Monthly Archives: September 2016

The 100 Item Rule, Bent to My Needs

I ran into a minimalism blog about how to become one. I had looked at it for ideas. I really like the idea, but. . . I am a recovering hoarder AND I have no intention of doing some of the things they talk about: i.e., not having a car or mortgage, just to start with.

But given the “have 100 things or less” idea? I decided that I could use that as a guide to help me pare things down.

Realistically, it will NOT apply here to these things: books or beads. Otherwise? I think I can probably pare my stuff down or won’t need it.

Classes of “stuff” where I might use this: clothes, shelf-stable foods, frozen foods, cleaning products, tools, decorative geegaws, items for future rennovation. (There’s probably more I’ve missed!) [Yep — office supplies!]

Clothes: includes shoes, socks, winter wear, etc. I’m not willing to freeze for this, but I haven’t really kept up with the pared-down capsule clothes idea I had with the French Dressing post, so a cull is not a bad idea at all. Recently, I’ve been playing with the idea of buying some cheap cotton dresses for everyday spring/summer/early fall, but I haven’t actually done that yet. I know what I want and where to get it, but I haven’t done it — yet, if I do it at all. I’m wearing: 2, remainder available = 98.

I realize this may have to be 100 per season because I’m not going to freeze to be a minimalist!

  • Pens & pencils: I expected this to be around 40, nope! Just counting the pieces which are “put away,” that is, in a drawer, cup or whatever where they should be, the total is 120! This obviously doesn’t count all the pieces littered through the house, in boxes, etc. Guess? We’ve got 100 or more in various places I didn’t count. I counted what was in the office and in the kitchen’s pencil cup. In all fairness, this does include things like technical pens, colored pencils, the sharpie used to mark frozen foods, etc. Those I consider either special use (and therefore really can’t be purged) or things which are frequently used. The obvious cull here is markers which don’t work, but we do purge those fairly often. I’ll check them later today, so the 120 total should be reduced. But I  don’t expect that I’ll cull 20 — or more!

pens-pencils

We’ll see how this goes later today! Exactly what I expected, I got rid of one dead marker!

New total = 119.

Found 2 in the bedroom.

New total = 121

Twelve more in one of the art spaces.

New total = 133.

Five found a new home, out of the day to day storage. New total = 128.

Thirty-one colored pencils put in special pages into binder. New total = 99.

And that’s that, until I locate more!

One pen ran out of ink while I was using it (disposable type) New total = 98. (9/21)

Found a working pen in a box. New total = 99.(9/22)

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Strategies for Stuff

Like the decorating “rules,” I have other guidelines I use to save money and to reduce the amount of “stuff” I buy:

  • Don’t buy single-use tools. This means I don’t have a paella maker, a popcorn popper, a slider pan, a bread maker, etc.slider-pan
  • Or, if I DO buy a single-use tool, I work hard to find another way to use it. i.e., I keep the last head for the sonic toothbrush  — to use it to clean things every now and then.
  • Don’t buy printed fabric.Why? Printed fabric looks bad more quickly, is harder to keep clean, and lasts not as well. This includes everything from coasters to curtains! (I consider a “backed” rug, placemat, bedspread, or bath rug as printed fabric btw.)
  • Buy woven instead. It’s easier to turn the piece over, inside out or rotate it as needed when the color goes through the entire piece. If it’s a rug and you need a no slip backing, that can be bought by the yard at a fabric store. If you want felt underlayment instead, it’s harder to find, but possible.woven-colors
  • In the same sort of vein, I’m replacing much of the landscaping in my yard with perennial grasses, wildflowers, or other perennials.
  • My dad was a techie, loved his tech. But he had a rule about tech: never buy it the first year it comes out. Get it the 2nd or 3rd. Why? Because it takes them that long to get the bugs out. If it’s a short-lived trend, this means it will pass you by.
  • Buy square rather than round storage containers whenever you can. You won’t waste the space in the corners. This can be difficult because many canisters, etc. are round. (My newest quest is square dishes! Haven’t found what I want yet, but I’m looking.)square-canister
  • Buy used instead of new, when practical. We now have a small, used commercial freezer. If our refrigerator problem isn’t resolved, soon, we may just go looking for a small, used commercial fridge. Why? Because a commercial kitchen won’t buy an unrepairable unit and they can’t be flaky, no one in the industry would buy it.

