Minimal Me…Media

by Tania Ginoza on November 16, 2012 · 13 comments

 A huge area of  excess for me is content and media.  So books, mags, dvds and digital content is one of the first areas I tackled in my minimal journey.

 Anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows how much I love the written word.  I also love photos and illustrations so that’s double the trouble.  Make that a triple because I’m a drama, documentary and comedy addict too.

Isn’t it good to be a booklover?  Well, yes, but it’s not good to be overwhelmed with an unmanageable level of content taking over your home and making you feel like a bibliophile failure.  Prior to writing this post, I had shelves filled with back issues of  periodicals and fashion mags.  I have more content coming in then I have time to read.  As my interests have changed I’ve found I’m no longer as interested in certain reading materials I’ve kept or subscribed to out of habit. So I did mini media projects, limiting myself to 15 minutes each time.  Here’s what I accomplished:

  1. Donated 40 books to the Maui Friends of the Library
  2. Filled 2 shopping bags with dvds to donate or sell
  3. Cancelled my online membership with Weight Watchers
  4. Put back issues of WSJ & WWD in the recycle bin
  5. Cancelled my weekday subscription to WSJ (I kept the weekend edition)
  6. Cancelled my renewal to Marie Claire
  7. Pulled a huge stack of unread or partially read fashion mags off the shelf for donation
  8. Removed blogs I consistently skip from my Google Reader and put what was left into categories
  9. Consolidated all my blog subscriptions into one platform

I chose 15 minute projects because 15 minutes minutes was manageable with my busy schedule while setting a time limit ensured my decisions on what to keep were swift.

I had pre-determined guidelines for each project.  I mentioned in my Minimal Me post that I’ve been journaling about a desired minimal lifestyle. This sort of brainstorming and mind mapping in a thoughtful way helped me see connections between the various areas of excess in my life and helped me focus on what I really enjoy and need.  Having this focus enabled me to choose what stays and what goes quickly.

For example, one area I would like to simplify is my food prep and eating. Food has a direct relationship to media as I’m an aspirational cookbook reader. I don’t cook often and bake even less. When I do cook, I go online and stick to very simple recipes with few ingredients. Yet, I had an entire collection of cookbooks including several cupcake themed (I’m allergic to wheat).  By mulling over all areas I’d like to simplify, it helped me purge brutally in related areas.

Any cookbook that was unread, too complicated or wheat focused was donated. Any book that didn’t appeal to me and fashion mags were tossed even if unread.  My interests have been changing and evolving and there is no reason for me to keep books and mags around that are no longer my first choice when presented with some precious time to curl up in bed and read. I’d rather pass those on to someone who will appreciate them.

The dvd purge became easy because if I have two hours of free time, I’d prefer to watch something I haven’t seen before.  With online streaming via Hulu and Netflix, I never find myself without options.

I’m not perfect yet.  I still have quite a bit of inventory.  I will continue to buy books but will be mindful in my selection at a manageable rate.  I will use the kindle “sample” feature and the “to read” area on my Things app to list books I would like to read at a later time.  If one has a change of heart, it is much easier to delete a line on an app or a sample on your kindle than to give away a book you’ve never read!

Do you have any tips for managing media and content?

 

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Shalagh Hogan November 16, 2012

There you go girl. So proud for you nipping the insidious self sabotage of excess in the bloom. I know that bibliophile failure one. And last night I started my first 15 minutes of sorting computer bookmarks and was thinking about you ! The accountability is great impetus too I’ll bet. Hey and that wheat allergy’s doing you a favor huh?
Keep updating and inspiring us.
Love,
Shalagh

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Tania November 16, 2012

The wheat allergy made me see things clearly (no wheat fog for one thing!). After a few weeks of eating wheat free I realized it made my food choices simpler, not complicated (mind you I’m not celiac so don’t need to worry about very small quantities or cross contamination, etc). No impulse buys from the grocery store and I mainly focused on rice dishes or salads. I also had cancelled a local vegetable delivery during that same period. Although the service was wonderful, you don’t pick what is delivered every week, it was random. I found having a fridge stuffed with veggies that I wasn’t used to preparing was a bit too much for me at this particular busy time. So I went back to buying my usual mixed herb mix, clementines, strawberries, bananas, mangos and eating eggplant and using basil from our garden. I occasionally buy something different to add to my base but I no longer have a fridge stuffed full (no joke) full of unfamiliar veggies glaring at me, reminding me of how little time I do spend in the kitchen at home. Many people I know love the service and take full advantage of what they receive but I wasn’t and it was time to realize that was okay.

