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Inbound vs Outbound #20 – April 2022

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also, if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • One litter box
  • One litter scoop
  • One cat carrier
  • Five cat toys
  • Two bowls
  • One cat tree
  • Two cat scratcher
  • One litter genie thing
  • One cat
  • Five candles (different from the candles I got in February)
  • One long sleeve shirt
  • One zipper sweater
  • Two pots I found at the side of the road
  • One snake plant I found at the side of the road
Side of the road snake plant in random side of the road pot
plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Two phone cases (given away on the buy nothing group)
  • One hair claw clip (garbage since I broke it)
  • One Alocasia Black Velvet (sold on FB marketplace)
  • One beer glass (garbage since it broke)
  • One bag of clothing including at least one dress, two blazers, and four t-shirts (local clothing swap)
  • One candle (gifted to a friend)

So the big thing from this month is that we got a cat. That involved getting a bunch of stuff. We started with the basics, but got a few more toys and things as we figure out what the cat liked and needed.

Hopefully he will require less random stuff in future months. Despite all the toys we’ve gotten him, his favorite thing in the world so far has been a crumpled up Tim Horton’s donut wrapper/paper bag. He’s pulled it out of the recycling bin multiple times to play with it.

Another highlight of the month, is that I finally got rid of a bag of clothes that’s been sitting at the bottom of my closet since January. I didn’t want to just drop it off a Value Village where it would likely get trashed. I found a local clothing swap, which was perfect. I did leave with two pieces, but still a net negative to my closet.

Overall a busy month, I can believe that it’s already over.

What’s in My Bag as a Civil Engineer

women looking at the screen

So this isn’t fully on brand for the content of the blog, but I wanted to share it anyways. I was recently spring cleaning and thought I should also tackle my work bag in the process. It had gotten weirdly heavy as of late, so it was probably worth looking at.

Most of my work is doing inspections of existing buildings, with a bit of new construction from time to time. So I end up in all sorts of different environments and types of work in a week. Which will probably show with the stuff I carry with me.

My work bag is a navy backpack with faux leather accents. As seen below being checked out by a cat I was taking care of at the time.

So what was in my bag. I took it all out and made a flat lay.

  • Wallet: pretty standard
  • Extra Mask: The worst feeling is when your mask breaks and you awkwardly have to hold it as you go to the reception of the building you are reviewing and ask if you can bum a new one. I totally have never done that… But I like to have a couple extras a back up.
  • Two notebooks: Not sure why I had two. I removed the smaller one from the bag. The larger one lives on my clipboard (not shown) and I typically use that or a pad of paper to write my site notes.
  • Measuring tape: to measure stuff on site to confirm it’s the size it’s supposed to be. Or if I’m bored, I can see how much of the tape I can pull out before it collapses
  • Screw driver: great for opening access hatches, or removing the cover off a piece of equipment.
  • Flashlight: there’s a flashlight on my phone, but it’s good to have one that’s a bit more powerful. Work sends me to some pretty dark and scary places sometimes. It also kinda acts as a laser pointer when I’m trying to show something to a client or colleagues, where I can just shine the light on the thing that I’m talking about.
  • Four pens: I keep losing them on site, so I would rather have too many than not enough. It’s nice to have multiple colors on hand if you need to mark up a drawing or highlight something in your notes.
  • Two sets of gloves: as the seasons change, I don’t think I need to carry both. One pair is my fall/winter set of gloves. The other pair have some grip to them incase you need to lift something dirty.
  • One USB key: pretty helpful to have on hand.
  • Camera and charger: I know many people just use their phone for site photos. But an old school point and shoot doesn’t drain the battery of my cell, and typically the zoom is better.
  • Wet film thickness gauge: used to measure the thickness of liquid coatings.
  • Random charging cables: to charge my phone or connect it to my laptop when I’m on the road. The other is for my camera. I have no idea why the latter is in my bag since my computer has an SD port for transferring files.
  • Reusable Bags: Good for if I’m picking up groceries after work, and generally a nice thing to have. Probably don’t need to be carrying two of them at all times.
  • Sunglasses: got to look cool on site 😎.

