Saturday, December 05, 2009

'tis the season to declutter

Time to go through everything and let go of what's not needed, loved, used in time for the New Year!

Let go and make space for new experiences, new friends, new recipes, new everything. If your home is too full, there's no space for anything fresh to liven it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A donating we will go

I have a few bags for the Goodwill. Books & CDs that didn't sell at the used book store & record store, some clothes, toys, etc. I hope those will go out the door today or tomorrow; depends on the other items on my agenda.

In other news, guess what holiday is coming up? That's right, it's Cluttermas! This year, we'll be doing fairly minimalist gifts. Gift cards, food gifts and such for the adult friends in our life. Small, probably home made gifties for kids. For my kids, they'll get the usual pajamas on Christmas Eve and a few gifts under the tree. We do try to get them at least one item that they've specifically asked Santa Claus for. Other than that, a book or two, and maybe a game for the Wii.

How do you keep the holidays from turning into a clutterfest?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sold more on ebay and donated more stuff too

Same old, same old. Sold a few things, donated a few bags. I'm going through file cabinets now, purging old utility bills and stuff like that. I've got a big pile to shred, but my shredder broke. I don't want that to be a stopping place, so I might burn them instead. It's cold and a fire would be nice.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Martha Update

Well, I listed some of my Marthas on eBay. I actually did this a couple weeks ago for some of the special issues I had. Those sold, yay, and I got them shipped out.

We'll see how this batch does. They seem to be sold by theme these days, so I sorted out my winter holidays ones. I'll sell those, then try to donate the rest.

Give me strength!

Trying to let go of Martha

I have many issues of Martha Stewart Living. I want them to go away. I want to keep them. This is a problem.

I need a push to let them go...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Feeling less like a hoarder

Since I've been watching the A&E show Hoarders, I've felt less like one. I do have attachments to stuff and I do still have a lot of stuff. But I am able to let go of possessions. When I bring new items into my home, I release old ones. I'm truly in recovery I guess.

Anyway, today I've cleared out a cupboard, putting items out for use or donating them. Nothing exciting.

Last week, I shipped a box of cds and DVDs to Second Spin and soon I'll get a check. What a relief to have those gone!

Here's something that's been happening. I'll see something and get angry at it, even say out loud "I don't want that!" but it's something I have an attachment to or something that needs to go to a specific place for donation. I just hate wasting emotional energy on things.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Why I love the Goodwill

I can get a pair of sporty capris, a SIGG water bottle, a pair of men's slacks, a lambswool sweater, a sports bra (new!) and a pair of Gap jeans all for $20. That's less than just the sports bra, even at Target.


because they'll take all the clothes that are no longer my style (but likely someone else's), the books I've read and no longer need to keep, and the dishes that look just fine but don't fit my cupboards.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Hoarders on A & E

I watched the latest episode of A&E's "Hoarders". As I noted earlier, it's chilling to watch. I guess I can't say more than that right now.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

More old school papers

I'm on to second year of college. Found my physics and math notes, quizzes and labs. Boy did I suck at those two classes. Simply incomprehensible. Made me feel stupid, that it was so opaque to me. Makes even less sense that I would keep them--why? To remind me of how awful I felt taking those classes?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Moved on to college papers

I just tossed physics and math class notes into recycling. I paged through them and found them just as incomprehensible now as I did way back when. Feels just fine to let them go.

I have saved them for 23 years.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Decluttering the old school papers

I am in the process of letting go of my class notes from grad school. I pulled out this stack, about 18" tall altogether, of binders, folders full of handwritten class notes, sylabi, and various hand-outs. I haven't looked at these papers, other than to move them from spot to spot, since I got my degree. So, why am I still holding on to them, 14+ years later?

Why? To prove I attended school. In case I needed to refresh my knowledge of a subject. To use as reference. Have I ever done any of those? No. No and now that I realize that, they can go.

