since there is a limit to how much I can actually fit in my tiny bathroom 😉

This weekend my bedroom was up. My rules stipulate that I pack up on Fridays, and unpack on Mondays. Just like with the bathroom, I started up a day or two early, to give me a few more days with an “empty” bedroom.

I boxed up everything in the bedroom with the exception of my medical drawer and my clothes.

Why didn’t I pack up my wardrobe? Well, I’ve been chipping away at my clothing for the last couple of years, and the result is that I have gotten rid of at least half of what’s in my closet. And since I’m pretty happy with where my closet is right now, I didn’t feel the need to remove it all, and then just hang it right back up. So there.. I kinda figured since it’s my party, I get to do what I want to 😉

Turn’s out, that not packing my clothing and shoes, there wasn’t much left. I emptied all the drawers and it still only amounted to one box, as I actually managed to clear out a few more items from what have survived earlier culling. I couldn’t believe there was anything left to get rid off.. but obviously there was.. guess that was the reason for this packing party after all.. to really get down to the nitty grittys 😉

Below are a few pictures of my bedroom “decluttered”! Having it empty have made me realise I need to get some art up on the walls, as the room is quite bare. I have in general been extremely slow at decorating my walls. Maybe that can be a small project, for when I’m done with my packing party.

Now for my partners “in crime”!

  • Moving Forward is doing her cupboards. So far she’s done her bathroom.
  • All-Round Better me – is back from travel and seems to be deep into some decluttering tasks again!
  • Every Week Is Green – just mentioned she might join us..  it will be fun to see if she does…

Next room – Hmm.. let’s see…. I think… living room! Anyone?

You are wondering about the stuff going out-the-door? Well… for the time being I’m piling it all in a heap in my guest room. I will write it all up in a post, when I’m through with my packing party… it’s going to be fun to see how much it actually amounts to by the time I’m done 😉

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Packing party – Bathroom time!

As I mentioned last weekend I would start my pseudo packing party in my bathroom. Following the rules of my version of the packing party, I would pack up on Fridays, and unpack on Mondays. Well, I have to admit, I’ve cheated (yes already)… I was so antsy to get started I packed up my bathroom Tuesday this week 😉

I boxed up most of everything, with the exception of items like hair dryer, laundry bin, trash bin, weight scale, toilet brush holder, floor mat as these are things I knew I would use during the week.

I kept out one towel for me, one guest towel, toothbrush and paste, hand soap, my home made shampoo and conditioner, body oil and face oil (also home made), contact lenses, vitamins I take daily, one bottle of liquid bubbly bath soap (which I have used up already) and one bottle of body lotion I’m trying to use up.  Oh yeah, and the jar I collect plastic in, since I now recycle this after my plastic challenge.

I never really had all that much in my bathroom to start out (as you can see from my packed away stuff below), but I have to say… it’s been freeing living with just about nothing in my bathroom. So much so, that I have decided that I most likely will not unpack all my stuff tomorrow. There are a couple of things I will add back, like a few towels, the basket I keep all my laundry stuff and soap in, a couple of small grooming items and a small jewellery box.

Everything else I will keep packet away and only pull out as I need them over the next few months. I already know a few items that I have decided will not make it through this round, so that will go out-the-door within the next days.

Below are a few pictures of a cleared out bathroom.. unfortunately I forgot to do a before picture. I could off course pull everything out, just to take a “before” picture… but nope, that’s not going to happen 😉 You will just have to make do.

Now for my partners “in crime” 🙂

Next room – bedroom anyone?

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My pseudo packing party!

I mentioned a few days ago that I’m doing a pseudo packing party. Mostly inspired by the realisation, after having participated in my step-mums house move, that I most likely still have a lot of stuff hiding in nooks and crannies, even after my decluttering effort the last year(s).

I decided there are a couple of questions I need to add to my regular decluttering rules, questions like;

  • If I was to move to a different country or a smaller house, would this item be worth paying good money to have it moved, or would it fit in a smaller lifestyle?
  • Would I keep this item if I myself had to physical carry/haul this over to the new place, with no help from anyone…

I don’t want to do a real packing party, like The Minimalists did, as I don’t want to cover up everything I own, and live in boxes (especially after the last few days), but I decided I want to do a smaller version, where I “pretend” I’m moving and therefore have to go through my stuff as if I was packing up for a move. And while I go through my stuff I will evaluate the items according to my regular declutter routine and add the questions above to the mix!

