Category Archives: Using up stuff

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

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

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).

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.

To Do List 3/14 (Short Term Goals)

to do list 1

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

Finish the doormat.

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!

Long Term Goals Accomplished

Living Room:

  • Coffee table that is there is too big. See if one of the tables in the attic will work as a replacement. Table removed from attic (3/1).
  • Move the black strap shelves currently behind the chairs to the hall.

Hall: Move the dresser into office 1.

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

 

 

Revisions and Edits, for Reality and to Fight Depression

I rewrote my “to do” list, it was so cumbersome it was just overwhelming, so I revised it.

I brought one of the narrow, long tables from the attic last night. Except for displacing the books (currently on the coffee table’s shelf) it looks as if the narrower table might work.

It appears the skinny table is TOO long, but I  measured it. It’s actually not as long as the couch. It certainly IS longer than the other one, but it’s also not as wide. The width of the current table is the issue.

So, part of what I’m scheduled to do today is set up the “new” table and take down the one we’ve been using and see? I have a possible plan for the current table too. If it works, it will eliminate a “to do” item for DH –always good.

It’s nice to be using my creative juices for the house again. After months of being rather depressed and overwhelmed by a variety of things, it’s nice to have ideas churning away again. That’s my particular power source. It doesn’t matter if things work or not so much, it only matters that I have another idea, another option. For months, it seemed as if my mind was saying “Dull-dull-dull. Too much! Dull-dull-dull.” And although the rest of the world would likely not see me as being depressed, I sure wasn’t doing the zinging that is my normal. My usual internal dialog is something like, “Oh! Look, maybe it could. Look! It could be “this” or “this.” Wow! Look. . . .”

Learning to use those endless options and the idea of the endless options has kept me out of massive depression most of my life. As I said, it doesn’t matter if the ideas work, it is the process of continually looking at almost everything with the idea, “How was this done?” or something I’ve done with the idea, “How can I improve it?” or using odd pieces or, or, or . . .

possiblities

I learned the idea churning from two places: my Dad and science fiction.

My Dad had a PhD, in physics. His apparatus for his thesis didn’t work and it didn’t work, and it didn’t work — for three years! When he told the story about this what he said was  “I learned to plan for failure, not success.” and although that sounds really defeatist, it isn’t. It’s continually planning another option, if necessary. (His apparatus finally worked for one day and he wrote his thesis on that data.)

Science fiction is the “what if” genre. Writers start with “what if…?” and go from there. If you don’t limit yourself to what you know you can do, know can be done, has been done before in  your thinking, then many more options are available to you. Some options are nonsense or impossible. Flying without a plane is out. Spending millions is out, etc. but all ideas which might include those pieces are still  possiblities, although gravity and your bank might eliminate those.

To solve the couch table problem, I could:

  • Eliminate the couch  – not going to happen.
  • Get a different couch – not going to happen.
  • Move the couch, table, bookcases, and chairs in front of the hearth – not going to happen.
  • Hang the couch or table on the wall  -see flying above
  • Float the table over the congested area – see flying
  • Eliminate the current coffee table – considered. The current end tables aren’t big enough to be used without another table. It will cost $ to store, we might not be able to sell it, then what?
  • Get bigger end tables/eliminate the coffee table – considered, requires spending $
  • Cut the current table in 1/2 lengthwise, creates a “honey do” item, to be avoided if possible
  • Bring down the table not being used in the attic that’s long and skinny and see if it will work?
  • Maybe move the current end tables (3 small tables, which nest) into one long row with a piece of glass atop them and use that as a coffee table – requires $ for the glass,  but this is a possiblity.

My criteria are these, if possible, not a given!

  • Little or no cost.
  • Uses what we already have.
  • Requires DH or myself to do little or nothing (no new projects!)
  • If we eliminate pieces, they are sold.

Life is full of endless options, possibilities. If you approach it that way, it’s rarely depressing or overwhelming, because there’s always another option. More, the turning problems this way and that, standing them on their head or whatever it takes to “see” more possiblities helps keep things from being overwhelming.

My bugaboos are: overwhelming and no hope that change is possible. Creativity, the approach that there’s always another way to solve a problem, keeps those wolves from my door.

 

J

 

Haven’t updated the Tally

Frankly, I’d forgotten all about it.

I’ve been working on taxes, and that is enough to make me downright grumpy, without contemplating purging stuff.

However, let’s see what’s on my “running total” document. It may be a lot, or nothing?

It’s nothing. I haven’t noted anything since the 6th, the last time I updated the tally as well. Tomorrow is a dump day; I’ll have to see what I can find to get rid of. Books are usually fairly easy for me to find. I’ve been filing papers though. My system this year is to put all the receipts, etc. in “coin envelopes” and they’re filed by month in a manila envelope.   It’s definitely filing, and the 20 from Jan are 20 pcs of paper in 20 envelopes in 1 big envelope, so 40 things become 1. I’ve only gotten thru the first quarter, but that’s 39 for Jan, 39 also for Feb, and 63 for Mar. That’s 141 pieces, all by itself!

coin-envelopes

So the new total is 254 pieces out.

Glad we had this chat, it was productive!

(smirk)

J

Just went into the attic, looking for more things to sell and found an envelope of old tax info — out it went! That’s another 116 pieces out. Huzzah!