Not shown but also in my bag:

  • A boatload of receipts and random papers.
  • A small first aid kit, that’s mostly Band-Aids, alcohol wipes and advil.
  • A plastic cutlery set: never know when your burrito bowl order won’t come with a fork.
  • Period Products: pretty self explanatory.
  • Business cards: I store business cards everywhere. My jacket pockets, my bag, my car, anywhere. I still find old business cards from the job I had 4 years ago from time to time.
  • A water bottle or travel mug: these items don’t live in my bag since they are always being used or washed but if I’m out of the house I generally will have one of them in side pockets.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: these items don’t live in my bag full time, and I take whatever is appropriate to the site I’m going too. In general I have an extra hi-vis and my harness for working at heights just living in my car.

I carry so much stuff…

So this exercise made me realize how much stuff I carry at all times. I probably can take some of this stuff out and only pack what I think I need when I go to site. But that involves way more planning, and I don’t want to do it.

In general, I need to make more of an effort to go through and clean my bag. I found so so many receipts, post-its and change. I probably could have gotten like two fancy lattes with the money that was sitting at the bottom of the bag.

Is there something weird you have to carry as part of your job or commute? I would love to read about in the comments.

Bonus Content: Here’s a video of what the cat found when he stuck his head in my bag.

BOOK REVIEW: Organizing for the Rest of Us By Dana K. White

Dana K. White is a staple is in the decluttering/minimalist space. I see her second book Decluttering at the Speed of Life referenced pretty regularly on r/declutter as the book to read if you are interested in owning less stuff.  

I read a portion of Decluttering at the Speed of Life a few years ago, but didn’t have the time to finish it before it was automatically returned to the library on Libby. From what I remember, I enjoyed it and planned to revisit it for the blog.  

Her most recent book Organizing for the Rest of Us: 100 Realistic Strategies to Keep Any House Under Control is not a decluttering book, it’s a cleaning, and home maintenance book.  

black and white spray bottle
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

This book is a pretty easy read. Each of the 100 strategies are only couple of pages and Dana K. White doesn’t expect you to incorporate all of them.

That being said, it did take a bit longer than expected to finish. Almost every time I picked it up, I would read a couple pages and I would get an urge to clean something. It feels weird to read about how you should do your dishes every day when your sink is full of the pots from yesterday’s dinner.  

So in a way, the book was pretty effective at its purpose for promoting an organized and clean home. Even if it’s not in the way she intended.  

The book discusses a concept of the three levels of cleaning, most of the strategies in the book fall into one of three different levels. They are the following:

1) Declutter

It’s hard to clean when you have too much crap that doesn’t have a home. She gives a very brief overview on how to declutter a space. And recommends reading her other book for more details. I think she gave the right amount of info for someone who hasn’t read her other works, but not bog down the pacing of this book. 

woman using laptop on the floor
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

2) Daily maintenance

This is the bulk of the strategies. White is a big believer small cleans every day. I understand why dishes every day or sweeping or laundry makes the longer term flow of the household nicer. In practice that isn’t something I want to do for myself.

3) Deep cleaning

This is like the tips for how to clean your baseboards. Or the big seasonal cleans that really elevates a space from tidy to clean.  

crop faceless person in rubber glove squeezing sponge
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Again each chapter/strategy is really short. The book isn’t heavy with many anecdotes or extra filler, which I appreciate. I enjoyed White’s voice throughout, she seems like a really funny person.  

Overall, I think the book is a quick read and good for people that need that kick in the butt to clean their space. Or are overwhelmed on how to do it.

I did notice that the things I resonated with most in this book (the levels of clean, daily dishes, laundry days) have their own blog posts of her website. If you are curious about this book I would start there, since she has years of content at your disposal.

If you are interested in reading any reviews of decluttering or minimalism, book you can read my rankings of Minimalism and Decluttering books here.

Disclosure: I received a free digital copy of this book off of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Inbound vs Outbound #19 – March 2022

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also, if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • Four semi precious jewel I impulsively bought on an online auction;
  • Sticky traps for fungus gnats;
  • Cheese making mold;
  • One ball of yarn;
  • One laptop;
  • One “Mercury in Retrograde” kit (gifted);
  • A pair of skinny jeans;
  • Six bottles of nail polish;
  • Two plant pots;
  • One Callisia Repens;
  • One Butterwort carnivorous plant; and
  • One vintage jacket.

plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • A super large pile of random papers and notes;
  • Two learn to play guitar books (Buy Nothing Group);
  • An pile of black plastic take out containers (Case Toronto);
  • One dead Callisia Repens; and

The last week of March I was off between jobs. So I did a big reorganize of some of our storage closets. It was probably a good sign that the only thing that really didn’t spark joy was a bunch of old tax documents and papers from university.

