5 Things To Do for the Home Office

The office

1. Reduce the number of bookcases in the study (home office) from 6 to 5. If I see my books in my partner's bookcases, I will cull out my books to produce separate spaces. When I have all of my books together, I will redistribute books to 'pack' bookcases. From there, I can target the bookcase with the smallest number of books.
2. Reduce the number of books I own by 25. Keep mostly expensive and hard-to-replace scholarship, and dispense with easily accessible fiction. Donate books to library.
3. Get rid of black filing cabinet. This goal is challenging, but it will be liberating. When I have finished this chapter of my dissertation, I will take half a day to sort and organize vast quantities of paper. I will arrange to borrow a paper shredder (and keep the shredded paper as packing material). Ideally, I will only possess official certificates that can be placed in one binder. On this day, I will also take time to opt-out of ALL paper-based bills.
4. Get rid of DVDs of television series. I have box sets of Twin Peaks, Mad Men and Wonder Woman. Get rid of them all.
5. Sell on ebay all academic Journals, the old laptop, the Pullip dolls, the DVDs, etc. When I am finished with the filing cabinet, I will take a half day to put objects on ebay. This will be great!

the world of a capitalist consumer culture

"...the world of a capitalist consumer culture... however spectacular, glamorous, and beguiling, perpetually plays with desires without ever conferring satisfactions beyond the limited identity of the shopping mall and the anxieties of status by way of good looks (in the case of women) or of material possessions. ‘I shop therefore I am’ and possessive individualism together construct a world of pseudo-satisfactions that is superficially exciting but hollow at its core."

--David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, p. 170

2013 January Kitchen Tour

Our kitchen's a work-in-progress. 

We're questioning everything we own and realigning our lifestyles to meet our values. We're not buying disposable crap meant for the landfill. 

We're eating outside the horrific food system that not only maltreats animals, but dehumanizes us humans with frankenfoods and slaughterhouse-complicity. We're supporting our local farmers instead. 

Though we're vulnerable to marketers who assault us with  their dumbass mind-control to buy crap made through secretive means that destroys our earth and our fellow human beings, we refuse to accept their denial. We want to be free of the lies of the bullshit global economy that maintains the hegemony of the .0001%, the 100 people worth $ 1.9 trillion (on a planet with 7 billion people).

Our "must-be" virtues of 21st century success:

  1. We are going vegan as best as we can (the adults, not the kids), eating quality foods that we cook for our selves and our family. The kids are eating meat that meets our ethical standards.
  2. We are shopping at farmer's markets instead of Trader Joe's--love the food but their packaging is giving us too much landfill-guilt.
  3. We are working toward starting our compost again.
  4. We are working on getting rid of the trash can.
  5. We are going to grow food, especially: potato, tomato, green onion.

Welcome to the kitchen (January 2013)

The right-hand side: dining area for two adults and two kids. 
I learned from Zen Habits. This area has a dining table, two adult vapor chairs (Clearly, I was mad about cb2 acrylic crap), and two kids urban chairs (ikea). The round pictures are portraits painted on paper plates with kids water color paint, for real. I taped a picture I drew with my kids of them over a calendar for an easy upcycle. The garland was bought at Tail of the Yak in Oakland/Berkeley. (fyi--I am naming these retail particulars to help search engines and draw in people who share my taste/interest in objects.) 

The left-hand side of the dining area holds two chairs. Before minimalism, this area held TWO ikea meltorp shelves! Crazy! It displayed Anthropologie serving ware and other fancy mass-produced materialism. Now it's serene, clean and fanciful from the flowery branch and the flea market chandelier! I learned to use the mirror as a white board from reading Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home blog

I found the branch. 
I made these crepe paper flowers using paper from Castle in the Air in Berkeley. 
My kids love them! 
Built-in shelf. The top shelf holds everyday and special occasion dishes. The mid-shelf holds kids stuff; I ask the children each time to please help set the table. The bottom shelf keeps aspirational cookbooks--could declutter. 

