Stuff

I went shopping yesterday I bought 38 pieces, many of them as stock for the booth. Yes there  are knitting needles in it as well, but when I can get into my office, I will (again) cull the duplicates. I need to make a have or want list for knitting needles, as I have no idea where the holes are!

However, including the knitting needles, I kept about 30% of what I bought. Also included: 2 balls of yarn and 7 pieces of felt. The yarn is in “my colors” and so was irrestible. The felt was something I was ready to buy at a fabric store: DH uses felt under his keyboard to keep it stationary, and the piece he had was really dirty.

The rest of the stuff is inventoried, priced, tagged and packed into my car, preparatory to being put in the booth at the new store, Sunday.

The accounting is up to date. All the check flimsies have been tagged and filed.

I can be very efficient, on occasion! Since tomorrow is the last day of March, I will be filing all the tiny envelopes I use into the month’s larger manila envelope.

I really, really need, in April, to make those cloth envelopes I talked about earlier. But the very next pieces of what has to happen here are: finish getting things prepared for the move April 1. Get the items ready for the show April 15. Then, finish getting out of the old storage unit and into the new one, preferably also by April 15.

Making cloth envelopes is waaaay down the list!

J

Zero Waste?

We have always recycled. That is for nearly 40 years now. Before you get on me about recycling and its virtues: in college my husband (then roommate) and I recycled our glass bottles at our college’s glass blowing program, had the local boy scouts cued in that whenever they had a paper drive we’d contribute, etc. Later we drove to the base recycling, because it was the only one available to us, it wasn’t the town’s dump. So, okay? I believe in recycling and have always practiced it, for for 39+ years now.

So, zero waste as a concept isn’t new to me. The “movement” I see is new. I agree with it, but I think the ludicrous “posts” I see of a family of 4 having only a quart jar of waste a year to be a cheat. Why? Because if you read these blogs, etc. a lot of what you see is what you’d expect: use vinegar, home-made cleaners, permanent cleaning tools rather than paper towels, etc. But you also see things like the cheat (well, I consider it a cheat) I found which turned me off of all such blogs.

The cheat? The person bought a pair of shoes and left the shoe box with the store. That ISN’T zero waste, it’s just being nasty, giving someone else your garbage. You might just as easily take all your other waste in a plastic bag and stuff it in a municipal trash can.

recycling process

Yes, there are things you can do to lower your waste. You can deliberately find a use for something you might otherwise discard. You can buy big packages of supplies (food and otherwise) and make smaller, more convenient collections of those things yourself (preferably in something other than disposable bags). You can use rags instead of paper towels. You can not buy things with pieces which are trashed every time they’re used. You can pay attention to what you buy and what winds up in the trash. How many bags of garbage does your household generate? Can you do better? (We use 1 a week, plus recycling.)

You can also save money and avoid a huge amount of waste if you just use more of your food. Or learn how to cook, right? Prefab food generates container and packaging you don’t have if you cook yourself. Think about it: when I buy a package of ground meat at my local green market, it’s wrapped in 2 pieces of paper. [I admit, if I’d remembered, I could take a lidded, freezer-safe container with me and use that. I didn’t last time, hopefully I will next time.] Anyway, because we make our own bread, the packaging for us to get hamburgers on the table is the wrapping around the meat. Everything else comes in a big package (like a head of lettuce or bottle of catsup) and is used multiple times. Contrast that with the paper napkins, wrappers, receipt, salt, pepper, catsup packets and bag which make up a bag of 2 hamburgers from your local Mac’s. Is it cheaper? No. Is it faster? Well, my local Mac’s is 25+ minutes away, so yes it is.

food waste

But don’t tell me you’re zero waste and go to a store, buy a pair of shoes and leave the packaging. Get your shoes repaired rather than buying a new pair. Buy a used pair? Donate TWO pairs to a charity when you buy that new pair? Try making it a policy to have minimal shoes. For me that’s 5 pairs: daily shoes, snow boots, fancy shoes, sandals, house shoes. My fancy shoes, if I have them, (I don’t at the moment.) are usually either solid white or black. My daily shoes are shoes I wear when I’m going out, they tend to be walking shoes. The house shoes are slippers or slip ons I use in the house, sometimes I use socks. Honestly? If I wasn’t in a snowy climate, I could manage without the boots and could use the sandals as house shoes and for the fancy shoes too, I have previously. That would leave me with daily shoes and sandals.

For restaurant take out, you can do what a friend of mine has done for decades: put a picnic basket in your car with real plates, cloth napkins, food containers, etc. in it and ask the restaurant to package your food that way. Some fast foods may not be able to cope with that, but some can. Pay attention, do what you can, and keep looking for new ways to lower your impact on the world.

I’m not zero waste, but I admit what I do and don’t foist my garbage off on others as if that somehow makes it “vanish.” It doesn’t. The idea that the things we discard don’t count or will vanish is a lot of the reason we got where we are. So, don’t tell me you’re zero waste and foist your garbage off on someone else. If it comes with the goods you buy, it’s yours. Deal (and be honest).

Figuring It Out

There are many things I’m working to figure out: the best way to track business info without the data base I’ve used for years, the best arrangement of furniture (and what to use) in the living room, kitchen and dining room, the best way to remove the excess stuff from the house and storage, etc.

It seems I’m damned with either too much or too little: too much stuff, emails, things to do, too little time or resources. And I need to add a job to this? Well, yes, I do. One resource lacking is a chunk of money.

So, I’ll go look for a job in July or so. In the meantime, I need to go into high gear shedding excess stuff, reducing expenses by getting into a smaller storage unit, or getting rid of it altogether. Nothing there is new, except the idea of getting a job.

