Time-out

14-03-2011 § Leave a comment

Because of Real Life Intrusions I expect I won’t be able to update this blog for a while… Thank you for reading!

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Project333 januari t/m maart

27-01-2011 § Leave a comment

De laatste 3 maanden van 2010 heb ik meegedaan aan project333, 33 kledingstukken gebruiken en niet meer. Ondergoed, sokken en sportkleding tellen niet mee, en ik besloot ook sieraden niet mee te tellen. Ik geniet nog dagelijks van de rust in m’n kast, wekelijks van het gemak bij het opbergen van m’n was, en alles wat ik gebruik zit lekker en is favoriete kleding :). Ik wil echt niet meer terug naar hoe het was!

In de nieuwe fase zijn de ‘regels’ iets aangepast/aangevuld, waaronder een ‘inrouleerstapeltje’ van 3 kledingstukken, en het uitzoeken en wegdoen van wat je niet gedragen hebt. Ik ben daar druk mee bezig geweest, ook met het maken van een nieuwe lijst, maar heb nu toch besloten om deze fase een klein beetje over te slaan. Ik blijf wel meedoen aan project333! Het is veel te leuk en het houdt me scherp. Ik plaats hier alleen geen lijst van kledingstukken, en ik berg wat ik niet draag ook niet op in de kelder.

Waarom? Ik heb meer dan 4 vuilniszakken aan kleding weggedaan (major improvement!) maar heb niet het gevoel dat ik daarmee klaar ben. Ik wil de komende maanden telkens een stukje opnieuw bekijken of ik het wil houden. Zo deed ik het ook met boeken en dvd’s en dat werkt voor mij erg goed. Het is al een gewoonte geworden om me te beperken tot een beperkte set aan kledingstukken. Toen ik twee weken geleden ging tellen kwam ik niet aan 33 voor deze fase. En ik speel met het idee om uiteindelijk op een vast aantal kledingstukken uit te komen voor alles samen, winter- en zomerkleding. Daarvoor moet ik overzicht hebben. Het daadwerkelijk voor m’n snufferd hebben is voor mij het beste overzicht ;-). Dus daarom deze 3 maanden een iets andere aanpak…

Oh, en sieraden laat ik er definitief buiten. Ik wilde zien of ik die dan juist meer zou gaan dragen, niet dus! Zelfs m’n horloge heb ik niet meer om gehad.

Ik ben benieuwd hoe ver ik kom, en wat de regels van de komende fase gaan zijn!

Over project333

Project333 is een initiatief van Courtney Carver, en heeft nu ook een geheel eigen website: http://www.theproject333.com/ . Het is een eenvoudige en vooral leuke manier om er achter te komen wat jouw ‘genoeg’ is op kledinggebied en wat je nou werkelijk gebruikt van je garderobe. Het geeft rust en ruimte in je kast, zorgt voor minder wat-trek-ik-aan-stress, je hebt minder was, en je maakt ook nog eens iemand anders blij met jouw overschot ;-). Ok, dat laatste is waarschijnlijk een tijdelijke bijwerking…

Weird musing on stuff and nicotine

16-01-2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve quit smoking twice in my life. The first time I managed to stay free of nicotine for about 3 months. I enjoyed not being a slave of this bad habit. It wasn’t even a particular nasty attack of so-called ‘need to smoke’ that got me started again. I just thought I could handle one cigarette (wrong). Typical junky-thinking… Anyway… I started smoking again, and every time I lit the next cigarette I had that nagging feeling: “I was supposed to have quit, I shouldn’t be doing this”. I couldn’t be a happy smoker anymore.

The second time I quit (almost 8 years ago, insert smug face here) I was so fed up with this habit, I was quite obsessive about quiting and staying that way. Oh sure, there were more considerations, health being a major factor, but the resentment helped. I knew that getting back with Mr Nico Tine again wasn’t gonna make me happy. Been there, done that!

Maybe not quite, because something oddly similar seems to apply to my decluttering…

I have a tiny mini fridge boxed up in the basement. It was a price in a little competition some years ago. It has a picture of ‘Happy Feet‘ on it. I love that movie! But here’s the thing: I don’t use the darn thing, I never have and I probably never ever will. I tried selling it more than once, then at the last moment decided to keep it. I tried giving it away, and yet, every time I enter my basement, there it is. I decided long ago it needs a new home. The decision to keep it may be more recent, but everytime I see it, I know it has to go, because I can’t go back to happily owning it.

It feels too familiar, I’ve been through this before! But stuff is no addiction, right? Sure, the perceived need to get new stuff can get addictional proportions, but just owning it?

Addiction or not, there seem to be some twin-like properties to this. First, the habit of holding on to stuff (for me) is mostly an irrational what-if, based on anxiety about the future (remember I’ve never ever needed to use this fridge before). Like smoking, it’s a pacifier with no other function than that, with some irrationality attached. Second, the ‘need’ to own this is only there because I already have it. Smoking is only a ‘need’ once you’ve started smoking. And now I find even breaking the habit has similarities. I’ve quit smoking, certainly I can stop owning a mini fridge!?

