Digital clutter – when to let it go

no clutter

Late in December, I subscribed to an online yoga class service, for a reasonable monthly fee. I had used this service in the past and enjoyed a few of the classes immensely. Many of the classes were not to my liking; however, since I could pay for only the classes I liked, I thought it was a great deal. Then, the delivery format changed and my favorite classes were no longer available at the click of a button (nor available for download any longer). I thought I would give the new format a try and see if I could broaden my horizons a little bit at the same time, while I tried out new-to-me styles of yoga and streamed classes created by new teachers.

Alas, I did not like the new format. I could tell almost immediately that it was not going to be a good fit for me. Still, perhaps out of loyalty to the old format and teachers, I decided to continue using the service a while longer to see if I had been too quick to judge. For three months, I logged in to the service every couple of weeks to try another class. About two weeks ago, after suffering through another class that did not suit me, I had finally had enough. I cancelled my subscription.

I’m glad I gave the service a chance. While I could have cancelled my subscription earlier, I feel as if I thoroughly tested the format before I decided to hit that “unsubscribe” button. I’m not sure I would have unsubscribed from a free service, though, which leads me to wonder if I have any other digital clutter floating around in cyberspace. In fact, I am certain I have many accounts at a random assortment of sites and services. I am vowing to unsubscribe from them as I come across them – if they don’t have any value, it is time to let them go!

 

Leave a comment: Do you have any digital clutter? Does it bother you or concern you? How and when do you decide to let it go?

My purchases so far this year

Since I pledged not to buy anything new this year unless it was absolutely essential, I have been keeping track of all of the stuff that made the cut here: https://livetobe100.wordpress.com/2014-purchases/. On the one hand, I look at the list and feel very proud that I have severely limited the amount of “stuff” coming into my life this year. In particular, the things that I have purchased are either replacement items or they are quality items that have added value to my home and life. But on the other hand (yes, there is always that “other” hand!), I still think I could buy so much less.

Through living with less and only purchasing items that are truly necessary, I am learning to set high standards for the stuff I choose to own. I feel like I am getting to a place where I choose my stuff, rather than my stuff choosing me. For example, I have pared down most of the ill-fitting or ill-suited clothes that used to cram my closet. These days, no matter what I wear or how quickly I get dressed, I am happy with my appearance. Gone are the pants with the saggy fanny, the shirts that gap at the chest, and the skirts that bind!

I have also noticed that I am spending much less time shopping. Which is fantastic because, honestly, I hate shopping. I have always hated shopping, which I used to feel guilty about admitting. I mean, what American woman does not like to shop, after all? Well, THIS one! I am learning to identify “needs” from “wants.” Even I used to hear the siren song of the sale rack of cute dresses at the mall and the lure of the “25% off” online sale. I can’t tell you how freeing it is to walk into my favorite big-box store and purchase only the 2 items that were on my list – no more losing track of time wandering the aisles gazing at all of the stuff I just don’t need! Likewise with the time I spend online (how refreshing to not waste time browsing online retailers and instead work on high-priority tasks on my list).

One more bonus in my “win” column: I am throwing away or donating my unwanted stuff like crazy! For each new item I bring into my life, I am getting rid of 3-4 things on average. Plus, it is getting much, much easier to get rid of the old stuff. I can’t believe I have been filling my life with so much junk all of these years. I guess it’s never too late to learn how to embrace simplicity.

Learning something new

tea

Last weekend, my sister educated me about the delicious tradition of brewing loose tea. I am big tea drinker – black, breakfast, green, herbal, you name it and I’ll try it – and she has been trying to get me to give loose tea a try for years. Then over the weekend, we were stuck in a car together for 16 hours driving to a family funeral (in truth, we love to travel together, it just makes us sad when the reason is a funeral). So I asked her about loose tea, really just to make conversation. Little did I know what an impressive amount of information she carries around in her head on the subject!

Thanks to my sister, I am a convert to loose-tea-drinking! But more importantly, she reminded me what fun it can be to learn something new, especially when it is unexpected and delightful. What are you learning today that is new and fun?

Minimalist wardrobe revisited

Aahhh, the beginning of April! Time for spring and time to refresh my closet with my April-June “capsule” wardrobe (go to http://theproject333.com/ for more information).

What I learned in my first round of The Project 333 is that I actually need two capsule wardrobes – one suitable for a professional office and one for home. My clothes for these two purposes are vastly different, and I’ve found there is no way to mash all of them into one 33-item list. For example, I have 2 ball caps which I wear all the time around home (why two? one is for yard work – blech – and the other one is for everything else), and there is no way these ball caps could be re-purposed for work. This is not to say that my clothes for home are sloppy or not presentable; on the contrary, most of them are perfectly fine for buzzing around town doing errands. Yet they are not appropriate for work, so there can be very little overlap between the two wardrobes.

boy in hat crop

Living with far fewer clothes has been a wonderful change in my life, helping me to simplify my daily routines and consistently wear clothes that are more flattering. But almost every day, I need to get dressed twice: once when I leave for work in the morning and again when I change my clothes after work. While I would dearly love to have the kind of job where I can wear jeans and a t-shirt every day, I can’t see that happening any time in the near future. For the time being, I am going to continue to allow myself to have two separate wardrobes.

On my journey to Live to Be 100, I’m going to be realistic about my life and as kind as possible to myself. What about you?

Vending machines – a necessary evil

I travel a lot, and no matter how well I plan (making room for fresh, healthy snacks in an airplane-sized carry-on is just not always feasible), all too often I find myself facing this for my lunch:

vending

Ugh! What’s a traveler to do? I have found that the two healthiest options available from most vending machines are a bag of nuts (not sweetened) and – yes I am going to say this! – non-flavored potato chips. Seriously. The nuts are a given, even salted and roasted (as long as you are not allergic, naturally). But the chips? My explanation for this choice is that they are often the least-processed selection and only use three ingredients: potatoes, oil and salt. They wash the potatoes, peel them, slice them, fry them, put on some salt and then package them. You can argue that the oil is not good for you, but at least I know what it is. You can even argue that the sodium is too high, but I’ve done several comparisons to the other available choices, and the chips are always one of the lowest-sodium options. Surprising yet true!

Talk to me: when life hands you a vending machine, what do you choose to eat?