Friday’s Favorites

Colleen’s visiting her mother, so I’m putting together the Friday Favorites, which are skimpier than when Colleen does it.

The first thing I wanted to link to is an article from the magazine Real Simple, which I subscribe to. I think steam was coming out my ears by the time I got to the end of “What Can You Really Afford?” The author spends the entire article outlining the various causes of overspending, which of course leads to clutter along with other negative outcomes, and then she justifies it all away in the last paragraph by stating that her purchase “makes her happy.” Unfortunately, this article is no where on the web or on Real Simple’s site. If you see the May 2013 issue at the library, it’s worth a read, just to see if you get as steamed up as I did.

This next link is from a friend who referred to it as a “throw down” (a challenge to a fight, for you non-native speaker). The author claims that she is against decluttering and purging, but I couldn’t help but notice that she brags that she reduced her storage bins from 18 to 12.

I love Rachel’s blog Small Notebook. For those of you holding onto sentimental items, this might be a help. For everyone else, the doctored photo alone is worth a look. (Don’t worry, you’ll know which one I mean when you see it.)

I thought this post on the process of becoming a minimalist was interesting. The author credits minimalism with getting her out of debt by reducing spending and also with allowing her to work a normal work week, and not the 15 hour days she had been working.

And to show Real Simple that I forgive them for their terrible transgression with the article not posted here first, I offer this primer on overcoming specific obstacles to decluttering, such as becoming overwhelmed or getting distracted.

Have a great weekend!

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  1. The blog from Rachel hit straight to my heart. I lost someone dear to me last week and inherited a personal item of his. It is so precious to me and I will cherish it forever. He didn’t have much and I am privileged to have been thought of.

    As far as sentimental things so, I REALLY need to work on that – I’m horrible in that area. This one item though, won’t be leaving me. It’s way too important.

    • I’m okay with keeping some sentimental items. My youngest is wearing a pair of earrings that my boyfriend Richard gave me in 1982. I hardly ever wear them anymore, but when I look at them, I remember how thrilled I was – my first gift of fancy jewelry from a boy. However, if the sentimental feeling is gone, and you’re just hanging on because you *used* to be sentimental about an item, then it’s time to let it go.

      • Oh sure, Cindy, I get what you are saying and I agree wholeheartedly. Last week when my stepfather passed, a million things were going through my head, such as there is never as much time as you think, let people know what they mean to you every chance you get, things that a person really should get in place sooner rather than later, let go of the past, and on and on. My folks seemed to have a lot of “stuff” in their house too, that now my mom has to deal with all of it. She is so far away and I can’t be there to help, but by phone I can give her some emotional support.

        I also realized how much junk I still have – even after this whole process with the 365ers. Maybe this whole time with you all has been just scratching the surface, but not getting to the “meat” of it. I guess I still have a lot of work to do.

  2. I love Rachel’s post “Keep This, Not That” Could we start a list here? It is very helpful because it is so specific. for example:
    Keep this: the necklace your mother wore often
    Not this: every piece of costume jewelry in your mother’s estate

    • Ironically, I have a bag of costume jewelry from my grandmother that I wanted my children to play with. But when they were really into dress up, I thought they were too young and rough. Now they’re old enough to take care with the pieces, but not very interested in dressing up – at least not play dressing up. I didn’t plan that out correctly, did I?

      • Lol, that took me back, I used to love playing with my grans costume jewellery when I was little – now I would probably think it was hideous, haha. My mum ‘fessed up the other week that she probably still has it so I may get the chance to heave it yet. My father gave me his mothers jewellery last year, neither my sister or I wanted it, we never knew her and it was quite old fashioned – I flogged it at auction and bought some really lovely garden chairs with the proceeds ( the chairs are made from reclaimed timber by a social enterprise so I can feel really good about them as well as enjoy sitting in them.

      • Cindy – I was thinking about your grandmother’s costume jewellery over the weekend – as I read an article about a lady who used all the old costume jewellery to supply her new jewellery making hobby by breaking it down and then re-making it into new pieces. I don’t know how you would feel about dismantling granny’s stuff but I thought as your daughters sound quite crafty (as in arts and craft) it could be a way for it to have another round of use.

