Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Decluttering: Reclaiming My Bedroom


I used to live in a 1300 sf 3/2/1 house. When I moved, I took a 23 foot long truck full to the brim. I moved to a 2 BR apartment, and never unpacked most of what I took with me, sold a lot of the furniture and left some boxes of things I no longer wanted behind. I moved 4 times in the next five years, I moved five times, and each time, I didn't unpack most of my stuff, and ended up selling or leaving a lot of it behind.

I now have about 1/3 of what I owned when I left my original house, and it's still too much. I live in an adorable 520 sf 1 BR apartment with just enough space to garden. I've been here over three years and my bedroom is stacked with so many boxes and so much furniture that I can't use it as a bedroom.

Fear and Procrastination

The first year I was here, I didn't unpack because I was afraid I was going to have to move again. The second year was the same. I always had that fear that I would have to move, so I kept the boxes unpacked except for a few decorative items and things I needed to live. I have no excuse for the third year, except laziness.

Now, in year four, I've finally decided to get rid of all this crap and live like a normal person, but it's harder than I thought it would be.

Things I Can't Live Without

As I moved from place to place, I rid myself of all the things I could live without. What was left was things I thought I could not live without. I had this grand plan when I moved here to create storage space by going "up" so I wouldn't have to get rid of anything. The problem with that is, there is no room to go "up" in the ways I need to, so I'm stuck.

As I go through boxes, I discover there are many things I can actually do without, but I have this overwhelming urge to sell most of it. My mind keeps telling me that it's too much trouble, and I should just donate it all and take the time saved by not having to take pictures and put it all online to make probably more money than i would have made by selling it. Unfortunately, the part of my brain that is ashamed of having wasted all this money on things I shouldn't have bought and never really needed isn't allowing me to just give them away.

But there are things I can't live without, mostly sentimental things, so I have a lot of "keep" boxes as well. So far, the "keep" and "sell" boxes far outnumber the "donate" boxes. I think I'm just going to have to get really tough with myself and let go of some of the "sell" stuff.

Double Decluttering

The plan is to go back through all the "keep" boxes and find more I can part with. I'm seriously thinking of getting a storage space for the keep boxes until I can get the house set up to hold what's in them. I need shelving and such, and I can't even get that sort of stuff into the room right now.

I know that you're not supposed to go back through boxes, and I'm not doing it with things that I'm donating or selling, but I'm sure I probably decided to keep things on the spur of the moment that I don't actually need, so I can further pare down my possessions.

The plan is to have this all done by the end of the year, but that may be overly optimistic. I'll do the best I can, though. I'm ready to pare my life down to just what I will use or things that my heart cannot bear to part with.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

I've Decided Full-Time Van Dwelling Is Not For me


Sorry it's been so long since I've posted, but I've been taking the time to really think about what I want and how I want to live.

When I first heard about van dwelling, it seemed so romantic, so freeing, and it would afford me the chance to see and do things I could never otherwise see or do.

Then I read more. It's a very, very hard way to live. Your van is pretty much a metal tent, and you're pretty much just camping. You get really hot and really cold, both of which I hate. You are at the mercy of venomous snakes, coyotes, wolves, bears and bad people who want to hurt you. You can't eat or cook what you want, or take a daily shower, or even get WiFi a lot of the time.

The more I read, the more I decided that isn't freedom. That's torturing yourself to be part of the "in" crowd that is trying to convince you it's amazing when it isn't.

Now, I'm not speaking against people who have no choice -- who have lost their homes, or simply cannot afford to live any other way. I've been so close to being homeless a couple of times, and I've lived in some much less-than-desirable situations just to have a roof over my head. But I've never slept on the streets or lived in a tent, and a van is really just a metal tent with wheels, isn't it?

I simply cannot live that way 24/7/365. I promised myself long ago I'd never live without heat and air, and still, I've lived in places where I was trapped in one room because that's the one that was cool or warm enough to be in. I can't imagine not having even that small a haven away from the heat and cold.

