Saturday, February 14, 2015

Get Rid of It

When Mark and I moved to key west almost two years ago we got rid of a lot of stuff.  I mean a lot.  I would go to Goodwill with my trunk stuffed and they would pull up an empty commercial sized rolling laundry bin and fill it.  I thought we couldn't get rid of anything more.

Some how this looked "organized" to me back then.

When we moved to Key West, we realized that our 470sq. ft. apt was still crowded with all of our stuff in it.  We put some unneeded items like heavy bedding and clothes and books we wanted to keep in our small attic but still got rid of more.
This was after getting rid of "more".
 When our first tropical winter taught us that storing things too tightly meant that they would grow mold.  I got rid of a few more things.

When we decided to move back to Ohio I got the urge to purge and still got rid of more things.  It was simply easier than packing it all.
Starting to pack up.

Now back in Ohio, in the same apartment* we had been living in prior to the move, I am getting rid of more stuff.  Even with bags and heaps and loads less than we had while living here the first time - I just want to have less.

Each of the times I really made an effort to purge, once the offending goods were out of the house, I was always struck with "Wow, we totally didn't need all that stuff!  Look how much nicer and more comfortable the place is without all that! I should have done this ages ago.  I wasted so much time trying to clean and organize crap."  When I think back and know that some of the stresses of living in Key West were caused by living in a tiny cramped space it really saddens my heart to know that some of it could have been alleviated simply by getting rid of crap.  Yep, I really feel like my emotions could have be lighter and my relationships healthier just by getting rid of cloths I didn't wear and things I didn't need or really even like.  I have guilty feelings over it and I believe that is what is currently driving my need to decimate the pile of stuff under which I live.

I am capitalizing on my guilt.  I am not naturally minimalist.  Even my very first paychecks at 15 and 16 went to buying clothes, more clothes and home decor type items.  My bedroom was never clean.  It physically couldn't be because it literally wasn't big enough to hold all of my things.  If all of my clothes were clean I couldn't put them all away.  There was simply no room.  There is so much in my life that I want and need room for that I will not let it be squeezed out by stuff.

My thoughts and methods are as follows:

I downloaded the eBook for free using my library card and read it in my browser in just an hour or two.  I liked the stories of her childhood the author uses to describe her methods and the acknowledgment that even though it is silly to some, to many of us, our stuff is not merely stuff.  Our stuff has become friendly with us - it is part of our story.  I do feel that way and so thanking my old socks for years of use before tossing them didn't really feel that silly.  It actually felt kind of nice. Using the KonMari method described in the book was helpful.  I especially have taken the advice on folding.  I have always folded the usual shirts and pants, but socks.  I didn't have anything to lose and one frenzied evening I folded my socks.  I love the way my sock drawer looks.  My little socks are now my little foot soldiers resting comfortably and orderly in their bunks until called up to duty.  I actually now find a bit of excitement when I place a bunch of freshly washed socks back in line to await their next outing.  This has inspired me to attempt the last thing I though I would ever do - fold my underwear.  I expect great things from it.  I also agree with the authors thought that you don't need more storage space - your home already has the perfect amount.  When you are truly honest about what you want and what you don't you will be amazed that your socks now fit perfectly into your sock drawer and your t shirts now fill perfectly your t shirt drawer.  Try it and you too will believe it.

The new magic of my sock drawer.

Keep What You Want

This is another method or frame of thought I have been employing. Think about what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of.  I had about two shelves full of books and I wanted to just have one shelf for my books.  So I put all the books on the floor and first took the ones I absolutely wanted and put them on the shelf. The ones that didn't make the shelf immediately went into two piles: the  books waiting to be read fit into the "read it next then get rid of it" pile and the rest went to the pile for selling at Half-Priced books.  And you know what? I had a few more than would fit on one shelf when I added the "to be gotten rid of after reading pile" but, as mentioned above, the one shelf was the perfect amount of space for the books I really wanted to keep in my "stash", even allowing for a book or two to be added in the future.**

If I Died..., If Pompeii happens here tomorrow...

If some future family member or archeologist were to come across my personal collection of things someday in the distant future long after I'm gone - what story would my stuff tell.  Would it be a confusing and jumbled story where they never really get a clear picture of who I am?  This thought makes me very sad. I certainly don't want my stuff to define me - but hell, I certainly get to define my stuff.  Using the example above, I now look at my one shelf of books and think, "Yeah, I like this little vignette of myself."

Do you know how much stuff you have?  I've already gone through my closet about five times and each time I find more that I can get rid of.  I'm getting over keeping things because I "should"*** - I'm now keeping things because I want to.


* Not the literal "exact same", but the same building - just a floor below.  The layout and size are the same just flipped in reverse as now we are on the north side of the building as opposed to the south side. We were happy to be back in a place where our couch fits so amazingly.
** I do have a stack of about 5 books that I "need" as related to work so they were not counted in this experiment.  I now hope to find a place at the office to stash these.  Also, I have a small space set aside in the kitchen for my cookbooks.  I kept only the three that I really use and got rid of the rest - the internet has all of the recipes you can ever need.
*** "Should" items are often things that are high quality, still in good condition and not terrible.  I have, make that had, a lot of should clothes.  Nice clothes I had purchased and even still like but every time I go to wear I get a feeling of "Ummm...meh".  Just because it's a beautiful shirt and you get compliments wearing it doesn't mean you should keep it if you don't feel good wearing it.  I find "should" clothes are easier to get rid of if you have a friend or family member that would like them. Or find a cause or charity you feel good donating your nicer things to - donating to a women's shelter or church group in a challenged neighborhood lets you know that your nice things will be given to someone who truly deserves them but might not otherwise get them.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Fashion Trends: Get thee to the Stables

Do you ever get tired of your yoga pants, tights or leggings getting all worn out around the inner back side of your knees?

