Sunday, March 11, 2018

And onto the filing cabinet.

I'm impresssed you're still here and not bored to tears with all of my decluttering posts.  I'll throw in some other topics soon.  And I'll keep this one shortish.  I think it was over Christmas vacation that I finally sat down and confronted my filing cabinet.  I was so proud of myself when I got my filing cabinet.  It was certain to keep my paperwork oragnized and prevent it from piling up on the coffee table.  And that worked to an extent, but it had been a while, make that a long while since I had cleaned out my filing cabinet.  Do I dare admit to you that I found papers in there from 2012 that I no longer needed? Well, I went through all of my stuff and made my husband do the same and my goodness, there is SO much room in there now.  I got rid of tons of stuff.  I couldn't even shred it all in one sitting because there was too much.  The shredder got too hot and I had to wait for it to cool down so I could shred more stuff.  It was two hours well spent (plus the time it took to shred everything). 

Quick funny story, when my husband and I were dating, he asked what I wanted for my birthday and I said a filing cabinet or a printer.  His mother asked what he was going to get me and he said a filing cabinet or a printer and she was shocked.  She told him you aren't supposed to get that for your gf for her birthday so he got me a braclet--which I do like and still wear, but that Christmas I did get my filing cabinet.  :-)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

DeCluttering The Decorations

If you’ve ever been to my house around any holiday, you know I like to decorate.  I blame this on my mother.  She decorated for every holiday and I’ve inherited some of that from her.  I decorate for:  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and I have a couple of 4th of July decorations. I know many people do not decorate for Thanksgiving and I only have a few things for that one.  The same can be said of Valentine’s Day.  I feel justified in my St. Patrick’s Day decorating because I host two St. Patrick’s Day parties every year (one for some friends and one for family) so I "need" the house to look festive.  I do have quite a few Christmas decorations, but I think it seems like a lot because I have a small house.  When we get a bigger house, if I do not buy any (too many) more decorations I think it will be better.  Also, I love Christmas and I love decorating for Christmas.  So some of my decorations I’ve had for ages.  And some are more recent.  Many I bought for myself, but a good amount were gifts.  Unless something broke (and even then sometimes) I kept all my decorations, even the ones I didn’t like.  Finally, this year, I gave myself permission to get rid of stuff.  That decoration that was cute in college isn’t really me anymore, buh-bye.  That random teddy bear decoration that you don’t even remember who gave it to you, can go to the donation box.  No one is going to be offended. As they say in Frozen, “Let it Go.”  And so I did.  I mean I’m sure my husband would tell you I have too many decorations (I actually got rid of one he gave me), but I’ve made progress.  One donation box of decorations, off you go, bring holiday spirit to someone, please.    

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Bye Bye Books???

If you’ve read any of my recent blog posts, you know I like to read.  With very few exceptions I read a book once, put it on a bookshelf (or sometimes loan it to a friend) and there it stays and stays and stays.  Once in a while if the book is made into a movie, I might go back and look something up in it to see if that really happened in the book, but that’s it.  The books just stay in my bookshelf or in a pile in front of the bookshelf because the bookshelf is full.  Eventually, I donated a few here and there because I was running out of room until I recently finally took the advice of The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up and donated a bunch of my books.  I’m sure I could have done better because I kept a few that I will probably never read again, but either they were classics (Jane Austen, hello!) or I really like the book and for some reason couldn’t let it go.  So I filled up another trash bag and partial box and added them to the donation pile.  I’m enjoying the fact that my bookshelves are no longer overflowing.  Recently, I finished another book; I wrote it down on my 2018 book list and then added it to the donation bag.  Go me!    That reminds me, I should do some reading right now.  I’ve got to get that pile down and keep up my declutter.  Until next time…

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Clothes, clothes, clothes

I clean pretty regularly.  I'm not perfect, but I clean the bathrooms every week.  I sweep daily (or at least near daily), dust weekly, and I wash the floors once a week.  I generally keep up with the laundry, change the sheets regularly, etc.  I could be better about sweeping the back deck, but it's hard to keep up with all the leaves around here.  You get the point.   (The husband is in charge of vacuuming.  He does okay with it.)  So my issue is not with cleaning, it's with clutter.  We have a pretty good amount of stuff for two people.  I mean you'd never think we're hoarders or anything (though you might be concerned about the pile of 30 books on and next to my night table, but as you are aware I like to read).  I'm totally guilty of the "But I might use it," "It was a gift," "I'm planning to use it someday," "No, you can't rid of that," syndrome.  I've gotten better with clothes.  I go through my closets once or twice a year and donate/throw away stuff.  I used to save all my books, but that got ridiculous because I read a lot.  So now I only save a few and I donate the rest.  Well, after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I finally started getting rid of stuff so here's your warning, the next few posts will be about decluttering.  If this does not interest you, skip them, I understand.  Check back with me in a few months when I hopefully have a fun trip to tell you about.  

