#179 One Kid's Wagon
#180-181 Two old kids' bikes
#182: One old motorized scooter.
1 Quesadilla maker
5 Muffy Vander Bears
3 Playstation (original) games
3 gingerbread house kits
14 items total. Total to date = 178 items.
More than 3 items per day!
We are getting our new furniture on Thursday, so the Salvation Army is doing a pick up on Tuesday. I found some more little stuff to get rid of:
#113-#154: 42 VHS tapes. At one point we were collecting the Disney Movies before we were even married. Now that we know "the Disney Vault" is opened every few years, the rush to buy even the silly ones is just not there. Plus, my kids are now 9 and 11. They don't do cartoons, or at the very most, we will rent the newest kids' movie from Blockbuster and watch it once. The last kids' movie we got was UP, and I think that was a gift.
#155-#157: Three Muffy Vander Bears
#158 & #159: Two other bears that are family members of Muffy.
#160-#162: Three Cameras. This is amazing because we got rid of three, and I still have two that I regularly use. The boys each have their own camera as well. One of them was an Advantix camera, with the funny looking rolls of film.
#163-#164: Two Camera carrying cases.
So, with 164 items out, and 52 days gone by, we are averaging well over 3 items per day. Ahead of Pace!!!!
I will post pictures, of the bears, cameras and videos, as well as the new furniture after Thursday.
#88: The table with the corduroy chairs (2 of the 4-saving the other two for impromptu desk charis upstairs)
#89: The Sam's Club kitchen table. I can't wait for this to go.
#90: A nylon bag from sports camp
#91: A journal we received as a gift eons ago. Pages are blank, not lined, really not useful for us.
#92: An old IKEA dresser with terribly skinny drawers.
#93-#108: 16 books
#109-#110: 2 picture frames
#111-#112: Two Color Explosion toys (unopened).
So for the most part, I've been doing the decluttering on my own. You can't drag someone into a massive project like this unless they are willing, so I have been doing it on my own.
When you are steadily working on decluttering, the people around you will begin to notice. Well, my husband slowly began to notice. Last weekend, I came home and realized he had taken a huge load to Goodwill while I was at a meeting. He had also gone through both of the boys' dressers and purged their closets of the clothes that no longer fit or were too worn out.
Since we were able to declutter, last Monday we finally took the big step of purchasing living room and dining room furniture. We have been in the house for almost 8 years. For the first 4 years, we had no furniture in the large room. When we finally got furniture, it was hand-me downs from my in-laws and easily over 25 years old. It was a table with four chairs, with corduroy cushions. Then in the fall, we inherited a table from my boss: a very nice table, dark wood with blue cushions on the chairs. Underneath the blue material is pristine white cushions still wrapped in plastic.
We had been using the same kitchen table that we bought back in 1997, from Sam's Club. Let's just say that the boys have used that table past its lifespan. The backs of the chairs shake, from boys using the chairs like jungle gyms. The table's finish is positively awful and beyond repair.
So we went shopping. We found a new dining room table, and a china cabinet to go with it. We also bought a living room couch and love seat, and a coffee table and two end tables.
We decided we are going to get rid of the Sam's Club Table, and the In-Laws table, along with 6 of the 8 chairs. We will keep two chairs for the boys' desks in their rooms. We will move the Boss' table into the kitchen, and will gain seating for two more people at the kitchen table.
The purchase of this new furniture has created a spiral of a need to organize. The china cabinet will go where there is currently a bookcase, so the bookcase needs to be moved. The options were either the spare bedroom or upstairs in the hallway. If it went in the bedroom, we had to get rid of two different dressers. If it went upstairs, we needed to declutter some more upstairs.
I came home from walking the dog, and my husband had emptied the dresser in the bedroom. Unfortunately he placed everything from the dresser on the bed, which gave me one more thing to do on Saturday.
