Showing posts from January, 2017

Manliness + Sustainability = Bad Ass Dad

I bought something today, but it isn't new, so I'm still on course for my year long challenge. I picked up a vintage straight razor. I did a little research and scoured Kijiji with my one prerequisite being that it has to be used. The result is the $40 beauty you see below, but that's not the best part.  The best part of my purchase was the brief experience I had with the guy who sold it to me. He asked if I collected straight razors or wanted to use it. I said I'm planning on using it. He chuckled and asked why a straight razor in this day and age. So I told him what I'm doing here - that I've given up buying new stuff, including razors, so it was either grow a beard or find a way to shave that doesn't include disposables. He lit right up when I told him. He then asked if I was anti-consumerist and I said, not yet. Jokingly he asked if I buy food and I said it was the one thing I am allowed to buy new. He suggested, to keep in line with my challenge, that …

Invest in Yourself - Fitness on the Cheap

With my last entry I gave a little spiel about giving back. I chose to support a friend of mine in her efforts to raise funds for the World Wildlife Foundation. Good friend. Good cause. Money well spent. I've donated a good amount of my clothes, my wife's clothes and, tomorrow, I'm donating my kids' old sleep sacks to a friend with a baby. These are actions I can feel good about. But rather than wait for the Karma express to come rolling my way, I'm being proactive and doing good by me as well. If I don't invest in me, who will? 
I think I already made mention that I joined a gym that carries a minimal cost of $4.99/bi-weekly.  Not bad. I made the decision to join that gym rather than source out used gym equipment for a home gym, because a home gym is generally never used. I'd end up with an oversized, overpriced set of clothes racks. How do I know? I had a treadmill, but sold it for roughly $100 before I started this journey. I had adjustable barbells, and…

Time to Give Back - Support a Cause, Earn a High Five

With all the cost cutting and selling stuff around the house, I've mentioned before about supporting a friend who has undertaken a charitable endeavour. The cause I've chosen to support is the World Wildlife Foundation, and the friend I'm supporting is Lindsay. She climbs the CN Tower every year to support this worthwhile initiative. And really, why wouldn't I support her? I like animals. I like Lindsay. It seems a no brainer. That said, I'm going to post the link to her fundraising efforts right here,  Who knows, maybe I can push a couple extra bucks in her (WWF's) direction.

I feel this shark would totally high five me for donating to Lindsay and the WWF!
I once read that no one has ever gone poor by giving to charity. I believe it. Now, I'm not saying to throw all your money at a charitable cause, but try giving a bit if you haven't already. You'll feel better for it. If you do give, you know it's true. Know who else feels good? The friend you…

Drinking to Declutter?

I've sorta fallen off the blogging wagon, but I've had a pretty sweet weekend in terms of family, decluttering and continuing the 'not buying anything new' streak. The problem with the blogging wagon is that Blogger won't let me post pictures from my phone and if I try it just fails to post. I couldn't use my Chromebook either because, well, I left it at home while the family and I spent the weekend at the mountains.

Decluttering, however, was pretty profitable. I just sold my old snowboard for $100 and used a gift card for booze. Scratch that, I used two gift cards for booze.  Now, I hadn't planned on buying any liquor until I drank what I have (and I have a small collection), but most of it wasn't even for me. I grabbed myself a couple ciders and a seasonal beer. Not exactly partying it up, but I suppose parenthood puts a bit of a damper on drinking like a freshman at a frat house.

I'm surprised sometimes how many gift cards people carry around wi…

Selling Off Duplicates

Not only have I refrained from purchasing stuff since I gave up stuff, I also sold my old Kobo eReader. That's $50 in my pocket and one more electronic device out of the house. I can comfortably sell my Kobo because all my Android devices (all two of them) have the Kobo app on them. I don't need a dedicated device when I have a Nexus 7" tablet (albeit, old and on it's last legs) that does the same thing, minus the amazing battery life.

Looking around the house it's easy to start identifying duplicates. That little point and click camera? Easily replaced by my phone. My four spatulas? Who needs four spatulas? No really, I have four and each one seems to be specialized. I have one for eggs in the little pan, one for pancakes on the griddle ... I wish I was kidding. Sad as my spatula situation is, the point is that duplication exists and only adds to clutter. Perhaps it'd make a good starting point for someone who wants to start minimizing. I imagine it'd be …

Used Food a.k.a. Leftovers

I said I wasn't going to do second hand food, but I suppose if it's my second hand food, that's okay. Just before I started to try batch cooking / meal prepping I had some amazing (and healthy) taco bowls. The benefit of making taco bowls is the inevitable taco meat leftovers. Seriously, that shit is amazing! I thought I had a problem when I ran out of wraps and was low on toppings, but you know what doesn't require wraps and toppings? Scrambled eggs infused with leftover taco meat. Sweet Jesus they were delicious. I think I even threw in the last of the sliced jalapenos, you know the ones, the butts no one wants to eat. Diced those bad boys up and tossed them in too. Know what else I saw in the fridge? Half a sausage that no one was going to eat. Guess what happened to that? Diced, pan friend and added to my eggs-trodinary creation. What? You thought there'd be no lame ass dad puns? I'm a dad ... of two ... I'm surprised it's taken this long.

