"Simplify It" 2013...

End of year summary: I'm pleased with how this went - I hit my target for items decluttered, resisted the temptation to buy toiletries, and gave my wardrobe a proper sort out.  the Decluttering especially made me stop and actually think about whether I wanted things or whether I was holding on to them from habit - some of the books I decluttered I know I can borrow if I want to read them again, for example, and I have way more fleeces than I need, so letting some of them go to the homeless shelter at Christmas was just sensible. Frugal February was actually really good fun, and surprisingly challenging, too! I spent astonishingly little on groceries, and will be aiming to beat that this year!

A year-long challenge inspired by Sue at Our New Life In The Country's brilliant "Year of less" plans.

I intend to look at various areas of my/our lives, and simplify them as far as I can.

Ongoing challenge - Blitz the toiletries stockpile!

Thanks to my usual habit of stocking up on my toiletries for the year in November, when Boots run their "Christmas Shopping evenings" and offer a higher than normal amount of reward points in return for a certain level of spend, I am currently well supplied with all manner of toiletries and personal items. Combine this with a tendency to struggle to resist a good bargain, and I'm actually rather OVER supplied! As a result I have decreed "NO MORE" - and will call a halt on buying toiletries so far as possible through 2013.

"Throughout 2013 I will buy toiletries only when I need to replace an item which I have no more of in my stash".

As things stand, I suspect the items I will need to buy are: shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and possibly shower gel, but I'll update with my progress as I go along and declare any spends.
March: Tube of toothpaste finished - one more in my stash.  Bottle of hair conditioner finished - at least one more in my stash
April: Shower gel finished - new one from the stash! Face-wipes (not an everyday thing but I do find them handy when we're away) - bought a new pack using points in Boots - cash neutral.
May: Binned a facewash as I was simply unable to get into the tube and it was driving me mad! Replaced from stash. Handcream at work - tube finished - replaced from stash. Toothpaste finished - new one bought on special in Superdrug - 97p! Shower Gel finished - replaced from stash
June: Assorted travel-sized oddments and sachets used up on holiday
July/August: One shower gel used up and a HUGE new bottle of my favourite Body Shop one gained as a birthday present!
September: Eyemakeup remover finished - replaced from stash Toothpaste used up - bought new - 99p shop
October: Deodorant - replaced from stash (I have used others though the year but forgotten to note them - promise!) Face-wipes - used up, not yet replaced

FAILS: April - forgot to pack my deodorant when we went to Norwich - bought a new one in Boots using points - cash neutral.
PURCHASES: Face wipes - Cash Neutral! Toothpaste - Special offer 97p Face Wipes - used up last lot - £1.45 Toothpaste - 2 x tubes in a twin-pack for 99p Conditioner - 2 bottles from 99p shop

Challenge 5: "Food glorious food!" (June/July)

- Use up the odds and ends from the freezer which have been in there forever
- Aim to eat plenty of fruit, veg & healthy stuff
- Visit to the PYO place to stock up with Raspberries
- Look after the odds and ends we're growing and aim to get some edible use from the garden this year!
- Make a proper effort to clear the storecupboard
- See how little I can spend on food shopping by using what we have!

Challenge 4: "Get organised for holiday" (May)

Reduce the normal last minute panic and dashing around by getting things sorted in good time. Toiletries, Camera gear, the car, clothes sorting and packing, and the financial side.

Challenge 3 : "Wardrobe Refurbishment" (March)

