Stuff & Clutter – Ready for the Garage

It’s been a good few weeks since my last post on my stuff-shedding project. I planned for this hiatus but it’s still a bit of work to get back into the right headspace to write down my thoughts.

I have one main target remaining in the house: the garage. I’m planning a trip to both the recycling facility as well as the hazardous waste facility. Happy Earth Day? It’s not as bad as it may sound, it’s just the appropriate way to get rid of the latex paint that’s been out there for years and isn’t even a color that lives inside our home.

Alongside the shed project is a parallel initiative of limiting the amount of things that come in. It’s the genesis of the shed ratio. Looking back at the numbers, I’m quite happy with the slow pace of things coming “in” to the house. I still intend to get a post out for anyone interested in what qualified for “in” and “out” as it may be useful to someone embarking on this same journey.


Stuff & Clutter: Week 11 Recap

Week 11 is where I have slowed down. I definitely fell short of the weekly targets I’ve been able to maintain. Why, you might ask? My time this week was not my own in the way it typically is. Even in a busy work week I’m typically able to make time for my personal projects. However this week was definitely not the typical case.

I was at Microsoft Convergence, a business conference held in Atlanta, all week. Most of the things that fall into my “self improvement” category took a back seat during the week. Then my priority during the weekend was catching up on things for the upcoming work week, more so than catching up on things to sharpen the saw. Not a habit I want to get (back) into but sometimes it has to be done.

This week’s going to be a doozy as well, unfortunately, but I’m taking measures to make sure the scale isn’t tipped quite so unevenly. One of those measures includes a reprieve from the shed project this upcoming week as well as the following week. The goal during this time will be to target a Net Shed of 0, effectively making sure I don’t undo the work to date, but at the same time recognizing that I’m still well ahead of my original targets and this is a place where I can ease up to get other things in line.

I’m adding a couple of data points to the table below to show a little more of the overall progress, rather than just the weeklies. Looking at the progress below leaves me feeling happy about the journey so far.

Looking Forward

Gross Shed Net Shed
Week 10 Target 28 25
Week 10 Actual 11 11
Week 11 Target 0
Project-to-Date Target 248 211
Project-to-date Actual 307 277
Total in Excess of Target 59 66

Stuff & Clutter: Week 10 Recap

10 weeks down of this project down and still going strong. Wow. I expected the pace to drop off before now but I’m still finding stuff to shed. Not to say it’s as easy as the first couple of weeks, but now that I’m in more of a habit I’m sticking with the pace.

The inaugural chiminea fire comes early this year. You can see stormie's eyes shimmering as she stares at it.

The inaugural chiminea fire comes early this year. You can see stormie’s eyes shimmering as she stares at it.

This whole last week has brought amazing weather. Temperatures in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and for some parts of MN the 70’s! Practically no snow remains. We started out the weekend with a woodfire pizza party (hosted by our longtime friends Dan and Kelly of WildEarth Woodfired). Good times and great pizza as usual. Saturday night we got a fire going in our chiminea. We stayed nice and warm as the sun set and temperatures got down into the 40’s again.

With all of the nice weather, I got out into the garage to get a sense for the upcoming spring projects that await. Some good shedding opportunity. I’m looking at you: paint cans for colors painted over long ago…why are you sitting there so smugly?

We also took the opportunity to walk over to a nearby new-construction house that’s part of the Twin Cities Parade of Homes. We were more impressed than we expected to be. New houses are usually “nice” and all, but the floor plan had some nice variations and it had a great feel to it. The price tag, however, also exceeded what we had expected it to be (not that we’re looking to move).

Looking Forward

Gross Shed Net Shed
Week 10 Target 28 25
Week 10 Actual 28 25
Week 11 Target 28 25

Stuff & Clutter: Week 9 Recap

Week 9 is now in the past and it’s another week on target for the project. This weekend brought some 45 degree weather (maybe higher, the highest I saw on my phone was 45). Great, springlike, walking weather and good golly did our dog enjoy it.

While we were out and about on Saturday, we made a big drop-off of the last few weeks’ shed items at Goodwill. Jess was excited to get it out of our staging area in the basement. The collection down there was getting pretty big and I found out (after we made the donation) that it was starting to stress her out.

This led to a conversation around the difference between simply “getting rid of stuff” and “sending things to where they are more likely to be used.” Plenty of the things that we’re passing along are quality items and very serviceable, and it would be a waste if they were simply sent out with the trash. Hopefully some of our earlier donations have already found good homes.

