M270: make-a-(green)plan purging

First, this week is magazines and books. My primary aim is to prepare for an arts and crafts project. I wrote about these Waste Waste Baskets and I want to try it to make one (or more). So, that is this week’s task. I’d like to turn to a summary. I loves me some lists.

After a dozen weeks using the alphabet for this make-a-(green)plan purging approach of one category at a time, I am thinking this is something I might keep as a regular part of my life. That came off really wishy washy, didn’t it? I have to say, I am firm about one thing; the weight of a big monster purge task is gone from my psyche.

Oh, I should mention that I am within 90 days of my year long challenge ending. I thought it was time to organize some of my past experiences and bring any unfinished business to the forefront of this challenge.

This purging approach didn’t occur to me until halfway through this year. I got a little panicked in June when I realized I’d not touched so much I’d set out to purge. I wrote a post that laid out the following categories to alphabetize the process. I want to encourage lurkers to look at the list with an eye for his or her own peculiar themes. Hint, #1 and #5 are killer.
  1. Appliances, 7/7
  2. Bedding, 7/14
  3. Cleaning Supplies, 7/21
  4. DVD's Disks, Music, 7/28
  5. Equipment, 8/4
  6. Furniture, 8/11
  7. Garden Tools, 8/18
  8. Hobby, holiday & Craft Stuff, 8/25
  9. Interior Décor Items, 9/1
  10. Jewelry, Shoes, & Bags, 9/8
  11. Keys, 9/15
  12. Lighting, 9/22
Wow, what a dramatic start with my Appliance Purge! The refrigerator being unplugged at the beginning of July is still the most radical change in this last half of the year. This giant step galvanized me. It helped me mid-year with a feeling of re-invigoration for what I was doing. I needed that kick in the butt.

Frankly, I’d planned some dramatic transformations. I had the plan for a deep cleaning of my spaces and small project completions to dramatically clear the decks. It didn’t happen and I was disheartened. I was able to switch gears with the cleaning of the interior of my home and the under-counter commercial refrigerator positioned in the living room corner – now doubling as a table base. Sometimes drama and changing the physical environment can be so stimulating.

Conversely, my 4th item with the computer zip disks and the music was something I had to put back into the metal box for another year. In an emotionally protective way, I felt I just couldn’t take that on now. I also lacked the focus required to wade through the computer zip disks. This is essentially my commercial interiors portfolio – that corporate world I am rejecting at every turn. Yet, wresting my professional identity versus my true identity is something I discovered I couldn’t do yet. Right now that dragon sleeps.

The week of the purge of jewelry, shoes, bags week was one I took off from blogging in general. I also didn’t touch the hobby, holiday or craft stuff. This last one was primarily because I had so much I was doing that week and so much piled in front of the storage boxes, I couldn’t get to it on several levels. Yet, even the tasks I didn’t do allowed me to scrutinize and think about all of these things in a different way. See, my not just wanting to be frugal and simple forces me to look at these things in terms of waste, re-purposing (favorite) recycling or replacement. It is a whole new set of variables to use in assessing ownership and STUFF.

One other emphatically life changing purge was the equipment purge. I got rid of the television. Halleluiah, praise Jebus! That is worthy of some sort of adoration from on high, or some fucking thing. That god damned tube caused me more soul deadening waste than anything I can contemplate in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I still watch live streaming – even some full episodes of network drama. I have a long row to hoe to get away from this completely. I am cultivating a life without technology-centeredness and I am very far from that right now.

But, I got rid of the most mind numbing shit that I’d been rationalizing for simply years. Here is an example, food network. Food network? I am sorry. I let these agribusiness apologists into my life and I am so glad I got them out. Whereas, I may choose to plug in my beautiful appliance, the commercial - glass door - glass side panels – under counter refrigerator. I may even take back my little Italian toaster oven. . . You can’t make me take back that fucking television. Don't try.
(Disclaimer: I am not attacking anyone who watches television. I struggled for a decade and have zero cause to be critical of others. Doesn't mean I won't speak against television viewing, I just don't condemn.)

One last major switch for the purge equipment category. I have almost eliminated the cell phone (getting one last missing ‘splitter’ for the Skype setup over the weekend) for the complete switchover this week.

What I am now thinking as I am closer to the end of my challenge is its worth addressing again next year. I like this make-a-(green)plan method. I think I may find categories that are missing or need to be revised. Fine. I just like the notion of keeping the challenge in manageable chunks. There are four categories here that are big, major themes, there are a couple that tools are a critical scrutiny issue, then some domestic items for comfort and lastly, the majority of categories pretty openly negotiable in my mind. A cleaning product or a purse is not a life critical decision. These are all categories though that I would recommend to anyone as a purge strategy towards a healthy sustainable plan. It pays to have the list written somewhere so you might organize around it when possible.

I haven’t even hit the last dozen categories . . .


Rosa said...

I started going down the list saying what I had done/need to do. But I think the pattern that I saw is that I over-purged in some areas (appliances - my partner still mourns the stick blender) partly to avoid having to tackle other ones.

I'm going to have to work on that.