I was also able to empty out and consolidate some boxes. Which I think is a good thing. Downside: I brought in more stuff than decluttered this month. During my declutter, discovered a bin of yarn that I had sorta forgotten about. So the contents of that box will be my next big priority to tackle.

BOOK Review: Consumed by Aja Barber

Consumed by Aja Barber Book cover

If you pay attention to any sustainable fashion Instagram or social media, you’ve probably heard of Consumed, the first book by Aja Barber.  

The book is a pretty recent release (Oct 2021). I think I’m the first person to read the copy from the library since it was in spotless condition. Which doesn’t effect my review, I’m just happy it happened.   

Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, and Consumerism is the full title of the book and the book’s thesis statement. Aja Barber covers a lot of ground in a relatively short book and I think she does really well. 

sepia piles of t shirts
Photo by Aden Ardenrich on Pexels.com

The book is spilt into two parts. I’ll just use the description on Aja’s website since it’s more concise than anything I could write:  

Part one: I expose you to the endemic injustices in our consumer industries and the uncomfortable history of the textile industry; one which brokered slavery, racism and today’s wealth inequality. 

Part two: In the second ‘unlearning’ half of the book, I will help you to understand the uncomfortable truth behind why you consume the way you do. 

Aja’s writing style is really inviting and it feels like a friend talking about something they’re super passion about. Like instead of a researcher/journalism trying to lecture you. There were so many moments I wanted to Snapchat or post what I was reading of my Instagram. I was really connecting with what was written and wanted to share it with people!

As mentioned earlier, the book covers a lot of ground and deals with many difficult topics. Such as the condition of garment factories, destruction of the environment, racism in the fashion industry and more. 

I think she covers all the topics really well and sensitively. Although, one criticism I have: there were spots I wish she went a bit deeper. I’ve read some of the books referenced and I think it would have strengthen her points if she included more info from those books here. 

One example being the Bangladesh factory fires. I think it would have benefited with more details for people that didn’t know that happened or forgot about it. Like a couple more sentences just explaining the impacts. Like how the doors were chained. Or that a lot of the survivors or families didn’t get any compensation from the fund raising or government. Would have helped really shine a light on how shit these manufacturing conditions can be.

I believe Aja was trying not to be too much of a downer. I also think she assumes the reader may know more about some of these topics before picking up the book. So I understand why some topics were kept on the shorter side.

The second half of the book is about unlearning and the actionable steps a consumer can take. The main one she mentioned is writing to law makers. And there’s an example letter! Additionally, introductions is open letter Aja wrote to fast fashion companies. That one isn’t one you can copy since it was specific to her. But between the two of them, you got a good starting point to help you write your own letter.  

I love example letters!

mother putting a face mask on her daughter
Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

This book is one of the few new releases that mention Covid and didn’t annoy me the heck out of me. Fast fashion companies have fucked over so many garment workers over the past few years. It really drives home about what she’s been writing that took place before 2020. Fast fashion will take any opportunity, including a pandemic to be…   

If/when this book gets a second edition it would be interesting to see what the updates will be. So far, they are pretty depressing… I believe there are some lost wage class actions that have been filed since publication. 

Update since writing the draft review: there’s been a few wins. See below:

Apart for the normal, write to the government, and stop buying crap from Shein, she does include other tips. I think that her approach is very nuanced. Aja Barber seems aware that for the regular person, fully quitting fast fashion is a marathon, not a race. Additionally, the tips aren’t the same as once I’ve read in other books or online.  

Overall, I loved the book and I’ve been recommending it to all my friends! I recommend it to you too. It was really eye opening without being too overwhelming.


If you are interested in review of other books about fast fashion, I have one for Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas. You can also find all my book reviews here.

Inbound vs Outbound #17 – February 2022

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also, if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • Seven candles (I know that’s a lot);
  • One shampoo and conditioner tester set;
  • Six woven placemats;
  • One t-shirt; and
  • One kitchen knife

plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Nothing

A short list for a short month. Most of the items are belated Christmas gifts. I’m planning on gifting some of the candles, but they also smell really nice so I might keep them. We will see how that pans out.

I have a bag of clothes I’m planning on decluttering. But it doesn’t count until it’s out of the apartment, so that is my goal for March.

BOOK REVIEW: Declutter Like a Mother by Allie Casazza

childrens rooms with wood panels

Declutter Like a Mother is the most recent book by stay-at-home mom, turned blogger, turned entrepreneur, Allie Casazza. She found many benefits in decluttering/minimizing. This book explores the steps she’s given her consulting clients to go through their belongings.

