Procrastination

Procrastination… to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done- as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary.

To stop procrastinating ranks at the top of my list of New Year’s resolutions each year!!  Mostly I procrastinate on projects that I find annoying or intimidating.

Once such project was putting up pantry shelves in my closet.  I remodeled my kitchen and decided to use a coat closet for my pantry.  Before any remodeling got started, I thought, I’ll  put up those shelves and have at least one project done.  Well, that was about 1 year ago, the shelves were put up this past weekend.

The project was easy.  I had already spent the time to plan what I needed to purchase, what tools were needed, and what type of shelving I wanted.  I had even researched about different types of shelving to make sure I got the right type.

Not including my research and several trips to the store to look at shelving, the project took around 30 minutes.  I finally made the decision to get the shelving done when I wanted to do some cooking for Thanksgiving.

I called my daughter to come over for moral support.  Actually, she ended up doing most of the work.

I had the closet ready to go.

First, we planned where to start the horizontal bar.  Then, she marked the screw holes and then drilled the holes for the screws. She had a electric screwdriver which made the job a lot easier.  My closet has wood walls, so finding the studs wasn’t an issue.

Second, she placed the verticle tracks, marked the holes, drilled, screwed in the screws, and it was done!!!!!

All I had to do was to put in the arms to hold the shelves and stock it.

Stocked and ready to go.

In that case, not procrastinating would have made my life easier, I spent a lot of time looking at my “stuff” and wishing I had the pantry done so I could put it away.  The anxiety that I spent not having the shelves was worse than the job to put up the shelves.

In some cases, procrastination has been a good thing. I procrastinated on getting rid of the closet shelving from my bedroom closet.  Turned out that the shelves were the perfect size for the pantry.  What a deal!!  Now I didn’t have to spend more money, repurposed what I had, and didn’t have to go to the store and have shelves cut to fit.  In this case, I was happy to procrastinate!

Maybe I like to call myself a thinker rather than a procrastinator!!

What projects have your procrastinated on???

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Reverse 100 Items Challenge

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I have decided to take the Reverse 100 Items Challenge as proposed on the Be More with Less blog.  The idea is to get rid of 100 items by December 15th, 2012.  Since I have been remodeling this was an easy task for me. My new look is to be minimalistic,  so I have been purging for sometime.  I had packed up everything to have my floors refinished 9 months ago so now I am in the process of unpacking and placing it.  This is a great time for more purging.

Most of the obvious clutter was donated when I had to pack up everything to get my floors done.  Now, it’s down to the “hard to part with stuff”.  Stuff I’ve had a long time, gifts, and memory inducing items.

As I worked, I was getting frustrated at what to do with the items.  I thought, these items are costing me an entire weekend of my precious time, causing frustration of where to put them, and a loss of how much I could sell them for, or better yet, a loss of money for a charity.

I was able to come up with many items that I was willing to part, over 100 is my guess,  I wasn’t sure if a set of china is one set or thirty pieces??  No matter, I’m well over 100 either way.

100 items and counting……….

As I collected the items into one space for the picture, I realized at how much space it all took, my house is small, so all space is cherished. One small closet only contained vintage clothing which I am donating. That space is now a kitchen pantry.

It took me about a week to figure out the best home for the items.  Most of it went to New Leash on Life Thrift and Architectural Salvage.  It is a store that donates all of the profits to the local animal shelter.  I like to support animal shelters because one, I love animals and two, I feel they get the least attention as far as charities go.

Purging gives a euphoria, I feel so much better right after I drop it off.  Whew…….that is done, now I have space!!

I have found that it is hard to store items. No matter how carefully done, the item never retains it’s state. It will deteriorate so why not let it go while still useable??

This is a great challenge and motivator to get rid of clutter.  I only wish I had gotten rid of more before I remodeled, the cost of keeping it has been a lot of my time and energy better spent elsewhere.

Lunch with Josie

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I spent all summer working on my house painting, cleaning, de-cluttering.  I had all of my hardwood floors refinished, so I had to move everything I own out!! This was my opportunity to get everything it top shape while the house we clear.

Since “all items” included all of my appliances and kitchen wares, it was hard to prepare meals.  Mostly, I ate prepared foods or sometimes, just skipped it.

One Saturday I got up and started right in on painting.  Around 3ish, I was really hungry.  I thought, what could I get that would be good, that would last for at least 2 meals and not have to be heated or refrigerated.  The answer:  PIZZA!! Loaded with carbs pizza!!

My veggie pizza!!

I called and ordered it.  I looked like a mess when I picked it up with paint in my hair and all over my clothing, but I was hungry!!