Chore Status 9/19

to do list 1

Living Room:

  • Spackle wall board prep is complete, at least for everything but the hall, which we are NOT doing right now.
  • Primer, 2nd coat: (as needed)
  • Caulk/chinking: Remaining: Clean up
  • Trim pieces cut, painted, installed between beams
  • Final Paint: entire room (street, oak, kitchen, bookcase wall, hall walls (closet, bath, pantry), stair wall, entry, stair interior wall, and stair rail.
  • Cull/clean: get fabric to Jeannie’s for reupholstery. Window replacement on north side (trim removal done).
  • (long term) Replace window interior trim and mod hall door trim to match front door (and get rid of those F’n ledges!!!). Replace baseboards for same reason. Sand and redo floor. Move kitchen door?

In broad terms what remains in the living room prepainting effort:  clean up full primer on front wall.

We need to finish the clean up and primering. THEN we paint! I thought it was 2 coats of primer the manufacturer recommended. It’s two coats of paint!

Blue stickies on the door (meaning job has been completed): 20 21

Measure furniture. Make a floor plan so you move the furniture and books ONE more time, not more than that!

Hall: Replace smoke detector (future).

Kitchen: (Cull/clean) Get the 2nd Hoosier into the kitchen.  Dismantle the f’n 30 square foot counter and redo it to something saner!!! (long term) Pull the windows, put in the new wall and windows. Finish the sink window trim.

Laundry: (Cull/clean)  (longterm) Get the switch thing set up so you don’t have to pull the dryer out anymore!

Bathroom: (Cull/Clean) corners, window,  clear out.

Bedroom: (Cull/Clean) get couch downstairs. When reupholstered chair returns, put it here, not living room.

Attic: Get the remaining  base cabinet in there (or elsewhere) and the cabinet which came from the storage [cabinet  in attic 9/22]. Get the bookcases from office 1 into the attic.[1 base cabinet used in kitchen 8/20] Get doors on the cabinet. Decide what from attic to sell: wrought iron tables, wallpaper lamp, other hanging lamps, plate rack, etc.

Office 1: . Get the counter cleaned. Remove everything from the bookcases on the north wall and get the cases moved into the attic.  Bring in the new dresser currently in the wood shed.

Office 2: Clear off the blue desk. Sell/cull items awaiting that. (long term) Move the office function downstairs.

Dining Room:  Take down candlabra, sell. Paint china cabinet and relocate the 2 Hoosiers.

Storage: Remove the 2nd Hoosier for the kitchen.Get at least 5 boxes out and deal with the stuff in them. Move to 10 x 20 unit.

Garden: Continue, finish and keep up the weeding, so that the weeds don’t take over the yard and next year’s vegetable garden is a disaster accordingly! 9/11 was last time this was noted, but I’ve worked on it sporatically since.

Get the windows done. SR door panel 27.5 x 64,

Get the online and computer files cleaned out. (Drafts here = 44 9/11 “Tally” page information (tab, this blog) moved to history 9/17.

Rugs: Almost nothing done.

Writing:

  • Memoir retype effort: 57.9% 61.4% 62.5% complete (I’m amused that I seem to do this in 3% chunks. I’m not counting or anything, it’s just that the sections are short, and it’s difficult emotionally, especially the first 3rd, so I’ve been doing it until I felt like quitting, then I let myself stop.)
  • 3 stories into novel:  Worked a little on one of the stories, call it 07% now 9/9, 9/20
  • kitchen book: nothing new as of 9/5
  • possible future editing jobs: nothing new

Magical Cats

It seems to me that there are two distinct classes of cats: plain cats and magical cats.

The magical cats are smart, know, understand and “herd” their humans into behavior they want. My last magical cat was a lockpick, would rip open a bag of cat food if her bowl was empty and it was there, was a terrific huntress, and taught me a lot, about myself, life and cats. The cat we’d had before her, my “old” cat, was also a magical cat.

We had a  plain cat in the middle there, who ran away. Not too smart, annoying habits, and had little or no sense of where you were/were going. Sort of egotistical and completely preoccupied with food, where the magical cats certainly enjoy their feed, but it isn’t their job. The job of a magical cat is to educate and guide the stupid humans I think. The other cats only want the free ride, the shelter, food, and protection — and in return will hunt now and then, purr, etc. the baseline cat give backs.

Life is more interesting with a plain cat. But life with a magical cat is educational, interesting, and generates stories you tell and retell, whether the cat still graces your life or not.

magical-cat

That’s another difference, plain cats tolerate you. Magical cats enrich your life. And you can’t tell what a cat is or will become until you live with them. Some cats transform themselves into magical cats, others simply remain plain cats.

I think this is why some people don’t like cats and others of us love them.