"To sort out the clothes I have, to throw out or charitise anything that genuinely shouldn't be there either because it is past it, or because it doesn't fit, or that I hate wearing because it makes me self-conscious or uncomfortable. To repair things that need it. To overhaul my knicker drawer and replace anything that is showing its age, to lose socks with holes or those with no friends left in this life, and to replace items where needed. To buy at least 1, and hopefully 2 new bras that fit well and make me feel fabulous. To replace things where they can easily be found and accessed for use"
So, I have been through the wardrobe and tidied quite ruthlessly. Seeing the entire contents spread out over the bed and bedroom floor was a bit of a "What have I started" moment, but once that had passed I started going through things with a critical eye. Toughest to sort out was the stuff that I didn't actually like, but kept because I felt it was what I "Should" be wearing....a beautiful cream linen Rocha by John Rocha top - bought for £2.50 in a charity shop but never comfortable. A pair of marvellous sparkly shoes - worn just once, which was the same point where I realised that sparkle on shoes strips my feet of far more skin that is ideal, and a very sheer black shirt which, while it is beautiful, I feel self-conscious wearing even with a vest underneath....there were others like that, too. Stuff that was simply old and past it was easier - I did feel slightly guilty throwing those away but the whole point of this was to reduce clutter and really, was I ever going to get around to making a rag rug out of old pyjamas? Nope.  Next stop - a week later - was the undies drawer and the one below it which holds gloves, hats, and thick socks. These were EASY. I called into M&S the evening before and bought two new packs of the knickers I like, so discarding older ones was painless with no risk of running out. I found several pairs of my lovely thick wool walking socks which had fallen down the back of the drawer and are still in excellent condition, as well as a number of other pairs of cotton-based ones which were binned as they were never comfortable. other things to go to the bin were gloves with holes and an old swimming costume.
All in all I feel this project has achieved its aim in almost every way. I didn't get to the stage of replacing some of the items that ideally I wanted to, but this can be done over time. I DID reorganise and tidy so that things aren't so tricky to find, and I no longer have 'religious' socks or disreputable knickers!

Challenge 2 : "Frugal February"

An attempt to spend as little as possible for one month. The challenge covers groceries, personal spending and "unplanned" or impulse spends. See posts on the main page for ongoing details.

Spending to date: (28/2/13)
Groceries:   £  56.49 (Actual cash value £28.57)
Personal:     £ 23.48
Joint:           £314.36
Unplanned:  £  92.00 (Car tyres x 2)

Challenge 1 : "streamline the stuff"

In order to do this I am planning to follow Sue's lead and re-home an item of "stuff" which is unused, unwanted or unloved for every day of the year. That doesn't necessarily mean one each day, but just 365 of them over the course of 2013.

