Monday, February 7, 2011

You've Been Stimeyed!

When you're serious about decluttering, you always need to keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to dump your stuff on other people.

I pretty much have this down to a science.

For example, who thinks this is something you could dump off onto a hapless friend?

Note hapless friend's arm behind the jug.

This gallon of distilled water has been in my cabinet since the tadpole days, but we don't use distilled water for anything else, so it's been sitting in there for almost a year. I can't throw it out because it's perfectly good water. Who throws out perfectly good water? Yet I'm afraid to drink it. I don't know why, I just am.

Well, when my friend was over and talking about her daughter's science fair project, she mentioned that she had to buy some distilled water in which to grow some samples of...something.

Hapless friend, you've just been Stimeyed.

The irony of the whole situation is that they eventually decided to not do the science project for which they needed the water (something about a fear that her younger daughter would somehow be poisoned by poking at, sniffing, or otherwise ingesting toxic matter), so now the jug is in HER cabinet.*


Total items: 1

* Unless, of course, she has the strength of character to just throw it out.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Colorful Trash

Remember how I cleaned out the craft cabinet a while back? Don't worry, it's not messy again yet. I did, however, forget to mention a couple of things I got rid of when I did a quick first pass prior to the clean out.

I mention them because they were difficult for me to get rid of. Let me explain. The first explanation starts almost four years ago.

When Jack turned four years old, we had a water balloon target practice at his birthday party. For some dumb reason, we didn't bother to fill up the water balloons until late the night before the party and then, for some reason, we did it outside.

It was a valid reason, but I have no recollection of what it was.

Regardless, Alex and I sat outside in the DARK for probably an hour filling dozens of water balloons, for what we knew would be a ten-minute activity. Naturally, there were many balloons we ended up deciding we didn't need. Those balloons—and apparently a piece of sidewalk chalk—have been taking up space in my craft cabinet ever since.

Needless to say, we will not be having that activity at a party again, because although it was a HUGE success and we all loved it, it was a HUGE pain in the ass. Occasionally, my kids ask for water balloons and I think about it and I decide that I really don't want to spend a minute on each balloon that will take them a nanosecond to destroy.

I'm sorry, planet Earth, but I had to just throw these away. I promise to not buy them again.

In similarly bad-to-throw-away news, I have rubber bands. I rarely use rubber bands, but occasionally I need one and nothing else will do, so I try to keep them around. Apparently, I keep them in this little green box...

...even though everyone knows that the rubber band ball is the far superior way to contain them.

I have a rubber band ball, so I got rid of the loose rubber bands.

Instead of pushing my luck by counting each individual item, I'm going to go with four—water balloons, rubber bands, sidewalk chalk, and the spigot thing for the balloons (because even though it comes with each packet of balloons and even though I swore I would not buy water balloons again, part of me was all, "but this is a USEFUL ITEM").

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Alex Gets in on the Act

On Monday, I was home with Sam, Jack was at a playdate with a friend, and Alex took Quinn to Target. They came home with some medium size ceramic plates and some glass glasses. He immediately set about removing all of our mismatched and assorted plastic plates, cups, and bowls from the cabinet.

Evidently he's tired of all the plastic.*

I saved a few of the bowls that I know we need, even if he doesn't. (You need small plastic bowls to mete out goldfish crackers at playdates.)

Here's what we agreed upon getting rid of:

Inspired, I got rid of a couple of other things as well:

Normally I wouldn't count things that I got rid of but then replaced with something else, but I'm counting these because the change in the look of the cabinet is extreme. Also, there is more that we got rid of than we added. Double also, I got rid of a bunch of ink cartridges by putting them in the ink recycling bin at Target and I forgot to count them, so I'm counting these instead.

Total items: 25

* It was actually kind of timely. At the same time Alex was buying the new dishes, there was a grownup professional person at our house and I had to give him water in a plastic cup with a picture of a snowman wearing a Santa hat on it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Craft Cabinet Door Isn't Ajar Anymore

Not too long ago I wrote about cleaning some old food and stuff out of my snack cabinet. At the time, it occurred to me that I was using a large cabinet for not much stuff and that I could better utilize that space. Considering I have a couple of cabinets with too much stuff, I decide to consolidate my snack food with some of my other food and move my craft supplies over to the former snack cabinet, thus leaving the former craft cabinet free for dishes.

Follow that?

I have two crafty cabinets in my kitchen, one below the counter and one above the counter. Both were full to the brim. In fact, the bottom one stayed ajar about a half inch because of all the crap in it. The reason for this is because my craft cabinet was going to be the first thing I decluttered when my kids went back to school, so I just kept cramming things in there without worrying about organization.

Well, seeing as how it is January, I obviously didn't do it first.

These cabinets need regular decluttering because of the nature of using things and replenishing things.

This morning, schools opened two hours late because there was an inch of snow on the ground (don't even get me started), so while my kids destroyed the house, I cleaned out and organized my craft cabinet.

Naturally, I forgot to take before photos, but rest assured that it was a scene.

I was ruthless and got rid of all the little projects that I assumed we would do someday. I decided that if I had given an art project to my kids for Easter and hadn't done it? It probably wasn't going to get done. All of those went into the donate pile. I'm sure that someone somewhere will do them.

I also got rid of a lot of junk. I don't know how there was so much junk in there, but I found a lot to recycle—for example. a couple of pieces of cardboard that I thought would be fun to draw on, but because my kids refuse to draw on anything but clean paper, just sat there. I also recycled some activity books that had been mostly done and then forgotten.

I threw away a bunch of little containers that seemed like they would be useful to store things in, but really just took up a lot of space.

I tried to talk myself into getting rid of a bunch of foam stickers that I had, but I just couldn't yet. Instead, I consolidated them into a Ziploc bag instead of leaving them in bulky plastic bins.

I did manage to get rid of a bunch of loose crayons and pens. We have so many of those that even though it felt wasteful to get rid of them, it seemed just as ludicrous to keep them. There are places you can send old crayons to be recycled, which I have done before, but didn't have the energy to do this time.

A lot of the stuff I got rid of was like this—pieces of things, bits of stickers, a stray paper here and there.

I also got rid of this.

I have no idea what it is so when I found it a while back, I crammed it in my craft cabinet. I sure it's essential for something, but I don't know what. And until I create some sort of repository in my house for "things that I don't need, but that I am absolutely sure will become essential someday," I'm trying to be brave and get rid of these things.

Here are the things I'm donating. I have to talk to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny about being smarter about the things they give to my kids.

Here is my finished product. This is the cabinet under the counter:

For a cabinet with doors that wouldn't close all the way, I'd say this is a pretty big improvement. I kept Play-Doh, paint, some beads, markers, those damn foam stickers, the puzzles I nerd about with, and a few other things.

Here is the cabinet that used to be my snack cabinet:

In it, I put boxes with more day-to-day things, such as glue, scissors, colored pencils, and a rubber band ball. Because everyone needs a rubber band ball.

I also finally found a good place to put workbooks and notebooks where they are easily accessible. In their prior home, they were really hard to reach. I also put some craft kits in there. Some of them we are midway through using, some of them have been stashed in places for so long that we forgot about them.

Right now everything is easy to find and easy to reach and I'm so happy. Plus, I have a whole empty cabinet to fill. I've already made a promise to myself that I will keep it neat and organized.

But I've made that promise before. We'll see how it goes.

I'm going to call the item count 30, even though it's probably higher than that.