Bartering Unwanted Items for Booze

I’ve reached a new high (or low). My brother introduced me to a Montreal trade group, so I’ve begun to trade my items that have some value for booze.

I like trading. It’s a lot lower pressure than trying to sell my stuff, and I’ve met some really cool people along the way.

Here are my trades so far:

  • A $20 liquor store gift card and a bottle of wine for a sewing machine and a swath of cloth.
  • A bottle of tequila for a like-new pair of rollerblades. (My ex gave me these, I have no idea why as I don’t rollerblade.)
  • Two HEPA filters for a bottle of Beefeater Gin.
  • A refurbished netbook for a bottle of good red wine.

The alcohol is easier to store, and better yet, I might actually use it!

May the purge continue!

Bartering Unwanted Items for Booze

Mindfully addressing stuff

After my last post, it’s clear that I need to resume my glorious purge after spending so much time sick. I haven’t gotten back up to my one item per day, and that’s okay. The first year was to address the abundance of crap in my apartment. The second year is to mindfully address what stuff I have left.

Mindfully address may sound like woo-bullshit, but it means I’m going to ask myself the following:

Make sure everything has a home.

Can I put it away?

Make sure everything has a purpose.

Sentimental value is synonymous with no value.

Does it serve me or do I serve it?

Will it make my life hell on moving day?

The last question is important, because I’m thinking of moving in the next year. I want to be closer to work, and in a place that’s easier to heat in the winter.

I got rid of a few things:

  • Some old notebooks I’d tried journaling in. They were full, and I know I’ll never look back at them or care about my wordcount (I’m a writer) from last June.
  • More mason jars: I’m actually running out of yucky jars. I might try bartering some of the nicer ones.
  • An unused pair of shoes I didn’t like. Before you berate me too much, they cost $1.
  • My unused car speakers! Traded for two six packs of Newcastle beer, two science fiction books and two leather pouches. The leather pouches are hard at work carrying my laptop cables, and I will enjoy the SF books on my way to work.


I turned this into beer, and books.

That’s it for now. I’m going to put more emphasis on trading stuff for food and other consumables in the future. Less stuff will go to donation, but I’ll get some kind of compensation for it, which is good.

Mindfully addressing stuff

I’m alive!

Reports of my death-by-hoard-smothering were exaggerated. Reports of my incapacitation due to severe depression were not, sadly.

But, I’m back now and better than ever. Now that I’m not running in survival mode, it’s time to continue the purge. Depression is bad for purging because it robs you of your ability or even the will to make decisions.

So I’m back. I’ve turned my attention back to my office. I got a new keyboard for Christmas, which allowed me to purge 3 half-working keyboards, and gave a fourth to my mom. Yes, I was cycling between keyboards. My awesome boyfriend took pity on me and bought me one really good mechanical keyboard. It’s amazing for my typing speed and my typo count dropped dramatically. I also gave my mom a VCR, got rid of an unused TV, and am reading through my unread books.

I’ve also been purging mason jars. I don’t can as much as I used to, so it’s getting hard to justify storing lots of empties when I have about 5 boxes left to unpack. Most of my collection are re-used sauce jars. The labels never came off, making them icky-looking and unsuitable for barter. So, I’ve been recycling two a week until I clear a shelf of run out of nasty empties. (Note to self: find use for canned pumpkin.)

My goals for the rest of January for my office are:

  • Continue purging mason jars
  • barter two (2!) new-in-box car speakers for food/beer/tea
  • File my stack of filing
  • shred my box of shredding
  • Gather my unused cables/electronics into one bag for recycling.

These steps will clear up an estimated 10-20% of the clutter in my office. I’m also hoping to free up a shelf so I can unpack/sort through boxes.

Other notable purges:

  • A purse: A friend gave me a giant purse. I tried it out at a mentoring event I was invited to. Why yes, some people would actually consider me a good role model. I weep for our youth. It was way too big and clumsy for me, so I added it to my donation bag.
  • Cat toy. As you probably guessed, Bonk had no use for that foul construct. It was a gift, but it needed to get off my floor.
  • Old lava lamp insert. It was dead and just taking up space. I found a replacement at the thrift shop.

That’s all for this time. I’ll check back in soon with the results of the January office purge. I missed you guys.



I’m alive!

Victory! A successful party in a clean apartment

It was glorious. I had ten friends over, including my purge-muse brother. I received many compliments on how well put together my place is. Another friend enjoyed my choice of decor. There was enough room to make pizza, sit, and drink beer. When my friends left, they cleaned everything. Bottles in boxes and disposable plates in a neat stack.

