Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Decluttering Tips, #sampledout, February No Buy, etc.

Hey guys!  Long time no talk, eh?  I am sorry that 2014 was such a shitty blogging year (33 posts?  FOR SHAME), and that 2015 is shaping up to be more of the same.  I am hoping to turn it around though, I miss you guys!

So you may have noticed that I didn't post any resolutions this year.  This actually wasn't just more blog laziness on my part, it was because I still really feel like my priorities from last year haven't changed.  I did update the to do list, but I don't need to bore you with the details, especially since you can assume I only did about 33% of the things on last year's list so it's a lot of the same.  Even when I fail at making as much progress as I'd like, I still feel that having a list keeps me on track and pushes me to do things I wouldn't normally do if I didn't feel somewhat accountable to my resolutions.  One example is running - I did the couch to 5K again and ran in 2 races this year.  I would have hit 3 for sure, if I hadn't forgotten it was a resolution until September (ha). 

One thing I am doing differently though is to try to pick a new challenge each month to focus on, as I seem to do really well when I have a specific plan to follow.  Plus I had a lot of success with stuff like the Arbonne 28 Day Detox and the 30 Day Abs Challenge last year, that I will continue to find new things to try. 

In December, I did 33 Days of Decluttering.  I didn't get rid of 3 items every day, but (with the help of a closet purge) I hit well over 100 items, so I'm calling it a win.  Some things I found helpful in forming new decluttering habits:
  • Every time I visit someone, I think about whether or not I borrowed anything I need to return or if there is something in my stash they would enjoy more than I would. 
  • I now keep a donate bin in a fairly visible place.  The second an item is oppressing me, into the bin it goes.  The second the bin gets full, it goes into my trunk to go to goodwill.
  • If I hate something all day when I wear it, the second it comes out of the dryer it goes into the donate bin.  For some reason I have the really bad habit of thinking that maybe NEXT TIME these pants will stop showing my butt crack or these shoes won't give me a blister, even when the last 7 times have proven otherwise.  STUPID.
  • I found a partner in crime to trade stuff with.  I know an extreme couponer who has too many household items, and since I am basically an extreme subscription box addict, I traded her makeup I'm not using for basics like shampoo, body wash, and laundry detergent.  I feel like we will be doing this A TON in the future.  This would also work well if you have someone with differently spaced kids than yours. 
  • I bring stuff to work to give away to whoever wants it or to sell on the portal.  Coworkers love other people's junk, apparently.  I can get about 25% of retail value for kid stuff, which makes it a more attractive option than saving it for a garage sale I am never going to have.  The second I'm thinking about selling it, into my work bag it goes, then I keep it in my cube until someone buys it.  If it doesn't sell in 2 weeks, I reduce the price.  If it still doesn't sell, into the donate bin it goes. 
  • Kid stuff that doesn't sell well is still usually welcome at daycare.  I offloaded a bunch of bibs, burp cloths, and receiving blankets.  They love getting used toys, clothes to use as backups for kids who don't have spare outfits and plastic grocery bags as well.
  • The local Women's Shelter will take unopened household items.  This is great if you have over-couponed (or over-allure-boxed, as my case might be). 
  • The Subtraction Project (January archives here) and Declutter 365 are great resources if you like to do a little at a time.  Which I do.
  • If those two projects post something that isn't really a cluttered area for me, I just find the closest area that has been bugging me and tackle it.  The top of my fridge is something I'm self conscious about every time someone comes over, yet I never seem to have time to deal with it, so that's next on my list.  
  • I have made several friends Crappy Day Presents out of stuff I'm not using (with a couple of new things to fill in the gaps), and they were a big hit. 
  • Invite people over all of the time.  It's a great motivation to clean and declutter.  Same for hiring a cleaning person.  J thinks that cleaning before someone else cleans is stupid, but they can't CLEAN CLEAN if there is crap everywhere.  Plus having someone do the deep cleaning frees me up to do more decluttering and organization.
  • Have a "scavenge week" once a month where you have to basically eat only the things that are already in your house.  It ensure that you actually eat the stuff you pay for and it keeps your cabinets from getting overly cluttered. 
I am sure there are more, but that's all I can think of off the top of my head.  I am so ready to stop my life of hoarding, and it's nice to see progress. 

In January I have been doing another round of the 28 Day Detox and the #sampledout Instagram challenge.  I'm down 8 pounds, basically back to where I ended after the last challenge because I gained at least 5 pounds over the holidays.  I would say this is more "detox lite" though since there have been a number of illnesses keeping me from going too crazy with it. 

#sampledout was started by Instagram user @wimommandy.  Basically you count all of your samples and try to become #samplefreeby2016.  I am posting weekly pics and mini reviews if you are interested, and it's kind of cool to see what others are doing.  I have something like 588 samples to use (EEK) but got rid of 23 in week 1.  It will be nice to put a big dent in my stash so I can focus on using up my full size items. 

In February I plan on continuing #sampledout and Arbonne about 80% of the time, and will go on a VERY STRICT no buy.  As in, nowhere near as cheaty as the one I did in May of 2013.  I cancelled my QVC auto-deliveries and the two boxes that were set to come in February (Arianna Huffington and Wil Wheaton), and I will skip Fabletics, so the only sub I will be charged for is PopSugar Must Haves.  It's sold out and it really is a must have for me, so it will be a cheat.  Le Metier de Beaute was pre-paid for the year and Massage Envy is under contract, so nothing I can do about that.  I will not make a single beauty/fashion/jewelry purchase in February. 

This is what I am allowed to buy:

- Groceries (healthy stuff only, no extra junk food)
- Anything that is health related (vitamins, prescriptions, etc.)
- Must have household items (toilet paper, tampons, cleaning supplies, etc.)
- Gas (should only be one tank since I have a gift card)
- New pajamas and underwear for PJs at TJs using gift cards only
- Entertainment and meal costs for book club night, 50 shades of grey ladies' night, lunch with my brother and SIL,1 date with Justin, PJs at TJ's (all of these costs must be kept to a minimum)
- Tip for my Massage Envy masseuse (try to sell stuff to make $$ for the tip)
- 3 family meals that I don't have to cook (emergency option only)
AND NOTHING ELSE.  No lunches with coworkers, no coffee, no random target trips.  If I sell stuff on the portal or scrounge up gift cards, that is free money that I MIGHT be allowed to use to cheat, but not 1 cent on myself.  Examples include Valentine's treats for the family or one extra cheap family outing.  Experiences are okay, but crap we don't need is not. 

Does anyone want to join me for a February no buy or for #sampledout?