Friday, January 26, 2007

Body Clutter

This is a fabulous book.

The Junk Drawer

Every kitchen has one, doesn't it? The junk drawer. You know what I mean. It's where all those odds and ends end up, where you toss the twist ties and tabs from bread bags, the pizza delivery menu, the rubber bands from the newspaper. Perhaps there are actual useful items there, like a pair of scissors, a bottle opener, pens and pencils. More likely, mere junk has accumulated there--the detritus of modern living.

I had a junk drawer. Now, it's an organized oasis. I need to ask, though, why it took me ten years to figure out that I could put a simple plastic organizer in that drawer and reclaim it? Here it is, in all its glory, complete with $3.00 IKEA tray.

I wish I had a before picture. I can tell you what I used to do though. When it would get so full that one had to shuffle the drawer in and out to close it, I would "clean it out". That consisted of essentially dumping all the contents into a paper sack, fishing out the few things I knew I needed (scissors, pens & pencils, baking scale, pizza delivery menus) and tossing the bag onto what we call our side porch, but what acts as a walk-in pantry. And then the bag would sit and sit, growing stale. Once it became stale enough, usually after a few months, I could more easily dump most of it into the garbage. I still would save a few things...why, I don't really know. Habit mostly.

In any case, with the new system, that won't be necessary. There are enough places in the drawer for the things that are needed, and no space for random junk.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hallway Photos!

The hallway is (almost) done! Yay!! The light fixture was installed yesterday, and the closet is now re-stocked. All that is left is the switch plate (need to buy a new one, the old was too gross) and put in the bullnose molding at the baseboards. Two weeks and counting my friends, that's home improvement for you.

And here are the things that are going out the door. There wasn't as much excess as I had thought. We like flannel sheets in the winter, so I want to keep two sets of those for each bed. And, two sets of plain percale cotton for the warmer seasons.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Guilt=Hoarded Emotions

This thought came to me the other night as I was falling asleep. Guilt is hoarded emotions--emotions we're not willing (or able) to let go of. As someone once said, if you keep doing something, you must be getting something out of it. Positive or negative, there is some reason you can't let it go.

Lesson of the day: Let it go.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Task List

Time for more fun tasks!
This morning I:

  • Ran a load of laundry
  • Took out all the recycling, glass, paper etc.
  • Sorted through two car cleaning stash-n-dash bins
  • Picked up random garbage from the driveway and back yard

Oh, and I dropped a few bags of donations off at the thrift store. Yay me!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Task List

Time for a little task list, to keep me from feeling like I'm not accomplishing anything. Today I:

  • Took the boxes and bins of Christmas decorations out to the garage. They actually go in the garage attic, but getting them there is a two-person job.
  • Swapped out large plates for smaller ones
  • Ran two loads of laundry and one of dishes
  • Updated my blog :-)
  • Found the books I've listed on Paperbackswap, and mailed one that had been requested
  • Dumped the kitchen compost into the Yard Waste bin and cleaned the compost bucket
  • Did a stash & dash to clean out my car. There was an entire large laundry basket of odds and ends (mostly toys, coats and lunch bags) in there!
  • Sorted through the boxes of leftover books from recent bookselling. I've consolidated the books the store didn't take, and re-sorted them into 'sell at another bookstore' and 'donate'.
  • Paid some bills online

Dishes In, Dishes Out

I read this book recently, Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink Ph.D. It's a great read, very engaging, and thought-provoking. I had been considering moving to smaller plates for some time, and thanks to a timely sale at IKEA, and the spur of this book, I did so today.

For now (dangerous words), I am storing the old plates in a cupboard in the basement laundry room. I cleared out a few other dishes, cups, mugs, etc and they're stored too. I need some space before I can make a final decision about them.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pantry Games

While making a pasta sauce for dinner tonight, I thought it would be nice to have some olives in it and I remembered that I had a jar of Kalamata olives in the pantry. Um, yeah, you're seeing that right. Expiration date of 05/2003.

