2017 End of Year Update

I can’t believe another year has passed!

This is the time of year people reflect on their previous year and make plans/goals for the upcoming year.

So how did we do with last year’s goals?  Depends on how you look at it!

√-  Our decluttering goal was to rid the house of 2017 items.  We got rid of 1506 items.  That brings our total since we began counting in fall 2014 to 15,519!  Not quite our goal but better than nothing!
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More stuff gone in December (empty turbotax case and phone book we never use among the gems!)


GOAL REVIEW

√+  We wanted to have a No Spend Month.  Well we did it last February!  Surprisingly (or maybe not) we have been more aware of purchases than we were even before this experiment.   We are contemplating another one this month but with our first granddaughter due any day, I’m not willing to do no spending just yet.  We will have travel expenses to see her (I suppose we could eliminate this from the “rules” but then there will be meals out, etc to contend with.)

√-  Next, we wanted to thoroughly go through the garage.  Most of our big decluttering in January and July were due to decluttering the garage.  Not quite as much as we would like but it looks better than before Jan 2017.

X  The last big goal was to clear out enough of the garage to put a car in it and purchase a new garage door and opener.  Well, the car still parks every night in the driveway.  The big item that seems to be holding this up is the full-size Air Hockey Table.  We just need to suck it up and figure out a way to sell/give it away.  The facebook for sale and craigslist for our area has a lot of these and they aren’t moving even if the price is $0.  Not sure how we will deal with this – maybe we need to start having our air hockey championships again!  Granted, it was a lot fun when the kids and their friends were involved – just us, not sure.

On the personal goals:
√ √ 0 X  Barb is drinking more water!  She is “officially” a descendant of the Mayflower;  she didn’t gain any weight (and only lost about 5 pounds for the year); and the picture boxes are untouched.
√+ 0 X  John is tracking his blood sugar every day (like he was supposed to do all along!) and has found that alcohol affects it (he needed to see the results himself!)  He didn’t gain any weight (also only lost about 5 pounds for the year);  and we can’t park in the garage (see above).

While we both had some successes and some “failures”, we are quite happy with how our year turned out.  We are less stressed about STUFF and other things in general, eating healthy meals at home more often than before, and enjoying doing other things that we wouldn’t have before.  Guess we need to start writing about those things too!

So now off to think about the goals for 2018!

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November 2017 Update

Our November wasn’t too productive on the decluttering front. We removed 6 items from the house.  That gives us 1435 items so far in 2017.

I doubt we will hit 2017 but that is OK.  We decluttered like crazy for 2 years and removed so much during that time (over 15,000 items!).  We are now finding occasional things that can leave – removing an item we want/need just because we have a 2017 goal is really stupid!

We have noticed that less comes into the house – that’s a good thing!

We took a weekend trip to Sequoia National Park during the month.  It was nice to get away for a weekend.  We were able to spend it with Kiddo #2 – her first weekend off since July and she wanted to spend it with us!!  It helps that she is averaging about 85 hours a week and really wanted to feel like it was something “unique”.

Feeling small in the world next to General Sherman.  This definitely puts a lot of things into perspective.

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We had 2 different Thanksgiving dinners – one at John’s mom’s house with his sister and her family, the two of us, and his brother.  Kiddo #2 was able to surprise us by getting off work early on Thanksgiving and arrived about half an hour after we sat down to eat.

Dinner #2 was at our house – just us and kiddo #2 on Saturday.  We love making a turkey and all the trimmings!  Nothing fancy but nice to enjoy seeing the kiddo twice in the same week!

Somehow the pic was taken before the gravy and veggies (roasted brussel sprouts) were put on the table!

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October 2017 update

It seems like yesterday I was writing about decluttering our keychains and then looked at the date – 4 weeks ago!

On the decluttering front, we removed 12 items from the house in October.

Grand total so far this year: 1429 items

This doesn’t seem like much but when you consider that we have now removed over 15,000 items from our lives.  We have both spent too many hours to document cleaning out emails and digital files (which we didn’t count).

Can we stop decluttering?  Of course not!  But I think our focus/outlook on what is essential has gradually changed over the last 2 years.  I think it will still be important to occasionally go through those same closets and drawers again.

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source:  http://www.relatably.com/m/img/cluttered-memes/meme.jpg

 

 

August 2017 Update

57 more items left the house!  Just when we think we are finally done, we find more stuff that seems unnecessary.  Decluttering has become second nature and we are finding we aren’t as focused on the counting (even though we still do it) as we are on clearing our space.   1355 items so far this year!

Some realizations – our daily habits have changed:
The little bit of mail we still get gets sorted, put away, and/or disposed of as soon as it enters the house – no more letting it pile up “until we have time to go through it”.

The kitchen counters are clear almost all the time!

You can open any closet or drawer without fear!

