DECLUTTERING

Waste Not, Want Not

Waste of food, waste of water, waste of stuff for our homes and workplaces. Where does it all go?  I can’t talk about it all at once, it’s just too much.  Cleaning out our spaces is really tough when you’re also trying to minimize the amount of waste and litter that you send out the door.  I’ll be writing posts in the future on different aspects of these so keep an eye out.


Recycle

The recycling program where I live is pretty good.  Most people that live around here have a pretty good handle on sorting out their household trash. I don’t go around checking out everyone boxes but as I am moving about I see most have their blue boxes, green bin (if they live in town), and garbage bags out.  The goal should be to make the bags of garbage less and less each week but for now we still have a three bag weekly limit.

On a recent trip to Halifax, NS  I was reminded of how much can be done and how much further we have to go. The recycling program in Halifax is well developed. Residents have to follow the system or they risk a fine upwards of $200 or not having their waste picked up. They will follow through and leave your pile at the curb if residents don’t take the effort to sort properly.  I have been told it does happen on occasion. In Aug 2015 the Halifax Region Municipality implemented a plan where clear bags are only accepted. Each household is allotted one “privacy” black bag for personal trash. They also have a green cart program. It seemed like a big step but residents adjusted and now it’s second nature.


Plastic Free

I’ve been aiming for less plastic in my home.  If I am going to be honest, I still have a lot.  Some of our water bottles are plastic but they still work and until they break I will use them.  Throwing away things that work fine and are being used just to get something wiser is wasteful. Some plastics in our home are just unavoidable such as parts of our car, lawnmower and appliances. My dish rack is plastic but like a lot of things it is just stuff I have purchased to fill a need. It was during a time when I didn’t care about the things I do now.  Also the cost is a factor.  It will be easier to make these choices as costs come down and availability/variety increases.


Package Free

When shopping aim for minimal packaging.  Biodegradable isn’t also the best either because it still may need to go through a process to break it down. As the volume of our garbage bag diminishes and the blue bins are more and more stuffed you can easily realize how much of what we purchase is actually packaging. recycling our plastics and paper can only take us so far in reducing waste. It is just re-routing where we put out garbage to a certain extent.  It still takes a lot of resources to break it down and turn it into something. How much of it ends up being trashed in the end?


Reuse & Up-cycle

Reusing bags is the most obvious one that comes to mind but also containers, bottles and boxes.  I notice many more people carrying around a refillable water bottle with me instead of buying bottles of water.  Many things can have alternate uses than the original it was made for.


Donate

Send things that can still be useful to another home by giving it away to someone or a company. Some people make a business of refurbishing and selling items such as furniture or appliances.  Recently I saw a charity requesting donations for cast iron ware for them to fix up and sell. What a great idea!

Some places to donate items that come to mind are The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, local community charities and then there are places like the SPCA which need supplies such as towels or food.  Housing and Shelter groups are another place to help out by donating. Make sure to contact your local shelters to find out what needs they have.  In some cases they may even have a pick-up program.


 

I have all this stuff that I don’t need and what it still boils down to is wastage.  We need to buy less and spend more carefully. Be thoughtful of the choices we make when we go shopping for food or clothes.

It is possible to de-junk without being wasteful.  It is just going to take a bit longer but it will be safer and cleaner and an opportunity to save some money.

DECLUTTERING

Counter Space

A constant source of aggravation for me is always having very little to no table space. I am continuously having to move things over to make room to work whether it is preparation for meals, eating, work or a place to set down a book.  I realized this was a problem long ago but it wasn’t until my daughter came along that I saw the real negative implications of this habit. I call it a habit because it was really just procrastination of putting things away.  Things are always just being set down to put away “later”. The problem with this is that later comes much-later, most likely during a cleaning blitz that I feel forced into and resent. Housework and maintenance should not be so negative.  I don’t want that for my family.  I want to provide an environment that is comfortable – not with the noise and chaos of clutter.

The Decluttering Plan

I tried some different approaches already.  I tried focusing on an area of the house. I tried dividing it into sections like kitchen supplies, office supplies, clothing, etc. – you get the drift. They all worked for a bit but then I lost steam.  That’s OK because I figure as long as I keep going, slow as it may be, it will gradually turn into a lifestyle. My approach these days is to keep reminding myself to be ruthless in my decision of whether a particular item stays or goes – yes or no. The yes is fine and if I am right it will find a home. The no’s are another story and post, but it must go out the door.

My biggest stumbling block is distraction.  Sometimes it is a physical interruption such as a call, text or email I need to deal with or some sort of mom duty – even letting the dog outside.  More than likely it is me getting stumped by “where do I put this”, or “should it be donated or tossed in the trash?”

And then my train of thought is off … rambling down the tracks.

This brings me to my next big block which is not to be wasteful. I have trouble carelessly filling up our landfills with things that are not broken. I am always wanting to pass things on somehow but sometimes junk is junk and other times it can be put to good use by someone else. So I have to decide whether it truly is trash or worth something to another.

And again, my train of thought is off.

Minimizing our stuff is all about discovering what we want to have around you – getting rid of all the excess. I am by no means looking to be a minimalist. I won’t get into it right now but I recognize that there is a difference. What I want is to just be thoughtful about the choices we make and the materials that buy.

I made this list of some of the reasons I have been drawn into this idea of minimizing/purging/decluttering/simplifying. They overlap and are integrated with each other. I don’t really think you can have one without the other, but for the sake of the list here it is.

  1. Healthy body
  2. Healthy mind
  3. Family
  4. Organization
  5. The environment
Organizing

Planners & Bullet Journals

Over the years I have tried many types of planners. I have looked at numerous types from dayplanners to bullet journaling but the ones that work best were the 9″ x 6″ lined blank note books where I could fill with lists and notes each day. The only problem was constantly having to flip back and forth when trying to organize a week. I loved having blocks where I could not thoughts or plug in a bit of writing. So began another search for something that would allow me to look at the whole week, write down to-do lists but also keep track of appointments. I wanted something that left me room to jot down ideas and thoughts without having to dig out a separate journal. I also have one of those for when I need to sit down and do a lot of writing. Often though I need to just quickly write a few quick notes that I can followup on later.  Hence my “Ordinary Modifiable Weekly Planner”. I know it’s a bit wordy…

It has a super simple layout that allows me to create the rambling lists that I usually have. A shopping list, daily blocks for appointments and daily notes. An idea block which can be for anything, from a quote of song title, goal or just extra space to write. The layout for me was somehow important just as important as what blocks were added.

I see people often posting that they are having a tough time finding a planner the works for them. Everyone ha different needs and different types of schedules…it only makes sense. There are so many out there but with the way my mind works it had to be basic with no distractions of fancy fonts and time slots (I am better at remembering if I handwrite the time down).