Week TWO, February….

I missed Sunday’s blog. I admit it, I’m slacking. But, I did say you needed a shredder for this fling, and mine had died.

It took me till Saturday to get to Staples to buy one. (Yes, I work next door. I know.) But I was gearing up for the task, gathering my thoughts, and purchasing my new file system.

I also got mildly distracted by my photography, which doesn’t usually happen in the middle of the winter. But between our two weekend snow storms–(The first a home run, 8-9 inches, pretty; and the second that really was a non-issue after all)–HERE. I know that DC and northern Virginia and other places are digging out from 26-38 inches. Mine mostly melted yesterday. You can see the muddy, bare ground in the front yard again. Yay.

In any event, one of the photo places I hang out at virtually was running a challenge on ‘Doors and Windows.’ How could I NOT participate? Wednesday before work, I drove to Petersburg, and avoided the snowy ground and got some wonderful photos. I am so excited and energized by them; they make me happy.

2010-FEB Ptrbrg-3416x16 copyright

“ONCE WHEN I WAS YOUNG….” The rest of the shoot is posted for viewing (and purchase) at my Smugmug site.

But on Sunday, before the game, I plugged in the shredder and got to work.

shred

files 

Two 13-gallon trash bags later, I had a new and organized file system!! (Please note, this does not include half of the paper in the house. Timmy has not yet begun participation, so all the house files and such—his purview—have yet to be touched.) All the utilities I pay, all my personal stuff –up to and including my college transcripts and tax life pre-marriage were gathering dust here.

No longer.

The newest Fling is rather broadly scattered through the house. You may run into pockets of un-flung other stuff while there. FLING it. It will be ok.

This week is “Knick knacks/Home decor.”

This may end up being the hardest to do, simply because this is where emotion and history and memory and sentimental gentle winds blow through and force you to save, save, save.

The sad fact is, we can’t save everything. I watched one of the HGTV shows the other night. It was the Messiest House in America Contest. (Why would you ENTER that contest? Especially when they were SO resistant. And seriously? MESSY. Filthy, gross messy.) But I digress. Watching those shows isn’t a healthy thing to do, I think. It makes you not see your own issues because theirs are so overwhelming. But the lesson that is learned (sometimes) is that everything can’t be saved.

I am not of the opinion that you don’t need touchstones from your life. I don’t think a photo of your lovely china collection is the same as Christmas dinner eaten off the china; I don’t think taking a photo of a cherished teddy bear is the same as being able to let your grandchild hold him some day.

Your grandchildren won’t want your entire moth-eaten menagerie.  This is where saving versus hoarding versus collecting balances on a very fine pinpoint.

Think on it. Don’t fling with wild abandon here. Gift these things now, with lovely notes explaining their provenance. If you believe Sally will appreciated something someday, but her parents might look at it as trash, package it carefully, write Sally a note, and leave it for…later.

I am ending this now. More on these thoughts soon. Just don’t make rash decisions with this fling. (Mostly burned out candles? Easy fling. The candleholder? Maybe not.)

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I love paper….

Paper is my weakness. (Well, ONE of my weaknesses….chocolate, fabric, and pretty boxes being some of the others.)

I have finally learned how to walk PAST a stationery shop, or if not past, out with empty hands.

I LOVE paper. Pads, notebooks, pretty envelopes, calendars, greeting cards— well you get the idea.

I don’t love bills. I do love magazines, and newspapers, however. And scrapbooking paper. And organizers with pretty covers.

And the funny (sad funny, not funny ha-ha) thing is, I don’t USE them nearly as much as I should.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hoard them, but I am very reluctant to use these papers. It pains me to cut into a pretty scrapbook page, I am loathe to write on (and possibly run out of!) a cute note pad. I forget to mail out ‘snail mail’ greeting cards.

Therefore, the majority of my grocery lists are on the backs of envelopes, or the clean side of a piece of printing paper I scrounged from work when I thought of something that needed noting.

Yes, it IS the more ecologically sound way to do things. But if I am living off of randomly sized scraps of paper, why do I keep buying such cute little note pads?

file1

This is a result of LAST year’s attempt. I keep my papers here, next to my computer in the studio. All of the household files and all of Timmy’s stuff is in a file drawer in the den. And on the dining room table, and in the pile next to his monitor. The remainder of mine is sitting stacked, in both vertical and horizontal piles, somewhere.

So, lets get to FLINGING. Below, you will find links to a series of internet articles that should give you a bit of comfort and confidence that you can, indeed, throw out most of what you have saved.

What you will need to get flinging this time:

  • A shredder. Only shred things with personal info. No sense in burning out the motor.
  • A large paper grocery bag, for all the envelopes, junk mail and marketing inside your bills.
  • New file folders, unless yours are relatively clean and not all rough around the edges, with 5 or 6 crossed out categories already. Splurge, live a little. Buy some colored folders at Staples or Office Max, or go into Michaels Arts and Crafts—in their Dollar area right now they sell pretty file folders (about 4 in a pack)… If you don’t have them all tucked away, make your area a bit less—Forbidding? Uninspiring? Brighten things up.
  • A Sharpie, in a color that you like. (Not one of the almost dried out ones from the back of the junk drawer. Fling that one! Again, treat yourself right.)
  • If you don’t have a drawer, or filing cabinet already, buy something. It doesn’t need to be industrial sized, unless you truly need something that big. It can be a rectangular wicker basket, kept on a bookshelf, or a nice magazine holder, or a plastic tote. The choices are endless, and yours. Just make sure it fits where you want it and that it holds your file folders.

