Two Tips …

It’s been awhile, and I’m a little rusty but it’s late and I want to get this out so please bear with me.  Here are a couple of tips.

First, many of you who use our online system to track your sales (as far as we know, we’re the only consignment store that gives you that option) had difficulty knowing when the consignment period ended, especially when you consigned several times within a few months.  We’ve solved that problem by putting a note Consignment ends on XXXXXX following the detail for each of your items.  Now you shouldn’t have any problems keeping track of your end date!

Secondly I found out today about a workshop that’s right in line with our mission. Alyce Page the owner of Serendipity by Design will be hosting this informative workshop this Thursday.  A colleague for many years, I can tell you that her work as a stager / organizer is above reproach.  Here are a few details.  Click the link to view the flyer (sorry … I didn’t have time to convert this before my blog deadline).

Organizer and feng shui expert, Alyce Page, joins with spiritual healer, Emily Paul, for a collaborative evening of laughter and letting go. Utilizing the strength and inner joy of laughter meditation, we will explore the energetic perspectives of letting go to create new space in our lives for what nourishes and supports us. Each participant is invited to bring a box of belongings they would like to let go.View the PDF for more information  >>>  laughter and the art of letting go Sep2015


Tell Us What You Think

1) What do you like / not like about this credenza?

2) How much would you pay for it?

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The Center of The Universe

It’s where you vote, make tough decisions, entertain, argue, meet, love, share, find comfort, impress  and sometimes fail  – Your Kitchen.

Different from every room in your home it’s ground zero, the most dangerous and the safest. It’s the neutral zone where most are welcome; it’s rarely off limits and always open. It is the most expensive and often the most neglected.

On my counter I have a Cusinart food processor and coffee maker, and a Kitchenaide blender, toaster and stand mixer.  My cupboards hold a set of copper bottom Belgique stainless steel pots and pans, a cast iron skillet and a Calphalon roaster. I can seat six for dinner and I have about a dozen hand utensils.  All my spices fit on two shelves.  There are other sundries. This is what works for me and it’s really all I want or need.

As I considered this my last post on minimalism, I decided early on that of all the rooms I dare not dissect too much, it would be the kitchen. In fact I invite you to consider only two things as you consider yours.  First, your kitchen should be efficient.  You work there so make the job as easy as possible.  It’s the reason I invested in better quality appliances and cook ware and all but the Cuisinart were used or refurbished.

Second if your table is there, it can be a desk, but it should not be treated as a file cabinet.  It’s where notes are passed, keys are left, exchanges occur and negotiations take place.  Keep it accessible and don’t be afraid to invest in one that meets the needs of your lifestyle. And that’s it!

Just do what you do in your kitchen.  Chances are you already have discovered that it’s at the center of your universe and by definition, it’s already where it needs to be and doing what it’s supposed to do – for you.  Besides, anything I would add would probably end up under the sink.

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Out Of The Closet

closet

Pronunciation: /ˈkläzit/
noun

a)     a cupboard or wardrobe, especially one tall enough to walk into.

b)     a small room, especially one used for storing things or for private study.

I recall the story of a boy who lived in a town where there was going to be a parade coming down the street where he worked. He worked in a grocery store and despite pleading with the owner to leave the shop only for a few minutes to get a better look, the answer was no.  After much discussion a compromise was struck that he could watch the parade as long as he could touch the door of the shop.  Deal!

The parade came, he stood in the doorway touching the door and watching but as time progressed he could not get a view to his liking because of the crowd that had formed. Then he got the idea to unhinge the door and take it with him down the block.  Of course when he returned the store was completely cleaned out. Right!

And so it is with your closet or other storage spaces. Just because they are organized or full of things that are behind a closed door does not mean what is in them is there because of a wise choice.

I’m fortunate to have a walk in closet.  In my closet I have multiples of shoes, shirts, suits you name it.  Yet, I only wear so many of them and the rest I sort through to get to the ones I want to wear! The best example are my printed tee shirts.  I have like twenty of them, some of which I wear maybe 2 or 3 times a year.  The space it takes the clutter it makes and massaging isn’t worth it.  Why?  Because space means wasted time.  I’m resolved to thinning the stack.

Think about this.  If you work five days a week and spend even three minutes a day picking through things that’s fifteen minutes.  Try going to your closet on the sixth day and just standing there for that fifteen minutes and let me know what you think.

Take control of your closet. One good strategy for things on hangers is to put them on the pole facing you.  At the end of say a month or maybe two if you like, what remains facing backwards should be a high candidate for removal.