On Sunday, I came home from running 9 miles, and my husband had moved the keeper table into the kitchen, moved the two tables which are leaving into the front room, moved the treadmill upstairs into the master bedroom, and was in the process of moving the bookcase upstairs. He emptied the bookcase, moved it upstairs and then filled it back up. In the process, he decided to give up 16 books and a journal. He also created a project for me of more stuff to go through.
We have made room in the dining room for the table set. Once goodwill picks up the large pieces of furniture, we will have the living room area ready. This week's project is the playroom and the kitchen, although the pantry gets a week all by itself.
Here are the "before" and "in process" pictures that I took a while ago. I have since covered some more areas of the house. Will post some more "in process" pictures, as nothing is actually finished yet. I'm taking the approach of spending a certain amount of time (one week) on each area of the house. Once the week is over, it's time to move on, I'll hit the same area again in about 6 weeks. J
This is my "it's leaving table" . Unfortunately, I had already purged a lot of stuff before I ever picked up the camera. This pile is mostly from the boys' rooms, which they did all on their own. Notice how many board games we are getting rid of.
I wish I got credit for these four. These actually came from my parents' house. I told them I was doing a big donation for community service through the University. They went through their closets and came up with four bags. J
This is my catch all room. A lot of progress has been made as of this picture. When I first started decluttering, I couldn't open the door all the way. This is the room where I found all of the Christmas presents and stocking stuffers that I had forgotten about. The room still needs more work, and I have houseguests who will be staying in it come the beginning of May!
The closet of my dungeon. I don't decorate for any holidays but Christmas, but apparently I have quite the collection of pumpkins. Once again, these pictures are "in progress" and loads better than when I first walked into the room. The old cheerleader uniforms and my wedding dress are in there, not quite ready to part with the yet.
From Left to right: the spare bathroom, under the sink. This is an in process picture after I cleaned out a bunch or magazines and containerized the supplies
Dining room table. We had some birthday celebration and the remanants of the celebration were still on the table.
This is the Ottoman of the couch that is my corner. I put my make up on in the morning while watching the morning news. I also have my laptop in my corner where I do lots of work while watching TV.
This is the floor of the family room. Even the dog has her clutter. She pulls out all of her toys and then chews the green fuzz off her tennis balls. I just had to take a picture of her mess. Normally we don't let her keep her mess strewn all over.
The kitchen counter. This is a tough one. It's the landing pad when I come home. I'd like to make the landing pad in the laundry room, but I need to clear off the counter first.
There's still SO MUCH TO DO.
#78: Precious moments figure. It was given to my oldest when he was born, as part of a "train" where you get one each year. But he didn't get the first part of the train, and he didn't get any other pieces either. And since my oldest is a boy, he's just not into breakable collectable items.
#79: Muffy Vanderbear with her Birthday dress on.
#80: Muffy's rocking chair that she was sitting in.
#81: A double picture frame that stands up. It holds 2 2"x3" pictures. Since I am a scrapping girl, I'm not very likely to have small pictures like that lying around.
#82-#85: 4 Thomas Guide books for various areas, from the 1996-1998 Era. We now both have GPS including smart phones with real-time GPS. GONE!
#86: One Big huge bag of clothes from boys' rooms.
#87: One big huge bag of toys from boys' rooms.
I decided to not count the huge bag of trash that I was able to fill up with old and broken toys from the boys' rooms. Only stuff that could go to another home is being counted.
We worked on my oldest's room on Sunday, finished my youngest's room on Saturday, and he was quick to point out that it was his brother's turn to have to work. His brother is better about organzing, although apparently he had been storing anything and everything in an old lego box. So when I picked it up the bottom fell out and he now had a huge mountain of junk to go through.
So what made it such a great weekend? Considering that we were gone from 2-8pm last night and I was gone from 8-3pm on Saturday, a lot still got done. This is because my darling husband, without any coaching, pushing, or nagging on my part, was the one who decided it was time to go through their closets. He deals with getting them dressed in the morning and he does all the laundry. So he knows firsthand how many extra clothes each of them had and how stuffed the dresser drawers were. He said he had wanted to do it for awhile, but had never gotten around to it. While I was at my meeting on Saturday, not only did they go through the closets and dressers, but they also hauled everything to donation center and dropped it off. And I didn't know any of this until I got home and it was already done!
