Carry less.

As part of the preparations for my month long trip, I went through my wallet and laptop bag and pulled out everything I knew I wouldn’t need while I was gone.

Then I realized I wouldn’t need enough walletstuff to bring the wallet, so I set that aside too.

When I got back I wisely didn’t put everything back as it was, but have instead been adding things as I need them and I’ve learned something: I don’t need to carry much at all. And I’m not the only one:

In the spirit of GTD,
in which you try to empty your head of all the cruft and worry so you
can concentrate creatively on the task at hand, let us look to our
burdens to see if we can’t undo a little of our daily Sisyphean-wear.

Mind like water? Meet pockets like air.

[read more in Robert Daeley’s "Zen Pockets" post]

This article definitely made a lot of sense to me. I knew already but am having a renewed appreciation for just how much time, space, and weight I save by not being a makeup wearer. I never have really gotten used to wearing a watch and now, in the era of the iPod and the mobile phone and the laptop, I have a more reliable timepiece handy 99% of the time anyhow. One of the smarter decisions I made was to get a laptop bag which doesn’t have room for a lot more than my laptop.

Maybe you’re different, but I have to acknowledge that if there’s room to put things, I’ll fill it up with stuff. My Discardia-at-work move this time around was to have one of the work surfaces in my cube removed. This had the incidental effect of reducing my file cabinet space by half, but since it was half full of crap, this is a good thing. Now my remaining counter and shelf space has 3 stacks of unsightly papers which offend mine eyes and which I am thus reminded to chip away at "processing" – deciding if the things in them should be filed, trashed or require some action.

I know that Hipster PDA‘s are all the rage – and my beloved Grandpa Bob was a hipster ahead of his time with a dozen index cards and a ballpoint pen always handy in his pocket, so it ought to run in the family – but I find index cards are too big and heavy for my ephemeral notes. I either act on things or transfer them to my big list of projects, actions & someday/maybe in KGTD right away, so lighter, smaller slips are better for me. I went over to Kinko’s, had a lot of bright yellow paper cut into twelfths and now have a good supply.

My slim wallet has three slots and the bill area, but even so it had started to seem too big and it didn’t have any way to keep a pen handy with it, therefore I began watching for a better alternative. The other day in Borders I saw a little pouch thing – not sure what it’s actually intended for, to be honest, since it doesn’t close tight enough for a coin purse – but it’s just a little bigger than a credit card, has a flap that secures with an elastic band and my space pen fits neatly in it. Perfect! and $5.99, so cheap too! It now holds my ID, ATM card, transit passes, a little cash and my noteslips. In a pinch, my house key could clip to it too.

Ahhh, minimalism.

The season of giving? Maybe, but not necessarily of shopping.

Around about the week before Thanksgiving, the pressure starts. The ads begin to suggest “the perfect gift for the such & such on your list”. The list is assumed. Of course everyone has a List. Everyone must be buying. Then that post-turkey Friday comes and the frenzy in the stores begins.

The crowds. The sensory overload of enforced commercial festivity.

“Bring on the cheer, dammit!” seems to be the underlying messsage of the barrage of Christmas music, holiday movie promotions, and red & green advertising plastered on every surface. Sometimes it seems like you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a Santa (and as December barrels on, the tempation to do so grows)…

(read more of my latest Discardia post)

Virtual yard sale

[August 2009, in cleaning up old papers – woohoo, single digital lifestream project! – I found an email I had printed out which I sent at work.]

To: community
Subject: Virtual Yard Sale

My boyfriend and I had been talking about doing a yard sale or a trip to the flea market, but we live on a very steep hill without enough foot traffic to make a yard sale successful and it seems that you're supposed to show up at the flea market at 5am, so that's right out. We'd have to make a lot of money to make that worthwhile, so we'll try a less painful approach: the virtual yard sale.

If you're interested in any of the following items, just drop me a note and make an offer. Please note that "I'll come pick it up" is a perfectly valid offer. (FYI, our place is in the Castro district in San Francisco).

– queen-size futon with simple wood frame & two pieces which act as side tables when in couch mode [gone]

– pressboard 2-drawer unit, 16" cube (might actually have two of these) [didn't go, not sure if I ever got rid of these or if they're still in that apartment with my former boyfriend/housemate]

– classic fold-up card table, 30" square, been in use in my family for decades, needs a good home [gone]

– blue leather Palm pilot case (suitable for Palm I-III, possibly I-V) [gone]

– 60's look checkerboard pattern knit mini-dress with red stripe, needs light repair, size m, very Speed Racer in aesthetic, could also pass for 1930's geometric [gone]

– round stone table fountain with pump [gone]

– Jensen JMP-33 computer speakers [didn't go, probably ended up in Goodwill box]

– small, extremely solid safe [gone]

– Honeywell air purifier [didn't go, probably ended up in Goodwill box]

– wooden folding tv-tray-style table [didn't go, probably ended up in Goodwill box]

– metal "No Dumping Allowed" sign [gone]

– comics: Paul the Samurai #1-3, Paul the Samurai: Tick Spinoff #2-4 & 7, Enigma #1-4, Marvels Book 1 (Flash), Superman the Man of Steel Feb 94 #30 Colorforms issue with Lobo. [didn't go, not sure what happened with these. I don't think I still have them. Maybe gave 'em to my friend Len?]

