Thursday, August 18, 2016


So many days....

Simplifying down to what you really need is the key to long term adventures. Last fall we spent 98 days tent caMping around the country, in a PriUs. With 5 people that left little space for stuff. We also needed winterjackets and sleeping bags.

After a few sketchy situations and a few months at home we decided to head back out on the road again. With a few changes. In order to be able to go to many places we could Not the first time we opted for a 4×4 truck-unfortunately this also decimated our fuel economy. We then added a camper with a locking door and roof. We continued to cart around our tent. And even added a small kids tent to our collection(used as a place holder for our campsites).

While the new setup adds more stuff to our inventory, it also simplifies our lives by giving Us shelter while not havingto set up a tent every night and a place to cook without setting up the Camp stove. No longer dowe worryabout having to pack a wet tent. And we can sleep at a rest stop in a pinch.

We don't carry much more in the way of clothes or toys. There is almost no storage.And in Order to have space to sleep 5 it's necessary to live sparely. We do have 2 boxes of educational books for the kids, which is a luxury.

Each child has1 drawer, about 12×18X8 in.In this they fit 2 pairs of pants, 2 Non-cotton t-shirts, l cotton +-shirt 8 prs. of underwear, 3 prs of hiking socks, 3prs cotton socks and 1 longs leeve shirt. In other locations they keep 1 fleece, 1 down sweater, rain jacket, rain" pants, pjs flip flops, bathing suit sneakes, and hiking boots. All of our shoes are the biggest storage issue~ and food. We are alwaus moving these around!

And while we are comfortable with these comparatively few items, we are Comforted knowing it's a choice and all of our stuff is at home. Last time we were home we purged a huge amount of stuff (I do regret not being able to sell more of it, but that was not working, more and more was accumulating). I am hoping to shed more stuff when we get home and realize were any don't need it. I know that when i clean out the camper if will find plenty of stow aways that should never have been carted around for all of these miles!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

How Much Makes You Happy

What makes you happy?  That is the question of the day.  You know the whole Mari Kondo question of what sparks joy.

Well roller blades seem to bring the family quite a bit of joy when we are using them and not spending our time sorting through things.  So I think we can keep them, right? Not so fast.

Now let me see, there are  5 of us in this family.  Yes, there are 12 pairs of roller blades....let's do some math here....

There may be some things in life where some is good and more is even better.  Maybe oxygen and money?  Studies have shown that an increase in income increases happiness, up to a point!  I know, if you are like me you are rolling your eyeballs, and wondering how there could ever be too much money. And while I am not there personally, I have witnessed enough media to think I can believe this data.  All those ultra-rich people you see making seriously bad decisions, and you end up thinking, 'well at least i don't have that going on".  

Rollerblade are not like this, I don't use them up, so it's good to have more in reserve, and personally I find wearing more than one pair at a time impossible.  I have to admit, i do have both roller blades and quads, and I think I might be guilty of having a 3rd pair in the pile.  Of course MY 3rd pair, can be justified by the fact that right now my son can wear it, and that it won't be long before they are adopted by my daughters as they grow.  However, one pair should be enough for everyone else ;)  That is said only slightly sarcastically.  As I am the only one with a different type, and ultimately the '3rd' pair is being reassigned to another family member, which should leave about 5 pairs of skates that no one will wear.  Owning things no one will regularly use, will congest the garage, actually decreasing my happiness.

It seems that with most things that there is a place of balance, a place of happiness, this place is called enough.

Monday, February 22, 2016

EBAY To Sell or Not to Sell a.k.a. Is it worth it?


Almost every declutter source at some point suggests selling your stuff, and most mention ebay.  Don't get me wrong, I love being able to buy stuff on ebay.  Might be looking for some random part, or in need of an item I don't want to buy new.  So it makes sense that I should participate in this market, not only as a buyer, it needs sellers to work.

And so I have posted a few items.  However, in my frustration at the rising cost of shipping, I have taken a slightly closer look at the bottom line.  That bottom line is what I take away from the arrangement. Yes, me, the one who purchased the item, took the time to list the item, and then has to deal with shipping and possibly be responsible for any shipping mishaps.

This post is spurred by my recent sale of 2 brand new pairs of shoes, unworn with tags in box that my children outgrew before wearing (long-story).  One pair of Jambu sneakers cost me about $60. My husband posted them for $15 stating he just wanted them out, he put $10 shipping. His goal was to stay under the $30 half price point.  Of course they sold with one bid for $15. I want to say that in my previous foray of ebay selling, all 10 items sold with 1 bid or 2 for a couple which means that they sold within $1 of what they started at.