Now, he has yet to go through his side of the closet, and that would be the only remaining closet in the house, beside the one with all the Christmas decorations in it, that still needs to be purged. I just wish I had more time to work on it. I'm gone from 6am to 5pm Monday through Friday, and this week there are two nights in which I have obligations at night. Throw in my walking/running regimen to still try and do my marathon on March 21st, and it really only leaves the weekends. I was very unexcited about the SuperBowl party that we went to, because I was really itching to be at home in my jammies organizing in between the big plays and funny commercials! It really did help that hubby and the kids did the closets though!!
I still haven't taken a picture of the sheer amount of stuff packed up and ready to go to the goodwill. I will prior to taking it, but I did remember a couple things I left off my list. I'm updating accordingly, but again this is still underestimated since I have taken several trips with bags and bags full of stuff already!
#75: One Ironman GPS running system.
#76: One Coca-Cola zip up cd case
This week is the clean up of the upstairs cabinets and the little guy's room. Next week will be the older guy's room and the extra bathrooms, and I will start on the office area as well. Anyway, I will only count it as one item, although to be fair, I think we got rid of 100 lego pieces yesterday.
#77: Legos from little man's room.
Tonight we will finish his room and the cabinets. I figure if I hit each room every 8 weeks or so, not only will it get easier and cleaner, but I won't burn out. One week and then move on, as long as I don't leave it a trash pit, I'll be able to pick up where I left off J
I should be on item #72 and instead I'm thinking about what will be item #78. I'm ahead of schedule!
#63: Mickey Backpack
#64-#65:Two Bionicle Games
#66: Cat in the Hat Game
#67-#68: Two Ipod holders for Runners
#69: Referree Patch
#70-#71: Two digital photo frame ornaments
#72: Treasure Chest of Pool Toys
#73: Disney Back Pack
#74: Back of Monsters, Inc. Happy Meal Toys
I'm all about goals and numbers. I work in the finance industry, so the love of numbers is a given. Anyway, I stumbled upon the Declutter Challenge, to rid my home of 730 items over the course of one year (365 days). It works out to two items per day.
I'm going to officially start keeping track today, but for the record, I have taken loads of stuff to the goodwill already for donation, since New Year's. And I've moved at least 3 big trash bags full of trash that I found.
But, to keep my list here, I will conservatively estimate what has already left the house:
#1-3: Books. Way more than 3, but I filled 3 reusable grocery bags full of books and dropped them off.
#4: Remote control dinosaur
#5: Little red box with finger puppet mice inside
#6: Stereo Receiver
#7: Old DVD player
#8: Spongebob Squarepants alarm clock
#9: Monopoly Junior
#11: Clue (the Simpsons Version)
#12: Space Bingo
#13-18: Disney Pictures that come with the DVD's (11x14 size)
#19: One huge bag of scrapbooking supplies (donated to the school
#20: Hooked on Phonics Complete Set
#21: Hooked on Math Complete Set
#22: Three Picture Frames, various sizes
#23: Fluffy Vanderbear in Pajama Game
#24: Cornelius Vanderbear in suspenders outfit
#25: Alice Vanderbear in formal dress
#26: Acrylic Picture Frame
#27: Running Shoes
#28: One women's suit
#29: Denim long overalls
#30: Franklin Covey Planner holder
#31: Cabbage Patch Pony
#32: Cartoon Teacher Picture
#33: Painting and Stencil Supplies
#34-#36: Two bottles of body splash
#37-#39: Two make up compartment boxes
#40: Bathtub Pillow
#41: Old box of Christmas Cards
#42: Old Box of Thank you Cards
#43: Kelsey Grammar's autobiography
#44: How to raise boys book
#45: Pill Reference Book
#46: Blueprint for Families Book
#47: Mary Engelbreight House Scrapbook
#48: Junior Class T-shirt
#49: Medical Reference Book
#50-#62: Winnie the Pooh Collectible Plate Calendar with Wooden Tiles (one plate for each month plus the holder and tiles).
