Since the start of the new year, the office aircond now shuts off at 6pm. It's definitely not conducive to working conditions but we're definitely contributing to the company's cost saves and also the environment. While the media, business world and governments throw around catch phrases like "Conserve" and "Cutbacks", reflective of the tough times ahead - the Malaysian Government is denying that we're in recession - I've however embarked on my own mission and it's called "Live Simply".
It means living an uncluttered and uncomplicated lifestyle, getting rid of excesses from the house, leaving as small a carbon footprint as practically possible, save up and/or increase the contribution to the children's education plans, living with the 29" Panasonic CRT TV instead of the 42" plasma and minimizing the nice-to-haves. I've gone through 2 rounds of spring cleaning my kids' toys and given away those that they no longer play with or interested in. The fact the kids didn't raise any objections clearly proves their disinterest.
An on-going exercise involves rummaging through the little 300 liter fridge to dispose expired foodstuff and other knick-knacks such as fast-food sauce sachets, bite-size chocolate bars and medicine. The little Panasonic is 10 years old and is still functioning well. But the capacity is just too small and with a week's grocery, there's little left for other things. So buying a larger fridge is in the plans. A larger fridge will mean a larger space to stock up on things we don’t need, so a periodic review of its contents will have to be established.
Trickier to handle are my sizeable book collection. I've yet to go through the stacks but the ones that I'll be disposing off are the novels. The culled books will hopefully be put through a yard sale, the same treatment for the many framed pictures I have. Since I barely have time for listening sessions anymore, I'm also considering selling off my hi-fi separates consisting of the Audio Refinement Complete amplifier, Marantz CD63SE player, a pair of Tannoy M2 speakers, sand-filled speaker stands, Nordost cables and interconnects. It has be a lock, stock and barrel sale if I decide to part with the electronics.
2 more areas where my household can certainly discard more of are clothings and bags. There are just too many. I've sold, donated many of mine but my wife being the hoarder is not doing enough. She hoards clothings, clinging on to those that used to fit her many years ago hoping to return the golden years of fitting S sizes. But with no exercise routine, the realization of that dream is a foregone conclusion. Don’t tell her but I've already secretly added many of her old t-shirts to the donation bin.
My mom is another hoarder. She’s the hoarder supreme of containers, plastic spoons, tin cans and bottles. Always seeing the usefulness of the stuff for storage for "things". Except that we have so many of those things that our Whatever subterfuge that I'm planning will have to be done very covertly or I'll risk upsetting her.
The key to parting with items is to be disciplined. It's about casting a critical eye on everything and subjecting every possession to questions like "Can we live without it?" and "How many times in the last 3 months have we used it?" It’s also useful if the cleanup exercise be done section by section or room by room so that your attention can be undivided. And you might want to approach the initiative by asking yourself that should you be moving from a house to an apartment, what items will you be discarding? If something is adding to the clutter, chances are it’s ripe for severance of ownership. Having less things in the house mean you spend less time and effort cleaning and doing other household chores.
Unfortunately even with a successful execution of the series of cleanups, my house will still not look Zen-like bare, something quite impossible with 2 kids and 2 hoarders. But at least, we will literally have less baggage to carry.