I have the best friends. I might do a party like this every six to eight weeks. It gives me motivation to improve. (And pizza to eat.)

Now that I’ve had people over and not died, it’s time to continue the purge. My office is a disaster area. Time to clear it out!

I’m trying to avoid needless waste, so I’m modifying some clothes that are too big for me. I’ve lost almost 25 pounds in the last year. Rather than replacing everything, I’m trying to repair or resize the ones I already have.

August 3: An old wallet. From when I was a teenager. Still in great shape, threw it in the donation box.

August 4: Two drawstring bags. I put them in the donation box. Hopefully, someone has a need of them.

August 5: A gummy mechanical pencil found at the bottom of an old box went into the garbage.

August 6: A Tweety Bird nightie. A friend gave it to me almost a decade ago. I never wear it, so I gave it to donation.

August 7: Another plastic container lost to stains.

August 8: I found a really old cutlery set in a box. It was corroded and unable to be saved, so I threw it in the garbage.

August 9: A pair of pants. These are old ones that I fit again. But, wearing them has always felt like a perpetual wedgie. Maybe they will bring joy and wedgies to someone else.

August 10: A flyswatter. I have never used it. It sits in the corner, unloved. I shook the cat hair off and put it in the donation bag.

August 11: A fleece vest. I have three vests, and two were identical. I put one in the donation.

August 12: The Official Strategy Guide to Sid Meyer’s Alpha Centauri. I love this game. I still play it. But, do I really need a strategy guide from 1999? The strategies contained therein aren’t the best, and I have the game memorized at this point. I recycled it.

August 13: The September 2008 edition of the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Journal. It’s time to stop living in the past.

August 14: I was out of town for a funeral, so I skipped this day.

August 15: I’m getting rid of books that no longer serve me. I’m going to do a fiction pare down this week. There’s a book exchange box near my apartment. I drop by there almost once a week, to find/return more reading matter. It’s time to start giving back! Today’s book is “Diablo #1: Legacy of Blood” by Richark A. Knaak. I bought and read it almost 13 years ago. It was terrible. It’s going to go entertain someone else, and I can stop worrying about shelf space for it.

August 16: “French Fantasy from Bragelonne.” It appears to be a collection of translated French books. I don’t feel enough love for that book to keep it.

There’s another two weeks down. Let’s see what the next month brings!

Victory! A successful party in a clean apartment

I’m taking the 30 Day Cold Shower Challenge

In addition to purging, I’ve decided on a personal mini-challenge to build my strength of will: Cold showers.

Being a bit of an exercise junkie, I’m always chasing that natural endorphin high. Couple that with a desire to consume less resources and save money, it just makes sense.

It’s going to be an interesting month. I’m interested to see what the long-term benefits will be, in addition to how much I’ll save on utilities.

I’m taking the 30 Day Cold Shower Challenge

Eight months of daily purging — No end in sight. #minimalism

That’s right. I’ve been on my quest to purge an item a day for eight months. At this point, I estimate that I’ve gotten rid of a few car loads worth of stuff. Kitchen stuff, clothes, random crap, and all kinds of other junk. Most of it was just that — junk. At this point, I think Project Purge will be extended into 2016. There is so much left to do–a book read-down, an office that still has unpacked boxes, the storage room of forgotten horrors. Things to sell. Decor to adjust. The response to this blog has been amazing thus far. Thank you all for your encouragement and support!

This weekend, my living room really started to come together. I’d say it’s 95% complete. I chose my bookshelf decorations wisely, found ways to stow the useful clutter and purged the rest. I gave my toolboxes a forever home, and consolidated my wool collection into two plastic tubs. Gann the Afghan is moving along at a crawl. My quest for a queen-sized granny square might be a years-long endeavor. But, I will turn that wool into something useful and beautiful. It has been decided.

My friends are coming over on Saturday, and I think they’re going to be pleasantly surprised. I know I sure am. Cleaning is becoming a reflex. I go in, arrange a few items, and leave. It’s no longer a monstrous task that must be done perfectly or not at all. It took eight months to achieve this ability. Like willpower, it is very much a muscle that must be exercised.

Here are this week’s purges:

July 26: Oh look. I found another CD binder full of burned CDs. I’m pretty sure this is the last one. I recycled the CDs, and the binder went into the donation pile.

July 27: A weird large nicknack. It’s a knight on horseback. It’s missing the lance, it’s way too big for my bookshelf and it doesn’t match my decor. I put it in the donation box. I impulse grabbed it at a “free” yard sale in April, along with a statue of Kamehameha. Kamehameha is pretty badass, so he gets to live on a shelf.