One of the early chapters in the book is about clothes.  I agreed that was a good place to start because as I said I usually go through my clothes a couple of times a year.  Well, this time I went all out.  I did what the author suggested and went through my closet and all my drawers.  I also talked my husband into doing this and we got rid of three trash bags and one box of stuff over Thanksgiving weekend.   We even did the coat closet.  I also folded some of my clothes the way the author suggested and rearranged some stuff in my drawers.  This also freed up a drawer for my husband in my dresser so he didn't have to have all of his stuff crammed into one dresser, now he has 1 1/2 dressers (his closet is much smaller than mine because when I moved in, I wasn't married so he sort of got the short end of the stick as they say).  Aside from the fact that I sometimes forgot what drawer I moved certain things to during the first few weeks, the clothes decluttering was a success and I feared I would go out and buy a bunch of new stuff, but I didn't!     

Friday, March 2, 2018

A Little Decluttering

In an ideal world my husband and I will put our home on the market in the next year, sell it, and move from our condo to buy a three bedroom 1 1/2 bathroom house in a nice neighborhood that we can afford (and doesn't need much work because I am not handy.  He is handier than I am, but collectively we're not that handy).  Whether or not this will actually happen is up to:  God, the banks, the housing market, no unexpected crazy expenses (like the time my car transmission died right after I made an offer on a condo), and I guess to some extent us getting our you know what together.  While our wallets aren't quite ready yet, we figured we could at least take some baby steps such as doing a bit of decluttering and maybe doing minor updates.  So awhile back we did some decluttering.  We went through our kitchen cabinets and donated a bunch of stuff.  My husband doesn't drink wine and I do have a glass now and then, but we have way too many wine glasses so we donated those.   We also had way too many coffee mugs for people who NEVER drink coffee.  What about when you have company you ask?  We generally only have company in the afternoon/evening when most people I know don't drink company.  If our friends/family want coffee, we offer to take one of our Dunkin' Donuts gift cards and go down the street and buy them a cup.  Only one person has ever taken us up on this and in factI think she bought her own coffee and wouldn't take our gift card. 
The hubs will bring me flowers a couple of times a year, but we seemed to have quite a few vases for a couple of bunches of flowers.  So anyway, we got rid of a decent amount of stuff.  Also, please never bring me coasters.  I made some once upon a time and when I bought my current home apparently, coasters must have been a popular gift to give because I received a bunch but I had a hard time donating any because they were gifts.  Fast foward a few years and my parents go on vacation and what do they bring me as a souvenir?  Yep, coasters.  Oh, and I think my husband bought some once upon a time too.  I think I may have donated a couple of coasters on our kitchen decluttering.  So anyway, the kitchen was decluttered and I donated a few books so I thought we were off to a good start.  Life went on and then I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.   

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Few More Books

I found time to read a few books that weren't on the challeneg list mentioned in my last post.  One was Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green.  I've read and enjoyed most of her books and this was no exception.  I actually read this right before I found out about the reading challenge.  The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen was another book that I really enjoyed.  Two of my friends liked another book by Sarah Pekkanen and thought I might like it too.  I did and since then I've read a couple of her books.  I enjoyed this one too, read it on a plane last year.  Lone Wolf was another Jodi Piccoult book I read last year.  I've read many of her books too and I usually like them.  This was typical Jodi:  good read, sad in parts, makes you think about a controversial issue.  Shopahoic to the Stars I read because I tend to enjoy the Shopaholic books.  I read one as part of the challege too.  Every year at Christmas time I enjoy reading a new Christmas book.  This year I picked Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber.  It was a little cheesey, but cute and funny.  I liked it.
So there you go, those are the rest of the books I read last year.  In 2015 I read 22 books.  In 2016 I only read 18 books.  I don't know what happened.  I think part of it is because I usually read a lot in the summer, but I was gone for most of the summer taking a class in Ireland.  I did much better last year, reading 31 books.  I'm hoping to top that this year.  I've read four books and I'm hoping to increase that number to six by the end of this week since I'm on vacation this week.  I have a big pile of books next to my bed that I want to read so time to get cracking! Happy Reading!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Reading Challenge

