What Happened to Dusty?

You might wonder what happened to Dusty!

Well,  a severe bout of depression along with a severe run of migraines and anxiety attacks. That led to time passing incredibly quickly and not much in the way of creative work being done nor much along the way of decluttering – sadly enough. Though with the purchase of a 6×8 storage shed things are looking up!

No promises on great gouts of progress reports, but you can never tell if I will be inspired to get back on the ol’ Smith Corona and get typin’.

I do pray that I can get a bit more control over my life.

~ Dusty

D Cluttermouse

A Few Days Late for Earth Day

Why Earth Day’s Important

I think that Earth Day is important the same way Hugs are important.

We love our loved ones all the time and do things for them – or should – through out our lives and days, but it is important to every once in a while to give a hug or something like that to let them know in a special way, like a punctuation mark. Earth Day is like that punctuation mark that ends the sentence saying “I care about the world I live in.” Rather nice that a period is nice and round at that.

I try to do what I can for the environment. Though some things are selfish. I love my reusable grocery bags made from recycled material. They give a greater sense of security to me for getting my groceries home. They also advertise that I am doing something – even if they advertise the store too…

I also pool with my parents to travel to the grocery store. Dad drives… still a convenience for me… I stopped driving my own car five years ago because it didn’t make sense for the few trips a month I made. I take public transit or walk normally. Groceries are a pain though. I do love my disability-annual-bus pass, so it is not so painful.

I do use “green” paper products for toilet paper, recycled paper products made with not quites so harmful processes, and It takes me two or three months to go through a roll of paper towels. I use reusable cellulose and use cloth dish towels…

I think my refuse is at about 1/3 trash 2/3 recycle and I put out a small-medium can once a month whether I need to or not. Of course I am single – that already reduces how much I would put out in any case.

There are still things that I do that could be improved: I still use more water than I should. I like to let the water run while I brush my teeth for instance. I also wash my one or two dishes under running water.

Some day I would like to own a “packed earth” home heated and cooled by a ground look heat pump. I would also like to have the hot water heat supplemented by solar water heating panels on the roof, unless solar electric ones are a better option. If I can afford a place in the country I wouldn’t mind dabbling with wind and water power as well.

I do think as well as many things… we do also have to be careful of cluttering the Earth. Something else that people do not consider with “Power” and “Energy” is that even “pollution free” energy solutions often do create “energy pollution”. The big one is heat being added to the environment where it doesn’t belong. Even a hydrogen fuel cell which creates steam or water vapour as its exhaust, also is creating heat. After all it is steam coming out. Electric motors get hot. Cities generate their own micro-climate which is measurably warmer than the surrounding countryside – and it isn’t just a matter of CO₂ contributions. The main consideration, for even if we went agrarian, would be population limits.

I think though it is a time to think, give the planet a hug and try to do something to improve and try to avoid something that harms.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

Shock in a Box!

Eep!

I have been good and in keeping with trying to at least look in a box a day, I actually dealt with one box yesterday and then I opened a second! EEP! I realized that I hadn’t opened that box in 9 years! It had gotten packed at the place before the place I last lived at and wasn’t opened! Now it wasn’t that the stuff in the box wasn’t missed. I just made do without. But it is like you can make do eating French fries without ketchup or make do with eating fish without lemon or… well you get my drift.

Seeing some of the stuff was like getting reacquainted with old friends. Granted most of the box was filled with old paperwork and books, but they were manuscripts I had written and will now be able to make use of without having to write from scratch. Others will give me an indication of how my writing skill has progressed over the past decade – some of the articles and papers were from 3-5 years before that move.

Anyhow, who knows what other buried treasures there are out there.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

Something Ajar

This door’s not ajar, that jar is a jar!

Well, actually I was cleaning a jar to recycle today and noticed how it has changed from one I had stored some candy canes in for the holidays… two years ago. It got me thinking and wanting to keep the new jar as it would hold more things in the same amount of space with a large mouthed lid. But then I thought… do I really need to keep any more jars. It isn’t like it is even a “collector” jar or anything. I do have a couple pickle jars that are very decorative with a pattern that completely covers the outside. I use one to keep my Sugar Twin packets in and the other to keep my single serving iced tea packets in. They actually don’t look bad at all and much better than the boxes. I can also keep them on counter or table and they look decent for company. The jar also protects the Sugar Twin packets from moisture.

It got me to thinking — a dangerous thing — if I really want a special jar, rather than keeping mediocre jars from going into the recycling bin, I could shop for products specifically for the container, or purchase containers that are neat.

BTW I’m recycling the jar… I am considering the lid…

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

Tea 4 Too

One minor thing I did today was to have a look at my tea collection. I went and moved my regular teabags from the Hershey’s cocoa plastic “tins” to some stackable clear plastic deli containers. The advantage is that the deli containers nest into each other when empty, as do the lids — and being transparent I can see what is inside them. Still… it won’t be easy to toss the Hershey’s containers into the recycling bin as it takes a long while for me to empty a whole cocoa container and they are nice plastic containers that seal fairly well.

