Buy Nothing: Ordinarily on a day like this–rainy Sunday where I was up before the sun with calamity and chaos, that is–I would do my damnedest to justify buying something. And the temptation is here, trust me. I have gotten thisclose to ordering some used books for Lucy. The thing is, as soon as the house emerges from the pall of sick, I’m getting us signed up for a library card (I signed up online last year but managed to not activate the card within the, what, 90 day window I had) and it is totally ludicrous to buy books when it will be quicker to check them out of the library.
I don’t even need to analyze why I have such a strong desire to shop–it’s a gray day, I was up early with poop and nosebleeds and coughing children, the apartment is trashed from focusing on the kids yesterday and sitting on my butt with C watching The Departed last night and I’d rather feel like I’m doing something nice for my family by buying something for us than by getting back on track with the clutter, I kept Chico home from the museum on Friday and I feel like I missed out on my weekly treat. If I don’t get myself into a project and off of the computer, my wonderful brain will come up with some justification for making a purchase.
Decluttering: It looks like the Cut the Crap challenge is ending this week. Which means I have fallen quite short of my personal goals, mostly because my efforts totally petered out last week. I’ve gotten a lot done, though, and in the areas I used to dread the most. I have sent out 2 boxes of books, 4-5 of toys, 2 bags of clothes, a huge box of cloth diapering stuff and baby stuff, 2 boxes of gifts that sat in my foyer from before Christmas, the baby swing. Going later in May will be the co-sleeper and bouncy chair, infant car seat and car seat carrier plus likely another bag of kids clothes, a bag of curtains that are barely used, and all of my size 5 shoes since I my feet grew while pregnant. There is a box (half full, I’m still working on it) of random picture frames and throw pillows and other ‘decorative objects.’ I have sorted through all of our spice racks and moved them off of the counter. Lucy’s desk is sorted into inboxes–drawings to finish, blank paper, notebooks, and drawings to give away. Markers are with markers, crayons with crayons, and pencils with pencils. There is a workspace. I went through my file drawer and took everything out of envelopes, unfolded it so it takes up less space, and got rid of all unnecessary paperwork, including sorting through the warranty/manual folder and removing anything we don’t need or no longer own. And most remarkably, I cleared an entire shelf in Lucy’s closet, unpacking toys Chico will use in the next 6 months and putting them in a basket where we can reach them. Lucy bagged up some of her stuffed animals to donate. And I threw in some of my old ones as well. I ate through some of our less practical and older stored food–a little can of mixed veggies, another of peaches and the boil-in-bag rice we got when Lucy was Chico’s age. We mixed 2 half-empty boxes of pasta together for dinner one night and discovered 2 opened bags of dried lentils which we fit into the lentil canister. Now I need to make a pot of soup to use up some of the tomato paste and the little carton of veggie stock. Then we’ll have room to store some more practical foods.
There is a lot still to do, most notably my closet, C’s and the hall closet. I’m hoping to get to my closet tomorrow, though. It’s a big PITA to empty everything out when so much is going back in, but I need to get it back to keepsies on one side, givesies on the other 🙂
I’m about half of the way through the box of crap from the final junk drawer and would like to have it finished today so that I can get Lucy’s living room toys separated from Chico’s. Blah blah blah laundry, dishes, trash, recycling, water seedlings, water more seedlings, there are more seedlings to water.
Growing Challenge: Sometimes I look at the table and wonder why the hell I thought it would be a good idea to grow so many things. Mostly I’m excited, but it’s a lot of stuff. Only the chives, parsley, onions and lavender haven’t germinated. I remember last year being somewhere between freaked out and excited at the prospect of growing food on the balcony; this is a similar feeling but not nearly as dire. I think it helped that we grew marigolds from seed last year so I knew I could do it. I have this total fear of getting the seedlings planted and having them all die. I try to tell myself it’s all about learning how to be more self-sufficient and I can always buy plants if these fail, but I hate when things don’t work out. Honestly, the goal really is to grow some of our own food, not to become a master gardener person. Still I have this fantasy of a balcony full of pots overflowing with veggies. And seed saving. I’m really into the idea of seed saving.
Riot For Austerity: I have been bad and haven’t tracked anything but spending and I can estimate food. I’m going to use March’s numbers for everything else, and then May will be the big push to have a 90% reduction month in as many areas as possible. I’ll even guesstimate water usage and we’ll use our old natural gas bills from the old apartment to estimate that just for accuracy’s sake. I’m still hoping to get to the greenmarket in May. If nothing else, I’d love to get us switched from plastic milk bottles to refillable glass. It’s just tough carrying a full bag while wearing Chico, but I think I can do it once a week. We’ve also finally cut out almost all packaged frozen foods, and since finding Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, I can honestly say I can live without dairy. I’m not ready to give up poultry or fish yet, though. Also, I still need Fresh Direct for laundry detergent for now, but this week’s order is the last for a while. That’s several fewer cardboard boxes a week, which translates to 3-4 lbs if they aren’t reused. After the big changes of last year, we’re back to baby steps. I’d like to cut out paper towels even though most end up in the worm bin. I’m toying with the idea of a second worm bin because we’ve so many worms and so many food scraps–we could have one fallow while the other was in use. I air dried sheets last week for the first time, proving it can be done pretty easily. Mostly I want to get our food to mostly local and bulk, because it’s getting more important than ever. The other ‘mostly’ is consumer spending, but I’m working on that. The thing I’ve enjoyed most about Rioting is how much it has made me think, whether it’s as simple as doing dishes and hanging laundry making me take time to slow down or as complex as isolating the ways in which I convince myself to buy things I could do without or get used.
And so we come full circle. Don’t buy things you don’t need; get rid of the things you already bought that you don’t need; if you don’t buy things you don’t need, you won’t throw as much away. Know where your things come from, be it food or goods, and know why they’ve come to you. The key word for me when I started last year was ‘mindful.’ I think I have become more mindful in the past year, and I think I have also been able to let myself shut off my mind a little bit more than before. This is the best part.
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