Tag Archives: purging

The Times They Are A-Changin’

As most of you know, I’ve been doing this minimalism thing for a while now and have gotten pretty darn good at it.  I’ve gotten rid of all except for maybe one fifth of everything I started with (maybe even less).  And, as always, it feels amazing!

You might remember me talking before about being a music person.  My husband and I are always trying to travel to see our favorite bands play.  We even timed our elopement to Ireland so that we could see The Felice Brothers three times while we were there!  Obsessed?  Probably, but we don’t care.  It’s the most fun we’ve had on all our trips!

Being the music enthusiasts that we are, I knew that my music collection would be the hardest thing to deal with in the decluttering realm.  It’s just such a huge part of my life that I didn’t think I’d be able to part with any of it.

But like I’ve mentioned before. . . .it’s all about the layers!  And I’m proud to say I finally got to the music layer!  Hallelujah!

I started with a binder book of mixed CDs, about 5 milk crates of vinyl albums, and an entire under-the-bed plastic storage container (you know the kind: HUGE, takes up half of your under bed space?) of even more CDs–all of which were perfectly lined up with side covers displayed by genre and artist.  I told you I was a very organized hoarder, didn’t I?

After throwing away dozens of mixed CDs (that I never listen to anymore as they aren’t really meaningful for where I am now in life), yard-selling mounds of what were more misses than hits (or collections I wouldn’t replace if they were lost or damaged), and selling the old vinyl–that I would have rather weightlessly carried around in digital form–to local antique stores, I feel LOADS lighter!  I can now proudly say that I only have one milk crate of albums, the one CD binder book (filled–yet not all the way so now–with purchased copies of the aforementioned under-the-bed CDs), and a very small plastic container holding only the few I didn’t want to throw the cases away for yet.

PROGRESS!!!

I hope to turn our small den into a music/reading/hangout room in the near future with a few books on the built-in wall shelves above a funky futon and a mid-century modern record cabinet holding only my favorite vinyl copies with a turntable on top.  I want it to be simple and uncluttered, yet warm and inviting for guests to linger.  I’ve always pictured this for the space, and am excited to see my visions becoming realities.

This was a very valuable lesson for me as I’m even more aware of the process than ever before.  I always thought: Well, ya know, I’m a music person, so I’ll probably never part with my music paraphernalia.  Wrong again.  I still love the scratchy pops peppered through the opiate hum of a record spinning on a turntable, and that will never change.  I just realized I’d rather enjoy this aspect with my favorite and most frequented albums than to be weighed down by every decent one I can get my hands on.  I mean, that’s how to always enjoy your favorite things, right?  To only own your favorite things?

Trust me when I say that there’s never an area you won’t be able to tackle on your de-owning journey no matter how attached you may be.  It just might take a little longer to get to it.  Or you might be surprised that it doesn’t take nearly as long as you thought it would.  The process is addictive; once you start, it’s almost impossible to stop!

The space you gain by giving up stuff is enough to get anyone hooked.  I try to think about my possessions like this: would I rather have this item here, or the open space it occupies instead?  For me, space almost always wins.  There’s nothing like the feeling of being able to breathe in your home without being weighed down by years of accumulation, most of which you forgot you even owned.

Anyway, just a little post to fill you in on where I currently stand with my junk.  I know I haven’t written in a while.  I’m hoping to change that over the next few months.  I’m even contemplating a video tour of our home.  We shall see!

Thanks for reading!

Have you triumphed over a seemingly difficult area in your own life when it comes to decluttering?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Yard Sale-ing Again!

Call us crazy, but we had another yard sale this past weekend.

My brother just purchased a home, and the previous owner had left some things behind.  In an effort to get rid of the things he didn’t want of hers, and to make a little extra cash for remodeling purposes, the sale was more for his sake than anyone else’s.  However, I was beyond thrilled to cash out on a few more pieces of “junk”, as was my mother.

We took a couple of months to get everything together, as we weren’t sure if there would be another yard sale in our near future.  I mean, after all, we can’t have much left to purge, right?

Wrong.  Again, my mother’s dining room (the storage space for our to-go items until the day of the sale) was overflowing with our trash….er, treasures.  We couldn’t believe it!  The layers just keep falling away with each new purge.

In total, the three of us made over $1,300.00!  I pocketed $500 of that myself.  Not bad for the millionth yard sale we’ve hosted. Haha!

I’ve noticed this time around, I’m a lot less afraid of giving up the more sentimental items.  There are still a few things I will want to digitize for memory’s sake, but it’s becoming a lot easier to let the hard stuff go.  It feels amazing.

