Friday, May 11, 2012

Simplifying: The perfect pursuit for The Lazy.

Dear Diary,

I am a former teacher, and my husband and I moved into our “dream” home, which is a 30-year-old 1500 square foot ranch in the foothills of Albuquerque, when our youngest left home in 2008. We furnished just the way we wanted it; it was beautiful and spare.

Then I changed careers, but held onto to all the teaching supplies. We moved all our old stuff from the old house, including two old couches (aka, “giant scratching posts”), rarely used. When my parents died, I got all their stuff.

I recently have been reading two books by Miss Minimalist, I sprung for her larger tome, The Joy of Less. This is the best book I've ever read on the subject. Then I found out that she has a blog. Joy! So, I'd been reading her book in little bites here and there, and this Sunday, I'm going to have a monster garage sale. I wanted to share mostly what I've gotten from this book, mostly in the form of questions.

Oh yeah, diary, one more thing: This week, I gave Old Job the axe.  As in, I'm sorry, I can't keep this two-job thing going; it's wearing me out.  Next Wednesday is my last day.  Onward and Upward.

13.  WHY do I have so much freaking glassware and crystal?  First of all, I'm clumsy. That bodes ill.  Second, I decided last November that drinking alcohol is not something I need to do, given my family genetics and own tendency to drink it until it's gone.  Yet, I have two sizes of Irish Coffee glasses, a margarita set, a set of wine glasses, liquor glasses, etc.  I didn't even drink liquor when I was drinking alcohol.  Oh yeah.  This is going in the garage sale.  Priced to move.
Holyoke Pattern, Mikasa Bone China.
Tell your friends.  SRSLY.  I want to sell
this shit, but I'm not giving it away.

12.  WHY haven't I sold my mom's china yet?  I wrote about it here, and yet I still haven't gotten around to selling it. Well, that changed.  After doing some arm-chair investigating, I listed the pices on Ebay.  Know anyone who is interested in a set of Mikasa Holyoke bone china?

11.  Redundancy.  For me, that is the bane of my cluttery existance.  Baboo and I, each time we moved, would buy new towels for our new home, or rugs, or what have you...and then think, gosh, the old stuff is still perfectly good.  We'll hang onto it.  In case we need case, you know, the world banks fail and we need extra towels to get us by.
The next thing you know we've got a linen area full of towels which, frankly, make me lazier than ever . Why wash when I can just grab another towel?  old towels: garage sale, $1 each.
And race T-shirts?  Really?  Even the good tecchie ones: I have, like, fifty of them.  In contrast, I have two pairs of running tights and three pairs of running shorts. 

10.  Sentiment.  My parents died, in my opinion, far before their time.  My mother was an artist and collected some beautiful things, but they aren't practical things, especially for a 1500-foot single-story ranch.  I can't hang all her paintings; I just can't.  But I can take pictures of them, keep the ones I can hang, and sell or give away the rest.  Various paintings: priced to move.
As for our own lives, I am very proud of the fact that years ago I switched from collecting shot glasses and other chotchkes to magnets. They take up far less room. They are our one cluttery indulgence.
If you are hanging onto something because of a perceived, future, tangible value - just look it up on Ebay. A thing is only worth what people are willing to pay for it.

9.  Garages and basements.  Why clear out clutter when you can just stick it in the part of the house where you don't have to look at it?  Our 1-1/2 care garage contains: our four bikes, a couch, several bookcases and cabinets, a mini-fridge leftover from the days that we kept things in our room that we wanted to keep for ourselfves and way from the hungry, hungry hippo, aka, the teenage Boy; tools that "every homeowner should have," you know, in case your roof falls in and you want to fix it yourself; many Christmas tree ornaments, despite the fact that for the past three years I have decorated out 4-foot tree with finisher's medals from that year; artifacts from hobbies in which we no longer indulge like golf clubs and cross-country skis, a weight bench we NEVER use...all going in the sale on Sunday.

8.  Say CHEESE!  I have tons of yearbooks and picture albums, including old poloroids of my parents grinning in black-and-white in their 1950s happy garb.  They are fading and cracking.  I suppose I could look up what other people have done with theirs, but let's face it, I am far to busy and too. Lazy. to ever get around to making craftsy things with my old photos.
Now, I also have a scanner.  See where I'm going with this? the plan: scan all pictures, put them up on Picassa for people to see, and then offer the photo albums to my cousins.
Also, Sweet Baboo had an extensive music collection when he and I got together. I had a few. along with the photographs, these are being converted to digital form, to reside in "the cloud".

