Paper Hoarder

With all my culling I discovered that I was a paper hoarder. Why was I keeping 8 year old bills, receipts, junk mail, oh my !!?? When I realized that all this paper was not useful and I sure did not love it, I needed to do something with it. I started to burn it in the fire it, but that was not a good idea as the neighbors calmly told me that the ashes were drifting onto their property.We all have to be polite to our neighbors, so I stopped when I realized I was becoming a nuisance. I than started to research have someone shred the papers up for me. The local office supply chain charges an arm and a leg to do it per pound. I had a lot of papers, lot of weight. I didn’t want to just throw it all in the garbage recycle bin for security reasons. So what did I do… “Google it”. “Free paper shredding”  I found a local company that does paper shredding monthly, and for free! Yahhh!! This is a great resource that solved my problem. Being caught up now, I collect all papers in one container bin to do the monthly trip.

Now I don’t have to:

#1. burn papers and bug the neighbors!

#2. shred the papers by hand, which would take forever.

#3. risk my data security throwing into regular recycle pickup.

I encourage you to checkout what resources are available in your area. If you are in the Minneapolis – Saint Paul, Minnesota area check out http://www.pioneersecureshred.com/services.

PaperShred

I have done two trips there, and each time shredded 6-8 boxes of paper. They shred in the parking lot, on site, and it is very efficient system. Highly recommended! This has helped me not to be a paper hoarder. The photo below is what I brought on my latest trip.

I hope this has been of some help to you, have a great day !! Troy

PaperShred2

No Regrets

This post is intended to be a guest post to my friend Mariah of http://www.cometcamper.com.

Gratitude-Quote-Oprah-Winfrey

Stuff was controlling me, rather than me being in control of it. This is part of my story with stuff. I don’t understand myself sometimes and why I need things. I have struggled with the urge to collect stuff from an early age. There is no root person, and activity I feel has caused it to escalate out of control. Make no mistake, it did get out of control. A flood of emotion surely comes when I sit here, contemplate the hows, and whys, specifically my journey with collecting. Was it all greed? Was it the urge and desire for the chase to find and seek the items? Or was it pure mindlessness to acquire? Were they all “great deals”? I feel it’s a little of all of them and more. I do know one thing, and that is it never ends until something happens.

For me the brick wall was I couldn’t hide and move it around at all. To much stuff is just to much stuff, and I mentally was ready to admit to myself I am going in the wrong direction. This is not working. This is not good. I lost myself in my home. I lost peace. I lost what is and was important.

So a big turning point for me was admitting enough is enough. I started, by being at the right place at the right time. Without being connected to the “tiny house blog”, I would have never ran across Mariah and her “Tiny Transition And Downsizing Class/E-Course” she was offering. Something clicked for me, and I signed up on January 28th, 2014.

As I reflect during the past and currently, I feel I have accepted my faults and poor choices towards buying stuff I really truthfully never needed. Since completing the class I have a new sense of buying habits. I am more mindful. I am more at peace with stuff, and most importantly with myself. I realize I can not change the past. I can accept it, be grateful for who I am and what I do have. What I have learned and applied.

Its been one year and two months since starting my intentional journey going tiny, and becoming more mindful. I feel like a new person. I have a changed mindset. Over one year later, I am living with less (a lot less) and happier!

What was the biggest change agent? Mariah’s coaching, instructions, and format with the course prompted me to ask questions. Questions that I ask of myself even now. Are you collecting for the wrong reasons? Do you use and enjoy all your stuff? Why do you collect, box, and put into a dark closet? Do you really love it? Why? Why? This has been and is life changing.

Each month I have been using this change of mind to question many items in my house. Each month I have reevaluated a lot of stuff. Do I need it? Do I love it? Do I use it? There has been an internal struggle at times. But the mindfulness addiction to purge has been replaced with the mindlessness of acquiring stuff. To date I have purged lots of stuff, actually I have kept count and have sold, donated, or recycled over 5741 items. Oh my how awesome it is to be in this space, in my mind, and house. The house is becoming home again. I wish everyone that struggles with stuff, that they come to this place of less does mean more. That it is complete joy in letting go.

Gratitude, and Action has profoundly replaced Regret, and Indecision. Yes there was emotional and physical work to do, and it was worth every bit of it.

