Friday, November 25, 2011

Week Forty-Five, Items 409-418

Blue tank top 2

I like the color of this tank top, but it's yet another shirt that is now a little too short thanks to years of washing and drying. I should have started going through my clothes more carefully ages ago, because there are a number of shirts that have had this happen to them. I've started line-drying most of my clothes in the hope that they will hold up longer. Still, I got several years of wear out of a tank top that was in the $10 range. Someone with a slightly shorter torso could get several more years out of it.

Yellow shirt 2

This shirt fits perfectly, but the color looks awful on me. I love yellow, but it turns out that most shades of it look terrible on me. I have a light yellow shirt that is flattering, but both this mustard yellow shirt and a bright yellow shirt I donated earlier make me look like I have the flu. A common-enough look during flu season, maybe, but certainly not something to strive for!

Immersion blender attachment

It's a good thing that I wait to donate items until I have several big bags packed up, because this is an attachment for the immersion blender I listed in week 39! It's basically a mini food processor. I don't know why this wasn't stored right next to the immersion blender, but I'm glad I found it now. Usually I do monthly donation runs, but between a trip at the beginning of this month and the start of the holiday season this week, my donation bags sat for longer than usual. Turns out it was for the best!

White hair tie

Such a random little thing to get rid of, I know. But I don't wear white hair ties because I think they look sort of strange against my dark hair. So out this goes.

Mariners earrings 

These were a gift, and a logical choice for me: I love the Mariners, and I love earrings. But, as I mentioned earlier, I just don't do sports-themed jewelry. I haven't worn that since I was much younger. I feel bad about not keeping the gift, but I can still appreciate the thought without keeping the item.

Heart earrings

These were also a gift, and they are another item that I feel a sense of guilt about not keeping. I've gotten much better at dealing with that feeling, though; it just takes a moment of thinking about how not keeping the item doesn't mean I don't appreciate the thought behind the gift or the person who gave it to me. The thing is, I just am not a heart person. Never have been, never will be. So it doesn't make sense for me to keep these.

Yellow earrings

I wish I could keep these, because I think yellow accessories work just fine for me, even if yellow shirts are not so great. I love the size and color of these earrings. But the smaller center circle clacks against the larger outer circle whenever I move my head, and it doesn't take long before that gets really annoying. It's a surprisingly high-pitched sound for earrings to make.

Small earrings

These earrings are small and not really that interesting. It has been years and years since I've worn them. They're much more suited for someone with a far more conservative taste in jewelry than I have.

Purple earrings

The last entry in my little purge of earrings. I love earrings and, as with clothes, accumulated many over the years. I'd like to get the number I own down to a more manageable amount, though, because I have more pairs than I can wear on a regular basis. This pair, for example, is one I wore only a few times. I love big and bold earrings, but these ones are too big—even for me.

Black necklace

This necklace was a gift, and I am sad that it doesn't work for me. But the big bead hits me right in the notch in the center of my collarbone. It's pretty heavy, and it's really uncomfortable to have it rest there. The necklace doesn't have an adjustable clasp, so I can't change the length. I've tried to wear this many times, but I just can't do it for longer than a minute or two before it becomes too uncomfortable.

Progress: 418 items out of 500 = 83.6% done.

Note: Today is Black Friday, an annual event that follows Thanksgiving. On Black Friday, Americans forget about everything they were thankful for the day before and run out in a frenzy to buy as much stuff as they can get their hands on. Crowds get out of control; there are often fights and injuries, and sometimes even deaths. Black Friday is one of the things that makes me worry about the fate of humanity. Fortunately, some people are aware that life is more than stuff, and that we can go without most of the stuff we have or even want. Greg Hanscom just wrote a great piece for Grist about the role of stuff in his life, and how he and his family decided to have less of it. You can find his article here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week Forty-Four, Items 401-408

Awful book 1

This is, without question, the most terrible book I have ever read. The reason why this is even worse than the Twilight series is that Keri Hulme clearly thinks she has written an innovative book about human nature and relationships. Stephenie Meyer wrote a teen romance about sparkly vampires—I doubt she took herself so seriously. The Bone People is a frequently nonsensical mess that focuses on sociopaths who abuse each other in a variety of ways. Near the end of the book, the plot is derailed by a sudden focus on Maori mysticism. There's also the fact that, just like Dan Brown does with Robert Langdon, Hulme makes it clear that she envisions herself as her protagonist. Few things irritate me more than when authors do that. When I was done reading The Bone People, I wanted to take the English language out and buy it a beer to help it get over everything this book put it through.

Awful book 2

This book is also awful. I received it as a gift, and I can see why it was chosen for me—I have a history degree, and love Buffy the Vampire Slayer more than any other show. But reading this book is like listening to a drunk frat boy tell his buddies a story. It is poorly researched and was poorly edited. It's disjointed, and not nearly as funny or insightful as the author clearly thinks it is. Also, here's a hint: If the sentence "That may be oversimplified and a little bit sexist, but it's true" (p. 123) appears in your book, you're an idiot. It means that you either lack critical thinking skills or delight in your own ignorance.

Quilt book

I got this book at a thrift store, and flipped through it to find color and pattern inspiration for a graphic design project I was doing. I am not crafty, and will probably not make a quilt at any point in my life, so I don't think I can get any more use out of this book. 

Country CD

For our wedding, we put together our own playlist. My mom gave us several CDs, which I appreciated. But (no offense, Mom!) I don't like this one. The song "I Loved Her First" is, frankly, creepy. It's written from the point of view of a dad who is weirdly possessive of his daughter, and who seems to be trying to foster competition with his daughter's new husband. I'm sure the sentiment was supposed to be sweet, but instead, it landed squarely on disturbing.