Then there is the fear of breakdowns. I'm old and I don't want to break down somewhere with no cell signal and no money to get huge repairs done. I'm also afraid of being robbed or attacked. Yes, I could stay in cities mostly, but that doesn't eliminate any of those things.

So I've decided not to be a permanent van dweller. I'm going to get a van and fix it up so I can put it into camping mode so I can take a few trips here and there, but I'm not going to live in it. I do want to get out of here in the summer sometimes, so I may go visit my son in Washington State for awhile when it's hot.

I've always loved doing trash-to-treasure, getting curbside finds and fixing them up to sell or use, so the rest of the time, I'll be doing that with the van, plus of course, regular stuff like grocery shopping, etc. I'm planning also to get back into the gardening community, since I'll have a way to get around to events and meetings.

So that's that. I'll get the van, build it out so that I can easily convert it from a personal vehicle to a camper, and use it accordingly. Yes, I'll still have all those problems when I'm traveling in it, but you can put up with things temporarily that you could never endure forever.






Wednesday, August 15, 2018

It's Time to Get Serious About My Diet


Richard Simmons used to say "The first word in diet is 'die'."  That's pretty much how I've always felt. Still, as I get older and get more health issues, my weight gets harder to control. I'm at 170 right now -- well, 169.7, but close enough. That is a BMI of 28.3 - 1.7 points away from obesity.

The worst thing is that some of my health issues are caused by my weight and my poor diet. For example, I have GERD and a hiatal hernia. My Dr. minced no words telling me if I lost my belly fat, I wouldn't have either.

I've never been able to stick to a diet, or counting calories, or to tracking what I eat. It's all just too tedious. But when I was, I found that the three things that added the most calories were bread, sugar, and dairy.

If you knew how much I love butter and sweets, you'd know how difficult giving them up is going to be for me. I never ate much bread, but after reading about "wheat belly," I've decided to not only give up bread, but give up everything containing wheat. I can still eat other grains, but wheat is out.

What I Will Eat, Which Some People Will Disagree With

Of course, I'll eat a lot of fruits and veggies, but less fruit than I eat now. I could literally live off of fruit, and that's mosty because of the sugar in it. I'm addicted to sugar, and while fructose is a good sugar, it's still sugar.

I don't like many leafy greens, and the ones I do, I usually eat cooked with tons of butter and seasoning such as ham hocks. Not healthy. So instead of cooking greens in the normal way, I'll eat them chopped up fine in salads. I do love chopped salad, and that's a great way to get my five fruits and veggies every day.

I'm not giving up meat. I mostly eat chicken, but occasionally eat beef or pork. I'm not too crazy about fish, but I do love seafood, especially shrimp. The difference is that I love all seafood breaded and fried, and since I'm giving up wheat, no more breading for me. I've tried alternative flours for breading, and it just doesn't taste the same.

The Hardest Thing to Give Up After Sugar

Dairy will be extremely hard to give up, because I love cheese and butter. I just bought a toaster, too. I'm going to have to experiment with different nut spreads and such, maybe I'll get into avocado toast. Yummy!

I like almond and rice milks, in fact, I had been thinking about making my own rice milk, since it's cheap, easy and much creamier than store-bought.

No Artificial Stuff

Giving up sugar will be extremely hard, but I'm determined not to use artificial sweeteners. Stevia isn't the greatest sweetener in my opinion, but it's better than having unsweetened tea.

I'll also be trying extremely hard not to eat processed foods. Sometimes, that's not possible, so I'll be reading labels very carefully for hidden sugars and the worst of the artificial ingredients.

The Cost of Healthy Eating

Healthy food isn't cheap. Eating a mostly plant-based diet means you have to eat more, and quality fresh fruits and veggies can be a little costly. I won't be able to afford to go organic, but I'm going to try to make a lot of my own food from scratch. I know how, I just don't. Now I won't have a choice.

Healthy eating is going to cost me more in terms of time than money, because of prep time, but also because I'm going to try to grow some of my own food. I can grow food 12 months a year here in Florida, but my yard doesn't have much sun, so I'm limited in what I can actually grow. I've been experimenting, and I know I can grow a lot more than I thought I could. I can grow greens and root vegetables very well, plus some tropical vegetables and edible ornamentals. Beans have also done well in certain parts of the garden. If I can supplement my food budget by at least growing 25% of what I eat, that will be a big plus for me.