July 28: Two VHS tapes. I don’t know what was on them, nor do I care. They were loitering on my bookshelf, so I threw them out.

July 29: Remember when Google replaced cookbooks, craft books, and all kinds of other books? Today’s donation is “A Year of Afghans – Book 2.”

July 30: In a similar vein — there goes “Canada’s Best Bread Machine Baking Recipes.”

July 31: … And “The Bread Machine Cookbook IV”

Aug 1: Finally, I can rid myself of “Cooking the Chinese Way.”

Aug 2: “Simple-to-Sew Patchwork and Quilting.” I’ve never quilted, and I have zero inclination to start.

The last five were all books I’ve been carrying around for years, just because I felt guilty getting rid of them. All were gifts. Whelp, no longer. I might be giving one of my secret office bookshelves to my brother, and I want to simplify my non-fiction/reference books. So far, the rule is: Science/math good, everything else is on notice. The war on the office boxes has begun!

Eight months of daily purging — No end in sight. #minimalism

Get out of my house! [Milestone alert] #minimalism

Having a functional arm is fun. I’ve used my last week of staycation to take the fight to my kitchen, hall, and living room. But, that’s not all.

I’m having friends over! That’s right, I’m having a few friends over for pizza on August 8. I went from glorious hovel to presentable living space in 8 months. How’s that for progress? In December, it was boxes and stacks of crap everywhere. Now, it’s a minor amount of clutter and in need of a dusting/vacuuming before anyone comes over.

I got angry at myself on Tuesday because the old urge to keep an empty ice cream container that might be useful (someday) popped up. I’ve been trying to curb any and all pointless accumulation. I compensated for it by recycling the container, as well as three glass bottles that I’ve had forever for no good reason. Maybe that’s progress, or maybe it’s constructive but not for the right reasons. I’m not sure. All I know is that I have more air in my home.

I also worked to contain everything that can’t be immediately dealt with in my office so I can inventory it when it’s time to start selling. That way, it’s out of sight when company comes but it’s still available for the imminent next step.

In other good news, my brother agreed to come by tomorrow and take my donation boxes and bags away. This liberates my bedroom closet, which is ground zero for my donation purges. He’s also going to help me clear out my beer bottles and cans. Thanks, bro! Overall, I think I’ve eliminated a few car loads worth of stuff. That’s pretty good.

The purges:

July 20: Major paper purge. I had a massive stack in my hallway that was ruining my self-esteem and inner tranquility, so I dealt with it. It was bad. Seriously, there was an invitation to my high school graduation ceremony in there. Three piles: recycling, shredding, and filing. I need to collect a bit more shredding before I actually do a shred, since they need you to put shredded paper in its own bag. I’ll save that for a sick day. Overall, I could probably have filled a garbage bag between all the to-be shred and recycled papers.

July 21: I put a metal business card holder in the donation. It was hanging around my living room for no good reason. I also purged three glass jars/wine bottles.

July 22: An ex-boyfriend from high school gave me two small plastic turtles, because I’m a big fan of the TMNT. I’m not sure how TMNT = random turtles of the non-mutated variety. I’ve decided to explicitly tell people that I only desire rum, scotch, and hot sauce from now on. Mead and cider work, too. I also like money.

July 23: I found some plastic canvases for needlepoint and latch hook. Since I no longer do either of these crafts, I’m going to donate them to a second-hand craft supplies store my brother told me about.

July 24: A box of random rhinestones and a wooden plaque. I think you’re supposed to glue the stones on the plaque, but I have no interest in doing so. It’s also going to the craft shop.

July 25: Some random Christmas ornaments my brother gave me a long time ago. I’ll see if he wants them back for his yard sales. Otherwise, I’m tossing them in the donation.

Get out of my house! [Milestone alert] #minimalism

Relevance, Utility, and Obsolesence

It’s been another week of low-key purges. I have very limited use of my left arm as of Friday. I can (and must) move it, but I can’t lift anything. However, having an extra hand is helpful. I’m able to type two-handed again, so a longer blog post is incoming!

This week, I worked on my living room. I banished my VHS tapes to a box in my bedroom closet, and put my CDs in a CD tower. This let me move more books out of my office and into my living room, and let me find homes for the plague of knickknacks that infest my apartment. As a result, I have more shelf-space in my office, which is becoming the staging area for the purge end-game.

As for knickknacks, I’m finding that I prefer a more minimalist approach. For small shelves, my limit is two per shelf. For longer ones, I’ll do three. What I seem to have is far in excess of that, so I’ll be paring that down as I go. Usually, what to get rid of is revealed to me over time. What was unthinkable a decade, a year, or even a month ago is becoming trivial now. It’s like exercising a muscle. The more I overcome the “keep” reflex, the easier it becomes to get rid of stuff.

