Help! I’m overrun with food storage containers!

January 12, 2010

This was an amazing weekend as I uncluttered room by room.  I will go back and sort some more but I wanted to move out as much as I could in one day. I was doing great…until I got to the kitchen and opened up the cabinet where I keep my food storage containers.  Help!  Plastic containers and lids fell out of the cabinet and on the floor, all different shapes and sizes!   

As I sorted and decided what to keep, I realized we buy items in sets.  I take my lunch and store leftovers but how many containers do I really need?A quick search on the Internet for food storage containers brought up several great deals.  I can buy 48 containers with lids and two storage systems for $19.99.  I’d have to store a lot of food to use 48 containers!  Many companies sell their leftover food containers in sets of 3 to 8 pieces.   Some are quite pricey!   

Instead of believing more stuff is better…I believe less is best!   

Excess food storage containers...and they are gone!

Carrying Around the Past

January 4, 2010

More than just coconut oil in a bottle...a link to my memories!

 

This weekend I began uncluttering my bathroom, knowing I’d find many things to donate or discard.     

As I was organizing items under the sink, I came across an old glass bottle, still partially filled with solidified coconut oil.  I twisted off the cap and memories immediately surfaced when I smelled its’ scent.  Richard, a former boyfriend, took a trip to South America.  He brought back a Dewar Scotch bottle filled to the brim with fresh coconut oil.     

I was 22 years old.  The coconut oil survived much longer than my relationship.  I moved the bottle from home to home, immersing it in hot water to liquify the oil and used it sparingly.      

Every time I use it, it evokes the memory of my first full-time job, living in a two bedroom duplex in Belmont, Massachusetts, and the way my life was then.  It was a time of many casual friendships, playing couples bridge with Cathy, Ron, and Richard on Wednesday nights after dinner at my place.   It was an easy lifestyle, with lots of social activities after work.  My sister and brother occasionally dropped by to visit.  I was happy.     

That’s why I keep the bottle, even though the oil is no longer fresh.  It is a simple way to step back and remember my life as it was during 1976.      

Yes, it was 34 years ago that I received this gift.      

The coconut oil’s shelf life expired many years ago.  But I continued to hold on to this tangible link of my personal history.     

I now know the memories are within me.  The physical object is unnecessary…but just in case, I photographed it before pouring out the oil for the final time.

Great Resolutions, Not So Great Follow Through

December 27, 2009

  

More Space after the sort!

 

Have you ever decided to begin a new hobby or project?  I have and after thinking about what I’d like to learn or do, I then purchase books and materials to get started.  I have the best of resolutions…and usually less than great follow through! 

Yesterday I organized my closet bookcase.  I originally culled 24 items and left more than half of what I had at the beginning.  I carefully scrutinized what I was keeping and realized that two years ago, I was going to re-learn Latin.  I spent hours going to different bookstores and purchasing several beginning Latin textbooks.  Then I spent more money ordering additional study materials.  Guess what?  I studied about 10 minutes on this project and the books have been sitting in my bookcase ever since.  I asked myself, am I passionate about learning Latin again?  And the answer is, no, so now those books are in my “get rid of” pile.  I am happy to report that I was able to eliminate 30 items and kept 22!  Yippee!  More than 50% are gone! 

I estimated how much money I spent on these books I’ve never read.  Enough said!  

What was neat about going through each book is that I found a book I thought to be long-lost that I had been thinking about last week! 

Now what will I do with the 30 books that I wish to move out of my house? 

I have a friend who may be interested in one book so I emailed her to see if she wants it.  I took another and put it into my gift box as I have several friends for whom this would be a great gift.  Nine other books are ready to go to the Westpark Recycling Reading Room.   I’ll look on eBay later to see if the others can be sold.  I will list those today and for any that are not sellable, I’ll donate those on Monday to West Houston Assistance Ministries, one of my favorite places to take items so they can be resold in their store.  You can find out more about this group at www.whamministries.org.  

I am excited about my head start with this New Year’s resolution, as I am already producing results!   

How the bookcase looked before sorting

Passion is the Deciding Factor!

December 25, 2009
Gifting to someone who wants to sew!

Giving to someone who is passionate about sewing!

 

I was explaining to Chris the other day why I am embarking on this adventure.  She understood what I mean to accomplish.  She succinctly stated:  “You are keeping only things that you are passionate about around you.”  And this is it!  This is what I am doing, examining every item in my life and asking if it brings joy and passion to me.  If it does, it stays!  And if it does not, it goes!  I just don’t have room in my life for things that are “so so.” 

And on that note, I realized I am no longer passionate about sewing.  I bought a new sewing machine a few years ago and have only used it to create sewing projects with Elizabeth, my friends’ daughter.  It has more features than I need and is kept on my closet floor.  I spoke with Elizabeth’s mom who agreed I can gift it to her, which I am doing today as one of her holiday presents.  I also realize I am no longer passionate about all the crafts projects I once enjoyed, my tastes have changed, and now I can eliminate many of them as well. 