Also on the two half-finished posts (ecotech city life, and one on the difference between simplicy & poverty) that I've been working on all week.

I've been reading the feminist architecture books, btw, and the thing that keeps happening is that I've read enough later stuff that she influenced, the books feel repetitive and dumbed down to me. I think it's me, not Hayden - I have this progblem with a lot of stuff, when I get to the original source by following references in later works. It's definitely not too academic, though. I wish I'd discovered her alongside June Jordan and The Life & Death of Great American Cities.

(not too academic for me, and I'm not very academic these days - my partner's reading Dawson and chinese classics, and I'm reading comix, space opera, and poetry. I think life is getting to me.)

katecontinued said...

Rosa, I am so glad you are knee deep in reading. I started getting a little concerned that something was happening at your place.

Funny you should mention that about Hayden. I went to the library today - taking a friend who broke some bones - and I didn't pick up one book! I decided I wasn't ready to read and I didn't want to feel guilty.

But, my first response when you talked about Hayden was this . . . I am rereading my own posts from just last January and even May . . . I am astounded that my issues and insights seem dumbed down to me. I know I wasn't writing that way for my imagined audience. It has to do with being transformed by the experience of viewing my world, my life and my daily choices so dramatically differently.

I never saw the interconnectedness of my toilet paper and the weather and the oil and the workers and the trucks and the roads and the water and the sheer stupidity of shitting in drinking water! Rosa, I can't go backwards and I suspect it will get harder to appreciate the first inklings that people are having.

I hear you on the purging lists. Myself, I loved the drama of appliances and can't seem to deal with other things (computer zip disks). Whacky.

BTW, your post will fit in whenever you are ready. Between you and I we will poetically use the alphabet to introduce it in whatever week it shows up.

Rosa said...

Nothing bad is going on, I'm just crazy busy and not coping with it very well.

We are drying apples, canning, working overtime, getting lights & cold-weather biking gear together, trying to clean up the garden & yard before it snows, making halloween costumes, remodeling our kitchen, and I've been spending a lot of time reading and following the economic news. Nothing's getting finished.

I feel like I belong to all these online green things (lj community, reading all these blogs) but I don't contribute much because they're talking about stuff I already do, or breaking habits I never picked up, or stuff I don't want to do (I'm really not into Chile's eating challenges, for instance). So people on LJ ask questions like "should I switch to recycled kleenex?" and I respond with "No, get a hankie." But it doesn't occur to me to make a pre-emptive post about obvious stuff like that. Or Wise Bread will be like "cut down to basic cable to save money" and I think, who doesn't know that?

But then the stuff I do want to do, like Sharon's independence day stuff, and writing about some of the stuff you talk about, i just can't get done.

(I did start using cloth wipes because of Crunchy, and I've been using the drying line more and cooking more beans, but other than that I'm not really changing anything. Too tired.)

katecontinued said...

You hit upon what I think is going to be the biggest nightmare for women. What we are all doing does take an incredible amount of effort, time and organizational zeal. And, yet again our cultural norm is going to hit women hardest. Millions of feminists will instinctively not want to take on this labor intensive choice.

And even if a couple is doing this together (regardless of the pair's genders), having a foot in the money economy and a foot in the sustainable lifestyle and raising a family is huge.

Right now there are nothing but obstacles for us all trying to do the right thing. We pay more to get less (albeit superior within our criteria). There are absolutely no government incentives that I know of for biking, using less water, using less energy, eating local, using no paper or plastic, buying local, etc.

We are working at this completely under our own steam and in spite of the counter attack. Every corporation who stands to lose business is now spending billions to stop us. Of course we are tired.

I am so with you on the eating challenges.

Remember, I don't have anyone but myself to look after and I have eliminated everything else in my life, but what I am doing. And, still I FAIL. It is a big tall mountain we are climbing. But, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Rosa said...

For me, it's partly seasonal. You don't get the season-passing cram. Here, right now it is getting *cold*. 40 degrees this morning. So there's a kind of desperate buzz - is this the last week i can get tomatos? Why doesn't anyone sell toddler sized long johns? OMG the pile of apples overtook the table. Gotta haul the yard furniture into the attic of the garage so it doesn't get snowed on. Gotta dig the compost in before the ground freezes. Gotta trim the trees so they don't drop snow down your neck when you leave the house.

And being Pagan, Samhain/Halloween is a really big deal to me, I don't like to stint on it.

But it's October 1. By November 15we will have snow. We will have found all our winter gear. My folks will be gone south for the winter. We won't be traveling as much because the roads will be bad. I can sit around and daydream about next year's garden instead of looking at the weeds in this one.

Though I have to say, I woke up to John McCain's voice on the news this morning and if that goes on after November I'm going to sell everything I own and move someplace less bleak. I can't take winter AND President McCain.

katecontinued said...

I always forget about the winter thing, despite spending more than half my life in cold and snow.

But, forgetting is a good thing. Today it is 85 degrees in my house and hotter outside. I am in shorts - only the second or third time all summer (and it isn't summer).

There is a bit of exitement in your words. I can feel the snap in the air. Would be nice if we could exchange just a bit via the toobz today.