I assure y…

Sports (Hockey) on the Cheap

I've been playing hockey as a goalie for, good Christ, going on 24 years. Man, that makes me feel old. Playing goalie has likely aged me prematurely, too. My knees. My back. I feel like I'm thirty-something going on eighty. Despite my love of the position, something I've always wanted to try was playing out of the net. The problem is I don't have any player equipment. I have my lacrosse helmet and gloves which can pull double duty, but I lack everything else. So, how am I to realize my dream at the weekly beer league shitshow? Borrow.
Luckily I live in Canada. My brother-in-law had equipment to lend me for this week's game. Two of my co-workers are pitching in some used, beater equipment for me to continue pursuing my awesomeness in the weeks to come. I can finally play outside the crease and I don't have to buy a single piece of equipment. I also get an absolutely killer cardio workout at least once a week. Not sure how I feel about that with the whole feeling…

8 Day Streak Still Alive

It's funny how walking about a mall when you're not allowed to buy anything new is, well, a bit of an eye opener. I might see something I want, but I immediately think a.) I don't need it or b.) I wonder where I can find it, or something like it, used. It's only been 8 days but I find my resolve has only gotten stronger. I'm also becoming less and less attached to the stuff I still own. I'm starting to see that I don't need all the t-shirts I have. I'm just not excited to wear them. I like them, but I'm not overly enthused when I pull a couple of them out. Okay, so not every piece of clothing I own is going to make me want to throw a celebration at the thought of putting it on, but I'm starting to lose that anxiety at the thought of donating shirts I previously would not have parted with. Same goes with what's left of my DVD collection. Too bad my local library isn't accepting donations. I think I could sleep a little more soundly knowin…


Rooting around I found a free eBook through Kobo on building a backyard shed/studio. I haven't had a chance to go through it, but so far I think there are only 3 free plans, not the 50 the title would suggest. I'm also not sure of the sizes in the book, but I imagine a backyard studio can be built relatively inexpensively since free plans are just about everywhere and I also found excess/leftover building materials on Kijiji. I'm not ready to buy materials just yet, but the fact of the matter is you can probably find excess (read: heavily discounted) materials online or through Habitat For Humanity's ReStore if you are.

I'm not saying I'm building a backyard studio. I certainly like the idea. My wife would appreciate somewhere other than our dining room to have an office. I'm just sharing awesome stuff I've come across. Besides, it's winter. No one is building backyard studios in the winter.

Coco out

New Model Used Electronics ... Okay, a Cord.

In keeping with not buying new stuff I managed to purchase a used C-type USB cord. It was $5. I guess with the Samsung Note 7 literally exploding there were a lot of compatible cords for my OnePlus 3T on the market. It may not have even been a Note 7 cord I bought, but it was used and it was compatible. Moral of the story? Even the latest technology can be found used on a site like Kijiji or Craigslist. Just be careful with the more expensive purchases. Knock on wood, but I've had decent enough experiences. I need that streak to continue through 2017, especially with my next endeavour.  Oh the suspense!

Coco out.

Pinterest & Facebook - Online Clutter

I have likely spent close to two hours decluttering some of my online presence over at Pinterest (feel free to click here and see some of my organizing skills, or lack thereof). I have created new boards, deleted stuff I don't even know why I pinned in the first place and tried making some of the descriptions personal to my experience. I could probably work through an entire weekend organizing that online space. What a disaster!

This online, virtual clutter is a lot like physical clutter. I don't even know how many used pallet project pins I deleted. It was ridiculous. Ocean contain home pins? I'm estimating that count to be in the +/- 120 range. When am I ever going to get to building a home out of ocean containers? I'm not even handy. And the half dozen earthship homes? 'Cause that's a reality at this stage in my life. I'm struggling to find ways to retrofit my current house in a fiscally responsible (read: affordable) manner, but I'm posting as thoug…

Upcycling #LikeABoss

You know what looks awesome, no matter what? Barn board. That shit looks great regardless of what it is made into. Headboard? Awesome! Table? Awesome. Shelving? Awesome. A neatly stacked pile of wood in the garage? Yep, still awesome looking!

Based on availability, how awesome it looks and the cost (wood was free, brackets were less than $2 each) I decided to make barn board shelving. We have some long planks we used in the kids' rooms and we recently re-installed some shelves in our living room.

No barnboard? There's always a plethora of pallets! 😕
It's an easy project, really (making the shelving). You can go to a Home Depot (or similar competitor) and just buy some brackets and screws. Aside from a screw driver it's really all you need. You can have amazing looking shelves that compliment or contrast the area you put them in, but whatever they do, they make it look ... you guessed it ... awesome.  You can get all artsy and use a planer, or sand them or whatever, but…

Install and Use What You Have

Installing and using what you have should be a given, but I'm not so sure it is. I can't be the only person in the world who received something over a year ago and hasn't gotten around to using/installing it. I think I got it last Christmas, but it could have been even longer than that. This safe has been sitting in my closet, empty, and keeping me from being able to functionally use said closet all that time. Today that changed. Today I installed that safe. It now sits empty, on a wall but out of my closet. So, is it being used? No, not yet, but I'm sure I can find some stuff to put in there, or is that counterintuitive to my mission? Meh. I don't care. I've reclaimed space by getting if off the floor and it feels good. I'm not sure what feels better - the space I now have or knowing I finally took care of that task. Regardless, it's less clutter and that makes me feel pretty good.

I also installed some other thing in the kitchen. It's part blackbo…

$25 Richer

When some of the minimalists say the benefits of purging can also be financial, they aren't lying. I sold, perhaps a little cheaper than I should have, a set of dumbbells.  It was a set of 40 lbs I was given, but never used, and I managed to get $25 for them. They moved quickly too - within about an hour of posting them on a Facebook group I already had a buyer lined up. Not only are these things out of my way and off the landing collecting dust, they are no longer stressing me out about what to do with them. I've got $25 in my pocket! Obviously I won't be buying 'stuff' with that money, but I'm free to do with it what I want, be it donating a portion to a friend's charitable endeavours or buying the kids some hot chocolate.

Speaking of hot chocolate, the kids and I went tobogganing at a tiny hill that backs on to a school today. They were lured back home with the promise of lunch and hot chocolate. The more I read on minimalism, and similar lifestyles, the…