– SF Examiner article from Sept 23 1979 about Dungeons & Dragons "Joys, dangers of game where one's imagination is the limit" [gone]

– music memorabilia bag (cassette Green Jello "Three Little Pigs" pre-cease & desist order, button "I'm too sexy" from Right Said Fred tour, Bruce Cockburn's Big Circumstance tour button, repro of Rolling Stone #1, "I love the Bay City Rollers" patch) [didn't go except for the of-course-plaid BCR patch, rest probably ended up in Goodwill box]

– movie & tv memorabilia bag (Cool World Holli Would button, Naked Lunch button, 3 Batman logo from first Burton film buttons, Spike & Mike Twisted Toons barf bag unused I should note, Misery bookmarks & 2 buttons, Cool World promo postcard, "The Tucker Times" printed promo page for the movie "Tucker" with Jeff Bridges, People magazine Sept 25 1989 issue about Saturday Night Live, Entertainment Weekly #3 issue on Hunt for Red October with a little coming soon ad from NBC with this blurb near the bottom "The Seinfeld Chronicles: A different look at the life and misadventures of the single man, from hip new stand-up comic Jerry Seinfeld.") [didn't go, probably ended up in Goodwill box]

– collectible trading cards bag (unopened Jyhad starter deck from original version, 4 unopened booster packs ditto, promo material for re-release of game as "Vampire: The Eternal Struggle", complete set of Jyhad cards mint in binder, 1995 Magic: The Gathering binder, Tomart's Photo Checklist & Price Guide to Collectible Card Games vol. 1 first printing 1995, The Duelist magazine #6 featuring art of Rob Alexander, The Duelist magazine #5 featuring art of Liz Danforth, The Duelist magazine #7 featuring art of Mark Tedin, The Duelist #4 featuring the art of Melissa Benson, 1995 Other Worlds: Michael Whelan II collector cards binder w/ promo sheet & 3 cards 14 21 & 41, 1995 David Cherry collectible cards set {complete, I think, but the cards are sleeved out of order & I feel lazy at the moment}, 1994 MTG poster illustrating many cards and 1994 Jyhad poster plus bonus gift of Chris Baccalo poster of Death from Sandman, box from 1995 MTG 2 deck starter kit in very good condition, Mark Poole deck box with juggling sorceress, assortment of 1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation cards including Wesley Crusher, 1991 3M Olympic Innovator's Collection Olga Korbut card) [gone]

– politics & news memorabilia bag (Spy magazine Oct 1997 with Bill Clinton on cover as superhero – bagged in very good condition with Clinton/Gore 92 bumper sticker, front section of SF Chronicle May 25 1987 "The Great Party" 50th birthday of the Golden Gate Bridge, "No on 65 Stop LaRouche" button, front section of San Jose Mercury News FEb 8 1990 "Communists give up monopoly" "Bush backs arms control, SDI" "Top official [Gassee] on way out at Apple", used "Fight the Right" phone card with picture of Newt Gingrich on it, Garbage magazine Premier Issue, lots of 1989 Quake related newspaper sections including SJ Merc Oct 23 "The Long Road Back", SJ Merc Oct 22 "We will never forget" 16 page memorial, SJ Merc Oct 23 front "Thank God, I'm alive" Buck Helm story, SJ Merc Oct 19 3 sections including front section with "Cold fusion heats up", SF Chron Oct 18 8 page issue "EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA HUNDREDS DEAD IN HUGE QUAKE", Contra Costa Times Oct 18 "Earthquake: Over 200 die; bridge, I-880 collapse", SJ Merc Oct 18 "MASSIVE QUAKE 76 die in seconds of horror", SF Examiner Oct 18 "EARTHQUAKE EXTRA 7.0 quake stuns Bay", SJ Merc Oct 21 front section, SJ Merc Nov 10 story about Bookshop Santa Cruz, and the best thing of all, Kevin Cowherd's column from the morning of Oct. 17th about the World Series game which reads "Actually, I have no idea who is going to win the Series, because these are two teams from California and God only knows if they'll even get all the games in. An earthquake could rip through the Bay Area before they sing the national anthem for Game 3.") [gone, though it seems to me to someone who didn't want the newspapers because I remember walking those down and just giving them to a guy at the counter at an antique/ephemera store on Castro Street because I couldn't bear to just toss them in the recycling]