    • WAIT!!!! (waiving hand frantically) There are people who actually don’t want to hoard costume jewelry??!! I’ll take it! I’ll take it!!

      (bet Colleen would give me a disgruntled look )

      Ok! Ok! I suppose I can’t keep all of it. Darnit.

    • Hahaha how about,
      Keep: the thing you bought (insert here whatever it was that you absolutely had to buy)
      Don’t Keep: The bag, box, ribbon, plastic wrapping, stuffing etc etc that gets put aside in case we need it!! What The!!!
      🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Dizzy – funny you say that because in my hall cupboard (its due for a re-visit) I have the box the laptop came in, the box the ipad came in, the box my kobo came in and the box my kobo-mini came in. And because they were stacked so nicely I didn’t even notice them.

  3. I was once a subscriber to Real Simple, but I found their tips were the same year after year; and so many of their ‘solutions’ involved shopping for storage items, buying this product, or that piece of clothing – I suppose their advertisers like it, but I got fed up and stopped subscribing. I did love their layout and design and some of their human interest stories, so I will borrow issues from the library from time to time.

    • They’re definitely not afraid to encourage you to buy, I agree. Nonetheless, it’s the only magazine I subscribe to. Both my girls and I read it, and then it goes to a friend, so I think I’m getting a good value for my investment, plus I enjoy seeing it my mailbox every month.

      • You are right there. I get the magazine also. I do enjoy looking through it and reading many of the articles. I pass it on also.

  4. Cindy, you did a good job of doing Friday’s Favorites. The first article you talked about from “Real Simple” drove me nuts too. I felt like wringing the authors neck. The other one from them you linked to has some good points but is still way to much about organizing it all rather than really purging a good amount of it. I think they would rather show all these pictures that advertise products by sponsors than really help you clean up your act. The “throw down” article was another one where I would like to wring the authors neck. I want to send her the link to the post from Rachel at “Small Notebook.” What a great post from her. I copied it and sent it to my aunt and S. This is what I have been trying to get across to them. Ashley Riordan’s guest post was very good. It said a lot of things that I have been thinking. I copied it so I can hang onto it and use it to help me put my thoughts into words.

    • Wow. Thanks for all the compliments Deb.

    • Deb J – re: the first article – I wanted to tell her “Duh” what do you think decluttering is? What you just did! Do you think we all got rid of everything in one massive hit and declared ourselves minimalists? No, we did it bit by bit. Do you think none of us have anything sentimental left? Think again.

  5. Hi Cindy, I also think you did a great job with Friday’s Favorites. Maybe it’s because I just ate a nice lunch of homemade lentil soup and I’m feeling calm, but the ‘throw down’ article didn’t really make me fiesty. lol. I guess I didn’t really appreciate the tone of the article which to me was ‘Nobody should tell me what to throw away, but it’s okay for me to tell you what NOT to throw away.’ Bottom line is that we all have to walk our own path and do what’s right for our own families. Now why it would be the right thing to keep 12 bins of junk I don’t really understand as that’s not the right way for me or my family, but hey, I don’t have to live in her house or inherit her junk when she passes so I guess I don’t care. More than anything I just don’t really appreciate the hypocrisy of the article where she gets huffy about being told what to do by the organizing industry or minimalist movement or whoever it is she was perceiving as having influence on her and then turns around and tells her audience what they should be doing. Oh well. It was worth the read though. thanks! 🙂

    • Yeah, I hope she cleans it out before she dies or her notes with Hillary Clinton will probably be tossed away!

      • So true! Well, unless she’s raised her kids to be fearful of throwing stuff away too. Then it can sit in their basement I guess. lol.

      • Cindy – it makes me think about my FIL whose spare room is chock full of stuff from his father’s estate (who died abut 5 years ago) which includes stuff from his mother’s estate (who died 2 years prior) – see a theme coming thru?

  6. Thank you Cindy, for putting together Friday’s favourites. They’re great (though I don’t think, I’ll have a chance to read that magazine).