Years ago, a lady came in the bookstore carrying a small dog, like a Yorkie. She had to leave very soon because she had a young pup in the car. She got the pup out and the pup and I had a great time on the grass. She tried to sell me the pup. First, I didn’t have $100+ for a pet I didn’t need (already had a dog); and second, she said, “You can carry them everywhere, like a baby — and they never grow up!” (big grin). And, if I hadn’t already decided no, I couldn’t have the dog, that would have done it. I would have loved to have a child, if it had been meant to be. But a kid that never grows up? No thank you!!!

I’ve had magical dogs and “just” dogs too, so I think this idea applies there as well.

Slippery Slopes

While retyping the memoir, I’ve run into something I did consciously, yes, but have just run into again. I avoid “slippery slopes” as much as possible.

This includes all the comparative notions: being better/worse than someone in almost anything: money, status, power, looks, religion — whatever.

Long ago I realized my pain meant that if I let myself get into one of those comparative sorts of contests, even just internally, it could easily become both an obsession, taking all my time and resources, but it could also take away my mental health too.

I’m human. I still compare myself to anyone/everyone around me, because it’s a human thing to do. But I try really hard to limit it to glancing comparisons, so I don’t get caught up.

So I refuse, as much as possible in the consumer society/times/culture I live in, to define myself with stuff, money, status, or belief system as compared to others or another unattainable standard.

slippery-slope

Egging this on from my past are everything from statements from people about “giving it to God,” someone telling me about their treatment level in a Mental Hospital, the neighborhood I grew up in and the funeral of a friend there recently, some members of my family, etc.

If I could stop the comparisons completely, I would. I’ve never found the switch. I think it’s still and forever will be tied to the abuse and my reaction to it, the PTSD. For decades I “scanned” those around me to see what they were doing, how they were reacting, etc.  It was the hypervigilance required by PTSD and the situational awareness of an abuse victim. I no longer do that to anywhere near the same extent, but the vestiges of it are there.

Sometimes I wish however, that the slippery slope thing allowed me to deal with something which isn’t emotion or concrete. I survived and thrived, beat what I had to by concentrating as much as possible on this 3D world of ours, day in and day out. It was the only way I could cope. But I made this rule for myself: no slippery slopes — which excludes religion, spiritualism, karma, and probably several forms of psychology too. Those things which can’t be dealt with by our senses.

Sometimes I think if I could make myself get past this in some safe way, I’d really finish my work and triumph. But I know no safe way. They all require a leap of faith. I don’t have that faith. I’ve gone from feeling the world is a nasty place full of nasty people and some nasty people who haven’t been nasty to me, yet — to the world can be a beautiful place with some nice people and that took quite a lot of time and effort. To then do anything like, “I trust the world or universe will take care of me,” while I make that leap of faith?  Hardly. The idea makes me smile — it just isn’t going to happen. Not because I can’t see the idea as a thought experiment, but because of that slippery slope thing.

In my head, slippery slopes = potential insanity

Or, I suppose alternately, instead of worrying about the slippery slope aspect of this, I need to try and find my “off switch.” That is, the part of me that keeps pushing me emotionally. If I could stop wondering if I’m done yet, maybe I’d get to enjoy the work I’ve accomplished?

Maybe.

 

Chore Status 9/12

It seems as I get things done I’m also adding more. Accordingly, I edit and repost this every Monday so that I start each week with only the still needed list. The old list is available, with the struck-through text, on the last week’s post!

to do list 1

Living Room:

  • Spackle  (as needed) wall board prep is complete, at least for everything but the hall, which we are NOT doing right now.
  • Sand: (as needed)
  • Primer, 2nd coat: (as needed)
  • Caulk/chinking: Remaining: Above/below front window and to the door. Baseboards: street wall. Clean up
  • Final Paint: entire room (street, oak, kitchen, bookcase wall, hall walls (closet, bath, pantry), stair wall, entry, stair interior wall, and stair rail.
  • Cull/clean: get fabric to Jeannie’s for reupholstery. Window replacement on north side (trim removal done).
  • (long term) Replace window interior trim and mod hall door trim to match front door (and get rid of those F’n ledges!!!). Replace baseboards for same reason. Sand and redo floor. Move kitchen door?

In broad terms what remains in the living room prepainting effort:  Between the logs looked awful and was impossible to paint, so we’re caulking between the logs. What needs to be done: window to the door.

We need to finish the additional spackling, patching, between log caulking and other caulking. Then we sand, again. (Being done on a wall by wall basis, as needed) Then we primer, again, as needed on interior walls, exterior walls are getting a full coat of primer. THEN we paint! I thought it was 2 coats of primer the manufacturer recommended. It’s two coats of paint!

Blue stickies on the door (meaning job has been completed): 5 11 12 17 18 19 20

Measure furniture. Make a floor plan so you move the furniture and books ONE more time, not more than that!

