Category: Simplify

2015 – Goals! Oh nooo!

Oh boy!

It’s ridiculous how long I’ve been working on this post… I started it weeks and weeks ago.. and then I completely forgot all about it lurking around in the drafts folder… until I suddenly went.. oh crap.. didn’t I..??? Yeah you guessed it, I suddenly remembered that I had not posted it after all. How the heck could I forget?

And here we are, almost done with February. And I still haven’t given you the update on how I did with my 2015 goals! 😳

How can I make it up to you? Well I guess I could just go ahead and give you that update!

Before I do, I have a teensy-weensy disclaimer!

2015 turned out quite differently than I had anticipated. As some of you know, I had to throw in the towel at work, June 2015 for health reasons. Following that particular decision, a few things happened during the fall, things that was completely outside of my control, which unfortunately, took a toll on my health.

I know, I know..  it’s a poor excuse…  But excuse or not, it is an explanation for why I completely flunked on some of my goals, as you will see below.

I did have quite few goals, and even though I flunked a lot,  I did accomplish one or two…

So here it is, my (ahem) “quick” update, starting with one of the ones I actually passed 🙂

FINANCIAL GOALS
My overall goal when it comes to my house mortgage, is to pay it down as quick as possible. Every January I pay a lump sum towards the mortgage (a quick explanation of my mortgage). My goal for 2015 was to to save up NOK 60 000,- for my lump sum in January 2016. And I did it. Actually I was a ahead of schedule and had saved my yearly down payment by October. With a little extra savings in November.

I did debate paying down more than my 60 000 this January, but I decided I’d rather invest that extra money in mutual funds, as the interest rate on my mortgage is really low.

With this last payment, I’m down to 1/4th left on my mortgage, only 9 years in 🙂 Do I get a woot, woot?

DECLUTTER
I had a bunch of declutter goals. Just as in 2014 I wanted to shed an item a day. In addition to that, I had a few other “projects” like reading myself out of my bookshelfwatching myself out of my movie collection, and (the big mother of projects) photos!

My declutter goals for 2015:

  • 😀 365 items 561 items out the door – the big purges are mentioned here, here and here
  • :-/ 100 Movies – 68 movies
  • 😦 Cut physical DVD series collection by 30% – I’ve only gotten rid of one series which probably amounts to all of 1%
  • :-/ 34 books – 27 (I ran into too many I wanted to keep)
  • 😦 Photo collection – I never had a proper goal on this as I have thousands of photos, and the idea was to – keep key photos as physical photos, scan the other ones I’d like to have access to, and get rid of the rest. – All I can say…. it IS on the list for 2016 (and 2017… and 2018… and…)


ONLY BUYING NECESSITIES

2014 was a year I focused a lot on only buying necessities ( I want, I want – I want it now!!!), and it served me so well that I continued in 2015. I had some non necessities allowances though;

  • 😀 Books – buy only 10 books/magazines – I bought 6 books (4 of them e-books), no magazines
  • 😀 Flowers and plants – same level of 2014 – I cut about 60% on 2014 results
  • 😦 Eating out – reduce 25% on 2014 results we have already established that this item is something we struggle with. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that we flunked this one completely. Here are the statistic:
    • we ate out 39% more times than 2014
    • average cost per meal was reduced 9,5% – resulting in
    • total cost for 2015 was increased with “only” 25,9% 

Even though the results are pretty bismol (with the exception of average cost per meal) there is one upside in it all.

You see, both B (my eating out partner in crime) and me stopped working early/mid 2015. B took out an early retirement + was hit by company downsizing, leaving the workforce early spring. And I, well I started the year working only 20% until I left completely in June, when I went out on 100% sick leave.

