Life in 409

This blog is about my quest to declutter my apartment. It focuses on clutter, decluttering, and the endless quest to separate the junk from the important stuff - at home and in life.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Getting there?

Last night my son broke out his legos, and he and my daughter sat in the living room on the floor and built ships and raced them. The very fact that there was room for them to do this made me realize - I'm getting there. The room is still shrinking as things pile up around its circumference, but there was room for them to play - and there hasn't been in quite a while. I'm trying not to think about the fact that the couches were covered in toys, and two chairs were piled on on top of another. I'm getting there, right?

I bought a bookcase on Craigs List, $20 from a guy moving to Texas next week. He was kind enough to take it apart, so I have to put it together. Haven't done that yet. I am going to use it to replace a smaller bookcase. My plan is to put it near the computer, so I have space for my photo albums (which are now overflowing the smaller bookcase, onto the floor and stuffed in several "nooks" in the entertainment center), some of our files, and ... not sure what else. Officey stuff. Maybe reference books and maybe some file boxes. I bought two nice file boxes the other day, I want to use one for the Boy's school stuff... but I have to sit down with him and cull the good from the bad. How do I teach him that he doesn't need to keep every single paper he ever set pencil to, when I can barely live by that rule myself?

I don't know what I will do with the smaller bookcase once it's empty. There really isn't room anywhere else. Could I maybe possibly maybe get rid of it?

That reminds me, those two damn end tables are still in the kitchen. Wasn't I making a decision on them 6 weeks ago?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Night of the Living Plush

Well it's been a while since I updated and I wanted to let you know I'm still going along, doing my one box/bin/whatever each night and still not much else. My head has been reeling between making sure I check off one of those tasks every night (not too hard, now that I'm used to it), stressing over when we might be able to afford a bigger place, and thinking about the Kids Room.

Ahhh the Kids' Room("K.R."). Those capital letters are well deserved, as the problem is one of great importance. I have already posted pictures of the K.R. and it looks even worse these days, if that's possible. The problem is they just keep getting more stuff, but we seem powerless to get rid of the old stuff. I know, I know, excuses, excuses.

My main area of concern right now is the Plush Problem - the stuffed animals that are taking over. Now, I know there are all sorts of systems out there, like the storage nets that hang in the corner - we actually have one on the wall, but it isn't as big as I thought, and it is too hard for the kids to reach, and then there is the dust issue. I saw this one from QVC a few nights ago while flipping the channels, but I keep thinking it looks like something I could make myself (even though I would never actually do it). And I found The Zoo in a google search, which looks really cool, but seems a little pricey. And there is still the dust factor (both my kids have asthma). Still, any of these ideas seems better than our current non-solution, which is to keep the animals (a) lying all over the floor, (b) stuffed into those pop up hampers which I got from the 99c store and are already destroyed, and (c) in the Toy Box from Hell ("TBFH"). You can see the TBFH here. Or you can see it in action here (top left corner of photo).

Let me take a minute now and tell you about the TBFH. It's actually a great item, large and sturdy... the "from hell" part is more about my indecision on how to deal with it. Grandma J bought it when the Boy was little, and we used to keep it in the living room in our old 1-bedroom apartment. The lid is big and heavy, so at the time, it really was something only an adult could open and close. We mainly used it as storage for toys that the Boy was not yet old enough to enjoy. When we moved, I got the idea to keep the Boy's stuffed animals inside - it would keep them dust-free, yet accessible. The thing is, at this point in time, it is filled to the top with stuffed animals. And yet, there are still more stuffed animals all over the K.R., my room, the living room, and for some reason, in the kitchen. Also, considering the stuff that is piled on top of and around the TBFH, I have reason to believe the kids have NO idea that it even exists, much less that it is filled with happy plushie friends.

Well the obvious thought, then, would be to dump its unknown contents, and refill it with the animals that they do know exist... but I have a hard time dumping the stuff that was given to us by friends and family, or bought on special trips. So I know I'm to blame as much as the kids. I just don't know what to do. I also really feel like that space in front of the Boy's bed could be put to better use than storing the TBFH. But I don't have anywhere else to keep the TBFH at this point.