Before I get too deep into the review, I got this book off NetGalley. So I didn’t pay for this book (thanks). But most importantly, I’m not the intended demographic for this book: I’m not a mother. Casazza does mention early on that this book can be read by anyone. But I got called Mama enough times, that I’m not convinced that this is true.

My largest gripe about this book and something that makes it feel less evergreen, despite it being a new release (Sept 2021) is the number of references to her programs and website. Very early in the book you discover that this book is basically a promotion tool for her online program for decluttering your home (priced at $397 USD at the time of writing). The chapter on tackling children’s bedrooms seems sparse, and Casazza happens to offers a program on her website specifically for decluttering children rooms ($349 USD).

couple carrying cardboard boxes in living room
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

You can definitely read the book and follow the steps and likely get a declutter. But the majority of the steps are really light on details. Which is a mixed bag. I dislike books that are too repetitive when it comes to the declutter process (The Minimalist Home was slightly guilty of this). But this swung the other direction.

For example, the Chapter about clothing. Which is big enough of a topic that there are many books just tackling that, was really really vague. She mentioned keeping what fits and you enjoy having. Then goes on a multi-paragraph discussion of how her favorite underwear are the high-rise Spanx, and why it’s her favorite. I didn’t find that helpful to my own closet pair down process.

But that is jumping ahead…

The closet isn’t the first area she recommends you declutter. Which is very refreshing for this style of book. That fresh feeling was short lived though. Because the title of the chapter starting the declutter method dang near killed me:

Chapter Five - Begin Here: Where the Poop Happens
Blinking Meme

Some people may find that chapter title funny. Maybe people will appreciate random Fergie reference from a song that came out in 2003, that was used in another chapter title. But I just find the writing style very dated. I would have completed believed you if you had told me this book came out in, like, 2014-2017 during the high of the Chevron, mint green, maxi dress era of life.

The book is a very easy read.

Despite me thinking the writing style was dated, it was straightforward, and easy to follow. I wish the book was more detailed, and didn’t reference her website as much. After the chapters about the declutter, she did have a FAQ and testimonial section that was an interesting addition. I would have liked it expanded as well. She mentions having clients, I would loved to know more about of their common road blocks and how to get past them. But I guess that’s something only people in the paid course get to know.

white candles on brown wooden crate
Photo by Brandy on Pexels.com
But what did she suggest to do to declutter like a mother?

In general, you are asked to visualize the intention you have for the space and keep items that serve that purpose. She was really clear at multiple times in the book, that the program isn’t about minimalism, but “it’s about having less of what doesn’t matter in order to make room for what does”

I actually did a bunch of research to confirm that sentence wasn’t plagiarized from one of the minimalism girlies. I was that convinced that I had read that before somewhere else. But that’s a me problem, not the books.

She calls her lifestyle “simplicitism”, which feels impossible to pronounce and harder to explain. But it’s minimalism: the movement, not the aesthetic or art style. There was a whole chapter about how to keep going and not let the idea of minimalism (dudes that only own three shirts and can fit everything they own in a backpack) distract you from how you want your space to be used.

Sidebar: I’m kinda annoyed that the aesthetic of a minimalist lifestyle is so ingrained in the movement. Like it feels like anyone that doesn’t only wear black has to over explain or dissociate with the philosophy. Which feels silly in a time where we really should be stopping our overconsumption as society. For a bunch of reasons that I don’t need to get into right now. Like, I guess I’m guilty of that too. This whole blog is about how I’m not a minimalism, but enjoy reading about it. I’ve read enough books trying to dispel the myths of minimalism to see this is a trope of the genre. I think this book was the one that continued about it the longest.

The minimalist starring into your soul
I’m not saying these two are the reason everyone feels they have to justify their minimalism exitance, but I’m not not saying that either. /EndSidebarRant
I have a few other notes that I want to include here. As I didn’t know where else to put it:
  • There is talk of god and religion. It’s only in the introduction and afterword if that’s something you would want to skip over.
  • Really encourages buying containers or tray for each room. This feels like something you should wait until your declutter more spaces before doing. Mostly to confirm you don’t already have something that would do the job.
  • She wants you to get rid of all your glasses and mugs and only use mason jars.
  • “Life is too short to drink out of a fugly mug” – Page 93.
  • I haven’t read Girl Wash Your Face or other books by Rachel Hollis. So I might be out of line, but I find there are a fair amount of similarities. Both talk about poop in there books, both are small business owner turn book/internet empire, and both quote Maya Angelou. Allie, unlike Racheal, attributes the quote. So that’s a plus to this book for sure!
  • I briefly checked out the Goodreads reviews after writing my first draft of this post. Despite Allie really not wanting this book to be about minimalism, most positive reviews mentioned that’s what they got from it.

