Things that have gone – 14

Well, I managed to get rid of some more items! Despite thinking that I wouldn’t. I filled another bag for charity – I finished reading a couple of books that had no trade in value. Likewise we watched a DVD that was worth 1p to trade-in, so better to let a charity take it. I had a picture frame that I’d been holding onto for 20 years +, planning to frame a tapestry I completed as a child. I gave away the mounts last week, so it was time for the frame to go. I didn’t even like it! It was dark wood and ugly.

I also traded in a corduroy shirt that was a bad buy from a charity shop because it was a colour I’d never wear, with ridiculous cuffs. I’ll put that one down to experience. Finally, I found some polystyrene Christmas trees I’d been intending to turn into Christmas decorations, by covering them in sequins. Well, I completed 1 and it took so long, I never got down to the rest. Almost 2 years later, I was ready to accept that I wasn’t going to complete the rest.

I also took 3 DVDs to CEX and traded them in, one was a box set. So that’s cleared some space under the TV. Then, I traded in 2 books I’d finished reading and netted myself just over £6 for them. Not bad when I only paid £1.75 for them in a charity shop! The minimising continues…

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Things that have gone this week – 1

I thought it might be fun if I start to post about the items I’ve gotten rid of this week. I may not always have photos, unless I can get really clever and learn how to make a digital collage of them. The annoying thing is that the eBay app doesn’t save the photos from the listing, into your photostream. It would have been fun if I’d done this from the beginning, but it’s never too late!

  1. Casio Keyboard
  2. Casio keyboard Softcase
  3. Keyboard Stand
  4. Piano pedal
  5. Piano power supply
  6. Music stand
  7. Set of tea, coffee and sugar storage cannisters
  8. Pair of gold ballet flats
  9. Mother & Child Standard Lamp

Multi-use Kitchen Items

Late last night, as I sat in bed – I had a brainwave. I’ve been decluttering again and getting rid of unnecessary or duplicate kitchen items. On the rare occasions I make a pie, I can make my casserole lids multi-task! They are practically the same size and depth and that mean I can free up some valuable space. It feels like a real lightbulb moment! So those pie plates in the left hand picture are going to be making their way to a charity shop, since I was lucky enough to be given them in the first place.

My Grandma actually used to make something called Plate Meat Pie on an old enamel or metal plate. It was more frugal as it only had pastry on top and was sealed to the plate. Thus making it much healthier too.

So tell me, what kitchen items do double-duty in your house?

Minimalist bloggers pushing the same old consumerist culture

I’m always keen to follow bloggers whose content I enjoy reading and find helpful. However, I’ve recently become really disillusioned with a whole bunch of them. It seems like every single post they make is all about self-promotion and pushing their latest wares- be it book, film, DVD or e-book. It all amounts to the same for me- namely visual and mental clutter!

I think I feel disheartened because the whole idea of being Minimalist or Zero Waste, to me- is about being counter-cultural. That means going against the flow, the norms and what society expects of us. It’s one thing getting the message out there and it’s quite another pushing product, that ultimately has one purpose- to make people money. I understand that everyone has to make a living, but I’ve always thought that the most humble and honest way to do that is through living out that lifestyle whilst living a ‘normal’ life, holding down a ‘normal’ job.

The internet has brought about the rise of blogging, social media and things like Facebook or Instagram. Whilst these can be useful tools, they are also now pillars of Western consumerist culture. Tonnes of brands use them to make more money and we have witnessed the rise of bloggers and vloggers as celebrities. As I write this, I am preparing to go and ‘unlike’ a bunch of formerly helpful and informative bloggers. Sadly they have succumbed to the lure of cash and our consumerist culture. I will be a lot less irritated without these surreptitious adverts creeping into my inbox or newsfeed.

I hope this blog is an honest and personal exploration of the concepts of Minimalism and Zero Waste- advert free! I sincerely wish never to go down that consumerist path.

Fresh Perspectives

It’s funny how clearing clutter can give you a fresh perspective on clearing more clutter! This week I was able to give away items that previously I had felt unable to. Clearing other items had probably provided me with some momentum. But, there was something about coming back to these items years later. Even though I’d carted them through 3 house moves and knew deep down they were superfluous, it was only now- at this point in time- that I was able to finally let them go. I guess once you have pared everything down, there are less other items to distract you. At some point you are faced with really getting down to the nitty gritty.

I’d been holding on to a stack of awful books that tied in with various TV series that Trinny and Susannah had done, back in the day! What a stupid collection to be holding on to- I can say that now. But I still remember my excitement at the purchase of each new book- naturally I found a great deal and devouring the contents once home. They really were all about style over substance however and I never really found their suggestions practical. They encouraged massive consumption of clothes and there is now a proliferation of these books in the charity shops. I don’t even think they can sell them- so far out of favour have these two fallen. So they probably end up being recycled.

I offered my set of 5 on Freecycle and a lady was so thrilled to receive them. She was going to give them to her teenage daughter and even gave me a thank you card, along with a hug. I expect they will really appeal to her daughter, as I was a teenager when I so enjoyed reading them. It’s really nice to know that they have gone to a great home.

Alongside those I also gave away a stack of CDRs which I have no use for since everything now goes onto a hard drive. I also gave away 3 card-making books, as much like with recipes- if I want inspiration- I now look online.

