Thursday, February 27, 2014

De-cluttering Week 9 -A Jewel of a Project

I was dressed and ready to go, all except for a certain necklace I wanted to go with my outfit that day.  The piece should have been on top, and easily accessible but it wasn't.  My jewelry box was overflowing, mostly with junk and I didn't have the time to sort through the mess to find the piece I wanted. The jewelry box immediately got added to my De-Clutter list. 

  • There is too much to simply hang on a piece of beautifully framed corkboard, as I had seen so many times on Pinterest.  I thought of pinning everything to a regular bulletin board and just hanging it behind the bedroom door.  That might be big enough.  Then, when we were shopping this week, I spotted these cute jewelry organizers, shaped like t-shirts, pants and dresses, and decided that since I've been so good at keeping up this project for 8 full weeks, I deserved to treat myself to one of those.  I chose the evening gown, since it has pockets for small things on one side, and Velcro loops on the other side so you can hang longer pieces without them getting tangled up. 

While cleaning out the jewelry box, I found various things I had not seen in a long time.  One was the key to my cedar chest.  I've been looking for that for years. I was sure it was in there and was amazed at how many little keys lived in with the jewelry. I had tried every little key I could find, more than once, but none of them worked. This elusive key was inside a small envelope, which was laying flat at the very bottom of the box, towards the back.  No wonder I never found it.  It's been years since I've had everything out of there.  I notice the envelope tells me how to get a spare key, should I need one, but that was of little use when I couldn't even find the envelope.

I don't have pierced ears any more, so I sorted out the earrings. Some went in the garbage, some went in a bag for donations or yard sales, and some that seemed suitable were put with my other beads to become more necklaces someday. 

While I managed to do a bit of weeding, there were also a few very old pendants that I hang onto simply because they remind me of trips and events from long ago.  There's one from San Juan Capistrano.  We were there the year of the Seattle  World's Fair. There is one from there also, equally as old.  There are also two from the Montreal World's Fair as well. I had a trip down memory lane, just by cleaning out that box.

This week I also cleaned out the magazine rack in the living room and actually disposed of half of what was in there, which is pretty good for me.  Then I sorted through the store catalogues from Sears, Ikea, Canadian Tire and Lee Valley and got rid of anything that had expired.  I even cleaned out my purse! 

This week's jobs were smaller than last week's, but I still feel like I accomplished a lot.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Voices From the Past

My Mom has been gone for close to 30 years now, but lately I've been hearing her whispering in my ear. "Why are you doing this?" she asks me.

My Mom was house proud and kept her our home immaculately clean and tidy.  You didn't dare put something down if you weren't finished with it, as she would have put it away before you could pick it up again.  My house is clean, and if you walk into it, you are not necessarily going to see spots as messy I've been showing you.  But my house is lived in, and things do accumulate here and there, though not necessarily all at the same time.  Most people who have visited here would tell you the house is generally tidy, at least most of the time.

It doesn't bother me one bit to show you some spot that is currently in need of tidying up. After all, that's what this De-Clutter Project is for. It's a kick starter to get us to tackle those little jobs that we've been avoiding, or ignoring, until the time comes when they actually look bad.  My mother would have said I was making a fool of myself, and somehow that would have cast a bad light on her.  She always saw it that way.  What ever I did, was a total reflection of the job she was doing raising me.  I disagreed.  To me, it was more of a reflection of my own choices, and had nothing to do with what she tried to teach me.  I may have just chosen not to apply some particular lesson to what I was up to at certain points in time.  I suppose this is another one of those times.   I know she would be rolling over in her grave if she could see me showing the world my clutter spots.

As for myself, I'm quite happy to have found a group of people all on a similar quest.  We spur each other on, and keep one another accountable for at least trying to clean up some spot, and report in each week. I've now completed 8 weeks of de-cluttering projects, and added a link to the bottom of the de-cluttering posts, so that anyone else reading can also get in on the project. 

So, hush Mom. Be proud of me. I'm doing something good here, not something shameful.  At least, that's the way I see it.  After all, if I do this every week for a full year, it might actually become a habit. I might even run out of messy spots eventually.

Friday, February 21, 2014

De-Cluttering - Week 8 Office Roadblocks Cleared

In my world, everytime I want to put something someplace, something else has to be moved first.  Then that thing also needs to move somewhere where some other thing will have to make way for it.  It's like one roadblock after another, and one of the main reasons why things find places to just pile up.

