the journey towards minimalism

Life is certainly a journey with its up and downs and in-betweens.

For me, I guess, it really did start with ‘death decluttering’ ….ha ha ha.  Before I was diagnosed in the early 2000’s I became obsessed with collecting things from the 30’s,40;s 50’s and 60’s. I had a lot of fun going to estate sales and looking for buttons, Melmac, old fans, dishes etc. I had some really nice stuff. And my absolute love is mid-century furniture and still is actually. image

So in 2005 when I went thru the gut-wrenching process of getting diagnosed( I would not recommend a biopsy of a plasmacytoma in the back with a neurosurgeon using a hammer), I had a very tiny house with lots of stuff.  With a prognosis of 3-5 years survival, I think at some point, I just wanted it gone but it wasn’t right away.

It probably wasn’t until @ 2010 when I relapsed that the idea sprung into my head, that I didn’t want my kids or husband to deal with this stuff. So….it slowly was tossed, given away or donated.  Thus, the ‘death decluttering’.  Don’t wait till it’s too late to purge, and simplify.   Really, really, DO IT NOW.

 

I still have more than I’d like. In October my challenge was 1000 things gone. I got to 700 and then I just didn’t find any more or at least motivated too.  So, it is a journey of discovery.

I guess there is a balance with it too.  I kinda need a couch at this point.  There was a time sitting on the floor was fine but now I’d probably need a crane to get up so that’s out.  Also, I’ve always loved all things Japanese, so I wanted a low table on the floor but again, crane anyone?

Where am I with it all?  I want only what I use and need and fits our house.  We have given away thousands of things and it feels so good.

I am enjoying adding house plants which are adding oxygen and greenery. A win-win….

 

Dinner is leftover wild rice chicken soup and twice baked potatoes with a salad.

 

 

Clearing more Clutter

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This quote really says it all.

I’ve been removing more little things that are just clutter. Old pictures that are duplicates( like @ 200), old pens, those old family books I mentioned in another post and more.

I’m up to 600 items. Of course, 6 pens is only 6 little items, but I still count them.  I also count stuff I throw away like old files and papers and junky little things. I figure it’s all part of decluttering another layer.

One of the most helpful things I’ve done is take pictures with my iPhone and then look at the space.  This has been very helpful in really seeing the space from an objective view.

Right now, I’m trying to work on my desk area. My desk is a Heywood Wakefield double wish bone table that I have the one leaf folded down against the wall. I have my printer, 2 plants, an orchid, my Mac book and then a desk organizer for bills etc. That’s the problem area. I need to figure out a way that this stuff isn’t so visible.  I also have a bin that was on the floor with files and that too looks too messy I realized after looking at the pictures. I think I might try getting some magazine holders and see if that works.

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I took off the wall folders so that looks better. Then I moved the file box to my Ikea cart. So, I’ll take another picture and see if that looks better.

A Minimalist’s day

Often my days are about doing daily simple chores and going about my life.

I never overload my schedule and even when I worked at the library l kept my schedule simple and unburdened. Now it is even more so as I don’t have a go-to job.

I start my day with getting dressed even down to my walking shoes. I drink a quick cup of coffee that was prepared the night before and then is on an automatic timer for 5:30 am.   If the dishwasher needs emptying I’ll do that.Then I head out the door and drive 1/2 a mile to our park and walk for 32 minutes. Then upon returning home, I get more coffee and then write my list for the day and what I want/need to accomplish. I include simple things like dust, prep for dinner and what we’re having, budgeting stuff, gym, etc.  I browse thru the news and some blogs.

Then I’ll do a few quick chores, like make the bed, take out the laundry, swish and swipe the bathroom. I don’t have young children but both my adult children live at home so there’s always some extra things(dishes, laundry,) that might need attention.

If I’m going to be baking bread like today I start prepping thing and get my starter ready and then the dough. Or if I’m making my delicious maple granola, I’ll get out oats, maple syrup etc.  Otherwise, I wipe down the counters and make sure they are clear and uncluttered. Plus I do this in each room. Our house is tiny so really it doesn’t take but 10 minutes max.  But it is by having minimalized our things that it is a quick process.

I  am amazed at how simplified my life is since embracing minimalism.  It is so true, less is more.