I have my degree and credentialing. I don't need the materials that helped me to get them. If I need to refresh my knowledge, I can take a continuing ed class or read an up-to-date text.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Decluttering the inbox

I have an email account I use for offers, discounts and remote email. I've been overwhelmed with the emails I receive there and have recently started reading the messages to figure out how to unsubscribe (instead of my usual delete, delete).

It's working. My inbox is much less full, I can see the offers I actually use and I can see my personal messages.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A recycling we shall go

Yesterday, I recycled two years worth of received Holiday cards. Why was I keeping them? I don't know. As a record of who sent us cards? For the photos of our friends? For the addresses, to send them cards next year?

Anyway, they're in the recycling bin now. I have many years worth, bundled in rubber bands and stored in boxes with other paperwork. Those will go as I come across them because I am now able to let them go.

I'm not sure what made the change, but watching the A&E show has helped. Just seeing others stuff, piled up and stacked, filling houses. It enables me to see my own excess with fresh eyes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I've been working on a lot the past weeks. I painted my living and dining rooms-a project that's needed to be done for several years now. It looks great.

There's a new show on A&E called "Hoarders". I discovered it online the other day and watched the episode they had on the website. It was ... chilling. It was reassuring, in that my house is not now and never has been anywhere near the level of any of the homes shown. My dad's garage now, that was comparable.

It did get me to take a fresh look at some spots of the house that do still have piles. I tossed several bags of recycling, about 5 bags of trash and filled my trunk with items to go to Goodwill, all during breaks in the episode.

There but for the grace?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Decluttering the Bar

What do you do with those odd bottles of partially used liquors and liquers? Take Life with a Grain of Chocolate recently decluttered her bar, which made me think of this great party tip.

If you find youself with odd bottles of alcohol, one way to dispose of it is to have a "Weird Drinks" party. Invite folks to bring the weird stuff they have hanging around in their drinks cupboard, you supply the mixers (seltzer, tonic, limes & lemons, grenadine, bitters, simple syrup and ice) and have a Mr. Boston or similar guide on hand. Fun will ensue!

It's a great way to declutter those odd bottles and the drink combinations will ensure that great conversation is had by all.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

old computers

We've got two old computers we don't use anymore, because they're slow and low on memory. But, both still have files that I need to access. Both have broken CD drives, one is old enough to have a 3.5" floppy drive (but it is also broken), so the only realistic way to access the files is via our home network.

What I really want to do is copy them all onto an external drive, but I don't have one with enough space available. So, the project sits and the towers gather dust.

My task for next week is to aquire a large-enough external hard drive, copy all the files I need and dispose of the towers. Will update.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I finally dug into the pile of shredding I've been accumulating. It was about 4" high; now it's about half that. I'll do a bit more today. My shredder is a light-duty one so I try not to do too much at one time, as I have no interest in buying a new shredder.

Here, shredded paper can go into yard waste/compost.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Weekly Car Clear-out

I clear out my car about once a week. With two kids, and lots of errands, stuff builds up. I don't stress about it day-to-day though.

It's easy to do. I grab a garbage can, a laundry basket and my Handi-Vac. Garbage goes in the garbage, recycling and everything else into the laundry basket. Then, I vacuum up the crumbs, bits of leaves and twigs, and general crud.

Next step is the crucial one and this is where hoarders and clutterers can slip. You must, must, clear out the laundry basket immediately. Right away. Within 24 hours if you can't right away. I'm serious! Otherwise, it turns into a stash & dash. And then, it becomes and archeological dig.

I cleared out my car last night. I did not fully empty the laundry basket, because it was so late. But it'll be done before I go to sleep tonight.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Out of the back yard...

and to the recycling centre. Helped the husband load close to 1000 lbs of concrete into his truck. It's now at the recycling center where they'll chop it up or some such. I'm just thrilled that the detritus of a retaining wall project is out of my backyard, making it safer for the kids.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More donations

Dropped off two more bags of donations.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


Dropped off two bags of donations at St. Vincent de Paul yesterday. Two more are ready to go.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Frozen Clutter

I defrosted my upright freezer yesterday. It took from 10 a.m. until 3 a.m. Yes, I was up until 3 a.m. defrosting my freezer. That's either crazy...or it's crazy. By 2, I resorted to pouring hot water on the inches of frost. Worked great!

