Monday, December 6, 2010

A no regret dumping

C Here (aka: the KTA)

Sorry about the hiatus on the posting front. The last couple of months have seen our little cave clean and clear and then look like a twister hit it.

I'm finally at the end of my wits with shit just being there that doesn't need to be. So about two weekends ago I went down to our on site storage and grabbed a box of stuff that has been around for at least 40 years and been added to.

Well some of the contents have been around for 40 years, and some not so long. It's a box of things from the time I was born and the time my daughter was born.

I don't know why people hang on to stuff that long!! Honestly why?

That's what I thought too. We don't need to.

Lately we've been watching that show Hoarders on TLC. Well actually we stream it from NetFlix since we hacked out cable.

Anyway we've been watching that and I feel that even though we don't collect anything or save to re-use or forget to take our garbage out or things of that nature, that somehow if I don't start purging the contents of our lives soon that we will be on Hoarders one day.

I've also been having flashbacks of relatives that have died and left things for people to pick through and take. What a horrible experiance. I don't want to subject people to that.

Anyway, back to the box. I have this box that has stuff from when myself and my daughter were born. It just sits there. It does nothing. So I did what should have been done several years ago. I opened it up and grabbed a few little trinkets from it and then took the box with 99% of its contents to the local Goodwill and left it with them.

I grabbed another box that had all of these James Bond cars from the films (still in packages no less) and put them all in a duffle bag and left them at my in-laws for my 5 year old nephew to have. Yes, the very same one that could'nt respect my stuff and destroyed an irreplaceable car in my home.

So far I haven't thought about any of the stuff or what will become of it. I'm actually feeling good about not having it in my possesion and taking up space in my physical life or my mental life.

Why couldn't I have learned to let go of these things sooner in life?

And the purging continues......................

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why it's so hard to get started..........or finish

Now that our house is coming together and we are making headway with decluttering and minimalising I'm liking that there is very little in the house to trip over or clean or find a place to put, etc.

Getting rid of stuff seems to come in spurts. At least for me. I'm not sure about K. I will get all gung ho about getting rid of things I don't need in my life, simply becuase I haven't seen these items or used them in a year or more, but then I reach a point where this feeling washes over me and I wonder "why am I getting rid of this?".

Of course I know why I'm getting rid of it, but there is this hang up in my head that stops me. I paid good money for the (insert commercial item here) or that was a gift from (insert favourite relative or friend with benefit) or I might need the item in question becuase it may have information vital to a conversation in the future or the key to winning a radio contest.

I'm more recently experiancing this feeling with my wardrobe. I have been out and about this year buying clothing that is still fun and relaxing and more age appropriate.

HOLY SHIT!!! I can't believe I just used the "age appropriate" vernaculim here!!! I was going to be be young forever. *sighs*

Most of my clothing is ok. I have a lot of board shorts. I love my shorts and I wear them even in the winter. My legs don't get cold, even in snow so I don't worry about it. I only really have pants becuase they require I wear pants to work. Something about a dress code.

Back on track, I have various t-shirts that are fine for a late 20 somethings or even a 30 something. I'm about to leave that age bracket (against my will mind you) and have been thinking that I really need to get rid of them. There's a sudden urgency on this and I don't know where it's coming from.

I have a few futbol jerseys that I can't bear to part with. Especially my Liverpool jersey. That will stay. I have concert tees that I actually don't wear that will be mounted in shadow boxes on my "entertainment" wall. They are excempt as well. The rest of the tees need a re-evaluation though. I just don't want to be "that guy".

Lately I've been buying a lot of vintage bowler style shirts. I like them. They are neutral and don't really go out of style. If Charlie Harper can do it then so can I.

I think jeans with a dress shirt is still young-ish and appropriate. It works for Hank Moody and I do have the Porsche to fit into that look with Hank. Well almost.

Back on topic. What is the attachment to these tees? Why can't I just stick them in a bag and say "they go to Goodwill" and be done?

The best that I can come up with is that there is some kind of emotional attachment to these items. How do we get past these emotional attachments? I can't answer that one. I do know that I have had a very different look on consumer products. I actually have found myself buying less. When I do buy something I try to find a quality used item as opposed to new. Some things you should by new, like computer/electronics (for the warranty) and socks and underwear. The later for obvious reasons.

