Odd that nobody pays attention to those that are supposedly losing out

In this article about a mailman in North Carolina who simply stopped delivering junk mail, I find it both amusing and odd that the fact that nobody complained or was even remotely bothered that their junk mail did not make its way to them was noted by either the direct marketing association spokesperson or by the mail service that enables them.

Admittedly, there is money being made and that’s the driver. But any drug pusher or criminal has that motivation too.

We receive *thousands* of pieces of this crap every year. I do what I can to minimize it. I’ve even contacted some of the more egregious catalog senders to have them limit their mailings to a few times per year (Victoria’s Secret graciously responded and now I get something maybe quarterly rather than weekly. Can you imagine how many catalogs I had to receive before even *I* didn’t want to look at them anymore???).

This year again, the AOPA Air Safety foundation sent me a half dozen thick envelopes filled with sample cards in spite of my contacting them to ask them to reduce such. I received no response at all from a recent email to them. I declined to purchase this year as a result.

There are a lot of necessary excesses that we learn to tolerate as a price for our way of life. We see things like driving 1-2 tons of metal a mile to get a $2 quart of milk as reasonable and (somehow) proper. But some things simply have no value-add in my life, and I believe in most other folks’ lives. In my opinion, anything that is unsolicited and provides no benefit, even as a side-effect (TV ads, for instance, at least provide the entertainment value of the accompanying programming), can be stamped out without hesitation.

My Yearly Rate of Return

I just checked my 401(k) statement and it tells me that my yearly rate of return for the year to date is…

-22%  (!)

It almost makes me wish I’d blown it all on household electronics.

All those forecasts – “We’ll use the conservative model of 7% growth per year” – aren’t looking all that promising at this point.

I’m taking the advice being sent to me by all those incredibly wealthy folks who run the various brokerages and I’m “staying the course”.

Am I just being foolish? Should I just stop investing in my future and join the majority?

Sometimes I wonder…

De-cluttering our home and our lives

Garage SaleWe’ve been a bit busy for the past little while. In the post renovation euphoria, we realized that we really like the quasi-minimalism that we had in our newly re-invented rooms. We can find what we’re looking for and we like the feeling of lightness that comes from just knowing that there is not a mountain of *stuff* either behind the closet doors or filling up the drawers in the desk/cabinet/you name it.

Add to that Mich has been watching various home improvement shows and eventually zoomed in on “Clean Sweep” and has even ventured so far as to buy the “Clean Sweep” book (It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff) and started taking it’s philosophies to heart.

So we’ve been working our way through the house re-evaluating EVERYTHING. We’ve been discarding old papers that at one time we thought were so important – who really cares about those pay stubs from 15 years ago? And re-evaluated our “time capsules”, which are boxes of items that we didn’t want to get rid of for one reason or another and thought that they’d be interesting to us many years in the future. We went down from 4 time capsule boxes to 1. It *was* a little interesting going through some of the items we thought were so precious 15 or 20 years ago, but it was much more cathartic evaluating them and either selling, giving away or discarding them.

On the whole, digital pictures and smaller mementos to trigger memories of good times past are sufficient for our purposes.

Our neighborhood has a couple of garage sales a year – where the homeowners association does some advertisement and folks know to come through ’cause there will be a lot of sales concentrated in the area. So we participated in the one that was held last week and divested ourselves of a BUNCH of stuff and cleared a modest profit as well 🙂

Combining this de-cluttering with the philosophies embodied in our focus on “Getting Things Done“, we’re finding ourselves much clearer in our expectations for our free time and our lives and goals in general.

We picked up DVD storage pages, the kind that fit into a 3-ring binder, and we’ll be collapsing our DVD collection down from a couple of shelf-fulls to a handy binder size. This AFTER culling the collection for the garage sale.

Today we’ll finish assembling the shelves we picked up yesterday and complete organizing the back room we’ve designated as our “storage room”. We have no basement and there are some things that you simply do not want to store in a shed or the garage (Christmas items, party supplies) and so we’ve designated a room in the house that will host such items. But only after a THOROUGH vetting – do we really want/need to keep these things?

It takes a LOT of energy and effort to work through this kind of project, the renovation was a good shaking-up / taking off point for us. Hopefully the momentum from this effort can roll through the rest of our life as the satisfaction of finding what you need when you need it as well as being pleased with how your place looks is almost beyond description.

Poll – Guys (and Gals) office shirts

Continuing the examination of “Affluenza” in North America, a comment in the last poll from Rose-Marie about ladies’ shoes got me thinking about mens’ shirts.

Office Shirts

Office Shirts

I’m curious how many shirts the guys out there have. To narrow it down I’m only talking about shirts that you would wear to work in a business-casual office environment. So, of course, this should exclude t-shirts. But it should include even old and obsolete shirts that you have worn to the office in the past. The rule is, “if it’s not in the trash can right now, it counts”. Feel free to chuck some of those old shirts to skew your shirt count! 🙂

To try to compare apples to apples, for the ladies there are a lot of garments that can be warn in lieu of a shirt (dresses for example). So the challenge would include basically anything that would take the role of a shirt.

To my utter amazement and chagrin, I counted an even 80 (!) shirts in my closet. Considering that I haven’t bought myself a new shirt in well over a decade I can only assume that there is a plot afoot to quietly bury me under a mountain of clothing…

If you had asked me before I counted how many shirts I have I would have said maybe 20 or so.

Ladies’ Shoes – poll

Green Shoe

All you ladies out there. How many pairs of shoes do you have? I’m talking just shoes. You don’t need to count boots. But shoes, sandals, beach shoes, shoes for buying shoes anything that you would class as shoes.

Mich has about 41 pairs of shoes and I’m trying to figure out if this is normal or if I have another Imelda Marcos on my hands.

Please leave a comment and let me know how many shoes you have in your closets and around your home. Any shoe that isn’t actually in the trash can counts! 🙂