Same content, new home!

I’m not closing the book on my project, just moving it to a new home!

Please find me, decluttering advice, hoarding stories, and conversation from now on Blogger at I Won’t Be A Hoarder Too.

My new address will be http://www.iwontbeahoardertoo.blogspot.com.

All of the old posts will still be there. Why the change? As I’ve started to declutter I’ve realized that addressing the lingering hoarding issues is something I’d like to focus on more. So the name and theme of the blog had to change just a bit. I’ve also realized that I like blogger better than wordpress, so hopefully it will be a better experience for you too!

I’m still taking Colleen’s 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge. Stop by my new site to catch The Reckoning and the Count of Money Wasted on Useless Stuff.

See you soon!

Joanna

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Enforced luddite-ism

How long can you go without your computer? 

Try, and see, then share! Or at least get rid of all of the dead and dying computers in your house. I’ve been making good progress this week…

How long can I go without my computer? No time at all, apparently.

If it looks like I’ve disappeared or haven’t responded to your posts lately, I’m sorry. I was too busy decluttering one item: my laptop!

My six-year-old laptop bit the dust on Sunday. So instead I sat down at our desktop computer and found that I can’t use it either because the keyboard is suddenly completely dead!

Even though the husband built his own desktop and is something of an IT genius he couldn’t figure out how to fix either item. I tried to use the old macbook I’ve had since college, but it only boots up long enough to grab a few files before it chokes. Three computers, and none work right now. ARGH!!

For the moment I’m a luddite. I won’t be too quick to post or to respond to comments as I’m using a borrowed computer for a little while. I’ll be back to regular posting once we can make a trip out to the thrift store to find a new keyboard for the desktop.

But I can still manage The Reckoning!

Decluttered item 49: my Dell laptop.

Cost: Gifted to me when I took my first telework job in 2009. It was three years old then and had been beat on by medical students all during that time.

Why I decided to get rid of it: Four words: blue screen of death. I have a desktop, so no need to keep the laptop and no need to replace it either.

Fate: Best Buy recycling immediately after we wiped the hard drive. If you are getting rid of a laptop, don’t forget to do this!! If you’re not married to a computer geek, read PC World’s instructions for completely erasing a hard drive.

Money lost on junk: Still $208.

Grief and clutter series introduction

“I kept his shoes. He would need them, if he was to come back.”

Joan Didion, “The Year of Magical Thinking” 

My grandmother, circa 1945

When we lose a loved one we are only left with three things: our memories of them, the ways they changed our lives for the better, and the stuff they left behind.

The stuff they left behind is the only tangible thing on this list. This is what makes “grief clutter” so difficult to part with. It is the most emotional kind of clutter there is.

I’m very much still learning to deal with grief clutter. I was closer to my grandmother than I am to my father. She passed away over two years ago and yet I still have a terrible time bringing myself to even think about getting rid of many of Gram’s things.

I’m going to spend more than one post on this topic because hoarding is a coping mechanism in my family. Gram was very involved in all of our lives and nothing we’ve had to cope with in the last few years has been as difficult as her death. I know this event plays a role in my mother’s clutter-related behavior and mine. But whether or not you are a hoarder or the child of hoarders, losing a loved one is hard. Parting with their belongings is not easy.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be writing posts about dealing with clutter following the loss of a loved one. Some will be about strategies for parting with this “grief clutter,” and some will be about hoarding as a coping mechanism for grief and other stresses. Hopefully this series won’t be depressing but instead will help us realize that the truly important things our loved ones leave us with are the intangible ones.  

What objects have you held onto from family and friends you’ve lost? What have you gotten rid of? Why those objects?

Boldly GONE!

I’m turning bright red in embarassment as I say this: when I was a kid I went to Star Trek conventions. Let the mocking begin!

I could say I’ve grown out of it, except I’m writing this post while watching Deep Space Nine…but, admitting I have a problem is the first step to recovery, right? Throwing things out is even better!

The Reckoning!

Decluttered items 46, 47, and 48

Cost: I recall these being a couple bucks each, so let’s call it $6 for the set.

Why I decided to get rid of it: They sit there on my junk shelf. And they don’t even look pretty.

Fate: The Original Series card was autographed by Nichelle Nichols so I sold it on eBay for $1. The other ones didn’t sell so they went in the recycling bin.

Money lost on junk: Minus what I sold it for, $5 this time for a total of $208.