All round better me – one of our fellow bloggers – quickly asked me what it involves, joining my “packing party”!

My original plan was to just “pretend (in my mind)” that I packed up room by room, and while I was going through my stuff I would use the questions above, hoping that that would make a few more things go out the door.

But, All round better me’s question made me stop up and think, that maybe I should do a “proper” job 🙂

So I have made a plan for my pretend packing party. Now! If there are anyone out there that wants to join me, you choose yourself what it is you want to join this “party” with. You can do a room, or a closet, or the cupboards (Therese?), or an area of your house or the whole house. Whatever area you feel you would like/need to give a once over 🙂

The key is – you need to empty the space you have chosen!

Since I’m doing most of the house, I’ve decided I need a plan, to keep it from becoming to overwhelming:

  • I will do one room at the time
  • I will not touch any of the furniture (the original packing party covered them all up, but I’m not going there)
  • As with the furniture I will not touch the TV, cable, stereo ++ as it’s way to many cables to mess with…
  • I’m not touching my books, as I’m doing those separately as part of my read a book program
  • I’m not touching my photo collection as this is a whole project on its own
  • I’m not buying any moving boxes or packing items. The idea is to get rid of thing, not have to buy anything to get that done. I will use boxes, bags, suitcases I already have, and I have “borrowed” some of my step-mums moving boxes. If I have no boxes to use, I will stack the stuff in piles, use plastic bags or whatever I have. The key is, if you are joining me, use whatever stuff you have to pack in 🙂
  • I will store my “packed” items in a different room than the one I’m packing – if possible!

Packing:

  • I will pull things out of my cabinets and drawers and pack away everything that is not going to be used the first 48 hours.
  • While I’m packing I will use my declutter system and ask the questions mentioned above
  • I will only keep out the items I know I will use the next 48 hour (e.g toothbrush, clothing, cups and plates and so on)
  • Then I will “sit back and relax” and enjoy my clear space for the next 48 hours. Why 48 hours? I’m thinking that that will give me just enough time to enjoy my empty space, and also contemplate on what I really want to put back in, when I unpack!
  • Since the space is empty, I figured this is as good a time as ever, to do a proper spring clean! So maybe not so much relaxing after all 😉

Unpacking:

  • I will only put back the items I really want or absolutely need in that cleared space.
  • Since I’m only putting back the things I really want or need, I’m sure I will have leftover items. These I sort through again
  • Items I know I’m keeping that belong somewhere else, I will put where they belong. If that is in a room that is next on the list, I will still put it there, for me to go though again, together with that rooms stuff.
  • Items I’m getting rid off, I will dispose of either as donate, sell or toss (recycle off course).
  • Items I’m not sure about, I will keep packed up, put a future date on them, and store out of the way until that date and then get rid of anything I have not taken back out by then.

When? 

I’m lucky to have some long weekends I can use for this task, and I was planing on packing Fridays and unpacking Mondays!

Saturdays and Sundays will most likely be used in the garden as spring is finally on it’s way, and there are plenty, and I mean plenty of things to do outdoors 🙂

I thought the month of April would be a great time for this job! But, since I have a whole house to do, I will start as early as next weekend, and I’m starting in the bathroom!

Jump on in, any time, from now through April 🙂 And why not blog about it? Let me know, I’ll add your links to my posts 🙂

And remember! A great rule when you are trying to decide what stays and what goes:

Choose what to KEEP, not what to get rid of! 

 

February in a nutshell!

I can’t believe I’ve almost forgot to post February’s summary!

I’ve been a bit on the busy side, it’s getting down to the wire when it comes to my step-mums move. They are working like crazy to finish her new bathroom, and we’ve been working on putting up lamps, painting and putting in storage shelves. This weekend we just finished putting in new bookshelves, today we are putting up blinds in the bedrooms, cleaning up the new place and packing the last bits and pieces, as the movers are coming tomorrow.. oh yeah, and I have a dishwasher and a washing machine to disconnect….

