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Entries in declutter (3)

Sunday
Feb052017

Decluttered and cashed up 

 

As my declutter mission continues I’ve found a huge bonus in getting rid of things in my life that I don’t use anymore.  I’ve saved myself a stack of cash.

It started with my Amex card which I haven’t used in two years.  I’ve had it for over 15 years but held on to it in case of emergencies (hello What If Girl) … also I really liked the combination of my lucky numbers on it.  I rang to cancel and had a lovely chat to the customer service woman, explaining that I signed up for it when I was married – but that had ended years ago.  She looked at my file and said “yes, it looks like your relationship with us lasted a lot longer than your marriage did”.  Ha, true so very true.  That declutter (my card, not my husband) saved me $80 a year in fees – that’s about 15 x skinny lattes. 

Other things I rarely use included my stove (ha, just joking) and my home phone.  I have it mainly to call my parents but now Mum has a new plan where she can call me for free (bonus) so I can ditch the landline too.

I called my friends at Optus and a lovely man with a cute Mexican accent talked me through my current bundle of home phone and internet.  As I stuffed my face with sushi (I was multi tasking during lunch) he found a better plan and saved me over $700 per year … aka 160 x skinny lattes.  I love Optus.  We’ve been together for 18 years.  I’m a big fan of loyalty – can you tell? 

Next stop was my life insurance and all the grown up stuff I hate paying for but might need one day.  When I worked with a financial planning group, they instilled in me the importance of setting myself up financially for the future – and protecting my assets – with superannuation, death and disability insurance and income protection.  Classic products for the community of What If’s.  

I rang my broker / friend Rick and explained the angst I felt every time the insurance company deducted hundreds of dollars from my bank account every month.  Surely I could put it to better use?   Extra mortgage payments.  Top up my super.  A new handbag?

As a single girl, I told him, I didn’t have any dependents – except for Asha the cat and her decadent lifestyle – so surely I didn’t need as much cover.   Also, I protested, if it all went to shit and I couldn’t work, I’d just move back to Rads and move in with Mum and Dad.   They’d love that.   Imagine the hilarious blogs I could write about chickens and country living. 

To my surprise, he didn’t try and talk me out of it, but checked all my policies and we found that combined with my work insurance I was a little ‘over-covered’ and we could remove some of the plans I had.  Awesome.  No point in leaving more money than necessary to the Spoilt Cats Society.  He recalculated and it looks like I’ll be saving over $3,500 a year.  That’s a LOT of skinny lattes. 

Sure I promised him I’d put it towards my mortgage but I really do need a new handbag.  That’s a good investment of my hard earned cash, right ladies?

Alternatively I could buy myself a coffee machine and make my own skinny lattes, but what’s the point of that.  I’m rich now, I could hire my own hot barista. 

Saturday
Dec312016

Deleted

I read an article this week which said to leave 2016 behind and move positively into 2017, it’s important to get rid of the past.   To remove things that might hold us back from having a great year next year.  To throw things out.  To declutter.  To make room for the new.

These words spoke to me.  Any article about decluttering always does.  I read the articles, nod in agreement and vow to make changes.  Then the thought of actually throwing things away starts to make me feel a little anxious.  Where to start?  What about landfill?  How will I get rid of all my ‘unwanted stuff’?  I’m a What If Girl.  What If I need the things I’m being told to throw out?

I’m desperate to make 2017 one of my best years yet.  God knows that 2016 has been so exhausting for most of us, anything will be better.   I want to go into it with a clear head, a happy heart and the passion to do things that feed my soul.  If that means a bit of decluttering, off I go.

The article made a new and interesting point –  that we should also be getting rid of old text messages, emails and photos that are clogging up our phones and computers.   We need to delete them in order to clear space for new and better things to come along.   Okay, I can do that.

I looked at my phone and scrolled through my text messages.   The oldest ones were  from 2013 when I first got my phone.  Surely I don’t need three year old texts any more.  I methodically looked at each recipient and the number of messages we’d swapped … then hit the Delete All Button on the ones I didn’t want.  The first one was hard.  Then it became easy.  Almost therapeutic. 

There were 200 messages from Paddle Pop Lion.  They started off sweet and sexy with the early days of flirting and seduction.  As I scanned through the feed, it showed our history.   Getting to know each other – being more suggestive – making plans to catch up – missing each other.  The good times of us being together.  Then it turned.  He became jealous – I started to pull away – my Aunty passed away – he tried to be there for me – I wasn’t interested.   Finally, the text messages after our break up – and him reaching out to me for friendship.   Delete.  Delete.  Delete.  That part of my life gone.  I felt a little sad.  I also felt free.

Various work text messages from old work colleagues took up over 100 spaces.  Fun notes back and forth on what we’d done, congratulating them on success, and the occasional mishaps.  I’m proud of what we’ve achieved but I have new things to create next year.   Delete. 

A portfolio of my dating life screamed volumes about what I’ve been doing for three years.   Chris the Cyclist texted me briefly before our first date at the Opera House Bar, then thanked me afterwards.  We lamented that three bottles of red probably wasn’t necessary but the pashing on the way home was fun.   He disappeared after that.  No real loss.   Delete. 

Messages from Mark the Aussie (one date).  Deleted.   Messages from Adam the weirdo who found love with an old friend (no date).  Deleted.  Brad the boring super short date that talked about cauliflower and supermarkets.  Delete.  Matt the Cowboy who was sweet and funny but locations kept us apart.  Delete. The aggressive irrational ranting from the psycho who called me Granny Pussy.  Delete.  Delete.  Delete.  What a f *ckwit.  Thank God it made a good blog.

