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.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Going Home Alone

It has been a crazy few days here. First I'm proud to say I mostly did everything I needed to do over the weekend. I managed 15 minutes a day in my kitchen, which included getting rid of some more old food, organizing the canned food and baking stuff in my cabinets (WHY do I have four cans of evaporated milk and what can I do with them?), and throwing out some pot lids that no longer have related pots. Unfortunately I did not do any work in the kids' room. At all.

On Sunday I misjudged one of the narrow pathways between the clutter. Unfortunately, the baby's highchair was sticking just into the pathway and I banged my pinky toe on it. Hard. I think it might be broken. It's all bruised and swollen. I've been taping it to the other toe and it feels much better, but it does still hurt. See kids, clutter is dangerous!

My hubby takes the older kids each year on a special trip, each one separately. He and the Girl are away right now, they come back tomorrow and he leaves with the Boy on Friday. My in-laws are nice enough to watch the Baby and the child who is not with Dad. Of course, the Baby is still nursing, so for the last two nights, I stayed over and commuted from Long Island. As such, nothing got done at home, since I haven't been there.

Anyway, after much internal debate, I have decided not to stay by my in-laws tonight. Instead, I am going home alone. This is only the second time in probably 8 years that I have been home, alone, overnight, with no kids and no husband. The first time was just about two years ago. I was nervous then, but not as nervous - the Girl was already 4 by then, whereas the Baby is just 13 months and still wakes up at night. I know he will be fine, but I didn't really want to burden my in-laws with that. Still, my mother in law kept saying to go right ahead, so I'm taking her at her word.

And what am I going to do with my night off? Declutter!!!!!

At least that's the plan. I thought about doing 15-20 minutes in each room, running through the place, organizing and neatening. Then I realized what I really want is to clean up my bedroom. Really clean it up. So after picking up some takeout, that is what I am going to do. Wish me luck.

Hubby has the camera, but I'll try to get a "before" pic with my cell phone, at least.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

So far, so good!

OK. I got a lot done last night. Right after dinner, hubby took the older kids to the park. Baby was asleep so I stayed home. Yes I vegged out in front of the TV for about 20 minutes, then I went to clean off some shelves in the kids' room. I had set the timer for 15, but the baby woke up after 9ish minutes, so I played with him & cuddled for a while, then went back in for the other 6 minutes. These 6 minutes consisted mostly of me yelling "NO!" while he took things off the shelves, tried to eat papers, etc. As I was about to give up, his eyes caught a Little People farm that I had freed from a pile of junk. While he played I managed probably another 15 minutes. I tossed a bunch of stuff they won't miss (junky prizes from goodie bags, a set of dominos missing half its tiles). I also took some other items they won't miss into my donation bags, such as a babyish and annoying toy-guitar-like-thing that lights and plays the same few songs over and over when you "strum" the air, and a phonics "writing desk" learning toy that they have never really used (there is another over at my MIL's if they get desperate). In the process, I found tons - and I mean TONS - of loose trading cards - baseball, wrestling, Garbage pail kids, Webkinz, etc. The boy does have a large collection of these, organized in binders, so I'm not sure what all these extras are. I put them in a box for him to deal with later. The shelves are looking better already.

Anyway, once they came back from the park, the Boy and the Girl got involved in a game and were actually playing together nicely (despite banning the Baby from playing one of his own new toys, which was somehow part of THEIR game). I managed to get in the kitchen and get some stuff done there too. I did clean off both of my kitchen carts - though not completely and not perfectly, I worked for 15 minutes and got rid of even more stuff, including:
  • big box of instant hot cocoa mix packets that has been there for at least 4 years (yuck!)
  • big box of microwave popcorn packets - the popcorn tasted funky last time I made it, probably because the packets said to use by 2007!!!
  • dried up plastic placemats we haven't used in years
  • old cookie sheet with burns and scratches all over it
  • stale gum from breadbox
What's left is a lot neater, too.

Things I'm not sure what to do with (hey, ya interested?)
  • Gift box set of Remy Martin liquor and glasses - we're not really drinkers but I don't know whom to give it to
  • Gift box set of some other fancy liqueur and glasses (ditto above)
  • Old Pentax Optio digital camera that stopped working (would someone want it for parts?)
  • 5 rolls of Fuji film (I do still have a film camera, but haven't used in a while. How long does film keep these days?)

I also put a bunch of books up on but I've had others up there for years with no takers. Does anyone actually use this service? I think I'm better off with Paperback Swap.

Finally, I cleaned and shined my sink as Flylady insists you do when you start/restart her program, got all the dishes done, and cleared one of my "hotspots" (a Flylady term for an area that keeps getting cluttered and recluttered - in this case, the corner of my dresser).