  7. Yes Cindy good job with the favourites!
    I couldn’t help thinking that the woman who wrote the “throwdown” article has rather missed the point of decluttering. We are all going to have different levels of “minimalism” that satisfy us. We will know what that is when we have decided what is unnecessary in our lives. Also that we should at least honour the things we want to keep and NOT leave them in a storage bin in the basement for twenty years without looking at it 🙂 If she couldn’t remember the interview with Hillary Clinton without having the paper to remind her she should have at least had it framed or kept in a treasure/memory box as Rachel from Small Notebook suggests.

    • Megan S, I agree with you about doing something with her interview besides stuffing it into a box out of site. This is where I say decluttering comes in. If you are just going to shove it in a box and never look at it again why keep it? Do something with it so that it becomes a treasure or dump it.

  8. I had to chuckle at one of the items on Rachel’s keep/don’t keep list. She said not to keep “those little matchbooks from your wedding”

    My husband and I purposely eloped when we got married because I didn’t want to deal with all the “stuff” that accompanies big weddings, but my sister ordered a batch of tiny matchbooks full of paper with our names and wedding date on it anyway.

    Even though we never used even one of those tiny pads of paper, I kept the whole batch for a long time because I felt bad that my sister had bought them, and I kept trying to figure out some use for them.

    That plastic bag full of “matchbooks” has been here since 1997. It was just a month or so ago that I finally threw them all into the recycling bin.

    I hadn’t given them another thought until now.

    • Oh man, I thought I was the only one holding on to a plastic bag of wedding matchbooks! 🙂 I decided to get rid of ours too. We aren’t going to use them for anything.

  9. Hey Cindy, WELL DONE!! I loved all of the links, I wish I could read that ‘article’ though, maybe just so I could chuck the mag, or yell at the screen!!!
    I will never be a ‘Minimalist’ I still have too much, like chairs to sit on and dishes to eat off, you know the stuff I really need.
    I am a ‘Tosser’ I toss gleefully from my life, that which is no longer loved, needed, or wanted!!
    I am an organiser, I love to organise ‘Stuff to Toss’ hahaha.
    Reading your links made me realise, I have a long way to go but I will get there. I just love all the input, from around the world, many cultures, dealing with the same thing, ‘STUFF!!!!’. I just love everyones take on the subject.

    I was left wondering what that lady kept in the bins that she managed to reduce. hahaha. I don’t really like to tell anyone that they are hanging onto crap. I do, but I say it for the greater good. I would rather hang onto a first painting than a first dummy/soother, but in saying that I would purge 9467 paintings of whatever from kindy/primary school. If I get stuck, I ask the others in my home what they think. The answer is usually, “What The!!!”

    Now I’m going to purge the ‘Scrapbooking Shop’ I mean my ‘Scrapbook Room’ AGAIN!!!!! And then the ‘Garage’ AGAIN!!!!
    Constant re-visiting is working a treat for me just lately. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Saying you’re a “tosser” reminds me of being a Freshman in college. A girl in my dorm said, “You know that you always get rid of something when I’m around.” Apparently, I was a declutterer even back then; I just lost control when the kids were little.

      • I know what you mean there Cindy, I’m sure it’s the space thing. As soon as you have room you start to fill it, with the kids arriving you get more stuff into the ‘room’ and you fill it, and then you get more room so you fill it!!! Haahaa. Regaining the ability to see and then being able to ‘Toss’ is now my ‘Circle of Life’ hahahaha!!!!! : ) 🙂 🙂

  10. Hi all,
    Just wanted to BRAG!!! Just now I have gotten rid of 14 Tupperware Freezer Containers in various sizes. Happy Happy Jig about the Room manically throwing up arms and punching the air!!!! I was one of those people that would transfer frozen whatever, out of the bag, or box and into a sealed container. I got rid of my freezer yonks ago, and with it a large amount of freezer containers, I obviously kept a heap!!! I think I’ll give the rubber band around the top of the bag a go, or as one lady suggested, keep the plastic tabs off the bread bag and use them. Simple, four little bread tabs in my drawer, compared to 14 various sized containers in my cupboard. Hummmmm it’s a no brainer!! So why have I been brainless for so long???? Just another bunch of stuff I have been looking at for ages and not seeing!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • 🙂 Good for you Dizzy! It’s amazing how there’s always more ‘stuff’ that we’re not using hiding out in our homes!!! I know that’s true in my house. It seems no matter how many hauls I take off to Goodwill there’s still more that needs to be hunted down! Oh well. It keeps me busy and out of trouble I suppose. 🙂

    • Not brainless. It’s just that the “noticing freezer containers” part of your brain hadn’t been activated yet.

