Friday, March 30, 2012

Seven things

In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the author turns our ideas of heavy and light around - what is heavy is usually dull, holding us back, weighing us down, and what is light is usually free and uplifting. But here's an idea: the lightest, flimsiest things in our homes might be the ones holding us back, keeping us from the serious heavy stuff of life that's really important: family, community, work. It's funny what sort of silly lighthearted things we hang on to for no good reason:

  1. box of extra large legos - Little One has outgrown these!
  2. toddler shoes
  3. a few pieces of tupperware
  4. a sinkbrush
  5. a mismatched plate
  6. more old papers
  7. wrapping paper

Seven things

From the guest room:

  1. 3 VHS tapes - the others are slated for conversion
  2. lots of CDs I no longer need (old backups, outdated software)
  3. various mailing supplies (letterpaper cover, old glue stick, boxes)
  4. a folder, now emptied
  5. a blank notebook
  6. a poster
  7. 9-11 book

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Seven things

The albums are done! Finally a nice clear space - but wait, I have other stuff to put there. It never ends.

  1. 3 random cloths
  2. a pretty card from an event we missed
  3. 2 serving bowls - I just have lots of other options for serving, like other bowls and plates
  4. cork trivet - too large to fit where I store the others
  5. a photo album - the last one
  6. binders - that photos were once stored in
  7. a bit of fabric

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Seven things

Further progress through the albums, only two left to go through!

  1. more photos
  2. more albums
  3. some gift packaging - an unexpected gift
  4. an apron, the one I borrowed from my mom until I got my grownup one
  5. a few travel brochures
  6. envelope of "trinkets" I once intended to send by mail
  7. 2 kitchen towels - how can a person have so many kitchen towels?

Seven things

Making my way through the photo albums.

  1. more photos - stacks of them. gone are the duplicates, the embarrassing, the blurry, and the forgettable.
  2. photo sleeves - the ones that rip too easily and don't fit the album anyway
  3. a pretty embroidered wallet/purse - Little One was stashing markers in these.
  4. an old skirt - too long unworn
  5. pair of capris (white...)
  6. my old sketchbook from childhood
  7. old blank notebook

Seven things

A stab at the appliance section, which I was dreading, turned up the following. I've also started attacking the disarray of photo albums lodged in the bottom of my bookshelf. My strategy? Throw out photos that are blurry, too dark, or which don't actually have people in them (with a few rare exceptions like one shot of our plum tree in bloom). I handed a few photos (animals, chocolate factory, trains) to Little One for his own personal album.
  1. food processor - may be a temporary loan to my mom
  2. juicer (back to mom)
  3. red sleeveless top - the moths got to it
  4. broken goggles (prescription)
  5. toddler jacket - the sleeves go to the elbows. so soon!
  6. several binders - once photo albums, now free to discover their destiny
  7. lots of photos

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Seven things

Other things I've found in my aimless wanderings around the house. I finally tackled a box of saved seeds in the garage. I could plant an acre if I had it:

  1. a few kid papers
  2. forks
  3. more plastic utensils
  4. noodle seasoning packets - a flavor I don't like
  5. pretty envelopes
  6. 3 packets of seeds
  7. ice cream maker - this is a big one. I finally have accepted that I won't use it much, and therefore will borrow my neighbor's :)


I came across a notebook I'd taken to India, and found two great quotes that I find particularly relevant to current crises like climate change and peak oil:

In a time of change, it is learners who inherit the future, the learned find themselves equipped to live only in a world that no longer exists. - Eric Hoffer

Unless we change the direction we are heading, we might end up where we are going. - Chinese Proverb

Both were printed in a recycled notebook I found at a local general store booth - the notebook itself was made of sugarcane/rice/straw/wheat waste, how cool.

Seven things

More decluttering. I'm at the stage of wandering around the house finding little things to give away, opening drawers, cabinets, and cupboards to see what can go. I'm avoiding the big spots...procrastination rears its head.