So the buyer has spent $25 for a new pair of shoes that would have cost about $60 in-store or on amazon. That seems reasonable.  Now for me, on my end of things.  First, I know this is a loss, and I should purchase only from LLBean-where I could return these new items even though it has been 3 months--and I could get the size that fits. BUT I didn't, soo I eat a loss, that is a given.  The only thing to decide is whether it is worth trying to make someone else happy and make a few dollars on ebay--meanwhile these things hang around my space.

Here is the breakdown:

 $15.00      sold
 $10.00       shipping charged
 $25.00       amount charged

-$15.00      shipping costs
-$ 2.50        ebay selling fee ***they charge their fee on the selling price + shipping,
-$1.05         PayPal fee of 3% total amount charged  + $0.30
 $6.45         Amount I receive for my $60 shoes & the time I spent listing, packing, & getting to USPS

The way I see it, is that I put in probably 20 mins of time, getting shoes listed,  and then another 15 finding a box and packing, then a half hour to drive to and from the post office, and however long I stand in line (or time and resources to print label)  so, yup better off working minimum wage.
If I donate all of the shoes and rest of things that might go on ebay I can write them off for more than I will make on them, the benefits will be that I can support a charity I believe in, help the local community out, get the stuff out of the house almost immediately and save myself a lot of frustration. Honestly, if the cost of shipping were more reasonable, it could almost be fun, but the recent rate hikes in USPS just pushed it over the edge.  Another option would be to gift them to friends.  As a side note I had the same shoes on several local selling sites/apps  for over a week, before going to ebay, again, there is still the hassle of meeting up with someone to sell in person-though I try to meet at the grocery store, even so timing is not always convenient.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

American Dream - Everyone Has The Right to Own Things


So I am sitting here going through my bedside table area. Thinking that maybe having a clean room will make it easier to get up in the morning. I found an old notebook here something that I've been using the rest of the pages up just writing notes for the day, or at least I was doing this at one point before it became buried. So I'm just going through this Notebook thinking can I just toss it.  I only NEED one Notebook.  I wanted to make sure there's nothing I really needed in it. Of course one might say that it's been sitting there for probably more than a year, the content in it was either daily tasks, or my notes from high school, so I really did not NEED to go through it.

Looking through, I happen to stop on a page titled The Great Gatsby. In the middle of the page where the ink turns from black to blue, the first line there reads,

American dream everyone has the right to own things.

Well, there you have it ladies and gentlemen, we are taught in high school by the classics and our school system that we should dream of owning stuff, the title alone Great Gatsby says it all.  We need lots of stuff. Therefore I am successful and I learned it in English class.
And so the question remains what do I do with a notebook?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

States Tour

recently told that touring the country 'by myself' with my 3 kids was amazing and brave....would they have said that if my husband had done the same thing.  I did feel vulnerable on a few occasions, but I know that there are many men who would not have taken the risk of feeling vulnerable.  I am lucky that while sometimes there are some people in our society who might see a woman alone with children as "easy prey" ( and let me tell you, maybe the look in my eyes, told any would-be predators not to mess with me or mine, but they would have regretted that choice)...I am lucky, that I am comfortable knowing that I am least as comfortable as one can be knowing that crossing the road, you could be hit by lightning....I am lucky that I chose to take the risk and live.  I am lucky that everyone i met along the way was a fellow human.

ok, but maybe they were not saying it that way.  maybe they just meant it was amazing, and it was. And that it was brave, it was that too!  I had to take the kids out of school, and spend EVERY MINUTE with them--well, I did let them go into the bathroom alone....most of the time....while I waited outside the door ;)  We drove 22,000 miles in less than 3 months, with 3 kids in the backseat of a PRIUS  = COZY.  Interestingly there has been more bickering and bad attitudes since we have returned to normal life--well, mostly, we are still homeschooling.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What Is It Worth To Me

As I go through my things I often think about how much I paid, or how badly I wanted it, or how long I waited for it.  And I have a house full of things that I really wanted, paid a lot for, were gifts, were treasures.  The question I need to  ask myself in the here and now is this,
"What is it worth to me?


Is it worth the space it takes up? Would I rather have this item than the space?  When did I use it last and when will I use or appreciate it next?  If I have not used it in over a year, perhaps the space is worth more than the object.  If i don't think I will use it in the next year, do I REALLY love it?  do I see it regularly and think how happy it makes me to see it?  If the answer is can probably go.  If I am still feeling that i have paid too much for it to let it go, I ask myself how much could I get for it if I sold it?  How much would it cost me to replace it?  If it is less than $20 value and i have not used and do not see myself using it in imminent future, it is a strong candidate to leave.

Sometimes the intermediate box step is least in my mind.  I have found that it takes real energy to make decisions.  And if I spend too long on a decision I use up all of my decision energy.  In order to get the most done, I will sometimes relegate an item to the purgatory box.  It can sit here until I decide that, "oh wait, I do want that", or "huh!  that has been in there a long time, guess I can let it go" happens with less effort.

