Saturday, July 13, 2013

Purging Our Lives of "Stuff"

Steve is a minimalist at heart. I'm... getting there.

We want to clean up our lives in a lot of different aspects. We've switched our diet to more clean eating - no processed/boxed foods, very little added oil and sugar, loads of fresh fruits and veggies. I've started to replace our cleaning supplies with more environmentally friendly ones that I make - like baking soda and vinegar. I'm going to start making our toiletries at home out of natural, gentle ingredients. We're taking steps to clean up our energy usage - we just switched our electricity plan with our provider to 100% wind/solar (we're still on the grid, but our energy demand is coming from wind/solar rather than gas/coal).

We also don't want to accumulate "stuff". That stuff that just sits around and has no real purpose or function. Last Christmas I asked my family to not buy me gifts just for the sake of buying me something. I asked for something handmade and personal or something functional. Or nothing, I don't really need gifts. So I didn't get as many gifts as previous years, but I got better gifts in my opinion. My sister gave me a crochet housecoat that she made (and I wore all winter; very comfy!) and a heating mat for seedlings. Those are the kind of gifts I like. The kind of gifts I don't like are a Cars pencil holder that my mom got me one year (I know you meant well, mom!). Several years ago when the Cars movie came out my dad was super into it (and maybe one of my siblings too, I don't remember). So my mom got him a Cars pencil holder, which he loved. Then she bought me and my 3 siblings Cars pencil holders too. "Well, if I get it for one of you I have to get it for all of you!" (This is the same reasoning she used for buying me pretzels dipped in milk chocolate. Gluten, milk... sigh, I can't eat that. I have to give my gift away.) I never opened the box for the pencil holder and I didn't take it home. It sat at my parents' house until they got rid of it. I didn't need or want a Cars pencil holder. It's a great gift for my dad, but not me.

I made all of the Christmas gifts we gave to our families last year - various tea blends, healing salve, nut butters, whole grain mustard, vanilla extract, and a few other things. And I loved making all of it! I was able to tailor the gifts to flavors I knew my family would like - my brother got a curry cashew butter, and my dad got a pistachio/almond butter. I like giving personal gifts like that.

Steve and I are also more conscious of what we buy for ourselves too. We've been tracking everything we've bought for the past few months. This has definitely helped to keep us more accountable.

I have a personal goal for myself that I don't want to buy (or even be given) any new clothes for the rest of the year (underwear being an exception). This isn't a super hard goal because I rarely go clothes shopping, but can be a little challenging since I'm trying to get down to a healthy weight. So instead of buying new clothes if I need something, I want to alter the clothes I already have (like sew in a shirt that has gotten too big) or buy second hand from a thrift store.

If an effort to purge the "stuff" in our lives, we set a goal that each week we're going to get rid of something. Three weeks ago we cleaned out the garage. We got rid of a wheelbarrow, floor lamps, hockey sticks, poker sets, chairs, a baseball bat... Just stuff that sat in the garage because we don't use them anymore. No reason to hold onto them. So we sat everything in our front yard by the road with a FREE sign, and within a couple hours people had taken everything.

Two weeks ago we got rid of a lot of books. We gave them to a lady who will sell them for $1 a piece and then donate that money to the local animal shelter.

This week was clothes.

We went through our closets and got rid of a lot of clothes we don't wear anymore, and organized our summer/winter clothes that we're keeping. This is our haul to Goodwill. I also saved some old t-shirts to make into rags or use to practice sewing projects.

Dr. Quinn helped Steve sort through his clothes by checking their nap-ability. She approves of these.

I also re-discovered these awesome slippers I forgot I had!

Next week I'm going to tackle our toiletries. I know I have old makeup and hair products I don't use anymore that can be tossed.