Category Archives: stuff

Today

DH is working on upgrading the electrical system on his motorcycle. He helped me with some of the leaf moving (rake, then relocate). Later today, we’re off to the storage to work on that.

There are probably more books here ready to be gotten rid of. I gave one  to a neighbor. Have another to ask a second neighbor about and the yard is tidier than it was. All good.

The fertilizer I used up (we’d had it for 2 years, why?) was rained on for the next two days. A lot of it went into the bulb beds, and the daffs. and other bulbs are shooting up green sprouts all over the place. Partly because it’s time, but partly because they got fertilized just as they were starting their spring push. The rain was a blessing for them.

So we need to buy more mulch for the bulb bed to keep out the weeds (grass), but the bulbs should spread out quite a bit this year because of the timely fertilizer and rain.

I’ve been working on the spring/summer food/garden plans,  Between the farm we belong to and the garden I grow (sometimes, didn’t last year) we are usually drowning in green stuff by June. I want a better plan for what comes in/when and what I intend to do with it this year! I’m about 25% done with this piece. Finished the initial data gather yesterday. Pulling it together.  There are 2 or so more data gathering steps before I can make an actual plan, but it should get there.

Off to the storage — ho!!!!

J

We took a file box full of books and a few besides to the market which has the book bin. Gone! I have gone through one box since we got home and have started the 2nd. There’s about 10 more books in a bag to be donated, wherever it is we go next that will take them.

Worked on Storage, Yesterday

Intend to do more, today. And yet more, tomorrow. I may have to rent a tiny unit to take the furniture. I’m not sure if the antique store has a place for furniture in its new location. If not, then pieces need to be hauled to auction, sold otherwise, or given away. (Purged books from the house today instead.)

We are getting a new back roof this year and maybe some storage space along with it. However, it will NOT be filled with boxes of books. If I bring the stuff home and it just sits here, I have only gained the price of the storage. And the price of the addition has to be considered in there too. The difference of course is that an additional utility area adds to the value of our home, not just a landlord’s bottom line. But as we’re talking about it right now, it will be a much bigger undertaking than we’d originally planned.

I still have WAY too much stuff. My ultimate goal this year is to have NO storage unit by 12/31 and be able to sanely (no box stacks, except perhaps in the attic) store what we keep. There’s a huge amount of stuff to shed between us and that goal, but I’m really tired of hauling things back and forth, trying to sell them or determine what happens to them. I don’t need the camouflage anymore and I’m tired of drowning in stuff!

stuff stacks

I have no idea how well we can manage this. All I can do is try!

J

Took a box to the dump’s swap shop today. Also wrote notes to booksellers, collectors, etc. who are friends. Were they still interested in x or y or z type of book? If so, exactly what did they want? Got answers, Am getting a list together.  More stuff gone. Also, will have a way to sell the best of the stuff it looks like. Hurrah!

New Rules

  1. Handle things as little as possible.
  2. When items are for sale, if they don’t sell at some previously set time frame, try to remove at least 75% of the items from inventory.
  3. If it’s in the house, you don’t use it, haven’t used it, and you have no idea when or if you’ll use it, get rid of it or reuse the components.
  4. Ask for help when you need it.
  5. Take advantage of good weather.
  6. Talk to the people you do business with. If you’re personable and reasonable, it can save you money. Maybe not a lot, but some. We drove the rental van about 8 miles yesterday. Because we were personable with the folks we rented from and the person before us had put in a little more gas than they had to, the guy told us if the gas hadn’t gone down below x level, to not worry about it. It hadn’t, and so we didn’t buy gas.
  7. Make use of the resources and tools you already have. This one actually cost us money. We forgot our hand truck yesterday and so had to rent one, sigh. We didn’t use it much, but we still paid for the one we rented. Today I’ll throw the one we own in the car.

full hand truck

Flea Market was a Success

We got rid of stuff, made a little money, and donated a batch of things which didn’t sell afterwards.

That was Saturday. Sunday we rented a truck and moved about 1/2 the storage unit. Tomorrow I get to work on this some more. Oh joy.

Not surprisingly, We’re both tired! We figure we picked up, loaded truck with, picked up unloaded truck to dolly and then picked up and stacked in the storage about 600 lbs of books. When you figure that we moved those books at least 4 times pick up from old storage, put in truck, unload from truck to dolly (only had dollies on the receiving end, they aren’t ours) then unloaded dolly to stack in new storage.

Both of us said, “Never again!”

I was surprised. I thought there were only hardcover and large format paperbacks left, but no, there were boxes of rack-sized paperbacks and magazines too. So, I’m sure our dump will be the happy receiver of some of those, as well as a few local libraries. I have a few books here and there I’d like to find, as well as a few authors.

(The image is NOT my storage unit!)

storage unit

There’s some obvious mostly junk boxes. Those I’ve started to pull out (there’s 2 in the car) and I’ll go thru them tomorrow before I go work on some of the others. Hopefully, I can get through those fairly quickly. The plan is that my helper and I will move the remaining boxes of books tomorrow. Then I’ll work on the odds & ends. My goal is to be out of the old storage by the end of the week. We’ll see! The move tomorrow may not go as planned, or any other piece of it may not. . . .

J

4/22 note: Didn’t make that goal. Still working on this, sigh!

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).

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?