And wouldn't some roasted red peppers be nice? Take a close look. XII/2001. A good year, wasn't it?

Home Improvement Part V (aka DONE!)

Well, all right, not completely done. The painting itself is done. I still need to pick up the drop cloth and remove the masking. Then, there will be the inevitable touching up--especially since there was so much trim already painted that I had to mask off.

It feels like a huge improvement. Just covering those old icky colours raises my spirits. And, I'll have the fun task of purging the closet as I put things away.


We interrupt your regularly scheduled dehoarding angst for some cheerful...snow!! Yay!! School and preschool are cancelled, Sponge Bob is on Nickolodeon, and there's a hot pot of coffee with my name on it. Sweet!

Monday, January 15, 2007

The 50% Goal

When I am ready to move back into the linen closet, I plan to put back no more than 50% of what was in there. I wish I had a picture to show you, but let me just say that every shelf was stuffed (the top shelf up almost to the ceiling), and on the floor were bins full of toiletries and such. We have a small bathroom with almost NO storage. That was done on purpose and it's the least cluttered room in the house. But it means that backups of such things as toilet paper, shampoo, towels, etc, are stored in the linen closet. But I am sure there are things in there that we don't use or need.

Growing up, our linen closet was an endless adventure. You had to watch your head when you opened it, as sheets, towels etc were simply stuffed in there. Boxes held various medicines, Ace bandages, strange electronic devices, etc. You never knew what you might find in there.

I don't want my kids to feel the same way about our linen closet. It's a place to store sheets and towels, tablecloths and napkins, basics like toilet paper and shampoo. Little else belongs there.

The decisions will be hard. How many sets of sheets do we need for each bed? Blankets? Where to store those extras? Should I have bought the Space Bag set advertised on TV?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Home Improvement Part IV

So here we are, Day Five of the painting project. For such a small space, it's taking an awfully long time. Today, I painted a second coat of red on the installed hallway closet shelves and a first coat on the shelves that were removeable. Last night, I was up late painting the walls. The wall surfaces are so small and oddly shaped that only a brush really works on them. I tried a bit of rolling, but it just wasted paint and didn't cover the surfaces to my satisfaction. But...I ran out of paint with one wall (the one big wall) left to go. I am tempted to paint that wall white, because a) I have white paint of the appropriate type and b) why the heck not?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Home Improvement Part III

Today, I was able to get more primer, paint for the walls of the closet (white, of course) and a lovely red for the closet shelves. I still haven't decided on a colour for the hall walls themselves. My goal for today is to fully paint the closet interior, walls, trim and shelves.
Here's the new wall colour. White trim (matches the rest of the house now), and a spring green on the walls. What do you think?

Public schools here were snow delayed two hours and husband had to go out to do some work for his client, so it's just me and younger DD. We'll see how things go, won't we?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Home Improvement Part II

I am almost finished priming the hall and hall closet. The closet has shelves, all of which needed to be painted. Lots of little surfaces, so a lot of brushwork. I ran out of primer with only one side of the closet door left to go. And, since we are having a cold snap with dustings of snow here, the paint store decided to close early.

My dear husband hates to paint. He loves the end results, but the process is no fun for him. I like to paint. The instant transformation is so satisfying. What is tedious is the preparation--all that taping, and so on. It's at least a three day project to paint a house surface for us. I have no idea how they do it so fast on those home shows. Maybe they're working with newish houses that have a decent surface to start out with. All I know is that even TSP didn't get off all the scuffs and stains in my closet.

I'll snap a picture for you later today.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Home Improvement Part I

Late last night, while trying to fall asleep, I decided that I would paint our hallway today. This hallway has been meant to be painted since we moved into our house, ten years ago. Four years ago, when we had our bathroom remodeled, the contractors removed an old doorway to nowhere and wallboarded over it. They didn't paint it because, well, we were going to. It's in said hallway. It's still covered in the primer from the wallboard, but now it's scuffed and dirty.