Decluttering tip #9: reduce your financial account clutter, and I don’t mean the paper kind

from learnvest.com

When most people think about financial clutter they think about the piles of paperwork that come with financial accounts. So we read blogs and books and websites about how many years of statements to keep, whether we should digitize or laminate our tax returns, whether we should go out and buy fireproof safes to keep all of it secure. We don’t think about the source of the clutter.

Have you considered reducing the number of accounts you have? I really mean ‘accounts’ — not just credit cards.

Add up the number of financial accounts you have: savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, IRAs, TSPs, 401ks, 529 plans, CDs, mutual funds, stock purchases, bonds, etc., and of course loans and credit cards. How many are there?

Why reduce the number of accounts you have?

Reducing the accounts automatically reduces the amount of statements you receive. It  makes it easier to keep your statements straight and you’re less likely to make mistakes that will land you with fees when you know where your money is.

It’s also easier to quickly add up your assets when you need to. And boy, does it make the taxes easier come April 15th.

Large purchases are another reason to cut down financial clutter. My husband and I just bought a condo. If you’re going to be in the market to purchase a home anytime soon, you should know that you will need to provide two months’ documentation for every single financial account you plan to use for the purchase. That can be an awful lot of statements. We had nearly 20 accounts (and only four of them were credit cards). That’s 40  statements. Forty.

Additionally, when you can see more of your money in one place you avoid the ‘silo’ effect. Keeping your money in ‘silos’ (eg. one savings account for the house, one money market account for the kids’ college, one for the Disney trip next year, one for the Europe trip, etc.) means that you may not have much in any one account. Banks often give better interest and return offers when you can invest a larger amount of money at one time.

Don’t suddenly get rid of all of your accounts, though.

Talk with a trusted friend, family member, or financial advisor before closing a number of accounts. Closing certain kinds of accounts can affect your credit rating. Not to mention, it’s a lot to deal with all at once.

If you’re making a large purchase where you will need to prove the sources of your cash, you don’t want to close accounts just yet. You might be asked to provide not just statements for those accounts, but documentation that you closed them.

My ‘virtual’ decluttered item for today is three financial accounts (all with the same bank): two CDs and a savings account. We need them to pay for the condo and we won’t be reopening them. But alas, they’re not tangible, so I won’t be adding them to my 365-item tally.

Have you decluttered your financial world? What’s worked? What’s been a mistake?

goodbye flashlight + where to recycle batteries

How many flashlights do you own?

Of those,

how many would you need in an emergency?

of those,

how many work?

After doing that math, I only found one! Just one! Hooray, something I haven’t stockpiled! On to the trash can with item 45, a flashlight.

But before we go to the reckoning, let’s talk about something that goes with flashlights: batteries.

Cut Your Clutter By Switching to Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries  mean that you no longer need to keep huge packages of batteries lying around anymore. You just need a couple spare rechargeables and a charger. This saves money, space, and helps the environment. Get rid of your dead disposable batteries, use up the good ones and then switch to rechargeables. You’ll have much more space in your battery drawer!

Battery Recycling

Remember that batteries can be recycled if there is no other option, but it really is best to recycle them. I visited a landfill in college and saw that liquid leaks through the bottom no matter how good the collection system is. It’s really best to recycle batteries unless it’s dangerous to get the battery out of the device.

You can search for places to recycle batteries on earth911.com and call2recycle.org. You can also ask your workplace if they collect batteries. Many will accept batteries from home and work.

The Reckoning

Cost:Free. Another damned freebie taking up space in my life.

Why I decided to get rid of it: It doesn’t work.

Fate: The trash can. Normally I would recycle the battery but this one was badly corroded it was too dangerous to try to remove it. I tested my remaining disposbles and took five into the recycling bin at work.

Money lost on junk: Again, nothing this time. Freebies are evil. Pure evil. Total this year: $203.

Decluttering tip #8: get organized by repurposing your old tupperware

Like everyone else I’m buried in tupperware. My husband has a set, I have a set, and we got third completely different set for our wedding. Then I bought tupperwares that I thought would be good for homemade ice cream but they didn’t work well. Now I have a drawer of much more tupperware than I could ever use.

Repurposing tupperware (and not replacing it) is a great way to empty out your tupperware drawer and get more organized at the same time!

You can use tupperware for storing food of course. I keep some of my dry food staples in my old set.

 Don’t forget that things other than food store very nicely in tupperware. Add in a label maker, or make your own labels and voila! Instantly organized sock drawer. For this I used all of the tupperwares I bought to use for homemade ice cream. This only took me a few minutes to set up this weekend and it’s already saving me time in the morning.

 

You could use tupperware to store your makeup, batteries, small tools, or sewing items. What other  items could you store in tupperware? Or do you already do this?