Thursday, April 13, 2017

Daily Declutter

Still sick. I've taken a nap every day this week! And not in the good, "I feel lazy I think I'll have a nap" sort of way; more in the "If I don't go lie down I'm going to fall down" sort of way.

However, Spring Cleaning must progress because we have people coming over for Easter. The kids' bathroom has developed an odor (other than usual kid bathroom smell) and we must track it down and destroy it. As a part of that effort, we (and by we, I mean one of the kids because I'm sick and can't smell the smell if they find it) cleared out everything under the sink -- lots of clutter removed there. I'm not sure what everything was, but I know there's a lot less in there now.

I also washed the shower curtain with vinegar, removed the bathmat to wash (not done yet, but it is planned, with the cleaning rags and other gross things) and the odor is now gone. Two benefits in one!

This year, despite suffering from the terrible virus of Terribleness, getting ready for Easter has largely been easier than usual. The flat areas that usually collect so much debris are already clear. Lots of areas are less cluttered, and habits I'm implementing seem to be making a generally favorable impact overall.

Not minimalist, but definitely better than it's been in the past.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

At least we're not falling behind

I have been sick with a horrible cough. It keeps me up nights, so I'm exhausted as well, from not sleeping. (Duh.) I've been doing things like...sitting on the sofa reading books, and napping. Not exactly making a lot of forward progress. Oh, and laryngitis. So I've been practicing my charades skills. (Not as much fun when I'm acting out "go empty the dishwasher.")

 I was planning to spring clean and get rid of some family possessions, but my current plan is simply to make the house clean enough to host the family on Easter. Thankfully everyone is bringing something to share, or I'd have to cancel, seriously. However, the doctor says I only have a virus, and it will pass in two weeks, at the latest. In case you're keeping track, that's exactly the length of Spring Break, so that's comforting.

And I'm crabby. Did I mention I'm crabby?

Yesterday my husband went to his dad's house to clear out the attic. His parents stored everything in the attic. Taxes from their parents, greeting cards, collections they no longer collect, two toaster ovens, pillows, photographs (please, please don't store your photographs in the attic! If the heat doesn't get them, the silverfish will).

My wonderful husband did NOT bring home a lot of things to keep. A plastic trash can to replace one in the garage that is broken (one in, one out). A few books. Two old suitcases (which I use for storage, instead of plastic totes. I'm hoping the train case can replace my plastic bin of craft supplies). His school records, which he plans to look through with the kids, then recycle. A few other things on that line.

I'm so happy and grateful that he did not come home with boxes of things that had been important once, that no longer have utility to my husband or anyone. It is so easy to look at that sort of thing, remember the memory and suddenly become unable to get rid of the item. Although we've been living happily without a memory of his third grade teacher, or the coloring book from the trip he took in 1981 (I'm not making this up), it is easy to get bogged down with the memories.

So, although I'm not doing anything useful right now, I will be grateful that things aren't getting worse while I lie around looking like furniture.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Daily Declutter

Yesterday was win some, lose some. I got rid of a couple more pitchers, a beautiful blue glass bottle that I never use (but it would look really pretty with a couple yellow daisies sticking out of it. Not that I do that. So out it went), a couple of clear glass Pyrex bowls (the one used for school went out to storage with other school stuff). Laundry was washed, folded and put away.

I also emptied the dish drainer and put it away under the sink. The kitchen looks so much tidier without the dishes piled up all day, so I will try to implement this as a new daily habit. (When the dishwasher gets emptied people put things on the rack to finish drying, and the drying rack has developed a habit of always sitting there, full of clean dishes, until the next load of dishes need to be dried. Not lovely.)

However, the decorations above the kitchen cabinets are going back up. My family missed them, and asked for them back. I will put that back this morning, as they live here too, and they get a say in what the house looks like. This is part of the reason I am decluttering so slowly (I remind myself), so my family can participate in the process and also be comfortable at home. But I'm pretty disappointed that they noticed, and resisted.

Still, the amount of stuff I got out of the cupboard was significant, and those cupboards continue to become more functional.

Today is shopping day, so I will be running around getting all my errands done. I already emptied the dish rack and my menu is mostly made for next week (Spring Break! Hooray!) so I have a good start on today, and I am optimistic that the day will be a productive one. I might even be able to get the shelving unit and the weed trimmer posted to Craigslist, making a lot more storage space and room to park the truck in the garage!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Catching Up

Sorry I've been absent. My daughter borrowed the computer to work on a project at a friend's house, and while she brought the computer home, she left the power cord. So I've been without access to the internet for a couple days, while we waited for the cord to come home.

I made good use of the time, however. We went to Disneyland (our last time on the Southern California pass), then came home and spent the day at the theatre, with my daughter's dance show. So I wouldn't have had much time for writing -- I haven't had time for decluttering, either, so I wouldn't have had much to write about.

I feel so motivated, though. My daughter's friend had an absolutely beautiful, minimalist home. I even got to peek in her pantry, and that was not cluttered, either. The house felt calm, and tidy, and spacious -- even with a bunch of middle school girls working on a project. I know my home feels cluttered and untidy because I feel the need to deal with a lot of the clutter that lies around here, but I'd like that feeling of calm to be part of my home. I'd like to get rid of pieces of furniture to make the house feel more spacious -- but I'm pretty sure the calm wouldn't happen in that case, because my family would rebel against the changes. So I will soldier on, but more aggressively, I think.