      • Hahaha True true. I feel I may also be suffering from ‘Haven’t noticed my too many other containers’ as well. My cupboards are going to explode again as soon as Comps are over. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  11. On the throw-down, it was odd that with a basement which had a lot of space evidently, she also mentioned a storage facility –I assume she meant they were also renting storage at a mini-storage business. Makes you wonder how much stuff they were actually storing (and never looking at). I think I saved (for the child, not me) one preschool art drawing per child for them to see what they did when they were 4 or 5 years old., which they have probably tossed by now LOL. I also saved one baby outfit per child. This was also pretty much for the child, but partly for me since I am a little sentimental. Everything else left by either the garbage truck or by garage sale. I couldn’t help thinking if she doesn’t change her ways and her thinking, just how excited her kids will be when they inherit all that stuff and have to deal with it. It’s a lot easier to not collect it in the first place, so at least I’m not dealing with kids’ stuff–just mine and some of my husband’s–he hasn’t completely bought in yet. I’ve about quit doing any shopping and have talked myself out of several things lately saying wait until you see if you will really need it.

    • Years ago, I unpacked the very last box I had left at my parent’s house. There was truly stuff in there I didn’t recognize. None of it was treasures. So ridiculous to get so hung up on stuff.

  12. I think there had been a discussion about tool sheds while I was out. We don’t have a garage, but the house came with a tiny garden shed (have to duck your head to get in and it’s about 4 feet deep by 8 feet wide). We recently put in a 10 x 12 x 11 (plus a loft) and we have managed to stack junk all over it! I just want to bang my head against a wall sometimes! In the beginning I tried to keep things organized in there, but with no shelving, we had to start stacking stuff and then the stacks want to fall over. Ideally, I think a peg-board system and some steel shelves would be handy, but between the tool box, the ladders, the EZ-UP, the compressor, the generator . . . . well, you catch my drift.

    Hubby wanted to move all the Christmas décor out there, but if I have to tromp through the snow to get them, I’m not likely to do it and I think the cold would be bad for some of the vintage pieces. My first year in Colorado I had to have the decorations in a shed and the strangest thing happened to the colored balls – they all split. Weird.

    • I keep my Christmas decoration in the attic, where it gets well, well over 100 degrees in the summer, but the cold might be different. It’s a shame that you expanded your space and seemingly expanded your junk. Now you know what are to tackle next. Unfortunately, where you have a big area, there’s a big temptation to fill it!

  13. I mentioned a few months ago that I was working on losing some weight. I’ve been making progress toward that goal, and now none of my pants or shorts fit. It is exciting to get to start over with a whole category of items – to have to set everything in the category aside and build an inventory from nothing. I am thinking about how many pairs of pants I need, and since I only want to get a few pairs I want every pair to be just right for me.

    My husband had a mostly fresh start when we bought our condo and moved in – we owned very little furniture at that point. I was focused on making our home feel homey, so I bought cheap furniture to un-empty the rooms. My husband preferred to buy nice furniture over time, and preferred not having furniture to having furniture he didn’t like. I wish I’d shared his mindset from the beginning and relished the empty spaces and the slow process of buying what we really wanted. Now we’ve gotten rid of most of the cheap stuff I bought (quite a bit of it back to the thrift store it came from), but following my husband’s approach would have saved us money, effort, and reduced our horizontal spaces for clutter accumulation.

  14. Hi – I actually read all of the Friday Favourites yesterday but had such a crazy busy day I didn’t get to comment.

    Real Simple – I enjoyed two particular suggestions: Think like your family, factor in who is artsy right brained and who is technically orientated. Great suggestion! They will respond to different systems.

