Monday, January 9, 2012

The first full weekend of the new year

Okay seriously, how is it that Christmas was only 2 weeks ago and New Years last weekend?  It all feels so far away.  I am desperately trying to hang on to it all.  While I'm okay with getting back my living room space, I was dreading taking down the tree.  I love the tree. If we had a bigger house, I swear I'd keep a tree lit all year long.  The Mr knows its true.  Before we could tackle this, we had to tackle some other things but first let's recap a bit.

I am not sure what it is around these parts but the availability of corn tortillas that are bigger than 3" is like, nil.  Given mama makes a mean rendition of Chi Chi's Chicken El Paso and it requires corn tortillas, flour just doesn't cut it.  So we got a tortilla press, some instant masa and busted those babies out.

They tasted right but a wee thick so I couldn't finish them but we'll just roll 'em a little thinner next time.  Once I get my technique perfected, I'll share some creations.  I am looking forward to mastering a small bit of Mexican (Latin? Spanish?  I have no clue what is considered PC these days) cuisine.

After that it was time to tackle the clutter I'd been talking about.  We started in the basement.  Holy balls, man.  We have like 10 bins down there and none really labeled properly so we had to go through them and the bags in them.  You know the ones where you give up, chuck a bunch of crap in a bag and throw it in a bin to go through next time?  Well, this was next time.  I'm a pack rat and there were a lot of things I was holding on to because what if we needed it sometime?  But I decided to tell family and friends local to us that if they wanted stuff, it was free.  I took pics of everything we were considering donating and had an online freecycle for locals.

I got rid of about 10 things so far and told people that round will be available until Wednesday then we take it to Goodwill.  My mom took a lot of it!  She said "let me know before you give stuff away, you always give away GOOD stuff!"  I don't know if I'd say that with this round but I do this with my aunt all the time.  She has a pool so we've given her our outdoor sectional, patio table and chairs, we're giving her daughter the guest room dresser, our old universal gym...all for free because we knew it'd go to a good home.  I highly suggest it if you're looking to declutter!  You can also have a "freecyle party" and if you have a big enough house people can "shop" from each other's stuff!

I do love being a pack rat in the sense that I can stay in touch with my past.  Whether letters from high school to old Christmas cards from relatives that have passed...

I couldn't stop laughing that he signed it "old" grandpa and grandma.  I miss them terribly and they lived into their 90's and died a week apart.  I feel so blessed to have had my great grandparents into my late 20's.

We came across some things that were definite donates or sellers but fun to look back on.

Remember when the world was supposed to implode?

The hubby found some old childhood records that served him well then but will now hopefully let someone else wax nostalgic.


We came across our fat clothes.  Okay, well I know I'm still fat but I think nothing reminds you how far you've come than putting your biggest pair of pants on over a pair of pants and have them drop to the ground.  Back in the space bag they went until we can do the cliche yet obligatory "hey, we can each stand in a leg of our fat pants!" pic.

Uh...they say it gets WORSE before it gets better right?

We began labeling all of the bins or taping lists when it was a real hodge podge o' crap.  I was very glad to get a lot of stuff sorted but man it stunk having the workout area in a complete shamble.  There was some pressure to get things together for sure because we had a strength workout scheduled.  (Albeit a light one for me with the nagging shoulder injury)

My baking box left a lot to be desired especially since it was all basically strewn about and crudely thrown back into wherever wouldn't catch cupcake liners on fire so I stacked it all up to be rearranged.

Victory, she is mine.  In there are a buttload of cookie cutters for Christmas and Thanksgiving, Wilton tips and bags, a gaggle o' sprinkles, more cupcake liners than I know what to do with but probably pretty lightweight to most bloggers and icing spreaders neatly tucked wherever space would allow.  Whew!

There is still some work to be done in the basement and I'm sure I'll tackle some of that today unless I continue to cough up dust bunnies.  Talk about waking up congested, it wasn't pretty yesterday but I felt a sense of order coming back to things and I might actually be able to have someone over for a workout without dodging boxes or heaps of bags.  I was also able to nicely fit my new food processor, wood slab from West Elm, Sur La Table goodies and such from Christmas down there with no issue.   I can already feel a slight weight being lifted from my shoulders.  (Then I start to think of all of the VHS's that I have to preview and transfer and my neck disappears again.)  But for now I revel in the small victories which is having the basement about 75% done from what I want it to look like for now.

