Break a Leg!

0049-got_coffee_3-2…well, break a chair in any case.

Dusty has… had a favourite chair. It was an old off-white tweed-like swivel rocker that Dusty had for over 15 years and had been in the family for perhaps 5 or 10 years before that. It had been the accent chair going with a full sized sofa in the family, family-room. The sofa was something Dusty had hated to get rid of a number of years ago when forced to downsize — from a nearly 900 sq foot — two-bedroom apartment suite with large closets and storage unit — to a 450 sq foot basement suite with one small closet… which Dusty could luckily add an 8×8 storage shed to.

…getting back to the story…

I did love that rocker. My Dad had fixed it once, welding a broken piece back onto the swivel base where it had broken off. It was an earlobe shaped loop used to fasten it to part of the base — one of 4 on the swivel rocker base. That repair worked for a dozen or so years until perhaps 6 years ago when the weld gave way. I had no way to weld it and Dad wasn’t in a position to be able to help. The head of the screw on the remaining lobe on that side had broken off and the screws in the supporting piece of wood loosened allowing the whole base to pivot… not good. Anyway, I fixed it by taking the good screw from the side with the broken lobe and fastening the swivel base with only 3 screws and lobes and taking extra wood screws and good white glue and reworking the wooden supports for the base.

Black recliner (arm chair)

Black recliner (arm chair) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That worked for the 6 years… but bang! the chair broke a few weeks ago! This time, I figured I couldn’t fix the base again. I removed the base and put the chair on a board (to protect the carpet)  and sat on it (a lot lower to the floor) and pondered getting a replacement. I really used the chair more as a recliner than a rocker anyway so I started shopping for a recliner — even on my low budget.

I actually did my shopping online seeking out the best store to buy from. I looked for the greatest selection and best prices… good quality and a store with a decent name were important as well. I wanted a place that I could trust in case there were issues with the purchase like damaged merchandise. Actually the best place I could find was a chain called “The Brick“.

“The Brick” had a good selection and good prices even though their sales came and went like the tides. (regular and frequently) I went there and actually got a great deal on a very nice recliner… because it was a colour that most might not care for… but Dusty could live with.

Some call it “Spice”.

…most would call it “orange” or “pumpkin”.

That sounds pretty bad, but actually it goes well with warm wood grains and adds a splash of colour to an otherwise dark room. Besides it is high quality and very comfortable and I like it. (I might prefer brown or a dark colour but… the price was right.)

…getting on with the story.

English: art deco club chair

English: art deco club chair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chair is a fair sight larger than the swivel rocker and it doesn’t swivel. It also needs room to recline even if it can be placed fairly close to a wall. I also wanted to place it in a different location… and there were boxes there.

clutter clutter clutter

It also meant that they had to deliver the chair which meant delivery men had to get in the door and move in Dusty’s rather cluttered nest. That meant one thing… some organization was needed. (Maybe even some de-cluttering?)

It took a lot, but I reduced one box, moved four more to a more convenient place and got rid of a bunch of long past due recycling. When the recliner finally came, it could go straight where it belonged. I placed a floor lamp where it belonged and two side tables et voila, I had a living-room!

I really hadn’t had a living-room since I moved here due to the clutter.

I have a bit of inspiration to do a bit more clean-up and de-cluttering as well.

The point?

It seems that one way to de-clutter is to make a change in your life. In mine it was the need to replace that old favoured chair. What might you change… or what change might be forced upon you? Can you deal with the change, or will it break you?

Bye for now,

Dusty
D. Cluttermouse.

A Glass of Frustration

Waste bins in Toronto for municipal pick-up - ...

Waste bins in Toronto for municipal pick-up – the green bin is for organic waste (compost) (picked up weekly), the grey bin is for garbage (picked up bi-weekly) and the blue bin is for recycling (all recyclables) (picked up bi-weekly). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

0049-got_coffee_3-3-1Hello everybody,

Dusty’s feeling a little frustrated now. I just found out that in the metropolis I live in they’re changing who’s taking care of waste management. They’re the same people who also take care of the recycling program. They’re thinking of making a major change next year. They want to stop taking glass in with the other recycling materials. We have a three bin recycling program. One bin is for general garbage; another is for general recyclables; and the third is for organic wastes including kitchen and garden waste. The general recyclables include — at least for the moment — glass, metal, paper, cardboard, and plastic. They are most of the traditional recyclable materials in western cities.

The new company however says that broken glass contaminates all the other recyclables. That is why they want to stop collecting glass in the bin. They want to just collect glass in centralized bins at grocery stores and recycling centres. They’re saying that in other cities people have no problem with taking the glass products to the centralized collection centres. On the news in fact they did interviews with people in the cities. Everyone seemed to be happy with the system — taking the jars and bottles to the depots. Of course these were all people who were able to get the depot with no problem. They didn’t interview people who had problems with getting to a depot.

