Shop Your Closet #3: Decorations!

Are you still holding on to too many old holiday cards and little tiny figurines, toys & knickknacks? Turn them into decorations!

Photograph the ones you want to remember, but don't need to keep, and just put the picture up on Flickr with the story that goes with it.

Then cut out the pretty part of the cards (as Katie describes here), add a little twisted wire loop around the small objects, and thread a bright ribbon to hang them on your mantelpiece, in your windows, on a Christmas tree or from your picture rails.

Put some in your car or purse or backpack to give as a little gift when you visit people or attach them to presents instead of a bow.

At the end of the holidays, box away any you still love to use next year, save the ones you aren't quite ready to toss in a give-to-friends bag, and go hang the rest from parking meters or mailboxes!

Shop Your Closet #1: games!

How about digging in drawers & closets & toy boxes and pulling out all those old games that have been mouldering away?

Start a Battle of the Games* with family and friends to decide on a few favorites to keep. Then donate the rest to a local homeless shelters to keep people, especially the kids, making the best of a sucky situation.

*Battle of the Games pits two games against each other. You play two random or similarly themed ones back to back. Then everyone votes on which was their favorite. That one gets set aside to be played again. The other gets voted on for a second chance or to be put in the donate box right away.

Good bonus rule: play for a few rounds, until everyone has the hang of a game, then have a quick thumbs up or down to decide if you should keep playing. Don't waste time on stuff no one likes; there are TONS of great games out there, so don't suffer with duds.

Please put your recommendations and warnings in the comments!

Hypothetical Discardia

Do you have more than one personal email account or more than one email program with a pile of saved and/or unread mail in it? Think about each of them.

What if it suddenly went away?

Would you be sad or would you shrug?

If the former, find a way to make a backup of the contents. If the latter, decide why you still have it or get rid of it.

(Inspired by the sudden discovery that, not having logged into it in 4 months, my Yahoo Mail account was completely deleted. Presumably they tried to notify me, um, through my Yahoo mail account. First reaction: "Aaaah!" This was followed a moment later by: "Oh. Now I'll never have to sort out those last 50 messages or so that were in there. *shrug*")

Let go of your silly attachment to this flesh you inhabit

All Soul's Day is a good time to remember that your body will serve you no purpose after you die.

Identify yourself as an organ donor and let your family know you want to have your body parts distributed to someone who needs them after you've passed on.

Learn more at or search for a similar resource in your country if you're outside the United States.

Send even the sentimental stuff on to a new home when the time comes

This very funny "free if you come get it" offer came through on my company's community email list and reminded me to remind everyone that even the special item sometimes reaches the end of its life with you:

15 years ago, my wife came home with this giant earth-mover tire on top of our Toyota. It's about 3 feet across (maybe a little more), and weighs a whole lot. We stood it up next to our kids' play structure, buried it about one-quarter of the way into the dirt, and it provided years of climbing and sliding fun. Now, the kids are teenagers, and seem to have lost interest in it. Fickle!

Even the good stuff can move on to make room for the life you're living now (or want to be living!)

Why do you have so much junk?

One important thing to remember is that virtual clutter – for example old emails and bookmarked websites – doesn't interfere with your life quite the same way physical stuff does. In fact, it can often just sit there quietly waiting until you have time to dig it up again (or else it gets lost in the electronic equivalent of a house burning down and y'know you can recover from that too).

Last year, Mark Morford wrote a really great column called Why Do You Have So Much Junk? Oh yes you do. And there are TV shows to prove it. Question is, what are you gonna do about it?

You have way too much crap.

I'm just guessing. Guessing that right now, in your life, in
your closets and in your garage and in your car trunk and in your brain
and even in your desk drawer you have way, way too much stuff, far more
than any one person or single family needs and, oh my God, have you
even seen your closet lately?

Have you seen that riot of old towels and curtain rods and
board games you haven't looked at in three years? The old guitar and
five pairs of mangy boots and a pile of old T-shirts and two disposable
Epson printers and a teetering stack of empty Amazon boxes and four
dumbbells and ancient college papers and a power drill and a bunch of
old coats and classic porn VHS tapes and an underused Mesa Boogie
guitar amp and assorted wrapping paper collected since the Clinton
administration? Oh wait, maybe that's my closet.

and one more taste of a bit I particularly liked:

It is one of the healthiest things you can do. Honest psychologists
and good spiritual healers often advise patients with overactive minds
and squirrel-like attention spans and problems focusing and problems
sleeping, they will tell them not to pop some Ritalin or merely
take an herbal tincture and eat more leafy greens, but to go home right
now and, yes, clean out your closets. Clear out your clutter. Strip it
all to the beautiful essentials and then keep it that way.

Okay, gang, you know what to do! Read that fun column and then ride that inspiration into getting rid of more dumb stuff you have around for no good reason.

It’s time: #3 – watch it or dump it

Hello you Netflix & Tivo subscribers and chronic movie renters and library DVD checker-outers and movie buyers. How many unwatched shows do you have sitting around? And how long have they been waiting for your attention?

If they don't linger for long, then good for you. Carry on, just be sure that anything in your home at the start of the weekend, gets some action by the end of it.

However, for the rest of us, with, oh for example, two unwatched movies bought months ago and two Netflix discs that only arrived a few days ago but only because I sent back the two that had sat there for weeks I tell you weeks, here's the plan:
– cancel the Netflix account
– don't buy any new movies until you've watched the ones you already bought
– only check out things you'll definitely watch tonight or tomorrow.

Take that subscription money and those saved late fees and foolish expenditure funds and put 80% of it into savings and invest the rest in really good chocolate. Now THAT I bet you'll take care of tonight.

Ahhhh… Sunday.

Sundays are really good days to kick back and let go of your usual obligations. Sleep in, read the big newspaper, putter around, work on projects, or just sit in a café with a book.

Hmm? Discardian tip?

Oh yeah, uh, well, turns out you can remove common warts with duct tape. Who knew? Do note in the comments the citation of a clinical study supporting the folk wisdom and giving a clearer description of the method to be used.