Shoes and handbags?  We hear women say all the time (tiredly) how many purses and shoes they have.  If the boyfriend or husband had an equal number of basketballs they would think him a nut job.

Try strategizing your wardrobe. Invest in the timeless character and quality of a few high end handbags and shoes and the clutter will take care of itself.  Here’s another thought.  Let’s say the average pair of shoes on sale is around $30.00.  At 10 that’s $300.00.  The most asked to be seen handbag in our store right now is a black and very snappy Furla.  Price?  $195.00.  We sold a Cartier not long ago for about the same amount. The balance of over $100.00 has to be a nice pair of shoes, three if you are a savvy consignment store shopper.

Men, unless you wear a suit everyday you only need maybe two or three in Seattle – but you do need them.  A blue one, a darker one (gray or black) and one of your choice that is winter weight.  This covers business, burials, and dinner year round.

None of us need 15 tee shirts.

Save time and money by having a strategy which isn’t buying because it’s on sale.  Have a plan for what going into and coming out of your closet and enjoy the favorable savings of time and money.

Last up … sacred ground … my kitchen.


Knoll he didn’t …

It’s been awhile since my last post. Partially because I’ve been avoiding the inevitable:  really going deep and letting go of what were once treasures. I’ve gotten rid of the low hanging fruit (the easy part) and now it’s down to leaving stuff behind on the yellow brick road.

I promised to write about desks and watches. The desk caused me to check my motives and to get honest as I decide how to manage things I already have; selecting which watches to keep provided me with a useful template to find a balance between what’s important and what is excess.

The Desk
I have a desk that I bought for $50 from a former employer over twenty five years ago. It’s simple; more of a table really, with two side by side drawers that are only a few inches deep and span its width. It’s got one of those forest-green rubberized writing surfaces on it. Solid wood, sturdy, and with clean lines, it was likely built in the sixties and has served me remarkably well for all these years.

Enter the Florence Knoll double pedestal walnut desk. It came to us a few weeks ago on consignment and I considered buying it – especially after I spent hours refinishing the top. I found a comparison online that recently sold for over $2,000.00. Slightly larger that my old standby, it’s also solid wood, has locking drawers on both sides , and floating legs. And did I mention it was a Knoll?  Imagine going to bed with an old Dodge parked in your driveway, and waking up to find a Cadillac parked behind it. The keys are on the kitchen table, and you can keep both; but honesty tells you that only one can stay.

As I pondered how to keep them both it occurred to me that I wanted the Knoll desk not only because it was a very rare find, and is truly a looker, but because it had drawers. Drawers to fill with the stuff I wanted to avoid getting rid of!  Thereby stalling, if not sabotaging the deep cleaning process I’ve begun.

One thing about the truth is that it will always be the truth no matter how you spin it.

That truth allowed me to sell the Knoll and keep the Dodge. I’m writing to you from it now. And you know what?  She purrs like a kitten.

The Watches
I have seven watches and have had as many as ten – all at the same time. Scaling back on these was hard because all but two were gifts. They don’t just mark time, they mark a time. I’ve resigned to keep three, but the process of deciding has helped me as I move forward.

My first choice is a Swiss Army I had a friend purchase for me when she was in Switzerland. I gave her the money and let her pick. It’s a cool watch that’s over twenty years old, it’s smart looking, but also very rugged. It’s the watch I’ve most often worked or travelled with, golfed and skied with. I wore it as I worked like a mad man to open my business. It’s been there with and for me. It’s my Swiss Army.

My second choice is a gold-colored Seiko quartz with a round face, purchased when I moved to Seattle in the late 80’s. I got it at Nordstrom and remember the saleswoman wasn’t able to tell me why I should take the one with the larger face over the one with the smaller face. I don’t recall how I opted for the larger one, but we now know that the one with the smaller face was designed for women don’t we? It’s the watch I wear in more formal settings.

My final choice is a square Seiko with a black face, gold trim and black alligator band. Simple. A shade or two below elegant, it doesn’t have a second hand or date and is so lightweight I sometimes forget I’m wearing it. A gift from an ex girlfriend and now long time friend. I’ll keep it.

Get Honest
I’ve come to believe that I don’t have to scale my life back so far that I can’t look at my wrist for an important piece of information and also remember times past. Going minimal can allow for memories and function without sacrificing either. The key is getting honest because when you do, stall tactics, needless upgrades, or tendencies to collect won’t overcome the truth.

Up next … sigh … my closet.


