Do You Really Need That?

As budding minimalists, we have been steadily decluttering our home and our lives. Today we cleared out about half of what was on the “work bench” in the garage. Several boxes will go to the thrift store, one box will be saved for the “estate sale” next summer, and we ended up with a dozen bottles and cans of car care products and a complete tool box. Lots of stuff went in the garbage or recycling. The question we kept asking was, “Do you really need that?”

While clearing out the junk, we came upon a box with a bunch of music CD’s (which we don’t use anymore since we have iTunes on the computers and phones). Along with those CD’s there were at lease a dozen or more DVD’s with home movies. Of course, we realized that we hadn’t watched them in a long time, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to throw them out. This was history!

IMG_0860

So the rest of my day is spent re-encoding the videos and uploading them to a private channel on YouTube. That way, we can watch them whenever we want, share then with family, and get rid of these DVD’s that are taking up space in the garage. I found out that, if you are in good standing with YouTube, you can upload movies up to 12 hours in length. No copyrighted stuff here, folks! Just your own stuff.

In keeping with the DVD declutter, I posted a list of most the movie DVD’s we still owned on our family Facebook page and am sharing them with family members. The rest will go to the public library.

IMG_0861

I am feeling really grateful for the digital age we live in now.  All these home movies can be stored on a cloud and retrieved and shared whenever we want and wherever we are.

sig_winder.

Tame the Paper Monster Once and For All

The paper was stacking up something fierce and it seemed that the boxes of old photographs were multiplying in the garage.  It would be a bit overwhelming for most people, but for a beginning minimalist, the task of decluttering all that paper seemed impossible!

After doing some research and watching a bunch of decluttering stuff on Youtube, I decided that scanning and storing digital copies of all of it was the way to go.  Now, how to do it?

We have always had a flatbed scanner as part of an all-in-one printer, but it is slow and is in an inconvenient location for an extended scanning session.  I figured there had to be a better way, so it was back to the internet for some more research.

Enter the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i — my new best friend!

IMG_0841

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i is the answer to the minimalist’s paper dilemma. It’s small, so it doesn’t take up a lot of storage space (It fits perfectly in the bottom of my Hex computer duffle, along with all the cords).  It is fast – I mean fast – and, it has a variety of options for document type and storage location.  My favorite is to scan and link into Evernote to make searching easier, but for the photographs, I just scan them all into one folder and then upload to my online cloud storage.

My dining room table is the best place to setup.  I just plug the scanner into the wall outlet, then to my Macbook Pro.  My computer recognizes the scanner right away and then it’s ready to go.  Did I mention how fast it is?  Not only fast, but it scans both sides of the paper at the same time.  Brilliant!  I power through stacks of receipts, warranties, personal papers, genealogy docs, and photographs in no time flat.

Another great feature that I haven’t tried yet is powering the scanner through my laptop.  The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i comes with a regular power cord, a converter brick with cord and the USB cord to connect to the computer.  As an alternative to plugging into the wall outlet, it also comes with a USB to BUS power cord which powers the scanner from your computer.  So, as my husband, Mark, says it, “You can scan anywhere!”  Yes, well, anywhere you have a laptop too, but that IS a rather convenient feature.

Like a lot of tech gadgets, this is an investment.  There were cheaper scanners out there, but without the good reviews.  ScanSnap also makes other models, and I was looking at a larger one, but it was a whole lot more money and I was concerned about storage and mobility.  As I mentioned, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i fits neatly in the bottom part of my Hex bag and is ready for action at a moments notice.

IMG_0842

Need more tech specs and feature info?  Visit the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i web site for all the juicy details, then head on over to Amazon for the best price.

Do you have a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i or other scanner? Let me know your thoughts.  If you have any questions about this scanner or getting rid of paper clutter, just leave it in the comment section below.

sig_winder

 

 .