So I'm feeling optimistic as we head into the weekend. Busy weekend ahead, a wedding shower tomorrow (have to go tonight and buy the gift!), a Mets game tomorrow night with the family, and then another Mets game on Sunday (our annual "group outing" with a bunch of friends - and probably our last, since the new Mets stadium is going to be so pricey and inaccessible). Next week is crazy because I am spending a lot of it at my inlaws' house and commuting from there - hubby is taking the Girl on a father-daughter trip from Tuesday to Thursday, then taking the Boy on their father-son trip from Friday to Monday, and MIL will be watching the baby (and the kid who is not away with Dad) while I'm at work. So I guess I will be spending most of my nights on Long Island, since I'm still nursing and since baby Boy doesn't like to sleep in a crib...

4:19PM Edited to Add:

I wanted to add my weekend goals. I'm tempted to list a ton of stuff, but I think it might be better to list only the things I'm realistically going to be able to accomplish. To that end:

    Weekend Goals
  • Small food shopping excursion (just the basics, since I will be gone much of the week
  • 15 minutes per day in kitchen
  • 15 minutes per day in kids' room (preferably with kids helping, though more gets done without them
  • Put new photos onto computer so camera is ready for hubby to take on his trips
  • Clean out one shelf of videotapes/CDs/junk from entertainment center (there are 6, I have done one already).

That should keep me busy, especially since I am trying to keep up with VERY basic morning/evening routines (cf Flylady) once again.

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Oh yeah

Two posts in one day! That'll show 'em!

I thought maybe it would help me if I posted what I hope to accomplish each night. You know. To keep me honest and all.

Flylady is in the kitchen this week. I plan to declutter the two microwave carts (15 minutes or as long as it takes).
Also plan to hit 3 shelves in the kids' room (15 minutes or as long as it takes).
That is all.

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Another Day - er, 4 months - Another Post

Well. Here we are. More than 4 months since my last post. And my apartment is still looking fabulous and pristine.


Yeahhhh. Although Stacy was awesome, it didn't last. She was more than willing to come back, but I couldn't stomach the thought of paying her again when I couldn't keep up with her great work. Instead of being happy with what she had done, I was doubly frustrated by not being able to keep up with her progress.

So here we are again. More than half the year gone, and still the same mess.

I try - or at least I feel like I try. But obviously I'm not trying hard enough.

Able to wreck a room with a single bound!
Signed up with Flylady yet again. Mostly it results in a cluttered email inbox (as if my email inbox weren't cluttered enough), but it gives me a little more motivation. As does the idea that we are indeed going to have to move soon, since the little man is growing by leaps and bounds, and the big kids are needing their own personal space. My heart wants a house. My brain knows I barely have the strength to keep up with an apartment. My heart says a house will have lots of room. My brain says it will become just as cluttered as the apartment, so why add the extra expen$es.

I do want to keep up with this blog - but I think the decluttering aspect is just frustrating (ie, if I have no progress, I have nothing to post). So I'm going to use this to post about both my clutter and my "real life" - yes, I do have a life OUTSIDE 409 - and to keep you updated on the clutter as well.

Last night we cleaned out the refrigerator (DH's idea). We tossed, among other things:
  • Farina that expired in 2006
  • Scary looking old salad dressing and jellies
  • Very old big cookies from a bakery (in shrink wrap, but still, very old)
  • Bag of stale shredded coconut (which I used to feed to the hermit crabs, which have been dead for several years now)
  • Bag of stale marshmallows
  • Packets of duck sauce, chinese mustard & McD's bbq sauce

I still need to really CLEAN the fridge - which logically should have been done at the same time - but whatever. I did sponge up some of the more obvious yuck, but I need to get in there with the elbow grease, preferably when the baby is not trying to get in there and whack me on the head with a very old bakery cookie he pulled back out of the garbage.

I also cleaned out under the kitchen sink, which I have been dreading. There is water accumulating there and I need to call the super. The leak is coming from behind or under the cabinet, which is now starting to rot (and attract insects). Lovely. We have been in the place 6+ years (we own it) and have never redone the kitchen, but this part will at least have to be repaired before we sell the place. I just pray the leak is from inside the wall, which would make it a building expense, rather than inside our apartment, which would make it OUR expense.

From under the sink, there wasn't really much to toss, but I did organize it a little better, and make it neat for when the super comes to take a look. And I put down some Combat gel. I also got rid of
  • Wet grocery bags (which I usually keep around to use for garbage bags, tossing out diapers, etc)
  • Stencil pattern bought 6+ years ago and never used

More tomorrow. For reals!

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