1. Turquoise Silk Shirt - 2 3 sizes too small, which I have kept for sentimental reasons > Charity Shop
2. 4 t-shirts, beyond decent > rubbish (No need of rags currently and not the right fabrics for re-use)
3. 4 t-shirts that never get worn > Charity Shop.
4. Packaging material - to office ready to send some keys out next week.
5. 8 Books - read and finished with > Charity Shop
6. Ancient Polaroid camera - don't even know if you can still get film for it! > Charity Shop
7. Plastic storage case - too small to be of use > Charity Shop
8. Old Curtains left here 8 (!) years ago by our predecessors > Charity Shop
9. Computer keyboard which doesn't fit the current computer > Charity Shop
10. Water-bottle bought from £ shop - leaks. > Charity Shop
11. Old Shirt - collar & cuffs gone > torn for rags
12. Rugby training top - beyond rags > rubbish
13. 2 x small china mugs > charity shop
14. 6 x small glass bowls - never get used > Charity Shop
15. 4 x small wineglasses - never get used > Charity Shop
16: Assorted gubbins from basket in cupboard > Charity Shop
17. Plastic mug which we never remember to take when camping > Charity Shop
18. Old chip-pan basket - we never fry chips! >Charity Shop
19. Random bits of old computers > Destroyed and >Rubbish
20. Wooden tray designed for holding nibbles at parties - never used > charity shop
21. Mortar - pestle broken > Charity Shop
22. 6 gorgeous hi-ball glasses which had been saved for "best" > into use to replace old ones that were manky 
23. 6 old hi-ball glasses > recycling
24. Pile of old appointment diaries going back to 2003 > personal information removed and > rubbish.
25. "Turntable" designed for TV's, heavy objects etc, never used > Charity Shop
26. Trivial Pursuit - never gets played > Charity Shop
27. Old Tent - leaks a bit, hence > Rubbish (poles rescued)
28. Spare polystyrene coving - damaged > Rubbish
29. Old camping stove - doesn't work > Rubbish
30. Packaging  materials - surplus to requirements > Rubbish
31. Hessian bag that bottles were given in as a gift > Charity Shop
32. Avon Rep's demonstrator/samples bag > Charity Shop
33. 2 x mini-cold bags - both beyond use > rubbish
34. mini-cold bag - still in good condition > Charity Shop
35. The lid from our wok, which we've owned for around 12 years. The lid has NEVER been used > Charity shop
36. Empty cardboard box, previously the home for some of the Approved Food couscous mountain (now transferred to the storecupboard) > Rubbish
37. Big pile of old books > Charity Shop
38. Old Weightwatchers CD & Info > Charity Shop
39. Boxes from things we've had for years that have been kept "just in case" > Rubbish
40. Broken printer - being kept "Because MrEH was going to fix it" - still broken > Rubbish
41. Assorted small soft toys > Charity Shop
42. "Calligraphy" Book, not looked at for years > Charity Shop
43. 2 x large jars "Hedgerow Jelly" made with too high a proportion of sloes - VERY not edible! > Rubbish
44. Pile of cartridges from broken printer now disposed of > Charity Shop
45. 14 unwanted CD's & DVD's > Music Magpie 
46. Old placemats replaced with new at Christmas > Rubbish
47. Ring-binder which held paperwork which is no longer required > Charity Shop
48. Empty DVD case > Charity Shop
49. 4 unused scrapbooks bought for a never-completed project ? Charity Shop
50. Storage tin - small > Charity Shop
No. of items rehomed so far: 100
51. Childhood tea-set - almost forgot I had this still. Someone else's little one will appreciate this I'm sure so > Charity Shop
52. "Cheese" shaped tin which used to contain chocolate mice > Charity Shop
53. Surplus to requirements box-file - bit knackered > Charity Shop
54. Tall tin - not used for years > Charity Shop
55. Soft toy sheep - used to Baaaa when you squeezed it, not not any more > Charity Shop
56. Cassettes - lots of, no longer wanted but mostly bootlegs so can't be sold! > Rubbish
57. Cassette storage case > Charity shop
58. 2 x old photo albums - photos moved into others with spare room > Rubbish
59. Large bundle of net curtains from the old house > Charity Shop
60. Fire Blanket - spare, we already have one > Charity Shop
61. 3 x trial packs of inkjet photo paper - we no longer have an inkjet printer! > Charity Shop
62. 4 x boxes old magazines - not wanted and no good for charity shop > Rubbish
63. 2 x small pictures, not our sort of thing > Charity Shop
64. Large plastic trug > not required and no room to keep > Offering to Neighbours who have an allotment
65. Bracket for TV/Speaker etc, not required > Charity Shop
66. 2 x Old car mats (why had we kept these?!  > Rubbish
67. 2 x unused small car mats > Charity Shop
68. Last year's 5l water bottle for camping > Recycling
69. 2 x old floppy discs - no idea what is on them! destroyed & > Rubbish
70. 2 x sets mini playing cards > Charity Shop
71. Single curtain from the old house - no good for here, and anyway, just one?! > Charity Shop
72. "Walking, Grunting" pig...only it neither walks, nor grunts any more > charity Shop
73. Set of fabric table mats - Never used > Charity Shop
74. Boxful of old floppy discs - Destroyed & > Rubbish
75. Broken Box file > Rubbish
76. Broken ring binder > Rubbish
77. Another box of magazines. See 62 above > Rubbish
78. Small digital photo frame - never used > Charity Shop
79. Pin badge - no idea what organisation for! > Charity Shop
80. 3 x items hair care stuff - free gift, not suitable for my hair > Charity Shop
81. Pack of card blanks from a "create your own business cards" kit > charity Shop
82. Bulldozer shaped "Stress ball" > charity Shop
83. 4 x puzzles which MrEH has finished with (or can't solve, more likely!) > Charity Shop
84. Random old tickets etc - not worth keeping any more > Rubbish
85. Seal kit & Sealing wax > Charity Shop
86.Orange-shaped "Stress ball" > charity Shop
87. Small xmas tree decoration - never used > Charity Shop
88. Eyeliner pen - who KNOWS how old but going nowhere near my eyes! > Rubbish
89. Pile of non-working pens  > Rubbish
90. Bundle of working pens > to go into the office
91. Ballpoint/rollerballpen set - free gift > Charity Shop
92. 2 x Stamp-pads for rubber stamps - dried out and past-it > Rubbish
93. Keyring memory-card case > Charity shop
94. Dried up bottle of glue > Rubbish
95. Miniature stapler > Charity Shop
96. 2 x reporters notebooks (unused) > to go into the office
97. Random books - no longer required > Charity Shop
98. Mini-stamp pens - not required > Charity Shop
99. More random books > Charity Shop
100. More random cassettes > Rubbish
Items Re-homed so far = 168
101. Old camera instruction book - camera died years ago > Rubbish
102. Old Phone instruction book - no longer have phone > Rubbish
103. Old computer software disks - too old to be of use > Rubbish
104. Miniature cardboard set of drawers > with random contents > Charity Shop
105. Random photo tutorial CD's > Charity Shop
106. Ruler - we appear to to have 4 of them?! > to go into office (Where I don't have a ruler!)
107. 6 x Cookbooks - Never used > Charity Shop
108. Mini-ruler - not required (3 full size ones still!) > charity Shop
109. Pack of playing cards > charity Shop
110. Electronic organiser gadget - have no idea where from or if it works.... > Charity Shop
111. packet of "Thank you" cards left over from our wedding 12 years ago > Charity Shop
112. Address Book - quite nice but never used > Charity Shop 
113. Packet of "Stick on page parkers" - we have stacks of these! > Charity Shop
114. Very old tennis ball - no bounce left > Rubbish
115. Very VERY old anglepoise lamp - potentially a fire risk! > Rubbish
116. 2 x unwanted CD's that even Music Magpie didn't want! > Charity Shop
117. Small portable colour TV, unwanted > Freecycled
118. Small blue china ramekin - glaze cracked so tricky to keep clean > Rubbish
119. Pepper grinder - FAR less effective than our T&G Crush-grinds > Charity Shop
120. 3 x boxes of Fruit Teas which have been lurking in the cupboard for several years taunting me with their alleged healthiness > Rubbish
121. copy of "Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany" - duplicate > Charity Shop
122. Old Virgin Mediocre box, remote & other thing - very definitely not required! > Taken to VM shop in town
123. Mini travel draughts set - never used > Charity Shop
124. 3 x Recipe books - never used and didn't have appealing recipes > Charity Shop
125. "Happy Cat Kit" - never used - HRH doesn't really DO toys > Charity Shop
126. 3 x candleholders - we have masses so these were surplus > Charity Shop
127. 2 x small wicker baskets > charity Shop
128. Plant stand > back to the bin-store where we found it in the first place!
129. Sweatshirt top - not my style > Charity Shop
130. "French Polish" nail varnish set - never used > charity Shop
131.  Old glasses case with badges and other oddments > no longer required > Charity Shop
132.  7 x recipe books & assorted recipe cards - don't get used > Charity Shop
133. Assorted Weightwatchers books - shopping guide etc - no longer required > Charity Shop
134. Mini travel alarm clock - never used > charity Shop
135. Very small pestle & mortar - not big enough to be of practical use for us > Charity Shop
136. Oil & Vinegar dipping dishes - never used > Charity Shop
137. Small "Eeyore" beanie toy > Charity Shop 
138. 3 x finished books > put aside for Christmas presents for my Mum.
139. Finished book out > community book exchange outside (Mum's read that one!)
140. Pair of old boots well and truly past it > rubbish
141. pair of grey trousers - been repaired several times but no more fabric to sew into > rubbish
142. Old pyjamas - worn past the point of respectability > rubbish
143. Pair of incredible sparkly shoes - not comfortable (worn just once!) > Charity Shop
144. Matching shoes & bag - worn to several weddings years ago > charity shop
145. Black embroidered evening bag - have several more in the same style > Charity Shop
146. 2 x sets of shorts/top pyjamas - don't wear this style that often and have lots of others > Charity Shop
147. Very old fabric shoulder bag - totally past it > rubbish
148. Matching cream embroidered bag & shoes - worn to several weddings years ago > charity Shop
149. Pink embroidered bag - no recollection of EVER using this?! > charity shop
150. 2 x pairs leggings, Primark, too big on waist so refuse to stay up > charity Shop
Items Re-homed so far = 241