After arriving home, I put the pizza down on the dresser that was stored in the garage.  My orange kitty, Josie,  was there to greet me, I told her, let’s have lunch.  She seemed pleased.

I went and opened an Ale-8-1, a local drink, and opened up the pizza box.  Josie jumped up on the vanity next to the dresser so I spread some of her kibble onto the vanity, she likes to eat this way.  Since she is now 16, Josie gets what Josie wants.

Josie contemplating her kibble

She smelled the kibble, but the smell of that pizza was too overpowering.  She came over to smell the pizza.  I am a vegetarian, so there wasn’t any pepperoni for her. Since cats are carnivores, I felt badly.  However, she still seemed interested.  I allowed her to smell around a bit, as I mentioned, she is 16.  I pulled off some cheese for her and she was happy!!!

Smells good, but where’s the beef!!

What a nice lunch with a great friend.  My Josie came up to my mother’s house 16 years ago next month as a  stray the very day I moved into my house.  I had wanted a cat when I bought a house, so Josie was welcome.  She does great, but has arthritis as we all do as we get older.

So, if a little stray comes up needing a nice meal, you could be meeting a great friend!

Selling Items on Ebay

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A few months ago I decided to try EBAY to sell items that I no longer want. So far, I’ve sold everything that I have posted. If you already have a PayPal account it is easy to get started. EBAY guides you through everything and lets you know what the post will cost. Most of the posting can be free if you go simple and then you pay a percentage of the total sale including the postage. There is also a PayPal fee on top of that. Keep the fees in mind when you are pricing.

The items I choose for EBAY are items that are easy to mail and desirable. Most things I want to eliminate from my home, I donate. Occasionally, I want to get back some of the money that I spent on some of my things. If you would rather donate, you can still do that by selling.  There is a place where you can donate part of the profit to an organization of your choice. Charities often need money more than the thrift items they receive. My charity choices are typically animal rescues. Some of the small or rural areas don’t get much in the form of support and can really use the funds.

I started out with my first auctions for $0.99 cents, I was given this advice so I tried it. My experience is that if it’s an item that will get a lot of attention, it is worth doing, but if it’s an item that might only get one or two bids, it’s not a good idea. I typically only sell items that I really don’t want and am not out to make a profit, I only want to re-home the item and get a little back for it. Selling serves several purposes, I eliminate some clutter, make someone else happy with a great deal, help out a charity, and give the USPS, EBAY, and PayPal some business. It is a win win!!

Now, I start my bids at a little less than I would like to get for the item and that has worked best for me. Typically, you can see how many “watchers” there are on an item and know that you will get at least one bid if you get at least a couple of them.

Typically, I will post only about 4 items at one time. I like to post on Wednesdays and let the auction run for 7 days. This way you get the bored office workers during the week and then the weekend shoppers. It also gives a couple of days for them to pay before the weekend so that shipping if faster.

Postage can be tricky, sometimes it can be surprising at how much it costs. After getting a little experience, it becomes easier. I usually end up paying more for the postage than I charge. Sometimes, it works out about at the right amount. Since they charge by distance, it is hard to get it down to an exact science. If you choose priority, it will be one price, but it is usually a little higher fee. Sometimes, I will send that way because at times it is about the same price and it does move faster.

Taking a nice picture typically helps. You can post several pictures, but I usually only do one because it is free. If someone wants additional information or pictures, (s)he can email you and then you can send it.

My descriptions are detailed, I like to make sure the person knows all about the item. If there is a flaw, no matter how slight, I note it. Getting bad feedback can kill your EBAY sales.  If you have more than one auction, this is a good place to mention them, especially if they are similar type items.

So far, I have had a wonderful experience with EBAY selling. It is fun to watch the items and the bidding.

What advice/experiences you have had with EBAY?

Questions to Ask Before We Buy

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I want to be a minimalist, so I spend a lot of time rummaging through my “stuff” to see what I can part with.  Each time I go through a box, I usually eliminate a few items.  My daughter asks me why don’t I just get rid of the whole box now, after all, I only look at the “stuff” when I feel a need to de-clutter.  The answer…. it is too painful to let go all at once!!  I know it doesn’t make sense, but isn’t that the way it goes?

Not only does minimalism include de-cluttering, but mainly it is a lifestyle and thought process.  We need to detach from “stuff” and focus our energy on experiences that are worthwhile in life.  We don’t need to fill our lives with a bunch of knick knacks, electronics, furniture, etc that we have to pay for and maintain.  So, one must get to a point where there is no more de-cluttering.  Only buy when something needs to be replaced or what is truly necessary.