Since I will be occupied with the move and sorting things out for a few more day (ok, probably more than just a few), I figured I would give you a quick summary!

So here it is – my February in a nutshell!

Declutter
Yes I did actually get a few things out-the-door during February, my Wii, a bunch of clothing and a few books! 101 items all together 🙂 

Activity and exercise
My activity plan really didn’t happen much in February. Between work, treatments, running around sorting things for my step-mum and not to forget the rain, that blasted rain, I averaged only 2 times a week 😦

Only buying necessities
I’m on schedule. But what about my allowances?

  • Books – none
  • Eating out – not doing to well in February either, like I mentioned in January, when we have been working at someone’s house, I sometimes just need food “now”, or we are to tired to bother about making food and we eat out.  So it racks up! Hopefully when this moving business is out of the way, we can do better…
  • Flowers and plants – no purchases
  • Buying a non essentials – yes, one purchase, I finally found something I have been looking for, for the last couple of years, I’ll tell you about it in a separate post!

Other financial goals
Mortgage: Due to how the interest rates are doing, I made a one time lump sum payment, which I told you about a few days back… I’m really chuffed that I’m now down to about a third left of my mortgage 🙂

Other activities/projects this year
As I mentioned above, the focus is getting my step-mum into her new house…

Oh, yeah, and I did a plastic trash challenge in February. I have to admit, it was an eye opener…

I guess that’s it for now, I told you it would be quick 😉

February plastic challenge!

I can’t believe how fast the month of February have gone by. It feels like it just begun, and here we are, February is over and I’m at the end of my plastic trash challenge.

There is no doubt! I use more plastic than I realised. I have to admit, I’m glad I jumped on the bandwagon together with Every Week Is Green, as it have made me more aware of the type of trash I have and how much.

As I mentioned at the start of this challenge, we have several ways to recycle our stuff, in the area I live. I have always been pretty good at sorting the paper in the paper bin and food scraps in the organic bin, but I have to admit, that unless I have had bigger plastic items, I have not been good at sorting the plastic, and neither have I been good at separating glass and metal tins either.

Well, all that has changed!

I am now much more into separating the stuff. I have a dedicated glass/metal tin container, a plastic trash container (a mason jar for the time being) in addition to my old paper, organic and other trash containers.

While on this challenge, I have noticing that it is just about impossible to avoid plastic in your everyday life, regardless off how much you would like to! For example, I never realised how much of our vegetables and fruit that come wrapped in some sort of plastic. Even paying close attention, I find it almost impossible to find my vegetables and fruits unwrapped. I mean seriously, why the heck do they need to wrap broccoli, red peppers, carrots, ginger, onion, grapes just to mention a few?

In the Stavanger region, where I live, I have not yet found a place where I can buy everyday items without the packaging. There is no “bring your own jars and bags” alternative. Close to where I live I have several food stores, and it seems like they get a lot of their food from the same production line.

We have a few (and I mean only a few – I know of 3 or 4) farmers markets and farm shops around this area, but even there, I find that a lot of their items are wrapped in that darn plastic. Since these places are quite a drive from my everyday haunt, it’s not natural to go there for everyday shopping, even if they might (I’m saying might, because it’s not given) have a couple of more things not already wrapped.

As a lot of other people around, I have my share of plastic items, already stacked in the house! You know, items like storage containers, bowls, hard plastic plates, tumblers, lids, zip-lock bags +++  Having jumped on this “not using to much plastic” bandwagon, does not mean that I will get rid of all my plastic and only use glass or paper going forward. To me that seems a little pointless, as that would just mean that I would throw even more unused plastic out there in the world.

No, what I will be doing is use the heck out of the plastic I already have 🙂 Which among other things means wash and reuse all sorts of plastic bags, so that I can get the most out of them.

For years, I have brought my own shopping bags, but this month I also started bringing bags for fruit and vegetables++, I’m reusing the same bags that the fruit and vegetables came into the house with… I figured, that every little thing helps 🙂

So how did I really do this month?

