Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Mother Lode

I'm reorganizing my basement. You may remember that I took a lot of toys out of my kids' rooms and moved them to the basement playroom. Well, now I have to organize all those toys.

I meant to have it done by today, but I didn't finish. Which doesn't bode well for my playdate tomorrow. Sure hope the kids don't want to play

I started by looking for a bin in which to put the things I'm giving away. I opened one that was downstairs and found this:

Oh, right. I put these all in here several months ago to see if my kids suddenly started clamoring to put on puppet shows. Obviously they didn't. Which is sad because they used to put on some excellent shows.

I didn't get rid of all of these puppets. I actually kept a bunch of them. (If you are one of my readers who's given us puppets, those are the ones I kept. I got rid of the ones other people gave me.)

I did manage to get rid of fifty-three puppets. Don't even ask how I ended up with that many. I also got rid of a slightly broken puppet theatre. (Theatre, with an "re" thank you very much.)

I also put a giant amount of things in a bin to take out to the garage because I'm not ready to part with them. This bin included something like 86 billion Little People.

I did manage to collect a bunch of junk, almost all of it suitable for donation. Hold on to your hats, people:

Total items for today: 113

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It Doesn't Take a Village

Total items for today: 1

I know. It's beautiful. Sam worked really hard to make this "village." But I just cannot keep it. Do you see how big it is? Maybe you can't tell from the picture, but it's pretty big. And I know I just said it's beautiful, but it's kinda not. And it's fragile, so I can't put anything near it, and God forbid anyone tap it or a little brother tries to pick up a piece of greenery because OH MY GOD, HE'S GOING TO BREAK IT IT'S MINE IT'S MINE IT'S MINE!!!!!!!

The Junking of Sam's Village has been a two-step process. A few days ago I put it in a high cabinet to see if he would miss it. If he had asked me about it or requested it or, hell, even noticed that it was gone, I would have given it back to him.

But he didn't, so I threw it away.

(Aside: I plan to do this to some of Alex's stuff too.)

I even wasted a paper towel to cover it in the trash. Because if Sam discovers what I did, I'm in big trouble. 'Cause even if he'll never remember the Village, he would be outraged if he were to find out that I threw it away.

Hi, Future Sam. If you ever read this. I'm sorry. But we had no room for such a sculpture. And it may not have been beautiful, but it was really neat.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Really Old Magazines Are Worthless

When I picked up a magazine from my magazine rack shortly before the most recent American Idol finale, I found an article about "Getting to Know Your Top Twelve." A little out of date, right?

They weren't talking about the current season.

I'm a little behind on reading my magazines. I used to subscribe to a lot of them. And then things got busy for me and I stopped being able to read all of them. So I canceled most of them and have been working my way through my backlog for the past couple of years.

I've not been doing a very good job. And Alex is starting to get really annoyed. Here's why:

I finally came to terms with the fact that I don't need to read a Vanity Fair from 2006. Really. I found an Outside magazine from October, TWO THOUSAND AND FIVE in there. And, really, Time Magazine loses its appeal after, say, two years.

I needed some pictures of food for a project I was planning for my kids, so it seemed like as good a time as any to go through the magazines.

I kept quite a few (I'm partial to Entertainment Weekly), but still got rid of 21 magazines.

And I rescued a pirate and a penguin who were nearly crushed at the bottom of the rack. And a dime.

And I made Alex really happy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fury Rising...

If I ever want to get worked up into a frenzy, really all I need to do is clean my kids' room. Such a thing usually starts with me cheerfully entering said room with the intention to neaten up by myself.

Two apples cores, 16 lidless markers, and four piles of dirty underwear later, I'm cursing and screeching at my kids to come clean the room their own damn selves. I usually punish Sam by making him crawl under the bed to bring out everything that has fallen under it.

My other punishment is that if I find something that pisses me off, then I get rid of it promptly.

Those lamps that my children painted and decorated with their own tiny hands? Hate 'em. They're gone.

Homemade bead necklaces and bracelets? I'm sure they'll make me 15 of them tomorrow. I'll get rid of these.

The Thomas alarm clock with one leg? Let it bug someone else.

Anything in their room that is smaller than a book? It's going to the playroom, and if it causes trouble there, it's going to go "live in a farm upstate."

Total items for today (yesterday really): 16

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Great Patio Purge

As promised, I cleaned off my patio today. I wish I'd thought to take a before (or after, for that matter) photo. I organized all of our sand and water toys and cleaned everything. By the time I was done, we were all soaking wet.

But I got rid of 44 items:

A few things I had to trash, but most of them are going in a bin of things I'm planning to sell at an imminent garage sale. If the garage sale doesn't happen in the next few weeks, I'll just donate or trash the items, depending on their condition.

I feel much better now that this job is done.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Tip of the Iceber—, er...the Pyramid

I have a lot of work to do outside. A few weeks ago Alex sort of haphazardly moved the sand table and a lot of sand toys from the garage to the backyard.

I've been trying to turn a blind eye to the state of my porch, but I really need to do something about it. I was in the backyard with a friend of mine today and couldn't help but mentally plan a giant purge.

This is what I gathered in about 3 minutes. They are only the most obviously worn out items. They are only the beginning.*

Sometime this week I'm going to go through both the garage and the backyard and get rid of a bunch of plastic sand and water toys.

Put in your orders for extra beach buckets now!

Total items for today: 7

* That's an old door mat, in case you were wondering.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Gaining Space AND Time

Today I am handing all of this stuff over to a friend of mine:

Make that ex-friend of mine.

She may not like me very much when she sees me unloading all of this from my car.

