Minimalism – First Steps and a Plan


In light of starting paleo/primal, it seemed natural to start in the pantry, with food, so my good friend helped me tackle that first.  We had so much to get rid of–rice, pastas, baking mixes, canned and bottled items that aren’t paleo-friendly, etc.   My friend’s family isn’t paleo (yet!! LOL) so she was kind enough to take it all off my hands! That eliminated a lot of stress because who wants to throw out food?  I knew I didn’t but I didn’t necessarily feel like dealing with Craigslist or Freecycle either!

After the pantry, we headed to the loft, which we improved probably by about 90% (I haven’t done my “homework” yet but I will!) by plowing through a huge stack of bins I’d been piling against one wall for months.  Like I said, I never quite finished my homework on that one because I realized I was putting more clutter away in already-cluttered areas. I also haven’t been able to tackle my desk yet, for example.  This helped me realize I can no longer put off getting back on the minimalism train!  I just kept thinking, “I am SO done!” as we were going through box after box of CRAP!

I’ve decided to digitize our important papers, as another step to clear clutter.  I have a Drobo (what self-respecting professional photographer doesn’t???) for backing up image files and I’ve got nearly 4gb free!  I decided I’ll scan important papers, save them to the Drobo, back them on on Dropbox and then shred the actual papers.  I’m going to stop printing and filing receipts from paying bills online–I’ll save PDFs and put them on the Drobo.  And as new mail comes in, anything I need to save, I’ll scan as well.  This requires purchasing a $115 portable USB-powered scanner  (our 5-in-1’s scanning process is too cumbersome for large quantities) that I can keep on my desk and plug in as needed but I think it’s worth the investment.

I’m in the process of pricing out converting our old VHS and DV tape home movies to digital (saved on the Drobo and backed up to DVD) and backing up the hundreds of mini-DVDs that we’ve used in more recent years before buying a Flip.  I also need to scan family pictures which would allow me to discard all but the ones that are nice enough to put in a few albums (I need to do this with my parents’ pictures too, some day).  I may end up buying the equipment I need and doing it myself, since most reputable services charge around 40 cents a scan and $15 each for VHS and DV….way too rich for my blood!  I could probably then sell the equipment second-hand once I’m finished with it.  Getting rid of the bins and boxes of pictures and videos would be wonderful and we might actually be able to enjoy them if they were on the computer and could be edited!

So the general plan for purging goes something like this:

garage – need to purge recycling we’ve been saving (we don’t have curbside recycling service) and sweep/hose garage to prep for storing garage sale items
garage – need to purge things we’re actually storing there (we have several bins of toys, keepsakes, unused household items, etc.)

loft – my desk, another pass through my bookcase, some bins of winter clothes that got stuck there, office supplies and paperwork

little kids’ room – toys, toys and more toys need to be purged and new systems need to be implemented…for example, I know I will keep Legos and Zoobs because they are among their favorite toys, but I am no longer willing to leave these within reach since more often then not, they are taken out at innappropriate times and/or dumped all over their room or other areas of the house…from now on these items will be stored out of reach and only brought out when the other toys are put away!

big kids’ rooms – I plan on having them get rid of books they’ve already read–no more collecting series of books they won’t read again…keepsakes and knick knacks will be minimized and stored to make it easier to clean/dust their rooms as well as get rid of visual clutter.

bathrooms – we have an adbundance of make-up and toiletries we never use, too many of everything for sure…I’m using two large over-the-door organizers for my cosmetics and it’s insane….I’m sure I could part with the three hair straighteners I never use, for example.

master bedroom – it’s not bad, but I want clear surfaces for the most part, so I’ll be cleaning off my bookshelf and dresser

clothing – this is a BIG one!  everyone has too many clothes…this originally seemed like a good idea so we wouldn’t have to do laundry as often…only problem is that now we have so much laundry it takes two weeks to get it all done and by then, it’s time to start doing it again!

linens – see above…I plan on replacing some raggy towels (would rather have 4 nice ones then 12 raggy ones!) and donating some extra quilts/blankets we never use…I have been saving these quilts for sentimental reasons (they were gifts from my mom) but I need to stop storing extra quilts in space bags because the 6′ long linen closet is full AND there’s also a huge pile of needing-washed linens in the middle of my loft!

kitchen – I’m sure I have too many dishes, gadgets, etc…but this will be a tough one because everything I have was purchased because I felt like I needed it…hopefully I’ll be able to easily let go of duplicates or things I’m flat out not using.

Specific things off the top of my head that I *know* should go:

tablecloths – have about half a dozen in various colors but usually use the same white one…planning on getting rid of all but the white one, perhaps will purchase a second white one
cloth napkins – I have a bunch of partial sets, never use ’em…gone
sheets – plan to keep 3 sets per bed
blankets/quilts – 2 per bed, which means a LOT will be going bye bye
throws – will keep 3-4 since the kids use them a lot, still will have several to purge
make-up and cosmetics – oh, this will be hard but I can’t wait to clear out the space they’re taking up in my bathroom and closet – plan to keep a couple lipsticks, one foundation, one powder, 1-2 eyeshadow quads, 2-3 favorite fragrances, etc…same goes for lotions, hair creams, etc.

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