151. Belt - too short > charity Shop
152. Sequinned pumps, love them, but slightly too small > Charity Shop
153. Leather belt with "Queen Crest" buckle > eBay pile
154. Leather-look "Queen" backpack - much loved but no longer used > Charity Shop
155. Black fleecy scarf - too short for my taste . charity Shop
156. Pair of racquet-sports trainers - not comfortable > charity Shop
157. 4 x scarves - surplus to requirements for one reason or another > Charity Shop
158. Jeans - don't fit well but still good > charity Shop
159. knee-high boots - much loved but don't do up. :-( > charity Shop
160. Cream Linen top - beautiful but not comfortable > charity Shop
161. Dress, worn to several weddings years ago - no longer fits > charity Shop
162. Sheer black shirt - no longer my style > charity shop
163. Blue fleece - surplus to requirements > charity Shop
164. Black top with pretty floaty trim - no longer fits flatteringly > charity Shop
165. Old purse - pushed to back of wardrobe & fallen victim to mildew > rubbish
166. Brown zip-through jumper - no longer gets worn > Charity Shop
167. Bundle of coathangers - surplus to requirement > charity Shop
168. Wooden scarf hanger - don't have a use for it > charity Shop.
169. Assorted socks (not counting these individually as that feels like cheating) > not comfortable to wear > rubbish
170. Old swimming costume, threadbare in places that a swimming costume really shouldn't be > Rubbish
171. 2 pairs Thick wool socks - too big for me > Charity Shop
172. 1 scarf - not my style > Charity Shop
173. Woollen gloves that need a repair - I don't like them enough to do it but as it's only a small job > Charity Shop
174. Assorted well worn undercrackers > rubbish
175. Assorted holey socks > rubbish
176. Pale blue scarf - not worn for years > Charity Shop
177. 2 x unworn pairs of socks - Charity Shop
178. "Dawn French - Dear Fatty" - read, and enjoyed so back to the  Charity Shop
179. HUGE pile of unwanted videos - not watched in years > "Community book exchange" outside
180. Smaller pile of videos - too past-it to save > rubbish
181. Baking tray from the bottom of the pile - past even my hygiene standards > rubbish
182. Metal storage canister - surplus to requirements > Charity Shop
183. Assorted plant-pots - the flimsy ones that are no good for re-use > Charity Shop
184. Bundle of microfibre cloths - barely used, don't suit me > charity Shop
185. Small cardboard jewellery box > Surplus to requirements > Charity Shop
186. Mini screwdriver kit  - got several other sets like this > Charity Shop
187. Perfume Atomiser - no use for it > charity Shop
188. Electronic calendar & world clock - never used > charity shop
189. Book - finished with > Charity Shop
190. 3 x magazines, all read > Shelf outside for a neighbour to take
191. Remaining Lobelia plants - no room left to plant them > Next door Neighbours 
192. 2 x glass containers not suitable for refilling with new candles > charity Shop
193. Unused spice jars x 2 - bit tatty > Recycling
194. Unused Spice jar - good condition > Charity Shop
195. "Tide wheel" covering the Hebrides - left with friends up there who can use it until it expires!
196. "Collins Bird Guide" book - we have a newer replacement > Charity Shop
197. A whole load of very small cableties - well they might come in useful for someone! > Charity Shop
198. 9 x Necklaces which never get worn > charity shop
199. 5 x bracelets  which never get worn > charity shop

