Monday, July 18, 2011

PurJuly day 11 - basket

I'm not sure where this basket even came from. I think it might have been an auction item. I'm not a real big basket person, so I decided to go ahead and purge it.

The one thing I kept was the pair of ribbons. Ever find yourself with extra ribbons from random places? Reuse them on your luggage-it helps you to tell yours apart from all the others. 

#PurJuly follow up to day 1

Remember the frame glass from Day 1? This post that shows them upcycled makes me even happier I purged them. They were just sitting around, taking up space in my house and now they're beautiful glass plates. Excellent!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

PurJuly day 10 bonus- board shorts

One of my colleagues, Gregg purged a pair of board shorts and gave them over to one of his friends that needed a pair. He sure looks happy! :D

#PurJuly day 10 -utensil drawer and cutting boards

Here's the pic of all the items that were purged from the utensil drawer. Here's where you can see the 3 melon ballers. What's sad is that I'm pretty sure I have a 4th one that is with my food dehydrator that I lent to my cousin. But...the good news is that I haven't bought any utensils I haven't needed in years. 

I included this pic because it shows the cutting board that I also purged. I pulled all the cutting boards out but this was the only one we don't use on a regular basis. Short post, but that's my purge for day 10! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

#PurJuly day 9

Utensil drawer

One of the things I've learned from this project is that in the past I definitely bought more stuff than I needed. (as evidenced by the 3 (yes, 3!) melon ballers) I also bought a lot of low quality items because "Hey, it's cheap!" so what was I really risking/losing by buying it? I lost space by buying cheap items, as evidenced by the photos. I also lost money, even if it was a small amount-and those small amounts add up quickly. When we buy things we don't really need, it's the same thing as throwing our money down the toilet. Especially if we buy things that have no resale value or quality.

Our utensil drawer "before"

And "after" This drawer sometimes would not
close properly because of too many
things jammed in it. Now? No problem!

Another side effect of this project is that I'm much more aware of the items I own that do have quality. I was doing my laundry the other day and realized I've had some of my clothes for years. I read an article once that said something like whenever the author looked at the lint in his dryer, he felt like he was seeing the life that had been beaten out of his clothes. Now, I try to hang my clothes as often as possible. I'd say, on average, my clothes go through a dryer maybe 1 out of every 4 times they're washed. The residual heat in our house has always been more than enough to dry my clothes on a collapsible clothes frame I bought from Ikea. Every time I spend that extra few minutes hanging my clothes instead of throwing them in the dryer, I'm saving the energy that the dryer would have used and the wear and tear on my clothes.

How about you-what do you own that has quality? Have you owned something for years and still love it? How about the other side-have you bought stuff in the past because it was "cheap" and then realized later that you didn't use it or it wore out quicker than it should have because of shoddy construction?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#PurJuly day 8 - catching up

So, you might have noticed that I completely fell off the radar after day 7. This means I'm almost officially a week behind. I've still been purging, but not finding enough time to post. After stressing myself out over it, I realized that wasn't really the point and tried to just stop stressing.

One of the best things about this project is the pressure to just do the purging. How often do we have the urge to purge (forgive the rhyme) but we give ourselves excuses or decide to do something else with our time? I'm not saying that's inherently a bad thing (I doubt anyone thinks to themselves on their deathbed, "Gee, I wish I had been more organized.") However, a fair amount of satisfaction can be had from the process of purging as well.

These next two drawers fall into the satisfying category. I hadn't planned to purge these when I originally conceived the idea of PurJuly, but then I was standing in the kitchen and just started. Luckily, I had a camera nearby, so I was able to grab some pics.

