October Decluttering Update

On the decluttering front, we removed 6 items from the house.   It seems silly to report this BUT we are finally accepting the idea that we are at a decluttering end point and will not count decluttered stuff next year.

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Here are a few ways we’ve decreased the inflow of stuff:

  • We filter/trash the minimal amount of mail the moment we remove it from the mail box.  No more mail piling up to declutter later!
  • We have transitioned to digital statements for most accounts.
  • We are not saving the digital statements on the computer hard drive since most companies allow you to review at least a year’s worth online.  And really, when was the last time you looked at that statement from 9 months ago?
  • We no longer get magazine or newspaper subscriptions
  • Barb uses the library instead of purchasing books
  • We have gradually been spending less money on random stuff, really thinking about purchases before we make them.
  • We have quit accepting “free” stuff.
  • I decluttered the Halloween gifts (coffee mugs and decorations) from students by placing them in the staff lounge instead of bringing them home.  Someone else is getting “joy” out of those items!  All the things were gone by the next morning!  WIN WIN

 

February 2018 Update

February has been a roller coaster of a month for us.

On a more personal note, Barb’s dad passed away suddenly on February 26th.  Mom called about 8 am saying he fainted and she had called 911.  About 8:20 am while Barb was driving to their house, she got the phone call that he was gone.  Just like that our small corner of the world is turned upside down.

These kind of events make you evaluate what’s important – it sure isn’t all the crap you keep in the house, garage, etc.  Our decluttering sort of made this a little easier when we helped clean out the garage, closet, and dresser.  We did have to remember that not everyone was used to going through stuff and getting rid of it.

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Dad in his prime – about 50 years old here.

Digital Decluttering -Part 2

I’ve been trying to declutter email a little bit each evening.  Here are the numbers since the last report.

contacts removed: 17 + 2 = 19

emails removed:  78 + 308 + 78 + 391 + 195 = 1050

files removed:  4

account removed from devices:  2

Removed this week:  1075

GRAND TOTAL REMOVED:  1241 items!!

Daily summary:
1/17 closed an old email account and removed it from 2 devices, removed 78 emails

1/18 declutter dropbox account – removed 4 files, declutter email account for dropbox – remove 308 emails

1/20 continue contact decluttering – 17 contacts removed and 78 emails removed. (weird, it was 78 a couple of days ago!)

1/21 different email account contacts decluttered – 2 contacts removed and 391 emails removed (working from oldest to newest, currently at Jan 2015)

1/22 finished email decluttering of one account – 195 emails removed

NEXT UP – declutter my primary email account, why do I have so many different email accounts????

 

2017 End of Year Update

I can’t believe another year has passed!

This is the time of year people reflect on their previous year and make plans/goals for the upcoming year.

So how did we do with last year’s goals?  Depends on how you look at it!

√-  Our decluttering goal was to rid the house of 2017 items.  We got rid of 1506 items.  That brings our total since we began counting in fall 2014 to 15,519!  Not quite our goal but better than nothing!
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More stuff gone in December (empty turbotax case and phone book we never use among the gems!)


GOAL REVIEW

√+  We wanted to have a No Spend Month.  Well we did it last February!  Surprisingly (or maybe not) we have been more aware of purchases than we were even before this experiment.   We are contemplating another one this month but with our first granddaughter due any day, I’m not willing to do no spending just yet.  We will have travel expenses to see her (I suppose we could eliminate this from the “rules” but then there will be meals out, etc to contend with.)

√-  Next, we wanted to thoroughly go through the garage.  Most of our big decluttering in January and July were due to decluttering the garage.  Not quite as much as we would like but it looks better than before Jan 2017.

X  The last big goal was to clear out enough of the garage to put a car in it and purchase a new garage door and opener.  Well, the car still parks every night in the driveway.  The big item that seems to be holding this up is the full-size Air Hockey Table.  We just need to suck it up and figure out a way to sell/give it away.  The facebook for sale and craigslist for our area has a lot of these and they aren’t moving even if the price is $0.  Not sure how we will deal with this – maybe we need to start having our air hockey championships again!  Granted, it was a lot fun when the kids and their friends were involved – just us, not sure.

On the personal goals:
√ √ 0 X  Barb is drinking more water!  She is “officially” a descendant of the Mayflower;  she didn’t gain any weight (and only lost about 5 pounds for the year); and the picture boxes are untouched.
√+ 0 X  John is tracking his blood sugar every day (like he was supposed to do all along!) and has found that alcohol affects it (he needed to see the results himself!)  He didn’t gain any weight (also only lost about 5 pounds for the year);  and we can’t park in the garage (see above).

While we both had some successes and some “failures”, we are quite happy with how our year turned out.  We are less stressed about STUFF and other things in general, eating healthy meals at home more often than before, and enjoying doing other things that we wouldn’t have before.  Guess we need to start writing about those things too!

So now off to think about the goals for 2018!

July(ish) Challenge – Day 1, 18 items

Jen at HiddenHoarder.com has inspired us to work toward a certain number of items each day.  We are on vacation for 3 more weeks and have decided to try to get an average of 18 items per day (since that is Jen’s goal).  That would be 306 items gone by Aug. 2.  [John goes back to work on the 3rd and Barb on the 4th.]

Today = 18 items!

expired food from the pantry, appliance booklets, medicine spoon, wooden grinder thingy, and a partial bottle of Slo-Niacin the doctor said not to take any longer.

 

Annual Financial Update, April 2017

From our original financial simplification post:

Of course, there are certain “purchases” we strongly feel were necessary and must pay for:  home/mortgage ($128,152.60), cars and RV ($16,653.62), college education for our children ($93,628.93).

Grand total: $238,435.15 as of April 1, 2015.  Our goal is to be debt free in 5 years.  Each of these 3 categories were “necessary” in our mind to give our children a stable environment and educational/professional opportunities.  We wouldn’t do anything different in these areas.


Another year has passed since we started this blog and we have some financial updates!  Barb didn’t work overtime during this time period so our income dropped about $9,000.  We didn’t have to dip into savings for anything major this year but we also didn’t save anything.  We did take a seven week vacation last summer, a week-long trip to Hawaii, and 2 trips to visit the kiddo on the opposite coast via plane.  We made a concerted effort to avoid using any credit cards this last year for any reason.  We were hoping for $50,000 debt reduction but didn’t quite make it.

We are pretty sure we can pay off the cars, 2 student loans, and the furnace/AC system during the next year.  Next year debt reduction goal is $50,000 and have our savings account at $20,000.  Guess we will need a few more lean spending months!!

  • Cars and RV $3419.36 (decreased balance by $6152.53)
  • Mortgage $106252.74 (decreased balance by $10,193.11)
  • Student loans $44692.39 (decreased balance by $25.582.75)
  • Savings $15,553.95 (not as much as we would like but better than 2 years ago!)

    Total Debt Reduction in the last year = $41,928.39

    Total Debt Reduction in the last 2 years = $84,070.66