Monday, March 31, 2014

Weekly Declutter: Minimalist March Days 27 to 31

Honestly, I didn't think I had enough things to get to the end of the month. I got to Day 28 without much effort, really. But then, I realised that Days 29, 30 and 31 taken altogether total 90 items. I started to freak a little--and then I just started to collect and pile. Pile and collect. After a few days, I had this:

This is the chaos I lived in pretty much all month.

Day 27 

I won't enumerate everything here, but included is a school project of my daughter's, unsatisfactory spray bottles (kept to spray the dog when he barks, but they sort of fizzled, and sssssh, a bag of hallowe'en candy found shoved to the back of the closet.)

Day 28

You know what that stack of books with the red spines really is, don't you?

Not books. No. Guilt. Guilt I have had for probably forty years.

My mother gave me that stack of books back when I was about ten or so. They are all by the British author, Enid Blyton. My mom bought them all, all at once, en masse like that--and the pile just overwhelmed me. I was a late reader--and this was too much! As well, being written in British-English, I stumbled on the strange but familiar language. For example, characters would often "box" one another's ears. They did it fairly frequently, it seemed to me. To this day, I have no idea what they were doing. (I did read her two boarding school series, The Twins of St. Clare's and my favourite, Darryl at Red Roofs. I longed to go to boarding school ever after.)

Day 29

The only thing to note here are the roller blades. I meant to sell them last spring when we cleaned out the basement, then, a year ago.

Day 30

Finally letting go of the odd bits of blue willow china I have kicking about. (The box contains 20 pieces.)

Day 31

Just stuff.

I have items leftover.

I thought long and hard about whether I would put these towards playing another round of the Mimimalist game in April. The thing is, collecting items, though worthwhile, started to infringe upon doing other things-- and my dining room was a constant mess. I think it would stress me out to continue, right now.

So, unfortunately, though I'd love to keep going, I need to focus my efforts on something else with the limited amount of time I have: namely, getting my weight down and improving my fitness as well as other projects around the house.

So, below, are my "extra-credit" items. (A class assignment of my daughter's involved her "casting" a movie based on the S.E. Hinton novel, The Outsiders. Of all the things!)

Total number of items decluttered: Days 1 to 31: 496.

496 + "extra credit" of 6 = a grand total of  502

Not bad.

But it is a drop in the bucket if it is really true that the average household contains over 300,00 items. Yikes! I guess that means we're down to 250,000, now. Yay.

The very best thing that happened this month? My thirteen year old daughter cleaned out her room and her closet. She was amazing.

If you'd like to read any of the posts in this series from this month, here they are:

On a Roll: Days 20 to 26.

And if you'd like to join the girls in the google+ group, here's the page for that. I'm sure they'd love to have you! Here's a great article to get you started: 25 Things to Throw Out.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Weekly Declutter: Minimalist March Days 20 - 26

This is an odd way to declutter.

Usually, I get rid of things during the course of re-organizing or cleaning. It is just part of what I do. This exercise is quite different though. I go to bed mentally reviewing shelves and drawers and cabinets. I wake up and count and recount objects I've found--and then start scouring the house for more to make the day's count. I have been working ahead, because we plan to take a vacation at the end of the month--so I am often working on several days at once.

It's a bit all-consuming.

But I am not complaining! In fact, it has been forcing me to confront a few facts:

1) I've made decisions for certain items to leave a long time ago--but they're still here. Items I want to sell are like barnacles on the dock: they are impossible to get rid of. Either I've listed them for sale and they haven't sold, or I've forgotten to list them. Worse are the items I actually have to schlep to a shop to sell. I've forgotten about many, many things.

2) Jars are evil. Seriously.

3) I am finding things I forgot we had--like books on tape (yes, cassette tape), and craft supplies. (That would have been handy a few weeks ago!)

4) It is utterly amazing how much crap hides in the forgotten corners--and it's amazing how many forgotten corners there are.

So, without any further fuss:

Day 20 

a puzzle, a couple of pairs of pillowcases, more books from my daughter's great purge, dominos, a wallet (the first gift my husband ever gave me), a cross the kids made in Sunday school, a doodah with tulips, shoe inserts.

Day 21

a pile of pillows, various tablecloths, more pillowcases, a couple of blankets.

Day 22

Left: an over the door pocket hanging thingy (still in its original packaging with price tag,) a travel case, four napkins, spools of ribbon. Right: a clock, an old book bag, a bowl, a dollar store trophy (not personalized. It's funny, when my daughter came home with it, I knew it would be tossed some day--and so it has been), a plate.

Day 23

workboots, 9 bottles of pancake mix my daughter was supposed to sell, a pair of candlesticks. A case for something, no one knew what, some doodahs. an internet cable, a lap top cooler (with cord! I found it somewhere else, of course), a candle and candle holder, another plate, a bag of clock parts (that's what the bag said!)

Day 24:
top to bottom: a couple of blankets, four placemats, a jacket too small for the smallest person in the house,  a warm air mist humidifier, a jar, a mustard jar, a chair, and a final box of things from my daughter's room (mostly activity books like Klutz and so on).

Day 25:

the evil jars, and fabric. I was talking to Mom on the phone when she mentioned she needed blue and white fabric for an upholstery project. I was so pleased I could give these to her!

