Discardia – week 2

So. much. stuff

I intended to count but to be honest it was slowing me down!


81 books and DVDS to music magpie (£70!) although they don’t get collected until Thursday so they are still in the house
~25 Items sold on eBay, mix of my clothes and baby clothes – £114


One box of charity donations

Nothing was binned but we’re clearing the garage out this weekend so we’ll have to take stuff to the tip. It’ll all be sorted before we go so hopefully I can keep the landfill stuff to just one bag.

Total ‘earned’ this week – £184

Minimalist Book Club – Stuffocation

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I loved this book.

It’s more academically written than most minimalism books. I’ve found the majority are written around thoughts, feeling and anecdotes, this is fully referenced and researched, relying on both anecdotal evidence and scientific studies. Being a pretty die hard sceptic by nature, references to experiments and sociological studies makes me happy.

It doesn’t actually promote minimalism as the ‘best’ lifestyle, it explores consumerism and materialistic culture then works through the current counter culture options and explores (theoretically and practically) the impact they would have at a global level. It’s fascinating but (to skip to the end) the conclusion he proposes is NOT to rail against rampant consumerism by converting to strict minimalism (although he’s certainly respectful and praises those who do) but by switching to an experiential mindset. The best way to explain this (and the example he uses in the book) is by using the premise of Brewster’s Millions. In the book (and later film) a man has to earn his inheritance by spending a set amount of money in a set timeframe BUT he must have no physical goods to show at the end or he forfeits his inheritance.

The point of this is that you are still spending money, you still contribute to the economy, you still take an active part in society, but you change the way you do those things. Instead of spending money on status goods (watches, shoes, cars) you spend money on experiences. Holidays, theatre tickets, adult learning classes. The theory being that by spending your money in the experience sector, you get the thrill of the purchase which we’re conditioned to want by growing up in a capitalist world, but we also get the memory of the experience making the purchase more meaningful and us, happier.

Have you ever sat down at the hairdressers, been asked what you’ve been up to since your last appointment and listed the things you’ve bought? No, because nobody cares if you just blew £600 on a pair of shoes, but buying a £600 holiday? That’s a conversation. Get out and do more. Engage, be a part of life.

The book takes you down some pretty grim paths (the start of advertising, the state of the environment) but its overall message is so hopeful I’m still on a bit of a book high.

Can you tell I liked this book? I’m recommending this one as a buy. It’s one you’ll want to read more than once.

DVD clear out

This is the second DVD clear out in as many years and it was so much easier this time round!

Basically we have a PS3 which we got free with a new mobile phone almost 10 years ago and it’s on its last legs so instead of buying a new DVD player (all it’s used for) we decided to see if we needed one at all.

We usually just watch Netflix and we have a handful of favourites purchased via iTunes so I pulled out all the DVDs:


And then looked them up on iTunes. The first clear out had gotten rid of the DVDs we weren’t fussed about so this time we were starting with films and TV shows we knew we’d want to watch again.

I added all that were available to my iTunes wish list (I’ll only buy as/if we want to watch them) and put the few which weren’t available back into a box.

I started with 3 shelves of DVDs, I’m down to one shelf now.


The box on the left might be going later, these are DVDs that I consider my husbands so he can choose if they stay or go, the right are DVDs not on iTunes plus my numbered Harry Potter box set.

We’re using the space gained in the bookcase to experiment with my daughters toy hoard. If she’s happy with these toys and these toys only for one month, the rest get donated!


A room full of fancy expensive electric toys and the ones she spends most time on have turned out to be the cheaper wooden ones from Ikea!

Discardia – Week 1

I’m going to start a weekly round up of clutter/possessions that I’ve discarded over the past week.

So when I feel like I’m not getting anywhere, that I’m not doing anything, I can check the discardia tag and see all the excess stuff that I’ve gotten rid of.

This week it’s only a small list:

  • 11 items of baby clothes
  • 3 rolls of gift wrapping ribbon
  • Unopened pack of gift tags I’ve had for ~5 years
  • Half pack of silver star confetti

I’ve listed a lot on eBay today and I’ve got a box to take to the charity shop tomorrow so next week should be more

Minimalist book club – L’art de la simplicite

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I’m a bit unsure how to review this book.

