I think I've explored every corner and examined every bit of paper in the house. Today I went to the Transfer Center to find they'd changed the closing hour to an hour earlier, but no worries.
This process is exhausting and I feel fitter than I have in years! It's worth it on every level. Go for it! My mind is clearer already. I found some great photos of my husband which sparked memories for him when he worked in Alaska. Some are keepers. Also, family memoribilia.
We have set most photos aside to go through later though, it holds us up as inevitably there are stories attached!
I'm still wading through mounds of paper. Learning as I go, about storage in the future, when I next go to sort these out.
First, rubber bands deteriorate...they become mushy and messy. They are vegetable of course from Malaysia or Brazil or wherever they have rubber trees! I have to pick bits of them off envelopes.
So now I have to go back and take all the rubber bands off everything I have put away already.
I thought I'd be finished by Easter. In fact I still intend to be finished the paper purge by Easter - but I won't have the shredder by for a few weeks more, partly because I know more stuff will pop up.
I am delighted to share with you a cunning trick while sorting papers! I have so many bits and pieces, quotes I like, little factoids etc. Coming by these, I say "Oh what a great saying, I have to keep this." I set it aside. But upon taking it up again, it does not hold the same magic at all. I don't know why my brain responds with enthusiasm the first time and with 'blah' the 2nd! I still love the quote, but have no wish to keep it. So all that stuff I like, goes in a pile. Then a second glance to experience 'blah' before it goes into the recycling.
I feel like 'Little Jack Horner' pulling out a plum.
The real Horner was a vulture capitalist in Tudor England, His first name was Thomas, and it during the dissolution of the monasteries that he grabbed some real estate, or so it is claimed. The nursery rhyme is supposed to have come from the fact that he hid the title deeds in a pie to deliver them safely to London, but before he handed them over he pulled out a nice little property for himself.
Instead of thanking items for having served me, I thank God. Objects are not alive. Otherwise, Kondo's method is very similar to the Christian way of Simplicity. Most First World Christians don't know about this, even our pastors struggle with too much stuff.
Pope Leo X111, the Pope of the working classes who wrote the classic Rerum Novarum, said:
"Once the demands of necessity and propriety have been met, the rest of what one owns belongs to the poor."
Radical, isn't it? A good starting point. Of course 'necessity' and 'propriety' might be open to wide interpretation, depending on what one is used to.
Do I need my laptop? Yes.
Do I need 20 blank DVDs? No, I will not use them. The reason I have 20 is that I couldn't at the time buy less than that number. I used one or two.
This is how we accumulate needless junk!
Do I need a 2nd Winter Coat? No.
.I haven't been here for a while - hopefully I have been busy decluttering! Yes! The papers continue to be sorted. Also, I finally bought 'The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up' by Marie Kondo. Yes, it was inevitable. I had been creeping past it in the bookstore for a while now, hoping it would not call me. But I succumbed.
It's grabbed me. More than Swedish Death Cleaning, which is great too.
The bottom line is - we all have far more than we need and let's only keep the stuff we love. (and need). Thinking you might need something, is not needing it. On the other hand, I just got a commission to write a Victorian story. I secretly congratulated myself for keeping a book called 'Victorian Remedies'. I have looked at it perhaps three times in 20 years. However, now now I might need it, in case one of my characters gets sick, I know exactly what to dose him with, probably some horrible salts and vinegar concoction.
(But I could have found that on the Internet).
I still contend that Books are not clutter. And though I am folding the KonMari way now, there are some ideas of Kondo I will never adopt. I will never hide my bookcases in a cupboard! That would cheat my guests! Of course, I could always tell them where the books are...
She's right though. Stuff is stress. Keeping only those things that give you joy, is a good, inspiring idea.
For the last several days, I've been meeting an old calendar everywhere. It was kept because it has pretty pictures. But somehow it wandered out into the living room and from there to the lounge and even onto the dining room table, If I get annoyed when I see something, it's time to let it go!
One of the good things about going through things is that you find surprises! Today's loot included a very pretty brooch, acquired in Alaska and never taken out of it's packet. I also found a photo of an adorable little toddler, identity unknown, but Liam thinks it's the grandson of an old friend in NY. The last surprise was also a photo - Liam with an Unknown Woman. He does not know her, does not remember the photo being taken, or anything...it was pre-me, anyway, so no need to worry...many other items of intrigue among the paid bills, explanations of benefits as nauseam, and paycheck stubs...a handwritten note from a little kid to Liam telling him his Dad loved to whump him at racketball; and he would like to play him sometime; a brochure from a fancy Hotel in Tokyo (ah, the days of Business Travel!).
All I found belonging to myself was a doctor report from 2005 in amongst all this stuff...I would never have found it, had I been looking for it. Not that it's of the smallest relevance now. I parted company with that particular organ some years later.
It's time to work on the above, but first, a few words about my successes...I love how, in the bathroom, I know where everything is at last.
I am not yet finished using all of my leftover bits of moisturing creams and hair products! Granted, one particular conditioner is really no good, so that's gone. As for others, I made a few nice discoveries, that oils for skin are as good as creams. Sesame seed oil (got used to the scent, anyway, can mix it with lavender oil which I have too).
I think I've saved $30-40 in the last three months, by collecting all of these little leftover bits together and resolutely using them!
The Paper Purge continues. That's quite a chore as some papers go back 30 years or more.
I have 3 books for Sale online. I used Amazon CreateSpace to produce them, Amazon and Nook Press (Barnes&Noble) and IngramSpark for Distribution.