The ones I decided we could do without

The final result:
I wish I had taken a "before" photo because
this is quite impressive.
Our pots and pans cupboard hasn't been
this clean and organized since we moved in.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

#PurJuly day 7

Again, I'm cheating. I actually purged this suitcase a few weeks ago, but I wanted to include it, because it never belonged to me. I borrowed it from a friend (Thanks, Josy!) for the two trips we took this year. I needed a carry-on sized suitcase but didn't want to buy one and then have to store it, etc. (Oh yeah, and I'm cheap!) I sent an email to a small group of friends to see if anyone had what I needed and of course, someone did-A good thing to remember when you need something just once or a few times. A smart (and easy) waste reduction tip is to borrow items from others. Finally, this belongs in the PurJuly category because I had it sitting around my house for about a month and a half after the last vacation and I still hadn't returned it. PurJuly sparked the return. Yay for borrowing and yay for purging!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#PurJuly day 6

I have a very small purge today. I purged this hat. Dear BF gave me a set-it had a hat, scarf and gloves. I've since misplaced the gloves and scarf (I'm sure they're somewhere around here...) but I kept holding on to the hat, hoping I'd someday magically like it more than I do.

You see, it doesn't fit me correctly. I have this giant noggin that causes hats to slowly slip northward and look ridiculous. If the hat in question doesn't stretch enough, it never stays put. I've held onto this hat because it was a gift and because it was part of a set. I realized though that I don't wear it because it doesn't fit correctly and that even when/if I find the gloves and scarf, I still wouldn't really want to wear the hat because it does not fit.

I feel like this all sounds really silly, ("If the hat never fit, why did she hang on to it for so long? What is she, stupid?") but I'm hoping that there's some readers out there who can relate to my hat story and finally let go of their proverbial ill-fitting hats. If something doesn't fit properly, work properly or is for some other reason cluttering up your life/home, perhaps it's time to just let it go? 

The hat will be at the clothing swap in August. If you love it and have a smaller noggin than me, you should come out to the swap and try to score it for yourself. Hell, if you really like the hat that much, let me know and I'll set it aside for you. Because I'm considerate like that. See?-purging has already made me a nicer person! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

#PurJuly day 5

I picked up sewing for a few reasons. It's a good skill to have in order to be able to repair your own clothing and other textile items. I'm able to make my own reuse projects, like a pillow for the dogs made from a ripped blanket or a drawstring bag from the leg of old boxer shorts. I'm also able to make reusable fabric gift bags (hat tip to my Green Drinks cohort, Laura for the idea.) which my family covets in a strange yet satisfying way. Special thanks to friends Amanda and Sister Diane for helping me get started with sewing.

Today, I purged half of this basket of sewing goodies that I bought at an estate sale. The whole basket cost me .75 (I know!) but I hadn't ever put the time forth to go through the basket and find out what I got for my large investment. I knew there were enough things in it to make it worth the purchase and I also knew there was some stuff I'll never use, so this was a nice excuse to go through it and separate everything.

When I'm faced with large amounts of items that I need to go through, I like to make 3 piles-keep, purge and maybe. Then, I count the maybes and split them down the middle. For me, it's an efficient set of rules that helps me make the decisions.

In this case, I only had 2 items that fell into the maybe pile and everything else was pretty straightforward. I have no idea what those little green things with animals woven into them are, though. Anyone recognize these?  I thought they might be kinda nifty as a quilt addition (In the picture, they're folded into thirds, but they're all actually squares) but I'm not a quilter, so I ultimately had to just purge them. Hopefully they'll find love in someone else's hands.

The final purge:

#PurJuly day 4

Yes, yes, I forgot to post yesterday. We had a fun day, hanging out with friends and by the time I remembered I was supposed to post, it was almost midnight. I just couldn't do it.

I did purge, though. I'm getting rid of this watering can. I bought it at a thrift store and unfortunately, it doesn't work-the water literally doesn't come out of the spout. That explains why it was in the thrift store in the first place, I guess. Why I've kept an item for so long that doesn't work is a mystery. It's usually about not wanting to get rid of something either if I think I'll use it in the future or if someone else can get use out of it. 