So! Out with the mini fridge (even though the print of Happy Feet is soooo cute)! Now I just have to find an easy-or-fun way to get rid of it ūüėČ

Happy Feet mini fridge

My advertisement diet

01-01-2011 § 4 Comments

Lately, I am experimenting a lot with habits and things in my life I’m not content with, and one of these discontentments was the perpetual ‘need’ to get more stuff. The outside world (i.e. marketing departments) should no longer be allowed to dictate the focus of my desires, and as a result my focus in general. So I started limiting my exposure to advertisements.

I am most definetely not the first person in the world to do this, but I am very pleased with the results, which makes me want to share. After several months on this diet, the taste for more stuff is dwindling. I am perfectly fine as I am and happy with what I have, thankyouverymuch! I enjoy using the stuff I have more. I no longer care it is not the ‘latest-and-greatest’. I believe it is not fair to the stuff I have and the resources it cost, both in money as in environmental costs, to not value and use it.

I found time, contentment and more focus
to enjoy what’s already in my house.

As we are now ‘connected’ almost every waking hour of our lives, the exposure to advertisements has increased accordingly. There is barely time to breathe and think about what it’s doing to us. There is a neverending claim on our time, attention and money. All those messages are telling us we are not good enough if we do not own this or that, and, we all know it deep down, that’s not true, that they are lying to us. They don’t have our best interest at heart. It is quite a toxic relationship, really…

If there truly is something that has a purpose in our lives, we will think of it without all those marketing dudes out there telling us so. We do have the ability to think for ourselves without them budding in. Then, when we do decide to spend time and money on something, we will appreciate it more, and longer.

Ignoring the constant push to buy does take some effort initially. For me, it took actively denying them my time and my attention. I had to consciously pay attention to what I was paying attention to, and why. Is it because I chose to, or because someone out there demanded it, and if so, for what purpose? Would I rather be spending my time on something else? Almost everytime the answer to that question was ‘yes’.

You pay with your attention before you pay with desire
before you pay with money.

If you, like me, are tired of always wanting more or different things than you already have, I invite you to try it out yourself  for 1 month, or even just 1 week, and see what happens:

  • No television, or turn the volume down and physically walk away during commercial breaks. If you allow them your attention, even some small part of it, they got you. Even worse, because you only partly pay attention, you can not consciously reject the message given to you. You know, the one that rants on about not being good enough and in order to fix that, should want to have this or that.
  • Throw away any kind of advertisement that is dumped in your offline mailbox immediately, do not allow it into your house. Place a wastebin by the door if you have to.
  • Unsubscribe from (or delete unread) ‘newsletters’ from the companies – they will only tell you to get the latest, and get it now, distracting you from the what you have, or telling you it is not good enough anymore (funny, it was the best when they wanted you to buy it).
  • Skip advertisements and advertorials in printed media. When you do want to read a newspaper or magazine, be aware of the proportion of commercial messages and advertorials. The local newspaper here seems to be at least 75% advertisement.
  • Be aware of hidden agendas. When watching resources online, for example on youtube, ask yourself which company is behind it, what is it trying to tell you? Sometimes, more often that not, it’s something commercial. Now, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying good quality videos. Some of those viral marketing videos out there are really fun to watch, but if you recognize the purpose of those videos you can make a conscious choice not to comply to the given message.
  • When in a store (online or offline), no browsing! Everything is set up to persuade you to buy, to please the store owner, to reduce your anxiety about previous purchases, and not necessarily to please you. Any shop is a big advertisement in itself. Anything else you buy on impulse because of browsing is just a short fix that’ll distract you from what you already have. If you need something from the stores, make a list, go in, get it, pay and get out. If possible, go to smaller shops with less temptations.
  • Spend the time you gain in ways that mean something to you. Do the things you always feel you don’t have the time to do. Allow yourself to focus. Go for a walk. Call a friend. Snuggle on the couch with that book you always wanted to read. I’m convinced you can think of something you’d rather be doing than being told your life isn’t ok without this-or-that.

I’m curious how this works out for you! Happy de-commercializing!

Follow-up on the tea challenge

12-12-2010 § Leave a comment

Two monts ago I decided, prompted by Courtney Carver, to limit my tea choices to 1. In March I started my quest for finding my ‘enough’, so this mission was right up my sleeve! Well, a month later, I now know what my ‘enough’ in the tea department: it’s one-and-a-half. Guess I’m slightly weird or something.

When I chose¬† the one flavour, I picked a rather spicy tea. I was still under the impression I would also drink lots of coffee and water. But the coffee habit has dwindled somewhat in the last months (not sure why, there’s not an obvious reason for it), and I do drink lots of water, but a little variation can be nice sometimes. I also noticed that my choice of tea was interfering with my sleep as I drank it all day long :).