I've reclaimed an entire shelf in the freezer. And, I tossed two sacks of ancient food items that will never be eaten by anyone except bacteria in the giant municipal compost heap. There's plenty of space now, so like is with like--meat all together in the bottom, convenience dinner items together, etc.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Roomba a Roomba

I know, I know, you're tired of my evangelizing the Roomba. Well, I vacuumed our master bedroom today and it was a snap. I have so few things on the floor that it took about a minute to put them on the bed. In fact, I turned on the Roomba and then picked up the room, it's so spare now. I love it!

And now, the room is nice and clean with little effort on my part. I want the whole house to be that way. And it can be, it really can. I just need to push a bit more, get rid of more clutter and convince the children to pick up all their crapola.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tidying the Stash-n-Dash

My little one knows that there are stash & dash bins in the garage. She asked last night if she could "get some Barbies". It took me a moment to understand that she meant dig them out of the various stash & dash bins in the garage. I told her she could, but she'd need to find as many toys to give away as she wanted garage items. She immediately went and grabbed ten things. Wow!

So, I had to keep my word.

I just finished two hours of stash & dash sorting. I filled three bags of recycling and three of donations. I donated things I don't like in the house, as well as items the kids have definately outgrown. I consolidated the bins, eliminating two of them through the donations, trash and recycling. It's still not done, but it's much better and tidy enough that the little one can pick a few things to bring back into the house.

Having a garage is good for me, because it allows me to let things age. I was able to give away items I'd kept in an earlier round of decluttering, because there is enough emotional distance now. It's what works for me. And each time, it gets easier.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Score at the Thrift Store

I had fifteen minutes to kill before an appointment this morning, so I decided to stop in at Value Village. I recently learned that I like camisole tanks with the built in bra. Rather than troll the department stores or brave Victoria's Secret, I decided to see what VV had.

I was in luck. They had lots! I found three nearly new French Dressing ones and two lightly used ones. The nearly new were $2.99 each; the more used were $.99. So for $11, I got five camisoles. With the one I already had, that's all I'll need 'til they wear out. Perfect!

I have no qualms about buying such items used things. I wash them and forget the fact that they were used.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reader, I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond

And I didn't buy a single thing.

I've had a few items on my list that I thought BB&B might have. I want a very small plastic wastebasket for the bathroom to put recycling in (you know, magazine blow-in cards, empty TP rolls, etc). There's not much room and with tile floors, I didn't want anything breakable.

BB&B had sent us a flyer with a coupon ($5 off a $15 purchase) and it was on my way home from dropping the kids at school. Seemed worth a try.

That place is overwhelming. It's full of stuff, stuff that promises to make your house a haven, to organize every room and closet, to eliminate smells and create tranquility. But what really happens? I'll bet shoppers toss items in their carts, hoping for that transformation. And those items just end up creating more chaos.

Anyway, I left empty handed. No wastebaskets that met my requirments and the only other thing I was mildly interested in (some Nautica towels in the right colour for our bathroom) were excluded from the coupon.

I handed the coupon flyer to a shopper entering the store and that was that.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Re-Reading "It's All Too Much"

I just picked up Peter Walsh's "It's All Too Much" from the library. It really struck a chord with me when I first read it. Now, re-reading it, it feels like I know it. The questions to ask have become second nature. Do I love this? Does my family use it? How will I feel if I give it away?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Less Cluttered

I noticed today that the main floor of our house feels...well, uncluttered. Yes, there's the detritus of everyday living--the rest of today's paper, a few dishes still to be cleared from dinner, toys here and there. But on the whole, if a friend called and said they could stop by in about half an hour, I'd say "sure!" and do a quick tidy and then make a pot of coffee.

