TannieSpace

geekery, drawing and then some

Posts about declutter

The clean-up plan

zones By the end of November, all my windows and their frames will go into a huge recycling bin and I’ll get new (better) windows.

For this process I need to clean-up. All the stuff near the windows has to move somewhere else. And I have stuff at ‘somewhere else’. [1] Seems like a good time to do a massive decluttering, but with my limited energy supply it seemed a bit daunting.

I decided to make a plan! I started by calculating the number of days left until the Big Day (50) and looked at how I could best divide them into smaller chunks. I ended up with 12 times 4 days (and then two days left).

I then divided the Offending Areas into 10 zones, roughly, with equal amounts of junk. lastly, I entered repeating events in my calendar, repeating every 4 days.

Day 1-3
declutter, clean, do whatever needs to get done in any one zone. no switching zones during those days. Sliding into neighbouring zone won’t hurt the plan as long as the focus remains at or near one area. Knowing me I’ll bounce around, flying from one side to another, if I don’t set this rule.
Day 4
obligated rest and fun, damnit! because it works so well to force myself to do something fun. Actually it does, and again, knowing me, I won’t stop until I drop otherwise (if someone could send me a moderation dial/button, I’d feel forever grateful)

10 zones means I have 40 days planned, which leaves a handful of days unallocated. Completely intentional, I have some things planned and will use those extra days as a buffer.

The past few days I cleared a small area and actually ditched about one garbage bag already. I admit I mostly got rid of old chewed up dog toys. Still, anything that goes means less stuff in my flat.

Tomorrow (Friday) I’ll have my first obligated funrest day. I think I’ll clean out some pens…

[1] If all else fails I guess I can always rent storage space and become an actual storage hoarder.

Review: The Joy of Less

The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your LifeThe Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life by Francine Jay

My rating: ★★★★☆

I read this book in preparation for a massive declutter/clean-up planned for my tiny but overflowing flat.

It did have some redundant info in it, which I read about before starting so I felt prepared. I like the enthusiasm and kindness of the book. The 10-step STREAMLINE process sounds very attractive to try out (I’ll add my experience with it as soon as I’ve tried it out).

Part three of the book mostly consists of redundant parts, however, I do not mind. It goes through the most common rooms according to the streamline principle with some specific advice for the specific rooms. I have not read all the rooms as I plan to go through them as I tackle the rooms, as a reminder and a re-motivator.

All in all an easy read that left me motivated to declutter/minimalise promptly. I’ve already used my goodreads account to see what books I will part with ;)

View all my reviews


Change of pace.

I spent the past ten days without my laptop, very interesting. I had my trusty EEE pc and my phone to fall back on, however, mostly just for the basics. My workflow on my macbook did not fit the EEE (for one, I really missed TextExpander)

I mostly rested, having an RA-flare, and did some decluttering (which I intend to continue). I also worked out a small plan to start a new sleeping-schedule. After trying for months to fit back in the ‘normal world’ I decided to revisit my afternoon naps. Not sure if I feel better, but I like the idea of getting up early, do stuff, then go to have a three or four hour nap in the afternoon and then do things in the evening as well. None of that power-nap stuff, I need solid hours. This way, I hope to spread my energy more evenly and to still participate in the ‘normal world’.

I tried it out today, and though I feel sleepy and tired and slightly confused, I did very much enjoy my afternoon nap. I also made a drawing this morning, during my first wake. Always good :)


Progress cleaning out the desk.

Desk .

I’ve spent a few 10/15 minute dashes clearing out the desk. I got rid of some stuff and put other stuff in a better place. Found some sketchbooks in the process. I’ve almost got it cleared out and might even buy a chair tomorrow.

The side part slides in, very handy.


Do I need a desk for my creativity?

Moved furniture.

Hidden on the left part of that photo you May (or probably not) see my desk. I have stuff on it and under and next to it. Though I did tidy up the rest a bit (really!), my desk has remained a collection of… things…

I don’t remember if I’ve ever really used it.

Right now I barely do creative stuff, and I wondered. Do I need a desk? Do I need a dedicated place in my flat to burst out into creative outbursts? A place away from my sofa and laptop. A place only for creative stuff (with a nice view of the park, I May add). You’d think I could do without, that I could do creative stuff everywhere. Do I use this as an excuse to not do anything creative (because the desk has so much stuff on it, I couldn’t possibly do anything really creative), or do I deny myself a calm area for my creativity (because I don’t get myself in that mode linked to the desk)?

I think my brain will implode soon. Advice needed!

p.s. I don’t even have a proper chair and I would really need a proper chair…


Reducing clutter.

Lately I have spent a lot of time de-cluttering (not done yet, it takes a long time to get rid of years worth of junk). It feel very liberating to throw out old stuff, stuff I don’t even like or just keep out of guilt. It not only clears space, but also my head. It makes me very happy.

