Monday, March 5, 2012

Shaking Off the Bonds of Stuff - Update

Over on Love My Little Flower, the author has a Shaking Off the Bonds of Stuff schedule for the 40 days of Lent. The plan was originally written by Dale O'Leary, a freelance journalist and radio talk show host.

Here's how we've done for the past few days:

Day 6 (Tuesday, February 28): Throw out all old catalogs. They will send new ones. [On Day 28, we'll tackle all the magazines in our houses.]

I recycled 15 magazines that were by the side of the bed. This filled a grocery-store-size plastic bags. I still need to go through the magazines in my office at home. Maybe on Day 28 I'll finish recyling catalogs as well as magazines.

Day 7 (Wednesday, February 29): Throw out all expired coupons and sale notices.

I have a little basket on my desk that has coupons, gift cards, and gift certificates. There weren't many coupons since I tend to buy generic items at the grocery store. Often times, even with a coupon, the generic-brand item is less expensive than that of a name-brand item. However, there were some expired coupons. With the exception of a coupouple of coupons the rest all have no expiration date.

What was nice as I went through the basket was finding gift cards that I didn't even know I had. Perhaps a better place for the gift cards would be my bag so that they are with me when I go out and I would be more likely to use them.

Items for recycling on the left; and
the finished basket with gift cards, gift certificates, and coupons on the right.

Day 8 (Thursday, March 1): Give every gift you received and never used to someone who needs it or could use it more than you. If you can't think of anyone, donate it.

The only gift I could find was that I have never used was a plastic table cover. I'm donating it to the local second-hand store.

Day 9 (Friday, March 2): Go through your photos. Toss those of people whose names you can't remember and all ugly or unflattering photos.

I've actually been working since mid-January on a project where I'm removing all photos from non-photo safe albums. This has been a rather time-consuming project, so my goal with this activity today was simply to remove photos from the last five photo albums (another bag for the trash).

As I've been going through the albums, I've left all photos that were blurry, unflattering, or weren't meaningful images to keep. With the exception of photos in five albums, all the photos now are in photo-safe boxes. My goal is to go through the remaining five albums and remove the good pictures within a week.

The next step is to go through the photos again and label the back of each one with the name(s) of the person on the photo, approximate date the photo was taken, and location. This is a longer-term project than one day.

Day 10 (Saturday, March 3): Give every can of food that has been in your kitchen cabinets for more than a month to a food kitchen.

I went through the kitchen cabinets and organized two of them. One of the cabinets has pots, pans, potatoes, and onions. It also had some food that I dried during the summer in jars and rice. I transferred over these latter two items to another food cabinet.

Found electric cords that belonged to nothing, a haven't-been-used-in-ages-and-in-poor-shape fry pan, and five reusuable lunch bags. Tossed the first two items and donated the last item.

The three upper food cabinets all have food that was purchased in bulk so it is in glass jars. These items cannot be donated. There is only one cabinet with food that can be donated. I've been using up food in this cabinet during the January and February Fiscal Fasts I've been doing as a way to save money and use what is on hand. I also donated a bag of food during January as part of the 12 in 12 challenge that the girls and I are doing.

What's left are jars of partially-used liquids (e.g., olive oil, vinegars), opened items (e.g., oatmeal, rice, Bisquick), and unopened food in jars and packages.  Looking at this last category, I was able to put together a small bag of items to donate to the food shelf.

What's coming up for the next week?  These activities:

Day 11 (Monday, March 5): Collect all stained and ripped clothing hanging in your closets. Either mend it or throw it out immediately.

Day 12 (Tuesday, March 6): Dispose of all the recipes you cut out and haven't used.

Day 13 (Wednesday, March 7): Go through your clothes. Give away everything that doesn't fit or doesn't flatter.

Day 14 (Thursday, March 8): Throw away all broken toys and games with missing parts.

Day 15 (Friday, March 9): Go through old paint and throw out what is unusable. (Ed note: Bring to recycling place that takes paint and other hazardous household materials.)

Day 16 (Saturday, March 10): Throw away medicine that has expired.


Rita said...

You've really been doing a great job!
I could never throw out all food over a month old! That's nuts to me! Whoever wrote the list must not cook or bake from scratch! Good grief! Flour, sugar, rice, baking powder, baking soda, dried beans & lentils, lots of canned foods. That was a bit outlandish to me, but the rest of them sound pretty doable.
I think you get more done than anybody I know! :)

Gardenia said...

wow, you've made incredible progress!! 15 catalogs beside your bed sounds alot like my bedside too! The photo project is time consuming at my house, but we are little by little scanning photos onto the computer so we can dispose of the hard copies ((even though I don't look forward to letting go of those hard copies!!)) Thanks for joining in.