To sell or not to sell? That is the question!

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When I saw this comic the other day about a yard sale or “Lawn Belongings Transfer” it reminded me of our first & last garage sale. I remember it took all weekend (and many hours before that to price things, set up, advertise, put up signs and tend to our sale. All in all I think that we made under $200. Yes, many things found a new home and I do believe in reducing waste as much as possible, but giving them away by contacting a charity truck or to someone in a “buy nothing” group is much simpler and easier.

Do you like to sell your unwanted items? Do you enjoy the time it takes? I would say most people would much rather spend their free time doing fun or relaxing things other than posting things for sale, holding a garage sale, shipping the items or haggling over prices. Your time is amazingly valuable, it is a finite resource that you never, ever get back. I always consider this when thinking about selling any items that I no longer use or find joy in displaying in my home. Throwing away things is a last resort by all means for me as I am working on a very low-waste lifestyle, however I find much more joy and satisfaction in giving away the items.

I encourage clients to donate and recycle as many of their unwanted items as possible. This really is the best solution for the following reasons:

  1. Your time is immeasurably valuable: I know that as a person who values peace and freedom in my days which I have created by minimizing my things and minimizing my time commitments, most of the time you would rather spend your free time doing your hobbies, relaxing, reading a good book or catching up with a friend over coffee, tea or lunch. Posting lots of items online to sell can take a lot of time because you have to follow up with the buyer, ship the item, arrange a pick up of the item or drop it off. This can take so much more time for very little money unless the item is very valuable. Very few items are worth the time.

  2. The space you will quickly gain is more valuable: If you arrange for a charity truck to pick up your items quickly, you will gain more space and more peace of mind in your home in a short amount of time. You can reclaim a whole room in a matter of a day if you arrange for a swift pick up or drop off your items quickly at a donation center. I advise clients to do this as fast a possible so that they can enjoy the spaces in their homes again.

  3. The freedom you gain is more valuable than the money: The time freedom and the space freedom that you gain in your home is more valuable than the $2.50 or $5 per small item monetary gain that you get by selling your unwanted items. You gain freedom by quickly donating items because you will rid yourself of: frustration, stress, anxiety and more about the items that you have to post, process or deal with while selling them. If you spend too much time selling items many parts of your home will become a staging area for a bazaar instead of a real living space that you can enjoy.

  4. You can get a tax-write-off for your donations: You can get a receipt for each donation that you make. You do need to look up fair market values for items but that is easily done online. Once you get the receipt you can write the market value of the items that you donated and keep this for your tax records. At tax time you can submit these with your taxes. All of these donations can add up to some great tax savings!

I realize that clients will want to sell a few of their items, especially the more valuable or larger items before they part with them. That is perfectly okay. There is a balance that is different for everyone. I do encourage clients to choose only up to 5 items per area to sell; so that they are not overwhelmed by the selling process and thus stall the progress of clearing their home.

My wish is that these tips help you let go of more of your things and help you to create more freedom and peace in your life!

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need  support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

I have 3 home clearing packages to choose from: 

Services:

http://expansive.me/services

Is Your Clutter Stealing Your Energy?

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One of my clients relayed this story the other day to me as she worked on de-cluttering her home. She had a major realization about a box she had ignored for quite some time.

That box was hiding behind my shelf and I needed to get something out of somewhere. I needed to move it. So, it’s been on my bedroom floor for like 3 weeks. It was really annoying me and full of stuff. It had coat hangers, a pair of curtains, a magazine rack and a couple of e-book print-outs.

So, it really took me 15 minutes to empty and put the stuff away. But, the amount of psychic energy that it drained out of me the 3 weeks that it was in there and actually probably the year that it’s been hiding, it’s like far more.

People might think they don’t have time to de-clutter, but it’s a time suck, hidden energy suck of not clearing.

Now I’m going to use it (the box) to put all my containers (food containers) in, which is another box that’s overflowing.

—Harriet

We often move quickly through our day and toss our things in random boxes, bags or shelves and do not realize the effect it is having on our daily energy. As my client mentioned, the time that it took to clear that box and make everything more useful was only 15 minutes compared to around a year of sucking energy out of her seeing that box on a daily basis.

It is way more valuable than we realize to clear our spaces because it brings us not only peace of mind and an ability to find what we need, it also gives us energy back!

Once your spaces are clear and your clutter is gone, there are homes for the things that you use and love, you will find a different energy in your day, in your life and in your home.

Instead of tripping over boxes and bags, spending time and energy wondering where your important things are, and feeling overwhelmed you can spend your energy on more important things like being with friends and family and relaxing!

What things are in your way that are stealing your energy? What areas are you tripping over on a daily basis? Let me know in the comments below!

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need  support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Recycling can be Clutter Too

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At our home, one week is yard waste week and one week is recycling week. We have a very small trash bin and a very large recycling bin. I have always tried to recycle as much as possible and not throw away a lot. However, the other day I got an “oops” notice that I could not recycle takeout containers or frozen food boxes. It turns out there are several items that cannot be recycled in our area.

Then, about 2 weeks ago for some reason the truck forgot to take our recycling. Our bin was very full, so now we have an overflow of recycling in our garage. I have boxes I am filling with recycling until it is picked up again on Wednesday morning.

Given that I spend quite a bit of time on recycling and dealing with it, especially when there is a backlog, it really made me think about the packages of items that I was bringing home after grocery shopping. So many things come in plastic clam-shells, plastic bags or other types of plastic tubs and containers. Very few plastic containers (even if they have a recycling symbol/number on them) can be recycled in our area. So, even though it may make it to the recycling plant, it may get thrown away anyway. And, recycling takes quite a bit of energy.

In a way I am glad that we have had these experiences recently because it made me think- “Wow! Having too much recycling or bringing in too many packaging items when grocery shopping is a form of clutter as well.” I was cluttering up our garage with lots of extra packaging that may or may not be recyclable. This realization made me take lots of action. It will be a gradual, continual process of change which I will update you all on, but I feel that I have made headway already.

My goal is to get down to mostly recycling: glass, paper and metal. These materials are much easier to recycle and take less energy to do so. Recycling these items is a win-win because we save a lot of water and raw materials by recycling them.

Plastics on the other hand are very complicated to recycle and also just because it has a number on it doesn’t mean it will be recycled in your area, or at all. Those number just state the type of plastic that is used. Single-use plastics are the ones that we should be most concerned about. These are ones that are used for packaging or things like takeout containers or forks, spoons, knives used at food trucks, for camping or picnics.

Here is a quote from an article I found online by Viv who sells compostable food supplies:

“While a number of plastics are now recyclable, EcoCycle encourages you to avoid plastic and single-use packaging as much as possible—in the past 45 years, it’s increased more than 10,000%!”

Wow!! An increase of 10,000% in single use plastic use. I can believe it as I look around my kitchen cupboards and realize there are many products I will not be buying anymore unless I can find them in non-plastic packaging.

Here are some things that I have started doing to reduce plastic waste and reduce our recycling as well.

Reducing Plastic at the Grocery Store:

When you go grocery shopping you can reduce the single-use plastics that you bring home by paying close attention to what the products are packaged in. Also, I have stopped using plastic bags at the store for my fruits and vegetables. I can either use mesh bags, put them in re-usable bags I have brought from home, or just put them straight into the cart. I have started to make sure that as many bottled items come in a glass bottle and preferably with a metal lid. Yesterday when I went shopping I decided to buy broth base in a glass jar with a metal lid instead of buying broth in a carton with a plastic lid. All in all I only came home with 1 plastic jar of a condiment that I couldn’t find a current alternative for. I will continue to find ways to reduce and ultimately not bring home any plastic packaging as time goes on. Next will be to buy in bulk using my own bags or jars.

Farmer’s Market:

I am also going to make a real effort to shop more at the local farmer’s market because plastic packaging is not so prevalent there. I of course have a lot of reusable bags I can use and many of the products are packaged in paper or in glass jars. Also because the products are produced locally it doesn’t take as much fuel use to get them to shoppers. This is a great win-win situation where you are creating less waste, fewer items to recycle and you are supporting local farmers and makers.

Making Your Own:

Another way to reduce single-use plastic packaging is to make some of the items that you usually buy in the grocery store yourself. Three examples that I have tried or will try that usually come in plastic packaging are the following:

Bread: While you sometimes can get bread in a paper bag, many loaves come in plastic bags. Knowing that we buy at least 1 loaf a week, I decided to teach my son how to make bread. We made 2 loaves and then wrapped them in fabric bags to be stored on the counter for slicing for sandwiches and toast. My son was thrilled, had fun and noted that the bread tasted amazing!

Pasta: Many types of pasta come in plastic bags or in cardboard boxes with plastic windows in them. This week I am going to show my son how to make pasta since we have a pasta roller and cutter at home. We will make a batch of fresh pasta to use for dinner and it will save packaging!

Yogurt: Usually every week I buy Greek yogurt. I always buy the largest container that I can, but it is still a plastic container. For this reason I looked up how to make yogurt online and it is so easy! As soon as I am done with the yogurt I have in the refrigerator I will make my own.

As time goes on I am sure that we will make lots of other items that we usually buy in packages. We will continue to reduce our waste and recycling.

Take Out Containers:

Last night I tried an experiment and it worked great! We went to a local restaurant to celebrate my husband’s birthday. I know that we always take leftovers home with us and since these containers cannot be recycled in our area, I decided to bring two glass containers from home to the restaurant to put our leftovers in. This worked perfectly! Sure enough, we filled both containers with our leftovers and there was no food waste and no container waste either!

Buy Locally:

When you buy items locally (not just groceries) you reduce the amount of packaging because you can bring your own bags and you are not creating more recycling by having all of those cardboard boxes and packing materials to sort through. Also, it takes less fuel/transport to get the items to you. There are some wonderful zero waste products that you may need to order online, but those companies usually use very little packaging and it is easily recycled or even can be sent back to be re-used. I know that my local UPS store will take packing materials and re-use them which is a plus for those times when you need to order certain things online.

Vintage Clothing:

For my summer wardrobe(since I have de-cluttered old summer outfits) I have my eye on going to the local, beautiful vintage clothing store for a couple of special items. In this way I am reducing waste because this clothing is getting re-used and given a new life. Much of vintage clothing is also made from more natural fibers such as cotton and silk. It’s great to be excited about making old clothing new again by getting a “new-to-you” outfit.

I would love to hear your ideas on reducing plastic waste and other waste. Comment below or send an email to me:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Joyful Minimalism:

If you are ready to explore your things but need weekly/daily support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. I have accountability packages & coaching packages: 

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com


Don't judge me!

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Above: a photo of our garage project in progress. We still have some large items to give away, etc. :)

Recently I was at a client’s home and was helping her with ways to re-organize and downsize a bedroom closet and desk area. I helped her come up with lots of ways to make the space the most user friendly and we had a great time chatting about what to do next.

After going through that room, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to show me a second “catch-all” room as she called it. It is an extra room in her home. She allowed me to take a look and give her ideas on how to best go through the items in that room and clear them. I had no judgement about the room, I feel honored that she allowed me to see it in its current state and to help her with ideas on it. I let her know that she could go through items that she had dominion over first, and then work with her family members on the remaining items.

I find that often the biggest hurdle for clients is the judgement they feel they will get from me if they let me see their spaces that they are ashamed of. There is no shame, no judgement, only progress to be made. I think it is important to realize that we are all human and that we all are going through our things in a different way.

I shared with this client that I am still struggling with our garage a bit because there are still a few large items to decide upon, figure out who to give them to and also some final items to sort through. My husband and I have the goal of getting both cars into the garage, especially because by the end of the year we would like to get a new car to replace a very old commuter car that we have. It is all a process and especially when you need to decide together, projects like this can take time and we must withhold judgement and be patient not only with ourselves but with our family members.

Above you can see photos of the garage. It has come a long way, but there are still areas to work on together as a family to make our goal of storing both of our cars in the garage. We are getting closer & closer so we need to be gentle with ourselves, not judge others and keep moving forward with the last of our de-cluttering effort.

I encourage you to be gentle with yourself, where you are in the process and how you work with others de-cluttering in your home.

Do you have house shame or shame about certain areas or rooms in your home? Feel free to comment below or email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

With love, patience, kindness and non-judgement—

—Trista