The rest of the day is either going to the gym or whatever chores might need doing. If there’s a project I’m working on, I may do it after lunch. RIght now, I’m still working on the barn decluttering so I may go out for a bit to do that. I prep for dinner between 4-5 depending on what I’m making.  I also usually read for a few hours and then dinner.  After dinner, we might have an outside fire and talk about the day or current events. I go to bed fairly early 9pm or so. I might read in bed for 1/2 hour but generally lights out by 9:30 or 10.

Dinner tonight is chicken noodle soup and homemade bread.

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Simple Sunday​

Another gorgeous day. The air is crisp and smells lovely of mowed grass and split oak.

B and Z used the wood splitter(rented) for about 5 hours and did most all f the huge oak we had taken down last year. He still needs to do another round with pine. We should be good for wood for 2 years maybe. In the future, we plan to switch to a propane fireplace but that’s aways off yet. Projects are getting done and it ‘s always a nice sense of accomplishment.  I think as we’ve become more minimalistic there’s less to take care of in some cases as we’ve gotten rid of a lot. Around the property, there are still some areas to take care of but it’s mostly garden and drought resistance plants with a little patch of lawn. The barn is ongoing, as it’s always needing to be tidied and decluttered. But it is progressing. I’m going to pare down the Christmas stuff, even more, this year. Right now I have 3 bins of stuff and I ‘d like it to be 2.  My new motto is ONE LESS BIN.  which actually has worked pretty well in all of my storage areas.

The barn is ongoing, as it’s always needing to be tidied and decluttered. But it is progressing. I’m going to pare down the Christmas stuff, even more, this year. Right now I have 3 bins of stuff and I ‘d like it to be 2.  My new motto is ONE LESS BIN.  which actually has worked pretty well in all of my storage areas. I also prefer to decorate with natural things like pinecones, branches, rocks, corn stalks ( for fall) and other seasonal natural things. I use to have lots of fall crap but when I started decluttering I just let it go. I find the process quite interesting from a psychological perspective. It’s as if layers keep coming off.  That’s one reason, I think. KonMarie isn’t just a one-shot deal. If I did that and nothing else, I think at different points I’d feel joy in some things and then later not.

There have been many many things I never thought I’d get rid of a few years ago and now I’m like meh, I don’t need or want this any more. So it is a process.

This week I’m in the living room zone (which we call a front room) (probably from another era), so I had B move my Heywood back under the TV and moved out the dest/table that I had there. It’s one less piece of furniture. Right now it’s on the sun porch, but I’ll take it too the thrift store in a few weeks after I think about could it be repurposed somewhere. It’s kinda a nice mid century looking table but not old. I actually got it at Target like 4 years ago.  So we’ll see. Each week I’m in a different zone, I try and do one thing for the area. Either declutter or just re look at how the space is being used. Of course, each zone gets a deep clean.

I got out the Zojurishi and have a loaf of sourdough baking right now. It’s bread season and I usually start off by using the bread machine and then move on to just using the Kitchen aid mixer and letting it do its thing in a bowl.

I also made spaghetti sauce for Sunday Supper. One is a meat sauce and the other marinara. I’ll boil some thin spaghetti and make a salad.

Today was a gym day. I went alone as my daughter wasnt feeling great.

 

 

A fall day!

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday.

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Looking good for 67!!! I love you.  I made an apple pie with apples from Machado’s orchard which is just down the road in Auburn.  It came out good. I think I should peel the apples next time but it still tasted good. His request for dinner was Sub sandwiches so I made a big cheese one for him with pickles, pepperoncini, and other things.

Only 3 more years till retirement!!!!

Well, we were out walking at 6am. Still darkish but it gets light pretty quickly. I was going to go the gym but I think I’ll just go tomorrow on my regular day and just do some odds and ends today. B is splitting wood with the wood splitter and my son is trying to fix the brakes on his Subaru.

Our weather is so nice. Things are turning golden as they do here in the foothills. We don’t have the colors like back east but we do get variations of yellows and oranges and the Chinese pistachio tree turns a brilliant red. Also, liquid ambers turn shades of red too.  The mornings are cool but afternoons are lovely. We started having our afternoon wine by a fire in the fire pit so that’s always nice.

I took down a shelf in the tiny bathroom because they were getting rusty around the edges.( they were a stainless steel). I tried to clean it but it didn’t work. So they held our white hand towels and wash cloths and the water pik. So having taken it down, it looks way better. Less visual clutter. so I’m not going to replace them. But I bought 2 hooks to hang hand towels on.  So by reducing those shelves, it opens up that space. I also priced out a new bathroom cabinet as the one in there came from a yard sale when we moved in here. So it seems a good time to replace it with something nicer and it’ll spruce up the space.  I priced one out at Lowes and it’s anywhere from $40- $100.  The one I liked was @ $70.