Clutter experts would probably recommend just getting plastic storage containers… but I feel why buy what I already have… but then again how many containers do I need…

In any case I am thinking of moving the tea to those stackable containers. Since you don’t know, I have over a dozen types of tea. I have two or three types of Earl Grey, Two or three types of Green Tea, Various Herbal Teas, and a number of Black teas. I tend to reuse the nice Tetley Tea cylinders, but wonder about using the deli containers for the others… I just have to make sure they are identifiable if they are not in individual envelopes.

I did make a bit more room on my tea shelf… oh dear, I have a tea shelf! It is right below my spice shelf. The shelf above has sugar, brown sugar, Splenda, Sugar Twin, Real Lemon & Real Lime crystals, icing sugar, Koolade, and a few other things that seem to fit with that.

The big thing is working to keep them all organized and useful.

I still have to find a way to corral my plastics and store them.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

Clutter here Clutter there, Clutter can accumulate Everywhere!

Here is a question for you fellow clutterers… when was the last time you sorted through your bookmarks, favourites, or whatever you call the address of your favourite places on the Internet?

Do you go through them:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Seasonally
  • Yearly
  • Every once in a while you get a new computer and the browser is empty
  • You can delete bookmarks?

I have to admit that I just never get rid of mine and in fact, I don’t even get a clear out when I change computers or browsers because I am computer savvy enough to be able to migrate my bookmarks.
I’d love to put up a poll of readers, but really don’t have any to speak of yet — however, I suspect a lot of people with cluttered homes would likely have cluttered bookmark lists as well as hard drives. Of course at the same time I know sometimes these organizational-emotional things don’t cross such boundaries, but I bet for many they do.

I know I bookmark many things just because they are just so very interesting and I want to be able to come back to them when I have time to really take a good look at them — others I want to share — others I just want to prove they exist — and being a writer, some I just want to be able to call on as a reference. Mind you for the last category I will most often cache the page on my own drive in case it might disappear into the ether on me.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get to really Spring Clean on my bookmark list, but… I do hope some day to put them into better order so I can find them more simply and also will have places for the new pages to roost.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

When the plow breaks the nest will fall

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I have so many things I want to do in order to get things under control — many are just small steps and projects — but feel totally incapable due to current health issues and feel that time is racing by.

Robert Burns wrote about a ploughman ploughing a field and upturning the nest of a small field mouse — ruining it and the fine grain stored within for the coming winter — at a time when it was too late to rebuild nest or supplies. That was where the oft quoted “of mice and men” comes from. No harm meant… But time was a crucial factor in there.

I worry about the time factor even though I am not doing so well right now health-wise. Oh I am not dying — no cancer, heart disease, wasting illness, or autoimmune disorder — but I am in enough discomfort from the symptoms of what is bothering me not to be able to even gather a box to me and slowly sort through it, tossing out the dross¹  and putting what is left back into the very same box or combining it with the next which had the chaff removed.

I really can’t help my health problem, but time still passes onwards and I know that my landlord can’t be too happy that it is taking so long for me to get my boxed possessions off the porch and into my suite. I am trying but… “best laid plans of mice and men…”

The solutions of course is “to put more men on the job”, which I quote from a Benny Hill sketch about a crew evaluation with immigrant workers and immigrant owners in England. The trick is to find help for someone who is on a low fixed income… also non-judgemental and caring help as they also have to cope with someone who does have some emotional issues to do with the clutter.
But I don’t want to sound like a broken record about that.

Even feeling my best I will need that help and feeling the way I am I am not even up to seeking help. But perhaps I still will avoid the plow.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

__________
¹ “dross” is something regarded as worthless.

Another One Bites the Dust

Well, it wasn’t a big accomplishment last night, but I got into another box, emptied it, put the contents into places I wanted them to go and flattened the box for recycling. When I flatten a box it goes one of two roots. If it is a “moving & storage” box that I or a family member paid money for and is in decent condition I place it behind a dresser near the door so that my parents or brother-in-law can take it for future family moves. If not, I flatten it and put it outside to be bundled for recycling.

Well… there is a third category for special boxes… I have purchased over years filing boxes — they used to be called bankers boxes — which are sturdy and can be folded or set up without tape and can be stacked filled fairly high. They are also the same size so they stack well. The are the size of a letter file folder wide and a legal one long. They have separate tray-like lids that fold flat too. Anyhow I flatten them and put them under my bed to be used for storing things in my closet and eventually in a wardrobe or storage shed. There are also small boxes I might keep for sorting stuff into larger boxes.