A couple of years ago I bought a desk specifically to do my artwork on, but as I showed you in week one, it became another surface where stuff magically appeared and took over.  One of the main reasons why the desk never stood a chance of being used for what I had intended was another little piece of equipment that was supposed to work as an organizer. 

I was given a nice big organizer caddy for my craft paints,  but the problem was, I didn't really have a place to put it, once the desk arrived on the scene.  It ended up near the desk, but basically in the way if I wanted to get into the filing drawer. I figured the first thing I had to do was find another place for these paints.....but where? 

Originally I had them in the closet, but .... well, I'm sure you will see me try to clean that out too at some point.  This was originally my spare room, and then became my office.  There are a lot of things I'd rather store in that closet than what is currently in there, but I digress.

This morning I woke up with the idea that maybe the paint organizer could fit into the corner, under my desk.  That would not be a very handy spot for them, but it's not like I use the craft paints all that often anymore, and I'm sure I'd get more use out of my desk it they were moved.  Right now, this is the only solution I can think of. 

So first I had to get whatever was back in that corner out of there. Well, you may recall from week three that I noticed a bunch of big envelopes in a photo I posted and said I'd have to tidy up that corner.  Well, hey, I did that this morning! 

I found a couple of USB cords under there, that had likely been attached to my old computer, but now didn't seem to be attached to anything. I put them in my cord box.  That's really a pie box but who puts pies in boxes these days?  I've long since repurposed it as a place to store various cords.

I have come to the conclusion that I'm a pack rat. I hoard certain things, without even thinking about it.  One of those things happens to be big envelopes that come in the mail.  I reuse them to corral each year's business receipts.  I use them to stuff all the smaller bits of paper into, when recycling.  That keeps little pieces of paper from blowing away once the blue bin has been put at the curb.  I even use the bubble wrapped ones to store other things in, when I think a little padding would be a good idea.  I just didn't realize that my collection had grown as much as it had.  I saved a few envelopes and put them in a neater home elsewhere. There is only room for a few there, so that should help me limit my collection.  I shredded any that had my name and address on them, and recycled the rest.  I'm not sure about the ones with bubble wrap. You likely can't put them in the paper recycle bin, so I guess they will have to go out with the regular trash.  If the are recyclable, please let me know.

So, I got out the vacuum and moved everything that was under the desk, and did a thorough cleaning way back under there.  There is a pull out table that sits under my desk, so I can have it for extra desk space when required.  I had to pull that right out of it's spot in order to tuck the paints into their new corner.  I discovered that I couldn't have used that desk if I needed it either, as I had been storing mail order catalogues there.  So I went through those, filed the few that were still good where they actually belonged, and ditched the rest. 

Everything under my desk is now clean and tidy, but that wasn't the job I originally planned to do.  It was all the major clutter that sits behind me as I sit here.  The stuff that keeps me from the desk where I want to paint.  Cleaning the actual desk off again, won't happen until I can get close to it either.

Now, there are certain things that sit on the floor behind me that live there, and I really don't intend to move them. At least not at this point.  The laptop is there, as is my briefcase.  The bag I use to haul my paint and projects with me when I go to classes or friends or other paint spots is also there, fully packed and ready to go.  Right now there is also a bag containing my hand weights and stretchy bands that I take with me to the exercise classes (that I have not been to lately....but will be going back soon).  I might consider stashing that elsewhere.

There was a three tier filing system sitting there right now too. The idea is to hang that on the wall close to my desk, once we figure out just where everything else goes.  I pretty well have a designated spot for it picked out now, so I just need the man (with longer arms than mine) to hammer in a nail.  I see it's time to do some major filing too, when I get a moment, as that's getting rather full.  But at least I do that on a fairly regular basis.

It's been a busy day.  While I was doing all this, I was also cleaning the oven.  It needed it as my Winter Beans boiled over the other day, and made a mess that had to be cleaned up before I'd be able to use the oven again. 

I do still have the box full of stuff that had been on my desk before the new computer and monitor arrived.  I really do have to get into that and sort through it, as who knows if there is something important that I've totally forgotten.  That's going to have to be some other day though.  Maybe it will be next weeks project.   Right now, sitting in one spot, sorting through a box sounds like a big enough project to me.

Clean up some corner of your space and show us what you've done.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Fun of Aging

When we are young some of us worry about making a fool of ourselves.  We sometimes avoid doing things we know we would enjoy, just because we think someone might laugh, or make fun of us later.  For instance, after moving from one coast to another, I was nervous about going to a school dance because my dancing style might be different from that of the new locality. I probably wouldn't have gone if my mother had not physically pushed me out the door. When performing in a mandatory school choir, I usually just mouthed the words, as I didn't feel I could carry a tune and didn't want to be heard.