For instance, I finally have a car that I have always wanted. I bought used. Very used. I did have to put a lot of money into getting it into reliable condition, but the upside is that hopefully this car will last me 100k miles or more. It's a quality car and it's my "precious".

Our flat panel and our laptop: new. We shopped around and purchased these items in the models that fit our immediate needs and left a little room for expansion.

Of course we will milk as much life out of these items as possible and when we reach the next point in our journey to minimalism. Hopefully the more we work together now to get rid of the little things about our home and on site storage, the closer we will be in reaching that mentality of "it's just a thing and we don't need it to enrichen our lives" and be able to just give away whatever said item(s) is.

We'll see how that turns out as I give away several things this week that hold meaning to me.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bye Bye Books Pt. II

Not to long ago we started this blog with a post in referance to reducing the number of books in our collection and selling them.

As you can see there are a lot of books and those two book cases take up quite a bit of room in our tiny hallway.

Well we're happy to say that we have reduced the amount of books we have down to the point that they all fit in the smaller book case, which we can now lay on it's side. Gotta love IKEA furniture for being so versitile.

It's not ideal, but this is a start. We'll continue to work on this and see if we can whittle this down even further to be able to get the book case out of the hallway all together.

Yard Sale and Amazon sales

Well it's been quite sometime since we posted something about our progress on decluttering and easing into the minimalist lifestyle.

Sad to say we won't be extreme minimalists anytime soon.

The upside is that our condo complex finally had it's community yard (Carport) sale and we did very well. We made enough from the yard sale to make a pretty decent extra payment on a credit card. That feels really good!!

In addition to the carport sale, we sold two more items on Amazon the very next day!!

I was more surprised with the monies collected from the carport sale. I had priced most items using generalised pricing I was seeing on e-Bay and then dropping it $1-$2.

Of course the first person to arrive (45 minutes early mind you) made it very clear that she wouldn't buy our stuff at the prices shown becuase "I can't even get that much on e-Bay".

She must not be trying very hard. We were able to sell quite a lot using the pricing I had gotten from e-Bay with very little haggling.

Now it's time to reprice some things on Amazon in favour of the consumers and get the remaining remnants of commmercialism out of our home.

Updates to come as they occur.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


The other night K and I finally listed our first 4 items on line with Amazon. Small things to get our feet wet and test the waters as it were.

One of the items we had listed was a box set of the first 4 Harry Potter books in paperback.

I know, not super exciting and not anything that really sets off any bells, but it's our first official sale of consumer items serving our two primary goals: getting rid of clutter and consumer debt.

There are loads of books and comics and various items that need to go. I have 30 year old train sets and ORIGINAL Star Wars comics from 1977. I have signed and numbered Batman comics. We have DVDs and electronic games and regular games. It all has to go in the name of minimalism, debt reduction and our sanity.

I want to come home in the evening and enjoy my wife and my pets and my kids (on the weekends when they are home) and not have to worry about what needs to stay or what needs to go. How does my home look if someone comes by? Or, how quickly it takes to clean up and keep clean.

If we want to move, it's nice to have less stuff to take with us. Most of our furniture could be sold since we are downsizing. We have replaced old furniture that took up too much space with good condition, used furniture that fits our needs for now. It can be donated when we move in 2+ years and the rest of our possessions should only require a mid size U-Haul truck.

K here, I am super excited to get moving on this process! Part of our problem was getting over the inertia of the unknown. We had sold items on Craigslist before but never on Amazon. It's actually pretty easy.

Once we make a dent in our CC (credit card) balances with additional payments from our J.O.B.'s and by selling our not needed stuff, we are going to invest in an external hard drive. That way we can store all of our music and access it easily. We will then be able to sell our CD's and 200 disc CD changer which we currently do not have a space for and is sitting in our bedroom on the floor - how attractive.

The next step after that is to store our DVD collection digitally which is close to 400 DVD's. Currently they are housed in some IKEA DVD storage (we have in white) that I am not particularily fond of. It was something that fit the pocketbook at the time and allowed us to get our DVD's off the floor from the overflowing shelving unit we had. They will eventually go away.