Looking Forward

Gross Shed Net Shed
Week 9 Target 28 28
Week 9 Actual 28 25
Week 10 Target 28 25

Stuff & Clutter: Week 4 Recap

This last week was spent in town–with nice weather to boot. Mid to high 30’s makes for an amazing late-January temperature here in Minny.

Our new entertainment center arrived at Schneiderman’s Furniture, so we were able to pick it up Friday and got it all set up before friends came over Saturday. We used the opportunity to shed some stuff that was in the old one that didn’t make sense to hang on to.

We also went through the kitchen cupboard to thin out the supply of extra mugs and glasses. While we’re still probably hanging on to too many, we found a good dozen we were willing to part with.

Grade This Week: A

The bar was raised this last week and we continue to exceed the weekly goal.

Overall Grade: A

We’re still ahead of pace.

Thoughts After 4 Weeks

It’s been a solid 4 weeks of getting rid of stuff we’re at 250% of our goal (which we raised part way through January). We’ve averaged almost four things out per day (net). Jess and I talked about how despite the fact that we’ve shed a bunch of stuff, we can’t really feel a difference or big loss in the things we’ve let go. This feels like good confirmation that we’re spending time on a worthwhile project: If we’re shedding this much stuff and barely feeling effects from it then we definitely needed to thin things out.

Looking Forward

We’re taking our average weekly shed rate from the last four weeks and using that as our week 5 target. I’m going to keep my foot on the gas but I definitely know that this high rate won’t be sustainable.

Gross Shed Net Shed
Week 4 Target 20 15
Week 4 Actual 23 21
Week 5 Target 28 25

Stuff & Clutter: Week 3 Recap

I had my birthday this last week which was pretty great. Brunch with the fam and got a handful of gifts (stuff on the “in” side of the equation). I got a new game (Pandemic: The Cure), a much-needed fairway wood, a great shirt, and a workbook to work on my cursive handwriting. All things considered it was a reasonable collection of things coming in. In fact, I had planned for more stuff to be coming in this week.

On the flip side, this fueled a big push this week to get rid of even more stuff. We blew away our number by over three times the shed we targeted. I’m quite surprised at how easy it’s been to find this quantity of stuff to lose. Still it goes a long way to validate the entire effort.

In fact we had enough stuff to warrant another trip to Goodwill. A shorter line this week, but we waited first in line for quite a while. We got a decent little show while the unloading crew played a game of Tetris with six chairs that didn’t really want to fit into THIS woman’s SUV.

Grade This Week: A

Despite a busy week filled with travel and demos, we still found some time to dig in and find a ton of stuff.

Overall Grade: B

We’re ahead of pace right now. More has come in than anticipated, but the overall in/out is tipped well in the right direction.

Thoughts on the metrics

No new thoughts this week.

Looking Forward

No work travel scheduled. The gross and net shed are moving north this week.

Gross Shed Net Shed
Week 3 Target 14 7
Week 3 Actual 48 40
Week 4 Target 20 15

Stuff & Clutter: Week 2 Recap

So the work travel I expected last week didn’t happen, though this doesn’t mean I got to spend a lot of time looking for extra stuff. I did, however, go through some of my closet to weed out some accessories I rarely (or never) used. We also thinned out a couple of travel versions of games that are easily played on an iPad if we’re on the go. Not all of our travel games went though: we focused on the ones that we don’t play a standard version of either. We’re just as likely to bring a smaller “regular” game (like Boss Monster or Moby Dick).

On another note, we made our first run to Goodwill (first for this project anyway) to donate the stuff we’re not keeping. It was a gorgeous day for a Minnesota Sunday in mid-January. While we were in line there were 10 other cars in line to make donations. It’s a tight wraparound driveway to the donation station and we laughed when we saw the tire tracks from someone had gotten impatient, hopped the curb, and drove across the snow-covered grass to another road. Too impatient to wait for the 3 vehicles ahead to unload their donations.

Grade This Week: C

Fell a bit shy on the net shed because of the extra books that I got from my Dad. Week 1 was a knockout, this one was fine but nothing to give a high grade to.

Overall Grade: B

Still on track and ahead of the pace I set.

Thoughts on the metrics

Shed ratio is still wonky for planning purposes. Dropping it from the planning numbers for now. I’ll still report actuals moving forward.

Looking Forward

This will be a tougher week. My birthday means I have some stuff coming in, so the gross shed is going up to keep the same net shed. I have three days of travel this week for work so again I won’t be able to focus on finding stuff to shed this week.

Gross Shed Net Shed Shed Ratio
Week 2 Target 9 7 3:2
Week 2 Actual 10 6 5:2
Week 3 Target 14 7