Friday, November 28, 2014

The decluttering continues

While playing with my new Nook Tab, I tested downloading books from the local library's Overdrive site, and wound up with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo. I'm about halfway through, and while I doubt I will start thanking my shoes for doing a good job or petting a coat as I hang it in the closet, I admit I agree with much of what she recommends.

In the course of the remodeling, I got rid of a lot of things. Some stuff went to Habitat ReStore, some to Goodwill, some to the landfill. The 20+ years of computer equipment is still here because I have this misguided idea that I need to copy everything off the hard drives, JUST IN CASE. I did buy a doodad that will allow me to do that, but I have not yet put it to use. Never mind that I have not even booted up any of those computers in over ten years.

Paper is the bane of my existence, though. Again, much of it has found its way out of my house via the shredder and the recycling bin, but too much remains. My desk has a file drawer in it, and my goal is to reduce the amount of paper in my life to what fits in there. Right now I have about four times that amount.

Just like the data on the hard drives of my old computers, I have not accessed a lot of this paper since filing it away. There are user manuals for things I no longer own, instructions for assembling furniture that was assembled right out of the box, outdated insurance policies, expired warranties, annual reviews from 20 years ago, certificates of participation for work-related seminars, an essay I wrote to accompany my application to an MBA program, etc. You get the picture.

Just like Kondo suggests, I handle each item and decide its fate. I've been working through the easy stuff first (see above), but there is so much paper, my brain tires from making decision after decision. Initially, I tossed user manuals for things I still own, but then I glanced through the one for the power screwdriver that died and discovered the rechargeable battery is replaceable. So now I want to save *all* the user manuals.

Slowly but surely, I am getting there, and hopefully will stay there. A couple of strategies help going forward. One is to not let more paper into the house. I do this by going paperless whenever I can, for banking, utility bills, and credit card statements. This leads to another strategy: if the information is available online, I don't need my own personal copy of it. Thirdly, I used to devote some time at the end of each year to winnowing the accumulation of paper over the previous 12 months. That habit needs to be reinstated.

I haven't reached the "magic" part of Kondo's book yet, but I do feel lighter, less burdened, as the junk clears out.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I lied. Again

The remodeling is not quite done yet. There were a couple of things that still bugged me, the worst being the kitchen counter. There is an almost-square section between the refrigerator and the stove, not very big but used very much because of its location. It is also a corner piece, and because I selected a rolled edge for the counter top, there was a big fat seam running up the middle of it, from inside corner to out. I had been told the counter top would have seams, and I thought that was just a cosmetic problem, not a functional one. Now I know better, especially after this particular seam developed a hump.

Eventually, the manufacturing rep showed up and deemed it fixable, but the fix is not 100% perfect. When a glass or plate slides across the seam, it bumps. If I had hired Joe Blow to install the counter top, I would have let it go. But for the amount of money I am paying, I want things to be as close to perfection as possible. I'll ruin them later myself.

I wasn't getting anywhere with the project managers I had been working with, so I went right to the top, asking the owner/president to come take a look. We go a ways back, as this company has done much work for me over the years. And he agreed that the seam just was not right.

So that part of the counter top is to be replaced with one that has no seam. This means no rolled edge on that section, but I would be surprised if anyone notices that. Once that is fixed, I can stop fretting and start enjoying my "new" house. (Fingers crossed.)