Category Archives: minimalism

REAL Zero Waste

Because it’s summer, we’ve been using our freezers a lot. We have a small, non-defrosting freezer we bought as a back up when the fridge was dying/not dying the second time. The long-term plan has always been to get rid of it, probably next year.

That said, one way we work to keep it more energy efficient (and less of a PITA) is that we keep an ice scraper in it and when the door is opened, we scrape off some of the extra “snow.”

I debated what to do with this and found a solution. I toss it on the ground, push it around and use is as a sweeping compound. It picks up the dirt, leaves a very slight skim of water on the wood floor and when it’s dirty gets tossed into the garden. Water + dirt, and that’s it. No soap, no extra cost, no extra power used, nada.

I had used snow as a sweeping compound on the concrete floor of the bookstore, but it never occurred to me that I could partially defrost the freezer AND do this mid-summer!

I wish I could find 100 things like this, but 1 counts ‘eh?

J

More Stuff to Get Rid of

Worked on the attic some a few days ago. Pulled some paper out for the paper bin (wood stove fodder), some drawer units for the fridge, and cleared a space to get the now-empty trunk out of the attic and the other black one in. I didn’t accomplish that, but did work towards that goal. The idea is that I want to take the trunk coming out of the attic to the antique store some time very soon.

8:33 p.m.: The trunk which will be sold is out of the attic. Hurrah!

I should be able to do that, tomorrow I hope.

I am running out of things to sell. Well, I’m not, but I’ve gone thru the easy stuff that’s been “on top” mostly. The things have sold, been donated, put in the booth, or they’re still here/in storage. But I’ve gotten rid of so many things lately that the collection is greatly diminished.

It’s time to start digging into the assorted boxes o’ stuff. I grabbed a box of paperbacks ( I have no idea what’s in it) from the storage today when I went to fetch the fixtures and stuff to sell. Tonight, when it gets a bit cooler (it’s 80 degrees now) I’ll get into the attic to see what I can find to cull/take to the flea market tomorrow.

The one thing I know needs culling is china. I have “good” china and extras of my daily stuff. The daily stuff is dinerware, mix and match. The good stuff is German china which was my mother’s. I probably should send it to auction, it’s mid-century modern, high-end stuff, collectible, and I never use it. But. . . . I haven’t gotten there, yet. However, I know I have too much, so I need to cull the collection, no matter what, even if I don’t get rid of Mom’s china. There’s just too much of it.

Beyond that I’m not sure what’s in the attic any more. There’s  a lot of books, naturally, and some smaller furniture, but I’m not really sure after that.

New Antique Booth

The new booth has been a success. So far I’ve sold an enamel lamp shade, 3 canisters, a bowl and a coffee grinder. Roughly the same amount of money as I made last month at the old place. Hopefully, the trend will continue. (I sold a salt & pepper set after I left Sat.)

Because I moved in on 5/31, I got a small check. One day’s rent less the lamp = < $20, but hey a check is  CHECK!!!

Today the flea market was a bust, oh well. Next to no one showed up, customers or vendors. Happens sometimes!

DH and I dragged the empty black trunk out of my office tonight. I cleaned it. It's the trunk in the best condition of a batch of them I bought a few years ago. Most of the rest of them have gone away. There's a blue hobnailed one, which has a square top, that's in the attic. I think the one which used to hold Christmas decorations was taken to the swap shop. If not, it will go to the booth and maybe it will sell? If the other trunk isn't still in the attic, maybe I'll replace it with this one.

[The image is from images.google.com, the url originally was from ebay. This isn't my image or my trunk!]

black trunk image from ebay

Not sure yet.

It IS still in the attic and it has had the end of the Christmas decoration boxes in it. I thought I’d gotten rid of that trunk last December!!! Okay, it’s now empty. The few remaining things in it have been sorted into piles: going out/trash, going out/for sale, empty boxes to reuse, 3 small boxes of things to keep. All of the separate categories have been dealt with. When I get a chance (tomorrow) I will pull the trunk out of the attic and clean it, prepatory to taking it to the booth.

My main job tomorrow is to clear one side of the front stone wall, so that the work on our back roof can start on Weds. *grin*!!!

Busy, busy, busy…cull, cull, and cull some more!

J

Trying to Avoid Becoming a Clean-Freak Minimalist

I have a tendency, and have since I was a kid. I go from one extreme to the other, then find the happy medium. I’m trying to avoid that with transforming from being a hoarder.

book hoarder

I worked more on the cleaning plan today and “discovered” some new ideas: mostly, that the more often you use something, the more frequently it needs to be cleaned and/or maintained. Seems obvious, doesn’t it?

But because I’ve never seriously “let” myself think about cleaning up except as an intellectual exercise (It was dangerous. Remember the reason I became a hoarder wasn’t to keep things, complete collections, or perceived value — it was the safety I felt in the mess, and the panic I felt when my space was neat.) this is a newish concept.

Accordingly, floors need to be cleaned more than anything else. Even if you only walk through a space, like in a model home at a real estate development say, the floor gets used more often than anything else. So, they need cleaning more often. The other thing which needs to be dealt with every day is stuff, things you can pick up in your hand: food, books, papers, clothing, bedding, towels, etc. It’s stuff which makes up clutter. (The notion that clutter is made up of things we pick up and put down — was the last big AHA! I found.)

So, I modified my ideas about what has to be dealt with/how often. I’d figured the kitchen floor needed daily maintenance, but not other floors. I changed that.

Now I have a mental list of the areas in my home which need routine maintenance. Maybe not “deep cleaning” but maintenance seven days a week, or Monday – Friday. Some chores can be put off over the weekends, others can’t.

I swept from the entry to the hall this morning because of this. And then the stairs. [I kept finding more to do.] I swept the hearth, [twice]. I started to go into the kitchen, [but did the hall, again] — and made myself stop.

Then I cleaned the dustpan and the brushes (didn’t wax them, had done that last weekend) and the broom. [And started again, made myself stop.] Put everything away, twice.

See the flip side of the hoarding peeking out? Definitely one of the first times the idea that hoarding/OCD is a spectrum really became obvious in me. Intellectually, I’ve known this for a long time, but I always thought, “I’ll never have that problem!”

Sigh.

empty room

In my old age I  will need to monitor not only my stress levels (because of the PTSD) but keep myself from tipping over the edge from hoarder to OCD/minimalist/clean-freak.

Oh joy.

J

Rumination on the Process

The book purge. Every day. Five or more books out. But also purging anything and EVERYTHING. . . coffee grinders, books, saws, kitchen knives, tools, you name it. Bought clothes the other day and we asked ourselves what can go? And some went and keeps going — every day.

So, this morning I asked myself, when will I have gotten rid of enough stuff? And the answer is pretty simple: when I can take care of what remains in a fairly relaxed manner.

I want to get another job and want the house purge done, first, so that the house doesn’t degrade because I’m not here all day.

Seems like a good new goal. Not going to make having a Cinco de Mayo party this year either — maybe next? I sure hope so!!!

cinco de

J

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

*The first 8 pieces were taken to the new antique store location 4/2. The store isn’t open yet, but the pieces are priced and out of my car. The remaining other stock for the flea market, etc. was taken to the storage unit. So the car is empty again, the way it’s supposed to be!

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).