The Year of Living Minimally – Week Five

Not much this week, I’m afraid. I had plans, believe me – clothes, shoes, linens. I just didn’t get to it. Sometimes life gets in the way, as it did this week. And next week I have this melanoma excised, so I’ll likely be unproductive for days afterward.

I did pack up another box o’ books, and we’ll bring them to the library. And there’s more shredded paper, of course – there’s alwaysΒ that! I’ll get to it, I will. It’s only week five (she wrote, thinking about closets and more drawers and the kitchen cupboards and the garage and…)

The Year of Living Minimally – Week Four

Living minimally doesn’t always mean donating/recycling/tossing out things. I’m still purging (bags of shredded paper mostly), but this week I’ve been focused on health issues, and thinking about other ways to clear out the clutter.

I’ve pared down my email by unsubscribing to many newsletters and websites. It was all too much! I was receiving as many as 140 emails a day – recipes, health tips, political articles. I’ve deleted a lot of them. I still follow plenty of blogs, but I’ve changed the delivery of most of them to Saturday morning, when I don’t mind taking the extra time to catch up.

Late last year, I cut my Facebook friends list by about two-thirds. It was right after the election, and I had serious doubts about even continuing with Facebook. I decided to keep my author page active, but cut down on the number of connections on my personal page. There were some hurt feelings, which was never my intent, and I reclaimed as friends those who reached out to me. Social media has helped me find new readers. It’s enabled me, the introvert, to be social in a way that’s not anxiety-producing. But I try to limit myself to morning and evening – an hour or so at the beginning and the end of the day. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – it’s enough.

Think back to a time before social media. We kept in touch with friends by calling, writing, getting together. We certainly didn’t call our friends several times a day to

  • Tell them what we ate for breakfast
  • Describe what we were wearing that day
  • Let them know we were tired
  • Tell them what we ate for lunch
  • Moan about traffic
  • Tell them which restaurant we were in for dinner (and what we ordered)

I’m guilty, too. But I’m trying to be more mindful, trying not to clutter your feed with meaningless posts. In the end, each of us chooses what will bring us joy, inspiration, laughter. 

Next week, back to filling the recycle bin! 

The Year of Living Minimally – Week Three

I should have titled this series “The Year to Living Minimally.” (Can you tell I’m doing revisions on my seventh novel?!)

Last week I cleaned out some drawers. This week I cleaned out some more. Don’t worry, though, I have plenty more!

Utensil drawer and gadget drawer. What I tossed out from the top left photo is not really visible, but there were packets of salt, pepper, soy sauce, ketchup, etc. all in the back. Old. Ugh.

I used to love collecting kitchen gadgets. Some things I never even used – vegetable curlers and brown sugar softeners. A cheap little microplane and a spreader with a chipped handle. I’m keeping the Pampered Chef turkey lifters, even if I only cook one turkey a year. πŸ˜‰

I hate these drawers! Truly the junk drawers, filled with screws and tape and batteries and tools. They’re really my husband’s domain, but I fixed them up, and put a pile of operating manuals (for small appliances we no longer possess) into the recycle bin.

This next one was more emotional…

I donated my piano last year, and was happy to see it find a new home. It wasn’t the piano I’d grown up with, so I didn’t have an attachment to the instrument. And I hadn’t played in a very long time. But I still have an antique sheet music cabinet (my mom was so happy when she found it for me!), and it was filled with music. Look at the close-up at the bottom left of this collage – my sister and I took weekly piano lessons from Mrs. Bowser, and in April 1969 (I was 10), she rewarded us with the musical score to Oliver!

My sheet music collection includes pop favorites from my high school years, hardcover, spiral-bound books (Great Songs of the Sixties, Big Bands, Timeless Classics), as well as all the classical music I practiced so hard to get right. “Rhapsody in Blue” – I never mastered it. Now I’ll listen to it on CD or through my iPod or Pandora, and I’ll enjoy it.

My friend Lila is accepting the sheet music. She’s the Music Director at Providence College, so I’m glad it’s going somewhere good. There is one book of music I can’t part with, though.

I mean, I tattooed my name on his chest! πŸŽΆπŸ’™πŸŽΆ

The Year of Living Minimally – Week Two

There’s a good reason I gave myself a year! Fifty-two weeks, one week at a time. And I can’t attend to this project every day, but this week, I focused on drawers.

Ah, the drawer. Toss stuff in and push it shut. Out of sight. How much junk do we collect in drawers?

I counted thirteen drawers downstairs (and at least that many upstairs). This week I managed to tackle just six of them – two upstairs, four downstairs.

This is one of the drawers in our upstairs bathroom. I kept makeup in there, even though I wear makeup sparingly these days. Lots of old lipsticks and mascaras got tossed out. What I use daily is in plain sight. Other items worth keeping are in that cute little zip bag.

And here’s the other drawer. Toothbrush covers, contact lenses! I haven’t worn contacts in over five years.

Here’s an end table drawer in the living room. Old business cards, receipts from 2012 (my husband keeps things), and, of course, more pens.

I generally leave this one to my husband, but a purge is a purge, right? More old receipts, his watches (he can keep them), and his eyeglasses. Now, I don’t throw anything out without considering it carefully. Can it be recycled? Can it be donated? He made a point about the eyeglasses, saying the frames are expensive and he might decide to reuse a pair. Okayyyy. For now, I’m acquiescing. But no one needs five extra pairs of prescription glasses.

This drawer is in a piece of furniture we bought for the dining room, thinking it was necessary because it had a built-in wine rack. Those were the days…

Now I can see that those blue-and-white coasters belong in the same drawer. Actually, we don’t even use them. Into the donation box they go!

So, what’s inside your drawers, my friends??!! πŸ˜‰

The Year of Living Minimally – Week One

I need to focus. This first week, I was able to get rid of some stuff, but I could have done better. Sometimes, we not only have too many things, but too many things to do as well. For me, it’s a new novel, a couple of editing projects, laundry! Okay, okay. So, here’s what I managed to accomplish this week:

Tossed out a TON of pens that don’t work. Pens everywhere. It was ridiculous. 

And we still have too many
Filled a couple of paper bags with paper to be recycled. I still need to shred a lot of other paper, you know, bank statements, health records.

Emptied and rinsed out three bottles of nearly-empty salad dressing, tossed those bottles in the recycle bin. I know, it’s not much, but when a project seems overwhelming, it’s best to start small.

Boxed up a bunch of books. It’s hard to let go of books! And they’re not gone yet. They will be donated, of course, but I thought that I would first offer them to my local friends. If you’re interested in any of them, let me know and I’ll figure out a way to get them to you. They’re all good! I especially recommend any of the books in the bottom photo.

So, that’s week one. Once my days aren’t so crazy, I’d like to devote an entire week to the garage, the closet, the other closet, the other closet……no wonder I need a year!

Onward πŸ’™