Tag Archives: de-cluttering

FREE FLEA MARKET

Two weeks ago I went to a free flea market for the first time. A free flea market is  just like at a normal flea market, but everything is of curz-free. Some of the market stalls are run by free shops, but anyone can come and participate and put up their own stall. People can come and just take things or if they wanna give something away, they just put it on one of the tables.
It’s like a spontaneous free shop.

bbb

I took the pictures a bit late, almost no sun anymore.

The last market was held outside on a nice, sunny day at the backyard of “Kunst-Stoffe” in Pankow, which is in the north part of Berlin.

shirts

What projects am I gonna make with these?

Kunst-Stoffe is also an interesting place, it’s like a recycling yard in a building. People and businesses can drop off materials and resources they don’t need anymore.

linen stack

Got a nice stack of fabrics!

They have fabrics, haberdashery, wood, old electronics, foams, wood, tiles.. all sorts of stuff. You have to pay for the things, but you can probably get them at a decent price.

steckdose

A splitter box, also very useful!

The market was very small and lots of fun. I met some of my friends and we had a blast looking for things and hanging out.

books

Got one book on wild plants, the second one that I’ve got for free! And one on storage solutions.

One woman even gave me a free green smoothie.

kitchen knife

Ah yeah, a knife. You always need a knife.

There weren’t many stalls, but people brought really cool stuff, no rubbish. And some people even like “rubbish”, I would still use ripped clothing and sew something with it for example. And everyone was really lovely!!

Some eccentric coat hangers!

Some eccentric coat hangers!

Very awesome!! I will be there again next time!
Is there something like free markets where you are? If not, maybe you feel like organizing one?

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Reflections On Two Months Of Blogging

Ok, today I’m completely burned out! Who would have thought minimalizing would be so exhausting!! I already wrote a bit about how exhausting transition can be in another post before.

Just looking through this post, I wrote after one month of blogging, not a lot has changed. It’s just constant progress, when you start eating better, you just have to keep doing it, when you start de-cluttering, you just gotta keep doing it, when you stop spending money on crap.. well, you get the picture. So, there hasn’t been much new stuff happening. With the de-cluttering, we are pretty much down to the essentials, just need to sell our furniture when we are moving. Except for my studio, which looks like a bomb went off.

The more parts of your life you’re tackling the more stressful it can be.

In the long run I’m trying to have more time and be more relaxed, but that’s still quite a way off. But I got a new goal, to stop working day jobs this year. This is basically my goal every year, but I feel like I can actually do it this year, being more focused and letting go off expectations of perfectionism.

This weekend we wanted to go camping and I love camping, but what I really want is, to just stay in bed the whole day, eat and read and watch silly or interesting videos. So, we might going to do that!

It’s weird, as I said, the more you are trying to change things, the more is on your plate and the more stressful things can become. And sometimes you don’t know if you are really making progress in de-stressing your life when it just seems to be getting worse. But I really do believe we are making progress and it will pay off in the near future. Once we moved to Germany we are going to take a break and go for a little roadtrip. We did that the last time we went there and LOVED it!!

So there is definitely a treat to be looking forward to. Maybe that’s what we need sometimes, a treat that is waiting for us at the finishing line?! Sometimes it helps.

Sometimes flowers look black and white

If you are trying to change significant parts of your life, and I’m speaking partially to myself here, take care of yourself. Have little treats on the way through, keep it fun and get lots of rest!

That’s what I’m gonna do tomorrow, eat… go to the post office, ..eat some more and eat. And probably do some sewing..

Do you have any tips on how to survive stress and transitions in your life?

Reflections On A Month Of Blogging

I started this blog spontaneously on the 1st of January this year. I decided to change my life in some ways and on the last day of 2011 I thought it would be great idea to blog about my progress every day, so I can see how I go, connect with people and learn from them and maybe inspire them to take action as well. You know, motivating each other and stuff..

Blogging has been pretty good, it takes up quite a bit of time, doing research for example, but it’s also a great tool to keep on track. If I have to research and write a post I’m automatically learning something new EVERY day! Which is pretty cool.

I thought I’d make a list of things we have changed so far.

