One Bag Nation

Archive for October 2008

I had really hoped to take several loads of stuff to the consignment store or to be donated this week, but it didn’t happen; life got in the way.

Vintage Girl has been home sick for three days, and when she’s sick she gives new meaning to the phrase “high-maintenance”. I’ve had to spend any spare moments working at my “real” job . . . yeah, they actually expect me to work and get my projects done, bummer.

So, I hope to be back at it next week – we have much too much fun stuff planned this weekend to work on decluttering.

Happy Halloween!


I forgot to take photographs of all the stuff we hauled out of the basement last week. For those of you who have a little time to kill, here’s the list – or what I can remember anyway – this is what I call decluttering!!

We started with a giant bag of clothing that Community Services for the Blind picked up.

The rest went to a consignment store where they will donate what they can’t sell to a local organization that supports foster children – perfect and easy.

The big things were two full-size rocking chairs (never used); one child-size rocking chair (never used); and a wooden rocking horse (not used for at least four years).

Then there were the dollhouse (we still have a nice wooden one); Lincoln Logs; pattern blocks, a “chest” full of dress-up clothes; a set of twin bed sheets; alphabet blocks; plain wooden blocks; several teething toys; a Baby Bjorn; and an electric bottle warmer (couldn’t have lived without that when we used it – highly recommended!)

My husband has promised to dispose of the computer, printer and monitor that have been down there for 3+ years, and I’m still chipping away at the clothing.

I had hoped to get a lot done today, but Vintage Girl is home sick with a fever, so I’ll have to tackle it another day. I know, most kids would happily sit in front of the TV, but she’s not most kids – at least in that regard. She has never enjoyed TV, but that’s another post on another blog!

This song was going around and around in my head as I collected stuff to take to the consignment store today. Among the treasures: two teething rings, which is how the tune started playing! (Is it in your head now?)

Today Community Services for the Blind picked up an enormous bag of clothes; tonight I washed out two sets of stacking cups, sorted blocks and Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys, and all of that stuff will be out the door! I’d love to toss a couple dozen Polly Pockets (and their rubbery little clothes), but that would spell disaster!

I’ll post some photos of the piles later this week; perhaps they’ll inspire you to do some purging at your house!

My husband and I have decided to tackle the basement clean-out once and for all. I’ll have a little time off from work at the end of October, and I’ve committed to delivering the things we want to donate to the appropriate places, putting a few things on Craig’s List and gathering up all the junk that needs to go to the dump.

We can’t do any of this with DD around; she can’t part with anything! We’ve arranged for her to spend the weekend with my niece in early November and we’ll rent a truck and haul away the trash then. With any luck, we’ll have all the work done by Saturday afternoon and we’ll be able to enjoy a nice lunch or dinner and a movie together. That’s a huge treat for us, even if we haven’t tackled an enormous project!

All this to say that in order to ensure I have time to get this done, I’m not going to post here for a bit. You all know how much time blogging can take, and I feel like I just need to give it a rest while I focus on the basement for a few days. And it seems perfectly appropriate to take a break from your blog about decluttering and getting organized so you can actually declutter and get organized!

I’ll keep you posted as I make progress!

Today is Blog Action Day 2008, and many thousands of bloggers all around the world will be writing about this year’s topic: poverty. I guess I’ve sort of turned the topic around here at One Bag Nation, as my post title suggests.

An enormous number of bloggers and websites are devoted to decluttering, simplifying and downsizing. It seems that many of us are overwhelmed by our stuff, so much so that it feels suffocating and paralyzing and interferes with daily life. We get to a place where we can’t stand it anymore, and the Great Decluttering begins. We have so much stuff we can throw it away!

Today, on Blog Action Day, I’m reflecting on this excess we call clutter – and reminding myself that clutter is a luxury; clutter comes with affluence; and ironically, for some, clutter tries to meet a need that stuff can never meet.

Those whose unmet needs are much more basic – clean water, adequate food, and shelter – to name a few, can’t even imagine having too much, just as it’s nearly impossible for me to imagine not knowing if I’ll have enough food for my family today.

Stress and anxiety about too much stuff seems obscene in the context of dire poverty and need, yet our stress and anxiety are real, and the consumerism that dominates our culture does nothing to help us gain perspective.

The simplicity movement gives me hope that we are waking up to another way of living, where joy and satisfaction come from what we do and whom we love and not from what we own.

I’ve had this habit for a long time. I realized, back in my “career” days, that I would put off projects and tasks that I enjoyed doing, thinking I should do the most unpleasant things on my list first – eat the frog and all that.

What invariably happens is that the project I was looking forward to gets pushed so far down the priority list that by the time I get to it, I’m rushed for time and stressed – and guess what? I don’t enjoy it anymore.

I felt this coming on last week when I had two birthday presents to wrap for weekend parties. I normally love to wrap – until we’re trying to get out the door. So . . . on Friday morning, when I had time and enthusiasm, I got out the supplies and wrapped those gifts ahead of time. So much better.

photo by macinate

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been planning my day hour-by-hour, and writing my plan down on my daily planning tool. I’ve already posted that this was an idea I got from Simple Mom‘s Daily Docket, but I had no idea how well it would work for me.

I’m sure some of you are thinking that I’ve gone over the edge in my pursuit of order and organization. But I have to tell you, this is one of the best time management and productivity tools I’ve ever tried – and I think I’ve tried just about everything.

Someone like me – who works at home, has multiple balls in the air, and is easily distracted – often gets to the end of the day and wonders just what exactly I accomplished. With my hour-by-hour guide, I make sure I set aside time for my paid work, for breaks and for household tasks. I may not get absolutely everything done on my list, but knowing I have a plan for the day gives me great peace of mind. I think this is what David Allen is getting at with his “ubiquitous capture” (i.e. write everything down) concept: once you have a task or project accounted for, you can stop worrying about it.

Mr. Allen’s system was too complicated for me, but now I understand its effectiveness a bit better. If I start the day with a specific plan for how to spend my time, I don’t have to make decisions on the fly about what to do when. At the appointed time, I stop one project and move on to what’s next on the schedule (hmmm . . . kind of like junior high, but who was talking about Sarah Palin?).

If you have a lot of trouble staying on task and feel that most of the time your day gets away from you, I can’t recommend this practice enough. Give it a try, just for a few days, and let me know what you think.

I’ll be interested to learn that either I’m a total freak, or it’s a really wonderful tool!