This item is a very rare example (for me) of something I bought at a thrift store that didn't work out. Usually, when I decide I need a new item (for example, a vacuum sealer) I look at thrift stores first. In this way, I find very little items that I have to buy new. This saves me money and lessens my footprint on the resources of our planet. It can also make me feel better about purchasing items that I don't necessarily "need" but do still "want" (For instance, a candle warmer.)

Here's some great reasons to thrift store shop. For the purposes of this blog, reuse is the best, of course, but I've learned to never question people's motives for making greener choices. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

#PurJuly day 3

I just got some totally awesome PurJuly stories from Josy (see below)

My item today is: A Stitch doll. I have just a few stuffed animals in my home. I kept my Grimm and Lorax* stuffed animals, but I decided I could probably give up Stitch. I honestly don't remember why I have a Stitch in the first place. The only thing I can come up with is that it might have been a gift from a family member who went to Disneyland. If that is the case, I hope they'll understand that I have way too many things. Plus, to me, a stuffed animal should be loved (ala Toy Story) Hopefully, now Stitch will find a new home and be loved. 

*If you are an environmental educator and you haven't read The Lorax, I highly recommend it. I find the book a really easy way to talk about complex concepts like pollution, consumerism, activism, habitat, etc.

Here are the pics and stories behind Josy's purged items:

Item 1: I finally pulled the dryer out of my basement, previous owners left it. I put it by street for scrappers not sure if it worked.  My neighbors across street saw it and asked if they could have it.  Turns out they haven't had a working dryer in 2 years!!!  I helped get it over there and it totally works and they were so happy which made me very happy. 
Item 2: Treadmill went fast 

I guess sometimes getting rid of unwanted items is as easy as purging them from your home and letting others know you've got some items to give away. 

I'm not sure how Josy's going to get weights on those items for the tracking spreadsheet. Crazy! I'm feeling a little bit of that glow-after-purging vicariously. Way to go, Josy! 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

#PurJuly day 2

Today, I purged a box of clothes. Most I had never worn or hadn't worn in a really long time. The box weighs a whopping 9 lbs. 

One of the PurJuly participants, Laura, emailed me her items today. I like her "lessons learned"-don't you? I think they're both really great lessons to remember for de-cluttering (or, not having clutter in the first place...)

July 1  
Purged-one grocery sized bag of misc household/clothes sheets & free hand out type stuff from yesteryear Lesson learned: (again) take only what you want/need. :-) 13 items 

July 2 
Purged-returned/exchanged misc baby gifts (duplicates or too small) to Target for other needed items. 5 items. Lesson learned: If someone loves us enough to give us a gift-they would want me to exchange it for something we can actually use/need as well.

My clothes (and I'm guessing Laura's as well) will be going to the clothing swap at the end of August. Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 1, 2011

#PurJuly day 1

Day 1:

And I'm already cheating. This item is something I purged last weekend, but it's because I *had* to purge it then, because the artist that I gave it to was in town. So, I think that's a valid excuse for cheating. Rules are meant to be broken, right?

These glass pieces were left over from my upcycling project last year. I made jewelry organizers from thrifted frames, corkboard and fabric, but had much* of the glass left over. When Recycled Arts Festival rolled around this year, the organizer asked me to facilitate an artist material exchange. We worked with 2Good2Toss to set up a special section of their website dedicated to materials artists could give away, sell or solicit for. I put my glass on there and was emailed by one of the artists. I luckily remembered to weigh my glass before I loaded it up and it weighed (a surprising to me) 11 lbs! I found Naomi in the park and then had to go back later to take a pic, because I forgot that part. :D Thanks Naomi! I hope the glass works well for your project.

1 down, 30 to go...

*A little story about the glass: We have a framed picture of our logo for Vancouver Green Drinks. At Check 'Em Off Green last year, some rambunctious kids were running around the easel holding the frame. They knocked it, it dropped and shattered. Besides it being a huge mess, I was upset that we would have to find a new frame or go without. Then, I remembered that I had all these pre-cut pieces of frame glass at home and sure enough, had the right size for a replacement.
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