Lookie there: 2 items per day and this is just off my memory. Like I said, I know for a fact that there is a ton of more stuff that I have donated or thrown away, but this is just what I can remember actually picking up in my hands and sorting. I will recheck the table tonight for everything on it to make sure I didn't forget anything. And from now on I will keep a list. I'm trying to work on decluttering each day, so I can just update what treasures I found daily and won't have to work off my memory. But with 62 items gone, the remainder to find and purge is :
This weekend is going to have some major decluttering time on Thursday evening, Friday afternoon/evening, and Saturday evening and Sunday morning, before the Superbowl! Go Colts!
You can find the original challenge here: http://amysfinerthings.com/declutter-challenge
It's been a few CRAZY days around here. Highlights include:
1 trip to Urgent Care for the kiddo's headaches happening every day. That doctor said it could be migraines, best to follow up with the regular doctor (which we just saw on Tuesday)
1 Hurt Leg (Sad Face L). I tried to run on Saturday after taking a week off for an inflamed whatever it is, and I lasted 8 miles. But I could tell me stride had changed and I was going to do more damage just to finish. So I stopped 5 miles short of my finish line of 13 miles. The next day, despite drugs and ice, it hurt way more than it had the previous weekend.
1 Dinner out for the birthday boy, during which he had what I can only describe as an incapacitating headache. He kept scooting down in his chair as if he was trying to slide under the table and disappear. He wouldn't talk to anyone (including his grandparents who were with us). It was scary how different he was acting. So the doctor appointment at the regular office two days later was just in time.
1 Doctor Appointment with a Pediatrician. Originally scheduled for 2:10pm, it got bumped so that I could see someone about my leg at 2pm. The pediatrician, despite my efforts, didn't want to take a guess at what was wrong with my 30-something year old leg, but would take a peek at the 9 year old's head. She thinks it is migraines. For now, if it's a bad headache, we will treat with medicine. Most of them aren't the 'slide under the table' kind of headaches. Follow up with the physical on the 16th.
1 Doctor Appointment for my poor injured leg. Diagnosis: Tendonitis in peritoneal muscle area. In other words, it's up so high on my leg and on the inner thigh portion but radiates towards my rear. It is impossible to point to where it hurts in public, and if anyone else had tried to put pressure on the area besides my doctor, I would have called it criminal groping. Treatment: NO Half Marathon on Sunday. I will only do more damage. It could take 3 more weeks to heal. But my doctor has known me since birth, and he's a runner himself. He knows I'm not likely to drop out of the marathon that I'm already registered for, so he gave me a schedule to follow. This week is walking only. Next week is half and half. Then ¼ walking and ¾ running. That will leave me with 3 weeks to do all running on a reduced mileage schedule prior to the marathon. He did warn me, my marathon is NOT going to be a Personal Best as far as the finishing time. SIGH. Sub-4 will elude me once again.
Tuesday was my youngest's birthday. We went out to dinner and had a great time. Their physicals are scheduled for two weeks from now. My husband had mentioned on Sunday that we should talk to the doctor about little guy's forgetfulness. It seems like he is always forgetting something. Or he forgets that he remembered something and tells me it's at school, when in reality it is in his backpack.
Anyway, Sunday, he mentioned that his head hurt, so Mark was thinking maybe the headache and the forgetfulness are related. Check in two weeks when we go for physicals. Yesterday, after receiving bad news about a friend of ours who has an inoperable brain tumor that is cancerous, I asked him about his headaches. Here's the daily log of his headaches.
Monday: Don't Remember
Tuesday (his birthday): Don't remember
Wednesday : Yes, headache
Thursday: Yes, headache (but don't remember if he woke up with one).