I love having open space and room to breath in my home.  Being a minimalist includes being cautious of what is brought into one’s life.  It is so fun to go to a sale and buy, buy, buy, after all, it’s cheap and I can use it.  Then, comes the reality, did I really need this?,  the tags are still on it.  Now, I have to store it….. my drawers, walls, and shelves are already full.  If I decide to dispose of it, I have to make an effort to find somewhere for the item to go. More of my time spent on this item.

Since I struggle somewhat on becoming a minimalist, I have accumulated a list of what I keep in mind when contemplating a purchase and to keep my minimalism intact.

1.  Is this necessary?

2.  Do I love it?

3.  What else am I giving up?

4.  Where will it go?

5.  Will something else work?

6.  Will this get me to my goal?

7.  What is the total cost?

8.  Am I buying what I need or for my fantasy life?

9.  Am I willing to fill my immediate wants and compromise my long-term goals?

10. Is this the best decision?

11. What will I gain/lose from this purchase?

I know that this is a lot to think about with every purchase, but mainly just think of what the consequenses are of the purchase.  Do I really need it, this is the main question.  If I just want it because it’s cute, I like it, this is neat/cool, then most likely I don’t need it.  I like a lot of things and I can’t buy them all.

Minimalism is not only cleaning out of what you already have, it is maintaining that lifestyle.  It is difficult in our society when buying and having seem to defines one’s life.

Personally, I would rather put my energy into meaningful activities and spend less time shopping and maintaining “stuff”!!

New Hobby…..Sewing

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I have always wanted to learn to sew and admired people that can.  Why haven’t I started sewing?  Lazy!! Lack of knowledge, fear of failure, having to actually think!  Most likely all of these, plus a few more that I can’t think of at the moment.  If I had been sewing in all of the time I have spent considering it, I would be making clothes for royalty by now.

I sewed in 4-H when I was a kid, if I had stayed with it, think of how good I would be, but no, I spent a good deal of my time reading rock magazines that I am now selling of Etsy!  That was a great investment of my time—NOT.

I did take a sewing class along with my daughter a few years ago, but for some reason, couldn’t really catch on, it seemed that I spent most of my time asking my daughter, “what are we doing?”, “what did she say?”!!  The structure of the class might not have been condusive to a complete novice.  I’ll think that anyway.

I love going into fabric stores and seeing all of the beautiful fabrics and dream about the beautiful projects I could make with it.  I rummage through Etsy pages, sewing blogs, etc. and wish that I could make these beautiful items, sell them, and make a living while having fun being creative and running my own business.  But no, I sit here in my office everyday wishing and wishing, looking and looking. Then, I go home, channel surf from boredom, and not sewing.

I finally saw an advertisment for a sewing class at a local fabric store within a 10 minute walk from my house!! What am I waiting for?  This is it, my opportunity to learn a skill that I have always wanted.  Maybe a class would give me motivation.  It’s close so I don’t have a lot of excuses not to go.

I signed up, waited, but there was not enough interest so the class was cancelled.  Ugghhh!!  My luck…..but, another class was to be offered in a couple of months.  Patiently I waited, signed up again, yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, enough people, the class will happen.  The class was 2 nights per week for 3 hours per night for a total of 5 classes or 15 hours of instruction.  Not too expensive at $109.00, so I’m there.

I read to be an expert at something you must do it for about 10,000 hours.  At my age, I’ll never be an expert at sewing or anything else for that matter because physically I probably won’t be able to do anything long enough to get that many hours.  Oh well, maybe I’ll be good enough to put together a few projects of my own before my body rebels.

The class curriculum consists of all levels, projects.  We can bring in our own projects and get individual instruction.   There is a minimum of 3 for the class and about 6 max.  A pretty good ratio for teacher/student.

Since I am on a mininalist click and decluttering, I found 5 brand new pairs of pants that needed to be hemmed. These would be my project.  I figured it would be enough to get me through the class course.

These pants were in my pile of discard or fix items.  I have had these pants for 1-2 years and actually needed to add them to my wardrobe. The pants I had been wearing were faded and worn and I had 5 new pairs hanging there!!  That is really stupid.  Ok, it’s use or lose them and keep wearing the same 2 pairs of faded, worn out pants.

Actually, this was a great first time project.  No patterns to cut, practical knowledge, and hey if I get canned at work, I could always hem pants for $15 bucks a pop.

I had purchased a beginner sewing machine about 6 months prior in hopes of learning to sew on my own which never happened, but it was great having it ready to go.   The notions go 50% off a lot, so it is good to watch for the sales and get the tools that you need.