I had forgotten how much is involved in a painting project. Decision. Prep--drop cloths, blue masking tape (because you know it will take longer than you think, so don't even consider being cheap and using the rgular tan stuff). Then, washing the walls and ceiling and trim. I had to wash, to get rid of spider webs, dirt, and because the old paint is of unknown vintage, so I needed as clean a surface as possible, to ensure that the new coats stick. I had to spackle some dings in plaster, and holes in wood trim. Next is sanding, then, finally, I can prime the surface. Walls first, then trim? Or vice versa? Ceiling first? I think's been a while.

Here's a shot of the old hallway, with drop cloth and painting light. Note the hideous tan-pinky-beige colour. Yes, we've lived with that for ten years. The new trim will be white, to match what we've repainted in older DD's room and the bathroom. I haven't decided on a colour for the walls though. Cream, pale blue, something like that. Not too dark, as it's a small space, but something fresh. Anyone have a Feng Shui book handy, to tell me what a good colour for a hallway would be? I should check the BaGua too.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Another Box of Books Sold

I've been selling them one by one to a local used bookstore. They have two branches, and I'll often take a box to the larger branch, and then take what's left to the smaller. I'm amassing store credit slips! The first time, I took the cash. But then I realized that since I will buy books (or magazines) ANYWAY, I should take the credit and just be sure to make my print media purchases at those stores.

I still don't like to watch them, so I always drop off the box and come back a long time later, when I'm sure they'll be completely finished. I don't look at the pile of books they've chosen to purchase, I just take the credit slip.

We all cope in our own ways, don't we?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Two More Bags Out the Door

Yesterday, I dropped off two bags of donations at the Goodwill store in our neighborhood. I like the way Goodwill helps recent immigrants and others who need assistance with job training, so I donate to them when I have a choice.

Here's the problem: when I'm at a thrift store I tend to want to step inside and shop. Yesterday was no exception. I saw a coat I liked, some games, some books. But, before I headed to the checkout, I stopped and thought about what I was doing. I put the coat back, and the games (while they might have been fun, we have plenty of games that we KNOW are fun that we don't have the time to play). I left with only a few things, including a kid's thermos that has been on the list for a while. I did get some of the books, six for older DD, one for me and one for my husband (on playing the bass guitar).

I did not want to put that coat back. It was expensive for a thrift store, at $24.99, and it did fit just fine. But...the style was one that tends to make me look frumpy. It's a safety look, a covered up look, and definately not my best look. So, reluctantly, I put it back. I kept wishing I had never seen it, for then I would not have yearned for it. That's the real secret to success in the quest to avoid clutter: avoid temptation, avoid shopping, avoid browsing, don't look!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Compact

As it's been a year since The Compact started, they've been getting some press. I remember when I first heard about immediate thought was "No way could I do that!". Of course, that's the disease speaking. Of course I could do it. My personal problem with The Compact is that it allows the purchase of used items. The purpose of The Compact is not so much to reduce personal clutter, but to avoid using up precious resources. So, if you need a TV, look for a used one rather than running out to Best Buy. But for someone like me, who loves thrift store shopping, it's an invitation to bring more clutter into my life, simply because buying used items is encouraged.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I Dare You

Today I was visiting with a friend. We chatted about Christmas, and the burden of undesired gifts. She had a couple of gifts in particular which she simply could not use. Things that weren't her style or size or of utility to her family. Both items came from stores within 10 minutes of her house, so I suggested that she simply return them. She was hesitant, as she doesn't like returning things, especially gifts (as there's no receipt). Both stores happen to have fairly accomodating policies, so I suggested it again. She was still reluctant. So, I dared her. I made her a bet that she could do it.

This year, I dare you. You know who you are. You have some clutter, maybe a little, maybe a lot. Maybe a whole houseful. This year, I dare you to take one little step. Fill one bag or box. Take it to a charity shop, a consignment store, or the dump. But get it out of your house. Take a risk, and allow yourself the space you need to let in love, light and peace.