  1. extra sari blouses - duplicates, of course
  2. necklace - just one I am finally ready to part with
  3. pair of earrings - same, because I made them myself
  4. lidless teapot - *sigh* - saved the filter for mom
  5. a book
  6. paper yoga suns - these were part of a yoga party that were leftover
  7. a tshirt

Friday, March 23, 2012

Seven things

I feel that some of my uncluttering is slowing down as I find real openness in a few spaces around my home now. They are full, but not as unmanageable. A few spots remain: the clothes closet, which is full again, and the bookshelf, which never seems to have enough space for all the books (though I don't buy any!). Those will have to be revisited.

In the meantime, I'm clearing out the things I have set aside to be given away but which haven't actually yet gone to their intended recipients. It's nice to have a clear space when they are gone.

  1. old CDs
  2. piece of petrified wood
  3. various pinecones etc that found their way inside (Little One will bring in more...)
  4. 2 bowls
  5. 2 enamel cooking pans
  6. colander
  7. case for sari blouses

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

JOT #36: An ounce of prevention...

It's been at least 2 years since Little One and I have taken antibiotics. We're not against them inherently, they do save lives and are necessary to help prevent the spread of so many diseases. The same is true of so many other medications.

When Little One was barely one, we had a scare of H1N1 flu in New York City, and he was prescribed Tamiflu. We had to force down dose after dose of white fluid that he kept spitting out and letting dribble from his tired, cranky face. A week later, we were able to confirm it wasn't any fancy bird flu, not even influenza, just a bad cold virus that all his friends back home had gotten as well. Lesson learned.

The same year he had had two ear infections, and when we traveled to India that year, he had another round of antibiotics, some decongestants, and cough syrup, added to malaria pills - he was almost on a schedule worthy of an octogenarian. I decided enough was enough, and I bought up a supply of delicious probiotic pills (he lapped those up), laid in a stock of sweet elderberry syrup, and went with the remedy doctors in Amsterdam once gave my mother when I had a fever: stop giving milk, and serve very weak tea. And ear infections? Regular ear-cleaning and drying (especially post-swimming), no straws and sippys, and a ball of cotton soaked in eucalyptus or other oil in the ears. The herbal tinctures are generally mild and serve as backup.

Not very logical advice, but what I took away was this: healthy immune systems get stronger by working to fight infections. In the case of otherwise healthy children, it really is a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

That's not to say I won't be giving serious medical concerns to the pediatrician's care, or halting all immunizations, but I do think I've overused medication in the past for my child, and myself as well.

Let's bring back prevention, what an idea!

Seven things

Brought to you by the number 2.

  1. 2 magazines
  2. 2 twisty straws - phthalates/BPA?
  3. 2 plastic/straw cups - BPA
  4. 2 pairs torn jeans
  5. 2 single chopsticks
  6. 2 drain cleaners - dangerous chemicals
  7. 2 boxes of cling wrap - phthalates

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Seven things

Then there are the things you hold on to because they're part of a set or you might just fix or use. Why am I waiting for someday? Use em or lose em.

  1. small measuring spoon - never used this size
  2. non-spraying can of PAM - after much trying to get the oil out, have given up
  3. what to expect the first year - we're well past this
  4. handmade ceramic plate - cracked and reglued
  5. bunch of green cloth scraps - why?
  6. birthday invitations - not when there's evite.
  7. corkscrew - a duplicate

Monday, March 19, 2012

Seven things

A few numbers for contemplation. So many duplicates, triplicates, quadruplicates, and quintuplicates (or as I like to call them "pent-up-licates")!
  1. 5 fondue forks - a second set
  2. 5 notebooks - just extra for writing!
  3. 5 extra sheets - still have enough for duplicate sheets for each bed plus an extra
  4. 4 books and a few printed stories - ones i've read or will never
  5. 2 neti pots - we still each have one and an extra
  6. 1 bra - stretched thin
  7. 3 more containers - don't know where they come from, i sure don't buy them!

Seven things

I learned a good decluttering tip a while ago, which I am now finally putting into practice: get rid of duplicates. When I have multiple hair clips, I keep one in my bag, one on my nightstand, and one in the kids' bag, one in the car, one in the bathroom. I can never find one. When I have just the one, I watch it like a hawk, making sure I know where it is at all times.