It's a good feeling, yes it is.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I haven't been feeling as attached to things recently. Stuff that is. Inanimate objects. It's a subtle shift and I don't know the why of it. It just is.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Today we all pitched in to clean our carport. Due to the slope of our driveway, random garbage along with leaves, piles up along the edges of the carport. I park my car there, and we store the kids' bikes, the grill, the cat litter and the hose there. So when the junk and leaves and general crapola piles up, it makes parking a challenge.

Sweetie pulled my car out of the way, then we dug in. We swept out the leaves and threw away the garbage. Broke down some random cardboard boxes that had been tossed out there. My car has a minor oil leak and I poured some clay cat litter on the oil spot.

It's much nicer now and it only took us ninety minutes. No pictures, forgot the befores and now am too tired to go out and take afters.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Crazy Ads

Sorry about all the crazy ads. There's some blogger setting that's gone wonky on me. Working on a fix.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Clutter Free? I don't think so

Have you heard of ClutterFreeBox? It's a service that stores your stuff by the box (rather than by the storage unit). You can just fill up boxes with your clutter, ship them off (for a fee) and have the company store them (for a monthly fee per box). Need the stuff back? They're happy to ship it to you, again, for a fee.

This is a great money-maker for ClutterFreeBox, but do you really want to pay and pay to store items you probably don't actually need to own?

Declutter and you won't need services like these.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Organizing Coupons

Since I've started doing the Drugstore Game, I've acquired many coupons. Thus far, I've kept them in their inserts, intact, rather than clipping them all out. This is because the deal sites where the truly compulsive Drugstore Gamers post all note which insert and which date has the right coupon for the deal they mention. By keeping my inserts intact, I only had to flip to the right page in it.

However, the stack had gotten too high. I decided to try a nice easy low-tech solution. No fancy binders or coupon holders for me. I had a box of clear sheet protectors around and I often have scratch paper (the back side of printing I no longer need, usually). I made these simple holders. Food coupons are on one side, non-food on the other.

They're easy to re-use, I can put them in a binder if I want to, and they used stuff I already had on hand.

I don't like to take a lot of time to clip coupons, since I don't actually use that many. I think of my coupon clipping time as relaxation time, and either put on a movie or some music. It's a nice little break, really.

On a side note, I send my expired coupons to overseas military families. They can use them at the PX or the Commissary for a few months past the expiration date. It's an easy way to help out our military families. Here are a few sites to check for more information.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Could you eat for $1 a day?

Less is Enough did, for a month. Her project, one of many month or year long blog projects that have popped up, really resonated with me. I remember how I cooked back in college, when I had very little money. I'd pick up a couple of items at the little fruit and veg market on the way home and get creative.

Less is Enough started her project with a few rules. She'd use none of her existing pantry items and she'd spend a dollar a day, as she went. So, no stocking up at the begining with a lot of food and mete it out at a dollar's worth a day. No, she started with no food and one buck.

She's got great pictures of the food items she bought each day and what she cooked with it. She ate pretty well, in my opinion.

Her main goal was to demonstrate that one really can eat well on a small amount of money. The only processed food she used was Jiffy muffin mix. No Top Ramen or bargain bin frozen meals.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Memories and Possessions

I was going to post about how we as a family tackled the ginormous mess that is our kids' room. But then, something happened. A pink piggy bank that my mom had given to older DD years ago broke. I moved too quickly near it, with something, can't even remember what, in my hand, and with a crash, it was shattered. And I started crying.

I cried on and off the rest of the day. For my mom who isn't here anymore and won't give any more gifts to my daughters. For me, who misses her and for our challenging relationship.

It's a curse to have a good memory. I know people whose minds just let things go, who wouldn't have remembered where that piggy bank came from. But I remember and it's why I have such trouble letting go of the physical.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cleaning House

The living room has been trashed for days. The kids have been LEGOing and puzzling and doing all sorts of things and the rug has gotten covered with gunk that I couldn't vacuum up because of all the LEGOs and puzzle pieces. ARGH!

