Sunday, December 29, 2013

This week's decluttering

Now that I'm over my green guilt, I've had a pretty busy week of decluttering. I think I'm back in my decluttering groove now that I'm back blogging again. Here's what disappeared this week.
2014 Air Force calendar. A free gift for volunteering at the Smithsonian. I put it on Freecycle and made someone pretty happy.
Cost: $0
Gaming headphones with microphone. The Chief Engineer got these for $40 and then his brother sent him a better set as a holiday gift. We sold this pair on ebay for $38, so we only lost $2.
This file folder I bought right out of college when I was just starting out learning about finances etc. I now use binders to keep my finances organized and this thing never helped me anyways. Cost: $10. It went in the trash, as my office already has many of these and no one uses them.
Baskets for the aerogarden I used to have. It was impossible to clean, used a lot of energy, and didn't really produce much to eat. These probably cost $5. Sold them on ebay for the amount of money it cost to ship them. Also, judging by the strange name of the "organization" that ordered them, I realize I may have sold them to a marijuana dealer. Can't be sure though.

Total money wasted: $17

Total money wasted on stuff I never should've bought: $2368

Friday, December 27, 2013

Hoarding money (and I don't mean saving it)

Can't bear to part with the milk jug but I part with the money in it too easily!
Hoarding money is supposed to be good, right? I mean, when you hoard money it's called saving. Supposedly.  For a long time I've had some odd habits with money. I have half a dozen bank accounts. I have three coin jars. I have two wallets. Talk about money clutter. Why?!

Saving is not something I'm good at. I've tried to get around it by putting my money in silos, or rather, bank accounts. One's to save for a trip to Spain, one's for a rainy day, one's to invest, one's for clothes, one's for music lessons, etc. Inevitably, though, something happens and I end up pilfering from one bank account to make some sort of vaguely impulsive purchase. 

Our first financial adviser said that I was doing myself a disservice by keeping my money in silos because it made it harder to see how much money I really had. I was doing it as a way to keep from spending money. 

Well, if it was supposed to work, then how is it that a girl who gets an allowance of $350/month finishes the year with exactly $190 in her bank account?! Fortunately our joint bank account is much healthier because the Chief Engineer is good with money management. 

Obviously what I am doing is not working. Having multiple containers (literally and figuratively) for money I think gives me a false sense of security. Probably the way piles of stuff give my parents security. Does an empty room seem lonely and frightening to them? Clean rooms have people put in them. Friends, family. Maybe it's easier to forget that you don't have friends or get along with family when you don't have space to host those people. 

Does a single bank statement with only $190 seem more scary than six bank accounts each with less than $50 in them? Actually, yes. One account is more scary because it proves that I have no fallback position. That means I have wake up to the fact that I must deny myself purchases in order to save. Therefore, I will do the scary thing. My goal for 2014 is to reduce my  money silos to the following: 

1. One wallet
2. No coin jars (use wallet instead)
3. One investment account
4. One liquid assets account

Today I closed two bank accounts and rearranged others. I have one checking account for myself now and no savings accounts. I have a single investment account for myself. I've consolidated my retirement accounts as much as humanly possible. Now I just have to get used to the idea that I can't hide from my inability to save anymore. 

Do you have money clutter? What has worked for you? 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Decluttering my depression away

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had to go off my anti-depressants because they were causing me to gain weight, which is quite the problem when you're recovering from an eating disorder! It's been an emotionally rocky couple weeks and today was just a rough day. Body image-wise I was fine (yay!) but I just felt depressed. I couldn't get anything done at work. So I decided to start decluttering.

I had been concerned that going off my anti-depressants would make me less organized because the meds had given me the clarity of mind to get and stay more organized than I'd ever been in my life. That particular prophecy was fulfilled as my cube has become quite the mess in the last couple weeks.

This is a quiet week at work with so many people away for the holidays. That can make it even harder to get work done. But being disorganized is also making it hard to get work done. So decluttering is a good use of my time.

I spent a few minutes today figuring out a plan. One drawer at a time seems good to me. I dug around and stumbled on these little guys.
What is Oscar the Grouch doing in my cube? He's an attempt for me to be like other people at work. Everybody has trinkets at their desk. Of course, I had to as well. But these trinkets tie me to a childhood I'd rather not think about. What to do with them? Give them to the lady around the corner with the twin 1-year-olds. She approved of their child safe-ness and thought her kids would really like them. So I made two little kids happy, and in that, was able to shake a little bit of the blues today. 

How does decluttering affect your mood?

*The Reckoning*
Item 198, A set of Sesame Street figurines. 

$2350.99 wasted on junk

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Too many leftovers in the fridge? Problem solved!

When it's almost time -- but not quite -- for a grocery trip, who isn't faced with that awful question of, "what do I make with all this random stuff in the fridge?"

Now there's a website that will figure it out for you. Simply select the items that you have in your fridge and it will tell you what you can make and give you the recipe to go with. 

