walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

A Year of Decluttering

I've always been fairly ... productive. Good at completing tasks, type of thing. However, there have been persistent problems associated with my process, and I've been trying to consciously identify them and mitigate them for the last year or so. One of the biggest changes has been converting my OMG I Can't Stand It Any More motivational system to, hey, anything interesting on that list that looks easy to do? I've always been able to maintain somewhat functional lists, but after thoroughly digesting GTD, I made some small adjustments (no f'ing way was I going to adopt the system as described) and Things Have Improved.

However, reading _Personal Kanban_ made me realize that there were other problems associated with my process, that GTD didn't address (or at least the modified form that I had adopted didn't address). The biggest one is a pervasive failure to remember what I accomplished. I don't mean that I think it still needs to be done -- but when asked what I did, I have no ready answer.

So I'm going to do something I don't really ever do, which is a year-end review. The Daily Activities posts help with this problem, as do Trip Reports after traveling; I'm hoping this will also help me. Feel free to TL;DR.

At the very beginning of the year, I scrapbooked a bunch of Christmas cards from years gone by. This is forming the basis for actually sending out holiday cards this year. I'm really happy about this. Of course, I have to finish. In a timely fashion (but good news! I'm about a third of the way done with addressing envelopes, and of course I actually placed and received the SnapFish order).

I identified why the bottom drawer of my lateral file was a nightmarishly persistent disaster: it contained projects that were not complete. I worked my way through many of them. It is Much Better Now.

I got rid of paper phone books, and opted out of receiving as many of them as I could. I got half a drawer back in the kitchen. Very exciting! (I'm serious.)

I continue to fiddle with electronic calendars and continue to rely on paper calendars. Good news: I'm now using paper calendar features I never have bothered with before (stickers and similar for No School and Travel and Birthdays). Maybe in 2014.

I got the iMac out of the basement, removed photos from it, erased it and took it to BestBuy. I also got the Powerbook laptop erased (thank you, DH) and off to Staples. I also transitioned from my current aging laptop to a new one, and send the old one in for a $400 Apple Store gift card. Three computers out the door and 2 in (I got one for my son). I view this as progress. In the course of transitioning to the new laptop, which does not have an optical drive, I ripped all my CDs into iTunes Match, gave the CDs to my sister and am now listening to music much more consistently.

As I was working on that project, I realized I could convert the interstitial space between the master bedroom and the closet to an office. I bought a desk, moved my office chair downstairs, got an external monitor, took the optical drive and external hard drive peripherals out of the lateral file drawer and created a docking station. I love it! I had the space painted yellow, went to CVS to get photo prints made from some vacation photos, put them into a frame we had in the basement. I now spend a lot of time there that I formerly spent sitting in the living room with the laptop ... in my lap.

I had thought I would put the desk on the third floor, initially, and dramatically reduced the amount of files I keep in a (failed) effort to get rid of a filing cabinet. Along the way, I found a piece of string art from my child hood in the files and had it framed. I was less successful getting some of my old writing up on my website (some is up; most still has to be done). I also sent many books that I loved, that I thought my sister would love, to my sister. Then I got her a kindle and she doesn't read p-books any more now either. Win some, lose some.

With most of my photos now up on Flickr, I'm able to organize them (all the pictures of my son together, my daughter, various trips, etc.), and use them for projects, such as illustrating my online cookbook.

With more space in the basement, I decided I could get a recumbent stationary bicycle for exercise. We're occasionally using it, and we got one adjustable enough for T. to use it as well. This was intended to replace the broken SmartCycle, but the kids missed it so much, I ordered a used one off of eBay, and hooked it up to an old, unused small flatscreen TV, along with a Roku box. We had intended to put it, along with the cable box and an old TiVo out on the porch, but never got around to it. The cable box went back to Verizon (thus saving us a few shekels every month in box rent that we were no longer paying); I'm not sure what we did with the TiVo -- probably BestBuy.

Smaller things: Every Day Carry evolved for me, after I got a Speck iPhone case that will hold a few cards/bills. I often leave the house with the phone and keys and no purse, and I remain legal to drive and able to buy. Woot! R.'s old CRT TV went to Best Buy, along with the PlayStation 2 and its accessories. I continue to use Catalog Choice. This year, I used a new-to-me feature to ask Catalog Choice to complain to the FTC on my behalf regarding Delia's persistently sending me catalogs despite many, many, many requests to stop. They did stop for a couple months, but I got another one. They are a Bad Actor, but mostly because they are kind of incompetent, and are "solving" bad business processes by ignoring people who complain about them to customer service. I'm starting to think of them as having untreated, poorly managed ADD.

ETA: Forgot to mention: Some furniture left the house in conjunction with my mother-in-law setting up a place in Florida. We also replaced a loveseat with a chaise longue, after we took down the fencing protecting the AV stuff in the living room. It looks like a real living room now; I still find it surprising (in a good way).

I'll post later about what I might like to get done in the New Year.
Tags: annual review
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