I did remove all the decorative items from above the cabinets. No one has noticed, but I do like the clean look of not having stuff up there. And if no one notices, no one must mind, right? Or maybe it's because no one had been home.

I'm also planning to move the things we use once a year out to the storage area. My husband has a couple of household items that he uses once a year for school. I can move those outside, making better use of living space and still have the things we need. A compromise that will keep both of us happy.

Other than that, I'm just doing the things I need to do to keep the house running. Laundry, menu planning, cleaning. Hopefully I can declutter a little while I'm at it!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Stalling

If you've been reading this blog lately, you might have noticed that I've been stalling. I just don't seem to be making much forward progress. Part of the problem is the fact that I share my home with my family, part is that I've already eliminated the low hanging fruit, and part is because we've been so busy.

At this point, I have seen a difference between the beginning of the project and now, but I'm not making much progress right now. I'm trying, but I feel like I'm not making the progress and change I'd like.

Should I accept this as a seasonal reality -- I can't make big changes while the kids are so busy with activities, and I'm preparing for Easter. Should I just wait until May is over, and begin large scale change when school gets out? Should I just limp along for the next two months? Or is there something I should do right now to get things really going?

I've been making little changes, and they are beneficial. I've gotten rid of much of the stockpile of food in the pantry, and I'm buying things as we need them. Before I started a menu plan I needed to keep lots of "just in case" foods. Now is simpler. The shelf by the front door and the bar are both usually tidier than they ever were before. I've reduced the bags of frozen fruit in the freezer, and I can use it more efficiently than I used to. Actually, it seems that everything is more efficient now.

The improvement I have experienced so far encourages me to make more improvement, but I don't see an easy way to do that.

I know I'm droning on, but I feel I ought to post honestly. Minimalist-ing is not always an easy process, even though I really enjoy the results.

Daily Declutter

Last night I realized we had a duplicate copy of the Second Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. I love Kipling; The Jungle Book, Kim, Just So Stories. However, since I have a second copy, I will be getting rid of one. As I pulled it off the shelf, I thought I'd check to see if there were a market for it on ebay. Turns out there is! I'm excited to find out that someone else can use it, and I'm excited that the little bit of space this will save on my shelf is enough to display a pretty vase that has sort of been floating around.

I also listed a bundle of handkerchiefs. Someone might find them useful as wedding season approaches, but my family would much rather have new flannel handkerchiefs than vintage cotton. They are also not impressed by embroidery -- scratchy on delicate noses -- so those can go find a better home, where they will be appreciated, and not neglected in a drawer around here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Daily Declutter

Almost done with the shelving unit in the garage! I've been working on this slowly, so my husband can get used to the idea and not freak out, but I'm almost done. The things that were on there have either been decluttered or rehomed elsewhere (where something else was decluttered) and we will soon have room for our bicycles and our truck in the garage.

I moved some boxes closer to where I store ebay items. This should make packaging things for shipping easier, and it got some space freed up in the garage. I'm hoping to put the dog clippers on Craigslist this afternoon, and that spot will be open. I'll also be putting a beer making kit on Craigslist. It was a gift, and my husband enjoyed it, but not enough to keep making the beer. So hopefully the beer kit will find a good home as well. I packaged up most of the parts of the kit, and I am waiting patiently for my husband to finish off the last couple of beers before I post it, so I can include those bottles for the new owner.

I don't know if this is minimalist-ing topic, but it certainly is making my life better! My son has not demonstrated the ability to clean up after himself when he makes food, unless I remind him to do so. So I have been coming in to find the remains of his sandwich on the counter (bag of bread out, open; peanut butter, open; sticky knife on the counter; crumbs everywhere). Finally, in desperation, I warned him that I would make him clean the toilet if he didn't start cleaning up after himself. After all, if I have to do something I don't want to do (remind him to clean up after himself), then he can do something I don't want to do (clean the toilet). Today, he learned to clean the toilet! I didn't have to do my most-hated chore, even though I still had to remind him to clean up the counter. (I mind reminding him less when it means I don't have to do my most-hated chore). Either way, it's a win for me -- either he learns to clean up after himself or he can clean the toilet. (And in case you feel too sorry for him, he's in high school. When he moves out, and when he gets married, the people he lives with will appreciate this skill set.)

I decluttered a tiny cast iron frying pan that came with a Christmas gift. I have not used it yet, and although I love the way it looks, it clutters up the cupboard and makes using my real pans harder. So out it goes. I also found a few more silk flowers for school, and a couple more CDs. They will be dropped off and used for crafts at the annual fundraiser.

The weather is warm enough now, I don't think I need to worry about frost any more, and my basil will be moved outside. It will grow better with more root space, and it will no longer live on the bar, inviting people to drop other things on that flat space to keep the basil company. (Someone is keeping it company right now with a DVD, a script for church, and the box of stained glass still waiting for a trip to the hardware store for hanging hardware. That will be dealt with this afternoon, when it is time to pick my daughter up from school.)

As for the remainder of my day, I will make my grandmother's perogi, and freeze it for Easter dinner. Some will be tonight's dinner as well! Potato-cheese dumplings, topped with sour cream. That will take up the remainder of the afternoon, but it will be worth it!