We have found out in the past, during holidays and such, that we eat out more when we are not working. In lieu of the fact that most of the year have been non working days, for us both, I’m actually surprised that we did not increase our cost by more than 25,9%. So yeah, we gotta look at the bright side of this 😉

  • ❓ I can buy up to 10 non essentials throughout the yearHmm lets see, I bought:

    • 2 lamps at an antique fair – the lamps are going over my dining table (been looking the last 5 years – finally found some I think might be cool.. as soon as I change the wiring 😉  )
    • 1 pair of shoes (needed a pair that can work as my one pair only for minimalist travel)
    • a few Lush products to test out deodorants and shampoos in solid form (travel)
    • a couple of eagle creek super light travel pouches (travel)
    • 6 pieces of clothing – 4 replacing worn out items, 1 item filling a hole in my wardrobe, and 1 just because I wanted it…
    • 1 frame for a poster (picture finally on the wall after years and years in a roll)
    • a set of omaggio vases

Depending on how you want to count these non essentials, it’s either a flunk or pass scenario. If you look at it from a “if every single item counts separately” then, yes I bought more that 10 items. But if “each purchase count as one” (eg lush, lamps, vases..) then I guess I kinda passed? You know what? I’m leaving it to you to decide 😉


ACTIVITY AND EXERCISE

The goal for 2015 was to build up to, by the end of the year: 7 days of activity a week, with 3 of these as real workouts.

Yeah, that didn’t happen (re my disclaimer) – I did pretty good during summer with an average of 6 times a week, but I took a crashing nosedive end of August, resulting in this goal going straight out the window for the rest of the year. So yeah.. a big, big fail 😦

OTHER ACTIVITIES/PROJECTS
As always, I enjoyed my garden as much as possible. In addition I had a few other projects.. mostly helping out family and friends with little things in the house.

I did however have a bit of a larger task, helping a friend who got a new house in 2015.  Picture this, a house built in 2000 with interiour like the 1970s! Yeah, non painted pine, red, orange and yucky cream/brown/puke coloured wall… and thats for starters. For her it became quite a renovation project.. so B and me tried to help out as much as my health would allow. You know things like; painting, drawing up the new kitchen, delivering doors to be spray painted, changing door handles, cutting moldings to fit new wardrobes, more painting, installing the wifi, hanging curtain rods, “create” (rather adjust) a couple of ikea kitchen units to fit the space… you know.. all the little things that comes up during move in and renovation 😉 It turned out to be a fun and very social summer as she had lot and lots of friends helping.. oh yeah.. and there was lots and lots of great food, do I need to say more 😉

All in all, it was a great summer season!

This concludes my “How did I do on my 2015 goals”!

About time, you might say! All I can say is.. Yeah, I know 😳

CD galore!

While I was going through my living room during my “pseudo packing party” earlier this year, my music collection was one of those things that jumped out at me as being a separate tiny project for a later date.

Well the later date have come and gone, and its time to do something about the amount of music CD’s I have lurking around.

Once every blue moon, I go through all my music CD’s and clear out the ones I don’t want anymore. I tend to rip all my music to my computer first, so that I can keep the music I love, but I don’t necessarily need to keep the physical disks.

My rule is! Rip them all, but save only as many as will go into one CD case! Now that is not as restrictive as it might sound, as my CD case will take 80.

Why do I keep any CD’s at all? Well in the early days I used to play them at home as most of us did. Nowadays I stream my music through Wimp (similar to Spotify) at home, but I still have an old fashion CD player in my car. So if I want anything other than radio music, CD it is 😉

And since I’m one of the crazy people, who loves driving with the top down on the car, “singing” at the top of my lungs along with the music, you see why I just have to keep some of my favourites around 😉

For the time being I’m keeping around 50 albums, I’m sure some of these won’t make it through the next cut, but for now I’m good with that. Fortunately there are a few more going out the door… 79 CD’s to be exact…

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There is stuff…

…finally going out-the-door! Long overdue, I know 😉

About a week ago, I mentioned that Heather over at Simply Save was inspiring me, to get back into decluttering with her minsgame.  Now, my original plan wasn’t really playing the minsgame, I just wanted to get back into decluttering. To finish off my goal of 365 item out-the-door for 2015.