One other note about the K.R., I am really hoping that soon we can get the Girl out of our bed and into her own. But I think in order to do that, we need to buy her a real bed, and not just the little toddler bed she currently has. A better solution would be bunk beds, but then we run into an issue with the ceiling fan. But maybe we're better off giving up the ceiling fan in exchange for some nice bunk beds with drawers underneath... we'd gain back an awful lot of space along one side of the room... plenty of room for more stuffed animals!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Morning Routine Redux

This is a pared-down version of my morning routine... I think I am having to go "back to basics" and strip down my routines to the very, very basics... that is, the chores I already do EVERY DAY without fail. What happens to me is that I add too many things and then I just can't keep up. So... here goes. Now, to many of you this may be blatantly obvious stuff... but some of this stuff seems not to get done unless I am looking at a piece of paper that tells me to do it.

  • Shower & wash hair
  • Wipe down sink/counter and toilet, swish toilet with brush
  • Clean out shower drain and hang up mats
  • Get dressed, fix hair

OK. Those are the things I MUST do every day. Now the things I really should add:

  • Check calendar
  • Eat breakfast

And finally, the things I would like to do but never seem to accomplish. These need to be added slowly... but this is where I get caught up and figure if I don't have time to do these, why bother with anything on the list... and I'm back to square one. So for now, these are officially OFF my list, until I can adapt to the calendar checking and breakfast eating part of the routine:
  • 5 Minute Hotspot cleaning
  • 5 Minutes in Zone
  • Make sure a plan is in place for dinner (even if it just means take out or hubby is taking care of it), and do any prep work
  • Put on makeup (ok, I know some of you are probably horrified that I don't do this, much less that it's on my SOMEDAY list and not on my RIGHT THIS MINUTE list. But I never quite got the hang of it)

I will update you on my evening routines (HA) shortly...

Monday, July 10, 2006

One box a day...

..and I'm able to keep up! I am trying not to fret about other things, but I am making sure I cross one area off my list each day. So far I have done:

  • 5 of the bins/boxes of kid-stuff in the living room
  • 1 big shopping bag of stuff in the living room
  • 2 shelves of the linen closet
  • top shelf of my closet
  • top of the kids armoire
  • 1 shelf of the bookcase.

Things are looking a little better and as I'm making spots for things, each box gets easier, as now I know where stuff goes.

Unfortunately, as I said, not much else is getting done. My morning routine is the barest minimum (shower, remove hair from drain, wipe down the toilet & sink, get dressed, fix hair, go to work). Now that I have more time in the mornings, at least until September, I am trying to get some small tasks done during that time. I am also trying to make an evening routine with the kids; that is easier said than done.

I have started trying to use my calendar again, as I can't seem to remember anything unless it's written down. My problem has always been that I write stuff in the calendar, and then NEVER LOOK AT THE CALENDAR AGAIN. I was doing alright for a while, but I've slacked off, as I seem to do with everything else.

I am also going to try to get some more photos up and make this blog more interesting...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm still here!

It has been about a week since I posted... things are getting done, albeit slowly. We were away from Saturday morning until late Tuesday night, for the 4th of July weekend, so obviously nothing got done during those days. Then again, no one was home to mess things up, either.

I have been plugging along, trying to keep to my schedule of doing one box or bin or shelf each night, at random from my list. (I even snuck in an extra one this morning - I have so much free time now that I am not getting the Boy ready for school and walking him there before I go to the train.) But I'll admit other things have fallen by the wayside... I haven't even been doing my morning and evening routine, as minimal as they are. My dining room table is re-cluttered again and the piles are growing. My dresser is subject to the same creeping pile disease.

On the bright note, by going through the bins, I am finally getting the kids toys more organized. I also instituted a summer bedtime routine for them, which will consist of bath and/or pajamas, cleaning up their room for 5 minutes, and then reading stories. Seems easy enough, and as we go, we can add to it. I read them 5 books last night - 3 short ones and 2 longer ones - and it really was nice to connect and also give them some winding down time.

Tonight I am getting my hair cut and they will all be out... with any luck I will get home before them and tackle another box from my list.