So, sick of it, I tidied up today. It didn't take long and now the living room is quite pleasant.

In other news, it's Spring, my favourite season. Tulips and daffodils oh my!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Busy busy

I've been busy with non-decluttering related stuff. I volunteered to help out with my kids' school auction. I also donated an item to the silent auction, a new in box lovely piece of clutter that will hopefully grace someone else's home.

At home, I've just been barely keeping up. Every day has had some activity that takes a heap of energy. I've Roomba'd the main bedroom, done lots of laundry, and gathered some items to be donated. Nothing big though. No big changes.

Sometimes, that's what happens and that's ok.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Water Heater Happiness

So, since our water heater problem/solution, I've encountered several people who needed to get new water heaters due to a crisis with the old one. Seems the cost to have that done is around $1300. So by doing the work ourselves (hey, I fetched tools!), we saved a thousand dollars! I'm just amazed by that.

Another happy dance that I have a sweetie who's a Mr. Fix-it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Finishing Touches

Sorry for the glare. Here's one of the kitchen finishing touches. I love this poster! It's a faux vintage poster for a California winery. They have an entire series of vintage-style posters.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lego Madness

This is what my living room floor has looked like for days now. The kids are being quite creative, we've seen Mad Scientist's Lairs, lidded boxes, jewelry boxes and various towers. Still, I'm done stepping on LEGOs. Must.Clean.Up.Floor.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Water Heater Mayhem

So, there we were congratulating ourselves on a tiling project well done when Sweetie calls out to me "There's a water emergency!".

Our 20+ year old water heater had given up. It was leaking and not in a way that could be repaired. Luckily, Sweetie can fix anything, so I knew we'd be ok.

We had to empty the old one, which was a pain because it was so old it had all sorts of crud in it, which blocked up the water exit valve thingy. Yes, I have no clue what I'm talking about. We ended up having to use a creative solution--a cat litter tray with a hole drilled in it to attach the garden hose, which we led outside. Here are some pictures for fun.

Old water heater

Clever draining invention

Crud from draining (ick)

Plumbing Cemetary

New water heater

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kitchen Progress: Backsplash is Tiled!

Yes, it's done. The kitchen backsplash is tiled. Project started on Friday and finished on Saturday. Really, I'm just so pleased! And it was so easy, really.

All I had to do was send an email to a local tiling company. They had time because a big job had cancelled, so they fit me in right away. A reasonable fee, quick & professional work, and happy us.

Isn't it great?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Family clean-up

Last night, my sweetie went out for a beer with a friend. So it was just us girls back at the homestead. I got an itch to clean up the basement. We still had the Christmas bins (red & green lidded bins we use for lights, ornaments, tree skirt and stockings) and various other boxes, bins and bits of junk.

I took the Christmas bins to the garage. We keep them in the garage attic, but I can't get them up there by myself. They're at the foot of the stairs though, so they are ready to go up.

I broke down the boxes that had accumulated and took them out to recycling.

I ran three loads of laundry, folding and putting everything away as soon as the dryer stopped.

And, here's the big one. The little one, only 5, decided to wash the basement stairs. Now I do vacuum them several times a week when the dust and cat hair accumulates, but man did they need a wash. On her own, she found a container, added soapy water and using a sponge, washed all the stairs. Now they sparkle! What a kid!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yes, I'm still going on about the Roomba!

I'm doing the living room-dining room this morning. Took about 10 minutes total to prep the room--I put chairs up on the table, picked up all the detritus from the kids' origami and Bella Sara projects, and dug all the crapola out from under the couch. Had to unplug the phone and stash it on the dining room table (we keep the upstairs phone on the floor near our big comfy armchair. It's not ideal, but in a 1940 house, you're limited by few outlets.)