Last year, a friend sent me a reading challenge on Pinterest,"The 26-book 2017 reading challenge."  I like to read and I've been trying to read more (and spend less time in front of a screen) so I decided to go for it.  Full confession:  I "might" have finished the challenge during the first week in 2018 instead of  by the last day of 2017.  So here's the challenge and what I read:
1.  A book you read in school--To Kill a Mockingbird.  I read it in junior high school, I definitely think I appreciated it more now.  Now I want to see the movie too.
2.  A book from your childhood--Number The Stars  I remember friends of mine reading this in elementary school and I always thought it sounded great, but I never got around to reading it, until 2017.  It was sad in parts, but I liked it.
3. A book published over 100 years ago---Sense and Sensibility  I was a little slow reading this, but I was glad I read it.
4.  A book published in the last year--Lost and Found by Andrew Merton; this was written by a former univeristy professor of mine.  It wasn't  my usual type of book (a book of poems about his life), but it was interesting.
5. A non-fiction book--The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw; I have been meaning to read this for around a decade.  Years ago I went to Belize and one of the women I went with recommended this book--it is about a zookeeper in Belize.  I finally read it last February. It was an interesting book.  I enjoyed it, though parts of it made me angry.
6,  A book written by a male author--Rogue Laywer by John Grisham.  I like Grisham's books and I haven't read one in a while so I was glad to read this.
7.  A book written by a female author--I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella; I enjoy Sophie Kinsella's books and I enjoyed this one too.
8.  A book by someone who isn't a writer--Rockhopper Copper by Conrad Glass.  This book is about the island of Tristan da Cunha, the most isolated populated island in the world.  He is a police officer and he writes some interesting information about the island and its people.  A tiny part of me wants to visit the island, but that is no easy task and I imagine it is an expensive task too.  There is no airport and weather can make it hard for ships to dock there. 
9.  A book that became/is becoming a film--Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban;  I finally gave in to peer pressure and started reading the Harry Potter books.
10.  A book published in the 20th century--And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran; this is the true story about a blind Frenchman who survived a Nazi concentration camp.  I saw and purchased this book when I visited a concentration camp in Germany this past July.
11. A book set in your hometown/region--Change of Heart by Jodi Piccoult
12.  A book with someone's name in the title--Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict  a funny book my friend Kate suggested I read
13.  A book with a number in the title--Sizzling Sixteen; a Stephanie Plum novel, I've read the previous 15 so 16 was next.
14.  A book with a character with your first name--My Not So Perfect Life; another Sophie Kinsella book, which I enjoyed
15.  A book someone else recommended to you--Confessions of a Jane Austin Addict; recommended by my friend Kate who also recommended Rude Awakenings of a Jane Autin Addict.  I enjoyed them both.
16.  A book with over 500 pages--Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire; it was a long one
17. A book you can finish in a day--Shopaholic to the Rescue; I spent the whole day reading this book (it was not a work day).  I think I did work out, but otherwise, I read all day.  I like the Shopaholic books and I liked this one too.
18.  A previously banned book--Alice in Wonderland; according to google, it was banned in China and other parts of the world.
19.  A book with a one-word title--Falling by Jane Green; I like her books and this was no exception
20.  A book translated from another language--A Man Called Ove;  I really wasn't sure I was going to like it, but I liked it a lot.  It was pretty funny.
21.  A book that will improve a specific area of your life--The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up; I have been doing some serious decluttering as a result of reading this book.
22.  A memoir or a journal--Try to Make Your Life by Margot Friedlander is about a woman who survived Nazi occupied Germany, a concentration camp and then moved to America with her husband and lived here for many many years before eventually writing this book and later returning to Germany
23.  A book written by someone younger than you--Life in Motion by Misty Copeland was an interesting autobiography about ballerina Misty Copeland.  The dancer in me enjoyed it.
24.  A book set somewhere you'll be visiting this year-- The Good German
I have had this book for a few years and just never read it.  I wanted to read it last year (2017) since I was going to Germany.  Now I want to see the movie.  The book was good. 
25.  An award-winning book--The Glass Castle; I enjoyed this book and I want to see this movie too.
26.  A self-published book--Down to You--this was a little raunchier than I usually read, but it still held my interest. 

All in all I enjoyed the challenge.  I read some stuff I would normally read, some new things, and some books I've been meaning to read for a while.  (I read a couple of other books too, but you'll have to wait for the next post for that.)