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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Saving a tree or two…?

After my February plastic trash challenge, I got inspired and started to look more closely at everything else I toss.

Now that I have some sort of control over my plastic trash, and gotten into a good routine of using the plastic recycle bag, I have found that most of my other trash is paper (advertising/junk mail) and food scraps.

Let’s talk about the junk mail. I tend to look through all the advertising from grocery stores, as I try to save a little when possible. I bulk up on some of my everyday products, when there is a good sale. All these adverts ends up in the paper recycle bin, so the paper is recycled, but I would have loved not contributing so much to paper waste.

I discussed this with a friend of mine that I do a bit of grocery shopping with, and we decided that, since I am the one who pays attention to when there are good deals to be had, he would be the one to put the “No junk” sticker on his mailbox. This way we can at least reduce one household of paper! And hopefully over time, I can figure out what advertising I “need” and see if I can find it online instead, to ultimate reduce two households!

But for now, the sticker is on his mailbox, there is one less household filled with paper junk and he think this is the best idea we (I’ve) have had since… ever!

I know it’s not much in the big picture of things, but a bit here, and a bit there… ads up eventually 😉

Packing party – Kitchen! And results!

I knew I would run into trouble with my kitchen packing party, and I was right.. I sure ran into a bump in the road with this one. And I have to confess, I did not pack it up like I should.

I’ve decluttered my kitchen, so many times, that every time I opened a cabinet or drawer to empty it, I took one look and realised that there wasn’t really any reason to pack it, as I would just put all the stuff right back where it belonged… So I didn’t, pack it that is!

My bad!

But even though I did not follow my own rules on this one, I did however manage to shed a few things after all 🙂

And here it is, my kitchen shed;

  • 4 measure cups
  • 2 knives
  • 1 mixing bowl
  • 1 set of tiny glad bowls to store food in
  • 1 metal water bottle
  • 2 serving bowls
  • 1 swiffer duster handle
  • 4 cleaning cloths
  • 2 dinner plates
  • 1 trash bin
  • 1 food scrap trash bin
  • 2 cereal bowls
  • 1 frying pan
  • Bunch of small river rock, sand and shells for decorations – count as 5
  • 1 terracotta plant watering “tube”
  • 2 ice cube trays
  • 1 pair of chop sticks
  • 1 thong to grab hot bowls
  • 1 broken soup bowl – that obviously didn’t want to hang around it’s siblings any longer…
  • Bunch of decorate stuff for flower arrangements – 17 items

I can’t believe it, that actually turned into 51 items out-the-door, that’s kinda cool! (small happy dance going on here 😉 )

So what room is next?

As I mentioned in my last post, doing the hallway would just be a joke (or a very easy pass) as my hallway is the size of a stamp, and the only thing in it, is the entrance door and a closet. And not to mention that this closet I have already gone through several times, and there is nothing left to get rid off. If I take a seriously good look, I might find a pair of shoes that could need new shoelaces, but other than that, only a few dust bunnies are to be had 🙂

Then there is the guest room. That’s a whole other ballgame! There is no doubt it needs to be done… but right now it looks like an overstuffed piñata, filled up with; boxes from other rooms that are not quite emptied yet, some of the stuff that is going out-the-door that I’m hoping I will find takers for, piles of out-the-door items I have not written about yet ++ It’s been literally treated as an overflow area during my packing party, and it’s a hot mess.

The guest room is NOT going to be fun, as I have a few big huge IKEA wardrobe cabinets, filled with stuff. Since I don’t have much storage rooms, I use these cabinets to store my Christmas decorations, photo collections, electrical stuff, towels, bed linen, guest pillows and covers, golf stuff, other smaller sports stuff, speakers, printer, cables… you get my drift, yes? It is where I store everything!!!

So this is how this is going to go!

This coming weekend, I will clear the room of all the “junk”, unpack the items that belong elsewhere, and prepare myself…

For the following weekend, which will be crunch time for the guest room 😉

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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 it all up! The number of stuff….

Only a few more things to do, and then my step-mums move is finally over. Monday was the day the movers came, and boy did it turn out to be a long, loooong day 😉

The last few days have been crazy with packing, disconnecting electrical items, cleaning up the new place after all the workers (who incidentally are still not done.. according to the grapevine. I believe they are putting the finishing touches on the bathroom today), the move itself, unpacking, reconnecting electrical items +++

All I’m going to say is this… moving is a pain in the… 😉 and I’m glad it wasn’t my house this time around!

I would like to think that, now that I have cleared away quite a bit of stuff, it would be reasonable easy for me to move (if I ever were so inclined) but having witnessed the chaos of the last few days, I’m not so sure any more.

I knew my step-mum had quite a few things, but I didn’t realise how much, until stuff came crawling out of the woodwork. And I’m starting to think that even as much as I have decluttered, there are way more, than I realise, hidden away in my nooks and crannies.

Maybe it’s time I take another look at all the little things that are hiding in “plain sight” in my closets, drawers and shelves. See if there isn’t a way to reduce even more. I should probably implement the moving test going forward with my decluttering task. A moving test, huh?

To me, this is to implement 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…

Hmm, I can think of a few things that would not survive the “hauling it myself” test 😉  I mean, even if thing are small and don’t take up a lot of space, I’m telling you, when you pack all that stuff in a box, it quickly becomes a heavy load of stuff… and even the smallest box becomes heavy after you have lugged around 50 of them!

I don’t think I’m quite at the packing party level, like The Minimalists did, especially after the last few days (if I don’t see another moving box again, I would be really happy), but I can still “pretend in my mind” I’m packing up, right?

So that is what I will do… ahem… in a couple of weeks time! I just need to get this current move out of the way first, and there are still a few things that needs to be done (guest bedroom/office to set up, basement storage room to sort out, curtain rods to be hung, pictures to put on the walls, books to unpack… you get the drift) before I can lean back and relax.

But at least I have made the decision (and a decision is half the work, right? 🙂 ) to do a pseudo “packing party” as soon as this real “unpacking party” is over…

Want to join me, in my “packing party” endeavour?