Would I recommend this book?

I’m learning more towards No than Yes. I do think that Allie does fill a niche in the ‘owning less crap’ space, even if it’s not really for me. But I don’t think the book provides enough info to its reader. Additionally, I don’t think its effective enough at it’s main goal: funneling people into joining her course. Like people are already paid for a product and it didn’t provide that much value. How can we be sure the next product won’t be the same…

This book is going into the “Marge Simpson going Mmmm” level of my tier list of book reviews (Link here to the whole list). You can also go there for more reviews of book I’ve read for the blog. The book isn’t terrible, and I’m pretty sure I’ll remember it. At the same time, it’s not really a value add.

That’s pretty much all I had for this book. Allie does have podcast. I’ve listened to one episode, and I have some thoughts. I will listen to a few more, and probably make a separate post about that in the future.

Update 2022-05-08:

So I was minding my own business, scrolling Pinterest and an old blog post of Casazza’s popped up on my feed. A Beginner’s Guide to a Minimalist Home and the introduction of this book are the same. The first seven paragraphs about walking around your home are basically verbatim. This explains why I thought the book had such intense mint green chevron vibes, they literally do.

Parts of the blog post were edited, but the majority was the same. I did a really quick scan of some of her other posts and didn’t see any moments this obvious of self-plagiarism, but many of the blog titles got reused.

This cements my feeling that this book was a lazy project to push her courses. I don’t think that she needs to write 100% new content for the book, but also think it’s weird to keep so much of it the same.

I personally don’t like a lot stuff I wrote 5 years ago and would likely rework it a lot if it was going to a publisher. I guess I assumed others would have a similar feeling.

If you have any thoughts about that, I would love to know.

BOOK REVIEW: Love People, Use Things by The Minimalists

The full title of this book is Love People, Use Things Because the Opposite Never Works. A saying pretty regularly touted by the Minimalists – Joshua and Ryan.  

The Minimalists are not new to having me review their work. I have a review of their second Netflix Documentary (Review HERE). Additionally, I’ve also mentioned a few times in other posts that I do not enjoy their work. I gave their podcast the good college try back in 2017/2018. I believe that they haven’t been able to produce a new idea since they first started their blog ten years ago.  

flat lay photography of red anti radiation handset telephone beside iphone
Photo by NEOSiAM 2021 on Pexels.com

Now that I disclosed my bias, I want to make clear that I wanted to like this book, or for it to surprise me. I don’t like the idea of torturing myself for 10 hours for this blog (at least not until I get monetized… someone pls sponsor me). I went into the audiobook listening experience with good intentions, despite me not liking the authors.  

Unfortunately, this book did not surprise me… And the book mildly annoyed me for about 8 hours.  

I borrowed the book on Libby and once I started, I procrastinated continuing listening to it. When it automatically returned, I still had about two hours of run time left and I didn’t care.

In fact, I actually ended up listening to the podcast about the Elizabeth Holmes trial in the last hour I had the book for because it was way more interesting.  

The book was published in July 2021. If you are reading this in the future and don’t remember, that was still in the height of the Covid-19 global pandemic. The book isn’t very shaped by the pandemic, with the exception of the Preface. Below is a passage I wrote on my phone when I heard it in my audiobook: 

“In many ways [this book is] a pandemic preparation manual. If only we could have gotten this book into the hands of the struggling people before the spread of the virus. We would have prevented a great deal of heartache. Because intentional living is the best form of preparation.”  

That passage rubbed me the wrong way, for a lot of reasons. This passage is mostly referencing preppers and people that panic bought toilet paper at the start of the pandemic. As well, as people becoming aware of how uncomfortable their physical spaces made them, since they had to be home all the time. Both of those are real, and kinda privileged things that happened. But no amount of people living a minimalist life would have prevented COVID and the loss of life for millions of people around the world. In fact, the most effective preparation would have been to strengthen our healthcare systems, and paying our healthcare/essential workers an equitable wage and get the vaccine. Things that minimalism can’t fucking fix…  

Anyways, enough of me being frustrated by the pandemic, and back to the book.  