Booted The Bags and Bagged The Boots

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I own eight pieces of luggage (yes the ones in the photo all belong to me) including an REI day/backpack, two leather totes, a canvas tote, a 27” hard side spinner, a carry on, a North Face duffel bag and a suit bag.  Some were chosen out of an immediate need, others because they were a good bargain.  Then there is the “cool” factor  like the North Face duffel bag I bought because of the logo but that I really had little use for. You’ve been there.  Side by side you’d pay more for the same bag rather than buy one labeled Luggage Pride even at ½ the price.

Anyhow the bags stacked up until one day the light came on and Minimal Me got serious.  I ditched all the bags except the carry on.  It’s served me well many times as the others took up space in my closet. If I have enough clothing for two bags, I’ll combine them into one and for that I now have a soft side that is larger but lighter than the hard side.

I’ll grant you the convenience of a spinning luggage (and were nibbling at cool again) but spinning means hardware, hardware means weight and weight means money.  Fly that bag twice and you just purchased it from yourself.  Wheels are wheels … they need to roll … not spin.  The soft side is also less prone to damage, it has wheels, plus as a bonus, it’s red and much easier to locate on the luggage carousel.  Eight bags are now two.

The boots are even a more courageous story because it involves sentimentality.

Years ago I bought a pair of boots made by St. Moritz.  I won’t tell you how long ago, but I will tell you that I bought them at a Montgomery Ward store which was at the time the flagship store in a little mall in Portsmouth New Hampshire. Okay, I bought them in 1976.

It was my first winter ever and I needed a good pair of snow boots. These all leather (inside and out) boots exceeded my expectations.  They have taken me through many a winter, stood every test, kept my feet warm and have not broken down much despite the abuse I’ve meted out.  My after ski, rain and even work boot.  I kept them partially because of their quality but also out of loyalty.

Then I came across a pair of Lacrosse, Crosstech Fireman’s boots.  Features: Steel toe, steel shin, pull on rather than lace up, quilted inside. Vibram sole.  Waterproof. No comparison.

Even as I was paying for the better technology, I felt like I was hitting on my girlfriends friend at her 20th year high school reunion.  But it was a decent upgrade, so I’ll claim I had too much to drink and promise to never do it again. I promise.

Minimal decision-making looks something like this:

1) Look for opportunities to downsize into practical.  Understand changing trends and respond to them. It costs to check bags now and that cost can go up based on weight.  The bags I kept will easily fill the need of the bags I’ll get rid of, take up 1/3 the space and may not cost as much to check.

2) It’s okay to be sentimental, but it’s perfectly fine to upgrade when the right deal comes along. Girlfriends aside.

3) The bags, will be sold or donated and the extra pair of boots will make a much wiser passenger in my trunk than do a set of golf clubs. (See my previous post)

Next up, watches and desks.


Big “Fat” Lie

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I lied. Well sort of.

I told you my next post was going to be about boots and luggage. It isn’t, but it’s coming in a couple of days. This post is just as important however, because it explains why I’m gritting my teeth – at myself. My flaking enamel may be your gain.

I own two complete sets of golf clubs. Wilson Fat Shafts and Pings. I’ve had the Wilsons for a while and bought the Pings during vacation just over a year ago. I shipped them back from California (at an extra fee) then decided I needed a new driver which I also bought.

To my credit I decided to sell the extra set but a few months passed and none of it sold. I then decide (pay very careful attention here) to put them in the trunk of my car in case a) I decided to go to the driving range or play, or; b) in case someone visits me who does not have a set, then I’d have a set to loan them.

Really? (Said as though your girlfriend caught you putting the milk bottle back in the refer with 1/16” of an inch of milk left). Let’s drive a set of golf clubs around or keep a set for a visitor. Say it slowly…I’m shaking my head.

Are you guilty of that kind of thinking?

I played golf approximately six times in the past two years and I have never, in the twenty years I’ve been playing, had someone visit who needed to borrow a set of freaking golf clubs!

Perhaps you’ll gain by the benefit of my conversion:

Benefit A: Take my advice and stop thinking you will use it, if you have another set/pair/item. You won’t. You. Just. Wont. Okay?

Benefit B: I have a set of Wilson Fat Shafts (1 – 9 and P/W).  I also have a 9.5 degree Taylor Made driver and two fairly pedestrian Spalding woods. If you need a set of clubs, they are yours. Want to pay me? Fine. Don’t want to pay me? Fine. Maybe you’ll trade me for a decent fairway wood? No, I don’t have one.

My only condition is that they do not fall into the “one day” I’m (xyz) category. If you take them, you or someone you know will use them. Otherwise I’ll donate them to a youth league or a Goodwill.

And by the way, here’s Benefit C: You know which stores, like Goodwill and Value Village, are actually non-profits and which are not, right? Know this before you donate!

Up next, as promised: boots and luggage.