Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fifty Things: the journey begins

I have been reading Throw out fifty things : clear the clutter, find your life by Gail Blanke. It challenges you to take a hard look at the clutter in your life, both mental and physical, and assess if it hinders or helps you. I've decided take up the challenge and blog about it.

It's not a big stretch. Over the last year I have been attempting to pare down our clutter and simplify things overall. I cleaned out a lot. Donated a bunch. Even had a tag sale. But there is still so much to do. I figure by documenting what goes, I'll have a tangble way to see my progress. When you have so much to toss out, it often feels like you aren't getting anywhere, when you are. It's just like knitting (see it all comes back to the knitting). There are times you knit and knit and knit and the project doesn't seem to be getting any bigger. I've adopted the tip of placing a marker where I start for the session so I can actually see how many rows I've knit, even if it feels like it's all going into a black hole somewhere. I'm hoping blogging about it will do the same. And maybe some others will join in.

About the book itself...I borrowed it from the library. I suggest you do the same. Some people might find it worth the money but honestly aside from the initial premise in the first chapter, I found most of it fluff and not very instructive. Much of the book is anecdotes and chatter about going through and tossing things. That might inspire some people, but not something that keeps me hooked beyond the first read. What really hooked me was the idea of a challenge with a definitive goal. "Decluttering" or "simplifying your life" can get to vague and overwhelming, but "throw out 50 (or 10 or 110) things" is a solid task. No question on what to do.

The basic idea of Fifty Things is to throw out 50 things over a two week period. Things that weigh you down and don't fit your life and the person you are hold you back and need to go. The items can be tossed, donated, sold, recycled....whatever. Just get them out of your life. Similar items count as one item. Therefore 75 magazines are one item. I won't give away the secret sauce of her rules (read the book) here, but it was enough to give me a push.

And with that in mind I did something I did something amazing and frightening and almost unheard of this weekend. I attacked my stash.

This was my yarn stash. (We won't discuss the fabric at the moment)

I set up several piles. One bin is what I am keeping. One bin is what I think is worth trying to sell on it's own. The third is for a person whom I found on Craigslist who wants all and any yarn and will pay for it. To her will go the lot of odds and ends and 'old lady yarn' I've inherited over the years.

I hit a snag in the process though. One in the form of a tangle that has taken up several hours of my life. I should probably just throw the whole thing out but there is some yarn in it worth keeping. I might just toss the rest tonight when I have the last bit extracted.

Before I waded into this quagmire, I tacked the box of jewelery from my husband's grandmother who passed away last year. I have a rather large collection of costume jewelery from my own grandmothers and great aunts. I decided to start documenting who the pieces belong to for future generations. Some of it will be saved for when my daughter is a tad more responsible, some will go into the dress up collection and some into collection of pieces that I wear.
Here are a few of my favorite items:

 I love the shiny.

 I love the dancers on each link.

 This pretty item had a lovely surprise inside....

 a beautiful gilt fan. If you look closely you can see that the flowers are tarnishing a touch on the folds where the are exposed. I'd love to display this but fear further tarnish.

I had hopes for the jewelery box that much of it had been kept in. It wasn't anything lavish. Just a basic inexpensive jewelery box, but it would be perfect to put on Little Miss's dresser and safe-keep the few items she does wear. But alas, too much time in storage meant that it acquired a musty odor that I just wasn't comfortable with. Frankly my throat was bothering me through the project and most of the evening. Out it went.

For now the jewelery was wrapped and packed away until I have homes for each category. (My own jewelery box is bursting after the death of my own grandmother).

Tossed this time:
  • 1 jewelery box
  • several broken pieces and odd earring backs
  • several rusty corsage pins
Fifty Things Total: 3

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