Rough month

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted (wow, that went fast).  

This is going to be a rambling post.

There’s been a lot going on this month, and I’ve been busy.  I wish I could say it’s been a good busy, but unfortunately it has not and me feeling “down” is an understatement.

I did fail my “No TV” month. I slipped into TV watching again after 9 days.  On a positive, while I didn’t meet my goal, I did go 9 days without watching, which is an accomplishment in of itself!  

My mom got sick and ended up spending some time in the hospital.  I spent a couple nights there with her which is always exhausting.  After many tests, she’s actually pretty healthy and was able to get her medication adjusted.

I had an “incident” with a coworker where I had to file a grievance.  This was stressful, as I always worry I’m overreacting when people touch me (any touching period makes me uncomfortable) but he took it too far.  It was really a shame because I actually like him, but I tolerated his touchiness for months, kept asking him to stop and it just escalated.  On the positive note, he didn’t lose his job (I didn’t want him to, I just wanted him to keep his hands to himself) and he doesn’t seem to have hard feelings.

I tried SO badly to get BTS tickets (they’ll be in LA in September) and was totally ready to get a flight there or drive (driving wouldnt be too bad) but darn it! Tickets sold out SO quickly for all four shows!  I wasn’t willing to fly south or east so, I’ll just have to hope for next time.  The positive about this is, I’m excited about their album coming out tomorrow!  (And I might get lucky and be able to see a different kpop group- there’ve been WAY more KPOP groups coming to the US which I’m pleased as punch about).

I was also thinking of flying to LA in September anyway, just so I can take a mini vacation.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I took a vacation.  I’ve also considered maybe Northern California or Oregon and getting away from humans for a little bit.  I can’t decide between bigger city or nature.   I’ve also decided next year I’m going to go to England just because I’ve always wanted to go.   Also a positive, I’ve finally got myself to a place where I CAN plan vacations.  

I’ve been backsliding on my “no-shopping” and “low-shopping” AGAIN.  I have so many ideals and hopes for me that aren’t even minimalism related (life-goals) and I just can’t even get myself started and I just don’t know WHY.  I feel like I’m constantly alone, a nuisance and stagnant.  But tomorrow is another day.  

It could always get better.
(I try to end all negatives with a positive!)

(Another positive, my dogs, my car, my home and my new neighbor have been darn ok!)


One week No TV

It’s officially been a week since I started a No TV” month.  This… Is the longest I’ve gone in my ENTIRE LIFE without television.  How pathetic is that? What does this say about our society?  

I did, on Friday however hear about Isao Takahata’s passing.  I had three people ask me if I had The Tale of Princess Kaguya as they had never seen it.  So I did break my NO TV rule that night.  We all watched the beautiful movie and cried.  Then they went home and I shut the TV off.

I did manage to get a lot done.  I’ve cleaned my fireplace.  My garage is empty. I’ve donated my things. I’ve taken the dogs for walks.  I got my fat lazy rear end on the bike. I’ve read a bit.  My house is immaculate.  I didn’t even watch K-Pop videos!

I’m bored to tears.  

I’m actually not quite sure what I’m hoping to accomplish or learn from going a month without watching television.  Part of me just wants to prove to myself that I can.  Most of me is hoping that I’ll crack and maybe find some creativity or hidden spark.  Maybe I’ll discover my purpose.  Appreciate new things. 

Or this will go down as Boredom Month 2018.

Three more weeks to go.

Donate 2018 #4

I talked myself into donating my old Singer sewing machine.  It was actually my local thrift stores fault, they had posted an industrial antique singer on their Facebook and people went gaga for it.  So, I hope maybe they can go gaga for mine too and it will go to a good home. I also donated the Ouija board and I got rid of the bullet (didn’t donate, threw away).  Three things that I thought for sure I could never let go of!  

I also decided to donate the longboard.  I never quite got the hang of riding it, I’m too clumsy.  I figure someone will love it though.  I also donated some old books!  

All that stuff in the background are items from my last few posts.  All the clothes, household items and fabric.  

It took me and two other people about 15 minutes to unload all this stuff out of my SUV, I had that much.  

I’m ready to start moving onto a new chapter of my life.  

I think at this moment I’ve donated roughly 80% of my previous belongings.  I’ve decided I’m going to continue with my “no shopping” and take a break from all this donating. 

Sorting through my items and analyzing everything all the time can get a little exhausting. I don’t want to get burnt out and fed up.  I plan on taking a couple of months off (from donating) and just focusing on the items I already own.

April No-TV month

Last month was a No-Buy month where I went a whole month without buying things (mostly lol).  This month I have decided I will try to go “No-TV.” 