Change it Up

Last night I was in my customary place on the sofa catching up on Facebook and some of my favorite blogs when I suddenly realized that I was uncomfortable. Not the uncomfortable that you get because you’ve been in one position too long, but an uncomfortableness that comes from your visible stuff being in the same wrong place too long.

I have a TV stand that my husband built for me a few years ago, and since we got rid of our television, it has been repurposed to hold the printer, stereo, cable modem and wifi box. I like the piece. It is pretty and makes me happy, and that’s why I keep it. Plus it’s handy to have a place to store the above mentioned items. However, the thing that made me really uncomfortable was that the stand was in the wrong place — and I saw it in the wrong place everyday. It made me uncomfortable. It had to be moved.

So, when my “furniture mover” got back from his evening walk, I enlisted his help to move things around a bit.  Mind you — we have a very small living room and there are only so many configurations that would work.  After some trial and error, I decided that a major change up was in order.

It’s amazing how something as simple as moving a few pieces of furniture around can make you feel so good. Not only is the printer/stereo stand now in the right place, but the room feels cleaner and new. The view from my spot on the sofa is new. I am more comfortable. I feel content.

Why not try it yourself? Enlist a few helpers and see if you can make something new with your living space. If it doesn’t work, you can always put things back, but you might find that you like it better.

Do you have any good ideas about making changes to your living space?  Any questions?  Leave them in the comment section below.

sig_winder

 

 .

When we moved into The Cottage from the “tree” house, we lost over 300 square feet. At first, it felt squished, but now we are decluttering and getting rid of unnecessary stuff, and it feels really comfortable. Plus, it’s a lot easier to keep clean! Who knew we could be happy in less than 900 square feet of home? I wonder if we could be happy in an even smaller space????.

Moving to The Cottage

tree-houseWe moved into The Cottage when a tree fell on our house and completely destroyed it.  We lovingly refer to our former abode as the Tree-House for this reason.  Fortunately, when the tree fell, it landed in such a way as to not damage anything in the house — not furniture or appliances or anything really.  Even our furry friends were safe.

We lived in the Tree-House for 8 years and were pretty much resigned to living there a lot longer because the market had turned and we were under water with our mortgage.  Thus, when the tree fell, it was a blessing disguised as a tree.  The Tree-House was over 1200 square feet — not huge by todays standards, but there were four of us at the time and every room was pretty much stuffed to the gills, including the 2 car garage.

I think that if we had been able to pack and move like regular people, we might have been able to get rid of a lot of stuff, but as it happened, we had to pack up amidst the rubble and just get everything out before the demo started.

So, we basically packed up everything and moved it to The Cottage.

thecottageThe Cottage is a little less than 900 square feet 2 bedroom, 1 bath home with a detached one-car garage.  It has no central heat or air, but it does have a great little wood stove.  The owners used to live in it and did a lot of upgrades and remodeling to the kitchen and bathroom.  When we first looked at it, I just thought it was too small for us — but we were desperate for a place to live and the price was right, so we took it.  I figured we could live here a few months and then find something bigger.  That was 3 years ago.

It has been a challenge to find a place for everything, but we did, and we have been happy here.  The location is the best!  It is a 2 minute commute to work for me and we are close to all our little town’s amenities as well.  Mark (my husband) works at home, so he uses some of the living room as his office and hangs out with the wieners all day.

Now that both my boys are out of the house (Thing 1 is at university. Thing 2 is on a mission in Thailand), we’ve done some consolidating to their shared room and use their huge walk-in closet for storage.  There is still room for one of them to come home, but probably not both at the same time.

Did I mention we have a garage?  Well, not really.  Aren’t you supposed to park your car in a garage?  What we really have is a very large storage room — a very large, FULL storage room.  You see, all that stuff from the Tree-House had to go somewhere and there wasn’t room in the house.  Every once in a while we “clean” the garage and throw out some empty boxes and move stuff around, but it doesn’t change the fact that there is just too much stuff (junk?) in that garage.  Something has to change.

sig_winder.