I had a few items out for sale that most people would probably never consider getting rid of, and someone even asked, “You don’t have a sentimental bone in your body, do you?”

Maybe, but it’s just a teeny one. 🙂

 

 

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Travel Tips (Packing Edition)

My husband and I love to see the world together.  It’s one of the most important things to us.  Forget the car payments, the fancy labels, the cable TV, and the high rent.  The open road will be all for us, thanks.

With all of our travel experiences, we’ve gained little bits of wisdom each time.  So, I figured why not share some of these discoveries we’ve made along the way.

For today, we’ll be sticking with the packing aspect of travel.  Nothing fancy–just a few pointers:

 

LUGGAGE

A carry-on plus one small bag is ideal.  If you can get away with only one or the other, even better!  The less luggage you have to haul around between destinations, the better.  Making the choice to only pack essentials is crucial in travel ease.  When we eloped to Ireland, my husband and I thought we were sticking to the bare basics, but quickly found out that we still weren’t wearing or using half of what we had packed!  Despite packing light compared to everyone else around us, we could have packed even lighter!

ESSENTIALS

If you must check a bag (which, as you already know, I’m against), make sure to pack 1-2 changes of clothes in your carry-on.  You will be thankful for this if your luggage gets lost or you spill something on your outfit between flights.  I also recommend including anything you absolutely wouldn’t want to be caught without on your trip: toothbrush/paste, deodorant, chargers, and of course money and travel documents.

LAUNDRY

Don’t be afraid to do laundry at your destination, especially when staying somewhere for longer than a week.  We planned ahead, staying in places with laundry facilities 1/3 and 2/3 of the way through our trip.  This was a lifesaver!  Knowing that we could wash everything we packed and start over after a few days gave us such peace of mind.  We just found a grocery/market type store and picked up a small container of laundry detergent once we arrived and let the clothes wash and dry while we slept or went out sightseeing.  Easy peasy.  Also keep in mind, most articles of clothing aren’t “dirty” after only one or two wears.  Get the most out of your pieces by re-wearing them when possible.  Hanging something up to air out at the end of the day while you sleep is usually just enough to make the piece feel fresh again.  (Note: quick-dry and wrinkle-resistant fabrics are your best option in travel scenarios for obvious reasons.)

VERSATILITY

Stick to a basic color palette with your clothing.  Try to stay with black or brown and not both.  This way, all your pieces (including shoes and bags) will match each other, giving you more interchangeable outfit options.  Believe me, this is important when packing as little as you can get away with.  Try to avoid anything overly trendy and stick to the basics.  That pair of jeans and solid top will be much more valuable to you on the road than a cute dress that only matches one pair of shoes.  We all like to be fashionable, but the truth is, on the road, you will probably be more excited about the day-to-day activities than you will be to get all gussied up.  To have a little fun with your wardrobe while traveling, pick a vibrant accent color to pair with your neutrals.  Game changer.  (Also, striving to not attract too much attention to yourself is a smart move.  Flashy tourists who stick out in a crowd are more likely to be pickpocketed, as it is known they tend to carry more cash on their person.)

DRESSES

If you’re a girl,  pack dresses!  Dresses were my life-saver on our elopement trip.  They take up very little space in your bag–not much more than a top–and they are a full outfit on their own.  You could almost pack a week’s worth of knee-length dresses in a medium-sized day bag.  Also, since they can be dressed up or down–for a night out or a day of sightseeing–they’re extremely versatile!

SHOES + ACCESSORIES

If you can’t help but want to feel super adorbs on your journey, pack a few pieces of statement jewelry in a Zip-lock bag.  This will keep your accessories contained, while allowing them to really help that dress go the extra mile for that fancy dinner out.  The same principle goes for shoes.  Try to only pack 1-3 pair of shoes, and wear the bulkiest ones on your flight if feasible.  This will help save your precious luggage space.  Keep the shoes neutral so they will match everything you’ve packed.  A pair of sandals or boots (depending on climate), walking shoes, and cute (yet still comfy) flats should be enough to get you through your trip.  Also, try to stick to one day bag/purse and a small night-out option, both of which should match everything in your packed wardrobe.  Don’t over-pack in this department!

UNDIES

If you’re going to over-pack anything, make it your underwear.  They take up almost zero space (especially women’s), and they definitely aren’t something you want to be caught without.  Stick to fabrics that dry more quickly (avoid cotton), so that if necessary, you can hand wash a pair or two in your hotel room sink.  Undies are not something you want to have to re-wear.  They’re not like your outer clothing.  Do yourself a favor and pack plenty.

