Why I don’t sell my stuff … and why I don’t think you should either

Why I don't sell my stuff, and why I don't think you should either

I have decluttered thousands of items from my home over the last few years. I can count the number of items I sold on one hand. Selling things is not my go-to method of getting rid of my excess stuff and I don’t think it should be yours either.

When I started decluttering, the first thing to go was my Nintendo Wii. It had been sitting there, still in its box from when we’d moved into the house ­-two years ago! I loved that Wii; I managed to complete an entire 12-week fitness programme on that thing (something I’d never done before and haven’t managed since). But my life had changed, so it just sat there.

Just because I didn’t use it, didn’t mean I didn’t think about it. I’d catch a glimpse of the box under the coffee table and feel guilty – what a waste.

I must set that up.”

Ick, I can’t be bothered with setting that up. All those cords.”

Hmm, I should sell it. I’m never going to use it now, I can get some of the money back.”

Right, I’m going to sell it. Better set it up to check it’s all there.”

Well, if I can set it up, I might as well keep it. If it’s set up, I’ll use it.”

Ick, I can’t be bothering setting that up now, all those cords. I’ll do it later.”

Sound familiar?

Continue reading “Why I don’t sell my stuff … and why I don’t think you should either”

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How to kickstart your clean out

Have you got too much stuff? Do you want to free up some much needed space and cash, but are having trouble getting started?

I have a guest post over at Orges full of tips to help.

Ogres is a free online marketplace for outgrown resources.

(Note: The Ogres marketplace is currently only available in New Zealand)

Minimalist Christmas – a gift guide

Gifts, the dilemma of dilemmas for aspiring minimalists! Giving, receiving – it all becomes fraught.

Minimalism, Christmas, Gift guide, Shopping

Personally, I wouldn’t be without gifts at Christmas. I love watching my Dad trying to guess all his gifts before opening them, and seeing my Mum coming into the room late in the day having just found that gift she bought for me months ago and had stashed in a “safe place”.

But then there is the other side – the gag toilet seat golf set from Secret Santa or another hand cream. You do your best to keep things minimal all year, only to be defeated by Christmas clutter creep.

You don’t have to be a Grinch to be a minimalist at Christmas. Here are some tips to help you through. Continue reading “Minimalist Christmas – a gift guide”

My must haves this Christmas

Christmas – you’ve probably noticed that it’s approaching fast. Here in New Zealand, we don’t have Thanksgiving and we don’t really have Halloween, so the shops have been waiting for Christmas since Fathers’ Day in September.

Warning: This post DOES NOT contain affiliate links. My holiday essentials aren’t something you can buy in a shop.

My Christmas Must Haves

Some people love Christmas, some people hate it. I oscillate between the two. Generally, I enjoy Christmas day, but can’t stand all the hoopla of the whole holiday season. I’m not Christian (or religious at all), so it can be a challenge to find meaning in Christmas beyond consumerism – gifts and food, and lots of them. Not to knock gifts and food, but if you’re looking for real joy in Christmas, gifts and food alone isn’t going to do it.

Christmas is a challenge to my more minimalist and anti-consumerism values. But that’s not a bad thing, because preparing for Christmas prompts me to pause, reflect and clarify my intentions. That leads to my must haves for mindful and meaningful Christmas. Continue reading “My must haves this Christmas”

Zeroing in on food waste

It is Friday, so it’s time to check in about my food waste over the last fortnight.

Shopping, food waste, food waste friday
What’s going into my freezer after this morning’s supermarket shop

Above zero

I am pleased to report that last week was another zero food-waste week, however unfortunately this week we wasted half a scoop of chips. It was a classic case of our eyes being bigger than our stomachs when ordering at the local fish and chip shop. My husband diligently cleaned up and threw them out before I managed to make a move to save them. I was going to try to reheat them the next day – they’d probably be quite soggy I’d imagine!

Below zero

Unpacking my groceries this morning reminded me how much I use my freezer to reduce my food waste. This week’s shopping included more frozen food than average as we’d run out of a few things at once. We have always frozen our bread but since we bought a large freezer about two years ago I have used it to freeze an increasing range of things, especially seasonal fruit. I also use the freezer a for batch food preparation, like making a huge pot of chilli and using it as a base for several meals. I often cook up and freeze veggies, like pumpkin and broccoli, which I freeze in small quantities to sneak into my son’s (and my husband’s) meals.

This is my first go at freezing butter. I don’t usually buy much butter, but it was short dated and selling at half price. When I saw the butter advertised via social media I was impressed by more than the price – the supermarket also mentioned that butter freezes well. I often think supermarket specials, especially multi-buys, contribute to the household food waste problem, so it was great to see my local supermarket being responsible and helpful.

How was the food waste situation at your place this week? How do you use your freezer to reduce your  food waste?

Shopping online to spend less

It is Food Waste Friday and I’m pleased to say that being accountable for my waste is making a real difference.

I got asked a great question this week (thanks Pip): “Have you found that doing it in public has helped more than just giving yourself a stern talking to?”.

The answer is a big YES. Obviously, going public is highly motivating, but there is more to it than that. Before starting this project, I felt guilty about my waste, but harsh self-criticism and bad feelings weren’t making much of a difference. Now when I waste food, I don’t feel as bad about it. I know I’ve made a good effort to reduce my waste and I use it as a learning opportunity to improve my systems.

And it is working! This week I’m happy to report zero food waste – until this happened.

Food Waste Friday, Food waste, shopping
Broken jar of capsicums – #FoodWasteFriday 10 July 2015

I had my groceries delivered via online shopping this morning. Unfortunately a jar of roasted capsicums broke en-route to our place.

I seriously considered emptying the contents of the jar into a sieve and giving it a good rinse. However, I really don’t want to risk feeding my family glass. That might take my mission to reduce waste a bit too far. Maybe if the jar was just cracked, but it was actually smashed. So, unfortunately, it had to go in the bin.

I used to use online shopping for groceries regularly when my son was a newborn. Now, I only use it once every couple of months. Today, it was because we really needed food and my husband had the car all day for a meeting in an out-of-the-way location.

I have noticed that when I buy my groceries online I always spend less. This isn’t because it’s cheaper, but because I buy less. It is much less tempting to pop extras into my online shopping cart than my in-store one. It got me thinking that online shopping might be a good tool for people who regularly over-buy due to in-store temptation.

A final note, a big thank you to Love Food Hate Waste NZ who spread the word about #FoodWasteFriday last week.

How was your food waste situation this week? Do you buy groceries online? How do you find the experience compared to in-store shopping?

It’s not a bargain if you bin it

Welcome to Food Waste Friday. This week, I fell victim to the supermarket’s super-marketers.

First, the good news. The system I implemented last week – designating a shelf in the fridge for items that need to be used up ASAP – is working well. All leftovers, half used jars of tomato paste, etc., were used up.

Food waste, Food Waste Friday, shopping
Broccoli to the bin – Food Waste Friday 3 July 2015

The bad news –1 ¼ heads of broccoli in the bin. I went to steam and puree it on Monday (in an attempt to save it) but it was too far gone. This was a clear case of “bargain blinkers”. Broccoli wasn’t on my shopping list, but I couldn’t resist it at a bargain two for $3. Wow, I could save $1 by buying two! So I did, but I barely used any of it – really, I wasted $2 and a lot of broccoli.

I have written before about how my desire to bag a bargain ends up costing me money and my efforts to overcome this. Today, I’m adding a new mantra for the supermarket:

“It’s not a bargain if you bin it.”

Are you a sucker for supermarket multi-buys? How was the food waste situation at your house this week?