FOOD

•baking half of our bread ourselves
•go to the farmer’s market every week
•at least two thirds of our food is organic
•less processed food
•more cooking, preparing food ourselves
•eat vegan
•foraging(which I didn’t like so far)

MINIMIZING

•sorting things into sell, give away, keep, use
•de-cluttering space
•selling things
•whittling away at the things we think we do need, reconsidering them

SPENDING

•not buying anything else then the absolute essentials, basically just food
•spending diary, have a look at expenses for the month

LEARNING

•about edible plants
•about food
•about people’s lifestyles
•about alternative lifestyles, especially frugal living and alternative housing
•how to make bread
•how to install warm water units and compost toilets(starting to learn anyways)
•about blogging and wordpress

RANDOM

no more petrochemical cosmetics
•more reading books
•less wasting time

Hope I haven’t left anything out..

So yeah, this whole blogging thing is keeping me on track and it’s definitely awesome to learn new things and talk to people about it.

What have you learned lately? What aspect of your life do you like to work on?

Minimalizing vs. De-cluttering

I wrote a couple of posts about de-cluttering and minimalizing now, so I thought I’d explain what the difference is to me between those two.

To me minimalizing is quite a bit different to de-cluttering and organizing. Of curz, in the beginning they may look kind of similar, you’re getting rid of stuff and tidying your shit. I think the attitude is very different though.

To me de-cluttering is about a temporary state, it’s about getting rid off shit, but if you don’t change your attitudes towards stuff and consumption, soon enough you will have to do the same process again. And often it involves buying all sorts of storage containers and systems and all this shit just adds to the stuff you already got.

Minimalzing on the other hand , even if it means different things to different people, questions consumption fundamentally. Some people do it for political reasons, like for the environment, sustainability and avoiding mass produced items made by slave labour. Some people just want to live a life away from the mall and be more in the now.

I think minimizing is a huge process. That depends of curz on how extreme you want to go. For example, people who live in tiny or tree houses, house boats or sustainable communities are to societies standards quite extreme, but not to everyone’s standards of curz.

I’m trying to minimalize all sorts of things, spending is the obvious one. But when I buy stuff, even more then ever I’ll ask myself, “Where am I going to put this?! It’s just gonna clutter up my space!” I like having a clear space. It doesn’t need to be huge, but I like it simple and organized.

But minimalizing is even much more then that. It’s about simplifying your life. Stop doing all these time-sucking activities that are not really rewarding or relevant, like wasting hours on facebook, ..that would be a big one for me. Hanging out with negative people, that drain all your energy out of you, as I’m quite anti-social in general that isn’t really a problem for me and stop wasting time with whatever bad habit it is you do. You may even find the time to study and learn something new or make something you’ve never made before! Now how exciting would that be!!

To me minimalizing is about quality over quantity. To get something of great quality that lasts many, many years, instead of several items of it that are cheap crap. To spend time with quality people. By the way I hate the phrase ‘spending quality time’, people use it for all sorts of shit, like when they spend time with just one of their kids, it’s automatically quality time. No, it’s not, you’re just spending time, if you call any time quality time, you might as well just call it time, coz it’s nothing special. Even every day activities can be “quality time”..it’s not so much what you do, it’s how you do it!

To eat quality foods, instead of a lot of junk food crap is another point some people integrate into their minimalist lifestyle, to eat more consciously. To spend time doing the things you love instead of just doing the things you are used to. Yeah, think about the things you normally do for a minute and decide which ones are the activities you like doing and which are the ones you might have neglected and would like to do more of.

In our society it’s all about more, faster, quicker and keeping up with the Joneses.

It’s no wonder the Slow Food, Slow Living, Slow Parenting Movements catching up in popularity. Most people can’t and don’t want to keep up with it anymore. And are sick of just being patronisingly told very narrow definitions of how to do things, to worship consumerism and have products sold to them to fill the voids that are left in their lives.

So yeah, I love minimizing, it’s a long process, but so far it’s fun!!
Are you thinking of minimizing parts of your life or your whole life? Which parts? What makes you excited about it?

Problem Areas – Kitchen

One problem area for a lot of people seems to be the kitchen. Especially that dreaded cupboard with the random collection of plastic storage boxes. Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about!

We used to have a cupboard like that too. But not anymore. As I quickly mentioned in this post I hate using the top shelves in our kitchen ‘Coz I Can’t Fucking Reach Them!’. And it just makes me angry using them! The storage boxes used to be on one of the top shelves, so it made me extra angry. Coz plastic boxes are so ugly and random anyways.. it makes me angry just writing about it. Well, you get the picture..

I literally used to throw the shit in there coz, well, what’s the point, I’d have to get a chair and there was just too much shit in there. And then when i tried to pull them out I had to jump up, yeah, how fucking pathetic that must have looked like and pulled out half of the shelf at the same time, which ended in a lot of yelling and frustration.