Now that the experimental month is over I went back to two tea flavours, the spicy one for the mornings, and a softer flavour, a nice little herbal tea, for the afternoons. Still, I tend to keep to the one flavour…

As with other stuff in my life I have simplified, and contrary to what I was led to believe before, it’s liberating to have so few choices. I enjoy what I have, do and experience more than I would before.¬† It has become a habit to make the tea and enjoy a moment of contentment instead of stressfully making tea and mindlessly forgetting about it and letting it get cold again.

I do make an effort to buy good quality tea though. Maybe I’ll scratch my coffee habit altogether, I haven’t really decided on that one, yet. There are reasons to do it, but once in a while a cup of coffee can be nice too…

So there you have it, at this moment, my ‘enough’ in the tea department is one-and-a-half…

Gedachten na No Impact Week NL

16-11-2010 § Leave a comment

De No Impact Week is weer voorbij. We mogen weer overgaan tot de orde van de dag. Maar net als vorige keer, en net als Colin Beavan, vraag ik me af of ik dat wel wil. Dat het ‘mag’ wil niet zeggen dat ik het moet doen.

Ik heb deze afgelopen week mijn ‘no impact’ weer niet bereikt. Dat had allerlei redenen, maar dat maakt nu niet uit. Ik wil het niet goed praten, hoe goed de redenen misschien ook zijn. Wat ik zo op twitter voorbij zag komen hebben we allemaal dergelijke dilemma’s ervaren. En ook veel goede dingen, en daar gaat het om.

Ik besefte ook weer eens hoeveel er al wel veranderd is en hoeveel leuker dat m’n leven gemaakt heeft. Zoals bewuster eten, en daarmee bedoel ik niet alleen weten wat ik eet, waar het van gemaakt is en waar het vandaan komt, maar ook letterlijk: ik geniet, ik proef meer van m’n maaltijd. Minder afleiding van de gebruikelijke tijdverdrijvers geeft daar de ruimte voor.

Ik heb ook minder afval en dus ook minder gedoe met vuilnisbakken legen. Dat is met m’n beperkte energie altijd prettig ;-). Het viel me deze keer wel tegen hoeveel medicijnstrips ik weg moest gooien. En het was niet eens een ‘topweek’. Dat is me vaker opgevallen: de verzekeraar bepaalt welke fabrikant m’n pillen mag maken, en de ene doet het in een potje, de ander in groooooote strips met maar een paar pilletjes, met veel afval tot gevolg. Als het nou nog te hergebruiken was…

Ok, niet helemaal ‘no impact’ dus. Maar ook minder impact is stukken beter dan op de automatische piloot doorgaan, al is het maar door awareness, en vooral ook het signaal naar de markt; we kunnen niet alleen zelf veranderen maar ook laten zien waar we om vragen. Eerlijke producten, en als we niet om consumeren heen kunnen dan willen we tenminste een impactloze verpakking. Zelfs op markten moest ik moeite doen om geen plastic mee te krijgen.

Voor echte verandering heb ik meer tijd nodig dan een week. Wat mij betreft ga ik dus wel over tot de orde van de dag, maar dan wel een orde waarbij ik vragen blijf stellen bij de keuzes die ik maak. Proberen verpakkingen te vermijden. Bewust boodschappen doen. Creatief recyclen. Bewust energie en water gebruiken. En iets terugdoen waar en wanneer ik kan.

Ik wil het type mens zijn dat het probeert. Dus ik blijf proberen. Doen jullie mee?

Justin Case and his stuff

13-11-2010 § Leave a comment

Somewhere on a forum (wish I remembered where!) I saw someone use the term Justin Case to describe all the stuff we hang on to just because we think it may come in handy one day. I loved the name immediately. No, that’s not correct, I realized I was unknowingly married to this Justin Case! I could almost hear my mother saying, “remember, hang on to this¬† Justin Case, you need it”. Ok, she may have meant the punctuation to fall a little differently. But still…

I was already well on my way on my decluttering journey, but I did keep loads of stuff that definitely fell in the Justin Case category. It were the things I wasn’t particularly attached to but was hesistant to get rid of at the same time, because it was Justin Cases… So they kept bogging me down.

It was a bad marriage. I couldn’t move freely in a large walk-in closet I have. Getting something out of a kitchen drawer made me sigh before I even started. Didn’t know what I had. Couldn’t find stuff when I needed it. Lots of frustration there. Basically, we were constantly arguing about stuff.

Something had to change. I decided I need to trust life a little more. Because, for me, that was what was at the root of this dysfunctional marriage: fear that I won’t have enough in the future, and that life/me/whatever won’t be able to provide. But am I really going to die right on the spot if I don’t have that extra mop? Are they all going to be mysteriously sold out or something? And what about that umpthiest spare hard disk? Was I really going to let this Justin Case get in my way of enjoying my own house, of how I want to spend my time?

So I filed for divorce, kicked Justin Case right out the door and sent most of his stuff after him when he was leaving. Ah, the peace and quiet…!

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