Thursday 24 December 2020

Move more often to clear stuff out

 Yeah, I devoured Marie Kondo's 'Tidying Up' series on Netflix. I haven't really got a lot of stuff, but I do have stuff. I'd like to have less stuff. And the stuff that I have should spark joy.

When I moved last year into a small cottage, I got rid of a lot of stuff, especially event-organising stuff. I gave waterpoint decorations to the Parys SPCA shop to sell and passed on usable items to eventing friends. I cleared out kitchen items that I didn't need anymore and passed on clothing that I no longer wore. 

In October, I packed up my cottage for the move to George. Again, I passed on more items that I had not used during the year.

I have lived out of a bag for the past six weeks (with a week-long move for the 6th week), where I lived out of a bag - and I didn't even wear everything in the bag. Work attire here is the same as casual attire - shorts and tees for the most part.

I've had a double-dose of moving with both home and factory. I am stuff fatigued.

I have just moved into the house that I'm renting and after so much moving of boxes, I just want to get rid of everything to live in a clear, open space. Moving is good for clearing. Each time you aim for less boxes. One should move more often - haha.

But, a person needs stuff. I've got minimal crockery and cutlery but I do have enough items and appliances (I love kitchen stuff) to bake and cook and create kitchen magic. I have sports gear. I also have office stuff, which will move to my new office at the factory in Feb/March. I've also got product stock for my Camp and Kayak online store, which will also move to the factory shop in the new year (these things are currently in boxes in my garage).

I have old, boring clothing. 

I need to work on this area. I'm a bit shopping-phobic and I also think spending money on lots of clothing is a waste of money. My wardrobe doesn't have much structure or plan. I need to toss out old and replacing with fun and new. I am keen to jump into the Project 333 (33 items, including shoes, for three months - seasonally) challenge as part of developing a capsule wardrobe that sparks joy. Sports clothing, undies and sleepwear are excluded from this tally. Based on what I usually wear and what I have, I'm going to come in at under 33 items (I don't think I own more than 33 items of regular clothing!).

As I've been going through personal clothing and bits-and-bobs ('komono' - miscellaneous items), I've been assessing items based on whether, as Marie Kondo asks, they spark joy (this is a great, nicely presented YouTube video of a extreme tidying in a day). Over time, some things become just things. Other things are items that are needed and are used regularly because they fulfil a function. I have allowed myself one small box for random sentimental items that I may be happy to throw out in a year or two. 

"We all have problems tidying our homes, but it is not just that. We all have clutter in our hearts, and that is what needs tidying." Marie Kondo.

When my mom and I went to Spain to walk the second half of the classic Camino route, we had only our backpacks. While one can't live in a home with only a backpack, it does show us that all you really need daily - in terms of clothing and toiletries - should be able to fit into a backpack.

I'm not too fussed about wearing the same things - I do it anyway. It would be nice to do it more cleverly and more stylishly (thank you internet for images and guidance).

This house I've just moved into, it doesn't have a single hook for pictures at all. While the rental contract says that nails can be put in with permission but must be removed and the wall fixed when you leave, I really couldn't be bothered. I've walked through the house with the agent and owner as they have pointed out things that must "come off" the previous tenant's deposit. I don't need that in my life.

What I do need is less. I need simple. I need efficient. I need effective. I have no extra time for stuff.

I have hobbies. I have sports and activities. I have work. I have my dog. I have people in my life.

That's enough to keep me busy and to fill my days and soul. 

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Would you go for fully furnished?

For the past five weeks we've been staying in a beautiful holiday home. The family still lives in the area - and they manage the property - but the house is out for rent by weekenders, holiday makers and longer-term guests like us. It is fully furnished with a very well equipped kitchen. In terms of household items, there are very few items in my household boxes in the storage garage that I have missed not having on hand.

Moving, and the packing, transporting, storage and unpacking of stuff, gets one thinking about stuff - all these things that we lug around to make our lives comfortable and functional. Furniture, linen, sports equipment, hobby materials, appliances, clothing... just so much stuff. 

Most furnished rentals tend to be of the holiday-home sort or minimally furnished one-bedroom places. 

But how cool would it be for furnished to become a thing (or is it already in some places?)? That there could be a property website that specialises in representing furnished apartments, townhouses and houses for long-term rental (a year or more). Furniture should be current and of a good standard (scored by assessors) - no saggy couches or soft mattresses. Properties can be categorised according to what they provide from the basics to extras - like a star grading. A one star may suit all my requirements while someone else may need 4-star furnishings and extras.

