Wednesday, January 18, 2012


To clean something with water and soap usually means it needs to be dried. In the case of dishes, the dishwasher's coils heat up the air. In the case of clothes, the air is heated by gas or electricity and the clothes tumble about.

Lately, I've been letting gravity and the ambient air to (nearly) dry my dishes. I like this method. First, no spots or residue. Second, my glasses don't steam up anymore (like they used to when I opened the dishwasher). Third, once they're dry, I put them away.

This also saves energy. Plus, I don't have to worry about fixing a broken dishwasher.

I'm also leaning towards air drying my clothes after 10 minutes in the dryer. My clothes should last longer and energy will be saved too. While I was in Croatia, my clothes were hung to dry and they felt great.

Plus, if I have fewer clothes to wash, this shouldn't be much more effort, just an investment in time.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cleaning (the Kitchen)

Ouch. This is a large topic that can go in a lot of directions. I'll try to stay focused.

Cleaning is a "have to do" for me. I like a clean house but it takes time and energy. Recently I've adopted a clean as I go approach in the kitchen.

After each meal, I will wash all dishes, pots, cups, and silverware by hand. I'll set them in a dish rack to dry. While drying, I'll wipe down the counters, cabinets, stove, fridge, and kitchen table. By that time, the dishes will have dried enough to where I can towel them off and put them away. Once done with that, I'll sweep the kitchen floor.

Is it perfect? No. The oven wasn't cleaned for was the floor mopped. I didn't clean out the fridge either. On the other hand, I don't have a microwave to clean!

Overall though, by the end of the day, everything is where it should be, the counters and floors are clean, and when I walk in the next morning, I don't have to see a mess. Plus, this has a ritualistic quality for me. I'm actually able to find solitude and peace in this. Couple this with the fact I love to cook my own meals, this is a nice coda to my day.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


No, not money.

Just a slight change in how I wear certain clothes. My first reaction has always been to toss the shirt into the hamper after wearing it once in the afternoon around the house. Why not take it off before bed, fold it up nicely, and put it back in the drawer?

Same goes for jeans, pants, jackets, sweatshirts and *maybe* socks. Boxer briefs? No way. One and done for those.

Just wearing a shirt twice instead of once reduces its being washed by half. Play that out over a week and you're looking at fewer loads to wash, which translates into less energy and time put into washing your clothes.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I explored my communications options and the various providers. Going with the local telco's bundled package of Internet and phone has a base of $69/mo. The cable provider is similar.

Where the difference lies is the cable operator offers an Internet only plan for $29/month (10/2).

Knowing this I turned to VoIP providers. Two came to mind: pay all at once up front or pay recurring monthly with costs comparable to a phone company's. No go.

So I took a chance on Ooma. Bought a refurbished unit (saved $40!). If the company lasts at least 7 months it will have paid for itself.

Let's hope I can figure out the technical side of how to configure it!


I made another decision microwave. Basically I've seen it used for two things: cooking popcorn and my kids dinners (and by my daughter melting ice to conduct an experiment...she's definitely NOT screwing around she tells me.). Both of these can be cooked using the range and stove respectively. Both will take longer to make, but that's okay with me.

It takes up space. (Where I'm moving has limited countertop space.). Plus it's one more thing that needs to be cleaned every week. So...goodbye microwave.


I enjoy grilling steaks, especially in the summer, while sipping a beer. In my plans I just assumes I would take my old propane wheeled grill with me.

But the thought of moving it and how little I use it (few times in winter and weekly in the summer) made it seem like a burden.

So I thought lets go with charcoal. After all it's easier (where I live) to run out in a pinch to refuel vs having to lug a combustible tank around and exchanging it; charcoal is cheaper; and with propane the flame tends to die on me at the worst times.

So after looking online basic charcoal still exceed $100. Too much. How about portables I asked? I usually grill for myself anyway so I looked at portable grills and found one for about $35. Solid reviews and meets my requirements: small, easy to refuel (put charcoal on the Costco list!), and perfect size for grilling for myself.

I'll wait a few weeks to buy it (ship to my new place-one less thing to move) but before summer so prices don't run up with increased demand.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Gyms. Temples to worship ones body and admire...envy...stare at other bodies. Memberships. Parking. Drive to and from. Crowds. Noise. Sweat. Waiting. Additional time required. All for $35/month.

I'm trying to opt out. I have a few core exercises I do three times a week. Push ups. Pull ups. Dips. Sit ups. Rows. Shrugs. Nearly all can be done without a machine using body weight. other three days is spinning jogging or jumping rope. Nearly all can be done at home.

Will I be the next Ah-nold? Never. Have I seen changes? Yes. Simple? Yes. Free? Yes.

So far a big plus is it's easier to throw on clothes and get to working out in less than five minutes than getting motivated to go to the gym and fighting the crowds and it takes less time...which is what it's all about.

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Monday, January 09, 2012


I try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible. For a whole I was on an organic kick but that got tiresome due to shopping frequently for fresh items and trying to find the right foods.

I'm now realizing that my time is important to me and I want to spend as little time as possible shopping for groceries and other things. The fewer trips to the store, the better.

Enter Costco. I have a regular list of foods that I consume on a regular basis. All of them can be purchased at Costco. The trick is to buy in sufficient enough quantities to go shopping every two or three weeks instead of every week vs spoilage for veggies and other perishables.

A main thrust of simplifying (for me anyway) is cutting out repetitive tasks. From making my. breakfasts for the week on Sunday (marginal increase in cooking time vs only one dish cleaning) to cutting all my veggies at the start of the week to shopping every other week.

Buying in bulk the core (whole and unprocessed foods) I eat should help.


Some minimalists suggest buying used clothing. I'm not ready to go there...yet. But I am not willing to pay any more premiums for a t shirt with a logo on it whose only function is to cover my upper body in public.

So I've decided to buy plain colored t shirts. I won't be a walking billboard, they're cheaper than brand name, and I can coordinate with the rest of my wardrobe especially jeans or shorts.

Problem solved? We will see.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Why Opt Out?

I'm of the mind that fighting the banks head on and on their own turf is a losing proposition. Let me back up here.

Late summer and through the fall Occupy Wall Street was in the news and a was a figurative finger in the eye of authority. How'd that turn out?

Police raided and shut down the protests. The media effectively painted the protestors as out of work hippies with nothing to do. The media attention ceased. It became hippies vs the cops and the message was diluted.

Why join a movement to show displeasure with the status quo? Why not act on it in a completely legal and moral way? Why not opt out of the consumer culture? Why not cancel cable tv? Why not use cash? Why not stop spending needlessly? Why not put the credit cards down and switch to a credit union?

If more people opted out of the system then we could see real change?

Changing Gears

I'm about to undergo a significant change in my life. While it is something I never expected to happen, there is also a sense of excitement about being able to change gears and start over. Without going into too much detail, here's my new motto: Simplify and opt out. (I'll explain the philosophy and the raison d'etre later.) This means in practical terms: -Taking only what I use/wear on a regular basis and leaving the rest -Adopting a minimalist approach -Washing dishes by hand and using room temperature air and gravity to dry dishes -Not subscribing to cable television (I will have the internet and streaming Netflix though) -Listing my core core grocery items I buy on a regular basis and sticking to those; buy whole foods (nothing processed) and buying organic when I can -Going cash only (yet realizing things will come up) -Consolidating my accounts with my credit union (ditching the big banks!) -Stop using credit cards for day to day purchases (see cash only) -Recognizing that the library has books and CDs (for free) and is a great place to go to get away from things for a few hours -Identifying the important things in my life and cutting out other less meaningful things.

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