Thursday, June 25, 2009


Garage sales can be just the thing

... as can Freecycle.

Last year, I was given a Softub on Freecycle. I was SO excited, having drooled over them online many times. They are lightweight and come with an external pump, so seemed a perfect thing for my patio.

I tied the tub to the roof of my car and drove home (within my small Island City) at about 20 mph. Untied it, and rolled it into the back yard. My neighbor helped me hook up the pump, realizing that the tubes that connect it need replacing. We turned the pump on and it leaked, as expected, but worked so well that I was splashed with water from a high jet!

Then... nothing. I never got off my heinie to go get new connection tubes. It's been nearly a year, I think. I finally got real and decided

-if I haven't gotten the tubes by now, I never will, and
-um, duh, I hate to be boiled like stew anyway.

I was never going to do it. So I relisted it on Freecycle, got a lot of requests as expected, and chose a man with arthritis (and whose name is the same as my dad's middle name), and he took it away yesterday.

What a relief!

And this Saturday, we're having a garage sale. We had one last year and got rid of so much stuff that when G suggested having another one, I didn't think we had enough to sell off. But now, the more I think about it, the more I'm ready to get rid of TONS of stuff. What a lifting of the burden it will be! I just added more things to my CraigsList ad.

Yay to getting rid of stuff, and Yay to making a little cash, and Yay to getting off my heinie and getting things I don't want OUT of my house!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Marathon cleaning

Today, my son and I did marathon cleaning all afternoon. This is an idea from FlyLady, yet again: you clean really hard for 15 minutes (always with a timer), then do whatever you want (play, watch TV, knit; I cut out pajamas) for 15 minutes, repeat.

I got the whole bathroom clean from top to bottom, the house swept, two big baskets of laundry moved downstairs and started, half the dishes done, several counters cleared and wiped, some Freecyclable stuff assembled and readied... seems like there's more. Oh, I tossed two cut-out cardboard boxes after making my son choose which one of the 3 he had modded to keep. (He chose the new giant one we just got from work, which had held a big monitor for one of our older machines, back when monitors were giant.) He worked for his room, but for the life of me, I couldn't see what he got done... he did attempt to pick up papers and sort them (recycle or keep). He also put away a complex advent calendar we have, from Playmobil, where each day's box holds one or several pieces to a final Christmas scene.

I also got my laundry-sorting table cleared and put into use and am SO happy about that. It is so nice to have a place to sort everything and have it right there by the washer.

I wanted to get more done today, but we really made a great dent in what needed to be done, and both enjoyed the intermittent "play" time. I'm really looking forward to doing the FlyLady routines again. Which means I need to get to sleep. :)

Friday, January 09, 2009


A fresh start

I had been slipping in my decluttering ways for a while. When my sister visited last fall, she came up from the basement looking shellshocked. I could tell she was jarred and she gently asked something about cleaning it out. I think I brushed her off irritatedly.

But she had a point: my basement was a nightmare. So much stuff all randomly piled and stuffed and stacked and falling over.

Within that month, I attacked it with a vigor. Moved the table legs I'd found somewhere and the table top I'd gotten from Freecycle to near my laundry area, cleaned and swept the floor, worked like a fiend. And cleaned maybe a ten-foot-square area. At the time, it felt like a huge step forward. In retrospect, it was a drop in the bucket and a clear SHE moment--we are all capable of small bursts of concentrated cleaning; it's the consistent resistance to clutter that will save us.

My sister and I talked more over Christmas. She (again, gently) suggested that maybe I could try the FlyLady system again--and institute it for my son. I agreed. I started to read the FlyLady site daily and get back into the decluttering mindset.

So last night, I looked at the clock at 9:10PM and thought, "Yeah, I could do 15 minutes." I ended up putting away the box of silver that had been sitting out for months, stacking the coolers by the back door (now put away downstairs, yay), and cleaning out the broom closet. Cleaning out the broom closet was kind of a sidetrack, but I'd been feeling frustrated with the way it was set up anyway. It's nice to have it tidy, with a place for our lunchboxes, the dog's food and pills, and the broom and WetJet. I also mopped the ceiling where a beer bottle, plummeting from the roof of the fridge, fell straight down on the floor and blew its cap, creating a beer geyser. (Note: beer is very sticky after a day of drying.) It was nice to get that done.

Today, I was in a bad mood at lunchtime, and went home (am lucky it's just 3 mins from work). Just after I got there, bringing the coolers downstairs, I decided to tackle more in the area near the washers. I have a nice big wooden table down there that is ostensibly for sorting and folding laundry, and has been covered with bags of yarn, blankets, other bedding, and a big blue tub for a couple of years now. I moved the tub (which had all of one piece of posterboard in it), put the yarn away, and looked at the bedding. Some of that is going to leave my house! The rest will be washed and put away. It'll be nice to have more sheets for G and duvet covers for both of us.

