Sunday, April 15, 2007

Losing the Clutter

This post has only a little to do with food; but I wanted to share what's been happening in my home the past week. When I was in Texas visiting my brother, I picked up a book called Cut the Clutter and Stow the Stuff: The Q.U.I.C.K. Way to Bring Lasting Order to Household Chaos, by Lori Baird. A little leafing through showed me that this was a book that was going to need more attention. Carol told me to take it home with me to California, and she also gave me two others.

I spent the drive from Kerrville to El Paso reading those books, especially the first one. I made lists. I planned. I envisioned. And by the time I got back to California, I was ready to go. See, I'm going to retire from teaching in 4 years - less, if our district offers an early retirement incentive. And then we're selling this house and moving into a fifth-wheel or a motorhome and hitting the road as full-time rv'ers. We're going to have to get rid of a LOT of stuff, and I might as well get started now.

First, I went around the house and filled up two garbage bags with junk. Some of it was really trash, that had accumulated on tables and dressers and other places, and some of it was really junk that I knew I was never going to need.

Next, I went to my closets, and pulled out jackets, skirts, blouses, purses, belts, dresses, and jeans that are either too big (hooray!), out of fashion, or just plain not "me" any more. I filled up two large boxes, which I took to the thrift store near my office on Monday. Then I took all the torn and stained clothes, including a bunch of t-shirts that I'd held on to for sentimental reasons (even though some were way too small), and threw them away. Another two garbage bags full.

Knowing that I won't need all my rubber stamps, and seeing that there have been dozens that I bought and haven't used, and won't use, I put them up on ebay. So far I've sold 25 of them for an average of $4 apiece.

I found some other great things to put on ebay - a piece of software that I bought and never opened, some shoes that are brand new, a few upscale clothes items that I knew would sell, and have already made $300. I'll start putting the better decorative items up (crystal, Hummels, etc.) soon, and am finding things to get rid of every time I turn around.

Yesterday after breakfast I decided to tackle the refrigerator. I've neglected the fridge for years. It was really grody (old word from college meaning disgusting or gross). I threw out 5 jars of apple butter made two years ago - botulism anyone? I also tossed some salad dressings and other condiments way past their use-by dates. The actual cleaning of the refrigerator took me almost THREE hours. That's because it had been so long. Now I know exactly what's in there and where, and have promised myself to clean it more often. I should have take "before" and "after" pictures, but I forgot. One night this week I'll do the front of it - where we have probably 30 magnets, each with its own picture, note, or other piece of ephemera.

Today I cleaned up my scrapbooking area, and have started to toss things I don't need, and organize everything else. I think I'll put together some assortments of things to put on ebay. I've accumulated so much STUFF!

This is so fun. It's so liberating. And it's even a bit lucrative! A few months ago I bought a large, plastic, blue piggy bank - it has no cork, and is made of the kind of plastic frisbees are made of - so you can't get into it unless you use kitchen shears to destroy it. I've been popping all my silver in it, and now I'm sticking large bills in it. Once it's so full I can't cram anything else in it, we'll open it and buy ourselves something special for the trailer/motorhome.

Why is this food related? Well, the refrigerator is cleaned and organized, and next I'll do the pantry and cabinets. I guess I'll finally get rid of the electric skillet Don bought me for Christmas in 1980, the year before we got married. And which waffle iron do I keep - the regular one that makes 4 squares at a time or the Belgian one? Do I really need 5 large skillets? And what about the Royal Doulton mugs and saucers that we've NEVER EVER used?

What have you done to get organized lately?

1 comment:

cookiecrumb said...

Like you, it takes me an imminent move to start decluttering. Only I don't have four years to do it; I only have three weeks!
Luckily we just moved into this place two years ago and did a HUGE junk removal then. Now we have to ask ourselves the hard questions, like you are. Am I ever planning on making waffles? Why two pressure cookers?
It's so nice that you're enjoying your project.