200. 13 x pairs earrings which never get worn > charity shop

Items Re-homed so far = 324
201. 5 x beer festival tee-shirts - I have far too many for the drawer! > Charity Shop
202. Old pair of trainers - worn out and falling apart > Rubbish
203. 3 x unwanted gifts > Charity Shop
204: 3 x pairs of shoes - never get worn but still good > Charity Shop
205. handbag - never gets used > Charity Shop
206. 2 x gorgeous soft jumper - lovely but not getting worn > Charity Shop
207. Single oven glove - I prefer the "two handed" ones > charity Shop
208. 5 books from the "You ought to read this classic..." area > Charity shop where they can be bought by someone else who will feel guilty about not reading them!
209. Pair of black casual trousers - not a good fit > Charity Shop
210. 4 x plastic beakers which are horrible to drink out of > Charity Shop
211. Top - not comfortable, so doesn't get worn > Charity Shop
212. Old Razor Handle - you can no longer get blades for it > Rubbish
213. Old Foot File - Old. Just old! > Rubbish
214. Bath Scrunchie - brand new, unused, label still on > Charity Shop
215. Manicure Scissors - brand new, still in packaging > Charity Shop
216. VERY old eyeshadow set (Mum, yes, that one!) - past any degree of hygiene > Rubbish
217. 3 Pairs of socks from a multipack MrEH bought for Welliefest - they're not 100% cotton so he won't wear them again > Charity Shop
218. 14 Books - Unread for years > set aside to go to the Homeless Shelter
219. Waterproof jacket - old one no longer worn > set aside to go to the Homeless Shelter
220. 3 x Fleece jackets - unworn for years and I have more than I need - Homeless Shelter



dreamer said...

For some reason (probably cos I am blind as a bat lately) I have only just read this page Robyn. You are doing so well with getting rid of your stuff and simplifying, it has inspired me to have an extra clear out too.

Robyn said...

Lovely to think I've inspired someone! I seem to have slowed down a bit of late but might see if I can (finally!) turn the airing cupboard tomorrow!