To help me and keep me motivated, I’ve started reading blogs about getting rid of clutter basically. I found a good list of tips over at ‘Simple. Organized. Life.’ As a recovering pack-rat I found the first two most helpful.

  • Have a place for everything - this means your keys, your wallet, your office supplies, etc.

and

  • When you bring one thing home, try to send at least one thing out the door.

Having a place for everything (well, not yet, but getting there) helps me not having to search for an item. Tossing out something when I bring in something new helps me to not cling onto older items just for the sake of clinging on.

I’ve started feeling much calmer with less clutter around me. A lot less stress.


Cleaning up my mailboxes, and useful procmail-bits.

I started decluttering my e-mail. I thought over 1gb worth of e-mail took up too much space, and what the hell did I save in those folders anyway?

I found I also had a huge procmailrc that filtered through my messages and put them in many nested folders.

Before I started I made a small inventory of what I had:

  • work-account, over 600MB in 4000 e-mails
  • private account, over 400MB in 3000 e-mails
  • third fun account, some 25MB worth of mail, nothing really important.

I use IMAP exclusively, and my accounts have about 1GB of space each, so I had the space to save it all. I also have the space to stack my living-room full of boxes, but I’d rather not.

So, I took the necessary steps to clean it up.

Step 1: Less folders!

I decided no more nested folders! This made everything a lot easier, and much cleaner, in mail.app and in mutt. Instant relief.
Though I can’t and won’t go for that ‘single archive’ approach, I do prefer to have as little folders as possible. Right now I have the default ‘Sent’ (which I clear out daily) ‘Trash’ and ‘Draft’, and for my work account I have the folders ‘work’ ‘social’ ‘specific mailing-list’ ‘other mailing-lists’. For my private account I have ‘social’, ‘web’, ‘license-codes’, ‘health’ and ‘finance’. I do receive some social e-mail on my work-account (no rules against that where I work) so I decided to give that a special folder.
I made a general and quick separation, based on gut-feeling alone. My work-account receives work-related mailing-lists, but all my other lists go to a third, specifically meant for mailing-list. This way I can disable the account, or simply not read it, if I just want to read my private e-mail.

Step 2: Clearing out old mail.

I went through all my e-mail.

Yes, all of it.

It was Hell.

It was horrible.

It was painful.

I have no clue why I saved so many e-mails that made me feel bad. I tossed them out.

I had e-mails from orders I made, years and years ago. Out they went.

Work related e-mails from problems long solved (talking years here). Delete delete delete.

E-mails with 10MB worth of photos attached. Saved the photos, deleted the attachment from the e-mail if I wanted to keep it, or deleted the e-mail entirely.

I deleted a lot.

I went from having over 1gb worth of e-mail (combined in all three accounts) to about 40mb (combined in all three accounts). I did it last week, and I still feel pretty damn good about it.

Step 3: Perfecting the archive process.

When e-mail from my family arrives, it gets tagged with a special header that MailTags understands. I did this by adding the following rule to my procmailrc:

:0f * ^FROM.*(adres1|adres2) | formail -A 'X-Keywords: family'

This tells procmail that if the mail comes from either ‘adres1’ or ‘adres2’ to add a header which says ‘X-Keywords: family’. I have a similar rule for mails from friends.

I can then choose to filter it directly to my folder ‘social’ (for friends and family)

:0   * ^(X-Keywords|X-Mailtags).*(friends|family)   .social/

It opens up all kinds of useful tagging!

Then, I looked at my mailing-list mail. I didn’t want the hassle of creating a new rule for every list I joined, or to have my procmailrc clog up with old rules, so I looked around and found a great solution:

..code::bash

:0 * ^X-BeenThere: /[^@]+ * ! ^(List-Id|X-(Mailing-)?List):.* .$MATCH/

0 * ^((List-Id|X-(Mailing-)?List):(.[< ]/[^>])) { LISTID=$MATCH

System Message: ERROR/3 (<string>, line 89)

Unexpected indentation.
:0 * LISTID ?? ^/[^@.]* .$MATCH/

}

Both these rules do the same thing, but they act on different headers. Not all mailing-lists use the same method, so I had to use more than one rule. Basically it either looks at the @X-BeenThere@ or @List-Id/X-Mailing-List/X-List@ to see what list the message comes from, and then filters it into a folder with the same name. Excellent!

Step 4: Enjoy!

After a week of using my freshly cleaned mail-accounts, I still feel great about it. Almost everything goes automatically, and I’ve only had to do minor tweaks so far. With the help of MailActOn I can easily file my e-mails and keep everything nice, clean, sorted and stick to Inbox Zero (which I’ve done for quite some time, but that archive of mail just kept on bugging me).

Aaaah, the joys of a clean mailbox!