But I was thinking today, that maybe it could be fun to play part of the minsgame anyways, kind of a minsgame light 😉

As we all know Christmas is a big part of this month, and that holiday is a time to spend with family and friends (not decluttering), so come Christmas time I won’t be around the house much.

My plan is to play the minsgame until and including December 20th. After that, my holiday starts with me leaving for a few days to hang out with family.

That means (if my calculations are correct) that 210 items should be leaving the house this month. Now, I know a lot of people that play the minsgame, get rid of the number of items that follow the date. Something that Moving Forward is doing, right now. But me! I’ve never been good at following rules 😉 so I figure that as long as 210 items leave the house before the 20th, it doesn’t matter if it’s 1 or 77 at a time.

So here it is, my first installment of 69 items out-the-door!

Clothing – 44

  • 1 windproof fleece jacket
  • 6 t-shirts
  • 1 pair of sweatpants
  • 1 nike nylon sports pants
  • 2 thin fleece tops
  • 1 medium thick sweater
  • 1 thin cotton long sleeved top
  • 1 knitted jacket
  • 1 high neck sweater
  • 1 pair of jogging shoes
  • 5 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of office pants
  • 6 bras
  • 15 undies
  • 1 bicycle shirts

Other stuff – 25

  • 2 drinking bottles
  • 4 egg holders
  • 2 “Pc covers”
  • 1 exercise ball
  • 1 exercise ball DVD
  • 1 pc backpack
  • 2 flower pots
  • 1 cup
  • 7 small plastic containe
  • 1 network cable
  • 2 CD disk cases
  • 1 pc cover

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Focus…

I can’t believe it’s almost December. One more month and 2015 is over. Where the heck did the time fly off to? Just a short month left (yes, it’s a short month, with Christmas and all, interfering with normal routines 😉 ) to finish up my goals for the year.

I know there are a couple of goals that I will fail at, but there is one goal in particular that it’s time to snap back into.

For some reason I’ve been finding it hard to keep the focus up on my decluttering goal! Last year I was all for it, but this year it’s almost like I’ve lost a step and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I feel I have my home under control (no, not really), or maybe it’s because I’ve already been decluttering for years and I’m getting down to the “nitty gritties” and it’s much harder, or maybe my heart just haven’t been in it?

Whatever reason, the fact is that there aren’t much stuff going out-the-door! Now, fortunately there haven’t been much coming in either, as I don’t buy much, so I’m not cluttering it back up 🙂

But it’s time, it’s time to focus. It’s time to get at least some of my decluttering goals out of the way.

Heather over at Simply Save, has spent November playing the minsgame. So I figure I could take a cue from her, focusing on my decluttering goal for a minute 🙂 There is no way I’m going to be able to shed 465 items like Heather have been working on. But that’s not really the point. The point is just to get back with it, to get the stuff out of the door, to finish my goal for the year, of 365 items out-the-door.

So there you have it… over the next few weeks. The focus is… decluttering! And yes, please hold me accountable.. because it is sooooo easy to slip…

 

Things that matter….

I just got back after a few days in Oslo, the capital of Norway, hanging out with some friends who was visiting from US, and it’s time to get serious with my decluttering again. During this summer anyone that have been reading my blog, knows my items out-the-door have pretty much been non existent.

I’m not sure why I have this persistent thought that I need to declutter some more… my house is pretty much under control, I have gotten rid of tons of stuff the last few years, and in most peoples mind I never owned that much in the first place.

I think it’s part of this minimalist journey, wanting to shed more, I see it with a lot of the other “minimalists in making” that I follow as well, that as you declutter and get rid of things, it spills over in other aspects of your life.

