Thursday, December 29, 2011

De-clutting clothing.

I talked in my last post about de-cluttering my life. I said I would start with clothes and I have. I went through two closets and my dresser. I also got rid of a sweat shirt from the bathroom cabinet. I thought I would put up a few pictures to show how it went.
My clothes closet (from last post) after cleaning out unused clothes.

My coats (from last post) after taking out unworn coats.

Sock drawer: Before and after.

Both t-shirt drawers, before.

Both t-shirt drawers, after.

Pant and short drawer: before and after.

Other stuff drawer: before and after.

Pile of stuff to go to others!

This has been a good start. This is not all of my clothes. There are some in the dirty laundry and I have some biking gear in the spare room closet. I am sure as I get more organized, I will continue to be able to get rid of stuff. Also, I hope to do the "one in, one out" from now on. That is for any new piece I add to my wardrobe I have to remove a piece.

I am not sure what will be next, but I hope my next day off of work will be as productive. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Simplify by decluttering

I hope everyone had a wonderful time with family and friends over the holiday weekend. I know that time always goes by so fast for me. That is why I am always looking for ways to cut down on my wasted time and thereby have more time to enjoy with family and friends.

I am hoping some de-cluttering will help with this. Also, de-cluttering will mean getting rid of some things I don't need or don't use any more. Perhaps some of my unused stuff can go to a good home and get used. First, I will try to find friends that can use it. Next, I will try to give it away on freecycle. And finally, I will donate it to Goodwill or the local recycle business. This will help when we start downsizing.

Actually I say start downsizing, but if you think about it, we already started downsizing. We moved closer to our jobs, which downsized our commute. That saves my wife Sandy about an hour a day in driving time. I only save about a half an hour because I sold my car and now ride my bike to work. I really enjoy this time most days. The days that are not so fun are the ones riding into a strong headwind. I don't really even mind the rain or cold (down to about 10 degrees F). I have the proper clothing to keep me dry and warm. After the temperature drops below 10 degrees I take the city bus.

I was looking in my closet for a shirt for a dress shirt and realized there are at least two things I haven't worn in a year or two. By getting rid of these shirts, I will have more space in my closet and be able to find the shirt I am looking for much easier. After thinking about it, I have decided I should take a look at all my clothes and see how much stuff I have that I never wear. I figure this will be an easy place for me to start my de-clutter/downsizing.

There are a couple "extreme" ways of doing this. I will not be doing this, at least not at first. One ways is by the 333 project. Rather than rewrite the information about the 333 project, I am going to put a link up for the 333 project.

As I said, I am not doing this project at this time. I may do it in the future, but for now I am just getting rid of stuff I haven't worn in a long time. I know that I have an old work coat and vest in the hall closet that haven't been worn since before they were unpacked at this house. We moved into this house over four years ago. I think it's safe to say that I can get rid of those two items from my wardrobe.
Now you may look at those two pictures and say, "He doesn't have that much." But, I also have a dresser full of clothes and a pile of sweat shirts in a bathroom cabinet. I will put a picture of the clothes I am getting rid of in a later post.

I am sure my de-cluttering of clothing will help me in getting started with my downsizing and in the end, save me time and money. Once I have de-cluttered my life and then downsize I will have more time and money to enjoy what is really important, family and friends. I don't really like working to pay a big mortage, car payment and all the bills associated with both. A smaller house means smaller bills if done correctly. Finally, smaller bills means less work and more time for fun!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Digital sabaticals

I find it funny to think I am blogging about digital sabaticals. But, this time of year we need to "unplug" and focus on family and friends even more. After all that's what our holidays should be about. (not to get into a big religious debate)

So, what is a digital sabatical? It is taking time: an hour, afternoon, a one day, a week or even a whole month away from the internet, email, twitter, and other online activities.

I have to admit that I spent time with my family (both fathers and mothers side), so I am not as prepared for this blog as I should be. Also, I don't feel like I should reinvent the wheel. Because of this, I am putting a link to Rowdy Kittens website. Tammy Strobel did an excellent job explaining Digital Sabaticals. She gives 21 ideas for digital sabaticals. Some of these things may or may not help you. I found most of them useful. I am also using a link to her site because many of the ideas share links to other sites that are even more informative.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stress of gifts, shopping, wrapping...

A few years ago my wife and I felt overwhelmed at all the stress of shopping for gifts for family and friends. We decided after Christmas we were not going to go through that again. One thing we did to ease this stress and save time was to use reusable gifts bags. Also, we didn't want to use the paper ones. We went to the local fabric store after Christmas and bought some of the Holiday fabric that was thick enough that you couldn't see throught it. Then we made bags that were shaped like pillow cases. the bags stack neatly in a closet next to a bag of ribbons. The next Christmas we just had to drop in the gift and tie a piece of ribbon around it. No hunting scissors, running out of tape. Just tie a bow and go. The final step was to tell the family they had to either use it to wrap someone elses gift the next year or give it back. Once we did this a few years, everyone has caught on and we usually get the bags back when the gift is opened or when we recieve a gift the following year.

Another thing we did was to reduce the number of gifts that need to be bought. We talked our familys into drawing or picking names and each person only buys for the name they picked. This takes away alot of stress, time and saves money. Now, grandparents may still want to buy something extra for a grandchild and that's O.K.

As for shopping, we try to buy from small locally owned places that are within biking distance of our house. My sister-in-law and wife often give out homemade cookies. I would always rather have a homemade gift or treat than socks that don't really fit or I don't even need. Last year, I asked for an Indiana State Parks pass. It was easy for my mother-in-law to order it online and she didn't have to worry about what size, color or style I wanted. I really enjoy the outdoors, so supporting the State Parks and getting me in all year was nice. Plus, we got to go a few times we might not of if we didn't have the pass due to time constraints. With the card we didn't feel like "It's not worth it to pay to get in because we can only stay for an hour".

I don't want to sound cliche, but remember the reason for the season. It's not about gifts, giving or getting. Spending time with family and friends should be what we really enjoy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where to begin?

Four years ago, my wife and I moved from the country to town. We decided that 20 minutes of driving each way to town was a waste of time. We figured the gas money and time saved by living in town would over come our feeling sad about leaving the country.

We left a 4 acre plot and downsized our yard to a city lot. I had no idea the time it would save me on Saturdays doing yard work. WOW! What used to take 6 hours of a Saturday now takes about an hour. I can cut the grass, do the trim work and clean up in less time than it took to do the fence row of our old place.

Unfortunately we did increase our house size. It is still more efficient than our old place. It's a one story brick Ranch with nice overhangs and a full basement. We had new windows put in almost immediately. We have a few more tricks up our sleeves to add to the benefits of this house.

We have also become "car-light". We now have one car for the two of us. Since we live in town, I am less than 5 miles from work and my wife is about a mile away from her work. I ride my bike from March to December (assuming there isn't snow or ice on the roads and bike trail). For the bad weather, I use the city bus. The bike commute adds about 10 to 20 minutes to my commute, but that is still 20 to 30 minutes faster than when we lived at our old house. My wife loves riding her folding bike in nice weather.

Sometimes when I am off  we take the tandem and I drop her off at work, run errands and then pick her up after work.

We now recycle, garden, compost, exercise (not in a gym), eat healthier and are working on simplifying our life in order to get out of the "rat race" and enjoy more.