Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reorganization and Elimination.

This week, my time has been occupied with moving into my apartment and reorganizing/eliminating items that I do not need. This is progress in the way of getting organized/living minimally. Along with all of the belongings that I purged when I left my old place, I decided that moving in time would be another opportunity to go through all of my belongings and make a second edit.

So far, I've purged many items that have not been used for such a long time, that it's very likely I will not use them...why am I hanging onto them when someone else can benefit from them? I've filled a larger box with belongings that can be donated to the food shelf I work for and I also separated a box of books that I could take to bookstores to sell. More about these books later.

Going through all of these belongings really got me thinking about the consumerist culture that we live in. I am in no way criticizing people and their consumption as I am guilty of it myself. This is quite clear as I wouldn't have the need to purge if I wasn't. What is it about humans and our society that gives us the drive to consume? Why do we equate more things with further happiness?  As I was going through all of my belongings to be tossed or donated, these thoughts crossed in my mind:

Why, when completing a race or winning a competition, do we get medals and trophies? I understand that it is to honor your performance and keep as a remembrance. Wouldn't it be more beneficial however, just to get the t-shirt, which at least is functional? How about rather than a medal, we get a gift certificate for something that aids in the ongoing development of whatever we are practicing? Why a medal? How many people keep these and how many eventually go to the trash?

I was analyzing many of the items that I decided to keep. I have determined that there is one theme for most of the things I am keeping: they are objects that allow me to continue my creativity and development or are simply memories with sentimental value; a box of craft items, a box of sporting goods, a box of letters and cards from family members and videos taken of my old sporting events. I had previously thought about getting rid of these letters and perhaps just scanning them rather than keeping the letters themselves. I couldn't do it. They are invaluable. The physical item actually means that much to me and I think one day, when I am old, I will be able to share these with a spouse, perhaps my own children and grandchildren. However, I have limited myself to a very small box and will not get a bigger box. If I need a bigger box, some will have to be eliminated. The tapes will also be fond childhood memories. However, condensing these to perhaps one DVD will be a project I would like to get underway someday soon when I have the funds.

With regards to clothes shopping, I am going to try and buy primarily from second hand stores. I would like to curb a lot of spending with regards to clothes shopping in general (as well as shopping for other unnecessary items). I've noticed that when I am shopping with people who are impulse shoppers, I tend to start buying as well when I really don't need anything. I may need to discontinue shopping with some people. This is not because I dislike them or think they are rotten people, but rather it will help to put a stop to my own impulse buying tendencies. Boundaries must be made!

Regarding my books: these tie into other goals. Many of my goals have multiple elements so it is not simply completing one and moving to the next. I indicated in my list that one of my goals is to dress better and find a style. This goal has several different elements:

1. Dressing better and feeling put together, for the majority of people, makes us feel better. I know it does for me! Feeling better about myself in the way I appear, drives me to continue feeling better about my own body.

2. Utilizing clothes and getting put together each morning, will also hopefully help to drive me in my weight loss goal. When I feel happier with me, I am more likely to want to continue down that path.

Now, I am certainly no fashion diva, so I have enlisted help for this goal. My friend, Mary, had told me about her friend, Sally, who is a style consultant. Sally has her own blog, (, that discusses feeling good about you, no matter your size or shape and how the right clothes on your body can make a difference. Sally has a great fashion sense and as luck would have it, she's a stylist and does closet consultations! I wrote Sally, telling her about my goals that also include eliminating some clothing to live more simply. I told Sally that my objective is to create outfits that work for my body from the clothes I already have, eliminate clothing that doesnn't flatter my body and I should discontinue wearing, and figure out which basics I may be missing and what I need to look for. Sally told me her prices for the consultation and we have set a date.

There is one problem. I am certainly not made of money and I don't presently have enough to pay for the consultation. So what does a goal getter gurl do?! I started "My Sally Jar."

My Sally Jar is a jar that sits on top of my fridge where I put money that I get from extra interpreting jobs, selling items I no longer need (books, clothing, furniture). The other day, I sold a heap of clothing that I no longer needed. Whatever wasn't bought by thrift stores, was donated. Today, I sold $13.50 worth of books bringing the Sally Jar total to $36.50. I also am selling my dresser on Friday to a woman on Craigslist. I can see my Sally Jar fund is growing quickly and I know I will soon make enough money to meet with Sally on our appointment date that we have set for February 6th.

What did I accomplish today?

Not only did I minimize, I earned more money towards my clothing and personal appearance goal!

Do you look around your place of living and see unused items that could be sold and utilized for the purpose of pursuing a present goal? What goals are you working towards?

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