Colours could be fairly neutral, allowing to add your own colour accents with cushions, mats, throws and pictures.

For me, basics would include:

Kitchen: fridge, stove, toaster, kettle, selection of quality pots and pans, cutlery, crockery, mugs and glasses, cooking utensils, mixing bowls and some bakeware. Here we are lucky to have other appliances that I regularly use like an egg boiler, steamer and hand blender - so I don't miss mine. But these are easier to pack and move.

Living/Dining: table (4-6 seater - depends too on size of place), couch/es, coffee table, tv table, bookcase. Another table to work at would be useful - either in the living area or in a 'study' room.

Bedrooms: beds, mattresses, lamps, side tables, cupboards (if not built-in). (Linen could be for higher category establishments). 

Other appliances: washing machine (dishwasher perhaps in a higher categorised property and vacuum cleaner). Dryers are nice but non-essential. 

Bathrooms: Linen baskets.

Outside: lawnmover / weedeater and some garden tools - as necessary. Patio table and chairs.

Other: Curtains. A few mirrors and pictures even may go down well (or have the option to be stored by the owners). And then even things like buckets, brooms, floor cleaners would go down well. They're a pain to move.

Of course, the problem with this concept is... people. Contracts would need to be tighter and deposits perhaps higher to cover damage to property. If one has seen what tenants do to even unfurnished properties... There would definitely be unsavoury people taking advantage of these setups to use and abuse nice stuff and then move on to the next one. 

So this kind of concept may work better within networks of people rather than the full-blown public? And once you're in and have proven your worth as a tenant, you get more free range to move around within the network of properties?

Moving would be far more simple if you could leave behind the big, heavy stuff, and take only your more personal items. 

I quite like this concept! 

Friday 4 December 2020

Time shift, time warp

Since we moved to George, I've felt like my head has been encased in candy floss. I get stuff done, but - being based at the factory - I do not feel anywhere nearly as productive as normal with so many disruptions throughout the day. Considering that I've been working from home, on my own, for the better part of 20 years, going into the office everyday where there are people around, is an adjustment.

What has probably hit me harder has been the time shift. I'm at the factory from just after 7am until 5pm.

My normal (pre-move) schedule worked as follows:

Get up around 07h30. At my computer by 08h00 or a bit after.

Work until 16h00 - 17h00. Sometimes I had errands to do in the day, sometimes I got blissful uninterrupted days. In general, let's say a 6hr - 9hr day at my desk.

After work, take Rusty for an outing - run, walk, paddle. This could be 1hr to 90 mins. 

Get home, make dinner while listening to an audio book, shower, eat. 

By 20h00 I'm either watching an episode of something on Netflix or working again.

Some nights I'd work two or three hours and then watch a Netflix before bed or I'd watch one Netflix episode and then work for a few hours, or I'd just work, putting in another 3-6hrs. 

Bedtime was most often after midnight - usually 01h00 and sometimes as late as 03h00. Read for a bit and then sleep.

Weekends usually had some play and some work - depending on what was happening. At one stage, for almost two years, I'd probably load in another 15hrs of work over weekends, but I'm chilling a bit more now.

Now, I'm at work for 10hrs (under artificial lighting) with lots and lots and lots of disruptions so I'm struggling to focus on anything. And, when I have stuff to write, I usually need a good few quiet, uninterrupted hours to write and get done.

After work, I take Rusty out, get home around 19h00, feed Rusts, eat (dinner is currently made for me every night -  a treat!), shower, maybe do some work for an hour (not often), watch an episode on Netflix, read for a bit and then sleep to wake up at 6am. I haven't been working much on weekends - the past months have been catching up with me.

On the current schedule, I'm losing not only uninterrupted hours, but also actual productive work hours. I cannot stay up-to-date (and/or make any headway) if I'm not working almost every night. 

Of course, the aim of being at the factory is to be here for some stuff (which has been a juggle in the past not being at the factory) and to achieve home-work separation (something I've never had). The reality is that I'm not going to be able to not work afterhours for at least another year. That's the price you pay for having two start-up companies to run and not enough hours in the day.

So, all-in-all, I'm feeling like I'm just getting further and further behind every day. And I already felt like that even with putting in the hours that I did before.

I'll definitely need some days at home next week just to gain some ground.

I've been a night owl for a good 25 years. I switch on in the afternoons when many people hit a slump. It's just the way I'm wired. 6am - it is painful!

Once we're properly settled at the factory and also when I'm settled in my new home (moving in 16 Dec), I'll find my feet and a balance that works better for me.