1) old mail = shred
I have a bad habit of letting mail pile up on our dining room table and then putting it in a bag and then putting that bag in the garage. I did this for years. Then I watched "hoarders" on netflix and got in gear. I started shredding this stuff by hand and then remembered that I could just as well take it to school. Plus side, I found some unused gift cards!
2) old papers = shred
I have a habit of keeping all student work and fearing throwing it out either because I thought I would forget what I've done in the classroom and also for reasons of confidentiality. Our mail services at CSUN has a program where you can request a trashcan for shredding and they do it for you. So I purged out so many old papers.
3) craft supplies = organized
I think it's every crafting diva's dream to have a 'craft room' where all the supplies are organized and accessible and projects can be started and stopped with ease. I can't say I have a 'craft room' but I do have a 'craft closet' and an oversized guest bedroom where I can do my papercrafts. Husband says no needles on carpeted floors, which I get, so the sewing machine is still in the garage.
4) bike supplies = organized
There's a funny store here in Northridge called "Mr. Stuff" and they have some really random inventory. One thing we bought there is this cart on wheels, which works really nicely for bike stuff. We've had it for 10 months now and I would say it is one of the best purchases I've made in the last year. It holds inner tubes, bike lights, helmets, locks, gloves, hats, bandannas, pumps, bags, all the things you need to grab and go. We built a bike rack to hold all our bikes and we have a bike stand to use when we need to clean or fix the bikes. These investments have lowered our stress and anxiety to make living a bikelife more enjoyable.
5) medicines = returned to pharmacy
I'm not sure if you have old prescription medications in you medicine cabinet, but I did. I had three bottles from 2008 and one from 2012. I knew that you can't flush them down the toilet because they can contaminate the municipal water supply or end up in the ocean, but I didn't know what was the best thing to do with them. Turns out Walgreen's pharmacies in California have a dropbox for this purpose. Not every location has one, so check online before you go.
6) electronics = recycled
We had two old cell phones, two old digital cameras, and a bunch of batteries that we dropped off at the Solvents/Automotive/Flammables/Electronics (S.A.F.E.) center. Now that I'm re-reading their flier, I should have also taken some old spray paint. Even though dear husband points out that landfills are sealed so that toxic wastes do not escape, I feel like this option may lead to reclaiming the trace amounts of rare earth elements that are present in our devices.
7) work office = organized, purged
This is an every semester thing, but it's important. I go through the stacks of chaos and rearrange important items into 3-ring binders. What paper can be recycled is put into a recycling bin. What paper must be shredded is sorted into the shredding bin. What supplies can be diverted into other chemical storage areas are moved from the office to the "Chem Club Room."
8) bedroom = new pillows & sheets
Not that this would bother everybody, but it bothered me. Our fitted sheets kept coming off the mattress. We had one set of cheap sheets, which didn't work at all. We went back to buy a more expensive set of sheets, which also didn't work but we tolerated them for over a year. Finally, I took those gift cards that I found going through the old mail and converted them into very expensive Martha Stewart sheets from Macy's. I also got new pillows. There are some things that you just can't buy used and I believe that pillows are one of those things.
9) home office = new bookshelf
There's a bookshelf that was in our garage when we moved in over a year ago. It's really nice and I always felt that it should be upstairs in the "library" a.k.a. guest bedroom a.k.a. craft room. But it was really heavy. Luckily, since we've been doing a new workout program, we're stronger. We finally carried that upstairs and it's just beckoning me to fill it with books.
10) computer = backed up
The cost of removable hard drives has come down so far. I got a new computer and used a removable hard drive to transfer files from the home computer to the new work computer. There's something satisfying about using a new, fast computer to search your old files.
11) bills = auto pay
It sounds so silly, but I've been paying bills each month manually over the phone. I finally got the monthly bills on autopay and it feels so great.
12) vitamins = restocked
I haven't been a big believer in vitamins, or maybe I should say that I go in phases. Anyhow, I threw all the expired vitamins out and bought new ones. Yeah, one could argue that calcium doesn't go bad like acetaminophen goes bad, but you never know what coatings and inert ingredients may do when left unattended or worse in hot storage units or in a hot garage.
13) contact lenses = restocked
I am not sure why I'm so averse to doctor's offices, maybe it's the cost or the fear of finding out there's something seriously wrong with me. I also don't like to face the idea that I should get new glasses (for me a $600 investment). But I finally found a new optometrist in our new neighborhood and got the exam to get the new 1-year inventory of contact lenses.
I should say that part of simplifying your life involves adulting. Tasks such as sorting out what your insurance covers like ob-gyn, dental and vision. We've delved into doing this and although scary and intimidating, it's important to know what you don't know (known unknowns and unknown unknowns). That way when you really need it (in an emergency) it's already sorted.
14) seeds = harvested
Not everyone has a garden, and I get that, but I do. I feel so great now that my seeds are sorted. I use old cosmetic bags to sort them into families, that way when I want to share seeds or plant something I don't have to dig through the entire library.
15) car = washed, oil changed, registered, insured
Living a bikelife tends to lead to neglecting our car. We only have one car and it's very tiny. I swear I haven't taken it to a car wash in like 5 years until recently. Also, it was important to establish a new relationship with a service station for oil changes. The DMV has a kiosk where you can pay your car registration, and now there's even one of those kiosks at the grocery store!
16) junk email = unsubscribed
This may sound like a silly thing, but instead of spending idle time deleting junk emails, I spent a few hours (while waiting for the oil change and at the optometrist) unsubscribing from all the email lists that I am on. I got this idea from my students years ago (before I got a smartphone) and I finally spent the time doing it. Now when I check my inbox, it's all stuff I actually want to look at.
17) podcasts = subscribed
I spent time (and energy) looking for stuff to listen to on long drives (where there is not good radio reception) and now I'm on the podcast bandwagon. I downloaded an app called Castbox which automatically downloads podcasts I've subscribed to so that I can listen to them offline. I also want to say that Hoopla has changed my life. I listen to audiobooks there, which can also be downloaded.
18) laundry = washed
I love my laundry situation now. I finally got around to cleaning the washer and dryer (which used to live outside) and I bought more laundry soap. There's a luxury that I don't take for granted in having W/D hookups and the space for my drying racks. I have a fabulous clothing rack on wheels that is so easy to move around the garage. And hot days are perfect for drying laundry.
19) closet = sorted, purged, updated
What I have done in my closet is simplify, label and keep lean. Labeling all my drawers and bins helps dear husband contribute to putting away his and hers laundry.
20) bathroom = cleaned, purged, organized
Finally, cleaning the bathroom involved throwing away old lotions and cosmetics that are expired. See also 5, 12 and 13. It was fun going to the drugstore to get new contact lens solution and sunscreen and vitamins knowing there are empty spaces which they can go to. I read that one of the reasons people don't like dockless bikeshare in cities is because the bike seem like they are never "put away." Now I didn't grow up in a house where things got put away, we had quite a cluttered upbringing, and some say that clutter is a symptom of creativity, but also I've read that when things are put away it brings a sense of calm and peace. I like the sound of that.