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

In the Preface Joshua, the blonde Minimalists in the photos and main narrator of the book, mentions that if you know the Minimalist, Chapter 1 will be repetitive. So they are becoming somewhat self-aware.  

The last comment I had about the Preface was the stat that 95% of discarded clothing can be reused or recycled. But for some reason, they didn’t include that very little of the textile waste stream is sold secondhand, reused or recycled and that annoyed me (About 80% goes to landfill btw).

As mentioned before, and in other posts. The Minimalists are really dated and haven’t evolved in the past ten years. This couldn’t have been more obvious than when Joshua was discussing marketing and Billboards with ads for skinny jeans? Hello? 2011 called and they want their fashion trends back. Also, Billboards? Honey, if that isn’t an undisclosed sponsorship on Instagram or Tiktok, is it really an clothing ad? 

ethnic female selecting and showing outfit in room
Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

I didn’t know until I was doing research for this post, but it’s part memoir. I believe they already have memoirs, so I don’t understand why this book had to be one too.

The first part of the book is detailing the Minimalists’ journey, that we’ve all heard before. As well, it goes deep on how terrible people Joshua and Ryan were before they found minimalism. Like both cheated, Ryan drove under the influence a bunch of time (luckily not killing anyone). I think they are trying to open up about these negative traits they used to have as a way to show that you need to be truly honest and open, since lying just leads down bad roads. 

I don’t think it landed the way they planned. There’s just such a privilege that comes with being able to talk about your drug use, and possible history of being a drug dealer (as I understood it, I totally could be wrong, don’t quote me, this isn’t libel) in a book without any real consequences.  


This feels extremely mean to write, but Joshua needs to go into therapy to talk to a professional about his mom. He spend a lot of time about his mom with a lot of anecdotes. Which some people might find interesting. But the volume of it… it’s so boring…. I probably could have finished the book on time if like two mom anecdotes were cut from the book. (like the hot dog joke for sure, that didn’t bring anything to the table. I won’t retell it but it’s not good). We, as your audience, will never care about your mom the way you do.

Joshua if you have the misfortune of reading this post: It seems like you still have a lot of complicated feelings you need to work through. Please talk to a professional about it!  

mother and daughter on grass
Photo by Daria Obymaha on Pexels.com

Anyways… I actually probably should mention the format of the book. Each chapter is about a relationship (with your stuff, with yourself, others, money etc). I forgot that was the plan until Ryan would show up in my ear telling me some minimalist tips, and some exercises that reflect what was learnt in the chapter.

So Joshua would just chatter about his relationship with himself and I was supposed to learn something from that? I did try for the first couple chapters and looking back on my notes for this post. I have the following:  

Relationship 1 (Stuff), Question 4 – What is the real cost (beyond money) holding on to your items is costing you?  

  • Time dusting  
  • Partner complaining I have too many plants  
  • Time packing and unpacking when I move.  

Relationship 1 (Stuff), Question 6 – What did you learn about your relationship with material stuff this chapter? 

  • Nothing. Y’all ain’t original lol 
  • Idk… I probably should probably downsize in preparation for my next move, again.  
  • Straight up, forgot the chapter minus the skinny jean comment.  

Final thing, they quote Jordan Peterson and Dave Ramsey. Icons! 🙄 🙄🙄 #IYKYK

green cactus plant on pot
Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

If you couldn’t tell, I hated this book! Like, way more then I wanted to or expected to. Typically Minimalists content makes my eyes roll a bit but I can get over it. But after listening to ž of this book I should probably book an optometrist appointment to make sure my eyes didn’t pull a muscle or something from how hard they were working. Despite me not using them to read the book.

I can’t recommend this book. It was far too long, covers no ground and made me lose what little respect I did have for The Minimalists.  

Not to be fully negative: Below is a tweet-able sentence that I like in regard letting go of physical as well as emotional things.  

A willingness to let go, is one of life’s most mature virtues”.  

I thought that was nice, and there were a couple small lines, here and there, of a similar nature that were alright.  But not enough to read the book. You can find listicles online of the best quotes if you are interested.

photo of green leaf potted plants on window and stand
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Anyways… If you are curious about books that I actually finished, you can read my rankings of Minimalism and Decluttering books here.

I threw this Drew Gooden video at the end of my review of the documentary. I’m sharing it again because I love it and he hits on the points I have, but funnier than me:

Inbound vs Outbound #16 – January 2022

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also, if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
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Inbound: 

  • One fleece sweater
  • One blender

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • One plastic bag worth of clothes. With at least four blouses, and three shirts for textile recycling.