Neither do I. Though that fact does not stop me from making this very important public service announcement.
File:NBC's The More You Know.jpg

Ladies, the reign of the YOGA PANT is ending.

The "sexy" sweat is long gone.

Even the high end athletic tight is on it's way out (Though I still get a thrill wearing my array of Nike Legend 2.0 Tights 's)

"But how will we look comfy yet fashionable?" you ask.  My answer is as simple as two words.

Photo borrowed from

Yep, riding breeches. It is the time for equestrian fashion to become mainstream.

You see, my life changed this weekend when I hit up the Valley Thrift and found a pair of Kerrits riding breeches.  I almost put them back because of their ultra expensive $4.99 price tag (c'mon, its the Valley Thrift, I only paid $.99 for my pair of Lululemon Groove pants - for which I'm glad because I don't care for them) but as soon as I slipped into the breeches I was in love. Why?

Thicker, quality stretch fabric.  Not your typical cotton/spandex mix of a typical thin yoga pant.

Great details.  Not only do they have suede knee patches but many of the styles have pockets and BELTLOOPS.  Try to get that from your sad athletic tights - without beltloops they are destined to stay "athletic" forever.  The belt loops give them the opportunity to go from comfy around-the-barn around-the-house pant to something that can be worn to work. Remember these? Great but their pockets aren't even functional!  Long live riding breeches!

Cool name.  Do I need to say it again?  Riding breeches.

Try them.  You will love them. When I see you walking down the street I will know that you did not just come from a brisk morning at the stables where you board your beautiful steed Shadow next to my lovely mare Whisper, because none of that is real - but dammit, we will look good and feel better.

This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, February 2, 2015

5 Sexy Ways to Save the Environment

Yep, that's right. FIVE Sexy Ways to Save the Environment.

A few months back Mark and I loaded up a truck and moved from Key West back to Cincinnati.  It was exciting and sad, happy and bittersweet all at the same time.

Since leaving my job in Key West at the end of October I had been taking it easy here knowing that I would be starting a new job in January.  I had money saved but after Christmas and car buying and my start date being pushed back to January 15th and then the 22nd I was starting to get that scary feeling of "Woah!  It's going to be a while before I get another paycheck." So I sent some Googles into the interweb to see if there were ways to make a few extra bucks from home while I waited to start my job.  I checked out usual job sites like Craigslist and Indeed, and less usual sites like Mr.Money Mustache and the Something Awful forums and it seems that there are a few legit ways to make money from your home computer that don't require you to become a famous blogger or Youtube star.  Turns out you can make a decent score transcribing audio and video files for various companies or you can be a writer.  I'm not the best typist so I figured I'd have to work on my transcribing skills but writing - while certainly not anything I would ever have chosen as a career - I could do.  Maybe not great but hey, I took AP English in high school, wrote some papers in college, wrote a few articles for work and well shoot, I write this darn blog.  As in most things experience is worth a lot so I figure I'll self publish here for a while until my new career really takes off.

The best job posting I found was looking for women to become content writers for a "Woman's Authority" blog called Ladies Life. This excerpt from the listing told me all I needed to know before jumping in...
"The ideal candidate will be familiar with creating excellent headlines, titles, and engaging content. Examples include:
Get Jessica Simpson's Toned Legs in a Month
5 Lies About Vitamins That will Make You Think Twice Before Taking Them
Online Coaches: Will These Women Forge a New Leadership Path?
A Behind the Scenes Look at What it Takes to Film a YouTube Video
A Little Known Technique to Teach Your Kids How to Care for Pets"
Wow! Bet you can't wait to read that article on Jessica Simpson's legs once the site launches!  But in the meantime I'll just be stuck with my excellent titles and engaging content.

5 Sexy Ways to Save the Environment

1. Be Tasty
Using baking soda and vinegar to wash your hair? Staying fresh with cornstarch and coconut oil deodorant? Lathering your freshly washed, still wet body in olive oil to keep your skin soft and dare I say, moist?  Swapping out your chemical laden body care products that endanger water supplies for these eco friendly options gives you the right to brag about being "Totally Edible".

2.Stay Clean With Friends
A reminder of the classic eco tenement Save Water, Shower Together. Find the sexy man or woman in your life or even a fun loving roommate and get clean while getting dirty.  This can help you save on water and soap and forever eliminate the fight over who gets to use the shower first in the morning.

3.Turn Down for What
Turning of the lights for a little kiss and cuddle can reduce stress on the power grid and give your brain a workout.  Yep, did you know that your brain is equipped with neurons that help you keep track of the position of your partner's head in relation to your own even when the lights go out?
So next time you flip the switch make sure you challenge your partner to a game of hide and seek.

4.  Be Free
...of underpants.  Not only are undies often made of chemical and water-hogging cotton covered in chemical dyes but after you wear them they always have to be washed.  So next time you are sliding on your spandex for that hot yoga class think "well I'm going to have to wash these pants anyway so no need to have to wash my panties too" so ditch them (and butt saddening panty lines) and get a new thrill from even the most mundane downward dogs and happy babies.  Oh, and sleep naked, this is a must.

5. Be a Biker Babe
No, I'm not saying to you should strap on leather chaps (or even vegan pleather ones).  I'm saying that as often as you can ditch your car for a bike, you should.  While you are focused on reducing your carbon emissions, lowering your gas bill and learning the ins and outs of riding your favorite routes your butt will be making its own magical journey from OK to AWESOME.  Everyone loves a nice butt.