Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Half a thousand things

Oh my. The relief.

I was somewhat ready for the feeling of freedom. I was not ready for an utter mindset transformation.

I thought it would be hard to get rid of that much stuff, I thought I would struggle going into the second half of the month and I would have to fish around my house, the garage, the attic. In reality? The more I was throwing out, the more I wanted to throw out. AND I mostly got rid of things around my bedroom, I didn't venture much into the kitchen (which needs its own Minimalist Challenge) or the garage. Yesterday I said to my fiancé: "You know I just got rid of over 500 things from around this room?". He looked around and said "I can't see much difference though". 

I got rid of half a thousand things and you can't even see a difference in the abyss of all the other things that I have. How absurd.

Conclusions? Even getting rid of over 500 items, I still have a lot of stuff, and after the initial purge, I'll certainly keep decluttering. That's what I mean by the mindset transformation: I didn't only clean unnecessary, I realized this September was just a starting point to living a more mentally hygienic life, with less stuff and less stress. Come October I'll keep decluttering, I even came up with a handy schedule: October - kitchen, November - garage, December - living room&linen closet. To think that I actually gave MONEY for half a thousand things that if not for the pictures below I wouldn't even remember is mind boggling. This challenge made me consider what I'm buying even more than keeping a ledger did. MIND AMAZED.

Confession: I did cheat a little. But if there was ever a good way to cheat, it's this one: I was getting rid of a lot more daily that I was supposed to according to the rules of the challenge. If I was getting rid of 400 pages of loose music sheets I would count them as one item. If I had 10 little items and a decorative box, I'd put them in the box and count it as one item. That's how I got rid of OVER 500 ITEMS, more than the challenge required. I also actually did the tossing and documenting for the upcoming days (I took the day thirty photo on the 23rd). BUT I never felt as right about cheating as with this challenge!

Here's some highlights about the most ridiculous things I got rid of this month:

- my Kinder Surprise smurf figurines collection on day 29 

- my dinosaur Christmas lights on day 29. no words.

- my decorative letter opener on day 15
- my stamp tweezers on day 15 (I don't have a stamp collection)
- spices from a kitchen cupboard that expired in 1998 (didn't count that towards the challenge though)
- three gigantic colored pencils on day 18 (that I got as a gift from my mom when I was 6. Felt a little sad about this...)
- eight (!!!) music notebooks on day 20
- orthodontic wax on day 2 (it's been over two years since they removed my braces. But even with my braces on I wasn't using it. Such a waste of money!)
- a couple hundreds loose music sheets on day 21
- pink glitter eyeshadow on day 21 (I'd never wear that color on my eye lids in a million years. Why do I have it?!)
- a beach radio on day 28 (this is funny because I always rant about people listening to the radio on the beach)
- six mugs that had cats on them on day 30. Don't worry, I still have like 15 cat mugs. I'm a bit cat-crazy.
- books in German on day 28 (I don't even speak German)

So what's the plan for now? Until the end of September (because I finished the challenge today, on the 23rd - I told you I was a cheater) I'll work on actually getting rid of the stuff I got rid of - so that means actually going to the library to donate books, taking trash out, donating the clothes to one place, the shoes to another, giving my yarn to the friend that actually knits, putting stuff up on eBay, going to Starbucks (here's the most exciting part: at one Starbucks near me you can actually donate a book since they have a shelf for the customers to read while they're having their coffee and get a tall coffee in return! I'm gonna wait until they have their Pumpkin Spice Latte, mhhhmmmm... or do they have it already?). So yes, I'll try to get this done in the upcoming week, especially work hard on actually selling the items that I have to sell and come October - I'll be really free from this stuff and ready to declutter the kitchen!

Thanks to Anna from And Then We Saved for inspiring me to do this!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Getting rid of stuff

In the New American Oxford Dictionary the phrase "to get rid of" is described as "to take action so as to be free of (a troublesome or unwanted person or thing)". I particularly like the word "troublesome" as used here since I really need to get rid of some stuff. And right now I'm realizing that my stuff, yes, is quite troublesome.
It is odd how a person with such low income and similar income history for a couple of years now as myself can accumulate so much stuff. Logically when you think about it you spend when you have the money and time for it. Nowadays in our society we spend more to keep up appearances despite the money we make. Example at hand? Most people with tons of stuff have also tons of debt.
But this is not a post about this vague and rant-worthy subject of society, it is about myself. Lately, I've been finding myself more and more frustrated with how much time I spend mindlessly and how all the clutter I have simply takes up way too much room for me to breathe easily. From what I've heard from other people (who am I kidding: as read on blogs) I gather getting rid of unwanted and unused stuff should be a way to go. Troublesome is the word. TROUBLESOME.

I came across The Minimalist Challenge at And Then We Saved. The challenge was created by The Minimalists. How it works? For every day of the month you get rid of the number of stuff corresponding to the day of the challenge. So for day one you get rid of one thing, day two you toss two items and that way until day thirty when you're supposed to throw out thirty things. That way after a month you've freed yourself from 465 pieces of junk. Needless to say, I wouldn't talk about the challenge if I wasn't attempting it, so... September is going to be a month of decluttering for me. I am so ecstatic about this (really, has anybody ever said that about creating three boxes/ bags with "donate", "sell", "trash" written on them? Well, yes, my mother. Probably mothers in general).

Hopefully in September I will have gotten rid of 465 of my possessions and I'm quite certain I won't be missing any single one of them.

via BuyNothingNew