Recycle for Greater Manchester

Recycle for Greater Manchester (Photo credit: The Laird of Oldham)

What of people who had no cars? How are they to get bottles and jars to the depots? There are many people who don’t have cars in this world today. Some by choice; some for economic reasons; some for health reasons; and some for legal reasons. We encourage people to get out of their cars and take public transit. This means people are giving up their cars because they don’t need them. For others cars are not an option. How are they to get their recycling to a depot? Do we expect them to take their recycling on the bus? Essentially are they expected to wash their garbage put it in a bag and take it on public transit to the depot whether it is at a recycling station by a grocery store or in some industrial park?

This is why Dusty is frustrated.

It is a step backward. Many people who are currently recycling their jars and bottles will simply say “No!”. They will begin simply placing their jars and bottles in with the general trash, or mix it with the other recyclables. This will be a problem for the recycling company when they try to separate it.

Recycle-get this...

Recycle-get this… (Photo credit: practicalowl)

The secret to making recycling commonplace for the average householder is to make it simple and easy to do. It is already a lot to ask people to divide their garbage into three categories. Things are simplified by having three large bins to throw it into — but the more things that are exceptions and have to be taken to a transfer station in some industrial park, the less people are apt to comply.

Like I said, this is why Dusty is frustrated.

Bye for now!

Dusty
D. Cluttermouse.

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Cabin Fever

Dusty has been feeling a bit of Cabin Fever. It is a bit self imposed and I think perhaps it is something that goes along with the issue of compulsive hoarding. The biggest thing is that it is hampering plans to put things into better order.

Truly though there was a major life event in my life. It is one of those traumatic ones that we just have to move on from, though also at the same time one that you just don’t ignore.  It is how one copes that is important. The whole process was drawn out over months and so the process of getting through after has also taken time. But we move on and this post is a part of that process. Getting back on with life.

I know many folks actually start down the road of hoarding after losing someone important to them. For me, the hoarding always was. Depression did cause a minor glitch in housekeeping but that glitch was just a small hiccup and not an avalanche.

I know for chronic hoarders “avalanche” is a word that takes on a different meaning. I also know that I am on the less serious end of the hoarding spectrum. Dusty is just working hard not to slip up the spectrum! At one time I was well on my way to heading there towards corridors of newspaper and small nests of fast food packaging neatly stacked and folded. I still have to get a good hold on my recyclables. They are all clean — I still get my cans and most of my bottles out. It is still hard to let go of “neat looking” jars and bottles and large cardboard boxes made from cereal box cardboard or tiny boxes. But! The first thing I do with a bottle or jar is clean it!

Of course my OCD kicks in and I even rinse out my pop bottles (soda bottles for my American cousins) so there isn’t any bug attracting syrup in the bottom of bottles or cans. (even though Dusty drinks diet soda which probably doesn’t attract many bugs — smart bugs…)

However… I need to get out in order to get my plastic storage bins. I need to get out to get a new grocery cart… etc.

Soon… soon…

Dusty
D. Cluttermouse.

Boxes Little Boxes

Hey!

I my quest to go through all my stored clutter “One box at a time” I have a new approach to try. I want to get away from the stacks of cardboard boxes. I would like to start using plastic bins and crates.

This idea is many-fold. One, cardboard deteriorates and gives off paper dust into the air which does not help for a healthy environment. This deterioration also means that the boxes collapse and do a poorer and poorer job at protecting their contents. The cardboard boxes also add to a more cluttered appearance. The plastic bins will also with luck protect what I value, but need still to store.

The very action of switching over a box at a time from cardboard to plastic gives me a chance to go through all of my possessions and hard as it is, perhaps get rid of some — whether by donation, selling, recycling, reusing… using or trashing. With luck I can reduce the space taken and number of containers. Optimistically perhaps by 2:1 cutting 2 cardboard boxes down to 1 plastic bin of comparable size — and perhaps the plastic bins will take less room. Pessimistically perhaps it will only be 1:1 meaning 1 cardboard box goes into 1 plastic bin. But I will have checked on what I own and things will be in better order.

I do believe it will be closer to 2:1 —  maybe 4:3? I hope that at least I’ll be able to control where things are and know where they are.

But it will have to be one box at a time… or two, hoping to cut them down to one.

Ahhh, but where can I get very inexpensive bins? They need to be sturdy, protective, and I need to be able to count on getting more of them as I progress because I want to be able to stack them. I rather like the sort with the interlocking lids which are hinged so that you open them without removing the lids. But I suspect they cost a lot. I am using a lot of bankers’ boxes… you know the folding file boxes that offices use as well as a certain number of moving boxes.

I want to make a start by collecting all of my tools into one bin. I want to put hobby supplies into another one or two. Then I want to keep those bins in an easily accessed location. Another bin or two will be used for storing out of season clothing, linens, and fabric.

So, do you have any ideas?

End of Summer – Warning Trees Planning to Clutter Up Yards!

Dusty - D CluttermouseHowdy!