Yes.  A whole month without the boob tube.  I will most likely fail miraculously.  I might even go insane.  I’ll probably be productive, sure.  But I might go insane. 

I don’t have regular shows I watch, and I don’t have cable or anything.  I was almost at the end of the first season of Versailles on Netflix, but I’m sure in a month it will still be there. Still, television is my way to unwind and shut my brain off for a little bit (I am constantly making difficult decisions at work all day).  I’m sure I will have some… Interesting posts the next few weeks. 

Sorry in advance.  

“This is my brain off TV.”

For my first night I decided to Konmari through the dreaded fabric. I’ve been putting this off for a LONG TIME.  I was kind of… Worried to go through all this fabric.  Craft items I think can be some of the hardest things to go through.  All those projects not finished, put off or even started!  Failed ideas! Wasted money!

Now, I’m not a quilter.  I don’t sew human clothes.  But! I did used to make clothes for BJDs (ball jointed dolls).  My very expensive dolls have been sitting in their boxes in the closet for… A few years (I’m embarrassed to admit that).  I have 4 dolls that haven’t even been PAINTED yet, let alone had clothes put on them.  

I can’t really explain why I stopped with my BJD hobby.  There were a lot of reasons. I think maybe it was getting too expensive, time consuming… I had been making and selling clothes.  I also was modifying dolls and selling them.  When you’re starting to get commission customers, your life gets a little overwhelming.  I had a few customers who were… Very demanding of me, even if I told them this is my hobby, not my business (and I have a full time job and a house to run!)

About three years later, My mom also decided to get into this hobby and for some reason tried to make it into some sort of competition on who could sell the most doll clothes (I know, stupid right?) so, I lost my drive, it wasn’t fun or “mine” anymore. The dolls were shoved in their boxes and the vast quantities of fabric forgotten in a closet.

I’ve been wanting to get back into this hobby.  I won’t do commissions, nor do I plan on making my hobby fodder for someone else’s ego.  I decided it was high time to focus on the fabrics I really liked, and maybe I can get some neat ideas in the process.

Here’s my fabric shelves before: 

A flipping mess without any rhyme, reason, or organization.

I also had two drawers full, AND a remnant drawer.

More fabric
Remnant fabric
I started off really strong.  I managed to make a pile taller than my dog (which is easy because she’s short).

Then for some reason I started getting panicky.  Fabric is expensive!  What if I need to use it later! Some of this was my grandmothers!  Should I really get rid of this??

Then I realized some of this stuff I just didn’t LIKE. It wasn’t cute to me. It would be a pain to find ANYTHING that matched. Some of it I bought for projects for EX’s (that I never got around to making).  I didn’t like how it felt, etc. 

I added more to the pile.

The donate pile!

As I was sorting through the remainder I decided to keep, I was actually getting outfit ideas! Art ideas! Finally after all these years! 

Here is my after result:

Much better! Organized!

I did end up salvaging the elephant book ends which were destined to be donated, but I can always donate them later if I decided to.

Empty bottom drawer and scarf

I managed to empty the bottom drawer (this will be donated) and found an old scarf I forgot I owned mixed in!  I will donate this too.

Fleece drawer

 I kept the fleeces so they can be cut up into kennel blankets for my dogs.  Their blankets usually need to be replaced every 6 months so me “finding” this fabric actually will save me money in future, as I probably would have just gone and bought more. 

The remnant drawer is still a mess.  *shrug* Can’t be perfect.

I’ll be taking some of my donation fabric (fleeces) to the humane society as there’s two volunteers there I know that make cat beds and dog blankets (I volunteer there too, periodically).  The rest will be going to my senior center, there’s a local quilting group that quilts for charity.

(If anyone was curious how I get my fabric to stand up, I buy comic book boards in packs and wrap my fabric around them! Fabric then slides neatly onto a regular bookshelf)

March No-Buy Conclusion

After a bad start this month, I am pleased to say that these last two weeks,  I have purchased nothing! Other than food, which I kinda need.    

My first week really was hard for me.  I can’t really explain why.  I usually don’t do hardcore shopping anyway. I’m not a shopaholic.  But yes, if I see something and I want it bad enough and it won’t mess up my monthly budget, I’ll buy it. 

It might be partly because of my job as well. 

I have a stressful job.  Very stressful.  Hundreds of people depend on me each week.  

However, I get paid pretty well for what I do (pretty much the only reason why I’ve stayed so long).  There are many days that I see something I want and I do say ,”I deserve this,” and I kinda do because I’ve busted my rear end each day.  Sometimes I think, “why am I doing this every day if I can’t get what I want?”

I actually want to get away from this way of thinking.  

I have zero intention of quitting my well-paid stressful job.  

But I do want to get away from buying THINGS with my paycheck. 

Today, I spent the day with my family. I bought one thing.  Milk, to go in a quiche. We  went for a really long walk to Mars and then barbecued hot dogs.

Space Pugs on Rover Mars

Just kidding.  This isn’t Mars. It’s just a short walk from our house.  See there’s still a tiny bit of snow on the hill? 

Anyway, the buying one thing (milk) and hot dogs bit was true.

And we had a lot of fun! Just being with each other.  Getting outside.  Breathing fresh air.  Being a human without consuming.  

I’ve been thinking a lot this month on what I want to do with my money.  Will I buy things in April?  Probably.  I didn’t set aside this huge list of anything to buy after my “no-buy” month was over.  I might buy a new pillow for my neck at night. Maybe. Buying stuff just doesn’t seem important as much anymore.

I want to have days like today, hanging out and eating with my family.  I want to travel a bit. Maybe I’ll look into retiring early.  Or I’ll just shove it all into savings.

But I just don’t want to buy anymore.

Something I watched

I finished Samurai Champloo. 

 I admit that I actually didn’t quite “get” this at first.  I mean, it’s in the Edo period, which I love.  It had some neat fight scenes, the music was awesome as was the opening artwork. I didn’t bother to look up what “kind” of anime this was as there’s always too many spoilers when you do that so I usually go into everything blindly.

It wasn’t until I got to the ukiyo-e episode (I know, like 5 episodes into the series) that I got excited.  Art history is kinda my thing (I’m working in the wrong field and should have become an art history major).  I was busting up laughing.  Ok, I get it. It’s a comedy and it’s a good one.  I actually really liked the ending.
Bonus Something I watched: 

The 11th Mother (aka Eleventh Mom)

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a Korean film.  Don’t ask me why, I watch foreign language films all the time.  (I could care less what country it’s from or what language it’s in (as long as it has subtitles).  Good film is good film.)

Netflix started playing this at me (don’t you hate when it just auto-plays?) and I have no idea what I could have watched recently that was related but I’m glad it did.  

This on was such a tearjerker.    I loved the kid, he was just so cute.  And the “stepmom” who randomly showed up one day was such grubby thief at first, but I loved watching their relationship progress.  (The scene where they’re shopping in the grocery store was so bittersweet.)

Anyway, it’s worth a watch if you’re in need of a good HappySad movie.

Why I became a minimalist

My minimalism came from pain.

I’ve been meaning to share my story for a pretty long time on here.  This is a long post.

If anyone bothers to read and is maybe in a similar situation, I hope maybe me writing this can help.  Even if it’s just one person.

There’s a whole lot of stereotypes out there about minimalism.  And most of them are pretty darn negative. 

Some are understandably so.  If you google minimalist lifestyle that’s all you see.  I’m just going to spout out words.  White, privileged, rich, middle class, millennial, hippie, no-waste, traveler, living in a backpack, homes with no personality, etc. (and btw, none of these words or lifestyles are BAD).  But you can hear the disdain for minimalists and minimalism in their posts and their videos.   It’s misunderstood by non-minimalists.

I do think that minimalism gets a pretty bad rap, and it’s a true shame.

Unfortunately, I don’t think people always give the how and the why to their minimalism. 

Do some people fit into they stereotypes? You betcha. 

Do some people become minimalist because it’s a fad? Yep.

Do some people do it for shallow reasons? Uh huh. 

(Again, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with this either)

I’m here to talk about MY experience and how it came from a place of pain.

I think to give a better picture of who I am and my upbringing might help.  I’m not writing this as a woe-is-me piece. I only think that our upbringing has a serious correlation to our relationship with things and as I’ve gotten older I’m very much aware of it now.

My parents divorced when I was very young so I grew up with my mother during the week and my father during the weekend.  Both were well below poverty line.  

My mom due to her terrible childhood was and is a hoarder.   Her apartment was always crammed full of things.  She would dig through my trash and end up keeping everything.  I was taught growing up that you keep EVERYTHING.  No matter how insignificant, dirty or useless it was, you kept it.  I remember when I was a child I had boxes floor to ceiling piled up in my room on two walls, none of which was my stuff.  Nothing was ever considered mine.  In the living room, the couch only had enough room for my mother to sit. If I wanted to eat or watch tv, I had to remove a pile off of a broken chair to sit, then put the pile back once I got got up.  There was no such thing as a clear surface.