    The 3 F’s. Clothes should fit, flatter and make you feel like a million bucks. What a great criteria for keeping or not keeping clothes.

    The article on becoming a minimalist spoke to me on so many levels, it really struck a chord with me.

    I admire that she addresses the criticism of minimalism – that because it is a journey more than a finished product and an ongoing process. most minimalists are critised for not living the ideal. It is often made over complex or over simple by some bloggers and it would be almost impossible to find a minimalism blog that you agreed with 100% because minimalism is a personal opinion and customised to an individual’s lifestyle.

    Small Notebook – I loved the picture, yes the point was very clear.

  15. I loved the articles. I especially enjoyed the getting out of debt in relation to minimalism article. I used to work at a job that gave me plenty of time to take lunch. Many times during my lunch hour I would go to a nearby store and I would purchase items just because I used it as a stress reliever away from work for that short hour. Little did I realize that all of that free time spent doing such things would lead to more stress. I am glad that I have come to my senses.

    • I’m glad you came to your senses too!

    • Jen, I so understand that old way of spending lunch. At my last job which was VERY stressful I used to go to my favorite scrapbook store and spend. I finally got rid of the last of that stuff just this week.

      • Glad to hear that you got rid of those things. Although I am sure some of it may have bought some temporary enjoyment, the majority of it may have just reminded you of that stressful time in your life. At least for me, that is what all of my purchases did, so it was time to let it go. I too had a stressful job, so I would shop to escape for a little bit. Sometimes I would buy things I needed but most of the time, it was not for things I needed. I would shop on the weekends too. I eventually figured out that the majority of what I was doing was a waste money and time.

        • Jen, I spent 10 years paying off my parents bills after my father died. When that was done I was so glad to have money to spend and my job was so stressful I shopped in scrapbook stores. Part of it was also because I received lots of pats on the back for my layouts and cards. It was not the best thing. I wish I had not done it now.

          • I know what you are saying, although my situation was different, it was the same in many ways. Not having much growing up led me to believe that I should buy whatever I wanted once I was able to do so. Along with a stressful job, the combination was not a good one, and that is some of the reasoning behind my overindulgence in things that I did not need. I also shopped to make myself feel better as I suffered from lack of self esteem. Usually the feelings that I derived from accumulating my treasures did not last very long though. Funny how that works, stuff doesn’t do much but make you feel worse in the long run. It takes time to figure out why we do what we do. I know that must have been difficult for you Deb J, sacrificing as you did, but I am sure that what you did for your family was greatly appreciated. I lacked many things growing up and overcompensated myself because of that, but at least moving forward I can see things clearer now.

          • Jen, I know what you mean about what you bought didn’t help long. It sure didn’t for me. I”m so glad I don’t do that any longer.

  16. Hi all,
    Just a little off the wall here, but can anyone suggest to me the perfect type of cup/mug material for TEA!!! My hubby drinks tea and I am so over cleaning the black ring from the cups. Eewwww!! It stains like dye, and the cups I have are a little non-descript type of ceramic!!! I find I have to scrub everything with a little bit of Jif scrubby cleanser, I know tannins in tea are dark but honestly, the cups look like I have been dishing up TAR!!!!! I have tried all the usual cleaning tips, lemon, vinegar, ajax, jackhammer!!! I think maybe the cup needs to be a specific ceramic or porcelain or glass????? HELP!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • First: you can clean them with a little vinegar or other acid (citrus works great as well!).
      Second: I find worst is faience ware (look it up on wikipedia), that’s a ceramic glaze technic that allows brightly coloured painting (on a white ground), similar to porcelain painting. There seem to be stains after just one cup of tea!
      In my experience best is porcelain, salt glaze ceramic or any glazed ceramic that looks and feels like glass on the surface (as opposed to as if there was paint on it) or glass of course, but I like my tea better from a ceramic cup.

      • Thanks Sanna,
        I will look into getting him his own cup. Honestly, the tea has made a mess of my cups, I am now wondering what the hell is it doing to his stomach lining hahaha!! 🙂 🙂 🙂