Mostly purgatory is the bag that I accumulate "Get Rid of Its" in at the end of my garage,  In the 10+ years that I have been doing this only 2 items have been removed. Once its in there it is generally too much work to pull it out even if i think i might want it, i find that something else will do the job, and the whole bag just gets donated.  The 2 items were a tea pot and candle.  The tea pot, because i realized it made sense to brew the whole pot, and then just pour as I like, and this saved tea and energy.  And the candle was in the same bag, and the kids decided the night before they wanted to have candles every night for dinner the night before i grabbed the teapot. Clearly, had I not wanted the tea pot, the candle would have been donated--and guess what we have not followed through on candle use, but I have almost daily used a tea pot the previously i had never used.

There is another purgatory stage sometimes though.  Things that might cost more to replace would be put in a box with other similar items and stored away for a while to be revisited after long periods of not be used, and hence possibly donated.  For instance, I recently bought a fancy food processor, so it was easy to ditch the mini food processor.  Harder was the antique ricer with the wood mallet i have been using regularly for years--what if we lost power!  Same goes for the mandolin ordered from Germany, these are in a box tucked into the end of the attic.  I know that I have no intention of using them as long as i have the fancy food processor but they are wonderful simple tools I am anxious to part with.  I am going to give myself a break, taking them out of prime real estate,  I can keep them as long as I have enough storage space.  At the point that space is full, I will have to start letting go of that which is worth the least to me. Right now though, I am able to not let it keep me from making other decisions, just because I am stuck on that one.  These items are often easier to part with if I find them a good home with someone I know needs it.

Another item that has been in purgatory for a while is the skein winder above.  I know it needs to go, as I am not using it, and I have No place to keep it. I am ready to see it leave. If I had a huge farmas I am not using it, and I have No place to keep it. I am ready to see it leave. If I had a huge farm house, it would stay, but I don't.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I can go 3 Months without Washing My Underwear....

For clarification: I can go 3 months without washing my underwear AND wear clean underwear EVERYDAY!  And that is AFTER having removed 53 pairs!!!!

Maybe no one will get this , or maybe it will really help somebody get started . Sometimes I just need a small manageable project that will make me feel good so here's what I did today . Here's the question how much underwear, how many pairs, do we really need? I figured that when it's difficult to shut the underwear drawer it is time to sort through it and declutter.
So we probably need at least seven pairs. And you probably want to have 7 pairs that are best pairs for you know that time of the month. However upon counting:
I have eight pairs of underwear in my drawer that don't even belong to me.
Yes that's right 27 pairs that only deserved to be in the trash can.
10 pairs that I really haven't worn, these will get donated.
So far that was 45 pairs of underwear I'm not using taking up space in my draw.
Also have one pair of underwear that I hadn't been wearing because I bought it new, love it, washed it at a hotel and it turned dingy gray. those are being soaked right now, if the gray doesn't  come out I'll toss them in the bin.
Turns out I put 48 pair of underwear in my love it keep it then bin. I'm thinking I probably don't even need this many pairs of underwear. Meaning that really I should be able to Chuck everything in my middle, maybe keep box. I won't do this today because, I don't want to burn my decision making power out, I'm on a roll.
Pairs that made it through  a second sorting to the maybe bin. 
More pairs getting tossed, as I was putting them into purgatory I decided they really didn't make the cut.
These are my criteria for throwing something away. These are  the easy to toss items, they don't fit well, they are well used and don't look good anymore, I've never worn them, or they are not comfortable.
DEFINITELY KEEP (this time) :
So the things that I put my definitely keep box were the things that when I picked them up I said, "this is something that I've worn recently, know that I like and fit well. It was in good condition and I know I would wear it again soon without hesitation.
As this was the first cut and I did not want to slow myself down, I gave myself the middle zone. I put items in this is one that I thought these are useful, and I remember really liking , are in good shape, and I probably paid too much for. This box will go in the front of the draw and I will use only these for the next few weeks. If I pick something up in the morning and I think I don't like that because _____,you fill in the blank, then I will get rid of it. However, if I wear it and like it it can stay, if at the end of the day they were uncomfortable it is out. Since starting to clear out, I have been known to actually take something off mid day and get rid of it.
All that said, I highly doubt that I actually need 89 pairs of underwear! So obviously I have a long ways to go. However by being easy on myself I now have a lot more room in my drawer. & I am NOT stressed out rather I am elated. Even knowing there's more to go I cannot work at it slowly, or do this again on another day when I'm motivated. Now if I just said its only reasonable to have seven pairs for that time, and maybe 14 pairs for all the time, I would probably stress myself out and be unable to make any more decisions.
And I got rid of an amazing 53 pairs of underwear. As ridiculous as I feel writing this, I bet I'm not alone in this.