Are you tired of the piles too? Wishing and hoping for positive change with your stuff? I highly recommend Mariahs Tiny Transition-Downsizing E-Course. You never know, it could be just what you have been looking for. It was for me. Many thanks Mariah!

If you are interested you can check out my journal blog at http://www.lessstuffmorejoy.com

What is your story with stuff?

Always Forward, Troy

“BitterSweet”

Yesterday I had one of those days that brought it all back to me. Why am I downsizing!? Why am I working to simplify my life with less stuff.

I had an add on Craigslist to sell some Sports Illustrated for kids magazines I culled many months ago. I had been contemplating putting them on Ebay. Yesterday someone answered the add and we arranged a meeting time for him to come get them. I have to admit I could have gotten my ducks in a row earlier than the meeting time, but I didn’t. One half hour before the meeting time of 12:00pm I start looking for these magazines I have on the add.

You guessed it… I can’t find them right away.

I start to get nervous, its to late to text him or call him. He is on his way. Crap!? I start looking around with a greater sense of anxiety. How embarrassing this will be when he knocks on my door, and I have to say “sorry I cant find them”. So in my mind I know these magazines are together, and I know I have extra ones I culled that are not together with the larger quantity. So I am looking for two piles of stuff in my stuff. And the minutes are passing load in my head. It’s as if everything as stopped and all focus is looking for these dang magazines. I feel bad I can’t find them right away, like within one minute. I have still small amount of stuff around my bed , so I look and I don’t see them. Dang!? I have a storage spot in the basement under the stairs, are they there… nope. Dang!? Its getting close to 11:43am and this dude is getting stressed out looking for them. Next I look in the garage. The great thing with my results to this point as I know 100% they are not up stairs. So I go looking in the garage. within a couple minutes I find the small stack of 6 magazines in a container. Within another minute I find the remaining stack of 37 magazines. Dang that was close, to close. I am relieved I just found them. I review the add to ensure I have exact quantity in the add plus the extra are not counted in the add quantity. He knocks at my door on time. I let him know I have extra magazines and I sell them for a few more bucks more than the listed add amount. So after all this it all worked out. But I learned something, actually two things.

Here are two things that are reduced by my efforts in getting rid of unneeded items, less stuff.

#1. The need to move “the pile” to a “new pile” gets better.

#2. The anxiety, nervousness, and stress looking for stuff gets better.

Yesterdays example reminds me of what I did on a more regular basis. It was part of my life. It was not relaxing, fun or joyful. It was no where close to anything that could be called simple living practice. At first with that feeling of not finding the stuff was a feeling of bitterness, it sure was not good to experience it. and on the other hand I did find the stuff before the meeting time, which did show me that I could have not found those magazines with my past tense amount of stuff, and that is a sweet feeling.

So my take away from yesterday’s occurrence was bittersweet in knowing that less stuff does make life better. My journey to realize getting rid of one item at a time, gets me closer to a more simpler way.

Lets let go (of stuff) and grow!!

~Troy

bittersweet

The Birth of Simplicity!

Greetings fellow downsizers,

It has been an ongoing process with the #MinsGame. Truly it has sucked big time?! I have spent a lot of time going though stuff, to keep and what not to keep, and stuff I don’t use. I have gained a bit of money back that I have put into acquiring it in the first place. Some I have got more back than I paid, and others I have received pennies on the dollar I spent. That is the only part that really does suck. And we all go through that, right? The question is to what degree of intensity. On the positive side of life so far with my journey with less stuff, I have successfully hit the 9 month mark of doing http://www.theminimalists.com/game/ the #MinsGame. I have been a culling madman, yes I have culled stuff like crazy. A total of 4340 big, little, cheap, expensive items from the pile of stuff.

Where did it all go? Most went to donations, Goodwill in the local Minneapolis area. Other stuff worth value went to local Re-Use store named http://www.newuses.com/ New Uses. Sold some stuff on Craigslist. I was very grateful that they bought what they could, it helped offset the money lose from being a “tiny hoarder”. My main goal was I just could not just trash what I believed had value. Even items with small value was important to me, and try to give it a new home.