It was harder to remove the texts from old friends.   People that had meant so much to me over the years.  Ones that I thought would be in my life forever.  I re-read our funny banter one last time and recalled the fun times we’d had.   But there’s little point on holding onto those times and people when they’re gone and serve no purpose.   Thank you – I’ll miss you (sort of) – delete. 

I deleted around 500 text messages.   Some were hard to let go of and I felt a little sad.  Others needed to disappear.   I am not that person anymore.  That’s not my life.   I have no need for silly notes about cauliflower, dance parties and random dumb questions from someone trying to get to know me.  Delete. 

Although I removed a lot, there are still a few messages that will be harder to lose.   The magical back and forth of late ‘goodnights’ from the Policeman during the world’s shortest romance  – funny notes about me not being able to use my phone with my beloved friend Richard – the texts from my real best friends, the ones who are still here.   I’m happy to declutter, but some things are still precious.  I might just sit with those for a while longer.  

Tomorrow I’m going to start on the 4,826 photos and downloads on my phone.   Watch out 2017, I’m ready. 

Wednesday
Jul302014

D is for Declutter

I have a lot of stuff.  I like to keep things. To have them around me.  On display.  Especially things with happy memories.  Gifts. Things I’ve bought while traveling.  Beautiful things. Paintings. Artwork. Useful items. Knife blocks. Remote controls. Stuff I use every day. CDs. Cards. Books. Candles.  I like to see it.  I like to know it’s there.  Right there.

This means that my house looks less like a pristine neutral coloured country home in a Vogue magazine and more like a share house for writers and out of work musicians.  It’s not dirty, there’s just a lot of stuff.  Fun stuff, but lots of it.  

As part of my life declutter, getting rid of people and habits that don’t make me feel good, I’ve felt the need to physically clean out my space as well.   This sounds like an easy process.  For most people it would be.  For me, it’s a little trickier.   I’ve lived in this place for 8 years.  Before that I had several different lives and collected lovely things as I went along my way.   It’s all here.  Right here in my house.  It needs to go.

To avoid being overwhelmed and doing nothing at all, I decided to attack this problem like a work project, breaking it down into little pieces.  To write a list.  Work through it.   Rooms.  Spaces.  Areas.  To do just ten minutes a day.  Ten minutes is nothing … and even on my busiest days I know I can accomplish something.  It may not seem big but it’s all going towards the final destination – a cleaner, decluttered home – and headspace.

I started with the drawers on my TV cabinet which I rarely use.  Who knew I needed to keep 32 Alias DVDs from Channel 7’s Publicity Department?   Yes, Tan, it’s your favourite TV show but they sell boxed sets in proper packaging now.  In the bin they go.  I love you Jennifer Garner. It’s not you, it’s me.

Next stop: the pantry.  Four shelves of tins, packets and mystery ingredients to create culinary masterpieces.  I considered calling the Food Museum to see if I could donate anything … dried herbs which expired in 2003 (I wasn’t even living here then) … a sushi kit I got for Christmas three years ago … and lots of chocolate.  GFM and I kept a stash of not quite right chocolate to use in my Soup Mate Pro for hot chocolate – which still needs to be repaired. Goodbye old Lindt balls. I’ve heard that Michelle Bridges does a little happy dance when chocolate dies. 

My new flatmate Twin Kat is bringing her own pots and pans.  Chef’s quality. Brand new. Beautiful to cook with. There’s not enough room in the cupboard so I’m chucking mine out.  Which is just as well, given some were wedding gifts. From 20 years ago. They’re a little bruised and battered.  Surely they’d be family heirlooms if I had anyone to pass them down to.  Here you go Bin Man, cook yourself up a pot of something.  Oh and take this toaster oven with you too.  I have a griller in my oven.  How fancy am I?

I’m putting off the biggest challenge – my spare room.   Also known as The Black Hole.   If I’m not sure where to put anything, it goes in the tiny room downstairs.  There’s a couch in there somewhere – and an ironing board.  My ex husband’s body.  Just joking. My treadmill is in there too … I trained for four marathons on that thing.  You’d be surprised how you can trick your brain into thinking you’re running in New York when you’re surrounded by stuff.  A fitball. Old books. A crappy cross trainer. Vinyl records. Spare blankets.  A giant whiteboard. To write a list of things I could use that room for.   

I promised Twin Kat we’d clean it out and turn it into a study.   It was a good reason to finally face my fears and take on The Black Hole.  There’s a lot of stuff in there – some of it valuable – most of it not.   Part of me wants to take it all to Trash n Treasure and sell it.  I’d like to donate some to charity as recycling is important to me.  Some of it will have to be thrown out.   It’s the thought of packing it up, driving around and dropping it off that freaks me out.  I’m not sure I have the time or energy for that.

There’s a company who come to your house and take all your stuff, donating what they can and taking the rest to landfill.  I like that idea as it means I can delegate the hard bit to someone else.   Also the fact that two hot men will come to my place and help me to declutter, like the hoarding damsel in distress that I am.  

There’s also the thought of setting fire to the room and having hot fireman turn up to save me (but not all my crap). More messy, but less effort.  Better check out my insurance policy first.  I think it’s filed away in The Black Hole somewhere.