Now I'm older and have a place to go that's full of senior citizens where I feel the freedom to just be who I am, and have fun without worrying about what others think.  It's still the only place I'll actually sing out loud though, other than the privacy of my own home or car.

The New Horizon Club meets twice a month, in Burritts Rapids,  for a wide variety of activities.  This week they held an event titled Viva Las Vegas. I wasn't sure what would transpire, but knew we would have a good time.

I got drafted to be in charge of one of the Black Jack tables. This is silly because I don't play cards. I'd been told early in life that I have NO card sense so many times that I just decided not to bother playing anymore.  As a result, I'm very awkward even handling the cards. I quickly found someone else who could deal, and decided I'd be in charge of the chips.  Neither of us were really sure of the rules, but we learned them, or adopted some of them and made up others for our particular table.  There was no money involved, as it was just for fun.  Everyone who played was given 10 chips and instructed at the beginning of the event to please leave the table if they lost them all, so that someone else could take their seat. I think, over the course of the afternoon, we only ever had two people at the table who actually knew what they were doing. But we all had a great time.

Then came the floor show.  Four of our ladies got all dressed up and performed a couple of dances for us up on the stage. Before they were finished, I know for a fact that they were all wearing red underwear. They made sure we saw that when they did the CanCan! There was nothing professional about this performance.  They expected, and got laughs, though it was meant to be more of a dance number than a comedy act. That doesn't matter as they were having as much fun trying to keep in step as we were having watching them. 

When they were finished they circulated through the crowd, flirting with the men and sometimes even planting a kiss on an unsuspecting cheek.

And what's Vegas without Elvis?  The president of this group came in, in a mainly white outfit, complete with bell bottomed trousers.  He had a wig on his head that was supposed to look like Elvis's pompadour, but in reality was a lady's long black wig that had been pinned up at the back with dozens of very visible bobby pins.  He tried to lip sync with the music, but most of the time he just posed or gyrated and broke us all up into gales of laugher.  We were even singing along at one included. 

I love the freedom of aging and feeling more comfortable in your own skin.  You are only here once and should enjoy the ride. Too bad we have to wait so many years before we realize that.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

De-Cluttering - Week 7 - Airing Out the Linen

This is not the project I had planned for this week, but the other one has been postponed until I get a chance to purchase what I think will be a solution to a tangled mess.   Instead I cleaned out something that was over stuffed.  The linen closet.

As you can see, it was filled to the brim.  Not only is this messy, but there is simply not enough air circulation in there. If I don't use something for a while, then it gets a musty smell and is no good to me when I want it. 

I took everything off these three shelves.  Sorting through I found things I could throw out, like old sheets and pillow cases that were worn thin, or stained and yellowed dresser scarves that have long since been replaced.

I found things I can give away, like baby blankets, pot holders and cushion covers that are too small for any cushions now in the house.  I even found some sewing patterns in there. All that stuff can go find a new home at one of the local churches, where they sell used goods to raise a bit of money.  I have a big bag of books for them too, but at least those were not in the linen closet. 

I found some old curtains that are still in good shape, but I'll hang onto them for a few more months as my oldest son is moving and they may fit some of his new windows.  If not, well, they are not going back in that linen closet, that's for sure!

There were also a few other things in there that need to be stored in more appropriate places.  Some of it is beach stuff, so that can go to the basement for now. That's an ever popular storage spot that will also need to be reorganized....but not until the weather is considerably warmer than it is now.  A stack of tea towels was also hiding out in the linen closet. I took them to the kitchen, but that just pointed out that the kitchen drawer where they should be is something else that needs to be weeded out.  That's probably why they landed in the linen closet in the first place, but it was so long ago, I had forgotten that I put them there.

I admit there are toys stored in the bottom, for easy access by my grandsons when they visit, and there is also another shelf above all this that holds vases and other knickknacks. I'll tackle that some other day.  I think you'll agree that I accomplished what I set out to do on this particular chore. 

I noticed that cupboard is overdue for a bit of fresh paint though, so I'll try to be more prepared to take care of that job next time I clear it out.  Actually, I bet most of the cupboards could stand a new paint job.  Ha.  That would mean the closet clutter would be all over the place for an extra day or so.  It will take some convincing to get me to do that then. Maybe I'll have to settle for tidy. What do you think?