As we declutter we become more aware of the things that matter, of what is important to us, either in the items we own, the people we are with, or the things we choose to spend time on. So we continue to declutter our; physical items, digital stuff, mental clutter, social interactions and work stuff, in hope that we will reach the right balance. The right balance between health, family, friends, work and you!

For most of us, it’s a work in progress, a continuous path we are on, one that might never end, as we slowly evolve into the people we want to be.

And this is why I think I still feel compelled to declutter, I’m not yet where I want to be, as I still have loads of “stuff” I want and need to sort through.

Sometimes it takes an event or a major issue to wake you up! An event or issue so big, that it compels you to change your ways.

Me getting sick a few years back, have surely been an eye opener! It has put a lot of things into perspective, and made me realise a few things. I also lost my dad to an illness about 2,5 years ago, which really brought home a few truths, about how I had some of my priorities wrong.

I know I never really write much about the inner changes, this blog has mostly been about decluttering the physical stuff. I guess it’s because the physical stuff is more tangible, it is something you can show the results of.

The inner stuff is harder to put down on paper, especially since the change often is so subtle, you hardly even notice that it happens, until your are way down the line. Then all of a sudden you realize that you have changed, changed the way you view a few things, changed what is important, changed some of your priorities…

It’s this change that made me realise that there are certain things in life that is no longer worth the cost of having it in my life. It’s this change that resulted in me finally deciding to throw in the towel with work and prioritize health. Without this inner change, I would still be at it, working away, ignoring my health, slowly working my way down in a ditch I might never have gotten out of, while at the same time do irreparable damage to myself.

It’s this inner change that might one day make us realise, that the things we used to live and breath for, no longer is the center of our universes.

We might suddenly realize that, “Hey, I don’t care all that much about this thing anymore, this thing that used to be the most important part of my life, this thing I prioritized over everything else, to very often, the exclusion of everything else… whoah!”

I don’t write about my inner changes much, because I don’t know what to say, I can’t quite formulate it all. The only thing I can say, is.. that the changes I experience on my minimalist path, makes me more centered, calmer, more aware of what’s important, less materialistic, more aware of where my energy goes and more in tune with whom I want to be.

It’s a slow process, and I’m on my way.. not quite there yet, but on my way!

And the strangest thing, that every time I shed some physical stuff, it seems to help me along my path to shed some mental stuff. It’s probably because I have to seriously think about if the item is important to me and why. It might also be because I’m getting into the harder stuff, the family stuff, the photos that bring back all sorts of memories, the stuff after my dad, the stuff that carries with them their own ghosts.. some of them my ghosts…

So this is why I declutter, so that I one day might get it all cleared out!

Another tree saved…?

A few months back I wrote an article Saving a tree or two… about how my February plastic challenge had inspired me to pay more attention to the trash we produce.

In the article, I told you how I convinced B to put a “No junk” sticker on his mailbox, to reduce the amount of paper trash we produced. Since I was the one that paid attention to the good deals to be had from the grocery stores, we figured he no longer needed the advertisements.

Now, you would be happy to know, that since that day, B is no longer the only one with the “No junk” sticker on his mailbox, I’m in as well 🙂

B told me how great it was not having to shuffle the junk straight from his mailbox to the trash (as he never really read any of them) anymore. And after having looked, I found that about 90% of the stuff could be found online anyways, so there really wasn’t much reasons to keep the paper…

About 2 months ago I put my own sticker on the mailbox, and it’s a blessing! There is hardly any junk mail anymore, and funnily enough it keeps my house a little “neater” (I never realized how much of the paper stuff I would actually keep, hanging around, for a few days).

Now the “downside” is, that since I’m trying to limit my online time, I’m not paying as much attention, to good grocery deals, as I normally would. On the other hand, the upside is that I don’t waist any time looking through electronic, furniture, sportsstuff, tiles, lamps, paint stuff, garden stuff ++ (you get the drift) anymore either, and I’ll take that 🙂

So here we are two households, less off paper, and loving it!

