Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Super Fling Boogie at the Flylady!

The Flylady is having a Super Fling Boogie! Read all about it, then post the # of pounds of clutter you've released!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Revenge of the Spice Cabinet

I got up the courage and I did it. And you know, once I got started, it was actually fun. There aren't really many juicy stories about this stuff. The items in the toss pile are old, stale, outdated, you name it. Just sit back and enjoy all my hard work!

Spice Cabinet Before
Top Shelf
Third Shelf
Second Shelf
Bottom Shelf
The pile of old and icky stuff!
Spice Cabinet After--there's so much space!
Top Shelf After
Third Shelf After
Middle Shelf After
Bottom Shelf After
Just look at the contrast between a bottle of dried peppers that had been sitting who knows how long and the lovely bright red ones on the right that my friend J gave me from his garden! Nothing lasts forever!
These noodles are supposed to be bright white, not an unsavoury shade of yellow.
So old that the rubber band had rotted off.

Check out the Unclutterer

This is an interesting study that the Unclutterer reports on: Boston.com story

I find it interesting that the self-assessments were accurate. We tend to fudge on those in so many ways, you know, there's the "how many drinks do you have a week" question that most people fudge, same for how much food in a day. Wonder why we can be accurate about our clutter?

How to use a Garage

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Big Garage Caper

So, in the olden days (um, yeah, like LAST YEAR), my DH was able to park his car in one bay of our garage, while the other side was used for storage. Then, last August, I did some major clutter clearing in the house, but wasn't yet ready to let go of many of the items. I chose to keep them in the garage, rather than forcing release or using the crutch of a storage unit. My sweetie understood that, but made it clear that he would really truly like to be able to park in the garage again.

So, OK, I made that happen. Then, my mom died. And I did want a couple of pieces of her furniture, a large upholstered chair and a dresser (from childhood). Those had to be put in the garage, since more decluttering was required before they could be usefull in the house. And again, no parking for you DH!

Today, my dear CB came over to help me rescue the garage. In just over two hours, we transformed it.
Before (left bay and right bay):

Minivan full of donations!

My Precious kitchen tins! So sought after, so many eBay auctions, so don't need them!

Boxes of Priority Mail boxes I sent for in my eBay days. Going back to the PO.

A box of cds and one of lps that are, even as I type, at the used record shop!

The dumpload!

And the glorious after! (left bay, then right)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It Came from the Pantry!

Run away!!!!! Far, far away!!!!!

No, seriously, dude, run.

As you know, I've worked in my pantry before. Several times before. And in the baking cupboard. But this time, I had help from someone who is truly ruthless.

Today, my good friend L helped me with a pantry attack. I've been wanting her input on my pantry for a while, because she is the food-expiration-date Queen. You name it, she can tell you how long you can keep it before it'll rot your guts out. I didn't do much to prepare, because, well, I really wanted her to be harsh, to cut no corners, give me no quarter. And, well, yeah.

We filled three paper grocery sacks of grainy-beany stuff, and those went into compost. We filled five bags of garbage. She made me get rid of dozens of jars of jam from, well, most were from 1999 or 2000. Not *that* long ago. I had made them, so there were attachment issues. And, those went in a garbage bag. Um, don't tell her, but I pulled 'em all out, opened them, emptied them, put the ancient jam into compost, and will wash the jars. They're still good jars!

She used her mysterious pantry powers to rearrange my pantry (which now seems quite spacious, and even has a few empty spots), sorting foods by cuisine as well as type (i.e. cans together in general, but cans of coconut milk say with the Indian cuisine section). Who knew I had that many canned tomatoes? Or six cans of coconut milk? Or five bags of crystalized ginger (all of which were stale and outdated)?

There were no bugs living in my pantry goods. A few spiders, but that's normal for this time of year. Nothing truly disgusting (well, maybe you'll change your mind when you look at some of the pictures below). Just too much food that had sat around for too long. That's my real problem--I don't know how much food our family truly needs to have on-hand.

I also have cooking and homemaking ambitions that just don't fit with the reality of my life or my family's taste in foods. I had all sorts of interesting grains. Does my family enjoy meals made with interesting grains? Uh, not so much. They prefer a meat or tofu or bean main dish, with rice or potatoes and a green vegetable and/or salad. That's the sort of meal that everyone actually eats. Not kashi or barley soup or rye berry special delight.

So, on with the photo show! You know you've been itching for more pictures. Well, here ya go!

Empty Tupperware bins (these will be sold on Craig's List soon)

The lovely mess the little children made while we tossed ancient food.

Bags of food heading to the compost bin. Luckily, today was pick-up day.

A whole pile-O-crapola.

The bags of garbage.

Empty jam jars.

Empty jam in a compost bucket.

So tidy and neat!

The new top shelf.

The new middle shelf.

The new bottom shelf.

So many clean jars!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Deep Thoughts from The Simple Dollar

I've recently found The Simple Dollar, a thoughtful, nicely written financial blog. This post really resonated with me. He writes about how he and his wife went through their house and looked, really looked at all their possessions. A useful exercise.

Forward, Onward, Blah, Blah, Blah

OK, I did a few little things today. I culled some plastic containers from my kitchen. You know, those butter tubs and yogurt containers that build up. Yeah, got rid of some of them. I still need to cull baking pans, but that can happen another day.

I had a nice talk with a friend today, and it reminded me that we can collect too many tasks, just as we can collect too many things. This friend has done a lot for an organization, and essentially paid her dues. But, they're still wanting more. Just as it's hard to let go of precious belongings ("my Barbies!!"), it's hard to let go of responsibilities, especially when it's for a cause dear to our hearts. But, for mental health, sometimes we have to say "enough!" ...just as sometimes, with those stacks of newspapers, those back-ups of back-ups of spares of "just in case's", we have to let go.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Little Bits and Pieces

I did a little putzy work yesterday, just making some space. Tidied up an area near my computer desk, where I have some open bins for current paperwork-intensive tasks. I found a stash & dash banker's box, which I think came from one of the cubbies underneath our dining room seating bench. Those can be dangerous. You think having more storage space will help you out, but nope, it's actually just a way to thoughtlessly accumulate more stuff.

So, this whole box was essentially the contents of at least one of the three cubbies. Old newspapers, crossword puzzles, letters and cards, empty padded envelopes. Letters from my mom to the kids (trigger tears, yes, and again writing this). Most of it went straight into recycling. The rest needs another pass, and then probably storage in a letters box.

* * *

The Little One started back at preschool today. I picked up my novel where I left off back in, um, yes, June, yes, that's it, June. Friggin' June! I'm a third of the way through a rough draft re-write, incorporating comments from my writer's group. They're all too darn smart and have too many good ideas. It's hard work, but once I get this done, they get to read it again and then one more pass before I send it out into the world.
* * *
Today, why don't you let go of one thing that you've been holding onto. That stack of newspapers, those books you've read once and didn't really like all that much, one mug from your coffee mug collection. Let it go. It'll be all right without you, promise!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back to School and Back on the Wagon

Today was the first day of school here in our district. Older DD started second grade. Younger DD will go back to preschool next week (although today you would have thought she was a kindergartener!).

And that means, it's time for me to get back on the wagon. The decluttering wagon, that is. I did some tidying in the kitchen, moved some bits and pieces that had built up on the kitchen window sills. But there's so much more that could be done, that I want to do. So many changes, that require the removal of SO MUCH STUFF.

I'm reading this book right now. It's a God-send for hoarders, and I hope that many others find it. These people really understand, they get it. And, if you are someone who helps hoarders (either a therapist, a professional organizer or a familiy member of a hoarder), this book can help you too.