Monday, January 29, 2007

Poem: Except

I've wanted to post this brilliant poem for a few days now, so here it is:

Except
by Wendell Berry

Now that you have gone
and I am alone and quiet,
my contentment would be
complete, if I did not wish
you were here so I could say,
"How good it is, Tanya,
to be alone and quiet."

From How We Live Now, ed. John Repp, 1992

January 2007 tally

This is my TOP TEN tally for the month:

1. stuff given away: 11 + 15 (so far this week) = 26 things

2. poems written: 1

3. nervous breakdowns: 1 (after realizing I hadn't done any work at all over a weekend)

4. times I worked out at the gym: 4 (this is great for me!)

5. organized: medicine cabinet, boxes of gifts and wrapping

6. bought: food, Keeper, Sheese (also food), hangers (pre-compact)

7. joined: Seven-Things, Compact

8. rules broken: fashion websites (I visited many blogs, though they weren't really fashion), buy secondhand (hangers were new, sadly), stop analyzing/complimenting (need to work on this), tagged along with a friend who went window-shopping

9. list items complete: 22 (including today) - 1 left undone (baking muffins to freeze for breakfast)

Poem

I need a place to write and record my occasional poems and writings and this is as good a place as any. Here's today's:

Mathematica
is something I type
as I sit here meandering
among the forests of my mind.
It is a program, and an analysis
that makes me feel productive
and pulls me in when I am
feeling blah, oh just
Mathematica.

Observation:
When decluttering, it's important to declutter your mind. Writing things down helps me focus on what I need to do. My goal is to write down that thing that is going to nag me, then forget it and focus on the task at hand.

More than seven


I've been obsessive about getting rid of things this weekend. After last Friday, I have continually been looking for things to put into my give-away suitcase. I already have over 15 things, and that's despite counting groups of items as one (all the CDs I gave away counted as one thing, all the magazines as another). Of course, it still remains to be seen whether I will actually trek down to Goodwill next weekend to give them all away.

I've started to involve my husband in this process as well and got him to toss two shirts. A big accomplishment, but they do not count in my total.

I've almost forgotten about all my defashioning rules these days because they've become such a non-part of my life. In the morning I toss on whatever first comes to hand, I hardly watch tv, never read magazines (my new addiction is blogs), and haven't bought any clothes or really thought too much about fashion, so I feel satisfied with my current defashioning. I do still need to stop complimenting people on their clothes - that is a hard habit to break!

My next thing to do is to make up some curtains from some thin scarves I have. I have a rod and brackets, but need to sew and put them up. That will help me sort through my fabric stash as well. The scarves are white, pale yellow, pale olive, and baby pink.

I'd like it to look like this, but in lighter colors (and maybe without the top drape). It may be my weekend project.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Reduce, reduce, reduce

Along with Compact, I've decided to do the Seven Things Project as well. They go hand in hand: get rid of seven things a week while not buying anything new. It'll be a good exercise in letting go.

What I love about Seven Things is that the giving/selling away of stuff is called "releasing," as in releasing them from your life. To me that gives each thing new importance: it's been trapped in your life for too long or without purpose, and there it goes off into the world to have a new life and freedom of its own, to find a place where it is loved and needed. It reminds me of The Velveteen Rabbit, a lovely children's story.

The seven things I released this week are:

- express jeans: my "tight" jeans, which I finally realized will never fit
- 4 more cassettes: I purged most of my cassettes to charity and my sister and was hanging on to a few for "just in case recording," which I will never do
- 2 paintings: one done by a friend (sorry) and another a cloth wall hanging I never put up
- tape recorder: we have a digital recorder now for music classes
- journal: good reminiscing, but no longer necessary. recycle
- sling bag: it's worn and a bit torn, but working. i hope someone can use it
- magazines: i had one issue of Organic Style I gave to my mom, and issues of VegNews I won't read anymore. I kept two issues (the most recent, and a lovely Peace issue)

I also gave that baby dress away. Here's the picture of it. I crocheted the green circles, then made the front and back of the sweater, sewed them together with yarn (leaving armholes), crocheted around the edge for a simple green neckline, and then added the circles. The belt was just a long crocheted strip of white and then green, with tassels added later.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Compacting

Today, after purchasing a Keeper (which I have wanted to for a long time) , I joined Compact

Compact is a movement with these goals:
"1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact; 2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er); 3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)"

Part of that pledge is to not buy anything NEW for a year (that's right folks, a whole year). It's all part of trying to reduce consumerism and live a fuller life in the absence of THINGS.

A few exceptions:
- food and drink
- necessities like underwear, cleaning products, socks
- you can buy new

My personal pledge:
- No NEW stuff for a year - anything that is not on the above list will not be bought by me
- I will buy only used and only when absolutely necessary
- I will not ask others to buy me stuff or give them to me as gifts
- This pledge applies to me and although I will try to set a good example, I will not guilt or force my husband and others in my household into compacting.
- I will try to reduce my consumption by following an ever-expanding list of 1 or more things to do each day

My list for today:
- post on this blog
- decide whether to give up credit cards

For tomorrow:
- if i decide to give up credit cards, start today
- Read this article
- Continue on my no-disposable personal products with my Glad Rags
- Post to wardrobe refashion

I found this on Comsumer Disobedience, and since I've been decluttering a while now, I'm posting my responses:

When you started to simplify, what items did you find yourself getting rid
of?

I started with clothes and accessories, but it was easier at first tossing old papers and multiples of things (I only need one comb and one toothbrush, really). Now I've moved on to more difficult sentimental things: old cassettes (who listens to those anymore?), shoes (I always thought you could never have too many), and household appliances. It's a constant process of editing the house.

How did you deal with the guilt associated with getting rid of certain items
(like things you mom or spouse gave you)?

I haven't given away everything yet, but I did tell them, and warn them I'm giving them away, I hope you don't mind. Occasionally they would be sad and then I'd explain. But they've been understanding, so it's okay. And I make sure to keep the really really sentimental stuff like a few heirlooms.

When you were in transition, did you use up cleaners and toiletry items that
you already had, knowing they weren't good for you, or did you replace as much as you could as fast as you could?,

I have been using them up, mostly, but I haven't had too many non-friendly items around, since I tended to buy green before. The few I have I pass on to friends and others. Not the best idea, since they are still using them, but at least there is less waste, and one less thing that THEY will buy.

What do you do with gifts that are not compact friendly (like bubble bath
from the dollar store?)

They go to others who will use them or else to Goodwill. I find that the better thing is to tell people not to get me things. It doesn't always work (I got tons of flowers at graduation) but at least people think about what gifts to get a little more conscientiously.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Refashioning Defashionista

I've signed up for the Wardrobe Refashion pledge agian - 6 months. THIS time I hope to stick to the no-buying rule for real! The last piece of new clothing I bought for myself was in September, so I hope to be able to still stick it out.

Here's the pledge (buttons to appear soon):

The Wardrobe Refashion Pledge

I, rani,

Pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing.

I Pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, recycle pre-loved items for myself.

I Pledge that I shall create and craft items of clothing for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium.

I Pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovoated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftyness brings!

************************
My first creation so far was a sweater-dress I knitted and crocheted for a friend's baby niece. Not for "myself," but that will presumably come soon.