What strange items have you had a hard time getting rid of? Did you manage to give them away and why do you think it was so hard for you?

Decluttering

I think it must be the signs of spring that have put me in the mood to spring clean! Since we moved into our new place, around 18 months ago- several pieces of furniture have become redundant. First off we sold our hifi and really haven’t missed it, but we kept the stand and used it to store CDs and board games. But it’s been bugging me that it seems like an unnecessary piece of furniture. Then, we changed our 3-piece suite and got fancy recliners! This meant that we couldn’t have our coffee table out and use the recliner function. So the coffee table got pushed into a corner and has mostly just accumulated clutter ever since! We have a nest of tables in this matching set and although they are still useful, we worry about the safety of our nephews when they come round because they have glass tops and sharp corners. With 2 out of the 3 pieces now redundant, it seems like a good excuse to sell the set and that’s exactly what we’re hoping- as I’ve listed it for sale on eBay.

I’ve read so many other bloggers and minimalist writers saying that flat surfaces accumulate clutter and it’s so true. In order to prepare these items for sale, I had to remove all the trinkets and other stuff that had accumulated. It’s forced me to file away papers and return things to their proper places. But it’s also made me find new homes for other things. I’ve also put lots of these on eBay too- I’ve currently got 50 items on there and a few have sold already. I wonder how many will sell? Have you had many eBay successes when decluttering?

We would like to get another nest of tables, so they’ll sit inside one another when not all needed. We use them regularly for putting drinks on. But it has made me think that you really only need a tiny surface to rest a cup on. Maybe I’ll be able to find some truly tiny, minimalist side tables?! I think it’s more likely that I’ll beg a set from my parents, who have two and help them minimise in the process!

I think it’s great to regularly go through your stuff, particularly in an item of furniture. You take everything out and it really makes you consider if you need it. If you haven’t used it in a year or more, then it’s usually time to pass it on. It’s also been an eye-opener for me because a lot of these items are impulse purchases from charity shops. It’s easy to kid yourself that it doesn’t matter as much because it’s cheap. But I’ve still been wasting money on items I haven’t used. Not financially sensible, nor from a minimalist perspective either! I am trying to have more resolve to window shop and stay away from so-called bargains! If I don’t actually NEED the item, then really I should just be walking away. I think I also need to find a new leisure activity- I’ve become slightly addicted to visiting charity shops. Is anyone else out there a little bit addicted to charity shops? Share your tips please 🙂

Clearing out before Christmas

I know that Joshua Becker recommends clearing out before Christmas, so that you have the opportunity to give things away to others who might need them and clear some space for the inevitable gifts that you will receive. (I say inevitable, as we have not managed to eliminate them completely in favour of experiences- despite our best efforts at Christmas Lists! I would hate to offend those family members who want to give them, so we try to put useful things on our list to guide them).

With that in mind, I was spurred on to have a clear out- also prompted by a number of items breaking down. I wasn’t organised enough to take pictures, so it will have to be a list.

  1. Broken telephone (inherited from my grandparents and was no longer functioning properly)
  2. Wallpaper steamer (unfortunately a bad purchase as did not last, as we could still use one). However I have found that a re-fillable spray bottle works as well if not better.
  3. 3 ceramic tiles- found in our garage- hideously 1970s, but maybe cool and retro now?!
  4. 2 Laura Ashley dresses ( I purchased a bundle on eBay for a really good price, kept the ones I liked and donated or sold the rest. I made back twice what I paid, so a good purchase!)
  5. Ironing board hanger (bought it with us from our last house, just incase it might be useful. No it wasn’t- should have left it behind! When will I learn about those ‘just in-case’ items?!
  6. Coat hook rack (taken down from our current house, left by the last owners. We just don’t have enough coats for 2 racks, even with visitors- talk about overkill).
  7. 2 books that my OH had bought in charity shops and finished reading. We send them back and don’t keep them.
  8. 2 DVDs (again we buy second hand and send them back once we’ve watched them).
  9. Retro/ cool 1970s light fitting (or not!)- left by the previous owners, not something we wanted to keep.
  10. Probably some more miscellaneous small items that I’ve now forgotten, that I found on my clean up mission.

I actually sent all of this to the charity shops, incase someone wanted items for re-use, parts or crafting. I have now decided to keep a charity bag on-hand- since unfortunately despite my notice, we still get 2 or 3 a week put through our letterbox. I turn them inside out and use them for any charity- silly, but I don’t want to offend them by bringing another charity’s bag. I put items straight into it which helps with the out of sight, out of mind thing. If I can’t see them item or don’t go to retrieve it, then I don’t need it. Once the bag is full, I can just take it and donate it.

I also cleared out a cupboard of old papers, so we have a lot more free storage space now. Last weekend, I traded in a box full of old CDs, DVDs and books that we have finished with to We Buy Books. They had a 15% extra code which was my incentive. We use charity shops and CEX like a library as it’s cheaper to buy them than rent from our local library. After using them, we trade them in or sell them on eBay/ Amazon. This nets us some cash to watch/ read something new and often we get back more than we paid! Win, win.

I’ve been selling a bunch of stuff on eBay- my motto is to try and sell it first, then donate. So packages have been going out several times a week.

I’m also really happy that now it’s December, I can start wrapping and giving gifts I have bought for others which also frees up space around my home.

My decluttering/ Minimalist efforts continue…