I meet Joshua & Ryan back on July 20th, yeah I know what took me so long to do this post. No excuses, just culling like a crazy man. It was great to meet them in person when there were in the Minneapolis Saint Paul area for their book tour Everything that Remains. Great going guys !!

The past 9 months really have gone by so quickly. It has been daily and weekly tasks of going through storage bins, box’s, bags, and shelves. I really could not have stayed with the goal without being on two Google+ Communities; Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course, and Downsizing Support Group. It is just fantastic to be connected with like minded people on the same interest and journey. To many people to thank, however I need to thank Mariah Coz! Thank you so much for helping me to become more mindful of simplicity. The best way to organize is to get rid of the crap. Yeah!! In the past I built shelves and bought storage bins, so It is a big difference now. I am keeping everything that remains that I use, need, and love!!

Wishing you all well! The best is yet to come! ~Troy

9-13-2014 Phone pics 1817

ABC’s of Tiny Houses

ABC-1

First of all I totally understand that Tiny Houses are not for everyone. However I strongly encourage everyone to evaluate your housing needs, expenses, and actual usage. I do not mean to be judgmental, I just want to share my observations, and feelings here.

Affordable Housing-

Boy has mortgages and costs associated with housing gone up dramatically. When I purchased my house I heard that house should be about 30-37% of your income. All this with no consideration of the actual budget long term. What a rabbit hole that lead to a lie?! It all starts with what your “approved” for, wow what a way to get into debt quick. People that are interested in tiny houses do so for many different reasons. One reason is financial. The less home, the less bills/expenses.

Becoming Minimalist-

When we think about or made the decision to go small or tiny house living there is a big elephant in the room, and that elephant is “Stuff”. What do I do with all this stuff? If the dream, manifesto, or need to go tiny living is BIG and important enough, it will and can happen. For me it was when I was down, and hit the rock bottom, when I was at the “enough is enough” stage. That is when I searched for help, but came to me in a strange way. I remember now how I came across tiny houses on the web. It started last year when I was considering painting my window trim. I searched Google images for houses with the color of my house, and that’s when image of a “Tiny House” on a trailer appeared and that’s what started it all. From there I Google searched Tiny Houses in Minnesota, then the Meetup.com group “Tiny House Minneapolis and Saint Paul” came up. Association is so powerful, I felt I needed to go tiny, and at first I felt I was alone in my thinking. With the association I felt like I was not the only one thinking this way. It was the emotional support that I needed. Most people don’t understand why are you going to small/tiny living? Or what is up with all this downsizing stuff? I am overwhelmed with JOY that I have stayed steadfast culling stuff regularly using the #MinsGame, also known as the 30 day game, from http://www.theminimalists.com/game/.  I have had some great people that have been doing the culling with me. It has helped to do the culling with others. I am going on eight months doing the game!! Less Stuff!!!!

Creating Safe Living Space-

Some people may think that tiny houses are like sheds or shanty buildings built poorly. It is very important to build with quality materials, even recycled and reusable materials can do very well. Safety is #1. Building, or buying safety has to be top of the list. Creating a safe space to live is also about feeling emotionally connected to the space. How many people have the home owning them? That was me several years ago, I absolutely was disgusted with the love/hate relationship with the house. Pride of ownership is important, but it should not cost a person their joy in life by being forced to be imprisoned by it. I have downsized and now I feel comfortable in my space. By living in a tiny space I am forced to think different, buy different, and live different. I love it! Why didn’t I do this earlier?

Tumbleweed-Tiny-House-Workshop

In July, I attended the Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Minneapolis. It was two full days of tiny house discussions. Art and Guillaume hosted the workshop, and they did a great job. You can follow Guillaume on his blog http://tinyhousegiantjourney.com/.  Guillaume and Jenna are on tour now with their tiny house. The workshop was so good to hang out with like minded people. More great association!

Tiny houses are not for everyone, but the benefits of tiny living should be investigated by all!!

 

Rewarding my efforts

Downsizing Reward

Hello everyone,
I want to share an important message!

I have been working on creating a simpler life, first by culling my pile of ”stuff” for the past 4+ months, reducing the quanity amount by 1922+ items.

I have learned 3 things that have made the difference.

1. Be eager to learn. Since September of last year I have signed up for Tiny House, Simple Living, and Minimalist blogs, etc. I have started to go back to using the library, they have tons of books there!?

