purge

Doing Good on No New Clothes – Kinda?

Letting people know what you are doing really helps. I have been telling my mom and my friends so they know my goal is to not purchase any new clothes for the rest of this year.

Friends can be helpful and not helpful in this situation. Luckily, I have a helpful friend. Before going on a recent camping trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, I considered investing in some Keen sandals for our planned kayak down the Platte River. As I was asking a friend about her pair of Keens, she reminded me that I was not supposed to be buying anything.

I tried some excuses on her such as:

  • these are shoes, not clothes
  • they are a necessity (they aren’t, I don’t kayak that often)
  • they are a good deal
  • it is an investment
  • and so on and so forth

In the end, I knew she was right. So I did not buy them and I didn’t end up needing them for kayaking.

 

sleepingbear3

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – didn’t need new shoes for this! 

 

This situation reminded me of the time I gave up dessert for Lent. Since I could not have cookies, I ended up eating a bunch of donuts and pop tarts because I declared that they weren’t dessert, but breakfast items.

Anyway, while I have not been buying new clothes, I have noticed a slight uptick in buying things. Mostly it is stuff we needed, or replacing items with a more durable option. I am recycling our plastic soap dispensers and purchasing stainless steel pumps and bulk hand soap instead. To avoid any temptation, I try to peruse Craigslist and stay off of store websites.

At the moment, I myself have not purchased any new clothing or shoes. To be fair, I do have to mention that it is my birthday this month, so I have received some new clothing as gifts. Since I did not make the transaction, I am leaving that out for now.

Any suggestions for keeping friends and family on your side when you are trying not to spend?

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Bye Bye Bye: Donation Pick Up Day

Today, our donations are being picked up by Amvets (see earlier post for where everything else is going). So I got to spend most of yesterday afternoon hauling bags up from the basement. The majority of this stuff had already been piled to be donated, or had yet to come from my closet. Right now I have the basement divided up into numerous piles:

  1. To be moved with me
  2. To be donated to Amvets
  3. To be donated to Neat Repeats
  4. To be recycled

Luckily (sarcasm) we have a room in the basement that has essentially become our holding area of stuff. We just call it “The Room” and usually if anything is in there, it is meant to be donated, stored for the time being, or we just are not sure what to do with it.

donate pile

Here are some things you can see in the above picture that are heading out the door to someone else who may need/want it:

  • Alarm clock/ipod player from college that woke me up for the past 7 years
  • Some pots and pans that I am not even sure where they came from
  • 2 yellow Target pillows from college
  • Denim loveseat cover
  • My brother’s old bed spread
  • Old Christmas decorations that have to be 20+ years old
  • Lap desk that I did lots of homework on and occasionally use as a meal tray
  • Lamp base I bought at a garage sale in IN

We do not use this stuff sitting in “The Room” and I am sure someone else could. So I am glad my pillows will get to spruce up someone’s home instead of sit in my basement.

 

Where Is My Stuff Going? Donation and Recycling Centers

My move is coming up in just a few short days and I am starting to get a bit overwhelmed with what is coming with me and where other things are going to new homes.

I had to make a list of where everything was going just to keep track!

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  • Small Appliances– Amvets and Neat Repeats

I am in the Chicagoland area, so my list is based off of what is available in my area.

Do you have a list or know of a list of recycling and donation centers you have used in your city?

6 Years and 8 Apartments Worth of Stuff

I have acquired many things over the years. I have also lived in a number of situations throughout school, grad school, and post-grad school. I have lived alone, with 4 roommates, with 2 roommates, and with 2 separate Craigslist roommates (that did not go so well either time).

Since graduating from high school, I have lived at 8 different addresses between 2 states (although District of Columbia is technically not a state, yeah yeah yeah).

Each housing situation is different. Not just because I was in a different apartment or house, but because depending on how many roommates you are living with, what you need varies. Additionally, each apartment I have lived in has been unique. So that step stool I needed to reach above the kitchen cabinets in one apartment, was not necessary for another.

What you need for living alone varies wildly from what you need to have when you are living with 4 other people.

Not only do I have my own stuff I purchased for these living situations (either new or from Craigslist or garage sales), but I also have some of my older brother’s college stuff, and my cousin’s.

Each time I moved back home for the summer, my school stuff would get piled in the attic or the basement, ready for me to add more to it the next school year and also leave some behind. Before I knew it, 6 years passed from when I first left for college. So that is 6 years and 8 apartments worth of things.

Now that I am moving into my 9th apartment, it is time to go through the 8 other apartment’s stuff, which I started doing this weekend.

garage stuff

For the most part, this is stuff from my last 2-3 apartments that has been in the attic. 

I got my boyfriend to come over and help me go through the attic and the basement. After all, he will be my new roommate, so if we want to keep something, he should be there to speak up. We went through a lot of things, as you will see in the pictures below.

stuff

School stuff that was in the basement (ex: super old printer)

I do have a question for you readers, how many of you use koozies to keep your drinks cold? I do not think I have ever in my life reached for a koozie, yet I have many of them. They are now a popular thing to give as favors at weddings, graduation parties, etc. Thanks, but no thanks. No more koozies for me.

koozies

Koozie-Palooza!