The counter holds a rice cooker, a dish drainer, a water purifier, coffee maker and a toaster oven. We're of Korean descent: we need our daily rice. We're also Angelenos: we need our daily toast and coffee! This area used to hold a microwave.

Hand soap and dishwasher soaps are refilled. I use a Method hand soap pouch and a big dish-washing jug from Costco Kirkland brand. We would love to make these products. We use vinegar and water in spray bottles with microfiber cloths for everything. Those sponges are from a Costco pack bought like 3 years ago.

The opposite side to the previous picture: shelves and the hanger rod from ikea. This area also used to hold a kitchen-butcher-block-island, yikes! 

We keep our fruit on the top shelf. Farmer's market produce  disappears quickly. 
The second shelf holds rags and cloth napkins. 

A tangential review of Ikea's Docksta dining table:

Docksta table, close-up, after two years of use. The table became marred with chips within the first few months. We should have listened to the reviews. We loved the table's lines, but now, it acts as a cautionary tale. Not worth it. 

We set the timer for four minutes and clean up after ourselves. 8- 12 minutes gets everything pretty.

Only one vase.

We continue to dextox from crap. We thank our kitchen, which functions beautifully. It is minimalist enough for us.

To Try in 2013

After reading some of the books mentioned in my earlier post on year-long challenges, and with the new year here, I have been hovering over, and settling into, some ideals I would like to take on.
update: Jan. 27, 2014. 
  1. My motto this year: "Let's Be Idealistic!" (taken from Colin Beavan) Kinda: took a gardening class; that counts as idealism.
  2. Go vegan in a flexible, ad hoc manner. Why? To reduce my carbon footprint first, and be a better role model for my children and my community. Going veg is an everyday way to be the change I seek. And why ad hoc? People give me food all the time. I will eat it. It's free. I fuckin hate vegans' self-righteousness, especially those with a lot of race, gender, class privilege. not really--this must redo.
  3. Be less co-dependent. I'm sick of doing things for other people on their passive behalf. Rescue your own damn self. yeah--kinda; ongoing.
  4. Learn Scrivener (the writing program). No and not needed. 
  5. Finish the f----!!!n dissertation. Almost done. Love it but also sick of it. Yes! I did it!!!! :)
  6. Remove 365 Books from my possession by selling books on Amazon, donating books to the library and selling books on craigslist. removed 100; sold 45 and donated 55 to public library.
  7. Be friendlier. Reach out. not really. oh well.
  8. Take other people's psychic crap less personally. (aka, be less codependent). As in, so-called humiliations such as rejection letters, sarcasm, and other slights are less about me and more about them. Do my thing and keep doing, regardless of the potential for embarrassment, ideological pressure to conform, and name-calling by the outside, many of whom are corrupt morons. In short, invert the concepts of failure and success by focusing on interiority over exteriority. kinda; not really getting this one year later...
  9. Liberate myself from 'shoulds' involving toxic family members and filial obligations. yeah; don't expect moi at thanksgiving or whatever. 
  10. Wear all of my pretty clothes for everyday casual jaunts. Even if I am in the car and not 'seen' by anyone else.  not really; back to sweats--fu({!
  11. Add my name to petitions, make calls and take other stupid-easy steps to politicize everyday life. yeah--more or less; definitely could improve. 
  12. Compost, compost, compost. Yup!! This has been great; need to do follow up post.
  13. Choose the Farmer's market every time. Trader Joe's packaging makes up 80% of my trash. Gotta break this addiction. kinda; still going to TJs twice a month; not as often though.
  14. Make my bio-cv blog. Put it out there, just to archive my own history of cultural production for myself. forget it; just not into it right now. Into my kids.
  15. Hold potlucks more. With cute and friendly people, not annoying corporate types who give the children a lot of plastic crap and complain about their horrible lives/jobs/lack of time. kinda; tried this a few times. sadly, no new friends invited us to their place--wtf!