Now, for a week of stuff!:

July 13: I finished purging my extra bedding. More sheets and pillow cases. Now it’s pared down to just the essentials, and what I like.

July 14: A long flowing brown skirt. It’s not comfortable, and Bonk likes to attack it. I put it in the donation.

July 15: A small whiteboard calendar. I can’t get it to stay on the wall or the fridge, so I threw it out.

July 16: I found a bunch of little cloth badges. I bagged them up and put them in the donation.

July 17: I purged all of my burned CDs and mix CDs from my collection. The rest fit nicely on my CD tower. Spotify has eliminated the need for physical media altogether, but for now I’m content to leave the rest in their home.

July 18: I threw two instruction manuals for an old video game in the recycling. I’d been hanging on to them since 2002 because they have the CD key printed on them. But, because of the joy of digital media, I don’t need the keys anymore because I bought the games from GOG. Yet another way technology is freeing me from pointless accumulation. Seriously, two entire books (think small paperbacks) for a 25-digit code.

July 19: A leather notebook holder engraved with ancient Egyptian themed art. I never use it and it sits around my living room. I put it in the donation.

Relevance, Utility, and Obsolesence

Infinite Minutia — Crap for the Crap God!

Back to quasi-regular programming. Not to be dissuaded by a broken elbow, I am continuing my one-woman war against the Crap God, who may also be known as the Shit God. Not to be confused with Shitlord, which is a mostly-affectionate nickname for my cat, Bonk.

Story time!

The day before my accident, I was helping my brother move. Moving day in Montreal is a mess. Abandoned junk everywhere. I spotted a gorgeous canvas and leather shoulder bag, sitting in the rain. I wanted to take it home. But, I realized I didn’t have a place or a use for it. So, I moved it to a more visible location, and I declared, “Someone else can serve the Shit God, because I’m done. He has enough shrines in my apartment already.”

On out next pass, the bag was gone to a new home. The moral of the story is that there’s always someone else who can give an object a home. It doesn’t have to be me.

My brother approved.

I resumed my purge, focusing on the infinite minutia that clogs my drawers and shelves.I lost about two weeks, but nothing says I can’t keep this party rolling into 2016.

July 8: A square piece of cloth that was either an end-tablecloth or a scarf. I never wear scarves because I find accessories pointless. It’s also hideous. I put it in the donation.

July 9: A clock-nightlight. I had it near my apartment entrance, but it offered no benefit when I came in late. All this utility, and it consumes electricity? Donation.

July 10: A handheld electronic soduku puzzle. At one time, I had 5+ of them. My family thinks that if I like a thing, then I must have ALL of the things. I gave the rest to a friend who likes inventing things from scrap electronics, and I donated this one.

July 11: A Roman dice game. It was yet another gift. I need to become one of those insufferable gift card/cash-only people. Donation.

July 12: A Fun with Hieroglyphs kit. It was fun… when I was 9. Now it can be fun for some other kid!

Infinite Minutia — Crap for the Crap God!

Purge, interrupted

I haven’t updated in too long. I’m still going, not as strong as planned, but I’m still in the fight. I caught the cold/flu/something from hell, and that put me down for about a week. Then, when I finally began recovering. something terrible happened.

I was thrown off my bike and fractured my elbow. The rest of me was pretty badly beaten up as well. Sprains and road rash severely limited my overall mobility which has made doing much of anything very difficult.

But, because of my previous efforts, I’m not wallowing in my own filth, and I’m able to kind of keep things together. Some things are just not happening (ie. laundry, cleaning bathtub, clearing out the storage unit) but there’s no real urgency there. I can load and start the dishwasher, so there’s no risk of starving.

I did manage to make a few purges. I will keep this short, because I’m typing with one hand and it’s trickier than it appears:

  • A black dress that I’ve never liked.
  • A glass wine bottle that was hanging out for no good reason
  • A really icky package of dental floss that was living in my purse
  • Pieces that broke off my bike in the crash (yes, I will purge the bike when I have two working arms.)
  • I culled some papers I don’t need anymore
  • My bike helmet. They’re no good after a crash and to the surprise of no one, I have two helmets.

I’m also doing my best to stay within my food budget. It’s tempting to splurge on convenience food. I have beans soaking now and I bought some pre-chopped vegetables at the store. Thank you, lazy people. Bean salad and fried beans and rice. The food of queens.

Purge, interrupted