Now I'm getting rid of the duplicates:

  1. bobby pins
  2. extra safety pins
  3. various ziplock and packaging bags
  4. more recipes I don't plan to cook
  5. bottle of pumpkin seeds (one of two!)
  6. some beans
  7. more cards and envelopes

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Seven things

I recently saw the movie "Bag it!" which discusses the dangers of plastics, and chemicals such as pthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) which are associated with them - quite scary effects, including feminization of boys, dangers to babies and pregnant women, and other effects we are already seeing. Little One has eczema, DH has asthma, and we all have allergies, which are all some of the associated possible effects, making this very close to home.

  1. envelopes - just a few
  2. car stuff - papers, coupons, etc
  3. a steno pad
  4. toddler shirt
  5. soft plastic bath toys - pthalates!
  6. various spices from jars and bags
  7. an old pretty calendar

Seven things

My posts seem limited to Seven Things these days, as I clear out my home of extraneous supplies and items I no longer need. It's very freeing to let go of a hobby, and just tell myself I will never use something - sort of a surrender to my humanity. I have found recently that I find it difficult to be alone with myself, and stuff only enables that. I'm hoping that releasing some of the stuff will free space in my surroundings and also in my mind for real contemplation.

  • kids' games from cereal boxes and other places - given to children, as they were intended!
  • a top
  • more baby papers - been saving these too long
  • lots of empty folders - also for "someday"
  • miscellaneous small papers saved - the same
  • stack of Indian magazines - "what ifs"
  • bottle of chaat masala - my dad loves this stuff

Seven things


  1. glass bottles - more than I can use
  2. rolling pin - broken
  3. two knives - ones I don't use
  4. plastic spatula - worn out
  5. small cloth and vinyl bags that are extras
  6. small display case - for a religious piece that looks better out of it
  7. dough beads - we made pretty marbled ones one day, but never used them.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Seven things

My dresser:

  1. necklace and earring set - have long secretly disliked this set
  2. another necklace - slightly sentimental (from DH) but rarely worn
  3. four more stacks of bangles - aah!
  4. a small container - used up the last of the mask, and did NOT keep the adorable container
  5. little japanese house office organizer - really cute craft actually
  6. Ben Franklin photograph stand - once held the saying "Either do something worth writing, or write something worth reading"
  7. small note papers

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Seven things

Little One's room:

  1. kids' overalls - too small
  2. toddler kurta - doesn't fit
  3. kid undershirts - ditto
  4. small box - once stored socks, then medicines
  5. picture frame - to a new mom
  6. milk rings - saved for a garland someone else can make
  7. address labels - once saved as stickers

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Seven things

Working my way around the house, decluttering. Here are some things religious and musical:

  1. broken tambourine - a handmade kids' art one, beads spilled out. Will go to crafters.
  2. 2 photo albums - for some new parents
  3. incense sticks/burners and stands - Just had too many.
  4. small containers (used for kumkum) - To people who do beading/sorting.
  5. broken chimes - once used as bells, but I have another bell
  6. used tealights (not sure what i was saving those for)
  7. bits of string

Monday, March 12, 2012

Seven things

Jewelry and the kitchen.

  1. more bangles - weaning myself off of them
  2. 2 necklaces - good to see those go
  3. earrings - i'm actually allergic to these!
  4. even more bangles - another trip past them and I was ready to pass on more
  5. once-nonstick pan - frustrating
  6. crepe maker/molds - given to me new by someone else who never used them. Still unused.
  7. faucet aerator - an extra, 1.5gpm

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Seven things

A little digging around in the bathroom and attached closet turned up some things - embarrassing and otherwise

  1. men's shirts - once business casual, now too casual
  2. more old underwear
  3. nightgown - I prefer pj's
  4. men's jeans - well-worn
  5. cosmetics that have phthalates
  6. perfumes (also perhaps phthalates...)
  7. shampoos with parabens

Seven things

What do you keep in the bedroom? Here's what I dug up that I didn't even need:

  1. a few items as gifts for friends - finally going to some of them
  2. 3 old towels
  3. old bras
  4. miscellaneous pieces of metal - in the bedroom???
  5. pair of too-small rain/ski pants
  6. old foam mattress pad
  7. jacket - sleeves too short

Friday, March 09, 2012

Seven things

Garage finds. Crazy what gets stuffed in there - everything but the car!

