Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lessons in Letting Go

book cover: Lessons in Letting Go

Lessons in Letting Go: Confessions of a Hoarder tells how the author, Corinne Grant, recognized her hoarding issues, delved into the causes of that behavior, and learned to make different choices. It’s a personal story that seems to be told with wit and self-compassion. For example, this comes from the prologue:
Hoarding isn’t something anyone is aware of until it’s too late. Hoarding sneaks up on you in the middle of the night wearing dark glasses and a false moustache and weasels its way in when you’re not looking.
I say “seems to” because I didn't read the entire book, which I borrowed from its owner. However, I was quite impressed with the “Twenty-Two Lessons in Letting Go” — the last chapter of the book — which has advice that would work for many people, not just those with hoarding tendencies. Here are some excerpts:
Don’t tackle the really painful stuff first, you’ll only discourage yourself. Work up to it. You’ll find you get tougher the longer you stick with it and, eventually, you’ll build up the emotional equivalent of abs of steel.

Keep one item that reminds you of a particular time and place (your time machine) and get rid of the rest.

Don’t throw out things in anger. ... Giving away a perfectly good bedside table won’t make your ex wake in the night in a vale of tears, it’ll just leave you with nowhere to put your alarm clock. Revisit it when you’ve calmed down. You’ll probably let go of it in the end anyway, but at least you will have done it rationally.

I still have stuff that is useless of other people but means a lot to me. Most people do. Just throw out the duplicates, the stuff that is irrelevant and the stuff that make you feel miserable or guilty or angry. Throw out the stuff that doesn’t sing to you.
What may be my favorite:
Don’t let others bully you into tidying up their way. There are no rules. You can get rid of stuff in big chunks, do it one thing at a time, give it to charity, give it to friends, leave it on the footpath with a sign that says ‘free to good home.’ ... It doesn’t matter as long as the stuff goes and you feel like you've done it the right way.
And on the joys of having done the letting go:
I don’t lose things now; I don’t need to buy a new pair of scissors every time I need to cut something. My bills get paid on time because I know where I keep them. I don’t have to leave the house to have dinner anymore. I actually enjoy being in my own home. I’m in control now, not the stuff.

Update on Dec. 22, 2013: I was confusing this book with another one. This isn't one I borrowed; it was a gift from organizer Lissanne Oliver. Thanks, Lissanne!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

5 More Non-Clutter Gift-Giving Ideas for the Holidays

Dandelion Chcolate bars

Still looking for holiday gifts? There are plenty of gifts that don’t result in clutter, beyond consumables. I wrote about “experience” gifts overs on Unclutterer, but here are some more gift ideas.

1. The gift of experiences: chocolate classes

Sure, you could buy the chocolate bars shown above, from Dandelion Chocolate. But you could also give someone the gift of the Dandelion’s chocolate classes: Chocolate 101 (an all-around introduction to chocolate) or Chocolate 201, where you get to make your own small batch of chocolate. Dandelion Chocolate is in San Francisco, but those from other ares might be able to find something equally interesting being offered by shops in other locales.

image consultant gift certificate

2. The gift of services: gift certificate from an image stylist/wardrobe consultant

Know someone who’d appreciate some wardrobe help? Style for Hire has stylists around the country who can help, and it sells gift certificates. I'm sure other image consultants would be glad to help out with a gift certificate, too — such as this one from Style by Tiffani.

batteries that charge via a USB stick

3. Practical gifts: USB cell batteries

As Inhabitat says: “Although it might seem a little ridiculous to pay $18 for a pair of batteries, these next-gen cells can be recharged using a USB stick, so you’ll never have to buy another set of mercury-laden batteries that pollute the environment.”

Associated Press online order form - the part for gift orders

4. Gifts for writers or editors: Associated Press Stylebook Online subscription

The AP order form asks “Is this a gift order?” in the Contact/Shipping Information section. I’ve had a subscription for years, and I highly recommend it.

5. Gifts for those in need

Many of us are fortunate enough to have as much stuff as we really need — but others are not as fortunate. If your area has a “secret Santa” program or an “adopt a family” program — or something similar for needy kids, seniors or families — consider participating in that program. For example, the Cambridge, Massachusetts Police Department has a Secret Santa for Seniors program which is accepting gifts through Dec. 20. Arlington County in Virginia has a Secret Santa program which accepts gift cards through Dec. 17.