Since it's only 75% done, that means that sadly (?) we couldn't take our tree or any other Christmas stuff down.  Gee...that's quite a shame (dripping with sarcasm)...I guess I'll just have to continue to enjoy the view

Have you started decluttering your house yet or do you keep up on it as you go?

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  1. It definitely got worse before it got better and I have to say I was feeling some stress about halfway through it. But now that it's 75% done there is a light at the end of the tunnel and soon we can enjoy having our workout area back and all the surroundings being easier to take in rather than cluttered.

    As for the Christmas tree and stuff, I think you set me up! :-)

  2. I had to look at the card twice; does it say what I think it does? My grandfather always signed his cards "Kathi's Ole Gramps" so that made me smile.

    As far as decluttering, I work at it frequently and it definitely gets worse as you go along. But it feels soooo good when you're finished!!

    My next project will be my bedroom closets. I read somewhere that I should set aside an entire day to do this and I don't think that's unrealistic. Oh, my . . . .

  3. I started decluttering this weekend. However, I did the tree and decorations first! I felt the need to get the furniture in the living room back where it belongs. I cleaned out a closet and stored it all upstairs rather than in the basement this time. I am slowing turning over that basement space to my husband - the two-car garage isn't big enough for all his 'stuff'.

  4. When I saw the "Old Grandpa" that made me smile. Very sweet!!!

    I too am on a mission to declutter. I'm a packrat and have got to get my house ready to sell (have been "getting it ready" for about a year now but really need to bite the bullet and do it) so I've got my work cut out for me.

    Good luck with yours, I know it feels great to make some headway!!
    Have a good week :)

  5. My decluttering has pretty much hit a wall. It has to be done, but I don't really have any space to work on it in. How's that for pathetic, I've got so much stuff that I don't have room to go through it all. Blech. Probably it will wait until summer when I'm off work and actually have a little time.

  6. I have a love hate relationship with cleaning the basement. I love it when it's done, but hate doing it ; ) It's a lot of though to wade through bins full of stuff you haven't seen in years.

  7. We decluttered over the holiday weeks off school and boy, did that feel good! I was glad to see someone else is as bad a pack rat as we are! :-)

  8. I started the decluttering last weekend. I can't stand clutter and have lived with it long enough. So far we've taken 3 bags of clothes to the donation boxes, and 4 bags of trash out of the house (wish I had thought of the freecyclce thing before tossing all that stuff).

  9. I definitely need to go on a de-clutter campaign. My clutter is almost overwhelming, however. After 41 years of marriage, we have accumulated a lot of STUFF. My hubby is as bad as me, as far as being a packrat goes, maybe worse. He hates to throw stuff away. I can TOSS, with some pain involved of course. He put up a storage building a year ago, because it was so difficult for him to get rid of his STUFF. I have boxes and boxes of Christmas stuff, and so does he--he decorates outdoors almost as much as I decorate indoors. Like you, it's still Christmas INSIDE our house, hubby got the rest of his decorations taken down outside yesterday. He has promised to help me UN-decorate indoors, but so far we haven't started. I have two trees up inside and because I am a huge fan and collector of Christmas ornaments, they are both LOADED with 'em, and like you, I LOVE the beauty of both trees. They're so sparkly and just LIGHT up the rooms they are in. Just this morning on my way out the door for work, I was admiring a particularly beautiful new ornament on one of the trees. LOVE THEM ALL! I suppose if you just left them up all year around you would grow blase about their beauty however, and not appreciate it as much as you do when it's only up for a month (or two--at my house) every year.

  10. Love it. You were mighty productive!

    I really liked the pant picture and can't wait for the next one :)

  11. I badly need to do more decluttering at my house, but that seems to be a perpetual need. Christmas came down inside the house last Wednesday before I went out of town and my husband put it away while I was gone. It's not all down outside yet, but the timers are turned off and he has started putting those things away. We usually keep Christmas up and lights going until January 6 (Epiphany--at least that is our excuse!) because the season is never long enough.

