Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Time to relax...

Well, it's finally Christmas and all the shopping is done. It's time to just relax!

The photo actually shows the spoils from a shopping trip in Paris in February (Notice the Burberry bag! That's was my new Burberry trench - in light pink!). But I did do a lot of shopping before Christmas this year, as I do every year. However, some of it is now done on-line and delivered to my home and that certainly reduces some of the hassle. Well, I actually love shopping, but enough is enough. It can get a bit extreme around this time of year.

Actually, this time our Christmas preparations have been more about getting rid of stuff than about acquiring more. We moved just over a month ago (on Nov 19th) and we got rid of a lot of stuff before and after the move. I am doing a major de-cluttering currently since I really want our home to be spacious and airy. For anyone attempting to do the same, I highly recommend the book "Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui", it is both very practical and very deep; it goes into the reasons why we are afraid of throwing away even things that mean nothing to us. I really recommend it - even for people who are not interested in feng shui at all.

It’s been hectic moving twice in the space of a year, but that’s what it can be like for those of us who are renting – we never know when we’ll need to move. I lived in my previous place exactly a year. I hadn’t even finished decorating it and then it was time to move again. But the positive side of it has been that my stuff is now more in order than it has been in years – or perhaps even decades. I’ve been forced to go through it all so I’ve had to decide what to keep, what belongs together, etc. It’s by no means finished but at least I’ve made some serious headway into the project.

My next major steps are:

  • Converting all of my (over 500) CDs to MP3 format and managing them on my iTunes. I recently bought an iMac desktop and it’s great. The actual computer and the screen are integrated into one so it reduces clutter that way as well. And it can even be used as a TV – we are seriously considering getting rid of our 2 TVs now. I also got a new iPod with 160G’s of memory. I won’t be running out of space on it anytime soon (my previous iPod had 20G's of space and I could no longer fit everything in my collection on it at once). Once all of my music is in MP3 format and also backed-up in some foolproof way (e.g. burned on DVDs), I can get rid of my CD collection. The advantage of MP3 is that it doesn’t collect dust. ;-)
  • I want my home to be as paper-free as possible. Just like they talk about a paper-free office. My office (at work) is in fact nearly paper-free now since I recently had to move into what is called a “flexi-space” or “modern office concept”. It means that nobody has their own desk, they just sit at the first free place when they get to the office in the morning. So all our files need to be electronic so that they go with us in our laptop (and are of course also backed-up on company servers). I now want to implement the same thing in our home.

Here’s what that means in practice:

  • All photos are digital. We only take digital photos and I have bought a scanner that scans both photos, negatives and slides. So I will slowly convert all old photos to digital format as well.
  • Whatever information I need can be kept in digital format. Information does not need to be kept on paper. This means that I can get rid of things such as address books, phone books, shopping lists, magazine and newspaper clippings, instructions booklets, most receipts, etc. Whatever I really want to keep can be scanned and filed electronically. There is very little paper that we really must keep in paper format (e.g. for tax purposes etc). And it’s a good idea to scan those as well so that there are back-up copies in case of fire or other disaster. So it’s a good idea to keep electronic back-up copies of those kinds of really important papers somewhere other than your home. I, for example, send myself a copy of my passport to my gmail address. It’s a great (and free) back-up place with lots of room.
  • I have now started buying books in audio format. They are available in both MP3 and CD format, so they can also be kept in your computer and you can get rid of the actual piece of plastic – so there’s no clutter. And it saves time since you can “read” a book e.g. while driving or while doing housework, exercizing, etc. I still do have a huge library of books (6 bookcases full) but I keep them in bookcases behind glass so that there is a minimum of dusting to do (I’m allergic to dust and house dust mites so this is a big consideration). I am also thinking about which books to keep and which ones to get rid of. For example, do we need encyclopedias as books anymore? It’s so much easier to do searches with an electronic one. These are things to consider.

    In addition to clearing out paper junk, I have been going through my wardrobe and clearing out clothes. I have also done a lot of repairs and have taken lots of clothes to the cleaners, shoes to the cobblers etc. I am trying to see what I actually have before buying more. And I'm slowly going through things in my kitchen cupboards etc. and am seeing what to keep and what to get rid of. Getting rid of stuff you never use (and don't even like) is good because you then have room in your closets and cupboards and can go out and do more shopping! ;-)

    Happy New Year 2008 – and happy clutter clearing! :-)

    Pink Champagne Lady



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