Total of the month

  • 1 chocolate wrapper
  • 1 baguette wrapper
  • 5 salad bags + all the little bags inside that holds cheese, dressing and stuff
  • 3 cheese bags
  • 3 mashed potato bags
  • 1 puffed rice bag
  • 1 windshield washer fluid refill bag
  • 7 milk carton tops
  • 4 candy wrappers
  • 1 tikka masala spice lid (the glass for the sauce goes into the glass recycle bin)
  • 1 carrot tray (don’t ask, I cant believe they have to wrap carrots)
  • 3 bags for Norwegian “Kakemenn
  • 4 popcorn wrappers
  • Bunch of plastic that covers things like fruit, vegetables, pork chops, fish and a few other necessities
  • 1 plastic box for 500 grams of grapes – unfortunately they come in boxes, no loose grapes here in my stores 😦
  • 56 contact lenses and their storage trays – I use SoftLens daily, and they come in small plastic containers
  • 2 orchid pot (Plants no longer flowering – from my Christmas decoration)
  • 1 orchids info tab
  • 2 Christmas plant pots (Poinsettias no longer flowering)
  • 1 lamp electric wire wrapper (project I will tell you about shortly)
  • 2 magazine wrappers
  • and 2 beef jerky bags – which I have decided I will reuse, as the bags are pretty solid – so ignore the jerky bags from week three photo 🙂

Would you believe that with the exception of the contact lens trays and the flower pots, I managed to wrap all this stuff into the grape box mentioned above 🙂  Check it out, in the picture below!

So what now? Did I learn something?

Yes, absolutely! I have learned that I need to pay more attention. I have found that with a little effort, I can reduce my plastic consumption. It’s not difficult to reuse, and by keeping continuing focus… it might save a plastic bag or ten…

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A plastic trash challenge!

Johanna over at Every week is green, decided in the beginning of February to do a trash challenge, where she keeps track of all the trash she generates through a month.

I thought this was a great idea, and I decided to join her on parts of this challenge, namely the plastic part.

Were I live here in Norway, we have pretty good facilities for recycle. My trash room have separate bins for paper, food waste and general trash. They also pick up plastic once a month, which are collected not in bins but in big plastic bags.

Right next to my local shop (just down the street), there is a big container for glass and metal cans, and you can deliver light bulbs at the store itself. Any big electrical items, can be delivered at any electrical store, paint and stuff is considered special waste and can be delivered either at the fire station or you can bring it to the local recycle centre (which for me is only 4 minutes away). The local recycle centre will take everything you could think off. You pay a small fee and you can toss to your hearts content 😉

So you see, there are great opportunities to recycle if we are mindful!

During my blogging year, I’ve come across a lot of people trying to go plastic free. I’m not quite there, as I do use my plastic containers to store food and stuff, and I do use the occasional plastic wrapper. But at the same time, I also bring my own bags to the stores, both carry bags and bags for fruit and vegetables. And I do try, to keep the amount of plastic that enters my house, to a low volume, with the unfortunate exception of necessities that happen to be wrapped in the darn thing.

But just like Johanna, I’m a bit curious on how much of the stuff I actually go through in a month, so I have decided to keep track of the plastic trash this month.

I started out February 1st, and this is what I went through my first week. It’s turning out to be more plastic than normally (I think) as I went a little crazy on bagged salads (on sale) and had to refill wiper fluid on my car:

  • 1 chocolate wrapper
  • 1 baguette wrapper
  • 3 salad bags
  • 1 mashed potato bag
  • 1 puffed rice bag
  • 1 windshield washer fluid refill bag (which at least uses 63% less plastic than a regular washer fluid container)
  • 2 milk carton tops
  • 14 contact lenses and their storage trays – I use SoftLens daily, and they come in small plastic containers
  • 1 plastic box for 500 grams of grapes – unfortunately they come in boxes, no loose grapes here in my stores 😦
  • Bunch of plastic that covers things like fruit, vegetables, pork chops, fish and a few other necessities

I stored most of it in a mason jar (you can see it empty on the picture) during the week, but pulled it all out to show you the stuff. I repacked it nicely into the grape box, as I’m keeping it there while I start on a new week of mason jar collecting 😉

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