Anyway the box I went through last night was filled with a set of mugs I collected which have Canadian scenes on them and I use for company. I have them now displayed on the back of my stove and they look nice there. The box they were in also was on a shelf in one of my book shelves so that meant that I could then put an armload of books onto the now vacant shelf.

I might not be going through a box a day, but it is a start.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

Anchorless

Where does cluttered life come from?

I don’t know all the reasons in my own life — let alone anyone else’s — but one aspect of my own cluttered existence might have clues in a need for an anchor in this turbulent life. Perhaps others can work without a net and can launch out on their own without a firm anchorage or base camp. But I am not that sort.

I have heard that a person who was insecure in their relationships; and who had low self esteem; might end up turning to toys as friends when other children do not become that emotional outlet. This lack might increase if for some reason that self confidence doesn’t develop during school years. Deep within, objects take on the position of friends. That means that to get rid of an object that has long been in your possession is like abandoning a close friend. Someone who might already be a bit sensitive would have problems with that.

I think that this would be how they felt as a child and so getting rid of their possession feels like they are abandoning someone — even if they never really had been abandoned.

I was insecure and had little self confidence — this is true. I also feel an emotional attachment to objects. I always have for as long as I can remember — even from before I was 5-years-old.

Now the rub is that even with this self realization, I feel nearly helpless. This is because the feelings are real and I am tortured with the thoughts of giving up prized possessions. I dreaded being given the family couch when my parents bought a new living room set. This is because I knew it would be very, very difficult for me to get rid of.

It took a monumental effort to cast off that couch and I was nearly at a break-down point at the time. Other issues happening with regards to the move I was being forced to make at the time had me at the breaking point already.

I simply didn’t have a place to put a couch in my new suite. I could at least keep the armchair rocker from the living room set. That really helped — along with me bracing for the separation for weeks.

I don’t know how to separate those feelings I attribute to objects. I try. I am also very logical — as well as emotional — and it is very stressful trying to cope with the illogic of the whole situation. Objects do not have feelings and I should not be attached to objects — especially when the attachment is harmful and the emotions attributed to the objects might even be painful ones.

Anyhow, that is a glimpse into some reasons behind clutter. It is hard not to gain clutter when objects become friends. Objects become anchors that hold us to our lives… other people could anchor themselves to friends… or some could anchor to locations. But when we are taken from our safe locations, our possessions become our anchors… makes you think about the homeless with their shopping carts, doesn’t it?

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse.

Hard Drive

I am considering my next computer moves…

I need more hard drive space somehow. I also need to get some sort of way to work with Windows. I have moved onto an Apple OS X system a year ago last December and that MacBook has a 120Gb hard drive. It is pretty much full. I also have a desktop PC that I was using regularly until I got the MacBook and it has a 5Gb hard drive and a 120Gb hard drive — both of which are filled-to-the-gills. That PC is running a Windows XP system. I still have the Windows 98 system I used before that which has 3Gb, 5Gb, and 30Gb hard drives in it… mostly full and a third desktop system which has no OS but does have a 10Gb or 20Gb SCSI hard drive in it. I mention the later because it is my intention to incorporate the SCSI storage system in with my Windows Desktop system somehow.

Of course being the cluttermouse I am, I do still have all three of those desktop computers as well as a box of hard drives between 500Mb and perhaps 50Gb in size in addition. I do have a hub networking my two desktop computers as well as using its wireless capability to network this MacBook to the network and hence the Internet.

I do still plan on getting an external hard drive for my network — either 500Gb or 1Tb in size. (for the less computer savvy they are reasonably large drives still.) I’d be able to install Windows onto the external drive to use with the MacBook whenever the MacBook is connected to the network — and I would want an external drive robust enough to take travelling with me.

Still… I would worry about just filling up the external drive unless I can learn to control my hoarding ways. I’ll have to work on just how to do that.

I think one of the first things I would have to do is work out a formal system of backing up my system, software, and work files. Right now I have no system and so I worry about what I have and have not got saved as backups. That means may redundancies as well as probably having missed backing up some important stuff.

The other thing is to ensure that I have figured out just what things I do not need to keep on any hard drive at all like music and videos. Really I only need to keep on hard drive what I am currently listening to or planning on listening to in the near future. It would also be important to have some sort of online catalogue of the off-machine files so that I can find them to put back onto the computer as needed. I would plan on storing music, movies, TV shows, audio books, and eBooks on DVD.

Storing things on CD or DVD also requires a person copy the files to fresh DVD or CD from time to time as the DVDs and CDs degrade over time even if not used. They can be backed up perfectly if you do so before the media degrades. That is the benefit of digital media.

Now I guess I do need to get the external hard drive as well as to make a few plans on how to use it effectively. I also have to plan how I will be networking my 2 or 3 desktop computers… perhaps I will coalesce my three computers into just one? (That also includes making sure I have legit system software for each machine.)

Now… how to plan without over-planning… how to do and actually get it done?

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse