The 15th Minimize Minute

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge # 15: Tree Time

When it all gets to be too much, go spend time with a tree.

How’d it go:

I’m just starting this challenge, so I’ll recap next week. Over the Mother’s Day weekend, when I would have relished being celebrated for doing a hard and thankless job, I ended up cleaning house, cooking meals and taking care of everyone else like always. It made me grumpy, and when I couldn’t snap out it, I went for a walk in the woods. The forest floor still crackles with dried leaves, and new green shoots are just barely peeking through. I found a piece of fallen birch bark as big as a place mat, so I parked myself on it and leaned back against a cluster of birch trees, breathing, feeling and listening.

The clutter of home and life seems unmanageable at times. I’m frustrated that we have so much “stuff” and how much time and energy caring for all that “stuff” takes away from truly living. I long for simplicity and an easy-to-clean clean home. These weekly challenges are helping, but not quickly enough for my impatient mind. I do need to tackle a comprehensive de-cluttering project, but I also want to work on my impatient mind. The bugs are few, the dew hasn’t arrived, the birds are singing with spring’s gusto. This week (and hopefully beyond) will be about mind-decluttering.

I’m going to spend time with a tree; upwards of twenty minutes a day is my goal.

I remember reading somewhere that trees have a heartbeat. Some scientists have observed trees subtly moving their branches up and down during the night, which is purported to be the tree actively pumping water upwards in a slow version of a “pulse.” I’ve always felt there was silent wisdom in trees and that they’ll subtly communicate with us if we are still and patient. This week won’t be about proving that, but I will enjoy noticing the difference some quiet time with my back against a tree makes to my cluttered mind.

The 14th Minimize Minute

Spring Forward

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge # 14 Spring Forward

Very critically go through your winter gear. Pack away and label only that which you need. All the scarves, gloves and other gear that wasn’t touched or is now outgrown can be donated to a good cause.

How’d it go: Living in the North Woods seems to require a lot of gear.  Skates, snowshoes, boots with different cold ratings, snowmobiling suits, helmets, float coats for dangerous ice travel, etc. Some minimalist experts preach not to differentiate and pack items away by season, but that’s simply not possible here.

This task took over our living room for a few days but the actual work, including laundering some of the well-used coats and snow pants, only took two hours. After going through my items, I was able to get rid of one coat and many scarves, hats and several pair of old gloves. For my 5-year old, minimizing is basically just giving away what no longer fits and I don’t give her a choice. She’s sentimental already, so we did say goodbye to the snow gear she’s worn for the last two winters. “Thank you for keeping me warm,” she whispered a tad tearfully as she hugged her favorite purple coat. She had two full boxes of gear ready to go to the next little girl in our neighborhood. My guy is a saver but he also uses what he has. I couldn’t get him to part with more than a couple pairs of old gloves.

Between the adults, we had a large shopping bags full of giveaways. We also threw away many single gloves that have lost their mates over the years. I had saved them long enough; if the match turns up now it will meet the same fate.

All in all, we each have a huge 27-gallon tote packed full that will be stored until late next fall. The sorting and culling also inspired a spree of spring cleaning and I tackled our entry way in-depth that same day. It was a good task.

The 13th Minimize Minute

Sevens High

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge #13 Sevens High

Get rid of 1 thing on Monday, two on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, and so on until you’re getting rid of seven things on Sunday. It will be a grand total of 28 items. You can also play the game for a whole month, or even a year if you’re so inclined. Just get rid!

How’d it go: This was an easy way to get of a few things that probably would have sat around until I got to that specific category or closet. I can also see how it would be a good way to ease into minimizing for someone who is a saver. Once I started, I didn’t want to limit myself to the daily numbers, but I stuck to the plan and took pictures to document. It turned out to be kind of fun. I gave several of the items away to other people, some to the thrift store and some went to The Angle’s recycling center where people often “shop”. I think I’ll do this again next week too.

Monday – 1 sewing machine

Tuesday – 2 pairs of flip flops with 10-12 sets of interchangeable accessories

Wednesday – 3 winter scarves

Thursday – 4 hair brushes/combs

Friday – 5 books

Saturday – 6 DVD’s

Sunday – 7 handbags

 

The 12th Minimize Minute

Give an Experience

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge #12 Give an Experience

This week, give the gift of less clutter to someone else. The next time you have the opportunity to give a gift for a birthday, wedding, hostess, shower, etc., give the gift of an experience. Create a homemade coupon or buy a gift certificate or plan an experience and have concert tickets, for example, wrapped up with bow. But make a huge effort to not purchase “stuff.” Most people want less stuff, so offer your time, creativity or spend your money on creating a memory that will stay with the recipient for much longer than any old sale item. Continue reading “The 12th Minimize Minute”

The 11th Minimize Minute

What bugs you?

Challenge #11 Bug Be Gone

Pick something that bugs you every time you see it and resolve it.

How’d it go:

My goal with this challenge was to tackle a low-priority task that, while not critical, still bugs me every time I see it or use it. That was my only criteria, and honestly, as I looked around my home, I realized I could tackle one of these every single day and they’d still pile up. The wobbly stool, the squeaky door, the stained carpet, the dirty windows, the unpacked moving box, the unhung pictures, the loose pan handle, etc. Continue reading “The 11th Minimize Minute”

The 10th Minimize Minute

Eat That Frog

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge #10 Eat That Frog

Choose something you’ve been putting off and tackle it.

How’d it go:  Last fall, I made a family list of everything we needed to get done, and it sent me into an anxiety attack. No joke. Continue reading “The 10th Minimize Minute”

The 9th Minimize Minute

Too Many Towels

Here’s a new task to help simplify our lives and minimizing our households.

Challenge # 9 – Repurpose or get rid of excess towels.

How’d it go: My kitchen towels were overflowing from their cabinet, I had bath towels stored in three different places, and we never got to the bottom of any of the stacks before laundry day replenished it. Continue reading “The 9th Minimize Minute”