  1. 3 cassette tape drawers...and
  2. 2 bags of cassette tapes - we no longer have a tape player to play them!
  3. popcorn popper - never used it
  4. various pots and pans that are extras - ah, so nice to be rid of
  5. a sun-faded kids' table - we have another too that we're keepin!
  6. a few party supplies - extra ones
  7. tupperware and containers

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Seven things

More paper purging. Perhaps parchment, poster, or papyrus? No: pieces, packaging, post-its and pens.

  1. more cards given by friends/relatives - these will be reused to make other cards by other people for others!
  2. post-its and small notebooks - let someone else make use of them before Little One shreds them
  3. some holiday wrapping paper - have cut down on the gift relationship
  4. brochures for going green/gardening - hoping to help a few
  5. more papers - old documents, shredded
  6. more baby art - again, nostalgic, but a little less so
  7. calligraphy pen and other pens

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Seven things

Purging paper. I plainly cannot possibly perceive the population of poplars and pines that populate our pad.

  1. lots of scrapbook stickers and kits - even more. I finally realized I will never scrapbook.
  2. three scrapbook albums - see above
  3. some of my old artwork - too old, some in danger of being mistaken for Little One's
  4. lots of Little One's old artwork - as touching as they are, I can only keep so many. (sigh)
  5. some of Little One's baby mementos - oh, let's not talk about them anymore.
  6. crayon stubs - from the days when I imagined remaking other little crayons. That job will go to another creative person.
  7. stack of Indian bumper stickers - 3 different designs, sent back to India

Finding a middle ground

A search through my notes saved from a college environmentalism course (I actually took one!) found these two beautiful poems. Can we find a solution that is optimistic but not egotistic?

The Conservationist's Lament
The world is finite, resources are scarce,
Things are bad and will be worse,
Coal is burned and gas exploded,
Forests cut and soils eroded,
Forests cut and soils eroded.
Wells are dry and air's polluted,
Dust is blowing, trees uprooted.
Oil is going, ores depleted,
Drains receive what is excreted.
Land is sinking, seas are rising,
Man is far too enterprising.
Fire will rage with man to fan it,
Soon we'll have a plundered planet.
People breed like fertile rabbits,
People have disgusting habits.

The evolutionary plan
Went astray by evolving Man.
- Kenneth Boulding

The Technologist's Reply
Man's potential is quite terrific,
You can't go back to the Neolithic.
The cream is there for us to skim it,
Knowledge is power, and the sky's the limit.
Every mouth has hands to feed it,
Food is found when people need it.
All we need is found in granite
Once we have the men to plan it.
Yeast and algae give us meat,
Soil is almost obsolete.
Men can grow the pasture greener
Till all the earth is Pasadena.

Man's a nuisance, Man's a crackpot.
But only Man can hit the jackpot.
- Kenneth Boulding

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Seven things

A trip through a kid closet turned up:

  1. kids' tshirt, too small
  2. a diaper cover - glad to be past that
  3. bottle brush - too icky
  4. a comb - how many does a child need?
  5. old toothbrushes - what are those doing there?
  6. empty eyedrop bottle once used as a toy
  7. more kids' tees and shorts - so tiny, can't believe Little One once wore these.

I'm tearing up with nostalgia...

Monday, March 05, 2012

Illustration Friday: intention

For IF this week, the theme is intention. What is a prayer but a silent entreaty to oneself, a conscious intention for your life and the lives of others?

