Follow the Decluttering:
I saw a lot of good deals over the Thanksgiving weekend and there are still plenty around. I did buy a couple of things but I managed to resist some other bargains by asking myself two questions:
Ask yourself these things before you before you pull out your credit card and really think about them. Visualize your house and all the stuff in it. Do you see any free space to put what you’re about to buy? How did you get by this far without it?
It’s one thing if you’re replacing something you already have and you’re looking to upgrade, but even then, maybe you should see how much longer you can get by with the one you have? Also, are you really willing to part with the old one?
One of the items I did buy was a new wireless router for my house. My current one is several years old but still functions. However, we’ve noticed that some of our devices will lose connectivity throughout the day. I also wanted something with more parental controls than my current one provides now that my kids are getting older and have their own tablets. When I get the new one, I’ll reset the old one to factory settings and then either donate it or see if any of my friends need it.
Before I bought the router, I asked myself both of the questions above and decided I really needed the more advanced parental controls and I have a place to put it, right where the old one is. Done.
There have been times I wish I would have pondered those questions a little more. I think it was shortly after our bread machine broke that I found a great deal on an ice cream maker. I thought the kids would love it and we would use it quite a bit in the summer. I had a place to put it since we discarded the broken bread machine.
Unfortunately, we don’t use the ice cream maker that much. You can’t make a very big batch of ice cream at once and after you use it, you have to wash the tub by hand. Then you place it in the freezer (level so that it doesn’t freeze at an angle) and wait for it to freeze again before you can use it again. Not to mention, you have to have the ingredients on hand to make ice cream. The biggest problem is that my wife misses the bread machine and now the ice cream maker is taking up space where we used to store it.
In the end, these are petty problems that we’ll ultimately resolve by getting rid of something that we don’t use much and we all know things like bread machines and ice cream makers are luxuries in a world where some people don’t know where they are staying the night or where their next meal may come from.
The point is in order to reduce the amount of stuff we own, we have to not only get rid of the excess we already have, we have to keep ourselves from bringing in more than we’re getting rid of. Hopefully, asking yourself the two questions above before buying, will help you the way it helps me. Good luck.
With another Thanksgiving behind us, the Black Friday shopping deals are in full swing and boy is it hard to resist buying a bunch of things I don’t need. The week before Thanksgiving, I love looking through the “leaked” Black Friday ads even though I have no intention of stepping into any stores this weekend.
Instead, I made a list of a few things we’ve been waiting to buy and Friday morning, I pull out my laptop and buy them online. Then I hang out with the family the rest of the day. We desperately need a new computer and I’ve been eyeing an internet connected thermostat to add to my “smart” home. There are definitely some good deals to be found this weekend but I really hate the madness that I see on the news every year on Black Friday.
Anyway, I thought I would give a few suggestions for gifts this season that don’t require you to stand in line at 4 am and won’t fill your house with more clutter. Note that some of the following links are affiliate links.
I recently was able to take a few days off work and go visit my family. It was a chance to see my dad and six sisters as well as my new two-month-old nephew. We typically make a long trip as a family each summer but it’s nice when I can make a second trip sometime during the fall or spring.
Since I didn’t want any of my kids to miss school (and to save money), I traveled by myself. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to practice what I preach and travel light. I decided that I would only take what I could fit in my backpack for the 5-day trip. In full disclosure, I’m also a bit cheap and didn’t want to pay the airline’s $25 fee to check baggage.
Packing light for a trip to North Dakota in November brought with it a few challenges.
Challenge #1: North Dakota Weather
I’m no meteorologist and I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express but my theory is that the lack of any large body of water around North Dakota means that they get whatever weather happens to blow through. In general, you can count on it being really damn cold in the winter, fairly hot in the summer, and the wind never stops blowing. I think it’s on its way to Chicago.
Thankfully, the weather cooperated and it was relatively warm, especially for North Dakota in the middle of November. I wore layers for the flight out. A t-shirt with a hooded sweatshirt and my new coat with lots of pockets. I only had the one pair of shoes I was wearing. I wore a good pair of jeans and packed another one. It bothered me a little to not bring a pair of pants since I try not to wear jeans to church but I figured going in jeans and a nice collared shirt was better than not going at all.
Challenge #2: My Hobby
I wanted to do some writing and hoped to update my website but didn’t want to bring a laptop. I recently bought this rechargeable Bluetooth keyboard that I can pair with my phone and this simple stand to hold up my phone. I love the simplicity of the stand and it fits in the neoprene pouch that I also bought for the keyboard. I am using it right now in the Chicago airport and it works great.
As I’ve mentioned before, I like to use an app/website called stackedit.io to write my posts in Markdown, then export them as HTML. Unfortunately, I discovered that the Weebly app does not allow you to insert HTML code in your blog post the way the full version on the internet does. I’m not sure why. I tried using the Weebly website on my phone, but it just wasn’t cooperating on that small screen. Lesson learned: I may have to invest in a small laptop before I travel again.
Challenge #3: I Love Coffee
I also hate to buy bottled water and I had to leave home before 4 am. I made a pour-over coffee into my travel mug for the 45 minute drive to the airport and finished it by the time I got there. Then I tossed it into my bag and it doubled as a refillable water bottle. It seals pretty well so I didn’t worry about spilling. It also came in handy during the entire trip.
On the trip home, I spent a good portion of my 4 hour layover at O’Hare Airport doing some writing and a lot of walking. If I could change anything about the trip, I would have my flights scheduled closer together. Having everything with me in one backpack though, meant that I had what I needed readily available.
I learned that traveling light made the trip much easier and less stressful than if I had checked a bag and worried about it following me to the correct destination. That’s something I’m unfortunately rather experienced with. Several years ago, I flew out to visit my family right before Christmas and my luggage got lost in both directions!
It was great to see everyone again though. In his late 70’s, my dad has a pacemaker and had a triple-bypass a few years ago so I know I need to take every opportunity to see him. Make the best of the time you have with your family and friends. They won’t always be there. Bringing less stuff will free you up to do more.
My family uses Cozi for our calendar, shopping, and to-do lists. The best part is that it's free.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2018
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