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.