I also cleaned under the table, discovering my pre-baby clothes that will probably never fit me again (and that I will definitely not wear again anyway!). The final count: 1 box of books (taken to work), 2 bags of garbage, 2 bags of recycling, 4 bags of donations to be taken to Goodwill.

And a huge weight off my mind. (Priceless.)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007



A ton has happened since my last post.

I got really sick due to black mold exposure (in my housemate's room--it was growing through the wall from a leak behind). She moved out of the room in December, but I wasn't aware of why. Anyway--long story short it involved respiratory problems, nosebleeds, nausea and a blistering rash so bad that I lost the use of my hands for a while and was incapacitated. I had to move out of my place (sans stuff). I couldn't work. I went to the doctor 4 days out of 5. Steroid shots, Prednisone, heavy duty antiboitics...such has been my life. I stayed at a hotel in SC and T. commuted every day to her job (1 1/2 hours each way) and looked after me at night because I wasn't well enough to move to her place, and I couldn't do basic tasks like dressing myself or getting food, nevermind driving or other life activities.

Alas, I'm now up here (Oakland). The next phase of "getting rid of" has begun. Tara is making room for me and my books and clothes and various things, but I still need to pare down. I've had like 7-8 boxes of books in her lower area for ages. I'm going through them and getting rid of most of them. They are largely academic film, women's studies, glbt, literary and cultural studies books. To buy them new would cost thousands of dollars, and I'm not exaggerating. But just because they cost a lot doesn't mean I have to hang on to them.

I was reading a decluttering your mind to declutter your space book and one thing it said really resonated...It talked about how "messies" often stress over what to get rid of and fear making the wrong decision. Should I toss this book, or is the other one better to get rid of? What if I choose wrong?

The book also pointed out that messies get caught up in "overorganizing". I know I do.

I am trying to keep things light and just do what I need to.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I did it!

Hurrah for moi!

I used the system I developed and voila, the clutter is gone. I still have some sorting through to do over at le storage space but I can walk in my room. There are no monster piles of boxes and books. I have my computer (unhooked) on the floor of the room, and one box of filing I need to go through for tax stuff (but it's tucked out of the way). Of course, I will find other things to weed, purge, disseminate and generally remove from my space. But I will not have to climb around boxes and piles of junk any longer. Woo! I will flikrnate a before and after photo, I do believe.

I am definitely going to flesh out the system in writing and make it available to others. It works.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I'm going for it.

Alas, I'm doing it. Decluttering my space, organizing things, really getting it together. How?

Weirdly, after all the books and articles and such I read, all the online info through which I sifted, all the "programs" I tried, I realized I had a system in me that needed to come out. And so I started writing it down, and doing it. And it works. Really, really well. And I know it will work for others, too, because there's a way to personalize it for one's individual decluttering/organizing style. And because there's absolutely NO WAY to remain stuck with this system. And it's super easy to follow, not some big laborious and ponderous "thing" you need to master.

How cool is that?

Once I have it fully written down, and have worked all the way through it myself, I'll make it available to a wider audience.

Until then, back to decluttering for me...Woo hoo!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Attack Mode?

There are lots of metaphors when it comes to decluttering and one of them is the war metaphor--waging war on clutter, attacking clutter, doing battle with your things...

I'm more of an akido type when it comes to clutter, but I'm not sure exactly how well that's working for me. LOL.

Here's what I'm up to tonight...redoing and elaborating on some of my work.

*I had gone through and made a pile of stuff that I don't need on my bedroom floor and would be just fine having in storage or in T's garage. (These are boxes & such not loose items).

*I put these things, along with my Goodwill bag and box of books to sell back in the hallway.

*I had to move these things back into my room because my other housemate and her family were coming to visit.

So, last night I made a list of everything on my floor. Then I thought about what things it'd be just fine not to have here.

There are some things (like my toolbox) that T. thinks I should go through and just take out like 2 or 3 tools. But not only do I need things from there 1-2x a week, it's almost always different stuff. Plus, then I have loose tools on the floor (I don't have any drawer space etc.) I have a basic tool box (and some of my tools *are* up at her house--S. and I had a hell of a time changing my car battery with the lack of tools). It's not like I'm keeping my drill down here etc. So, a tool box lives on my bedroom floor. Or really, on the layer of clutter just above it (my disconnected computer). Alas, I'd love to put it somewhere else in the house, and I might ask my one housemate if I can stick it in the closet off the second-floor deck. That would be very useful. I even considered storing it in my car, but I'd like to avoid that.

Other things, like financial papers, I don't much care about having access to 24/7 (although sometimes I do need to find something); it's more that I have been told not to store them in a storage unit because of possible theft (and then identity theft). But I'm ready for the bulk of them to live elsewhere...

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