Next, gather as much as you can bear, and settle in somewhere with a flat surface, and an outlet. Turn on some music, or put on a movie you’ve seen before, plug in your shredder and start flinging!

EVERY piece of paper that goes into the shredder or the garbage bag counts.  Keep note of how quickly you surpass 27! When it becomes too much, walk away.

Come back later, fling another 27, or 27 and 27 and 27… as the pile on the table shrinks and the pile in the bag increases, you will probably feel compelled to keep going!

If you do use the backs of old paper as your notepaper of choice, that is fine, and laudable. BUT, it is not an excuse to stop flinging, or to just leave things as they are.

Gather those that are up to the job—(BLANK on the back), and cut/tear them in thirds along the fold lines. Staple 20 or so of the same size together to make note pads. Once the pile of note pads is over an inch tall, start flinging the rest. You KNOW you will receive more paper in the mail today. And tomorrow. And the next day.

Filing Systems…

Get rid of junk mail…

Retention of paper…

More retention of paper…

(Now, a caveat— If any of the links above indicate you NEED to own something THEY SELL in order to accomplish this Flinging task, be aware that is not my intention; I am not recommending any specific file organization purchase via these sites. They are simply the articles that seemed to have the breadth of answers to make Flinging a bit easier.)

One month in…

How is your 27 Thing Fling working for you? Are you looking at things differently? Do you find yourself flinging from a spot that we haven’t even started? (Or do you want to leave it solely to be able to count ‘later’? If so, fling it and add it to whatever place you are counting. 🙂 )Are you questioning your purchases?

By the way, this is NOT a ‘no shopping’ exercise. What it is is a ‘Do I NEED it’ exercise, ‘Is it worth working another 5 hours of my life away’ exercise, an ‘Am I buying it because it’s easier than looking for the old one’ exercise, and a ‘Where am I going to put it exercise’….  (Ok, officially exhausted. Haven’t exercised that much in forever!)

I have purchased (other than food, etc) a few pairs of pants, a nice stack of CD’s, some sweaters/tops in colors that I found worked well with my leaner, more organized closet (All from Goodwill. I just LOVE my Goodwill!!!)

And, some Christmas stuff on mega clearance that I KNEW I could use. (Like wrapping paper. Once I make it into the guest room, where the wrapping paper lives, I will be flinging some things there, and HOW could you turn down 90% off?)

Yes, faulty logic, and possibly how my house got to the state it is in. But, being that my Christmas things were just out….

Ah, see how easily we can delude ourselves? (Gotta watch those KNEW/HOW equations. But in this case, I feel confident.)

I bought a few house decorations too. My father was selling this tea set on his site and I couldn’t resist buying it. Its precious, isn’t it? And so me!

patches

So, we are all on the same page, right? This is not about denying yourself, but about trying to find yourself, amidst all the ‘stuff’.

The next category is: File cabinets. Yeah, this one should keep you busy for a while. And what perfect timing, as Tax Season is upon us.

Is your shredder up to the task? And by the way, you don’t get a pass simply because you keep your financial and paper life in something other than a filing cabinet. Any box, basket, drawer or pile otherwise unnamed counts here. But, I will give you a day or so to contemplate this next project.

Because I believe I promised a little deviation to the list.

Its computer clutter. It’s digital images. Let’s grab the bull by the horns, ok? (This is not about past behaviors. We will get to that. Photographs have their own category! We are going to establish new behaviors.)

Tomorrow is February 1. What needs to occur is this: (And for some of you, it’s so much a non-issue, you may not believe I am bothering.)

Get your cameras. All of them, phone too, if you use it as a camera.

FIRST. Have you uploaded all the images you took in ‘JAN 2010’? If not, do so. Create a folder with that date, put everything there. After you take whatever photos you may plan on taking today, Jan 31. (Happy birthday, Andrew!)

NEXT. LOOK at the images. Are there blurry, dark, or other obviously bad images there; images that are really meant for the recycle bin? Then FLING them. Right into the recycle bin.

THIRD. Rename them. I don’t know how to do so particularly in your program or your computer, so I will tell you this–Name all the images 2010-JAN_ Or JAN 2010_ or whatever suits you best. But get the date in there. (If they are all pictures of the cat, then possibly 2010- CAT….) What I am suggesting is ESTABLISH a naming system, and NAME every file in your JAN 2010 picture folder. But only the ones worth keeping.

NOW. Is there any image you would like to print? (If you do photo editing, then insert this step here.) Print them. Order prints. Today. Sign up for Kodak Gallery, or Shutterfly, or Snapfish or load them back onto a card and take them to Target or to wherever, but get them PRINTED. After all, WHY did you take the picture in the first place?

LASTLY.  Burn a CD. Back up in some fashion. Create a second set of these images. Grab a fine point sharpie, LABEL the CD in the center, 2010-JAN, photos. 1 of … . Put the CD into a jewel case, and create a spot to store it. Create offsite storage online for additional backup protection. Use the online gallery at Kodak (about $20 a year IF you don’t order photos from them) or whichever place floats your boat… (Smugmug is my choice. REFERRAL LINK GETS YOU a DISCOUNT when you sign up USING THIS LINK ONLY)

Because it is only January, it’s a DOABLE number of photos. Most people take very few images in January. But we are establishing something that is going to be important later in the flinging.

But before I do that, I am heading outside with my camera to take pictures of the snow!!! Looks like a foot or so!