Sunday, May 22, 2005

 

Yes, straightening out finances is decluttering.

I am totally restructuring the way I'm handling my money, modest as the amount I'm working with is. Instead of going in a hole year after year and depleting my finite and ... again, modest ... "retirement" funds, I am learning to live within my means ... again.

I feel like I'm 22 years old and virtually starting out, except that I have a small "retirement" fund. When I was 22, that was the very last thing on my mind.

Ironically, I'm enjoying being conscious of what I'm doing with my money. It's actually kind of fun instead of painful. Not knowing where I stood ... now, that was painful, as well as embarrassing. For the last few years, money has been a somewhat abstract concept ... and I ended up spending more than I made ... on everyday things ... nothing noteworthy, really.

I simply can't do that anymore. What would I do with my money if I were 22?

I would invest at least 10 percent of any check I cashed or money that came my way. I wouldn't waste my money on a lot of stuff. I would do things rather than have a lot of things that I had to store or move around. I would have rather had more travel experiences than a bunch of STUFF that I now have to contend with.

I'm slowly turning stuff into money. Even if I'm not making a profit, I no longer have to deal with the item. Ah, instead of dreaming of bigger and better, I envision space, elbow room, wabi sabi, and ... well just lightness. Ah.

Of course, every once in a while there is something I just "have to have." I suppose if I took out of the house 10 times what I bring into it, I might come out ahead!

Monday, April 18, 2005

 

Update

Well, the more books I list for sale, the more I sell ... not necessarily the same ones, but it does seem to churn up the energy. I have five books to package up and mail out tomorrow. From the 1st to the 15th I sold 45 books, which was very good, I think.

I managed to do two more cupboards, one large one with double doors above, and one half size with a single door below. I have one cupboard and a drawer "calling" to me and I expect to tackle it soon.

My head is stuffed up right now, which is affecting my energy ... and my enthusiasm, but I'm ready for another spurt! It feels good to get fierce about stuff ... and to revel in its disposition. If it leaves the house, yeah!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

 

Making Progress

Even though I managed to get some cleaning done today, it seems like the tip of the iceberg ... and I'm beat. I was working on my dad's area in the living room and his bedroom. Both are improved, but far from "finished." But, it's progress.

I did manage to clean out two large cupboards the other evening that would basically be called a pantry. Two shelves in each, at least 2 1/2 feet deep and at least 4 feet wide. These cupboards are under a counter about 9-10 feet long. I'm guessing. I'm not at home right now where I can go measure. You get the idea. I decided to find out what I actually had in there, throw away anything too old and unacceptable, organize them, and make a list to pin inside the doors on each side as to what is in there. The shelves are so deep I don't like everything pushed to the back if I can help it. Things disappear in there.

I was amazed to find I had 4 cans of crushed pineapple, 2 cans of chunk pineapple, 1 can of sliced pineapple, 3 small cans of pineapple juice ... 6 jars of spaghetti sauce ... 3 cans of pizza sauce ... 12 or so cans of tomatoes and tomato sauce, assorted styles ... etc., etc. You get the idea.

I still have to transfer my scribblings into a useful list form for the doors. I wrote down everything I put back in the cupboards and on which shelf. Pat myself on the back!

I intend to use up all the ingredients in my cupboards!

Because those cupboards look so good, I'm feeling a strong urge to work on one of the cupboards above this area and one of the drawers.

Feeling good.

A wee bit of progress.




Sunday, April 10, 2005

 

Stone, Stones, Stones

Well, I never did get any cleaning done, but I've moved more books to the "for sale" area ... which means they are already listed. It looks like I'm just moving things around ... taking stones from one pile and putting them in another.

Letting go, letting go, letting go.

And when I finish this inital pass, I'll go through the titles again. Maybe I can make a molehill out of the mountain. It looks like it will still be plenty big ... I certainly won't be deprived of reading material, but maybe it won't be so ... over the top.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

 

I'm carrying stones from the mountain.

Between yesterday and today I've listed 70 more books to sell. I'm making a little dent in my mountain. (And I wonder why I have such a cash flow problem ... apparently it all went into books!) Listing them is time consuming, but I feel as though I'm making progress.