In the meantime, I’m still figuring things out. I’ve decided on two things to reduce stuff, stress and disruption. They have nothing to do with each other, except both are things I’ve decided to do to reduce my overall stress. They are:

  • Making appointments in the morning, preferably early morning, so I don’t have to switch gears midday, then switch back to whatever I was doing before.

appointment book

  • I use mechanical pencils by preference. I think they use fewer resources and I like the way they write better than traditional, wood-clad pencils. Because of the tax effort, I was using a lot of leads. After replacing one lead, then another, and then another, it occurred to me that instead of replacing one lead with one lead, most of the pencils will take an extra 3 or so. I got down the extra leads and filled all my pencils.pencil lead

This is very much like the resolve I made a few months back: that is, not to let my tank get less than 1/2 full, period. When it is down discernibly, I try and buy gas on the way home. End of “Oh spit!!! I have to remember to buy gas . . .” when I may (or may not) have actually included enough time to do such a thing. I’m also keeping a car journal now. Doesn’t take that long and next year I will absolutely have the mileage I used on business. I won’t have to figure it out from receipts, checks, etc. Hurrah!!!

 

gas guage

To Do List 3/20

to do list 1

Today’s list is complicated by the fact that my back started to go into spasm this morning. My tax appt. is tomorrow, so the tax info gather HAS to be finished today. I’ve had a hot shower, hot milk, and Motrin. When/if the Motrin kicks in, I should be about normal, I hope. I’ve learned that it doesn’t pay to ignore my body when it starts to have issues, I need to deal with them now. It’s the only hope I’ve got for not having a full-blown problem. Like dealing with the PTSD or anything else, it seems adulthood/maturity is learning how to forestall the negative as much as possible and increase the positive!

Keep using pantry goods. Empty the freezer before June 1. Should be as empty as is practical to make it!

Box up the rest of the stuff for the flea market in April

Finish getting the tax info to the tax person before the appt.

Get at least one piece of one item off of the long-term list!

Empty the old coffee table full o’ stuff in the hallway. The things which were stored near the black strap table now are adrift, etc. MORE to do!!!

With the flea market money (I hope) get the organizer pages to the graphic artist for an estimate.

I Assume This Counts!

I had 89,000 unread emails acc. to my phone.  My phone wouldn’t pick up new mail. So I started deleting the unread emails/spam and getting myself off email lists.

I’m down to just over 86,000 32,000 this morning, I think.

Tonight I removed emails and my subscription from 3 more mailing lists. Should be several hundred less unread emails, if not another thousand now.

spam folder

This is just crazy! I don’t have time to read them, but the way my email account handles it, all these emails are put into either an in box called “promotions” or “social.” I almost never look at either category. Maybe I look 1 day out of 100 — which is how I got into this mess to begin with.

Be mindful when/where you subscribe. It can create a completely different type of clutter!

J

 

 

 

More Minimalism, Sort Of. . .

I found another one of those lists. On this list that I do buy: drinks from Starbucks (when we’re there, it’s an hour away), usually I get them free with stars. I do buy newspapers, on Sunday. It tells us about events happening around our rural area and we like the comics and articles. (And, yes, we’ve been known to start the wood stove with them or use them for shipping materials as well.)

No “as sold on TV” things, well that one’s pretty easy. We haven’t had a TV in > 10 years. Books? Well, yes, I do still buy books. I am who I am after all.

I think our minimalism is more like, cut it down until you don’t have excessive extras. I cleaned out an area earlier this week and found a stapler. Fine. Took it up to the office, where staplers should live, right? We had 2 there already. I couldn’t find one when I wanted it and hauled the one from the kitchen to the office. Then I located the office’s designated stapler. And yesterday, the other. So. . .for the moment there is an office stapler and a stapler on my desk.  The kitchen stapler went back to the kitchen. If/when I move to the other office again (this summer hopefully?) I’ll take the 2nd office stapler with me. Two offices, two staplers. We use the one in the kitchen to seal herbs in brown paper bags in summer to dry them, amongst other things.

Do I really need 3 staplers? No. But it’s convenient. Until it stops being so, I’ll keep them. I could get by with just one, DH hardly uses them at all, but it’s always on the wrong floor, or in the wrong room. (I tried that.)

Other things I’m going to do which are not minimalist. I’m going to make 24 monthly envelopes from fabric for the current and past years’ accounting papers. Why? Because at the moment I’m using manila envelopes, and they’re all over the place as I’m doing the 2016 taxes.

manila envie

I’m tired of opening up the envelopes to find this or that, then closing them, then shuffling thru the stacks of manila envelopes trying to find the RIGHT one. Not now, not til after the taxes are done, but then I’m going to make 2 matching expanding envelopes for each month. I will no longer have to have 24+ envelopes for the 2 years’ worth of data. Three year old data can be filed in the filing cabinet.

If I were really going minimalist, I’d close the business. That won’t happen until the storage is empty and I’ve culled, sold, or whatever the excess stuff. And maybe not then? I’ve been selling things a long time now. Wonder what I’d do otherwise?

 

What I Did, Yesterday

My long-term to do list contains this:

Hall: Replace smoke detector and add corner detail on doors (future). Sell the records, replace the cubes with the black table.

What I did was move the cubes and replace them with the black table. It looks great, enables pulling back the chairs from the hearth (so it doesn’t feel so cramped). I also used the library catalog as an additional end table between the club chairs. If/when I get the cubes out of the kitchen (and into the attic or sold) and the rest of the displaced stuff dealt with, this works much better.

In that sense, it’s like the coffee table switch I did last week. The new long, skinny, slatted coffee table is a much better fit for the area than what we had. But the old table is filling about 1/2 of the hallway and needs to be moved, rather desperately!

So, the next piece of the great furniture shuffle is to find a place to stash the coffee table and the cubes, pending getting rid of them, selling them, or whatever.