My father considered himself a minimalist and always beamed with pride that he could put all his things in a backpack.  However, he was a severe alcoholic and homeless quite often. He lived in a trailer in his ex’s backyard (not my mothers), and often he had no heat, running water and definitely no blankets or a place to sleep.  The few things he owned were the most precious things to him, but since he was an alcoholic he was unable to see the filth around him.  He taught  me that if you have a useful thing you NEVER let it go no matter the state it’s in.

I never actually understood my parents way of thinking but just accepted it as that is what was normal for me.

After I was able to legally leave both my parents residences, I drifted for a while and moved often.  Since I was a child who grew up in rather bad surroundings, I always had an idea of what my perfect dream home would be so I accumulated things to try to emulate that idea.  And I mean I ACCUMULATED.  Lots. Of. Things.  My fantasy self.

A few years later, I fell in love with someone. HARD.  We lived together.  He co-owned a pawn shop and brought home a TON of interesting things.  Antiques, things he thought I’d like,  Projects for me to work on, constantly (on almost a daily basis) bringing home more stuff.  He and I were together for 6 years, he proposed, we were planning on buying a house together (and actually had put an offer on a house).  I bought two cute decorations that represented us that I was planning on putting in our new house once we closed escrow.  Then my ring “disappeared” while I was cooking dinner.  Then he’d disappear for days.  Women I didn’t know would show up at the house.  He was stealing from me.  Telling my family lies. One night, he got violent.

I didn’t have enough money for the deposits or the pet deposits (and there was no way I’d leave my pets with him). I had to get a loan and I got the biggest one my bad credit would allow.

I moved out in a matter of two days.  I somehow managed to move my massive hoards of stuff (only forgetting a set of comics).  I wasn’t about to leave my stuff, I was taught that things are important and you never get rid of them, even if leaving a possible dangerous situation.  I made sure that I kept every little thing that he brought home for me.

A month after I moved out, my job cut my hours.  I was broke and alone, but at least I had all my things.

I was crushed.  I put the two cute decorations that I bought for “our house” in a closet. I couldn’t look at them but I couldn’t get rid of them either.  I was still trying to recover from our break up. In a year, I was feeling a little better about things and pulled them out of the closet.  I still thought the decorations were cute and maybe I was ready to put them up in “my house.” I sat and cried for about an hour.  I put the decorations back in the closet.  They represented too much for me.

About 6 months later, I was moving things around in the closet and the two decorations fell out. I happened to be in a bad mood that day, emotional and still working through my break up.  I took the decorative things out, put them in the car and drove them to a donation center.  The man looked at them and said, “They still have the tags on! Are you sure you want to donate these?”  

I grumbled YES at him and he told me “These will sell quick!”

I know it sounds cheesy but there was a rainbow on the hill as I driving home.  I felt SO RELIEVED.  I got rid of something that represented failure and pain to me.   I kept all these things because “that’s what you do” but It literally HURT me to go through these things because each one stirred up a memory and made me realize just how fucked up our relationship was the entire time we were together. I felt PAIN remembering the shady things he did (he brought home presents and “projects” to distract me from all the cheating he was doing) but I felt GUILT about getting rid of things because my parents taught me that you keep everything no matter what it is.

The pain ended up winning over the guilt.  

Over the next few weeks, I got rid of (donated) more things that he brought home that gave me a feeling of pain.   And then some more.  I felt psychologically better each time, slowly processing all that pain and the item attached to it.  I got my hours back at work. I paid off my loan I got so I could move.  I decided to keep going through my things that I had accumulated through the years.  That fantasy self that never came to fruition.
Every time I thought of getting rid of something that nagging guilt instilled in me by my parents would rear its ugly head.  I always imagined my mothers face and her screaming if she found out that I was donating an extra waste paper basket or orange peeler (this truly happened).  I realized I needed to work through my painful experience growing up with my parents too.  I was now my own person and hadn’t lived with my parents for well over 15 years.   My happiness in MY home and MY life was the most important thing. 

I started looking up minimalism and I liked watching and reading about people’s struggles with letting go.  We aren’t always just letting go of things.  We’re letting go of what those things represent and our psychological attachments (and sometimes damage).  

I’ve been working on this for about 5 years now.  Slowly but surely.  Well over half the things I accumulated are now gone.  I miss none of them. Some of those non-minimalists ask me WHY I would spend/waste so much time going through my stuff.  Because in my experience, some things are attached to pain.  I want to let that pain go. I’ve never give myself a time frame in which to do this.  It is WORTH IT to me to work through this pain.

As I’ve had less painful things surrounding me, I’ve been able to focus on other parts of my life I’ve always wanted to. I decided to donate duplicates, things I no longer liked, things that no longer served me. I started to focus on my health a bit more and my education. I realized I already had a wonderful, clean, safe and tidy home that I enjoy being in.   I already had the fantasy self home I wanted.