Day 26:

A "tea set" which belonged to the mother of my mother's third ex-husband. (Yes, the woman we got our couch from.) She had some nice things--but most of which no one wanted. This is another one of those things: really pretty, really nice, but kind of useless. I am hoping I can sell it, but there are no markings at all, so it's probably more attractive than valuable.

And so there we have it. This may be it--I don't know how I am going to pull together Days 27 thru 31 while also preparing for our trip.

It's been a great experience, though. I am glad I did it.

If you're interested, here's a list of all the posts so far in the Minimalist March series.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring Cleaning: Day 6 onwards.

The first day of Spring--as it looked in my back yard!

I made up a schedule for a twelve day cleaning blitz for this merry month of March. I devised it to fit into the time I had available on my days off.

For Days 1-5 I followed my schedule like a good girl.

From Day 6, onwards, though, the schedule was shot to smithereens--and I just cleaned.

The Mattress: (You know why)

My daughter also got in the act, doing a huge purge of stuff from her room. While she was at it, I asked her to vacuum her mattress.

The Kitchen Cart:

Some days I started a project--and finished it that day.

The White Shelves:

Underneath the Stove:

Do not do this at home: that wiring is probably not in accordance with the Building Code.

Others, I spread out over a few days.

The Oven:

Hooray for self-cleaning ovens! Even though we bought the stove in October, this was my first time using the self-cleaning feature. No one told me I should have cleaned the glass before I ran it, though! No worries. I went back to making a thick paste from baking soda and Dawn dish detergent and left it on for a few hours. It did its usual magic.

Linen Storage:

and some of the stuff decluttered:

Some tasks I didn't stop to photograph like scrubbing the stove top, cleaning smudges in the back entry way while talking on the phone, wiping down the front door and cleaning the walls and baseboards in the downstairs bathroom.

And some, I'm still not finished:

I haven't touched these railings in all the years we have lived here. Until now!
(That's seventeen, in case you're wondering.)

Have you caught the Spring Cleaning bug, yet?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Weekly Declutter: Books and Papers. Minimalist March Day 13 - 19

My goodness. Minimalist March is making me actively look for things I can live without--and I'm finding them! I turned a corner this week. I surprised myself with how much I can get rid of--and how willing I am to do it.

Last year, I purged my bookshelves. I eventually made over $250 just from the sale of my homeschooling books alone. I really had not thought there was much to still let go of.

I was wrong.

My daughter asked me to clear some shelf space on the library landing for my collection of Nancy Drew's. They had been in her room for a few years, waiting patiently for her to read them. I doubt she will.

I had to clear 46" of space (yes, I measured) from here:

I was having a really difficult time until I shifted my thinking from "What do I want to let go of?" to "What must I keep?" (Note, I didn't ask myself what do I want to keep?)

Here is another really good reason to let go of books you have no intention of reading ever again:

That cannot be healthy!

And so, here we are.

and after, after, with the Nancy Drew books (and Harry Potter, too).

I decluttered about 70 books. It took me about an hour.

Getting rid of those books energized me to work on my paper clutter. I gathered them from various spots:

While I went through them and transferred my files from the old cardboard box, I weeded them out. Seventeen were thinned or eliminated entirely.

Hence, Day 17.

Days 18 and 19 belong to my daughter. She followed trough on a promise to go through her bookshelves.

She put aside this:

and this:

As for Days 20 thru 31? I don't know, but the linen closet and the shelves in the basement are getting the evil eye.

I am in the decluttering groove.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bedroom Makeover Step 3: The Duvet

I can't help it.

I love it.

It is loud.

It is obnoxious.

It threatens to be the unruly child who won't get along with others and will be difficult to control.

And decor-wise? I'm probably in way over my head. I'm no Jenny Komenda.

It just mind end up being the boss of me.

See what I mean?

I first saw it on a web site and I fell in love. Totally and irrevocably. I had been looking for something colourful for about two years. Could this be it?

source: Macy's via Maria Killam

After waiting 24 hours and talking it over with my husband, I pulled the trigger.

I had already painted the room in a Martha Stewart Living colour, Glass of Milk --and I'd purchased the paint I wanted to use for the headboard wall. I didn't open it.

I waited for the duvet to arrive.

The teal in the duvet was more green than blue. And the yellow was loud--and the red a pure, bold chinese red.

I bought another can of paint.

I painted the wall.

And then I did nothing.

To be honest, I was scared of that riotous duvet. I told myself I loved all the colour I already had going on.

the intense minty wall, the red, yellow and gray. This was lots of delicious colour!

I told myself it was enough. For an entire month, (a month!) I let the expensive duvet lanquish in the laundry room waiting for its first wash. (I always wash textiles before they go anywhere near my skin.)

I was getting used to it. Yeah, that was it. No. I was worried I'd made an enormous, indulgent mistake.

Until last night when I washed it and wrestled the duvet into it. (After vacuuming and rotating the mattress, of course!)

I love it all over again.

that I already own a coordinating print is pure kismet.

Bonus: I have finally, finally completed the three items related to the bedroom from the gargantuan "To Do" list I built in June, 2013.

Master Bedroom:

Paint room.
Paint headboard wall with something stencillish.
Buy or make a new duvet cover.

July, 2013


March 2014

check, check and check!
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