A quiet month in comparison to the last couple of months in terms of items in the house. A really quiet month in general. Toronto was back in lockdown, and we had a few snow storms, so I wasn’t rushing to go outside. Also I’m still trying to stick to my new years goals of not spending as much money, so I’ve been staying off online shops.

If you haven’t checked it out already, my last post (Backsliding and Some Thoughts about my History with Stuff) is kinda reflecting of my spending habits and my relationship with stuff, as the title suggests. I got some good feedback from people on it, so it might be up your alley if you got to this point in the post.

Backsliding and Some Thoughts about my History with Stuff

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Although I do not consider myself a Minimalist (if I had to label myself I would say I’m a critic of the movement given how many books on the subject I shittalk). I do agree with the general idea that people in first world countries own too much crap. And owning the right amount of crap might have some positive knock-on effects to other parts of life.  

In the past 3-ish years I’ve been working really hard to stop buying extra stuff. There’s few of the reasons I fell into the trap of overconsumption and I just wanted shared them with you. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience.

Lifestyle creep: 

When I started my first real person job, I had only few work appropriate clothes collected from various summer office jobs. Not really enough to keep me going in a full time professional environment.  

I also was earning, like, 3 times what I was making at my part-time job. So the money might have gone a bit to my head and I spent a fair amount of cheddar on clothing and general lifestyle stuff.  

stock image of professional woman giving a presentation
Photo by The Coach Space on Pexels.com

Pretty much all the crap the finance books warn you about. For the first year and a half of my professional career I was a walking money-unconscious millennial stereotype. Lattes, avocados, ordering mixed drinks at restaurants, take out for lunch. The only spot I think I broke from the archetype your boomer parents are always complaining about is that I didn’t have credit card debt. #flex 

Although I didn’t have any debt, yet, the lifestyle was more expensive than it should be. I did notice this trend when I tried my hand at budgeting and have since taken more steps to be less wasteful with my spending. Also wasteful lifestyle wise as well. Hard to say I care about the environment but also buy from H&M

PayPal 

There are definitely some impulse purchases that would not be in my life if I didn’t have a PayPal account. It’s just too easy to complete the purchase. Which I know is the whole point of the service…  

PayPal knows the devices I’ve ordered from before so it will automatically log me in. So the friction between me seeing something stupid online and ordering it and basically zero. That might explain such purchases as: a few pairs of shoes I ordered while walking to the bus, a pack of holographic dickbutt stickers I ordered before bed, and an electric spinning wheel I saw on my Instagram feed…  

Stickers on Ipad cover featuering a holographic dick butt
Why did I order 50 of these?

Sidebar: don’t get me started on how much crap I’ve bought just cause I kept getting Instagram ads for it. Not proud of that.  

Adulting 

I don’t think the word adulting is still cool to say. But it was another way I ended up buying stuff. Once I moved out of my parents after university there were some things that I needed. And a lot of things I thought I needed but realistically was just wanted. Like did I need mixology set? Probably not, but it was the start of the the pandemic and I needed something to keep me busy.  

Writing all of this out is making me super aware of how basic I sound. Which, like I am, but… that’s not the point of this post.

Why did I decide to get my shit together? 

I feel like all the stories I read online or in books, have a very dramatic breaking point: either credit card debt, strained relationships with family, an epiphany after a health scare for example. My reasons were extremely underwhelming in comparison.

I knew I would eventually have to move out of the basement apartment which I had really cheap rent on. I needed to stop buying stuff and get rid of some of it because I was either going to move into a microscopic studio apartment or with a roommate. While paying double in rent than the space I currently had.  

So to make sure I could realistically live in whatever the space I was moving into I knew I needed to downsize.  

stock image cardboard boxes on living room
Photo by Mister Mister on Pexels.com

If memory serves me right, I did have a passing interest in minimalism at this point. I read half of Marie Kondo in university, years prior (my friends and I had a good giggle at the part about folding socks and I pretty much gave up right after). I also listened to The Minimalist podcast and hated it. And read Joshua Becker’s book The Minimalism Home (review here).  

My most effective way I decluttered was surprisingly through the minimalism game  (Day 1, one item, Day 2 two items, … Day 31, thirty one items). Despite me just saying I hated the Minimalists. 

I didn’t play it the whole way through but I think I got to day 25. Which was still a good amount of things.  