Related Posts:
Giving the Gift of Safety
Gift-Giving Ideas: Charitable Donations In Lieu of Presents
Non-Clutter Gifts You Can Buy Without Leaving Home
Christmas / Holiday Gift Ideas for Those with Cars - and Those Without

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

10 Gift-Giving Ideas for the Holidays: Consumables

jug of maple syrup

When looking for gifts that won’t become clutter for the receiver, consumables are always worth considering. They aren’t a panacea, and no one gift works for everyone — but they just might work for some folks on your list. I recently wrote about a number of consumable gifts over on Unclutterer, but here are some additional ideas — from stocking stuffers to more substantial gifts.

Food Items

Good maple syrup seems festive to me, and Best Made sells a Big Jug of organic maple syrup, shown above.

handcrafted barrel-matured maple syrup

Another maple syrup option would be the Tonic 01: Tuthilltown Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup sold by Mikuni Wild Harvest.

3 bottles of mayonnaise: bacon, white truffle and black garlic

Want just a little something? How about one of the mayonnaise options from Empire Mayonnaise, which is “made exclusively with non-gmo oils and NY local, cage-free, pasture-raised eggs. Every jar is made by hand, from infusion to shipping.” You can get classic mayo, or something more exotic: bacon mayo, lime pickle mayo, black garlic mayo, rosemary mayo, and more. [via BuzzFeed]

jar of marmalade

Or, if you know a jam lover and want to splurge: All of Chez Pims jams and marmalades are sold out, but you can join the jam lover's club and get 12, 16 or 24 jars per year. As Pim Techamuanvivit explains: “This jam lovers club is not your usual of-the-month clubs. I don’t send you whatever jam I can’t sell retail to you. When you join, I ask you careful questions about your preference and distaste of fruits, berries, herbs, and spices. I customize each seasonal selection for you personally, based on your expressed preference. You also get the first pick of my limited edition jams and marmalades.”

Other Consumables

lip balm in a sphere shape

Lip balm is a useful item, and Eos has lip balms in a sphere shape, rather than just the usual stick. There are eight flavors, although some are sold out right now. [via The Atlantic]

make your own lip balm kit

Another lip balm option is the "make your own lip balm" kit, sold by Uncommon Goods.

garden in a bag - sunflower

I’ve mentioned seed bombs and other seed items before, but another plant-related item to consider is the Garden in a Bag collection from Potting Shed Creations, also sold by Branch. There are lots of choices, including flowers, herb, tomatoes and catnip. For something a bit larger, you can get a Garden in a Pail. [via Inhabitat]

blackwing pencils

Mark at Boing Boing says the Blackwing 602 pencil from Palomino is “simply the best pencil in the world.”

young boy with monster-themed temporary tattoos

The temporary tattoos from Tattly would make a fun gift. You can buy them individually, or in sets — or you can get a six-month subscription. And there are many reasons to like Tattly’s tattoos. They’re “designed by professional artists who get a cut of every sale.” They’re also “safe & non-toxic, printed with vegetable-based ink.” [via Cool Mom Picks]

attractive bandages with stars and chevrons

Finally, bandages don't have to be boring — or decorated with Disney characters. You can choose from a wide assortment of latex-free washi adhesive strips at Pretty Strips. [via Apartment Therapy]

Related Posts:
Christmas and Other Holidays: Consumable Gifts
Christmas and Other Holidays: Consumable Gifts, Part 2
Christmas / Holiday Gift Ideas: Consumables
Christmas / Holiday Gift Ideas: Consumables, Part 2
Gift-Giving Ideas: Consumables Are More Than Chocolates and Wine

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Headphone Stands, Revisited

headphone stand, steel, red

Update time! Back in October I wrote about headphone stands. But now Heckler Design — whose products, such as OneLessDesk, I’ve always admired — has come out with a headphone stand. It comes in six colors and is only $29 — much less expensive than many other options. And it’s made from steel scraps from the production of other Heckler products.

headphone hooks for iMac and MacBook Pro

And for those with an iMac (2004-2011 or 2012-2013) or a MacBook Pro (2010-2013), take a look at the headphone hooks from Kancha Laboratory. They are currently on sale for only €18 — or €13 for the MacBook Pro version. Orders over €13 get free shipping, worldwide. [via HiConsumption]