I need to come up for air and ... clean the bathroom? Well, yes, but first I need to go run errands. If I start back in on the books when I return, I'll never get to cleaning. Heh, heh, heh.

I'm forcing myself to stop listing books for the moment!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

 

Too Busy to Write

I've been listing books to sell like mad, going through stacks and stacks, with plenty more still to list for sale.

It feels good to be making progress!

Friday, March 25, 2005

 

The Mountain of Books

My book collection is way out of control. If I believed I would read and use all the books, I would keep every one. My book buying has been [almost] compulsive (but I'm getting better at resisting). I think I have to have it! And I'll scoop it up. Of course it's a great book, but do I need it? Am I going to actually decide to (finally) read it? How soon will I have the time to read it? I can't tell you how many times I've thought that I have to have a brand new book in hard cover ... right then. Of course, I don't get to read it right away. By the time I get to read it, the book has come out in mass market paperback and is in its third printing. And there are more wonderful books being published every month. I don't do this any more.

Am I hoarding books for leaner times? Is it a weird form of security? Is it some kind of protection? Am I nuts? Do I think that books will be burned (Fahrenheit 451) and I'd better have plenty?

My estimates may be conservative, but do I need four linear feet of books on Feng Shui? Another four on Tai Chi and Qi Gong? At least four more on alternative medicine? Sixteen feet or more of varied self-help (I need all the help I can get!)? Maybe eight or nine feet of assorted art books, from how to draw and paint to clay and sculpture? Untold quantities of fiction? At least four feet of travel books and at least that many on languages? Who wouldn't want to learn how to read and write Kanji? I don't know how many cookbooks ... that I'll probably never use. There are more categories still. But you get the idea.

So, what on earth do I think I'm doing? I just like the idea of books? Not just ... I do like to read them, but it's recently occurred to me that I don't have to have every book on a subject that interests me! No more book hoarding for me!

Part of the problem is that I find so many different things interesting ... the possibilites of what I could do seem endless ... what a great book on paper making ... growing your own plants for dye ... oh, wilderness survival ... hmmm ... candle making ... soap making ... weaving. What a great book on architecture ... cultural etiquette ... electricity ... whatever ... the list does go on and on.

It is clear that I need to bring a few interest into sharp focus and actually put my attention there. My maternal grandmother told me when I was in my twenties ... paraphrased ... do you know what your problem is ... you're too scattered, you need to focus. She was right. For years I've been trying to find my true passion ... You know: find the work you love. Of course, I've been so scattered that I've only touched on things, really, skimmed the surface. Did I pass it by, not recognizing it? This is too sad to ponder.

I'm digressing a bit. The matter at hand. Reduce the mountain of books. Lighten my load. Make these wonderful gems available to someone else who might actually read them.

You already know I'm not giving up every single book. I don't think that I need to at this point. I'm going to shoot for keeping about six (arbitrary number) books in each category (except fiction), give or take ... six books that I will actually read, use, study. Can you imagine the possibilities if I actually read and studied and applied what I learned from six self-help books? The mind boggles.

If I can really pare my book collection (it's more an accumulation), I will truly have a big start on decluttering ... myself and my environment.

So, I'm going to militantly look at my stacks of books, one at a time and list as many as possible for sale (www.half.com - this is a great place to sell your books and videotapes; of course you have to price to sell. You won't be "making" money in the usual sense. If you paid $19.95 for the book, and are selling it for $2.25, that is not a profit. But, it is cash flow and it is "recycling" -- It's going to someone who wants that book and finds the described condition acceptable.) For the book where the competitive price is down to 75 cents, and there are 22 people who have already listed it at that price, I may decide to keep it ... or find it a different home. Overall, this is not a bad way to go. It does take some time and organization (you have to be able to find it to mail it as soon as you make a sale).

Last night I listed at least 40 books for sale ... and considered at least 25 more that didn't make the cut .. ones I decided to keep or didn't list because the competitive price was too low and the value of the books were far greater.

If I can turn the mountain into a hillock ... I will be making real progress.

Maybe my space won't always look like an attic. I'm beginning to think this might work. Of course, I'm writing this blog instead of listing books.

Rationalization: If I can determine how I've gotten myself into such an overwhelming state ... so much stuff every which way, maybe I won't automatically create such a condition again.

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