7. Ambitions.  By and large, the most organized room in the house is the kitchen, which Sweet Baboo pointed out was probably because I use it every day.  I'm ashamed to admit he's probably right.  Still, there are things I have and never, ever use, such as:
  • a pastry wheel (I don't have an oven and don't like baking.  It's picky work and a lot of trouble.)
  • four can openers
  • a french press (very messy and too much trouble and I personally believe that the the "best coffee" idea is based on a combinatino of the placebo effect and cognitive dissonance. No don't bother, you won't convince me otherwise.)
  • a very expensive espresso machine that stopped working three years ago
  • several pans that do the same thing
6. Jitters.  Why do I have so many coffee mugs?  Why?

5.  Teaching supplies.  Yes, I still have these, despite resigning in 2008.  I have wire in-baskets, an overhead projector, and assorted teaching materials, lots of red pens, scizzors, rules, etc.  I think these might be useful for home-schoolers and people who are motivated to "enrich" their kids at home.  They aren't useful for me. 

4.  Books.  Honestly, I think it looks cool to have all those books, but I don't re-read them.  They sit, and collect the dust and powdery mold that aggravates my asthma.  I live 1 mile from a public library, too.  They are getting listed on Also, bookcases.  If we don't have books, we don't need bookcases. The only exception might be that we get rid of the little cutesy shelf eterges and put stuff, organized, in bins on the bookshelf instead.

3.  Double-duty.  Himself and I do not have nightstands.  We do, however, have an oak filing cabinet that we still need for important things, and I have a small wicker cabinet that I use for my magic supplies (makeup and hair), they are going to be our new nightstands.  Everything needs to have a purpose.

2.  Floors.  My intermediate goal is to get stuff off the floor.  The new rule is that in a closet or other area if it doesn't fit on a shelf, cull. Don't stack things on the floor.

1.  Lazy.  All in all, as far as I'm concerned, having less means having less crap to look through when I'm trying to find something, and also having less to clean, because remember: I. Am Lazy.



  1. When I need instant catharsis, I go through our house with a black contractor bag. The first thing I decide to put in said bag controls whether it is a "trash" bag or a "Goodwill" bag. I then proceed to go through the entire house and add something, anything, from each room to the bag. There's always something. I may go do this right now. Thanks for the reminder. It always feels nice to carry that bag outside.

  2. Love The Joy Of Less. Feels great when my To Go box fills up and it's time to cart another load of crap to the Good Will.

  3. (delurking, briefly). I love your posts - there's always something in them that resonates with me, and the timing of this one was particularly apt. I have been going home nightly for the last two weeks and finding *something* to leave the house, whether as garbage or as donation. But it's nice to have another prod to do so. And I'll definitely have to check out the Joy of Less.

  4. I was JUST telling my mom that I am de-crapping my house this summer. It has gotten out of hand once again.

    I will check out The Joy of Less blog, as I DO NOT need to add another damn book to the pile of 14 (yes, 14) on my nightstand alone. Seriously? Who needs 14 books on their damn nightstand? I can just see the fisheye lens Hoarders camera shot of my cat sitting on the pile of books looking both disapproving and pathetic.

  5. This sounds awesome. I read It's All Too Much by one of the Clean Sweep organizers, and I was totally inspired. The second time I read it, trying to actually apply more of it, I got so frustrated by my husband's pack-ratty nature and complete inability to a) let go of anything and b) resist a bargain (or "bargain") that I gave up. You, on the other hand, sound like you have a solid plan and spousal backing. Total recipe for success.

  6. Awesome! I've been reading Miss Minimalist's blog for a while, but haven't gotten her books. My fave is Brooks Palmer's Clutter Busting book (and his blog, looking forward to his new book). Maybe I'll get inspired by your efforts. I feel like I'm in a phase of shedding in all areas of my life - trying to shake off and rid myself of what I don't love, don't need, don't use, what doesn't serve me, what I cling to, what's holding me back. Thanks for another nudge. Good luck w/ the garage sale and all the various ways of moving stuff out your world into someone else's (where it might be used, loved, appreciated).


Comments containing links to commercial websites from people with invisible profiles are deleted immediately. Spammers are immediately deleted.

...and I, I have a goal.

Dear Diary, For the first time in 7 years I have a goal. It takes a lot to get me motivated.  I am the demotivation queen.  The princess...