Hereâ€™s some of what Iâ€™ve been doing since getting back from our various trips:
- Cleaned out the refrigerator, including the usually-ignored door shelves. Discarded a crazy amount of half-used condiments, some dating all the way back to 2008.
- Reorganized the freezer and deep freezer. Pulled up the oldest items and forced myself to incorporate them into the weekâ€™s cooking. Put the things I tend to lose track of front and center.
- Sorted through all the drawers and cabinets in the bathroom. Forced myself to cull fifteen yearsâ€™ worth of leftover prescription meds. Bought clear plastic shoeboxes and organized everything by category.
This weekend Iâ€™ve put some stuff up on Craigslist and Freecycle, and Iâ€™m taking a pass through clothes and shoes. For his part, Jak sorted through a chunk of the random crap we have stored in the garage, and shuffled a full carload of our combined discards off to Goodwill.
I fear this may be disappointing, given my emphasis on frugality, but getting the most possible money out of this is not our priority. The Purge Project is daunting and in most cases, â€˜easyâ€™ trumps â€˜profitableâ€™.
I know from past experience that selling used things requires a lot of work. You have to take photos and edit them. Then you craft a Craigslist post or an eBay ad and put it up, sometimes several weeks in a row; you answer a lot of emails and arrange transactions, some of which fall through. Or you have to organize a full-scale garage sale, which is no easier.
I donâ€™t have the energy to go through all of that, and I know what would happen if I tried: Iâ€™d get overwhelmed and bail out with 90% of it still undone. Whatâ€™s driving us both right now is not the money anyway, itâ€™s the allure of a simpler existence. Our month in Mexico only fueled that existing desire; it was lovely to be so unburdened by Things.
We are trying to keep as much as possible out of landfills, but if something is worth less than $20, we just give it away.
Two steps forward, one step …
Another thing Iâ€™m struggling with: not accumulating more unnecessary crap.
Hereâ€™s an example. Last week I read in a blog about a local (eastern Washington) farmer who sells fruit in bulk. On his web site, he has Rainier cherries for $3.25 per pound … if you buy 15 pounds.
I adore Rainier cherries. They might just be my favorite fruit ever. But I doubt that even I could eat 15 pounds of them before they spoil. So okay, I would need to freeze some.
Iâ€™ve never frozen cherries, but the Interwebs tell me I should pit them first. Except I donâ€™t have a cherry pitter!
At this point I went into â€˜excited buying modeâ€™. Like this: Well, Fred Meyer has a â€˜buy two kitchen tools get one freeâ€™ deal most weeks. Hey, I could use a mango splitter too — especially if we move to Mexico, Iâ€™d use that baby all the time. Now I just need one more thing …
Except I donâ€™t. Need one more thing, that is.
Even through the â€˜yay new kitchen gadgets!â€™ buzz, I had to recognize that a free thing that you donâ€™t need is just something else to get rid of. (And it made no sense to rationalize the mango splitter with Mexico when the cherry pitter would probably be worthless there, but I didnâ€™t think of that until much later.)
I went by Fred Meyer earlier this week, and I did spend time looking at the gadgets, but I forced myself to walk away and think about it for a while longer before buying. Later I read through Amazon reviews for mango splitters and cherry pitters.
That flung a dash of cold reality onto the situation, because the reviews for mango splitters were not encouraging. The concept just doesnâ€™t seem to be that sound — too many people reported smushed mangos, or mangos too small or large for the tool. I decided, reluctantly, that I should either pit mangos with a knife or do without.
Then in the cherry pitter reviews I found the following gem:
I went back to my old tried and true pitting tool … a paper clip. Just insert the clip where the stem was, push it down and under the pit. Insert the double loop side into the cherry, so the inside loop helps lift out the pit. Then scoop/pull/flick the pit back up through the stem hole.
Below that were several comments from people whoâ€™d attempted the paper-clip pitting with great success. I havenâ€™t tried it myself, but I will … just as soon as I get my hands on some cherries.
In the meantime, I have managed to talk myself out of getting any more kitchen gadgets.
The Rainiers, though, Iâ€™m still considering. If anyone in north Seattle wants to split a 15-pound box, let me know.