Tonight I’m making some wild salmon with rice and I’ll grill some tofu too.

 

 

Decluttering and redoing the front entry and office.

So, we had to buy a new front door after this happened.IMG_0830

Out front door was a French door with 2 panels on either side. So this winter, the inside of the dual panes started to get condensation. The door was 20 years old. But then last week I heard a pop and snap and one of the panels completely cracked. A project we were putting off till who knows when now had to be done pronto. That meant rebuilding a new door frame and the wall next to it as the other door had 3 doors and this new one would just be single.

I found a nice inexpensive Craftsman style door and we went down to Lowes to pick it up. Then B pulled the old door out and rebuilt the frame. So it looks quite nice. The plywood on the other side isn’t done yet but will be soon. then we will have to put up shake shingles to match the house and then paint.

But we also pulled everything out of the room and including his desk and realized the desk was just IMG_0844too dark and big to put back in. I have it listed for Free on a local group site.

So, of course, one thing leads to another and we’ve emptied the room and will put back only what is useful and beautiful. We decided to go down to Ikea as they had a certain desk on the family discount ending today.  We looked at it and decided it was too big too so we picked a smaller one, a BIlly book shelf and a filing cabinet.

But then we decided that since everything was out and we had a package of unused flooring to get more of the same and redo the floor. We’re not pulling up the vinyl tiles as it will help be an insulator as this original was just a porch.  So more projects. Everything is all over the place ( which is like craziness for me), but I will endure. By the weekend, all will be back to normal( I hope).

We decluttered another huge load from the barn 2 bookcases, lots of little stuff and a rug.  so that is good and now, the barn is looking so good with the extra shelves for my son’s (crap) of stuff…. I’m sure it’s useful in his eyes.

that’s it for now.  Dinner is Taco Tuesday. Black bean quesadillas.

 

Sunday Stuff

So, the latest news is my son isn’t going to be going to SFSU.  insert tears:( He decided that he doesn’t want to be burdened with the student loans in the amount of 25,000. We were going to be co signers on the one loan but then it turned out we were to be primary so we said we wouldn’t do that. But there are lots of private loans that he could take out and we could co -sign and then after a period of time, we would get removed from the loan. Then he found out at orientation that even though they said they accepted the 105 units from Sierra College, only 70 units would be applied to his degree. So essentially that means 2 years and that then is 2 years of student loans. So, I agree that is way too heavy a burden for a 25-year-old. ( when he finished). So at least for now, that’s the update. I wish we could just pay for it for him but we don’t have that kind of money and it’s too close to retirement to take out a loan for that.

It’s quite hot here again 101 today. I think this week it’s supposed to drop at least into the 90’s.

We went to drop off Good will stuff yesterday and because they were so full of stuff wouldn’t  take our items. What the heck.. they make so much money off of all this free stuff they’re given and they can’t figure out their intake system.  So, it’s in the back of my VW and I’ll try the big Goodwill today. I have a prescription to pick up and I need to get cat food.  WE did manage to drop a full box of VHS and hardback books that my son didn’t sell at the yard sale. That was at the pet bookstore.

We’ve had good success with organizing the barn shelves and it’s looking good. There’s still left over flea market stuff I need to process or my son does. But right now it’s all sitting in front of the barn and is a mess. But we have made progress.

My iPad just died this morning when I went to open it to write a review for NetGalley where I get free e books in exchange for reviews.  That’s where I have Bluefire downloaded so I can read the PDF versions of the books. So I opened my IPad and it blinked and lights went out.  It is 7 years old or maybe 8. It’s the second generation I pad my husband won in a raffle at work. They don’t do that anymore nor do they do the trips like the one he won when we went to Hawaii. So 7-8 years is pretty good but now I’ll have to figure something out. My kindle fire doesn’t have the blue fire so not sure what I’ll do.

Today is a gym day and dinner is a big chopped salad, grilled chicken, and grilled tofu. Oh, and I think I’ll make some couscous. Oh, and I have left over pizza dough so I’ll grill a pizza. I saw an interesting recipe from William Sonoma that was zucchini and pesto pizza.

On decluttering, my son is bringing the antique bin table up to his friend’s house and so now that’s gone too. Yeah, less stuff is more space.