Monday, January 25, 2010

How I will lose 1,000 pounds in 2010

I suffer from the admittedly 1st world problem of having too much junk. Over the years, stuff accumulates and gradually changes state from 'stuff' to 'junk'. In spite of its devaluation and the loss and damage of a lot of junk in moves from dwelling to dwelling, for me at least the junk comes in faster than it comes out, and I have a really hard time parting with the junk even though most of it has no sentimental value whatsoever. Even with stuff that has sentimental value (my daughter's art work) I have a tendency not to be selective about what gets archived.

Left untreated, this could lead to an appearance on the television show 'Hoarders', which is not desirable to me even in these fame-obsessed, less-shame-influenced-than-ever times.

In order to achieve this goal, I will need to drop 83 1/3 pounds a month. I will make an effort not to merely make the junk somebody else's problem by throwing it away, although I've gotten off to a bad start, throwing out 2 trashcans worth of junk that's accumulated in my cube at work. This junk was a combination of out-of-date calendars, obsolete software I got from MS when I was an MSDN member (now: open source for life!), and the sort of write-only notebooks that are part of my 'method'. Even though most of the notebooks have dates, I can't say the June 2006 notebook is going to answer any questions I have. I have made a move to logging things in electronic form recently (Google Docs), which is decidedly more searchable.

This weekend I went through my technical book collection and weeded out some decidedly out of date tech books (Java 1.2, a book on Flash from 2000, that sort of thing). I would feel bad selling these on eBay, because they're worthless, and dumping them on somebody else for a couple bucks, while not as bad as selling crack, is still ethically questionable. I will recycle them instead.

This stack of books weighed 24.5 pounds, and given the dimensions of the stack (10 1/4 in x 8 1/8 in x 12 in), that gives us a paper density of about 42 pounds per cubic foot. Since I didn't weigh the trashcan at work, I instead in Microsoft interview fashion measured the dimensions of the trashcan (16" x 6" x 12") and using that density (although there was some air in the trashcan that will being down the density some) that gives me 2 * .66666666 ft^3 *42 = 56 , plus the 24.5lbs for the books. So so far, we have 80.5 lbs.

So I'm off to a good start so far, as far as January goes. I just need to find one or two more books to let go of. I really have no fear of running out of junk before 2010 is over. I can do this!