Cords, adapters, disks, and leftovers

I stress about things. Not like most people, but with such a degree of obsessive focus that I can forget all about the bigger picture. This tendency gets worse when I have deadlines or when Jean-François is in Singapore. When both hit during the same week, I become a crazed hermit-like creature who mumbles to herself and forgets to brush her hair.

Such has been my life for the past week or so. My current obsession: reducing the amount of stuff in our closets and cabinets as we prepare to move. I even created a daily routine with a task-based schedule so I do not miss a beat.

My “Move Routine”

  • Wake up
  • Prepare Coffee, when I run out, switch to tea.
  • Eat breakfast. (Strategy: Finish Oatmeal first, then cream of wheat, then use up flour making biscuits.)
  • Pack one box of books.
  • Test one computer and two hard drives.
  • Test four computer cables.
  • Lunch: start with fresh veg and fruit in lower bins. Serve with steamed rice (couscous when rice is gone, other grains when that is gone) and use ingredients on door in cooking.
  • Do my job for 6 hours.
  • Dinner–Veg and herbs with pasta. Use cheeses and condiments for sauces. When pasta is gone, make cheese plates with veg, biscuits.
  • Do 2-4 more hours of work.
  • Visit clothes pile–sort by season first, then toss/donate stuff not worn in two years.

So far, I have stuck with the routine, but I am getting tired of rice and pasta. Oddly oatmeal is going down well. With luck and persistence, I may get our food stock to near zero before  moving day.

But any pride I might feel for not wasting food fades when I look at all the computer and IT stuff that we need to send to recycle. It looks like we replaced food waste habit with an e-waste habit. Just look:

Two Japanese-English electronic dictionaries, three external hard drives that are no longer compatible with our computers, cables galore, speaker for iPod that does not work with newer models, several electronic mice, and electronic toys.

Two Japanese-English electronic dictionaries, three external hard drives that are no longer compatible with our computers, cables galore, speaker for iPod that does not work with newer models, several electronic mouses, and electronic toys.

We have six notebook computers (seven if you count the Dell that Jean-François needs to drag around for one client). Two 27-inch monitors. Two bluetooth keyboards for notebooks, two for our iPads, one for my mobile phone. One raid storage, one server, six external hard drives, three mobile phones from Japan that we no longer use, one from Singapore, two point and shoot cameras, two flip video cameras, two DSLRs, three robots (two are cat toys and one a flying thing we just had to have), cordless phones for a landline that we do not have, a recording pen, an old digital voice recorder that is not compatible with newer computers… I could go one.

To be fair, we both work from home and the monitors, iPads, phones and three notebooks are always in use. One of the DSLRs travels with Jean-Francois, the other I use when he is travelling, sometimes. But the bulk of this stuff is junk. These pieces are too old, or broke during the move from Japan, or do not provide enough speed or capacity for what we think we need. It is easier to upgrade than fix.

And this may be why I am annoyed. What good we are trying to do by changing how we consume food is more than offset by our nonchalant attitude to our digital assets. We are tech-gluttons and I am sure there is a special place in hell for people like us.

The four on top have battery life issues (no life at all, really). And no, we don't have a Mac-gadget addiction. No, not us. No sirey.

The four on top have battery life issues (no life at all, really). And no, we don’t have a Mac-gadget addiction. No, not us. No siree.

Any thoughts on what we should be doing to stop the insanity? Better yet, anybody want a free, 5-year-old 1TG hard drive with all its cables? Or a free Nikon D70 with two lenses?

[Sorry for the off-topic rant, but it has been all I have been thinking about for days now.]


8 thoughts on “Cords, adapters, disks, and leftovers

  1. Your electronic consumption looks moderate given your occupations.
    Just donate or recycle the stuff you don’t need and get on with living.
    You are doing fine.

    • Thanks Molly. As I said I tend to stress about strange things. We are recycling most of the stuff, but what I think we could be doing better is making better decisions when considering another IT purchase. Do I really need an iPadMini? A new electronic notebook pen? Electronic Dictionary? Am I putting too much of a demand on of my current computer to warrant replacing it?

      I think we are better than most, but I also think we (JF and I) tend to take the easy road when we buy IT products. I guess I think we should be more mindful of our weaknesses.

      And perhaps I should be taking my Tylenol. Apparently it helps with existential crises and anxiety attacks:,0,318309.story.

  2. We just went through this – so I can very much relate! I’m afraid I have more empathy than answers. Though I did make good use of Freecycle ( and found takers for some surprisingly old tech! (Pentium III server, for example!)

    • I will look into Freecycle. My current option is to call 1-800-Got Junk. They have a green agenda and understand how to deal with e-waste. A Pentium III? Is there really any good use for that, even for a diehard robotic hobbyist?

  3. Hi Bonnie Lee!
    I sort of have an ongoing plan to get rid of everything I don’t need….I also have 2 old phones I don’t use anymore, cables, chargers etc. but I am gradually trying to sell most of it. I just think that if someone would look something up and be willing to pay for it then it would be the most sustainable way of getting rid of it as they would actually use it. (unfortunately charity shops don’t accept electric devices).
    So maybe to try and keep it down once you move just make sure that you only acquire something new if you absolutely will use it and if you really need it. Or have a rule such as “if we get 1 new item, we recycle/sell/donate an old item”.
    I have been tempted to buy another camera, such as a Nikon :P, but I have a smaller one that works so I haven’t bought another to avoid being wasteful…
    Good luck with the move!!! :)

  4. Haha! Your comment “there is a special place in hell” is very funny. I hope the move – and the separation from all the non-wanted stuff – went well. I have an attic to go through. Some of the tech-thingies that I still have up there may have made museum status by now. :)

      • Whoa!! I have a friend in the computer business that used to use an IBM that took up his whole garage. He still has portions of it that he carries with him for nostalgia’s sake. A real dinosaur! (The machine, not my friend.)

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