Up until today I was the membership vice president of my children's preschool. It's a very prestigious position that pays the enormous wages of $25 a month. In the form of a preschool tuition discount. Yeah, prestigious in that they'll give the job to whatever sucker agrees to do it.

The goal of the VP position is to ensure a full school each year, something that is not hard to do in the DC area. Yet it is still a time consuming job.

It's also kind of fun, because I knew everyone in the school and I got to tell a lot of people about the wonderful school my children attend. And I was able to hang with a very cool group of women that make up the board of the preschool. In fact, I'm really glad I had this job.

But I did the job for three years and I'm ready to pass it on. Good luck to you, Friend H. Enjoy your 45 new items.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What Alex Refers to as "The Tampon Situation"

But what I believe could easily be referred to as "The Toothbrush Situation."

Today I took care of the under-sink cabinets in each of my bathrooms. Yeah, we only have two bathrooms. And neither one is on the floor where my bedroom is. It sucks. Try being pregnant in that situation. (I'm not.)

Anyway, at some point in the not too distant past, Alex waggled his fingers at me in a nervous manner and muttered something about me needing to clean up these cabinets because of "the tampon situation."

He was right. It was bad. Things (tampons—and cleaning supplies, toothbrushes, and assorted other doohickeys) would fall out whenever we opened the door. It made it hard to replace the toilet paper roll.

See my finished products?

I was too embarrassed to post a before picture, but you'll have to take my word for it that this is A LOT better. Although there is still a bit of a tampon situation.

This is one of the more revealing Junk Pyramid posts I've written. I feel a little weird exposing this to all of you. Because where do you throw all the odd, private things you don't know what else to do with? That's right. In the cabinet under the sink.

Why don't we shake that off and move on to what I'm getting rid of:

Let's see. No one will use the potty seats, so out they go. I don't take enough baths to use all my bath salts, so sadly, they will go. Assorted loofahs, gone. Half of a towel rack holder? Why do I even have this? The electric toothbrush? I was against it from the start when Alex insisted he needed it. And the other detritus from the cabinet. Gone, gone, and gone!


I also decluttered a cookbook that my mom likes by giving it to her. It's not a full-scale tackling of my cookbook cupboard, but it's a start.

Total items: 17

I Haven't Been Completely Neglecting the Pyramid

There hasn't been much action on The Junk Pyramid lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been getting rid of some stuff. Just not stuff that's interesting enough for a whole post.

(Not interesting enough for a Junk Pyramid post, a.k.a. The Blog of Complete Minutiae? How can that be? Oh, it can be.)

There have been a few toy casualties where a toy broke. In a prior life I would have kept them, claiming that I would either (a) fix it later or (b) use the parts for an art project later. (The operative word here being "later," i.e. "never.")

Over the past few days I've just been throwing them away.

I also had another experience just yesterday when I set aside the four tunnel starters for our new ant farm. "These will totally be useful someday," I told myself.


Today I threw them away. Victory over my compulsions! (I'm putting these in my item count.)

One of my recent decluttering/reorganization projects has had an unintended, but amazingly wonderful consequence. Remember when I moved all three of my kids' beds into one room and turned Quinn's room into a playroom?

Well, that playroom is a mere 10 or so feet away from my desk. So my kids will happily play in the playroom and I can work during the day when they are home.

If you are familiar with my schedule at all, you know that this is a huge deal. Why didn't this occur to me years ago?


I also wasted Day 100 of my project with a less than six day. BUT! I did get to discover that my addition in The Count was correct. I was delighted to find that Day 100 corresponded with Goal 600. Math not being my strong point, I assumed that I would have made an addition mistake somewhere along the road. Apparently I'm getting good at counting in increments of six.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Whole Point of the Pyramid

One of the main reasons that I started my decluttering project and The Junk Pyramid is because of the mess in my house. No matter how much I clean, I turn around and someone has thrown all their crap on the floor again.

The way to combat this, I think, is to get rid of the crap.

This is why I write a decluttering blog instead of a housekeeping blog.

I need to make my clean house Alex- and kid-proof.

One of my biggest areas of frustration is Sam and Jack’s room. I can clean it at bedtime and when I wake up in the morning, somehow the children have managed to scatter their belongings all over.

I’ve tried lots of things to reverse this trend. I’ve removed most of the toys in favor of art supplies. Then I realized that art supplies are really messy, and removed some of those and brought back some toys. Then I categorized all the toys and labeled the shelves.

None of this worked.

My new theory is that if there aren’t toys in the room, they can’t throw them on the floor right? So I moved all the toys out. I left books and I left some coloring books.

I moved Quinn’s bed in there because he never wants to sleep by himself.

All of the toys went either downstairs in the basement or to the room previously known as Quinn's room. I moved a bookcase to the basement and brought the train table upstairs to what used to be Quinn’s room and is now our playroom/train mecca.

Stay tuned for next week when I decide that this didn’t work either and so make the decision to rearrange all the furniture again. I can’t wait to see what I come up with next.

Even though I did a lot of work today, I didn’t declutter a damn thing. So I decided to take action and purge some of our coloring books.

I got rid of 37. 14 of them had never been colored in and were thus suitable for donation. The rest got recycled.

NOTE: I wrote this yesterday on my laptop before I realized that my wi-fi didn't work, due to a major power outage. Therefore, any part of this post that says "today" really means "yesterday."

Monday, June 2, 2008

I'm Coming Back, I Promise!

I just wanted to drop a note to let y'all know that I haven't forgotten about my clutter. In fact, almost all of it is on the floor of my house. (Damn kids and their inability to pick up after themselves.)

My busy month is almost over (I hope) and I'll get back to my decluttering list. There may even be a garage sale afoot.

(Now you have to come back.)