Another way we minimized is by going to a laptop from a desk top computer when our computer died a few months ago. The laptop sits on our coffee table (repurposed from my Grandfather's WWII army trunk) and the printer currently sits on a dresser we have in our dining room that stores bill paying items and whittled down craft supplies for wrapping gifts and making tags and cards.

Choosing minimalism is the easy part. Working towards it is the hard part. Even after all the decluttering we have done, I am certain we can get rid of even more stuff. I have gone through my craft supplies three times and each time I have been able to part with more and more.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Be Gentle, it's our first time

We have taken a big step last night by posting our first four items for sale on Amazon. This is kind of a big deal to us. We have been talking about getting our stuff listed we don't need in order to get the credit cards paid down.

While we realise that we won't pay everything off by selling our stuff, we will achieve two things; working towards our version of living minimaly and getting our credit cards paid down to a more managable level.

The stash of stuff seems pretty small for now, but the posibilities are so much greater once we get out of the house the stuff we no longer need and start working on selling the stuff that's in our on site storage.

Several months ago we had decluttered our on site storage to the point that everything has a place and nothing was left on the floor. Now that we have been looking at our lives and the stuff in it, minimalising the storage unit will be the next part of the plan. There are untold treasures out there that can hopefully fetch a pretty penny or two by schlepping them to the unknown masses that still believe possessions will fill their lives with what is missing.

The fun part about this is that we won't miss anything we are selling, especially the stuff in our storage unit. We haven't see anything from there in years.

While the ultimate goal is to have no credit card debt, we just want to make a dent in it so the minimum payments are lowered and we can increase an emergency fund which is super important. We also are getting more realistic about what we actually want surrounding us and what is just stuff that does no real good.

The on site storage is great, especially since we have stuffed four people and two animals in to 812 square feet and storage inside the condo is extremely limited. Even for basic items. The other goal too is that in less that four short years we will no longer have kids at home and plan to move to a small house. We will still be in our early 40's with lots of opporunities ahead of us.

Stay tuned for our version of living minimally!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bye Bye Books

This post was started several days ago and then life got in the way.

Last week we went through our two Ikea Expedit bookcases. Our goal is to move the larger 4x4 in to the kids room and keep enough books to fill the smaller 2x4. This will free up the long hallway wall for C's collection of model cars and a few movie posters.

Picture the larger one below completely empty. It's almost ready to go in the kids room. The angle is kind of weird due to the other hallway wall and the living room.

And what we have left is the smaller one which will be placed on its long side behind our couch and used as a sofa table. We literally went from 18 of 24 cubes full of books to 8 cubes full of books. The brown tubs you see in the above photo hold some household files and scrapbooking supplies. I will reserve one or two tubs for household files and go through all the rest to be stored in another space.
Scrapbooking was a hobby that I started after so many of my friends got in to it. I was never organized enough to get much accomplished and made my best effort. However, the way I do scrapbook pages I just spent way to much money for something that is going to sit in a book on a shelf for most of its life. I would rather have a digital photo frame where I can see photos all the time. The hobies I have decided to stick with are knitting, sewing and gardening.

What we have left is this tower of books to be sent to Amazon so they can post and sell them for us. Anything that hits our PayPal account we will put on our credit card debt.

It's hard for me to get rid of books. The criteria for me to keep books was even harder to come up with. I have "pretty books" that are really just full of photos of great decorating ideas that I am getting rid of. I took a few photos of some ideas I want to remember but the are going. Some books I have re read and will again that I am keeping.

C here: While K has a hard time of getting rid of books it's a bit easier for me. I'm not the reader that she is. Not that I don't like to read. I just can't concentrate. Very difficult for me to stay focused.

It is hard for me to get rid of books (and other personal belongings) for the fact that they are mine. What if I need to refer to them one day? What if there is some amazing fact that is in those books that I know that helps me win a radio contest or a game show? What if I need what's in those books as a conversation filler at a cocktail party?
None of things are going to happen. I'm not likely to be on a game show anytime. I could win if it came down to useless knowledge though.

This is a pretty big step though. This means not only reducing the amount of clutter, but it means gaining some space in our place which is the most important thing to us.