Not bad, huh?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Green guilt

Fellow declutterer Kerry at The Simple Year wrote a post last week about the debate between selling stuff and donating it. I've recently given up selling stuff out of sheer exhaustion. I must've gotten even more tired lately (thank you eating disorder meds). I've tried to be green when decluttering by donating, selling stuff, trading, sharing, freecycling, all of that. But today I just gave up and threw this door in the trash!
We went in with good intentions, really we did. We have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore nearby which accepts used and new items for home renovation. This door was a spare that came with our place when we moved in. We own a sedan and we almost managed to get the whole door into the car. It barely fit -- except that we had to pull the driver's seat so close to the steering wheel that I couldn't get into the seat to drive!

I debated putting it on freecycle. The door had some marks on it and I realized it was not going to be easy to get rid of on freecycle. We debated tying it down to the roof rack. We debated taking it down the highway with a foot of the door hanging out of our trunk and held in only with twine. Then we took a hammer to the door and tossed the pieces into our building's dumpster. We saved the mechanism and will take that to the ReStore on our next trip.

I don't feel great about the decision but I am finding it more and more tiring to make the effort of finding homes for all of the stuff we get rid of. I am happy to have the space back.

Have you ever gotten to the point where you just want to trash it all? Do you? How do you deal with "green guilt?"

 The Reckoning 
 Decluttered item #197 is an old door that came with the condo we bought.

$2350.99 wasted on junk so far

Monday, December 9, 2013

This holiday flash mob will make you smile

Occasionally on weekends you can find me volunteering at one of the Smithsonian Museums here in D.C. Some of you have even met me there! I find volunteering a great way to cheer myself up when I'm feeling down. This week we had a very special treat at the Air and Space Museum and I wanted to share it with you. Watch it all the way through to the end, I promise it's worth it!

Hint: Look for the folks with the white stripes on the sides of their pants. About 1/2 of the way through, start looking up at the balcony for the second part of the surprise!

Here's how they pulled it off.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Antidepressants helped me get organized...and sick

Of course, I'm not a doctor, your health decisions are always up to you, and everything I write here is just my opinion.

But I did notice that after I started on my first antidepressant back in 2010 that it was much, much easier to get organized and stay organized.

On that first, and my second, my third, and my fourth antidepressants, organization of home and time seemed almost natural to me. Sure, I was still messy. But I understood that everything had a place. When I would finish with something, I would remember to put it back. I had the energy to put it back. I had the desire to put it back. The meds slowed my thoughts down and allowed me to stay focused on a task. Tasks that were mildly unpleasant or just uninteresting I now had the attention span to actually finish! I could say no to the desire to buy 10 of something and just buy one or maybe three. The deep need to "protect" myself with stuff was slowly going away.

The antidepressants also helped tremendously with my eating disorder. I had the energy and the desire to fight through the negative thoughts to find soothing activities to do instead of bingeing.

Hoarding is finally considered by many to be a formal mental illness that medication can help treat. Hoarding is even gaining acceptance as an honest-to-gosh disorder among the psychological community, gaining a place in the much-debated "diagnostic bible" of psychology, the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th revision).

All I can say is, thank heavens. It's easier to get help for something that's actually considered a real sickness.

Do meds help hoarders? I'm no psychiatrist, but maybe now there will be more investigation into testing meds to see if hoarders can be helped with these wonderful but complicated chemicals (did you notice I've been on four different antidepressants in three years?) For me, I'm about to do my own little experiment: can I live an organized, ED-free life without them?

As you know if you read my revived eating disorder blog, Body Image Hope, you'll know that I've spent the last week in full-out drug withdrawal. I went on a new antidepressant in early Summer because I was allergic to the one I had been previously given. This new drug seemed wonderful. I've never been so happy in my life or so happy about my body in my life. There was just one problem: I gained a lot of weight on this one. Like 20 pounds in four months. My weight had previously been stable within a half pound range for almost a year. Anti-depressants have a reputation for weight gain and this one apparently lived up to its reputation.

I quit the drug almost cold-turkey. I spent some time on a half dose and then dropped down to nothing on Black Friday. Full-out drug withdrawal followed. On Tuesday I had to keep from tossing my cookies in front of my whole company while getting an award at our annual ceremony (yay me?) I couldn't get out of bed on Wednesday. I tried to go into work on Thursday and was sweating so profusely while shivering in a meeting that I got sent home.

Now I'm better, and I'm back.

Why do I say that? Because I noticed some other really weird side effects of my meds: I stopped blogging and I stopped playing guitar. I love both of these things. I'm off the meds now and suddenly all I want to do is blog and play my guitar. Very strange. So expect more posts from me.

My psych doc has decided based on this that I might actually be okay without the anti-depressants for the first time in years. I originally went on them because I was suicidal after my grandmother's death and in the early stages of ED recovery. But now I'm much more recovered (minus the 20 pounds, grumble grumble, but I can live with them now). I've made peace with Gram being gone. Great things are happening for me at work, I finally can say that I love what I do and I look forward to going into work in the morning.

I wonder how I'll do? I suppose there are other meds. But I think I'm tired of side effects for a while.

If you've ever tried meds, if you're willing to share, did you find that they helped your original condition? Did they help your sense of organization?