Dress straps

The bridesmaid dress I wore in October was strapless, but came with these spaghetti straps. I don't think the dress would look as good with them, though. I also cannot think of anything else that I could do with them. So they can go.

Dog nail clippers

We used to use these to cut our dog's nails, but she hated it. We switched to using a Dremel tool to do the job, and she tolerates that much better. So we don't need to keep these.

Wire hanger

I've been over this before, but I am particular about the hangers I use. Anyway, I don't often need to get things dry cleaned, but I did recently. This place was recommended to me, and I'm glad it was—my winter coat needed to be cleaned and have a seam repaired, and they were able to do a great job with a quick turnaround. But just because I liked the service doesn't mean I need to keep the hanger.

Pink hooded sweater

I apparently went through a phase during which I wore hoods a lot, because I've got a number of shirts and sweaters with hoods (I know it isn't visible here, but this sweater does have a hood). But I don't really wear them much anymore. I have enough sweaters, so I don't need to keep the ones I don't often wear. This one can go.

Progress: 408 items out of 500 = 81.6% done.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Week Forty-Three, Items 393-400

Red scarf

Turns out, I have two red scarves. They're nearly identical, too. But this one is brighter and slightly warmer (in color) than the other. The one that's a little more dark and a little more blue is more my speed, so I will keep that one instead.

Stray soccer sock

I don't know how, but somehow I wound up with 1.5 pairs of these socks. What is it about dryers, anyway? Maybe a clothesline is the way to go. Regardless, I don't need to keep this extra sock.

Travel case 5

Like me, my husband also had a recent dentist appointment, and also forgot to refuse the travel pouch. I have not really gotten him that involved with decluttering this year; I would definitely like him to be more involved next year.

Cell phone case

This is my old cell phone case. I got a new one about a year ago (in my favorite color, of course), and haven't used this one since. Someone else could find it useful, so I don't need to keep it.

Gift bag

We have more gift-wrapping supplies than we actually need, so I am trying to thin out our stash. This is a pretty little bag—emphasis on "little." So it might not work that well for a gift. And I can't think of anything else that we'd need this for.

General history book

I think this book is the history equivalent of the movie book I convinced my husband to get rid of back in week 6. It's general to the point that it isn't actually useful. Just like the crossword puzzle dictionary from last week, my family had this book when I was a kid, and I'm not sure how I wound up with it. It can go.

Star Trek book

This is a book my husband decided he didn't need to keep. I've never read any of the Star Trek books, but that's okay. It's one of the things I'd rather watch than read. There aren't too many of those, but they do exist!

Lee Strobel book

I read this book in college. I found his arguments flawed, and got the impression that it's a book meant for people who already believe in Jesus and want a little extra convincing. (For the record, Strobel is a creationist. I didn't know that when I read this book, but I wasn't surprised by that fact when I learned it.) Personally, my favorite author on the subject of Christianity is Marcus Borg. His books I'll keep. Strobel's I won't.

Progress: 400 items out of 400 = 100% done.

Items broken down by category:

Clothes: 66
Magazines: 65
Miscellaneous: 45
Household Goods: 42
Books: 36
Accessories: 34
Craft/Office Supplies: 31
Health/Beauty: 26
Movies/TV Shows: 18
Toys/Games: 18
Holidays/Parties: 10
Car Stuff: 4
Shoes: 3
Pet Stuff: 2

Total: 400

I reached my goal, which feels great! But now it's time to look ahead. It's only November—though you'd be forgiven for thinking it's December, given all the Christmas stuff everywhere—and my original goal was to get rid of 400 items by the end of 2011. My new goal is to get rid of an additional 100 items by January 15, 2012 (exactly one year after I started this blog).

When I started this decluttering project, parting with 500 items in one year did not sound doable. Now it does! And not only is it doable, but I'm looking forward to it. It's rewarding to let things go and to enjoy the free space instead. Stuff is nice, but less stuff is better.

New goal progress: 400 items out of 500 = 80% done.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Week Forty-Two, Items 386-392

Slouchy hat

I have a pair of slouchy boots that I love, but somehow I still just don't feel like slouchy hats are for me. I am not really a hat person anyway, so I don't need to keep this. I appreciate the thought, but I have had this for nearly a year and, as you can see, still haven't removed the tag.

Green earrings 2

I love the color of these earrings, and I love how sparkly they are. But they were cheap, and are covered in a black coating that is flaking off. While flaking the remaining coating off and covering them with black nail polish or something might be doable, it's more work than I'm willing to go to.


My husband got these sunglasses as a gift, but he already has two pairs of sunglasses (one nice pair, and one cheap pair), so he doesn't need a third. These aren't exactly his style anyway. So they can go.

Travel cases 3 and 4

Two more little travel cases we don't use. I just recently came by the one on top at a dentist appointment. I should have declined it, but my appointment was first thing on a Monday morning, and I was running on not quite four hours of sleep. My clarity of thought was not at its peak.

Poseable Mozart

My husband also got this as a gift, though this was sort of a gag gift. He has a music degree, but is not a trinket person. So he never even opened this. He said the recognition of his love of music is appreciated, but that he doesn't need this.

Crossword dictionary

Growing up, my family went through a phase during which we were really into crossword puzzles. My brother always staunchly refused to use this book (which provides possible answers for common hints) because he thought it was cheating. It was. I have absolutely no idea how I wound up with this book, nor do I want to keep it. Though it might come in handy for someone who loves crossword puzzles and lacks Internet access. 

Progress: 392 items out of 400 = 98% done.