Couple the frequency of the headaches with the forgetfulness, which has, admittedly gotten much worse in the last few months. Plus, the bad news about our friend…..Plus, we know of three people who have been diagnosed with brain tumors in less than two years (two of them are related, one of them is a kid at the school, and two of the three are younger than my kids). I think it's time that we go to the doctor and get it checked out. My little guy is 9, and very perceptive. So I'm trying to tell him enough to let him know what the schedule is and why we are going to the doctor, but I'm also trying to not even remotely say something that might pop a question into his head. He's way too smart and I'm not ready for the questions he's likely to ask.
Which takes me back to why I am posting. Last night I was paralyzed on the couch with all these thoughts. I have seen my friend go through Hell with his daughter. They are the strongest family that I know, and if ever have to go through a similar situation, I just don't know that we are strong enough.
On a funny note, he went to the County Museum for a field trip. One of the kids on the bus was playing with an UNWRAPPED condom. One of the moms took it and it was disposed of, by when she was telling me about it, the boys were asking what it was that was found on the bus. I finally said, I don't think you are old enough to talk about this, but let's just say it has to do with boy parts J We've have the sex conversation, but I think that 9 and 11 is a little early to talk about contraception. And mom was not mentally prepared.
The transition from cluttered and chaos to decluttered and organized is unique for everyone. It could take just a little while for someone with paper clutter only, or it could take a whole year for someone going through the process solo. It could take years, if someone has decades of mementos to go through. Here is where I think I am:
I started with the bedroom downstairs. It was so bad, I could shut the door, nor could I open it all the way. And I had to wrap the Christmas presents in the hallway. There was no walking room. You couldn't sit on the bed, and I'm pretty sure the cats couldn't get under the bed. There were two dressers, a full size bed and a treadmill in a teeny tiny room. Plus there were boxes of stuff that I had to go through. Here is what I discovered while decluttering, and you can probably see where I got angry:
I don't think I have a problem letting go of things. I got rid of so much, including things I had held onto since we moved in. The problem I have is making the decisions. The room is much better. Although the bed still has items on it, the dressers are almost completely empty, and you can open and close the door! The treadmill is clear and I used it during the rainstorms.
My dad had surgery a couple of weeks ago. I went to their house the day he was checked out of the hospital, and I was shocked. I wouldn't call them hoarders to the extent that is featured on the documentary, but I definitely see that there is an issue with purging the clutter, or at least having functional systems to deal with it. Stuff that is so treasured was probably ruined when the hot water heater exploded after Thanksgiving.
The problem is that there is a lot of deferred maintenance on the house that needs to be done. And because of a combination of not being able to get to the needed spots in thehouse, and my parents being embarrassed for anyone to see the house like that, they just haven't done the maintenance. Now there are significant issues: Broken Dishwasher, Galvanized pipes, Two showers that don't work, the microwave only works on "defrost" and you can only use the number 4 and 8 when selecting a time. The water heater exploded, and with a new one installed, it promptly went out the first day that my dad was home from the hospital.
The problem is extremely complicated. There is sooooo much that needs to be done; it is way too much for even my mom and I to do, and yet they don't want anyone else to see it like that. So it doesn't improve, and just gets worse. The house is now so cluttered that there's no spare room in order to move the boxes around and make the front room look functional and clean. The worst part is that they had guests over just one year ago. It has managed to go downhill this badly within 12 months.
I was there till midnight the first night and all day on Saturday. I went to help on Sunday for a half day and I left feeling like nothing got accomplished. Mom gets side tracked and starts working on projects that ultimately are not going to help clear out the clutter. Without a dumpster they are limited to what they can get rid of by the normal trash pick up once per week.
I woke up that Sunday morning full of anxiety, until I realized I was at my own house and that my house is not cluttered like that. Whew, I can relax, I'm in the peaceful house.
Except, there's that one bedroom downstairs, when I can't open the door all the way and I had to wrap presents in the hallway because it was so cluttered in there.
And I can't find a name tag that I need, so I have to pay to replace it.
And my husband and I had just gotten into a fight about how I always leave my wet towel downstairs.
And the Christmas decorations weren't completely put away.
And the downstairs closet has stuff falling out of it.
So maybe my house isn't terrible, but it's time to declutter.