I actually filmed all of it at the time. If I have any of the footage still I might make a video of it.  

flatlay of the decluttered items in the minimalism game
Archive photo of Day 21 of the Minimalism Game back in 2019

So I do the move, and it’s overall okay (this isn’t the move feature in this post, but the one the year before it). I’m sure my old roommate could point out (rightfully) that my stuff did take more than my share of the common space, such as kitchen or washroom cabinets.  

So my downsizing efforts weren’t perfect. No one was going to feature a picture of my room or apartment in their Pinterest boards. Unless they want their boards to be filled with bedrooms that have unpacked boxes of yarn.  

While living there, I started this Blog, and began tracking the stuff that was going in and out of my life. Sorta as a way to keep myself accountable to not buy weird crap, but also just to see if the crap I did buy was something I kept in the long run. 

Sidebar #2: Just checked the posts for last year and most of the stuff I brought in I still have, minus some plants that died).  

Plants on Bookshelf

In the months leading to my most recent move, I got back into deep declutter mode. Since I didn’t want to waste time and energy moving stuff that doesn’t Spark Joy

Right before that move was probably the point I had the least amount of things since moving out of my parents as an adult. Although, based on the feedback of my friends that helped me move, it was still a lot of stuff.  

Uhaul truck on moving day
From my most recent move

So where are we now?

If you’ve been paying attention to the blog (thanks by the way), you might have noticed that the past few months a lot of things have been coming in and not a lot going out. Which isn’t necessary a bad thing…  

Except I’m feeling the pull of some old habits resurface. Particularly the past few weeks with the week Black Friday and Boxing Day sales. I’m made a few purchases which were not as carefully thought-out as I would like in a perfect world. Examples being two plants from a local seller, and pots that I’ve seen on Instagram a million times.  

There were moments here and there were I did a bit better, like One of a Kind Show, which is a really large vendor sale of Canadian artists. Supporting locally made is something I value, and I’ve gone pretty friggin’ hard in the past.  

It’s been two years since I’ve been, I was excited to go, yet worried about over spending. I think I was pretty good. Mostly due to my partner rolling his eyes and making fun of me for having this blog while also wanting all of the things. I did end up getting a few items: a shirt, a sweater, some presents for my parents and a craft kit. Some people may find that was a lot but, again, better than previous years.  

me screaming in a forest
Me in said sweater yelling in the woods

After this I bought some pots I saw on instagram/online that I decided to order.  

That was definitely a willpower issues. Did I need pots? Not really… Especially since I regret the purchase as the colours on the website are not close to the actuals.  

Chive planter in peacock blue

This time of year is kinda tough if you are trying to not buy things. The darkness gets to your bones. You lowkey feel like an animals trying to scavenge all the things you need to survive hibernation and it’s all on sale!  

It can be helpful if there’s stuff that have been on a list and you’re looking for a deal. But trying to not let that snowball into somethings larger, is really hard. Which is were I’m at. I’ve ordered a bunch of stuff online and for a short while I forgot what I ordered and when stuff that was arriving in the mail. So every day was a little surprise. Yay consumerism.  

But what would I have done differently?

The main one is listening to my partner when he was trying to talk me out of these purchases. He knows I’m trying to curb my spending. I would just look at him, giggle and hit the PayPal ‘buy now’ button.  

That’s probably why a lot of decluttering books mention having a accountability partner. Until you’ve fully ~shifted your mindset~ toward minimalism or whatever, it’s hard to not want to follow old, yet wasteful patterns. So having someone that you can mention wanting something and hear them telling you ‘NO’ can be powerful. As well as someone to discuss the feelings and just getting a dialog going can remind you why you want less stuff. 

stock photo of women talking to each other
Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

 Another tried and true things all the books mention is having a goal. I didn’t and I think I let that lost feeling manifested in weird ways. I don’t know if I’m fully over it now. But I’m high on that New Year’s Resolution good good and been able to go *checks calendar* 8 days without buying any crap.

Hopefully I will be able to keep up that energy throughout the year. This year, I have some savings goals, as well some environmental impact goals that I’m trying to keep top of mind as we continue into 2022.   

That pretty much it. This post ended up being a lot longer than expected. I mostly just wanted to write about feeling silly for buying so much crap through PayPal and how it made me feel like I was in my early twenties again and it just when from there. I would love to hear from you. What there something dumb you bought because of Instagram? Or because there was a Black Friday sale? I would love to hear about it.  

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