Revive your daily carry

It’s a new year. Get it off to a good start by paring the things you always have with you down to just the right ones. Clear out the accretions of the past months and don’t weigh yourself down with the obsolete.

Take your wallet, purse, backpack, or any other container o’ stuff that you carry with you most of the time and empty it completely onto a table. Clean the container; shake out the dust, even vacuum the bottom of that big bag if it will help clear away the needless grit of the past.

Now take a moment to think about your true minimums. What do you always want with you? What routinely saves you from hassles? It’s very nice not to schlep around unnecessary weight, so don’t automatically put back in everything you were carrying before. Has your life changed such that you use different things while you’re out and about? Have you upgraded or streamlined any of your tools such that you can eliminate redundancy? Can you go to a smaller wallet or bag and lighten your load?

Set yourself up for having just what you need, both in the sense of “exactly” and “only” what you need.

Get back, get back to where you once belonged

Put on the Beatles album Let It Be. Create some pleasing sanity in your home.

Here are some suggestions of things you might do.

Phase one, in which Doris gets her oats:
– Move the clean dishes out of the dishrack to their proper homes.
– Move dirty dishes around the house into the sink.
– Move recycling laying around the house (hello, piles of newspapers) into the bin, setting aside the "catalogs you do not regularly order from" which will be dealt with later

Yes, you can celebrate anything you want:
– Put away any clean clothes that are not where they belong
– Move the dirty clothes, wherever they have wandered, to the hamper

I me mine:
– Put things you're in the middle of reading to hand beside your reading spots in some orderly fashion, even propped up in a shoebox adds an acceptable orderliness
– Put unread books together somewhere other than to hand beside your reading spots (Don't create a nagging pile to stare at you all the time)
– Put things you don't want to read again more than three times in the next 6 years in the "donate" or recycling pile as appropriate, setting magazines you don't want to get anymore with the catalogs in that category

Oh dirty Maggie Mae they have taken her away:
– Take a quick look in the fridge for any spoiled food that should hit the trash
– Get rid of that stale loaf of french bread; what are you planning to do? Pound nails?

Everybody put their foot down:
– Weed the pile of shoes and/or coats by the front door down to a reasonable, non-chaotic assortment and put the rest away
– Dump the small trash cans into the big can

Get back, jojo, get back home
– Take out the trash and recycling
– Sit down with the unwanted catalogs and cancel them through Catalog Choice
– cancel any magazines you don't want to come anymore, maybe transferring the balance of issues onto a local library if it's easy to do so

All together now, "I would like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we've passed the audition."

Hey, nice house!

Discardian weekend: the intro

Hi gang, long time no post. I'm still alive and crazy busy, but life is good. What happens when it's really, really good & busy? Pileup! Aieee!

This weekend is all about getting back to your happy place. Do these things on Thursday night or Friday morning or first thing when you get home Friday after work.

Step one is dealing with the essentials.

1) Water
Go get a big glass of water right now. Now. Do it.

Okay, I've got mine too. Water is the means for your body to do a little discardia of its own. Purge out the bad stuff, set yourself up for the good stuff. Drink that glass of water all up while you work your way through this post and then refill it when you're done and have another.

2) Food
Nothing fancy, just eat a small meal with something good for you and something yummy. And while you're preparing it, if you come across anything spoiled in the fridge don't you dare set it back in there. Throw it in the trash and carry that nasty baggage out of your house.

3) Sleep
Are your sheets dirty? Change 'em now. (Always have a change of sheets; it radically improves your quality of life.)

Now lie down on the bed for a moment and see what the first thing you're going to see when you wake up is. If you don't like it and it isn't nailed to the wall, get it out of your sight.

In my case, the sheets are okay but there are clothes all over the place. Clean clothes back from the laundry, stuff that can be worn again that needs to be hung up, new clothes I bought over the weekend, dirty clothes on the floor.  I'm putting those all away.

How long did it take? Sometimes I do the whirlwind action, but tonight I felt like relaxing, so it took about 4 old episodes of Gary Vaynerchuk's Wine Library TV. And I even got Joe's unread magazines into a nice little rack arrangement under the bedside chair they'd been piled on. Fluffed comforter, reading light on by the bed, covers turned back. Ready for my return shortly. What a lovely bedroom!

4) Motivation
One more step. We took care of the last thing we see before sleeping and first after waking. Now make sure that walking in the front door doesn't drag down your mood. Straighten that doormat, tidy that shoerack, put away (or at least move) that clutter in the front hall. Let the first sight of home remind you of what you like about this place, not of your to-do list.

Ahhhh. Nice.

Looking back on a year of Discardia

As I wind down to the end of my post-a-day on Discardian goal, I'm thinking about what turned out to be the most valuable habit to start.

Surprisingly, perhaps, it is one of the smallest and most simple: whenever you're using something (a room in your house, your purse or backpack, your computer) regularly ask "what doesn't belong here?" and then do something about it.

Why is my home more pleasant than it used to be? It's not setting out to clean house more often. Rather, it's the accumulation of lots and lots of almost unnoticed moments of tidying up. Carrying an empty glass back to the kitchen, hanging up the wool skirt I wore yesterday, throwing out that downloaded install file I'm done with that's sitting on my computer desktop, clearing the small coins out of my backpack pocket, moving those pants that aren't flattering from the floor where I rejected them out into a Goodwill bag, swirling water with my hand around the sink after brushing my teeth to clear away the toothpaste residue, wiping down the top of the stove with a wet paper towel while I wait for something to heat in the microwave…

I guess that's the big message of Discardian: the little changes add up.

Keep steadily leaning your life in the direction of the life you want to be living. Every now and then you'll suddenly stop and notice how much gradual progress you've made without huge efforts.

Chore Lottery

Got a bunch of periodic cleaning tasks that you're not so good about getting to? Write them on slips of paper, drop them in a jar and then make a routine of regularly drawing a chore to do right now. Put the done one's under the jar until every one has been done, then put them all back in the jar.

Some ideas for your slips:
– clean the kitchen sink
– cobweb & dustbunny patrol
– sweep the porch/sidewalk in front/deck/stairs
– scrub the toilet
– make the table pretty (clear it, shake or replace the tablecloth, put on a centerpiece)
– shine shoes
– clean the stove top & oven
– make the place guest-ready
– purge a shopping bag of papers/catalogs/etc.
– gather together all the things that need to be given/returned to someone else
– safety drill (check smoke alarm, practice evacuation, check flashlight batteries, freshen emergency water, etc.)

Let Your Fingers Do The Walking Right Out The Door

When was the last time you used a printed phone book? And the time before that?

Me, I can't even remember when it was. I look everything up online now. Even if you do use the printed books, though, you probably only need to keep the latest, and only one of it.

Go search around your house and purge all those old phone books to the recycling bin. They take up a bunch of space for very little value these days.

Little Caves of Chaos

Venture, my brave friends, into those dusky recesses under your sinks and set them to rights.

Throw away (bearing in mind local hazardous waste disposal recommendations) ancient cleaning products from beyond the mists of history.

Cast dessicated sponges to the rubbish bin.

Swab out the dust bunnies, and, if they are particularly large, see if you can enlist them in the noble duty of cleaning the floor instead of just lollygagging around on top of it. (Do not hold out much hope of success in that endeavor).

Tidy it up and add to the shopping list any supplies necessary to make it a functioning cleaning supply cupboard again.