Mar 31 2011

keys and keychains [minimalist challenge item #42]

[item] Lot of keys and keychains

[purchase info] The keys came from cars, houses and locks.  The keychains were mostly free.

[time in my possession] Some over 15 years.

[last used] Many, many years ago.

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Thrift store

[info] I don’t even know what most of these keys go to or went to.  One was to the convertible we sold last year.  I gave these away, as some people like to use them in art projects.


Mar 31 2011

urban explorers [day 308]

I love exploring abandoned houses and buildings.  A friend sent me a link to an article about “urban explorers” on howstuffworks.com.  This explained my attraction to these old, and sometimes dangerous places.  I learned a few things from this article, but mostly, it explained a lot.

“Urban exploration purists advocate only trespassing — not breaking and entering.  This forces explorers to get creative when finding an entry point into a structure.”

This is true, I have been creative on ‘entering’ some of these places.  If they’re locked up tight, then I enjoy the outside.  If the no trespassing signs are visible and well posted, I leave it alone.

“It should be said that UE is an extremely dangerous and illegal pastime. By nature, old abandoned buildings are unsafe.”

This is true, as I’ve fallen through several rotted floors.  Being careful is good, but being aware and preparing for a UE trip are necessary.

“Some appreciate the old architecture and ancient machinery. For other people, it’s the thrill of just standing still in a silent, untraveled place. Others find beauty in the type of decay that can be found only in neglected buildings.”

I do find beauty, but I’m also fascinated by the personal effects people leave behind.  I’ve found many things in abandoned houses, everything from photographs to electronics.  One house had the whole backside blown out by a storm, the closet full of clothes and the vacuum cleaner from 20+ years prior, sitting there as if the people ran out quickly, never looking back.  I can’t help but wonder why people leave stuff behind, what situation made them leave and how they determined what they did take.

“Whatever his or her motive, an urban explorer finds adventure in these abandoned sites. There’s a peacefulness in these empty, concrete caves that isn’t like the solitude found in the woods. It’s an experience opposite of nature; instead of finding reassurance in the renewal of the seasons, the urban explorer finds kinship with the past.”

This is so true, it’s a peacefulness, but very different than what’s found in nature.  It’s a serene feeling, laden with curiosity and wonder.

“These explorers usually take photos of the places they visit.”

Here’s some photographs I’ve taken in abandoned places, mostly houses.  I photograph these as a hobby, but I just can’t get past the fact that people throw away buildings, houses and cars as if they have no value.  Some of these places are structurally good and it just makes no sense that they’re thrown away.  Continue reading


Mar 30 2011

keychain [minimalist challenge item #41]

[item] Keychain made from recycled & repurposed stuff

[purchase info] Received 2 of them as a gift

[time in my possession] A few months

[last used] A few months ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Given to a friend

[info] I got two of these as a Christmas gift.  I love them both, and I love the people that gave them to me.  I also like it that my friends think of me when they think of recycling and repurposing.  One of my other friends saw one and liked it, so I gave it to her.  I didn’t need two.


Mar 29 2011

note cards & envelopes [minimalist challenge item #40]

[item] Blank notecards and envelopes

[purchase info] Purchased new at Target for $9.99

[time in my possession] Approximately 6 years

[last used] 2 years ago I used one

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Freecycle

[info] I’m not sure why I bought these.  I don’t send cards and I don’t even own a stamp.  If I need a card, I’ll pull something out of my recycling bin and use that.


Mar 28 2011

toto coffee mug [minimalist challenge item #39]

[item] Wizard of Oz Kansas coffee mug

[purchase info] Purchased for a premium at the airport in Kansas City.  Impulse buy.  :(

[time in my possession] Approximately 12 years

[last used] 7 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Thrift store

[info] I don’t use mugs this small.  Mugs are something most of us own way more than we could possibly use, even if we washed dishes once a month.


Mar 27 2011

macbook [minimalist challenge item #38]

[item] Black MacBook (broken)

[purchase info] Purchased on craigslist used

[time in my possession] Approximately 4 years

[last used] Almost 3 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Craigslist

[info] This was a gift to my kids for Christmas, I paid for part of it and their dad paid for part of it.  It quit working after several months, and I’m pretty sure I just bought a bad laptop.  It’s better to buy used electronics from someone you know and trust.  Lesson learned.  Expensive lesson learned.


Mar 26 2011

the green machine [minimalist challenge item #37]

[item] The green machine

[purchase info] Purchased on sale at Toy’s R Us for my son’s birthday

[time in my possession] Approximately 3 years

[last used] A year ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Medium

[destination] Given to a friend

[info] At one point we had two of these, one broke and this one we gave away since the kids really weren’t using it anymore.  They help with the minimalist thing a lot.  :)


Mar 25 2011

portfolio [minimalist challenge item #36]

[item] Art portfolio

[purchase info] Purchased new in an art store

[time in my possession] Approximately 13 years

[last used] About 7 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Freecycle

[info] The world has gone digital and I just don’t show my work that often, at least not out of a suitcase.  😉


Mar 24 2011

digital picture frame [minimalist challenge item #35]

[item] Double digital photo frame

[purchase info] This was given to me

[time in my possession] Approximately 2 months

[last used] Never

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Freecycle

[info] I saved this from the possible fate of a dumpster.  I really didn’t need it.  I like the concept of a digital frame, but I really have no desire to own one.


Mar 23 2011

a bunch of miscellaneous stuff [minimalist challenge item #34]

[item] A large bin and huge bag of miscellaneous stuff

[purchase info] Most of this was purchased new, but on sale.  Some came from thrift stores.

[time in my possession] Many years

[last used] Over a year

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy to medium

[destination] Freecycle

[info] This is a lot of random stuff… Christmas lights, toys, art supplies and office supplies.  I have several storage bins of junk that I still need to go through, but this is a good start.  These bins are like junk drawers on steroids.