Friday, February 7, 2014

De-cluttering - Week 6 - The Refrigerator

I'm not sure if cleaning out the fridge is the same as clearing clutter for the rest of you, but my fridge was overly full and definitely cluttered, so that's the project I chose for this week.

I worked from the top down, taking out everything, shelf by shelf, and washing the shelf before putting anything back on it.  Expired things and left overs that have been left too long got trashed. Dairy, eggs and tall stuff are up top.  My second shelf is split, so you can pull each side out separately to get what's at the back (not that I ever remember to do that).  One side holds spreads and condiments, while the other side holds pickles and yogurt.  The bottom shelf, and the crisper drawers are for fruit and vegetables. 

I use an old ice cube bin to keep all the smaller bits and pieces of veggies in, like half an onion or pepper or tomato, or the smaller left over bits of cauliflower, broccoli, or head lettuce.  It's also a good place for more fragile veggies like zucchini, cucumbers or tomatoes. 

I'm always surprised at how many onion skins gather in the bottom of a crisper drawer, and totally amazed at how much crud can hide underneath there.

I feel like I accomplished something as now I not only have a de-cluttered fridge, I have a clean one.  I found a grapefruit I had totally forgotten I had, and that will be part of tomorrow's breakfast.  It will seem like a reward for a job well done.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

It's All in the Stars

Apparently, according to astrological charts,  Mercury is in retrograde and this week we are all told to "expect cheques in the mail to be late. Postal and courier services will suffer from delays. Everyone will be dogged by silly errors and confused communications."

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm certainly experiencing something along those lines.

I won a $100 from Subway early in January, and while others who won this contest seem to have received their gift card, mine has not yet arrived.  I put in a query a few weeks ago, and they sent me a form that needed to be filled out and sent back. I did that, and they promised to mail the card out on January 20th. If I had not sent in the query, I likely never would have received the form.

It's now two weeks later, and my prize is still not here. I know Canadian mail is slow, but it doesn't take two weeks for an envelope to go from anywhere in this country, to someplace else in the same country.  I told them that and they are now looking into it, though that was several days ago, and I haven't heard anything since.

I even told them how much I'd love to tell my blog readers about experimenting with different combinations of Subway sandwiches that I haven't tried yet.  Let's hope I get that chance.

Meanwhile the Linen Chest was having a 75% off sale and I found something on their website that I've been wanting for months.  Hunting for, in fact. I even put it on my Christmas list, but I didn't get it.  I don't often buy stuff on line, and after my experience before Christmas, one would think I'd know better.  But I wanted new pasta bowls and this set was perfect, so I put in the order. 

The original e-mail advertising the 75% off sale also came with an offer of 10% off if I signed up for their newsletter, so I did that.  I expected an e-mail giving me that additional code to plug into my order, but it didn't come, so I put the order through.  Several days later I got another e-mail saying there was still something in my shopping cart, and if I completed the order, they would give me 5% off.  I went to look at my account, and it appeared that my order was "processing", but it did indeed show the pasta bowls sitting in the shopping cart.  To me, "processing" meant the order had gone though just fine.  I wanted the bowls but didn't want to duplicate the order, so I decided to e-mail them and ask.  I also asked why I would be satisfied with a 5% discount when they originally promised me a 10% one that never came through. 

I got a response that said, "normally one receives this notice if they did not complete their purchase or completed the transaction from a different computer or browser."  That wasn't the case here though.  They then offered to take the extra 5 % off this order if I transferred the offer I received back to them by e-mail.  I eventually figured out they meant I should forward that message to them, so I did, and got that extra 5% after all.  I also got a another e-mail from them giving me that original 10% discount off my next order.

Checking my account once again, I see the order is still "processing"  but at least now there is nothing in my shopping cart.  I have no idea when the package will arrive, but at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if something was broken.  That wouldn't be the fault of the Linen Chest, or the Post Office, of course.  It would just be my luck.....or perhaps I could blame it on the stars.

Did I mention I've been getting lovely e-mails in my g-mail account, complete with photos of a lovely little girl, that were all meant for someone else?  I alerted the person who was sending them, and he seems to have it all straightened out now. The e-mails were meant for someone with my last name and my first initial, so I can see how this could happen.  It's just the timing that seems to fit into the predictions at the moment.

According to astrologer Georgia Nichols, the kind of mix up and confusion I have been experiencing will continue until March 20.  Oh Joy.  Can you just imagine how bad the Ides of March will be?

But on March 21st, I get to celebrate my 40th Wedding Anniversary, and it should be good as I will be in the clear by then.  Hopefully......