It’s an easy yardstick with which to measure:  am I passionate about this item in my life?  If yes, I keep it!  And if not, it goes!

A Return to My College Lifestyle

December 20, 2009

During a conversation with a friend this weekend, I reminisced about one of my moves during college.  I loaded everything I owned into my passenger vehicle and was able to move all my belongings in two car loads!  I used a 3 drawer cardboard container for my lingerie.  I had very few outfits, most of what I wore were jeans, boots, and t-shirts.  One of the biggest items I owned was a stereo system with large speakers.  I had a minimal amount of office supplies (primarily notebook paper and highlighters); a small amount of make up, very little jewelry, my Instamatic camera, and few decorative or collectible items.   I was living a minimalist life before it became a lifestyle descriptor!

I’m ready to lighten my load.  Today I gave a cute ball cap to Chris after our walk.  Yesterday I removed 50% of the books on one bookshelf and donated them to the reading room at the recycling center.  I began looking at items in my bathroom and what’s in my kitchen cabinets.  I no longer wish to invest the time it takes to maintain all these items!

The first photo is the bookshelf before I took action.  The second photo is what I decided to keep.  What a nice change! 

I’m turning back the clock to my former college lifestyle of living with less!  

The Joy of Giving

December 16, 2009

Today I experienced the joy of giving!  My friend’s daughter had her ears pierced this year and I have many, many pairs of unworn earrings.  Some of these are new and others are styles I no longer wear.  We culled through my boxes of earrings and she selected seven pairs to keep.  

I have nephews, no nieces.  Earlier this year, another friend’s 10-year-old daughter and I organized my jewelry.  She selected different pieces and we decided at what age she would receive them.  It was so much fun!  Each year on her birthday I am able to pull out the envelope with her annual jewelry gift!  I told her the stories behind some of the items and will write them for her as I pass on the rings, necklaces, and bracelets.  She received her first necklace this year. 

The joy of giving…tis the season year-round! 

The Joy of Giving Jewelry

The Joy of Giving

Pouf! It’s Gone!

December 13, 2009

I’m a professional organizer and often clients will give me items as a “thank you” and because they wish to have that object leave their home!   I took a sitting stool cushion that was well used…don’t ask me why…it caught my interest!  It’s black, scuffed, and the bottom is held together by duct tape!  It matches nothing in my home although my cats have enjoyed using it as a step stool to jump to the next higher piece of furniture!  It’s not even comfortable for seating or as a foot rest!  I photographed it and placed it in my car…it’s gone!

Time to convert clutter into cash!  I listed nine items tonight on eBay.  (You can check out my listings under my seller name:  Rosehilllady.)  What doesn’t sell will be donated next week after the listings expire.  My goal is to list anything new I have not used within the last two years that is appropriate for a holiday gift unless I know someone who can use that item.  I am carefully thinking about each item as I do not wish to burden my friends with additional clutter or things they will not use!

I have a book I’ve listed twice that has not sold.  It’s also in my car, the recyle center near me has a library for anyone to use so I often take books there.  (If you live in Houston, Texas, check out the Westpark Recyling Center for donating books and arts and crafts supplies:  http://www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/westpark.html.)

Pouf!  They’re gone!

A Head Start on 2010 Uncluttering Resolution!

December 11, 2009

I’ve been thinking about all the downsizing I’ve accomplished during the last 6 years.  Some of this has been done through necessity as I’ve moved several times from a home of 2200 square feet to currently a one bedroom condo of approximately 720 square feet. 

As I have made each move, more and more items have been sold, donated, or given away.

I feel cluttered living in this space even though many of my wonderful items are in a storage unit.  What I’ve recently realized is that my taste in furnishings and collectibles has changed.  Much of what I have around me is a reflection of the type of furniture that others have owned and I’ve copied their look.  As I grow older, my style has also changed.  I am more selective about antiques or used furniture in my life.  I like clean lines and simple furnishings, enhanced by color around me.

During my preparation for Hurricane Ike in September, 2008, I was on the phone with my cousin, Rachel, storing  my fragile items and moving furniture away from the front window.  I realized I no longer remembered where or how I acquired some of the very items I was packing.  There was no emotional attachment other than that formed by carting these objects around for the last 40 years of my life!  I pledged during that moment of recognition that I would eliminate 20 – 25% of all I owned over the upcoming 12 months.  And I did! 

After my research on minimalist living,  I realize that I do love having space around me, but space that is open and uncluttered.  This is, after all, what I’ve been promoting to my clients, that of living with less and having everything in its space and place.

So, I’ve decided to take another step towards downsizing!  I hereby pledge, as of today, to begin reducing my belongings by 50% over the next 12 months.  I will examine everything I own and decide why I have it, whether it will remain or go, and then conscientiously move things out of my life!

Come share this adventure with me!