2. Set goals, make a plan, and work the plan. My primary goal has been to reduce the pile. I have been doing the #MinsGame monthly since April. It has been fun and challenging at the same time frame. I do know now that less stuff is the way to go. Yes I was (past tense) hoarder. I am working those hoarding urges with a simple life changed mindset. Association is a very powerful force for change.

3. I have meet four groups of people that I have a huge amount of gratitude towards. Their leadership has guided and influenced my journey toward simple living in a massively positive way.

a. Joel from the http://www.Meetup.com/Tiny-House-Mpls-Saint-Paul.com. Our meetups have been a nice local association.

b. +Mariah Coz from http://www.cometcamper.com. Her E-Course is what started the decision to go tiny, and be happy cause of it. Thanks a million!

c. +Joshua Fields Millburn and +Ryan Nicodemus from http://www.theminimalists.com. I learned inspiration and hugs are all good things. You guys gave me hugs when I needed it the most.

d. And +Joel Zaslofsky of http://www.valueofsimple.com has given me in an indirect way the drive to keep culling, keep the journey going forward simple living,and minimalist lifestyle. Joel has great podcasts!

I love my current living space of about 264 square feet compared to about 1300 square feet just 11 months ago. It has been just the start of my journey to simple.

I am sharing this because its been the correct answer to so many problems for me. It is helping me so much in all areas of life. My next journey is to continue to cull more of my stuff, and keep associating with like minded people, and this way I am going and if any of this resonates with you, hope you join me at the simple living conference #SimpleRev, at http://www.simplerev.com. Hope to see you there and give you a big hug for going simple too!
Remember the power of association.

ps. The photo of the cake is my reward for my culling up to this point. Yes I have a sweet tooth.:-)

Tip: Never forget to reward your efforts and results for great work completed!

Always Forward,
Troy

http://www.lessstuffmorejoy.com

– less stuff
+ more joy
= great peace!

What started this ?!

Tiny House# 40 Sweet Pea

Welcome back to the my blog!  I have been focused on downsizing my stuff. As I reflect lately I have been thinking about how I got here, and where I am right now.

It started in the fall of 2013, when on a lunch break I was browsing the net when I came across something called a “tiny house”. I don’t remember what lead me to it or how I got there. My very first memory was a YouTube video of a tiny house in someone backyard with chickens in the yard, and inside the tiny house on a trailer was a white deer head decoration, yeah I know, its weird, but its what I remember.

Then that took me to search for local tiny houses, I Google “Tiny House Minnesota” and that’s when I found the meetup group, “Mpls/St.Paul Tiny House”. So I have been to a few of those meetup meetings, its been great meeting other people interested in this subject.

Oh why am I interested in these tiny houses? To understand that question I need to drill into my past and a bit of my current situation. I have to admit I have been having a personal challenge paying my bills and being happy in general. I guess the stress of maintaining the house, upkeep, working two jobs, and all just got the best of me. Yes I fell into depression, deep I have to admit. So I was searching going back to early 2000’s when I rented one room in my house to a friend. That experience was not very positive, the friend moved on. And I didn’t want to rent my space either. Here comes 2007 when I get a another job to make ends meet. At first it was great more money, but no time. I was starting to really feel stressed, 2 jobs and yes still not gaining financially. This is not good for the heart or mind?!

I hate to admit this but, than I began to buy and collect things to cope with my struggle for control. I would find things on sale whether I needed it or not. Garage sales and clearance end caps at stores were my drug of choice. The worst of this, I was totally numb not knowing really what I was doing to myself or my living space. I was out of control.

Thank God for Tiny Houses! During this past year I had subscribed to some tiny house blogs, and that’s how and when I discovered an E-Course called “Tiny Transition and Downsizing”led by Mariah Coz. It talked about “stuff”. Boy could I relate !? Could it help me with control? Could it help me with stuff? Could it help me find… me? I could only hope. So I signed up at the end of 2013, and the course went into the beginning of 2014. I have been blessed with some great people during this time in my life. People to understand my struggle and what I desire.. tiny houses led me to the living a simple life. It all comes down to not worrying about and keeping up with the others in life. I’m not there yet , but I found my journey and road to peace.