Each marketplace has it's own Rules. Imagine renting space from different landlords in the Town Square to sell your books. In one, you have to purchase a special ISBN peculiar to them and no other Space. (NookPress). It costs $10 per number from Bowker. In another, there's $54 Hello Money (Ingramspark) for print and digital and your print edition isn't working cos they keep telling you you've formatted it wrong, or the metadata doesn't match, and when you ask them why, and what can be done, there's silence for several days followed by a cryptic response that makes no sense. On Ingramspark, I have to get software to convert my .docx to .epub. And - the interface hasn't got a Friendly look, though it assures you that they welcome the self-publisher. I've no doubt if you know your way around it, it's ok, but the support is slow. And what is Lightening Source anyway?
Over at Amazon, the landlord tells you that he's moving you from the Space you have occupied for some time to another, and you have to set up all over again. Actually, he has moved the books for you already, from CreateSpace to Kindle Direct Publishing. He's helpful, but tells you that you have to redesign your paperback covers - no matter - you can do it right there with their software. OK. the new Cover Creator is a bit limited, but then you can upload your own print-ready PDF. Fair enough.
Now here I am running between three Spaces. There are no sales from Nook or Ingramspark, but Amazon KDP is seeing some, and getting very good Reviews...I think about enrolling in KDP Select to reach a wider audience, but must first take my digital edition off sale in the others.
Which leads me to think that it would be far less complicated to vacate Ingramspark and Nook since there's no movement there anyway so I decide to at least take my digital edition off-sale in Ingramspark - but there is no way for me to do that on my end. That's a bit annoying. Nook Press - no problem, I can do it. Done in three clicks.
Three days after asking Ingramspark to take my Title off sale (in fact, I decided to end the relationship completely, though I'm down $54) they do it. (I'm a little offended they didn't even try to keep me, but I have zero sales and they have their Hello Money).
I now have digital edition exclusivity with Amazon.com, and all my Titles are in KDP Select.
It means I can also delete all the How-to and Guides related to Ingram Spark and Nook on my hard drive. Declutter that!
Now, let's think about Amazon Ad Campaigns.
I revised my opinion of earlier! This was to save myself the agony of whether to part with beloved books or not. However, I don't like EVERY book in my possession...looking for a particular title today I opened a cupboard at the bottom of the bedroom bookcase (yes we have a bookcase in the bedroom!) and came upon a stack of books in there, which I haven't examined in years maybe.
Two chick-lit novels, one of which I threw in the recycling cos of a porny scene, the other going to Goodwill.
A Mary Higgins Clark mystery (I know who did it, don't I?)
A few how-to-make-money-from-writing books from the same period, now obsolete, as being before the Tech Age; in any case I kept my Day-Job and am now retired and receiving a pension. For 40 years I longed to write for a living because I didn't want to go out to work. Issue resolved.
A book I kept was: 'Organising for the Creative Person.' Published in 1993, a note tells me the date I read it - I was engaged (how did I find the time?). I remember those months as happy but frantic! Maybe I thought it would help me then!
I wonder if it's worth reading again.
Another book I kept was Molly Keane's novel 'Taking Chances' first published 1929. I read it before but all I remember of it is someone who doesn't like the Hunt and who ate an orange before going to bed, which is acidic.
Worth another read. As is the novel by Robindranath Tagore, 'The Home and the World'
When am I going to read these? They're now cluttering up my bookcase instead of being hidden away!
Am I not too attached to my books? Is there a spiritual issue here?
A TRIP TO IMPERIAL CHINA
I can't sleep these nights. I'm getting exercise, and fresh air, so what's stopping me?
It's a Drama I found on Amazon.com called 'Empresses of the Palace'.
It's very complelling and I'm hooked, it's very involved and has numerous characters and plots and subplots, plenty to keep wondering about. (but thankfully I have watched all 6 Episodes now).
This came out in China as 'the Legend of Zuan Huan' with a whopping 76 episodes! It was a huge success. The International version is only 6 episodes and subtitled. The latter are done very well, no grammatical errors or odd phrases.
It's about three girls who enter the palace of the Emperor in 1700's China as concubines. (This would be before the British discovered opium and tea and the riches to be plundered from the East). The story centers on Zuan Huan (everybody seems to change names several times, very confusing), an intelligent, discerning girl who wants the best for everybody but who finds she must protect herself from other concubines. There's a lot of jealousy, plotting, scheming. Even of her two friends, one deserts her. The Palace doctor is in love with Zuan Huan, as is the brother of the Emperor.
The score is beautiful, the costumes also. Headdresses very elaborate. And what is that long item like a cylinder they wear on their fingers?
Very involved and not easy to keep up with it. So that's my Head Clutter. That's why I couldn't sleep. Also probably staring at a screen isn't that good for your brain. I spent ages last night wondering who the mother of the Fourth Prince was - how could I have missed it? It turns out that the Fourth Prince was fathered by a lowly palace maid and I don't know if she's even in the Series.
I'm so glad Hollywood didn't get their hands on this. They would have ruined it. China closed the bedroom door (or curtain) and though horribly cruel punishments were decreed and alluded to - one never saw them. I really appreciated that. I'll never forget what HBO did to 'Rome' some years ago. It was a good historical drama ruined by nudity, vulgarity, graphic sex and violence, I gave up on it.
'Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace' is a sequel - dare I?
Empresses in the Palace