Has minimalism fixed all my problems? Nope.

Made me rich, turned me into a vegan world traveler with only my laptop and 30 articles of clothing? (Here’s some more stereotypes- and again nothing wrong with this) Nope.

I don’t fit in with minimalism stereotypes.  I don’t own a laptop, I don’t wear designer clothes or have a capsule wardrobe, my bedding isn’t white, I don’t compete in fitness competitions, I’m not zero-waste, I own a gas guzzler car and I’ve never been out of the country (yet).

(My wallsare white though because I live in a rental, I do yoga sometimes because I get a sore back and I am a white middle-class female, and I’ve busted my ASS to get here- I’m just playing around with the stereotypes here, it’s all in good fun)

I do get a little defensive when someone tells me how “stupid” minimalism is, or when they tell me I’m doing it “wrong.”  It upsets me when my motives are questioned or someone tries to lump me and others into a stereotype.  It upsets me when some tells me I’m involved in a fad.

Minimalism has been a THERAPY TOOL for me to work through my personal demons.  I’ve used other tools as well, but this one so far has been one of the more obvious and effective.

I intend to keep going until I feel it’s right FOR ME.

Donate 2018 #3

Here’s my newest donate pile. 

20 items of clothing, a guitar, 2 picture frame, about 15 random kitchen utensils, 4 purses, two picture frames, tablecloth and napkins, two stuffed animals (from when I was a kid), 3 blu-Ray animes (I don’t have a blu-Ray player), a stapler, spinning poi, the old ugly she’ll macrame thing, bookends, glass viewfinders, and a box full of ribbon.

Not pictured here (because I added later), drawer pulls, a dinosaur Halloween outfit, a boogie board, and a Christmas tree in box.

March No-Buy update #3 (and hoarding family members)

Ok, so here’s our update…I’ve been doing my best not to buys things this month and I’m taking it just one day at a time.

 My first week I did real shit and bought things. (4 to be precise)

My second week, I did much much better and only bought one item for the dog. (Shea butter for her dry nose, and by golly it’s worked!)

A lovely nose on a not-so-lovely pug.

And this week, I bought….


Yay me!

However. (Sorry now I’m about to get wordy again)

Yah.  See that however there?  I’ve told my family and friends about my goals.  I’ve told them I’m beyond sick of buying things and having excessive stuff in the house.  Most have been really cool and supportive about it.  All but one.  My mother.

Now, I don’t live with my mother (and never will) but we live within 15 minutes drive from each other. She is very involved in my life. I love her.  But she is both a shopaholic AND a hoarder.  In this picture below, she is at a 7 on a good day.

I’m not mentioning this to be judgemental in the slightest.  I am very sympathetic and understanding of her condition.  Growing up in a hoarder house is what made me the neurotically clean, zero tolerance to clutter, both capable of extreme purging and incapable of letting go person I am today.  

She also recently moved (probably one of the worst experiences in both of our lives) and is now beginning to see a little bit of how her stuff truly is a burden. (Bear with me, there is a point to all this).

She too has been purging her stuff, in her own way.  Each week she takes one full garbage bag to the donation center! I’m so proud of her! 

But then she brings things over I might like without asking me if I want them (therein lies the problem).  As she truly can’t distinguish “special” things from trash, I end up getting both.  She is very sensitive, like many hoarders are when it comes to things.  As I said, I’m very understanding of her.  When she brings stuff over, I always thank her and let her know I will go through the things later so I don’t hurt her feelings with my “this is trash” face. She truly can’t understand that when I say I don’t want anything else, that means I want NOTHING.  I doubt she ever will and this is something I’ve been working on accepting.

In addition to about half a bag of old paper and broken Happy Meal toys and a Barbie arm from the 90s (from when I was a kid, these were all immediately thrown away),  my mom brought over these.

They’re bigger than they look. They need to be polished. They’re nothing special and are from the 70s.  So here’s where my hoarder tendencies come in.  Now I need to decide if I want too keep them or not. They can go in the bathroom on the wall.  I can donate them.  This might cause a fight as my mother WILL ask me about them later.  (She remembers EVERY single item in both her house and mine).

She also brought this over, but had bought this yesterday at a thrift store.

I mean, he’s pretty cool. He’s a 70s knock off from an Art Deco lead crystal Verlys vase.  It was cheap (a whopping $3.49). She thought maybe I could put my lucky bamboo plant in it. And maybe I can.

And yet, here I have 4 more stinking items in my house that I need to figure out what to do with.