Books: I really like having the choice of "reading" a book, an e-book, or an audiobook, since I can suit the action to fit my time and location needs. When I am traveling, for example, e-books are great because I am no longer filling a suitcase with books for the trip. The downside is that most e-books cost too much (take note, publishers!) and readers like me are becoming more and more aware of that. Which sends me straight to the second-hand bookstores for any new titles.
DailyLit, which delivers a chapter a day of whatever book you choose to your email--free!
And I subscribe monthly to Audible, which has great deals for membership.
I do use bookstores, however: this month I am planning two trips, one in September for a conference to Savannah and one in October for a vacation to the Texas Hill Country. I'll go into Barnes and Noble or Borders and browse their travel section for titles, then sit in the cafe and makes notes about B&Bs, historical sites, and wine tours. This will actually be more productive than doing the same online. Then I can call the hotels or B&Bs directly and wangle deals, or schedule a wineries tour or go solo, depending on recommendations.
But I am also conscious of going back through my own books and re-reading them, culling them, enjoying them more.
TV, music, movies: As I said, I use Netflix for this, with a healthy side-helping of Hulu, Crackle, and on-line outlets. I wish I had bought stock in Netflix seven years ago when I joined. Now I use the streaming feature as well as the 3-at-a-time DVDs. I don't watch sports or reality TV, and I get my news on-line, so why would I want cable?
The Guardian: free
The New York Times: I share a subscription with my folks, who read it every day
But I've also become more selective about what I watch--which is the original reason I cancelled my cable. With 50 (or 500+) channels on, something was always "on" that I could watch--or be distracted by. Some of that was, for me, the mental and creative equivalent of clutter: home shopping, reality, TV reruns, movie reruns, cooking shows. It was a huge commitment of my time, and a huge waste of my time simultaneously. Mostly because I was--and am--addicted to TV, or video, or whatever--but the notion of something playing on the tube.
Now I don't watch commercials, I choose what I watch and when, and I have access to things like Sherlock any time I want. Love it!
As for music, I have an iPod straining at the seams with my CD collection. Once I can transform my records and tapes into CDs or iPod downloads, well.
A Clutter-free House: Since October I have donated, sold, or trashed about 1/3 of what I used to own. This includes clothing and accessories, office supplies and machines, kitchen appliances and goods, furniture, books, DVDs, tapes, CDs, and videos. I still moved too much, and I still have "stuff" to get out of my house.
But by setting a goal of one thing in/one thing out, cutting stored things by half, and asking myself, "Do I need this? and "Do I need this now?" I have stopped a lot of impulse buying that cost me money and space. For example: before my big party in May I almost bought new wine glasses at IKEA. Not expensive ones, but their basic 6-for-$5 deal. But no: a/ I knew I had wine glasses packed somewhere (I was in the middle of moving), b/ it was just a simple party and didn't need to be "perfect" and c/ my friends could drink from plastic and still love me. The party was great (b and c turned out to be true) and yes, I found the damn glasses I had:
- nine fairly standard red wine glasses, probably from Crate & Barrel
- four cobalt red wine glasses I think I bought myself to match a tablecloth
- three flute-like wine glasses (plus one broken one)
- one differently shaped white wine glass, again probably from C&B
The bottom line is that I am more conscious of my own weaknesses and impulses, and able to curb them. Good for me! The result is a home that is more peaceful, more welcoming, and less stressful. The result is that I can really enjoy the things I have to the fullest. A side result is that I am not wasting money on duplicating things I already have, whatever the justification. Which also makes me happy.