Hall: Replace smoke detector (future).

Kitchen: (Cull/clean) Get the 2nd Hoosier into the kitchen.  Dismantle the f’n 30 square foot counter and redo it to something saner!!! (long term) Pull the windows, put in the new wall and windows. Finish the sink window trim.

Laundry: (Cull/clean)  (longterm) Get the switch thing set up so you don’t have to pull the dryer out anymore!

Bathroom: (Cull/Clean) corners, window,  clear out.

Bedroom: (Cull/Clean) get couch downstairs. When reupholstered chair returns, put it here, not living room.

Attic: Get the 1 base cabinet in there (or elsewhere) and the cabinet which came from the storage. Get the bookcases from office 1 into the attic.[1 base cabinet used in kitchen 8/20]

Office 1: . Get the counter cleaned. Remove everything from the bookcases on the north wall and get the cases moved into the attic.  Bring in the new dresser currently in the wood shed.

Office 2: Clear off the blue desk. Sell/cull items awaiting that. (long term) Move the office function downstairs.

Dining Room:  Take down candlabra, sell. Paint china cabinet and relocate the 2 Hoosiers.

Storage: Remove the 2nd Hoosier for the kitchen.Get at least 5 boxes out and deal with the stuff in them. Move to 10 x 20 unit.

Garden: Continue, finish and keep up the weeding, so that the weeds don’t take over the yard and next year’s vegetable garden is a disaster accordingly! [Worked on this 7/24-5, week of 8/20, 8/27, 8/29, 9/11]

Get the windows done. SR door panel 27.5 x 64,

Get the online and computer files cleaned out. (Drafts here = 51 as of 7/27, 50 as of 8/1, 48 8/9, 49 8/22, 48 9/5,  44 9/11 “Tally” page information (tab, on this blog) moved to history 9/17.

Systems, Mostly Long Term: Heating: stack ready for use,  2 cords of wood. Finish basement insulation. Order 2 more cords of wood. Roof: get new back roof. Water: get clips installed both roofs. Get guttering/water barrel. (long term) Landscaping: Walls, fencing, gates, plantings as needed.

Writing:

  • Memoir retype effort: 6% 9.6% 12.5% 15.9% 18% 21.6% 23.9% 27.2%29.5%  36.4% 38.6% 40.9% 43.2% 46.6% 52.2% 56.8% 57.9% complete (I’m amused that I seem to do this in 3% chunks. I’m not counting or anything, it’s just that the sections are short, and it’s difficult emotionally, especially the first 3rd, so I’ve been doing it until I felt like quitting, then I let myself stop.)
  • 3 stories into novel: 05% complete I haven’t worked on this to speak of. Did locate the 2 older story fragments, which is what I’m calling 5%. Worked a little on one of the stories, call it 07% now 9/9
  • kitchen book: nothing new as of 9/5
  • possible future editing jobs: nothing new

3 More Rules: Practical, not Pretty M’Dear

These are more decorating and other “rules” that I’ve come to:

  • Do NOT buy an inset bed, that is a bed which sits down in the frame. It looks great, but. . . underbed storage is limited or inaccessible, it’s hard to get the bottom sheet on, and it can be harder to get into or out of. It looks great, but is not so great in practice.

white-inset-bed

The bed shown is the old Malm bed from Ikea. Ikea doesn’t sell them like this anymore — no surprise!

  • Do not buy white/beige flooring or carpeting. This one is pretty obvious, except. . . I really, really love the way a large expanse of white flooring looks. I learned this the hard way. If/when I buy carpeting the next time, it will be mottled, not a solid color, and as close to “mud” colored as I can get and still both match my decorating AND be something I don’t hate!
  • Make dirt/mud catchers. This is another learned lesson. The door mats in our home are all hard, raised rubber. We have a dirt driveway. Dirt gets tracked in — it needs somewhere to go. If you don’t trap it, it goes all over the house. So, I have a raised rubber mat, a “fatigue” mat outside our front door. I have a piece of it just as you get to the wall to wall carpeting too. In another month, or less, I’ll have pieces in front of any major walkways in or out of the house. I don’t need to be as diligent in spring/summer/fall (except off the dirt driveway) as I do in winter. Almost always, winter entry means MUD instead of just dirt.

I don’t want a traditional doormat, because it traps the dirt inside of it — and then that needs to be cleaned out! The fatigue mats have holes in them, the dirt falls through. Clean it up and you’re done. If the mat gets muddy, hose it off, clean it off, but no beating or vac required. Is it pretty? No. But like the bed, I’ve gotten to where pretty isn’t my first concern — less work or easier work is.