It has some good quotes, which really get to the core of minimalism (They’d be great stuck on affirmation cards) but the book as a whole… it reads like a list where someone has removed the bullet points. Or a selection of fortune cookie sayings like ‘It is better to live with high aspirations than mediocre realities’. There’s not much in a the way of practical advice, just commands and theres no… engagement with the author.

Some of her ideas are demented. Particularly the ones on the  minimalist body, like instructing you to fast and then take a vegetable based laxative so your insides can also be decluttered, drinking a water & vinegar mixture for your skin, ‘we have a duty to maintain a clean, well groomed appearance’ or my favourite bullshit: ‘Every time we put on weight, we die a little’

Most of the health and beauty crap she suggests is lunacy (she really likes her vinegar) and I wouldn’t suggest actually following any of it.

She can’t seem to decide on whether she wants to be seen as frugal or lavish, some times she praises frugality and then the next sentence she’s advising you to blow as much cash as you can on ‘light and airy’ furniture or custom made leather handbags.

That being said, the money chapter of the book does have merit. It puts a perspective on overspending that I hadn’t thought about before.

The problem is, there’s no room in her doctrine for personality. I don’t want an all white interior. Having some colour around the house does not mean you have clutter or that you’re unable to be calm. You know what won’t make me a calm? Living in a white box I have to clean all the time (although, she suggests scrubbing floors to slim down, so maybe thats her intention)

Basically, don’t buy this book. Go to the library, get a copy and then read it with a notebook, copy out the genuinely good quotes, the ones that would help you explain minimalism to a friend or refocus your mind when you’re decluttering. Then return the book and be glad you didn’t waste any money on it because it’s 80% drivel.

Project 333!!

Yep, I’m going to attempt this.

I expect that it should be fairly easy as I don’t own much more than this anyway, my main issue will be with changing seasons (it’s snowing right now but in 3 months I won’t even need a jacket) so I’m going to follow on the assumption that I will swap out some things.

Here’s my plan:

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I think that the boots, duffel coat and most of the jumpers will be swapped out as I’m intending to do this from 1st March to 1st June. I’m going to track my outfits on stylebook so I can see if there are things which aren’t being worn.

There are 34 items pictured because I’ve included my wedding ring to remind me to get it resized! My hands puffed up while I was pregnant and everything else is back to normal except my fingers! It’s been a year so I’m going to give in and get it altered when I get paid.

Decluttering kids stuff

My daughter is one year old.

Her needs are simple. She needs a highchair to join us at the dinner table, some bottle making kit (almost weaned but still in use), access to a bath, enough clothes to keep her clean and account for the odd poo-nami, a handful of toys and books and a cot.

That’s not a lot of stuff, yet my daughter has a stuffed bedroom, a cabinet in the kitchen, half the worktop and we turned our dining room into a playroom. Oh and there’s even more stuff in the garage.

There’s a few different hurdles to clearing out ‘her’ things.

First: I don’t want to deprive her of anything. I don’t want her to ‘miss out’

Secondly: They aren’t ‘my’ things. They’re hers and I know she’s too young for that at the moment but I don’t intend to be the dictatorial parent type. I want to talk to our kids as equals, involve them in decisions rather than have them feel they’re just under my authority until they’re old enough to move out and tossing her stuff as I see fit goes against that (I know, I know, she’s only one but it’s a way of treating her that rankles even now).

Thirdly: The vast majority of items were gifts. I’m tossing someone else’s money. How do I explain to friends or family when they visit that the reason they can’t see the *random plastic toy* they gave her is because we sent *random plastic toy* to the charity shop? It’s easier with clothes because once she’s outgrown them there’s no point keeping them so they go on eBay but toys… Christmas was ridiculous, 4 trips to empty the car, most of it is still in boxes and then she had her birthday less than a month later. I’m going to be quite strict this Christmas and very firmly say that we do not want any toys, clothes would be great but absolutely no toys.

The thing is, at this point there are so many toys that I don’t like in the house its affecting how we parent her. We don’t want a billion flashy light up attention grabbing crappy toys, we want a handful of traditional (preferably wooden) toys so she learns to focus on one thing at a time, to let something hold her attention, use her imagination. So we have all these reasons to get rid of the extra stuff, but we’re still hesitating!

I’m going to go into her playroom soon and try a cull. Will take photos when I do!