This is how the top shelf looks now

One day i decided I am not going to take this anymore.

So I got a chair, pulled it up to the shelf and threw all the plastic boxes onto the kitchen counter. All of them.

I made a plan of how to structure the kitchen cupboards more accessibly. I cleared out one of the lower cupboards to use that as well, so the top shelf only had a few items right on the edge that I could reach.

Then I sorted them. Decided what we need for each person and to clean used ones every day so we don’t need an excess amount.

Threw the scratched and old ones out. I don’t have any random ones, but PLEASE, if you have plastic containers without lids or broken ones, THROW THEM OUT! Thanks!

Then I cleaned the shelf and all the containers and put the nice ones back in.

I also reuse glass jars for dried fruit or food storage as you can see in my post about my pantry and this one where you can see how I store spices.

So now that you know how I’ve done it you can do it too.
AND REMEMBER, DON’T BUY ANY MORE CONTAINERS, rather invest money in like two or three glass dishes for each member of the household.

I like glass containers better, but I still kept the plastic ones, I will be phasing them out though. I also don’t usually put damp containers in the cupboard, but if you have to just turn the lids inside out, so you can still stack them, but the air gets in.

And this is the lower shelf. My camera takes the shittest pictures in low light!

Ok, now that you sorted that dreaded storage container nightmare(that is, if you had one of them in the first place) we move on to that cupboard or drawer where you keep all your random shit in. Yeah, that one!

Same procedure. Pull everything onto the kitchen counter or table. CLEAN the dreaded thing. And sort through everything that is in there. Do you really need ten wooden spoons or three different sets of measuring cups or whatever you got in there?! Try to go for just one item each, depending on how large your family is and do the dishes more often.

Then give the extra items away to the charity shop or throw them AND DON’T BUY ANY MORE. Give the items away that you only use once a year or those awkward ones that you don’t use at all. Then clean and put the good ones back in.

And if you have to buy something new for the kitchen make it as practical and multifunctional as possible.

We had one of these clutter drawers and it wasn’t even that bad. Now that we sorted it it actually has a system. Yeah, amazing right?! I think, once you have a system in place, with less stuff, you are less likely to just throw stuff in there.

Minimizing is like taming a beast. You gotta be on your guard constantly.

Tell me about your problem areas! What sort of clutter always seems to collect?

Get Rid Off The Clutter

Rule Number 1, DON’T BUY ANY MORE CRAP!

I think if you just stick to that rule, depending on your buying habits, you should half your shit in no time. If you’re having problems sticking to that rule maybe start a spending diary.

Secondly, go through your shit. Do it by room, by drawer, whatever, find your own pace. This is an ongoing project, remember. Pile shit into,

•throw

•sell

•give away

•use

•keep

Put the shit you throw in the designated bin.

If you wanna sell shit, put it in a spare corner somewhere and then put a couple of items each week on Ebay or something. Or hold a garage sale, if that’s what you’re into.

Decide who you can give your shit to. If charities are not for you, maybe you know other organizations or you might wanna give it directly to people who need it. Post it on websites like freecycle. Please keep in mind that the things that are worthless to you might be what other people need. Don’t give broken, useless, dirty items aka rubbish away, that’s just gross!

If you have three of the same items and you only really wanna keep one in the long run, but you don’t wanna part with the rest, use them! Just DON’T buy any more.
Swap them around, put them on the counter, the front of your wardrobe, so you’ll see them.

Clean out your drawers, wardrobe, whatever and put the shit you wanna keep, that’s in good condition and you’re happy with back in place.

Personally, i find it useful to leave some of the things i wanna use more/use up lying outside(not too many or it’s chaos). That may look a bit messier for a while but if you stick to it(and don’t buy any more, remember) then it should start looking better very soon.

Coz you might find that, either you can go without the stuff that is lying about and give it away or you can’t go without it and find a place for it. Or just use it up and DON’T buy any more spare!

Change things around every week, play with them, even if you just rearrange the pantry, it will make a difference. Some projects like cleaning out the garage you might do in one day, other take a lot longer.

Getting rid of stuff, getting things freshly organized can be very liberating and a breath of fresh air.
But even if it doesn’t involve things of sentimental value,  just like any other change, purging can be painful. Letting things go, changing your lifestyle, can be scary.

It’s a bit like loosing weight, you don’t wanna go on a crash diet and throw out all your shit and then go a shopping binge. It can be a slow transition.

Just stick to it, make some plans and have some fun!
And you should have more space and more peace of mind in no time!