I took my 5 pairs of pants to class.  I had an assortment of pants:  1 jean, 1 denim dressy, 2 dressy, and 1 dressy with lining. This was great because I could learn several types of hems with this batch.

First, I hemmed the dressy denim pants that were just a regular type hemming.  These were the easiest.  I just turned under the edge about 1 1/2 inches, cut off the excess and sewed around the edges.  Great, one down!!

Second, the teacher, Alyssa, showed my how to hem jeans without cutting off the original jean edge, this was so awesome because let’s face it, jeans look really uncool with a turned up edge.

The third pair were wool pants with a lining.  First I hemmed the pants and then the lining. These were a little trickier since they were  nice and wanted to hem them without the stitching showing.  We hemmed these with a blind hem.  This is a wonderful hem that I never knew about. My machine had a blind hem foot which was nice because they sell for about $20 and I only paid $90 for the entire machine.

Then I hemmed the lining which was done with a regular hem, it was only difficult because the fabric was slick.  Actually, after all of the hemming, I was trying them on to see the length and decided these pants really didn’t look very well on me, so they went to the consignment pile!!  Whomever, buys them will be happy if they are 5′ 4″!!

The last 3 pairs were done with a blind hem also, they had no lining so they were all easy once I caught onto the method.

I am so happy to have 4 new pairs of pants to wear and one to sell, I wear them all of the time. I donated the 2 pair I had been wearing went to the Goodwill.  I accomplished 2 goals, uncluttered my closet and learned a skill!

I probably could have paid to have the pants altered for the cost of the class, but I have learned a new skill that was worth something. The class also offered me some sence of worth that I can do something well and it gave me motivation to keep sewing!!  Money well spent.

What hobbies would you like to do, but lack the motivation to get started??

De Cluttering

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I have been working on becoming a minimalist for some time now. It has been difficult because basically, I like “stuff”. I hate clutter and I love space,so what is a girl to do?  So, my solution is to only keep what is necessary and what I truly love.  No matter how much I like the “stuff”, when it’s constantly in your way, it’s annoying.

Recently, I have been remodeling my home.  This included having all of my hardwood floors refinished.  Well, anyone knows that means cleaning out the entire house of all items!!  If anything would make me a minimalist it’s that.  Having to move something out, store it, and move it back in really makes one wonder if an item is worth it.

Luckily for me, I have a small home and am always cautious about how much I allow to come in.  For me, one item can mean stepping over something, there isn’t much closet space in a 1953 home.  My home in 1953 was the average size home for a family of 4, now I cherish each inch of space for just one person.  That’s how much more “stuff” we all have compared to 60 years ago.

Most were amazed that I could fit a household in a one car garage.  I did have a utility room for my appliances and my bathroom was used to store lamps.  Other than that, I got it all in the garage.  Luckily, I do not use my garage for any extra storage, so it was pretty empty.

As I kept my items in the garage and then having to work around them a few times, some items were taken away.  Restore loved me that week!  They got, a set of gas logs, a firescreen, books, painting supplies, dishes, some small furniture, a microwave, and who knows what else.  I was on a roll.  Some items I realized I didn’t need since I never missed them while in the garage.  My toaster for instance,  I always thought I had to have one, they are a kitchen staple, then I realized that as few times as I toast anything, my oven worked fine.  I learned to multiuse things instead of having separate appliances.

It was easy being a minimalist as a child because I didn’t have any money and my parents did not indulge me with “stuff”.  I can remember having one winter coat, two pair of shoes, one doll, etc.  I must have survived because here I am.  I do remember one episode where my very indulged cousin called me on Christmas morning to see what I had “gotten”.  I told her my list of gifts, which only included 2 items and then she replied, “Is that all”?.  I had been pretty happy with my two items until she said that.  Then I felt deprived as she began to tell me her long list of gifts.  Did I play with my two items — yes.  Did she play with her bountiful amount of gifts – most likely not.  So why did it matter if she got 20 or 2 gifts, she probably only used 2.

Most of us can do with way less than we have, it’s hard to adjust to a minimal lifestyle when we are flooded with a constant flow of media telling us we need to indulge and how good it feels.

I have way less than I did before remodeling.  My closet had all of the racks piled with stuff, when I painted that closet I decided to take them down. When I replaced the racks, I went back with the original 1953 galvanized bar for hanging items and a flat board for the shelf.  Everything fits just fine.  I can see everything and it look so neat and organized.  I feel so much better than having racks full of clutter.

I’ve concluded that if an item is not needed or loved, then I will let it go.