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.

4 thoughts on “De-cluttering our home and our lives”

  1. I remember Suzi Orman(sp) taking this one step futher…She recomneded getting all the ‘junk’ you want to get rid of, and put it in a pile and then take photos of the junk. To prevent you from repeating the cycle, put the photos into your bill-fold and credit card holder, so that everytime you go to buy someing, you see the photo and can ask yourself “is this item I’m buying just gointo to end up in this pile?”

    The ‘3 ring binder/DVD holders’… I’ve not seen them before. I have around 500 CDs and have been thinking for some time, that more compact storage would be a very good thing. Do the binder pages hold the ‘liner notes’ that come with CDs?

    Are they garenteed? I would have a level of concern that (as often happens with plastic) that the binder pages would stick to the CD/DVD making them un-usable.


  2. Hey King,

    The 3 ring binder is a specialized one that is a couple of inches longer than normal (which has implications should you be planning to put it onto a bookshelf).

    The particular system that we chose does not explicitly have provisions for liner notes but I elected to go with a system of placing the DVDs in the inside pocket and the liner notes (trimmed to fit) in the outside pockets. So you can simply flip through the outer pockets to find what you want.

    The DVD pockets we have seen so far have been pretty intelligently designed so that the plastic/vinyl/whatever carbon-based transparent technology it is touching the top of the DVD and the bottom of the DVD rests against a felt-like material. So I feel pretty confident that age should not be so cruel to these disks.

    Mind you, if your DVD or CD is not used for a long enough time that this becomes an issue, I suspect that you may not really need it after all anyway… 🙂

  3. At 500 DCs if I listen to 1 each day, that’s still well over a year between hearings. Realislticly, I take a few out to my van, and when I tire of those, I bring them in, and take out some other ones. Now with a 25 minute comute rahter than 90 minute comute, I rotate them less often. However, any CDs that I get after listening to them, if I don’t like them well enought to hear again over the years, I give them away, so all my CDs are ‘keepers’.

  4. Hmmm…I’d say, even with the frequency you cite, that you wouldn’t have an issue even with the crappiest of CD/DVD storage pages affecting your disks.

    I look at our photos, trapped in those terrible old albums, with that sticky stuff lining each page and some kind of plastic layered on top, and those seemed to take a good 15 or so years before they finally melded with the photo backings and ruined them.

    As far as the CDs go I suspect your biggest danger is moisture working its way between the polycarbonate disks and destroying the mylar rather than the bottom disk becoming contaminated with some kind of residue or “bonding” with the page material.

    But I suppose time will tell on that front too…

    Besides, what are you doing listening to CDs in the 21st century man? Aren’t they just used as a “copy-once and store as backup” medium nowadays? I carry my entire CD collection around with me all the time on my little iPod and I would not go back to those individual little disks for the world! 🙂

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