Speaking of drinks. I have plenty of plastic cups from college. What you see in the picture below is probably 1/8 of what I used to have. The super freshman reason I had so many was because my roommate and I tried to build a pyramid of cups in our dorm window. You know, to be cool. Ha!

pizza x cups

A VERY pared down collection of cups from college

I will keep going this week and next and will eventually post where I will be donating and recycling my items. Look out for that!

The Purge Pile is Growing

I did a lot of purging today, and man I was ruthless. I went through some of my closet, dresser, and drawers. Most of the time as I was going through my things, these thoughts popped into my head:

  • Wait, I still have this?
  • OMG, how old is this lotion/chapstick/nail polish/ etc.?
  • Did I wear this in high school?
  • I would not be caught dead wearing this
  • How many purses does one need?
  • I barely wear jeans, do I need 6 pairs?
  • Someone else will appreciate this more than me
  • When was the last time I did gymnastics, 6th grade?
  • I’m pretty sure the elastic in this has disintegrated
purge pile1

The beginning of what I dubbed, “The Purge Pile”

purge pile2

“The Purge Pile” begins to grow

purge pile4

“The Purge Pile” starts to take over my doorway.

purge pile3

All of the boxes in my closet that are headed to the recycling bin

My plan is to do a clothing/accessory swap with my friends before bringing my many bags to the donation center. Some other items will most likely end up on craigslist as well.

Do you have any other ideas on how to handle my “Purge Pile?”

I Am Emotionally Attached to My T-Shirts, Are You?

I am betting right now that you have an exorbitant amount of t-shirts. The are stuffed in a number of places throughout your room. They are under your bed, in your closet, and in your dresser. Maybe you even have some in a bag in the basement because you just can’t seem to part with them. When I moved to DC for a semester in college, I remember having a hard time deciding which 6 shirts I should bring with, then I somehow lost one, and I was weirdly upset about it.

You have collected t-shirts since you joined your first team sport in Kindergarten (that would be T-ball for me, see below).

t ball

Yup, this is from t-ball in the 90’s. Still have it. Under my bed.

You have shirts from school clubs, events, volunteering, and grabbing one shot from a t-shirt gun at a college basketball game. We clamor and fight over a free t-shirt that usually ends up being an XL and pretty ugly. Have you ever actually ended up wearing that t-shirt you fought so hard for? Probably not. If I have not donated that shirt, I might have ended up wearing it to bed.

Along with the random ones we have acquired over the years, there are ones that hold a special place in our hearts. We just cannot give them up. They hold memories and feelings you cannot just toss in the donation pile.

One way I have calmed the anxiety of purging t-shirts I am emotionally attached to, is by having my shirts made into the t-shirt quilt. That way I still get to keep those memories and I get to be snuggled up in them. It is even better than wearing them. I highly recommend a t-shirt quilt/blanket for anyone who has trouble letting go. I have had 2 made now. One was all my t-shirts up through high school and the second that was just finished was all my college shirts.

birthday gift

My first t-shirt blanket was a gift for my 20th birthday. It is gigantic!

tshirt blanket

My second was a Christmas present. Went for a little smaller one this time!

Obviously these are not all the t-shirts I own. I just picked special ones that fit well together. To get your shirts made into a blanket:

  • Find some one on Etsy
  • Go to a local craft fair, there usually is at least one booth dedicated to t-shirt quilts
  • Ask around! I had a local woman do it and I am so pleased that I got to support her as well as not have to ship my t-shirts somewhere. Additionally, I got to be a part of the process in person. We discussed what I was looking for, color schemes, fabrics, etc.

So, what other ways can you deal with the t-shirts you are emotionally attached to?

Moving = Opportunity to Purge

I am super excited to be moving into the City of Chicago on April 1st. While I have grown up in the suburbs of Chicago, I have never had the opportunity to actually live in the city. This is because I previously lived in Bloomington, Indiana, and Washington DC.

So with that excitement comes a lot of change and a lot of opportunities.

Since this blog is about living with less, I am going to take this chance to make some real decisions on how to live minimally and how to make a move less wasteful .

Ironically, I have a ton of stuff. It just accumulates over time. When I moved out to DC, I had only what could fit in the car. When I moved back to IL over a year and a half later, I had an entire van stuffed to the brim! Most of my stuff is not new either. I have countless pieces of furniture that I have “collected” over the years from friends, relatives, and craigslist.

I am not the only with this problem. There are plenty of other WordPress bloggers out there purging their closets too:

And you will find tons of posts and resources about it elsewhere:

Not only do I have too much stuff, this move comes with a combination of all my stuff, plus all my boyfriend’s stuff. We have both lived alone before, so we have almost double of everything. He is doing is own closet purge as well.

As we get closer to moving day, I will have to start going through my things and paring down what can fit in our 1 bedroom, 750 square foot apartment. It will definitely be an adjustment, but I am excited to do it! Do you have any suggestions for downsizing?