PACKING CUBES

These suckers were lifesavers on our international vacation.  They help keep like items contained together for simple storage and stress-free retrieval.  You can find some like these on Amazon.com, or even pick them up at your local TJMaxx, Target, Wal-Mart, etc.  Another option is to separate each day’s outfits into separate Zip-Lock bags and label them according to your itinerary for a no-fuss morning routine.  It will allow you to unpack as few items as possible for the current leg of your trip.  (It is also smart to keep your shoes in plastic bags to keep them from rubbing dirt off onto your limited clothing options.)

PLASTIC BAGS

I’m a huge fan of extra plastic bags during travel.  You never know when you might have a damp or dirty garment (or liquid purchase–detergent or toiletry item) that needs to be secluded from the rest of your luggage contents.  Taking a few extra Zip-Locks, garbage bags, and/or plastic shopping bags can’t hurt.  They pack flat, weigh nothing, and may just save your wardrobe in a pinch.

WIPES

You never really know 100% what your accommodations will be like upon arrival.  There have been a few times on various trips, the cleanliness of the place wasn’t up to my germaphobe standards.  A simple  travel pack of Clorox wipes and/or Wet Wipes was usually just enough to put my mind at ease–along with my always-in-my-purse bottle of hand-sanitizer, of course!  Your surroundings can sometimes be messy, and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for it.  Better to designate a tad bit of room for these little guys, just in case, than be caught without them.

BEAUTY

Really work on streamlining your beauty regimen for travel.  Can you just get by with a tube of mascara and lip balm?  Go for it!  If you’re comfortable going completely bare-faced, more power to you!  We actually found it easier to purchase a few toiletry items once we arrived at our destination.  This saved us the aggravation of trudging through airport security with all those liquids.  Then, we just left them behind at our last stop before we boarded the flight home.  Also, try finding ways to spend minimal time on your hair.  Letting it air-dry while allowing your natural waves and texture to shine through can not only be liberating, but also very beautiful.  A low, messy pony of partially air-dried hair was one of my faves on the road.  And remember, sunscreen should always have a reserved spot in your bag!  The more you take care of your skin, the less you should have to cover it up with all those layers of make-up.

TECHNOLOGY

Rethink your technology.  You can probably just get by with only your smart phone on a trip.  This one device is the Swiss Army knife of electronics.  With it, you’ve got your camera, your computer, your GPS, and your entertainment.  It’s all there.  Save space in your luggage or carry-on, and just take this one item with you.

CELLULAR DATA

To save on international data costs, consider purchasing a wifi hot-spot at your destination.  Most hotels will have wifi available to you, but sometimes this service can be shoddy and unreliable.  With a hot-spot, you will be able to use your phone wherever you are (minus the calls and texts).  We did this abroad and talked with family via Skype/Facetime and email, even when driving down the motorway.  If your friends and family have iPhones, you will be able to receive texts when connected as well, so long as the iMessage feature is turned on on all devices involved.  (When traveling abroad, make sure the hot-spot you purchase is international if you purchase it in advance.  If not, it won’t work once you arrive overseas.)

SOUVENIRS

Do you really need to purchase all those souvenirs?  A true minimalist knows that the best souvenirs are the photos and memories you take home with you.  I know people who leave open room in their ginormous luggage so they can bring back gifts for themselves and all their friends and family.  It’s a nice thought, but such a hassle and total waste of space!  Honestly, your loved ones probably don’t want all those cheesy knickknacks from all the places you saw, anyway.  Instead, if you must get them gifts, consider purchasing a bottle of wine or some other perishable item, save space in your luggage, and ship it to them.  Other than the photos and memories, these are our favorite types of souvenirs!

FREQUENT PURGES

If you visit multiple cities per trip like my hubby and I do, consider purging before leaving each location and heading to the next.  You’d be surprised at all the unnecessary, extra “passengers” you can pick up along the way.  Instead of loading everything up without a thought, do a quick run-through of your luggage and any bags/purses/pockets, and toss what no longer suits you for the remainder of the trip.  This can include local maps, brochures, airport paraphernalia, shopping bags, or any “freebies” you might pick up from your sight-seeing.  I even “purge” my receipts from my day purse, moving them to a designated pocket or Zip-Lock bag in my carry-on, so they’ll be out of my way until I get home to check my bank statement for all the cleared charges as well as any fraudulent activity.  Doing this simple act every time we changed locations kept the clutter at bay, making the transition to each new city a breeze.

 

Thanks for reading!  I hope this helps with your upcoming adventures!  If you have any questions on anything I didn’t cover, please ask below in the comments.

Happy trails!

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