I guess it is only a month since my last entry. Not much has happened. It is so interesting that with such a cluttered environment, my life is so uncluttered. Meaning I don’t really get much accomplished. Well, that is not entirely true. I have started getting out of my cave and into the world, if only to my parents’ place. I did take care of some important tasks in the last two weeks — well, important to me — which is very good.

I am trying to psych myself up to do some possession reduction. Perhaps if only to get rid of the obvious recyclables and trash to start, I might then move on to some other things. Of course many folks don’t understand emotional attachments to mundane objects. I don’t quite, but they are there and can be very strong and I can sympathize with others who have them. Perhaps my calling is to council those who must cope with downsizing?

Later!

~ 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

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

Three “R”s to Decluttering…..

For me it is very difficult to get rid of things. It is virtually impossible to throw things out, but I have found that those “Three ‘R’s of Recycling” to be very helpful!

  1. Reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle

I have applied these to my problem of “compulsive hoarding”… or is that “obsessive hoarding”? I always forget… anyhow, I apply them to my hoarding problem.

First, I “REDUCE”:

I am very careful not to take in anything that is not necessary. One of the early steps I took was not to take any physical Newspaper. That means I won’t subscribe to either of our daily papers no matter how much I love to read them. I simply found that I had problems getting rid of the papers. There were many reasons including being worried that I might have missed an article or coupon. Even with the option to recycle newspapers it was nearly impossible to keep up. I will admit that it is far far easier for me to “recycle” than “throw out”, but I’ll get back to that. I found that I can not even take in the weekly, biweekly, or tri-weekly papers – even just the fliers or catalogues. I just can not bear to get rid of the ads… So I do not take them in and instead I take advantage of services like Google’s News search service which will scan the net for local news of interest to me and to be able to scan fliers online. …I just have to make sure not to download, print or otherwise save the electronic fliers.

That is one area of reducing. I also make sure I don’t start buying any collectible items. I know I will want the whole set and will be unable to part with a single, even broken or duplicated item. That includes the wee toys you might get free in cereal boxes.

Second I “REUSE”:

If I do find I simply must buy something neat or keep something that might not seem of value. I realize now that I simply must find a use for it. For instance. I was keeping those very large spaghetti sauce jars. They are the large ones — the 4 litre/4 quart glass ones that you really can’t find now — that have been replaced by plastic. I find they are so very… hard for me to part with especially now that I can’t find sauce or other products sold in them. For a long time I used them for “bug proof” rice storage. I bought the large sacks of rice as a way to economize for a while, but with living in older basement suites… well bug proof was important. Anyway the rice storage was a way to “reuse” the bottles. I also used them for iced tea and for juice in the fridge. Their biggest flaw was the metal lids with the very thin plastic lining. They really weren’t intended for long time reuse. I’d love to find a source for more reusable lids for them.

I have found that since that time I can not use so much white rice. My blood sugar can not handle the refined starch in the white processed rice. This summer, I shall figure out something for iced tea and Koolaid. I make it myself and add my own diabetic friendly sweetener — sometimes very little sweetener at that. However, I have taken to reusing the jars now for things like…

  • My marble collection
  • My dice collection
  • My plastic toy collection — like the little things you get in Kinder Eggs and cereal boxes

Third I “RECYCLE”:

This might seem a “no brainer”. Perhaps it is, but before easy recycling I had very difficult problems getting rid of things that “should” be reusable or recyclable. I mean metal, plastic, glass, and that sort of thing were very hard for me to just throw out — unless of course they were soiled so that they were difficult to clean. I guess some of my favourite toys were the broken ones. I also used metal, wood, and plastic bits as accessories to my toys and to help build and fix my toys. It wasn’t that we were really poor, but we didn’t go buying toys all the time and I tended to be happy making do. I guess it led to where I am in other areas too…

I have belonged to, and in my spirit, though I am not currently active, still a member of a medieval recreation society and the keyword to that group is “participation”. Being that medieval gear and equipment just could not easily be purchased, we ended up making and creating our own. Of course with my typical “Church Mouse” budget I would have to often improvise and would use old clothing, blankets, discarded furniture, and drapes for resources to make clothing and items for medieval implements and garb. That is cool… but you end up keeping nearly everything on the hope that you can make use of it and not toss something that would be of value and use to you in your hobby — especially when you have seen others using such things in their own equipment. Part of what I am going to be getting rid of now are things I have saved to use for that hobby. I know I will be able to purchase or otherwise find for nearly nothing the equivalent or better.

It would have been difficult to get rid of that stuff other than now knowing I can recycle the materials.

Recycling and reducing are probably the more important to me as I have too much stuff at the moment. I imagine selling and donating are as important or more important than the recycling bin to me. Or for that matter finding friends and family who could actually use the things I do not have a need for and do not have room for.

I guess “3 R’s” sound better than “3 R’s, S, D, & G”  (Sell, Donate, & Gift)

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse.