Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yearly review

By Tiffany Young

The Art of Non-conformity has a great post on how to do a yearly review, which looks back at the past year to see what you've accomplished, as well as look forward to what you'd like to do in the new year. If you are a GTDer, this follows David Allen's Getting Things Done system. There is even an Excel spreadsheet for you to fill out your personal goals for 2011, with flexibility to add your own categories.

I'm filling it out myself and one of the things I'd like to develop in the New Year is to be more grateful. I see this happening by keeping an ongoing list of things I'm grateful for. Part of the reason I began this blog was to get rid of the things that don't add anything to my life, hoping hat the things I decided to keep would be things that I truly loved and enjoyed—things to be grateful for.

Here are a few things I'm grateful for from 2010:
  1. I'm relatively healthy.
  2. I have a decent paying job where I can use my creativity and many people in Central Texas read my work each month.
  3. I have a nice camera, which I bought this year.
  4. My family has always been there for me when I needed them and I'm thankful for the time I spent with them in Italy.
  5. I'm thankful for having the needed resources to take a trip abroad for the first time in my life.
  6. I'm thankful for my friends, who put up with me, even though I can be grouchy at times.
  7. I'm thankful for the small space I've been renting from a friend for the past year, which is very inexpensive for Austin.
  8. I'm thankful for extended family.
  9. I'm thankful for having clothes to keep me warm and food to sustain me.
  10. I'm thankful for my parent's dog, Coco, who shows us how to love people unconditionally.
  11. I'm thankful for the library, which allows me to read good books and watch good movies endlessly.
There are plenty of other things to be grateful and I hope I'm able to remember that in the new year. I'm looking forward to 2011 and hope that I can make all of my goals. I want my list this year to be more than New Year's resolutions. I want them to be blueprints for my life.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011

December 11 – 11 Things

Today's prompt at Reverb 10 was a good one that I'd like to share. Here it is and my response is below. How about writing your own?

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

By Tiffany Young

Only 11? I guess that's enough for now.

My No. 1 thing to gt rid of is people who put me in a box. Do you have any of these people in your life that always thinks they know who you are and what you're thinking but they are way off? You think you're close with them, but then the negative comments come through and ruins your day? Those are the people I'm getting rid of in 2011.

No. 2 is all the extra clothes I've been meaning to get rid of, but never do. I have too many clothes for my closet and bedroom and car all put together, but I let them sit around doing no good for me or anyone else. Those days are gone!

No. 3 will be working many, many hours without getting any closer to my goals. In the new year my current job will have to give me more than it has been or I'll have to figure something else out. I love parts of my job, but the parts I don't are going to have to disappear!

No. 4 is the papers I have around my room. Things need to either be in a filing cabinet or put away somewhere or dealt with. No more keeping paper out until I figure out what to do with it. When in doubt, throw it out!

No. 5 (this is fun, btw) is my dirty car. I'm not getting rid of the car, but cleaning it up and giving it the attention it deserves!

No. 6 is worrying what others think of me. It's none of their business! I'm never going to be what they want me to be, so why try?

No. 7 will be spending money so easily. This past month I've been spending money every time I turn around and I need to take back control of my finances.

No. 8 is timidity. Gone are the days of feeling incompetent. I've proven myself otherwise and need to believe that's true!

No. 9 is my storage space. I originally only got storage because I was going to buy a house soon, but since that hasn't happened and isn't on the horizon, I need to clean out that space and save the money I'm putting into the wasted space.

No. 10 is trying to read every blog I'm subscribed to. It's just never going to happen. If I want to read it I will, but I shouldn't feel I need to.

No. 11 is I'm letting go of things I once wanted to accomplish, but now no longer care about. This is hard for me! I want to accomplish anything and everything I ever wrote down as a good idea to do someday, but I've changed a lot over the years and need to deal with that.

DIY Christmas bows

By Tiffany Young
I was excited to learn how to make recycled bows from How About Orange via Chelle's Zone. It was very simple and just took a few minutes to complete one. I'm planning on making several to use when needed throughout the holidays. It looks especially good if you find an ad page that has mostly one color, such as this Cheez-it advertisement. Advertising has to go to good use, too!
I especially love this, because I have a large collection of magazines that I just can't part with, but this gives me a good way to recycle them besides passing them on to a friend. Not to mention, bows can get expensive. Let me know if you have any other secrets for recycled gift wrapping. I most likely will be using reusable bags or wrapping gifts in magazine paper as well. I have to buy gifts first, though!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Are goals needed?

By Tiffany Young
Leo Babauta recently wrote a post on not needing goals, and, while I understand what he's saying, I'm not sure I completely agree. Basically he says you can accomplish things without setting goals.

I'm sure that most people accomplish things every day without working toward them. If you live long enough you'll probably do something you could be recognized for or end up doing something you're proud of. But I find if I don't set some goals and decide on one or two at a time, some of the bigger things I want to do fall through the cracks.

If I hadn't decided to pay off my credit cards, I couldn't have done it. If I hadn't decided to finally buckle down and save for a trip to Italy, it may not have ever happened. Sure, I would still be an editor at a newspaper—that was never on my goal list—I would have went to college—all my friends were doing it, but the bigger stuff? Probably not.

So, while I understand what he means, for now, I'm going to keep adding goals to my moleskin, because there's a lot more I'd like to make sure I do.

Next up: Vegas on New Year's Eve.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Half Price Books success story

Today I got $5.50 for three books I sold to Half Price Books. While I indeed spent more than that on the books, I'm counting this as a success, since I usually get about $.50 back per book.

The three books I sold? "Three Cups of Tea" (loved, loved, loved), "Black Magic Woman" (eh.. gave me nightmares), and "A Weekend With Mr. Darcy" (one of the most charming books I've read in years).

Now I'm left to wonder why the higher price than usual. Is it because Mr. Darcy was a book I bought in the U.K. while at the airport and therefore harder to come by here? Was it the paranormal book because it was a bit difficult to find even on Amazon at first. Or was it Three Cups of Tea because it's such a big seller. I'm doubting the last, just because they usually have tons of bestsellers on hand since everyone reads them and then sells them.

I'm aware that technically I didn't give anything away, but I did make some room on my bookshelf. That's a lie—it's still full; I made some more room on my floor. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010


I was just guided toward How to Recycle Anything by Unclutterer, one of my favorite blogs giving me inspiration to live an uncluttered life.

The How to Recycle anything guide is impressive and just because we're done with something doesn't mean that item has been completely used up yet.

This also gives you some ideas on what to buy next time around. For example, Mac's recycling program for makeup makes me want to start using them over other companies who don't recycle or bother to encourage people to do so. You can also send your old Christmas lights for recycling and get a discount for new ones.

Who knew when you did something to save the planet, you might also save a little dough in return?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Home away from Home

Here is the apartment we've booked for our trip to Rome via Friendly Rentals. Its clean crisp rooms are a great reminder of how beautiful a space can be without clutter. Granted no one probably lives here for any length of time, so it's slightly different, but it still has all the necessities—table, bath, shower, coffee maker (just kidding-that just feels like a necessity). Tonight I'm going to let this be my inspiration as I go through my room and decide what needs to be there and what needs a new home.

Monday, May 31, 2010

This, that and the other

Writing tip of the day: Eliminate "that" from your writing

I'm not going to act as though I'm some great writer who has all (or any) of the answers to good writing. As a reporter/editor for a community paper, however, I can say one of the things I see all the time: In blogs, newspapers, e-mails, etc. I see the word "that" used unnecessarily. This post may seem completely off topic, but since my blog is (generally) about getting rid of unnecessary things, it's actually somewhat on topic.

Here are a couple examples I found just today:

Finally, and most important of all, Louise shared an exercise that she's done for years to build a stronger relationship with herself.

Same sentence without "that" ...

Finally, and most important of all, Louise shared an exercise she's done for years to build a stronger relationship with herself.

You gain a sense of power — you no longer feel that money controls you, but that you control money.

You gain a sense of power — you no longer feel money controls you, but you control money.

THAT being said, sometimes "that" is necessary, so don't delete them all. Read the sentence and see if it makes sense without it. If it does, delete.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lazy River

Some friends and I spent a beautiful day at Krause Springs (, about 30 minutes outside of Austin, on floats hanging out. If you haven't been there, you're missing out. Most of the area is shaded, there's a cave, small waterfall, a rope swing, swimming pool and plenty of rocks to lounge around on. It's just $5 per person to get in. I wish our pictures were posted on Facebook already, but for now you'll just have to check out the website (

Afterward we had dinner at Maudie's, a Central Texas Tex-Mex favorite. I ordered the fish tacos, which were not my fave fish tacos ever, but definitely not bad. Our order got lost, so it took especially long, but we all got to hang out a little longer, so I guess it wasn't too terrible. Mark threw his tortillas off a two story balcony—somewhat on accident—which spiced things up a bit. I still have leftovers, which I hope to use for a Tex-Mex brunch ... fish migas? You never know ...

I'm completely worn out, so it looks like an evening in bed reading for me.

UPDATE—photos from Facebook:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Jewels in the making

I recently read an article in Psychology Today (June 2010 issue) called "Go Ahead. Obsess!" The idea was that it's OK to get a little obsessed with your hobbies or work in order to accomplish great things (or to just become really interesting). With that in mind, I'm getting back into crafty, creative things. Here is a jewelry box I made with a wooden box, bought at Hobby Lobby, pretty paper and a little paint.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This for That

Today I took a bag of stuff to a trendy resale shop Buffalo Exchange ( Buffalo Exchange accepted more than I expected—they can be very selective in what they choose. They told me they planned on selling my stuff for around $54 and I could either take $17 in cash or look around the store and receive $24.75 in trade. I found a great pair of pants that fit great and are casual but trendy and still got $0.18 back!
Here is the bag o' stuff:

And here is what I got in return:

Not a bad deal and my closet looks fabulous with so much room. I also received a shirt from a friend when I hung out with her tonight that didn't fit her quite right, but fit me wonderfully.

Day one: The iPhone

One way the iPhone has helped me get rid of clutter is with its built-in camera. Before I got my phone a few weeks ago, I would keep scraps of paper with designs I liked to inspire creativity. Now I take photos of designs and patterns I like, such as the one above, with my iPhone, so I can flip through ideas and images at a glance, rather than filing them away and forgetting about them. I also take pictures of outfits I like for reference and things I see that I might want to buy in the future. I've even begun taking photos of things I want to remember to tell friends and co-workers. And of course, it's easy to delete the photo once I no longer need it as reference. Today, I got rid of various scraps of paper that I no longer had a use for and my favorites were saved to my iPhone.

In the beginning

Like many people today, I'm a bit overwhelmed with the amount of "stuff" in my life. From magazines to stacks of paper and piles of clothes, it's hard to keep track of what I have—and use and find it when I need it. And it's not just the physical stuff I need to weed through to find the gems—It's everything. My mind is also cluttered with useless knowledge and worry. This blog is meant to follow my life in the attempts of giving away one thing a day for 365 days to unclutter my life and see what it would be like to live a less cluttered and more fulfilling one. I'll make the rules up as I go, meaning there could be days when I give away cookies or money or a thought of the day, but the purpose remains the same: freeing myself of "stuff." If you want to follow along and do your own experiment of getting rid of stuff, I'd love to hear your stories and successes.

Live long and simplify!