I'll be posting more about my new healthy eating lifestyle, and I'll have a category for it over on the sidebar so you can stay up to date.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Motivation to Exercise Sometimes Comes in the Strangest Forms



I fell on my concrete patio yesterday. I had gone out to change the water in the hummingbird feeder and somehow zigged when I should have zagged and fell hard on my right knee.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Healing Power of Withdrawal From the World



Summer is hard for me. I suffer from summer SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) for the very reasons most people suffer from winter SAD -- I'm uncomfortable, I can't get outside, and my life becomes very restricted, so I get depressed and go into what I call my

Monday, August 6, 2018

Changing Your Life 10 Minutes at a Time



My son and I were talking the other day about getting things done, and I told him I feel overwhelmed by all I need to do, so I procrastinate. He said "Do something for ten minutes. You can do anything for 10 minutes."

This stuck with me, because I had heard it somewhere before. Seems that Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, said it. Sadly, he died in January of this year, so he won't

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Slowing Down to Save My Health and Peace of Mind



I've been stressing myself out too much over my one-year timeline for hitting the road in a van. I've also been questioning whether full-time van life is really for me, as I've posted here earlier. After much serious thought, I've decided to keep the goal, but change the

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Getting in Shape for My Journey: Joining a Gym



One of my goals in the next year is to lose 40 pounds and get into shape. So far, I've done nothing toward that goal. I keep promising myself that I will work out, in fact, I go to bed every night saying

Friday, July 20, 2018

Indecision On My Life’s Path: Am I Lazy or Just Afraid?




As most of you know, I want to live in a van — sort of. What I really want is to travel, see the US and a bit of Mexico and Canada. I want to visit as many botanical gardens as I can find and post about them on a blog.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Kitchen Declutter and Reorganization Continues

I have this exact same quote, border and all, on a magnetic card on my refrigerator. I'm always complaining about not having enough kitchen counter space, so the universe fixed that for me

Saturday, July 14, 2018

How Hoarders Think and Why Decluttering Is So Hard For Us


A few months ago, I had a kitchen fire in my apartment. At the time, the washer/dryer closet, which I use as a pantry and general hidden hoarding place, couldn't be painted because it was full of

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Vandwelling Finance: Making Money While You Sleep


For the next year, I'll be trying to learn to make money while I sleep. There are so many ways to make money online, but there are three that I'm most interested in, and all have potential to make

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Day 10 - Fears and Second Thoughts


As with all my large dreams and plans, I'm starting to second guess myself and become afraid. What am I giving up that I may never have again? What will I do with all the things I can't bear to

Monday, July 9, 2018

Recap of the First Week - Disappointing, But Not Discouraged


I went through a period of depression last week, that I allowed to keep me from meeting my goals, small as they were. I was disappointed in some work I had hoped would bring in good money, but it didn't turn out that way. I also was pretty unmotivated and couldn't

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Day 4: Independence Day



Not much to say. No celebration here. Our country is in distress, and everyone in the world knows it. One reason I want to travel as a van dweller is to see this country before

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Day 3 - Change the Plan, but Never the Goal

Making life changes is a journey, not a race. Even if you start out with the perfect plan, something will interfere with it. It is inevitable. You won't always be able to stick to your schedule, you won't meet

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Day 1 Just Happened to Fall On My Day Off, But....

I always take Sundays off. I've done this for a long, long time, ever since my kids were old enough to get themselves breakfast. I don't always do nothing, but I do what I want. Sometimes, I work in the

My New Facebook Page


So I started a new page for the blog on Facebook, for those of you who are members and would like to follow me there. I need 25 likes to be able to create the username @simplydeb, so I'd

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Day Zero of My New Life



Tomorrow is July 1, 2018, the day I start to change myself and my life forever. I've spent weeks thinking and planning how I'm going to do that, and the only way I could see was to change  the things I