Does Your House Echo Yet?

I walked into a room today and for the first time since we moved in, I heard my voice echo off the walls. What a beautiful sound!  It was a sound of simplicity! I am down to one table and one chair and an old trunk in that room. The trunk will go soon as I get the contents sorted and disposed.

Out of the house today… an unused end table. It matched a coffee table, so I always felt l couldn’t break up the set. But it was a junk collector… a thing easy to pile something on and really served no purpose. So in my new minimalist life, I split the set and off it went to donations.

Also gone… a large counter-top oven. What a pile of wasted space! We rarely used it. It was slow to heat up and hard to guess on time for cooking. I love all the space on the counter!

My goal is to have just a bit of echo in each room…

 

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About those clothes….

Recently I cleared out the closet and got rid of many, many clothes. I have just enough, but in all honesty, I am not happy with a lot of what I kept. I love my Anne Klein black pants which I have had for over 5 years and they still look new. (Really!) So it was totally worth buying good pants that have lasted over the years. But the problem with a lot of what I kept, is that it is really not very quality except for some sweaters.

Long story short…. I did a scary thing yesterday and shopped for a blouse. It was scary because I felt like, oh no, here I go, shopping again!! But I did this risky thing with determination to buy a quality, somewhat expensive blouse, so I could eliminate a couple of the lower quality tops in my closet.

It took two buying trips. First, I bought the wrong size and had to return the item, but I think I now have a nice, quality, basic black blouse that fits well and can be worn with many pants and mixed with some of my own handmade jewelry.

Live with determination!

 

Idea that Failed

20160129_073437_resizedYou’ve probably seen those posts about things to do with your old coffee filters that went out with the demise of your drip coffee machine. People said to use them for polishing, cleaning and I can’t remember what else. So I had a pile that I saved thinking I would use them. There they were, still sitting in the cupboard after 4 years. So today, off they went to the trash! Ah, that felt good…

Office Kitchen Cleanup

20160128_083503_resized_1My boss came up with an absolutely brilliant idea yesterday for the kitchen at the office. We have several people who are untidy (out of an 8-person office). They use a plate, put it in the sink when finished… use a plate, put it in the sink, use a plate, put it in the sink. Before long we have a pile of dirty dishes no one wants to clean! Very thoughtless for the rest of us!

So here is his plan… We will each be assigned a shelf. After removing EVERYTHING from the shelves, we will all pull what we claim as ours and put it on our shelf. After a week, all unclaimed items will go to a donation pile. My shelf is pictured above. Along with these items, I keep a bag of coffee, tea bags, and a coffee mug in the drawer in my office. Pretty nifty, huh? I thought it was a brilliant idea!

The Impermanence of Possessions

20160123_141907_001-1_resizedOne of today’s finds was a large tub of Tang with a date of 2010. But the real work today was finding all the pieces to my grandmother’s china. I sorted out a 6-place setting which I will give to a family who has traditions of gatherings at the table. I saved out some settings which my family will use. But all the extras (and there are many) will go away. I found tea settings, teapot, serving bowls, fruit plates, platters, creamer and sugar, lots of extras that I never use. It’s a beautiful set with gold trim and all in great shape.

I am sure my grandmother bought this shortly after WWII, after her family moved from Detroit to a city on the wes20160123_144113_001-1_resized_1t coast. She grew up in poverty, then through the Depression. My grandfather, a mechanic, lost his fingers in a work accident and probably could not work in the booming auto industry. After their son returned from the war, the entire family moved west and the kids all worked to support their parents. The china to me symbolized the new life they must have experienced after the war… better days, affluence, a nice home, cars and then the grandkids that came with the baby boom….including me.
I spent many weekends with my grandma, and she allowed me to have tea with her every afternoon as a tradition. We used her tea settings and china on her lace tablecloth with the crystal chandelier above our heads.

There is not one person from that large family alive today. The china is a striking reminder that time moves on and there is an impermanence in possessions.

Thoughts About Minimalism

If you’ve heard about “minimalism” or life as a “minimalist”, you may be thinking, oh great, another “fad” or it’s a bunch of anti-capitalism weirdos, or a disorder opposite of being a hoarder. OK, now listen up… STOP IT. JUST STOP. Ok, yes, people are discovering it and they gave it a name, MINIMALISM…that I guess makes it a fad. Now…GET OVER IT.

Do this: Where you are right now, look out in front of you. Now look to both sides. How many things to you see you have not used in 6 months? Now think about what is in the drawers you see. Visualize what is in them. How many things can you think of that you know are packed away, but you haven’t used in over a year? Continue on to your closets…. Now how do you feel about possibly minimizing your stuff?

I admit I am hardly there. I have many things I struggle with letting go: old dog collars, dog bowls, dog coats from dogs passed on, my aunt’s persian lamb coat, my grandmother’s china we used at Thanksgiving (even though I only use 2-place settings out of a 12-place setting set), old laptops and phones (I’m afraid they will contain personal data), gifts people gave me that were handmade and many others. But I have made a huge dent in the chaos. I have free open space. Free space, free mind. What I can’t give up is in the process of finding an out-of-sight place packed away.

Along with my stuff, I have my housework on a schedule. Each task is on card, organized by color (weekly, monthly, twice a year, and yearly) and everyday I pull from the pile and complete some tasks. The house maintains it’s cleanliness, space, and sanity! Nothing OC here…. just methodical and organized.

Pressing on..

On the Path of New Skill with a Plan for Sanity

Yesterday I was talking about trying my hand at jewelry with the many stones I have collected over the years. I decided I was awful at it, ready to give up and certainly wire-wrapping was difficult and not something which I would continue. So after researching many Youtubes and websites, I thought maybe drilling stones would be the next step. I casually mentioned this to my husband….

Lo and behold, I came home and he had bought me a powerful Dremel tool and the work table! What a guy… Here I am, on the kitchen table drilling my first stone. I used a tuna can and pushed the stone into hard clay. It worked really well!

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I don’t really know how long this whole process is supposed to take, but from everything I read, you should go very slowly, be patient, keep the stone wet in order to save your bits and not break the stone. So after about 25 minutes, here is the end result:

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I tried to use a not-so-amazing stone in case I ruined it. But I think it came out fine. I was daring and used a hard stone. Most sites recommended starting with a soft beach stone.

I think I am onto something and will continue.

In my minimalist manner, all things are neatly put away and organized. I can see this could get out of control quickly if I don’t turn my attention to detail in running this craft.

Here is the plan:

  1. Work on one stone at a time. Finish it completely. (Get the pendant, necklace, bracelet, etc. to a complete stage able to be worn before starting something new)
  2. Put all tools away after use.
  3. Keep the area clean of dirt and clear of clutter.
  4. If something fails (rocks crack, bits break), stop for the night, put things away, and start again another day.
  5. Don’t get discouraged.

I think this plan will allow me to progress and not get discouraged and stay organized. I also don’t want to run an Etsy business that just encourages people to buy “junk”. I will go slowly, aim for quality, but keep the prices low with very little markup over production costs.

I’m feeling good about this.