Now, if I could just figure out a way to reduce paper receipts from when we go shopping (I collect them to keep track of my finances), then I might really be saving a tree 😉

Guess, that’s next on my list! Suggestions, anyone?

 

PS. For opting-out in US, UK and Norway, try these resources; US – FTC site, UK – Royal mail opt-out and Norway Posten opt-out

A pile of mess!

It’s been a few days since my last post, and yes, I have recovered from my friends move in party  😉

While I’ve been busy with friends and move in party, it seem like my guestroom have had a “move in” party of it’s own. At least that’s what you would think, if you had taken a look, because it looks like a bomb went of in there.

As far as I know, no lives were lost during the bomb attack, but who knows what’s lurking in the shadows 😉

So. You are wondering, what on earth happened? Well so do I, kind off..

I have a tendency to use my guestroom as a “storage” area, for when I find things I want to get rid off. You know, that area you use to dump stuff, before it makes it out-the-door! I also tend to use it as room to stash things, that I haven’t sorted through yet.

Add several bags + an exercise ball (used as a chair) I brought with me from work, when I emptied my office a couple of weeks back. With that, what you have, is a recipe for disaster!

This room is no way fit for guests!

And my brother and his wife is coming over from UK tomorrow! Now mind you, they are staying at a hotel (phew),but if they want to stay over, I’d be hard pressed to find room for them in between the piles of crap, eh, sorry, stuff 😉

Hmmm, think it’s time to do something about it? I sure do!

So here it is.. my mess!
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Now… let’s see if I can’t get some of this stuff out-the-door…

I must be a “fraud”!

I think, I must be a fraud! There is no way I’m a minimalist!!

I just got back from visiting a new friend, a neighbour that moved in about two months ago.

I met her because she stopped over at my place to ask some questions about a couple of plants she had just bought (and just about killed already).

So what do I do? Well I just took it upon myself to get her a new healthy plant, and at the same time repotted her half dead ones in some pots I had at home! Her entrance area looks much more friendly now.

But let’s get back to the fact I’m a minimalist fraud…

As I delivered the plants, I got invited in. And yes, I know she had just moved inn after a newly divorce, so yes, I get that she might not have had all that much to start out with…  But her place was soooo minimalistic when it came to amount of furniture (some might say it was totally empty and bare), and soooo maximalistic when it came to empty space, and I loved it.

Upon entering my own place, I suddenly realised… I have a long way to go, before I’m a true minimalist…

Compared to most people, I’m doing pretty good on the minimalistic path. Comparing myself to my neighbour, I’m not sure I’m even a minimalist in training 😦

Thankfully, I don’t have to compare myself to anyone, this is not a competition 🙂  I know I have ways to go yet, before I’m where I want to be.

What I’m taking away from my visit to new friend, is the inspiration to continue to get rid off stuff, so that I might one day, end up with a place that gives me the same airy feeling, as I got when I stepped into her house.

So, it’s time to get cracking… again 😉

 

June in a nutshell and a garden update!

I’m still playing a bit of the catch up game, getting my posts aligned with the month I’m in, so I’m apologizing up front for the fact that there are two monthly sum ups, right after each other.

This time around I thought I would change it up a little, since I am after all catching up 😉

The garden in a nutshell 

I mentioned in my last post, that the plants have been having a hard time this year, figuring out if they really want to bloom or not, and I’m happy to say that June brought some life to them and they finally decided around the middle/end of June that it was time to pop some colour 🙂 The pictures are from June 23rd.


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And would you believe it – it took until June 28th, before my first rose sprung!

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Now, I don’t mind it being a late bloomer 🙂 As I’m greeted by a heavenly smell every time I open my front door.

