Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Where We Recreate

Living room, family room, play room, rec room. These are places we spend our down time; where we relax. Because we all do this differently, it's tricky to speak about what's stored in these rooms. They're where we socialize, play, read, and tackle the occasional project, craft or otherwise. We have both a family room and a living room and I'll briefly list what we store in each.

Living room

  • Books
  • A throw blanket for napping
  • Photo albums
  • Library books
  • Catalogs that come in the mail (the few that are allowed to hang around)

    Since our living room is our entryway, we also have a dresser full of kids shoes, our hats and gloves, as well as sunglasses, extra keys, etc.
Family room
  • Blankets
  • TV and players
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Scrap books
  • Games
  • (in a closet) Ironing stuff, food/paper products I considered worth stocking up on, a couple kids' arts/crafts activities
All of these things deserve to be looked at with the minimalist mindset in place. Since we're steeped in our old ideas, it may be helpful to reread these new ones when you begin a new room or whenever you feel your effectiveness slipping. The only way to fail at this is to go through your entire house and decide to keep every last thing. Even if you only get rid of a few items, you'll love their absence and feel ready to do more. 

Let's talk books. Books are important to both Brian and me. Some books on my shelf changed my life and I want them there to lend, to speak from, and re-read. Brian has a few authors he collects and I knew those would stay. Remember this was our first sweep and I knew books would be a place to tread softly with my hubby who wasn't reading minimalist blogs. I ended up making a stack of books I could do without so it was a smaller task for Brian, since he's, ya know...at work most of the day. I'm not good at percentages, but I'd say we reduced books by 30%. Time passed and I've failed to read some I saved for that, so we're due for round two. Keep in mind if it's available at the library, you may not need to own it. Other minimalists have gone paperless with Kindles and Nooks. I love that idea, but the lending eludes me.

Catalogs that inspire me (Anthropologie and Pottery Barn) are kept for a season.  Partly because I don't take time to peruse them right away, but I will. All the others go immediately in recycling. I believe the easiest way to keep from accumulating stuff is to discard junk mail instantly. From working a mail room, I know that anything Presorted Standard can be tossed. Nothing important is mailed that way, so you don't have to make sure your new credit card isn't in there. (If I subscribed to a magazine, it would be in the same stack, but not forever.)

I'm unlike some minimalists in that I print my photos. I felt loved as a girl when I'd look at photo albums I was in. My kids enjoy it too so our albums qualify as used and loved. I love taking photos and put the very best in scrap books, the others in albums. (All black so they don't look hideous on our bookshelf.) 

For the record, we don't think Pirates of the Caribbean is a kids movie.
We own very few grown-up DVDs because I don't like watching movies twice, but since we don't have cable, the kids only way of watching is DVDs. So minimizing these for us was mainly like toys, with the kids choosing some they were tired of to "sell." By the way, I fully support the storage of toys in these rooms. As the kids have gotten older we don't, but for a how-to on toys go here

CDs are a pain to store and use once you've gotten spoiled by an MP3 player. I did when I scored one on freecycle and then it died. I've been in a lurch for a while, thinking I could get my iTunes onto my iPhone, but my computer was too old to recognize my phone. Finally, we've figured out that for $25/yr, I can use iCloud to store my music and listen from any device (including my iPhone). This could free me to get rid of all my CDs, which is oober-exciting. I am, however, worried that a big, mean government person will audit me and I'll have no proof that I owned the music. Does that happen? If you know something about this, I'd love to know. Either way, I'm going to ask for this for Valentine's day, which by the way, is my favorite holiday, so prepare to celebrate a bit with me next month. :)

Happy purging people! You guys are so great - I've been inspired to cut more stuff loose. Ahh...feels so good.

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