On Stuff

Cool stuff about stuff:

George carlin

Story of stuff

Paul Graham


Steve Jobs

Don't sweat the small stuff

Save that stuff

NYC stuff exchange

Bill Nye stuff happens

SNL don't buy stuff

Seven things

How much fabric we use. Now that I use fabric for everything, I've saved it as well, but there's still more:

  1. piece of canvas used as a tablecloth - time for it to go
  2. more sample fabric pieces - extras
  3. cushion covers - some are torn or from sets I no longer have
  4. old stained/torn sheets and pillowcases
  5. another piece of cloth - just an extra piece
  6. men's undershirts - dingy. Saved two for rags, toss the rest to be recycled
  7. old underwear - nuff said.

Seven things

Another pass at sentimental stuff - I've found a useful decluttering strategy. I look at things from a  long-term perspective: do I really want to put the energy into keeping this around for the next 40 years? Will I remember this person or event then, and is it an important? Do I plan to use this in the next year?

  1. paper and other little mementos from childhood - don't remember the events, or they're not important
  2. old ID cards and other cards
  3. photos of people i don't remember (from school etc)
  4. a couple of letters - also from people I don't remember!
  5. hand-drawn labels - made these to give away
  6. metal paper fastener (for two-hole punch) - from some of those papers
  7. todo lists i no longer plan to do - how freeing (next up: have to get rid of the digital versions of these! ack!)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Seven things

More stuff above the stove and a part of a bookshelf:

  1. empty long lighter
  2. stack of small Indian recipe books - chose the best recipes already
  3. piano lesson book
  4. guitar chords
  5. two parenting books - for the younger years
  6. some old sentimental papers from a scrapbook
  7. sentimental cards - no longer relevant or just too many of the same

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Seven things

Cleaning out the file cabinet and the space above the stove (seldom visited):

  1. two basketfuls of file cabinet shredded papers - phew!
  2. old checkbooks and unused registers and sleeves and boxes - for a bank account I'm closing (fyi: break up with your bank LINK)
  3. an out-of-style unraveling cardigan - from my mom. I loved it a while, but time to be free. (this was in the closet)
  4. an unused organizer - I have had this forever, used to use it for birthdays and intended it to be for recipes, but I have a system I like better (I separate recipes I've done from those I have to try). Plus my recipes don't fit, so though I am sad to part with it, it must go.
  5. a splatter guard - great when popping mustard seeds, but it's torn
  6. jars of garden herbal flowers - I will never use them, let's let someone else (from the pantry)
  7. kids' airplane - don't know why this was above the stove! off to a worthy child.

Seven things

Bookshelf, under the kitchen and bathroom sinks:

  1. 2 recipe books I have had too long and not used
  2. another random book
  3. 2 old plastic loofahs
  4. under the sink: newspaper and onion-bag scrubbies - saving for what?
  5. various tiny bath parts - broken or don't know what they're to
  6. kids' sombrero - too small (in Little One's room)
  7. extra bandages - from when DH had an illness I don't want to remember (these were under a sink as well!)

Seven things

I rediscovered the toolbox after a while, hanging out in the garage. (In the meantime, I made a little tool set for Little One out of a little non-sharp screwdriver, an allen wrench and a plain tiny wrench, some wooden pegs, measuring tape, a tiny non-sharp saw, and some locks) The box also got a good reorganizing.

  1. random nails and screws and bolts, mostly bent ones
  2. 2 whole boxes of new screws we will never use
  3. various household parts for who knows what, like pieces of metal
  4. 2 tubes of spackle (I kept another one)
  5. magnetic tape - someone will love this
  6. an extra CD and case - for some old demo
  7. also some tiny toys Little One has outgrown

Friday, March 02, 2012

Coffee vs. tea

Checkout this very informative and easy-to-read graphic on how much water our daily activities use.

Bet you didn't know coffee uses a lot more water than tea!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Consumerism Costs

No Impact Man posted this today. Love it - see the video here:

Seven things

A little more digging in the kids' room:

  1. spool animal kit - to a friend
  2. coloring pages - how many can a kid color?
  3. trains that have lost their magnets - there are still too many!
  4. blank notebooks - more of em
  5. popsicle sticks - we have a mold, don't need more craft sticks
  6. halloween colored foam beads - Little One loved these but they end up everywhere
  7. remote from an old DVD player that broke (how did that get there?)