Thursday, January 21, 2016

Let's Play (Jan 19th recap)

I'm still on track with The Game. But I've got some catching up to do as far as documenting it for you.  On the one hand I feel like itemizing all the junk is literally minutia. I may bore you. But The more I think about it the more fascinated I am. Trying to put it into words and pictures reminded me of the scene in the movie "Sneakers" where the con-artist ex-convict protagonists are going through their target's trash to try to learn what kind of man he is and how to get close to him- based on what he throws away.

So really, I feel a little naked here.

The first day I didn't do too many photos because I started late at night when I first came across The Game, and it was too dark and I hadn't really thought about publishing it. I did, however, keep track by jotting things down as I tossed them or put them in the donate piles. I will attempt to transcibe this.

1 old game box (recycled)
6 sorry-lookin' stuffed animals (kids told me they wanted to get rid of them- trashed)
3 hats (donated)
1 pair of pants (donated)
13 VHS tapes (donated)
1 small clock (donated)
2 styluses (donated)
3 books (to go to the free table at LEAH)
1 broken motorized toy (trash)
1 broken Ceramic yarn bowl (trash)
1 wordfind book (recycled)
7 books (Donated to LEAH Library)
1 lots of broken pencils, stubs, and dead pens (trash)
1 three pound bag of old gumballs (trashed)
2 old perfume bottles (trashed)
1 crusty nail polish (trashed)
3 mini shampoos (poured out and recycled)
1 expired lotion (poured out and recycled)
2 expired foundation bottles (trashed)
2 expired homeopathic meds  (trashed)
1 mini chimes (donated)
1 Christmas jewelry pin (trashed)
1 broken pet shop accessory (trashed)
1 mini toy dart board (trashed)
1 wooden rhino shape (trashed)
2 cell cases (donated)
2 unreliable compass bracelets (trashed)
1 baby carrier (NEW! saved for a gift- I'm committed to it leaving soon and know who it's for)
13 cute things in a shoe box (for Rosie and Benji)
3 wooden whistles (donate)
1 holiday serving tray (donate)
1 belt (donate)
1 pencil bag (donate)
1 mini embroidery kit (donate)
1 oversized plastic toy coin, the rest are gone (trashed)
1 well used old toy princess wand (trashed)
6 manila envelopes of art left after shows years ago (To be mailed to the students)
1 stack of seed catalogs I can see online (recycled)
1 unused undated appointment book (donated)
3 mismatched gloves (trashed)
20 more expired bathroom products (trashed/ recycled)
1 oddball basket (donated)
1 cleaned out my purse (trashed/ recycled)
1 sorted reciepts on the desk (recycled)
1 cleaned off my bulletin board (recycled)
4 mesh pop up hampers (donated)
1 skirt (donated)
1 pair of toddler glove clips (donated)
1 handful of old sugar packets (trashed)

So for the 19th, a grand total of: 127 items vanquished.

I'm most ashamed of all the old bathroom products. Honestly I think some were expired when we moved in. Which means I packed expired products, put them in a truck, unpacked them and lived with them in my space for 8 years. Even though I did purge an incredible volume of bathroom products a few years ago, I must have been having guilt about getting rid of some of the nasty lotions in the sink or the trash. I have stopped using nearly all of them and have seriously changed most of my hygiene products over the years to simplify and put less synthetics on my skin. Now I know better what I like and what's better for me (even though I'm not entirely where I want to be in this area yet!)

Second most embarrassing? The student artwork. Although I gave back almost everyone's work in person, some people I don't see that much. I should have taken these to the post office years ago.

Most bizarre? The 3Lb bag of gumballs. It took up important realestate in my headboard hideaway shelf. I had got it because Gwen asked for gumballs and I gave it to her. but she neglected to mention how tiny her new gumball machine toy actually was so the gumballs didn't fit. The bag had been opened and couldn't be returned. I never wanted to give that much sugary gum to the kids. I never threw it out because that seemed wasteful. It entered Limbo. (It was also the first moment I asked myself if I could declutter just this one bag and have made my whole count for The Game....)

Most proud of? The books donated to LEAH. They are ones I enjoyed reading or perusing and I'm excited to share them. Technically they aren't leaving my house though, because as the Librarian for our homeschool chapter, the Library resides in storage bins in my home. However they are all nicely cataloged and contained and putting them in the bins made room on my shelves and will bless others and they technically aren't owned by me any longer. This one counts.

Also proud of the new baby carrier. I had a hand me down one with a broken clip. I was pretty sure that wasn't safe so I asked the company for a new clip. They insisted I mail them the entire old carrier so they could destroy it for safety reasons and mailed me a new one free of cost! I have always had a lot of good experiences with contacting companies about replacing parts of baby equipment. In this case, I ended up not needing the carrier because my baby was enormous and quickly outgrew the carrier. Hopefully my sister will not feed her child whatever miracle grow Robbie must have been drinking when I wasn't looking and she'll get to use it.

I'm taking pride in the cleaned off bulletin board. Why? Because part of the root drive of my decluttering is to cut back on the stuff and simplify my time so I have room to sit and work on some of my art work and story writing, and that bulletin board holds my idea note cards. It's just gotten over busy with other important things. Life insurance policy papers, volunteer schedules, lecture series time tables, business cards for people quoting various home repairs and services. The more I think about it as I write this, I realize this is really representative of my problem. The things I want to do are getting papered over by the pressing things of life. Those pressing things do matter but that board is not their space. They belong in other places. I just have to take the time to create and use those separate systems to make room for the creative pursuits to be seen and contemplated and acted on.

I'm also proud of the broken bowl. Because I made it and my daughter broke it and I kissed her instead of yelling. (well I did have to yell at the people about to run on the shards.... but that's different) Ceramics used to feel to me like things that should be made to keep forever. It's the stuff, though broken, that has been the lasting record of civilizations long past. Now to me they are as impermanent as sketches and the forever thing is what I learned from it and how making or using it impacted me. The concrete thing has become passing compared to the memories and the ideas and the skills it served to provide me. For years I wanted to not yell when my littles broke things, and no matter how hard I tried, I still did. Sometimes I still do, if I forget to breathe first. But it's so much rarer now. What needed to change wasn't my resolve so much as it was my sense of value. And I'm so thankful that God is doing this lasting work in me. I'm glad he lets things break (over and over and over again) so he can make me whole.

My history is in the pot shards. And in the goodwill bins.


  1. Nikki, you are so inspirational. I love coming over and hearing about everything and truly seeing the progress not just hearing about it.

    1. I love that we've had this gift of quality real life time together and continue to! I am mutually inspired by your growth and encouragement. So blessed! <3

  2. So, how many things does it equal after 30 days?

    1. If I did the math right, 30 days works out to 465 things.