A new year update

January 1, 2009 at 10:19 pm (Decluttering, Moving to the US)

Happy New year 2009!  Exciting news — husband has his visa interview date scheduled for late January. This means we can be in the US by mid-to-late February!

This also means I have any lot of decluttering to do! I’ve uploaded a few photos to demonstrate.

The first photo is my desk area. Note the piles of paper, haphazardly arranged office supplies and the clutter all over the place? I am publicly shaming myself into sorting this out! And this is only the mess I comfortable sharing!! 🙂

The middle photo is the bookcase in the dining room. It contains all the books we would like to read before we leave aka The Reading Queue, plus a few (and I really do mean a few) of the books we like to keep. I know that it’s better to get rid of any books that aren’t once we frequently reference and can easily be replaced in the States…. it’s not easy though.

In the final photograph, we have the bookcase in the living room. This contains books and DVDs that we are giving away. It will probably fluctuate in volume … but I’ll be inviting friends over soon to come pillage these books plus everything else that isn’t worth selling like kitchen items, office supplies, towels, etc. etc.

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Reading marathon

November 15, 2008 at 6:33 pm (Decluttering, Me, Moving to the US) (, )

The husband and I have spent the majority of today decluttering the office/spare room. I have family coming to stay soon and I’d like them to have a properly relaxing room!

As we sorted through office supplies, files, scraps of paper, cables and all sorts of other detritus, we discovered even more books we had stashed away. We can’t take all of our books with us to the States (cost is prohibitive) so my queue of Books To Read is getting ever bigger.

So, I’ve decided that I won’t be watching any more TV just for the sake of it. I’ll be reading instead. At least for the rest of this week…….

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Still yearning for the US…

October 16, 2008 at 9:39 pm (Decluttering, DIY, House renovation, Moving to the US)

I still hope we can move to the US in early 2009. The yearning is still there! We just need to, oh, let’s see…

  1. Sand and paint all the new window frames
  2. Sand and oil the floorboards in the downstairs hall
  3. Sand and oil the floorboards in the office/2nd bedroom
  4. Decorate the office/2nd bedroom (during which time the other half will be working out of the dining room!)
  5. Continue decluttering and selling off/freecycling everything we won’t take with us
  6. Pay off our bills / maximise earnings

That’s all 🙂

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Socks: Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way, Part 1

June 29, 2008 at 12:15 pm (Decluttering, Me) (, , )

Life lessons learned the hard way …. keeping socks in order :

  1. Don’t expect both socks will enter and exit the washing machine at the same time.
  2. Don’t buy just one pair of socks.
  3. Instead, pretend you’re a spider and buy four pairs of socks. That way, you have a better chance of having actual matching pairs to wear. Also, as they wear out one by one, you can continue wearing them as pairs.
  4. At the very least, pretend you’re a sheep, cat, hippo etc.
  5. Don’t bother with cute little devices to keep socks together. They are clutter and a pain to use.
  6. Instead, use a corner of a non-sock drawer to store the orphaned socks. Try to reunite them every time you are putting away clean socks.

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Car Boot Sale – Nahhhh.

June 27, 2008 at 9:22 am (Decluttering) (, , , )

We’ve decided against doing the car boot sale. It’s too risky giving up most of a Sunday with no guarantees.

  • What the car boot sale is deserted?
  • What if the weather is terrible? This is quite likely, we’re in England after all.
  • What if no one wants our worldly household treasures?

Husband has been working extra hours recently to hit a deadline, so that’s even more reason to skip the car boot sale and instead focus on shifting our stuff using Amazon, eBay, freecycle etc. You know, the sitting down kind of decluttering!

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Sticky Situation x2

May 24, 2008 at 1:42 pm (Decluttering, DIY)

As we’ve taken up the carpet off the stairs, we found the same problem we experienced in our last house, a sticky glue was used to adhere the carpet underlay to the stairs. Okay, it makes sense from a safety point of view, but it is annoying to get off!

Husband has taken on the task of getting rid of the sticky stuff on the stairs (reports that a combo of sanding and scraping are working) and in the meantime I decided to clear out the bathroom cabinet. Unfortunately my cold wax gel had been on it’s side, and the lid wasn’t quite tight, which means it leaked out all over the bottom drawer. Sticky messes – what fun!

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Stuff Doesn’t Equal Happiness

May 19, 2008 at 7:37 pm (Decluttering, Moving to the US) (, )

Over the years, through countless moves around the US and the UK (and the big trans-Atlantic one nine years ago), I have come to realise that stuff does not equal happiness. During the first six weeks of my life in the UK, I survived with no furniture – just minimal clothing. We bought the kitchenware we needed, from a great little store called Kitchen Reject Shop. Oh, and we slept on an air mattress (ok, that sucked).

Living that way wasn’t comfortable, but it wasn’t horrible either. Fast forward seven years to when we first moved into this house, most of our furniture was in storage. We had a bed, a TV, our computers and a few other basics. No enormous stack of CDs and DVDs, no games console, and no books. Everything was in boxes. I look back and realize that this was a productive time in my life.

Since getting everything out of storage, it’s been all about finding a place for our stuff, and constantly seeing dust covering our stuff due to the building work that’s been happening on and off.

After unpacking all the books, we realised we were lacking bookshelves. For various ethical and ecological reasons, and because we are broke, we chose to get used bookcases off eBay. One is huge, a monster. Now that we are moving away, we have the added element of ridding ourselves of these bookcases. Do we leave them here for future tenants? Do we resell them on eBay?

I read somewhere that everything you own becomes a burden. You have to store it, clean it, maintain it, move it to a new home, insure it, and sometimes, dispose of it. Disposing …. a landfill is the easy option, but it is usually wrong for many reasons. There’s Freecycle, but let’s face it, that can be a pain in the butt filtering through 20+ responses and coordinating collection. Slightly easier is a charity shop, but they don’t take everything. If it’s worth anything, you can try to sell it, but that’s a huge time suck.

It’s just easier not to acquire it in the first place! 🙂

So, as we prepare to move to the US, I am really, really looking forward to clearing out the stuff we don’t need. Since the cost of shipping stuff to the US will be calculated by volume not weight, we have to be very selective about what we bring over. We’ll be sorting our possessions into five categories:

  1. take with us to the US
  2. sell
  3. give away
  4. read/watch then sell/give away
  5. store in the loft

I hope we don’t store very much. It’ll be mostly things like tools… actually I can’t think of anything else I can justify storing in our loft. I love my hand blender but it’s better to sell it then put in a box, leave in the loft and then sort through it again next time we’re clearing out the loft.

Actually all have to swot up on whether it’s worth bringing anything electrical to the US. I really love that hand blender!

I agree with this guy’s thoughts on clutter too.

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The house is ours.

November 20, 2006 at 11:06 pm (Decluttering, DIY, House renovation)

Today we completed the purchase on an 1894 terrace house. It only took 4 months to get to this point.

We’ve been busy sorting, Freecycling, packing, recycling, and carrying stuff the the charity shops. I’ve donated stuff to all four charity shops in town — equal opportunity I say.

Over the coming months we’ll be posting (the slow) progress of our house renovation and re-decorating, complete with photos. This will also give us the opportunity to share our happenings with friends and family, many who live awfully far away.

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