Activities, exercise and projects
Now, there is that! Since I told my office the bad news early June, I’ve been out and about as much as possible, to keep my mind off it all. Between walks, mowing my neighbours stamp sized lawn, potting plants, mixing mulch, working in the garden, helping a friend shop for IKEA wardrobe and kitchen items, painting a tiny window frame and mowing the lawn at my step-mums allotment, throw in some more walks, and hanging out a lot with friends, I averaged 6 days a week on my activity scale. This time around none of them were proper workouts, as my focus was just being out.

So what about the normal stuff?

Declutter
I’ve done nil, zilch, zip! Yes I know, me bad, I just didn’t have it in me.

Will I do better in July? Hmm, I don’t think so, it is not looking good so far 😦

Only buying necessities
Back on schedule – except as you see from the allowances below, I still struggle a bit with the eating out!

  • Books – nope
  • Eating out – we are back to old habits, probably because I have been out a lot, and we did just as bad as during May.
  • Flowers and plants – none
  • Buying non essentials – yes – a thin packable down jacket, perfect for those chilly spring/summer mornings. I have been looking for a jacked like this for a very long time. And now I found it, so….

Financial goals
Nothing to report.

I guess this is it for the June monthly sum-up! Not very exciting I know, I’m sure things will “pick up” again, soon 😉

Oh yes, I forgot to tell you, I will be going to England next week (for a short week). It’s been more than a year since last time, and it’s time! I’ll be visiting my mum for a few days first, before I ramble up to London to hang out with my brother for a day or two. This time around it’s his birthday, and there is no doubt, we gotta celebrate 😉

See you soon…

Packing party – guest room and living room results!

It’s raining outside, and it’s time to let you inn on how the last part of my packing party went!

As you might remember from a few weeks back, I told you my guest room was next on the list.

Weeeell… it didn’t go quite according to plan… The guest room is a horrible room to do the pretend packing party on, as I think I probably have almost as much stuff in this one room, as I have it the rest of the house put together!

As I mentioned before, the room have a few big huge IKEA wardrobe cabinets. And since I don’t really have any indoor storage rooms, I use these cabinets to store all my linens, towels, guest bedding, sport items, computer peripherals, office stuff, Christmas decorations, photo collections and I could go on 😉

As good as my intention was to pull everything out, pack it up and leave it for a few days, I lost heart somewhere in the middle and just couldn’t do it..

You see, I have gone through and decluttered this room several times over the last few years. And there have been soo much stuff that have gone out-the-door, specifically from this one room, that I’m now having a really hard time.

But, even though I didn’t pack it up, I still found a few things, that needed to go out-the-door, which after all, was the idea behind the packing party 😉

When I did my living room, most of the stuff that I found that needed to go out-the-door, got “stored” in my guest room, so below you will find the result from both the guest room and living room.

So why don’t we just get to it! Here it is, the results from my living room and guest room – 56 items out-the-door! I have to admit, it’s not as much as I would have wanted, but this time around, there are a few bigger items, so storage wise, I have actually cleared out a bit…

Guest room – 30 items out-the-door

  • 2 long wood candle holders
  • 1 flower pot
  • 1 travel iron
  • 3 books
  • 2 very large vases
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 travel headset
  • 1 makeup bag
  • 1 platter
  • 1 leather foot rest
  • 1 tennis ball
  • 3 puzzles
  • 1 battery run toothbrush
  • 2 charger “stations”
  • 1 wool carpet
  • 1 smartcard reader + misc cables/plugs
  • 1 cable tube
  • 6 practice golf balls

Living room – 26 items out-the-door

  • 1 small “vase”
  • 1 VHS tape
  • 1 glass bowl
  • 2 DVD Cases
  • 4 table place mats
  • 1 table runner
  • 2 fruit/decorative bowls
  • 1 large glass decorative bowl/vase
  • 4 glass candle holders
  • 1 large headset
  • 2 tall vases
  • 1 gamegear
  • 9 games to the gamegear + 1 box to keep them in
  • 1 glass vase
  • 1 glass decorative bowl/vase
  • 3 small glass vases

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