I'll let it run 'til the battery dies. Here's an action shot for you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Roomba again

Yesterday, I Roomba'd our bedroom; today, I'm doing the kids' room. It takes just a few minutes to pick up the floor--I move their under-bed storage boxes, costume bin, book baskets, etc. up off the floor so Roomba can work unimpeded.

Then, I turn it on and shut the door. When it beeps, I check it and empty the bin as necessary.


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Going to IKEA

We're heading down the highway to brave the weekend hordes at IKEA. Both kids have dressers from there, and one of them is having problems with the drawer runners. We're hoping to get replacement parts for it. We'll see what we can do.

I love IKEA. Sure, the stuff isn't the highest quality (for all their testing) but I love the ideas, the design sensibility, the layout of the store (meatballs, just when you need them!) and the lingonberry drink in the restaurant.

There are a couple of kitchen items I need, so those will go on the list.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I still love the Roomba

It's just great, for cleaning the floors, sure, but also for forcing one to streamline what's stored on the floor.

If you can't change yourself, force the change with something else.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Busy busy

I've been busy this week, so not much news on the decluttering front.

Yesterday, I volunteered with my older daughter's class on their field trip to an organization that supports food banks. Forty kids helped to repackage donated canned and dry goods into family-size boxes that can be distributed at food banks around the state. The kids had to check expiration dates, and balance the boxes with canned and dry goods, as all the boxes needed to weigh approximately the same amount.

I've got my eye on a couple of projects around the house. I have hobby supplies still hanging around for a couple of crafts I no longer do. I can't just donate them to a thrift store, as they would probably be tossed. They need a home where the recipient understands what they are for. Must put on thinking cap for this one.

The upstairs is actually looking great. Thanks to the Roomba, I have floor clutter down to a minimum. There are still some stacks around the TV. I think we need to cull some media. We'll see.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Found My Old Crock-Pot--Update!

So, my Barbeque Beef turned out perfectly! It was a small amount and would have burned in the new Crock-Pot, but it came out just great. I am so pleased to have found old faithful.

And...the old one is old enough that it was made in the U.S.A. The new one? China. The quality control issues are going to implode that economy in the next few years. Just my prediction.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Found My Old Crock-Pot!

I found my old Crock-Pot and will give it a go today. I have some meat that, since it's been frozen for a couple of months, will taste best slow-cooked rather than grilled. So, BBQ beef for dinner!

I guess it was determination, or perhaps it was the fact that Sweetie found my beloved grater the other day while looking for something totally different. The Crock-Pot was in the garage, right on top of a Rubbermaid bin and right next to an open box of kitchen stuff. So, right where I should have expected to find it.

The real question is, why did I not find it when I first needed it? Perhaps my desire for a nice shiny new white-not-stainless one blinded my eyes? Anyway, back to basics.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Roomba Update

So far, I'm enjoying the Roomba. It has its idiosyncrasies. It can't go over power cords and we have two dressers it can't fit under. Or rather, it can fit under them but once there it can't escape.

I've run it about six times now, and it picks up a lot of dust, dirt and cat hair. It is much quieter than a standard vacuum. We have a lot of doors on our main floor, so it's easy to isolate it in a room or group of rooms and hallway.

Best of all, you must keep the floors clear to use the Roomba. And since I really want to use it, I am keeping the floors clear and motivating the kids to as well.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Bench: Part II

Since the Roomba (nicknamed Eva by the kids and Flowbee by the Sweetie) arrived, I've been tinkering with the house to make it more Roomba-able.

Today's task was to clear out the bench. The cubby contents, a mish-mash of old Sunday crosswords, paperwork, kid art and odds and ends, had me stumped. We'd taken to storing shoes underneath the bench, on days when we use the front door. (We have a shoe rack by the back door, since we use that one more often.)

I decided to use a technique I loathe. It works, in that the area one needs is cleared. But it creates a time-bomb for the future. But I did it. I boxed all that crap up.