We both even spent an evening recently clearing our email, saved documents, and such from our computers all because we have the time to do so!  It amazes us how much “free” time we have now that we aren’t having to spend as much time cleaning up to clean or stressing about the condition of the house.

 

Here are a few of the pictures that didn’t make it to being their own post.  Imagine, we are getting rid of some reusable bags.  Why?  We aren’t shopping as much and haven’t used them in over 2 years!

July 2017 Update

It seems had to believe this month is over already!

The end of July means the both of us have to return to work (sigh), John on the 3rd and Barb on the 4th.

We decluttered 560 items on this forced staycation.  Our 17 day July(ish) Challenge was successful!  We have 2 more days but I think we will make it!

We have decluttered 1298 items so far this year!

We calculate we need to average 54 items per week to meet our goal of 2017 items in 2017.  Is it possible?  YES!  Will we make it? Sure hope so!

Now that we are going back to work, we look forward to using the Instant Pot.

Beans have been mastered!  Artichokes were attempted.  The crock pot feature works wonderfully!  Happy meal prep is ahead!!

 

June 2017 Update (and a new car)

We removed 51 items from the house.  738 less items this year to bother us!!

Here are a couple of pics!  We both cleaned off our desks but didn’t take pics of the resulting pile of paper.  The binders had old transparencies – does anyone still use an overhead machine??  She counted each binder as 3 since she separated the transparency and paper insert from each other – transparency into the recycle bin and paper inserts used for scratch printer paper (you know, the things you want to print out but don’t want to waste “good” paper for).  An old VHS tape we felt we could depart with and a set of sheets.  Extra dishes and wireless headphones from the motorhome – we couldn’t remember the last time we used these.

 


So much for our financial simplification though.  We decided to get a new car!  Brand new Prius V five – our first car with all the bells and whistles!  We gave the dealer a very specific color and model.  He found it about 2 days later.  Now to get those windows tinted!

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Our old 2010 Prius base model, which we’ve had for 7.5 years, is going to kiddo #2 for the bargain price of $5000 – we are still discussing her payment plan hahaha  Maybe a nice cruise or something when she begins making more money!!

John finally gets his 2003 Xterra back – it has been in the “possession” of a kiddo since 2005 when gas prices hit $2.50 a gallon.  He drove it until that magic value was hit and then traded with the kids.  Kiddo #1 was driving our tow vehicle (1992 Honda Civic, which was John’s parent’s tow vehicle until they got something a little bigger to tow).  Our Honda tow vehicle was replaced with a 2008 Nissan Sentra in 2008 and John still drives it every day – I can’t believe it’s been 9 years we’ve had this car!

The Xterra averages about 16 mpg, while the Civic and its replacement Sentra got significantly better and he is the commuter (about 12 miles each way).    Our gas prices here haven’t been that low since, so there was no “rush” to trade cars again with them.

Xterra possession:
2004-2005 John bought it a year old.
2005-2005 kiddo #1 – finish high school
2005-2007 kiddo #2 – finish high school
2007-2009 kiddo #1 – finish college
2009-2011 kiddo #2 – finish college
2011-2012 Barb – kiddo #2 was home and driving farther for her volunteer work and classes.
2012-2013 no one regularly drove it – and gas prices sucked, usually about $4 per gallon.
2013-2017 kiddo #2 – med school
2017-???    no one will regularly drive it but John is looking forward to having it back – 12 years later!!

 

May 2017 Update

Can you believe May 2017 is over???  This month flew by!  We have some great memories of this month!  We also spent more than anticipated celebrating!!  That’s ok – it was money well spent!

Kiddo #2 graduated from Medical School!!  We are so proud of her accomplishment!   She and Barb drove across the country to move her new apartment (and official first full-time job) in sunny southern California!  They drove 3 days covering 2700 miles towing a 5×8 uhaul trailer with all her belongings.  Guess that would qualify as minimalist living – she will have more space in an one bedroom place now.  She felt having a “real” job means she doesn’t need to live in a studio any longer.  Look – they even gave her a “physician” parking permit!  How exciting!!

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Both kiddos are in the same time zone as us!!  We are so excited!!

During May we decluttered 30 items – not much but Barb was still recovering from her illnesses and we celebrated a graduation on the other side of the country.  Total so far this year – 687 items removed from our home!!  Now we are “cheating” a little on these numbers this month – kiddo #2 did take with her 8 items: 3 blankets, 1 “big-ass draft” beer stein from the local bar in her college town, 2 reusable water bottles, 1 dresser (so sad to see it leave, it was in the nursery before we even brought kiddo #1 home), and 1 end table.

Some other stuff to leave this month:

 

It’s beginning to feel like we are really getting close to finished.  It’s weird to look at the house and not see all that needs to leave.  We are feeling so relaxed in our house!  There are still “tons” of pictures in boxes in the closet.  Guess I know what I’m doing (maybe) when we return from vacation!