The online stuff is the worst! I’m scared to look at my bookmarks. I don’t use any of them so perhaps I’ll just delete and start fresh. There is a guilt too with online, I find it very hard to remove a blogger from my list. Even if we don’t interact with each other, they likely don’t know me from Adam or their subject matter is not something I read or need to read all the time. I had quite a few on my reader because I belong to groups and grabbed the folder of links. While I can toss a book received as a gift without blinking, it is very hard for me to remove a blogger from my reader that I don’t read anyway. Completely illogical behavior. The guilt! (I’m not sure if it’s liberal or my catholic school education)

Thanks for reading Shalagh!

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lisacng @ expandng.com November 16, 2012

Love the list of media minimalizing! The Google Reader one hits home b/c I have to purge that list pretty often. I subscribe, I read for a while, I don’t get much out of it, and then delete. I don’t mind deleting subscriptions as much anymore. I also don’t mind if I don’t comment on every post by every blog. And funny that you had cupcake recipe books even though you are allergic to wheat! Good idea to pare that pile of books down. What I collect most is recipes from magazines, but I’m learning that if I haven’t used it, I’m going to throw it out. Or if I don’t try it right away, I won’t keep it. I love blog recipes more b/c I know they are tried and tested. We both love simple recipes!

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Tania November 19, 2012

I don’t comment on all blogs either. There are even some that I follow that are fabulous but don’t even have the comments section open.

I am only recently allergic to wheat. Allergy tests in earlier years didn’t show anything like that. And I LOVE cupcakes. I mean I really really love them. But, oh well. Bring on the flourless chocolate cake!

I do love blog recipes too, I learned how to make kale chips from blogs.

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Stephanie Ohigashi November 16, 2012

Great idea, I can handle 15 minutes..based on all the boxes,stacks, drawers and bags of mags, books, newspaper clippings, it will only take me 15 years to de-clutter..help.

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Tania November 19, 2012

Aww, me too. That’s why I do the short spurts. You don’t get the same satisfaction at looking at a bunch of empty space right away but you don’t have to find a huge block of time either.

As I write this by the way I have a bunch of stuff in my car from the Heart event this weekend including a mannequin and a box full of frames and dishes (props!). I somehow couldn’t find 15 minutes yesterday to take the stuff out!

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Courtney - Maui Jungalow November 16, 2012

Good for you Tania! I have purged, collected, repurged, recollected. I am a sucker for magazines too, which is why I hardly ever subscribe since I can get them free – though not always the issues I want – or go to the library. 15 minutes is excellent – as recommended by flylady.com. I sometimes think it’d be fun to share a mag sub w/ a friend or two. Also, the upcoming collage n stitch n bitch gathering will be a great magazine purge for me… It’s an ongoing thing. Like paying bills. Recipes are tricky too! I collect them and have them sorted in a big binder by category. When I finish a book, it gets donated. So …eek, my shelves are mostly unread books. You’re on the right path!

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Tania November 19, 2012

That’s the first thing I thought of when you sent me that email, mmm I could unload the mags and have a good time too.

I agree it’s an ongoing thing. I once saw an organization segment on a tv show and she had all the subscriptions in a box and when you received the new one, you tossed the old one. I was kind of wondering if anyone actually did that. I’m good about read and purge, it’s the not having time to read that does it for me. So, I’m like you! A lot of unread pieces.

I used to read a lot of mags at the library too but haven’t gone much since I’ve been here (you can see I don’t have to, I’m a library all on my own). I love the Makawao library though, a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

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noreen November 16, 2012

“i’m not perfect yet.” – nobody is! it sounds like you are making some really positive changes. i’m with you on the cookbooks. i have a bunch, use 2 or 3, and look up recipes on the web if i need them. good for you for cleaning stuff out!

keep sharing this project – you’re inspiring! n

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Tania November 19, 2012

Ha ha, I didn’t want you all imagining a perfect bookshelf because there are several pockets in my home that media tends to rest and multiply (I swear I don’t know where all those mags came from ;-)

Thanks Noreen!

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Jen November 16, 2012

Good for you, girl! I feel the same way. Currently, between my siblings and I, we have over 15 magazines being mailed to our address. Next year, we are cutting back and getting the digital copies on the Kindle Fire instead. It’s minimal and cheaper…win-win if you ask me. Don’t get me started on the catalogs. Good for you!

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Tania November 19, 2012

So you guys share? I think that’s a great idea. I just dump most catalogs. Once in awhile I read the DWR because there is good background on the designers and I like to look at how they mixed the clothes in the JCrew but just about everything else gets tossed.

The thing about digital is I barely look at mine (go figure). I think since I started blogging, when I want to read to relax, I enjoy off the ipad or laptop except for books (but I have a regular kindle, not a fire). Part of me clearing off the excess is to ensure I read the stuff I’m really interested in (including my digital subscriptions).

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another jennifer November 17, 2012

I get so overwhelmed when I have too much “stuff.” I have to go through and purge every now and then. The kid stuff, in particular, gets to be too much. It can be a tough process, but it feels so good when you’re done. Really. How much stuff do we need?!

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