Bird_Voyeur's Living Simple

tips, tricks and introspections

Scrubbies!
bird_voyeur
I saved up onion bags all school year and finally crocheted them into scrubbies. I cut each bag into long strips, tied or looped the strips together, and then make them into basic circle shapes. I now have more than I know what to do with. Pictures here.

I find that these work really well and don't wear out fast. Unlike a marketed product they are not made to wear out and be replaced; they just are what they are. It also diverts a wee bit of refuse from the landfill for a while.
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Thrifting, discarding, crafting.
bird_voyeur
Well, I am finally out of school. Now the job-hunt begins, that and real life. I got some time to go to the thrift store today. I needed some new tank-tops. I did not find any that suited me, however I found some very nice tupperwear.

I got a pitcher with the button-lid thingy. My parents have had one for years, and I found one that is eerily similar. I also got a nice cereal storage box. I think I will use the cereal box for chips or flour. I like tupperwear, but I really do not have the money to buy it new. The pitcher is a nice addition because we had one die this winter due to using it as a plaster mixing container.

I also got a nifty plate. I do not subscribe to a need to have fine china, in fact I do not subscribe to a need to have matching dishes. My dishes coordinate but they do not match; they are all blue and white from varying sources. The new plate declares itself to be about "Pennsylvania Dutch Land" and has kitchy sayings such as "A plump wife and a big barn never did a man any harm". It was too unique to pass up.

I will also be getting rid of things this week. I've got a pile of dresses that I'm passing on to a friend. If they fit her, they're hers.

I also looked up some links on rag rugs, they look like fun. I've been giving my rag collection a work-out cleaning the house the past week. I'm finally caught up to where I want to be in anal-retentive cleanliness. Speaking of which, I have onion bags to crochet. I think I'll go do that while watching some netflix. Pics to come.

-B.V.
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E-books
bird_voyeur
I have just bought my first E-book. It is a required text for a class, not a fun book unfortunately. I could have bought it hard-copy for only ten dollars more, but I decided to buy the electronic version for a number of reasons.

One, I wanted the book right away. I have readings this week, and I don't want to have to wait for shipping. Two, it's a big book and I don't want to use up more precious shelf space. Text books are a bitch to move, I never use them more than once every few years in the real world, and they don't resell for much. Although this book is not much cheaper in electronic version, it is not as if I would have made much money on the reselling of it. Yes, I know that I can e-bay it myself, but my desire to wrangle with e-bay is less than my desire to go to the dentist. Three, I bought a Google book and therefore can read it anywhere. I like the idea of having an ethereal library that I can summon at a whim. I feel like a wizard, only my magic wand has a Google brand name.

The end result of the endeavor is a bigger library and smaller shelf space. This isn't much more complicated for me online, because it is linked to a Google sign in, which I already have. Now I can check my e-mail, news, library, and documents all through Google. Oh and they'll probably have an app for my phone too.
-BV

P.S. Yes I am a Google junkie. I firmly believe in better living through cloud computing. Plus they have an awesome interview of Lady Gaga.
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Appalachia
bird_voyeur
I watched a short documentary on the Appalachian trail while I had lunch today. It made me think about how nice it would be to just walk off and have an adventure. I have been starting to plot and plan a trip canoeing. A trip like this cannot just happen spontaneously, as well I know from said plotting. There are always those commitments like work, utilities, rent, cat, plants, and boyfriend.

I would love an even simpler life, but I would not ever give up some of the things I have now, such as my cat. She brings me happiness on a daily basis and that happiness is what life is all about. Still, I would love to be able to pick up and wander off with less notice. I wonder if there is some way to structure my life so that there is more flexibility to it.

In the meantime I will have to plan my adventures into the future. Speaking of canoeing, I had an idea a while back. Ohio has a tendency to turn its back on its rivers, at least if one is to look at the treatment of waterfronts in Columbus, the combined sewer overflows and low-head dams. In response to that, I want to traverse a significant part of a river system. Currently the plan is to canoe from my apartment (or as close as I can on the Olentangy), to Cincinnati.

First I will need to get a canoe.
-B
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We thought we were done
bird_voyeur
I had gone through the house with a metaphorical fine toothed comb and pulled out a bunch of stuff to get rid of. After Sunday's party Keith and I decided to reorganize the living room and we pulled out everything and re-examined whether or not we wanted some stuff in just the living and dining rooms. Half of my dining table is now covered in junk that we're culling.

It really amazed me, I had thought I'd done a decent job. Now to find new owners for all this stuff. The interim piles are annoying, but the nice new space in the living room is very relaxing.
-B
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Spring Cleaning and Culling
bird_voyeur
It's break again. I am not so totally absorbed in school work, and now I can do the ritual cleaning and culling of spring. I did the cleaning almost immediately, and now I am getting rid of things.

So far the successes are as follows:

1 big load to goodwill
1 bag sold to half-price books
plastic bags recycled
plastic filing box given away
rockband given away
foreman grill given away
half my postcards written and shipped
box to parents shipped
package to Yoon shipped
freezer burned food discarded

craft supplies waiting on craft museum girl to get back in town
rocks waiting on me getting them to Jenny
plastalina waiting on me bringing it into studio after break
light box waiting on me getting it to Kashka
gorget and book waiting on Chris coming over
totoro waiting on Sean coming over
dresses waiting on Eva coming over
batteries waiting on me going to gym to recycle

I still have to get rid of my old Bird Maiden costume. I have absolutely no idea of what to do with it.
-B
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Stuff and junk and stuff.
bird_voyeur
I hate stuff. This statement isn't a nihilist manifesto describing my loathing of all of existence. I am talking about disliking possessions and consumer goods. I am an anti-packrat. I dislike clutter, hoards, piles and boxes in storage. My nemesis is the thing that has no purpose; my fondest dream is to live in a home with a concise assortment of things that I need and nothing that I do not require.

I have an open view of what constitutes use, but I am still ruthless in my culling. If an object is only aesthetic and has no other value, I still consider that thing to have a use, so long as it is on the wall and not in a box in the basement. Holiday decorations are acceptable, but I have one smallish box of all my seasonal ornaments, not the endless boxes that I remember from my youth at my parent's house. I keep old journals, photographs and letters, but if I can foresee no future utility in those things, they get tossed.

I get a peace of mind from a simple uncluttered house that even the heady rush of endorphine soaked consumption can not match. There is something fundamentally calming about having less things to worry about, and every step I take away from the rat-race induced drive to be happy, actually makes me happier. I cannot fathom who in their right mind enjoys having more acreage of surface area to dust, vaccum, scrub and maintain. The more one owns, the higher the cost of replacement, the greater the insurance the the more insidious the anxiety and worry about it all.

I would rather give away possessions as they lose their utility and risk the inconvenience of needing them later, rather than have to move to increasingly larger dwellings like a hermit crab. Besides there is something gratifying about giving things to others. I do not know if gift giving is as addictive as shopping, but it far more productive and charitable.

I do not dream of a mansion or mcmansion in the exurbs of the city. I long for a cottage the size of a modest apartment. I desire my independence and own piece of the pie as much as the next man, but there's no need to overdo it. The original American dream of owning one's own house resulted in suburbs that had houses which were very small compared to today's standards. Levittown featured 800 square foot homes, which would fit in a corner of today's average of 2,070 square feet. This isn't to say that small can't be cute, fun or modern. Too much stuff complicates plans such as owning a house, I would rather keep from spending my money on frivolous things and keep it for big significant purchases.

I control my purchases, I am not controlled by them. I am sick of marketing telling me who I am based on a consumed identity while trying to manipulate me into fueling a corporate system that cares little for my welfare. The greatest anti-capitalist act is to not consume. At this juncture I think that few people would contest the ills of overconsumption of the world's resources.

I would urge any listener to consider the virtues of a small lifestyle shift, even if my particular argument does not appeal. Try reworking a small part of your life to have more simplicity and less stuff, then let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you. Until then, live well and be well.
-B
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Scrubbing and Cleaning.
bird_voyeur
I have cleared out my LJ again and am making a decision to start posting again. Grad school ate my life for two years but in my third and busiest year I am adamant to reconnect to human beings again. I also would like more writing practice. Facebook, while excellent for arranging weekend plans is dismally low on content so I think LJ still will have a niche for me.

I am also changing the focus of my LJ account. In a secondary effort to refocus my life, or rather to strengthen trends that have been flowing through my days for some time, I will be mostly posting about lifestyle topics namely that of Voluntary Simplicity. More Bird-braining...Collapse )
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