  12. Hey Mrs!

    It's funny how most evryone focussed on the clutter (I guess because of your question), and I want the recipe, LOL! That Chicken El Paso looks SO good... and we LOVE Mexican (I've no clue what the PC word is, either). One thing that most annoys me is that I can't even get corn tortillas here! I'd for sure make my own had I thought of it. Again, I'd love it if you'd share your recipe, as well as the one for the tortillas and your methodology.

    As for our clutter... the flood took care of that, LOL! I'd actually had a pretty good handle on it.. I prefer to do it as I go, but it's taken me awhile to get my two sidekicks to cooperate (I can't imagine a bigger and more relentless packrat than a very creative little girl... now, when she's in school, I purge relentlessly). One of the things I was saddest about after the flood is that we had a bunch of really good new and very gently used stuff set aside ready to deliver to our Church charity auction and it was all lost.

    Some of our best experiences come with simply setting things in our driveway with a sign 'if you need this, it's yours.' Three notables would be:

    The BBQ my husband inherited when he bought this house -it was at least 20 yaers old, made from cast iron... we'd just replaced the burner after using it ourselves for 5 years, but it was too small when we had company over. The fellow who drove up to inquire a half hour later wanted it for his son so he get his own back!

    Next was the washer and dryer... they were old and had been fixed several times, and the washer had crapped out again. We replaced it with a set, and just put them out on the driveway - working dryer free to anyone who hauls away the washer. Two days later this obviously poor family hopped out of an old truck and did a happy dance around them. These poor people... their son delivered our flyers and saw the sign. Dad was on disability, Mom worked three jobs, and both teenagers worked. They had just got through a Canadian winter without a dryer. Mom's hadns were so chapped, yet everyone was clean and neat. They couldn't stop talking about those machines like they were top of the line and they thanked us profusely.

    The last was when we inherited a new to us swingset/play structure from my sister, replacing the one we were using from when I was a kid (over 40 years old). A family with 5 little munchkins under 5(!)showed up to claim it, and a small Fisher Price turtle sandox. I will NEVER forget the excitement in their little faces and the tears in the parent's eyes at being able to give their kids something they would not otherwise afford.

    Giving away stuff makes my day!!!!!

  13. That dish looked so good I need to find a snack NOW.

    As for clutter... I'm going to ignore that part and plan to deal with my own later. ;)

  14. This was a really fun post! I felt like I was snooping! When you're done, wanna swing y and work on my disorganized hell hole? LOL!

  15. Getting rid of clutter and "stuff" is super satisfying (and can be addicting)! It is tough to get started and even to get through it, but I know it makes me feel about 1000% better and I regain my focus. Kudos to you for de-cluttering! And giving it all away to good homes is an GREAT idea!!!

  16. There's nothing PC about it...the food I like is traditional to Mexico and nowhere else, so it's Mexican food. Ha!

    I love your decluttering remarks and the comments of other readers. And here I thought I was the only one getting a head start on spring cleaning! I'm doing it the Flylady way...15 minutes or one box at a time, so it will probably take until spring to get done, but mine isn't in our workout space so it's ok. I did start with the Christmas stuff as I was taking down the tree, so that's all organized except for the old light strings from before our tree was pre-lit. That's hubby's job, lol.

    Re freecycling, I think the Denver area has the greatest commitment to not filling up the landfills with unwanted but usable stuff of anywhere I've ever been. Any given day on Craigslist will find 'curb alerts'...come get it and it's yours. And a friend of mine actually made $200 when holding a 'free yardsale'. People volunteered to pay for the really good stuff, so a Tupperware discard became the 'tip jar', and she never even paid any attention to it. When it was all over, she was shocked at how much money was in there. Cool, huh? That's more than I've ever made at a yard sale, even when I charged for my stuff.

  17. Had a closet stuffed full of clothes that were too big for me and (sadly) too small for hubby so I was able to take 3 bags to my sister for freecycling and 6 bags to Goodwill! Whew! Now my closet is so nice and clean and boy does it feel GOOD!!!


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