Wednesday, February 10, 2016

40 Bags in 40 Days: Day 1. Clearing the Decks

Nothing onerous, today.

Today, I simply did the obvious.

1) I bagged up everything in the donation station:

This is in my basement laundry room, underneath my folding table.

2) I took two boxes of Christian books to a nearby Church we used to attend. Remember when I first decluttered these? It was hard. I promised myself I'd hang on to them for a while--and that if I missed any, I was allowed to go back in and get them. I missed none of them. It was beyond time to let them go.

I think can be valuable to let go of things slowly, like this. Sometimes, you just need to take the time to be sure.

3) I donated two boxes from these shelves--also a decluttering project from last year.

This area looks quite different,  now.

Mostly fiction--they now retail, second hand, for more than the cover price. Not worth trying to sell.

4) Egads--can you believe I re-found the food from my pantry decluttering in January? So, that's gone, now, too, thank goodness.

I know, not much! Easy to see how I misplaced it. 

5) There were some odds and ends I'd gathered since the last donation station drop off (including some rarely used Christmas ornaments).

About an hour running around town--including the return of a light fixture I bought a long time ago--and ta da!

Those cardboard boxes in the back are for a project at my Mom's.

One "bag" the size of my trunk decluttered.

Boom dada boom.

More info here.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The 40 Bag Basement.

Sometimes, I think I have carried out so much stuff out of my house that there can't be anything more to declutter. And then I go to the basement.

Starting Wednesday, (tomorrow!) the author of the blog White House Black Shutters is hosting an odd Lenten ritual: 40 bags in 40 days.

The idea is to get rid of a bag of crap every day during Lent. The bags can be any size--and they can be for donation or garbage or recycling. They can even be boxes. Doesn't matter. As long as they leave!

My basement is my nemesis. It is my crucible. It is where things go to die--but without a proper burial.

It is time.

My fingers are just itching to make space: but I am also feeling completely overwhelmed. There's stuff down here from the clear out I did this time last year in the dining room and bedroom. I know what I've used and what I haven't--so as long as I don't let sentimentality get in the way, it really should go smoothly. As well, there's stuff down here I have tried to get rid of before (like the telescope)--and it just didn't sell. Do I just donate it, this time around?

Decisions, decisions, decisions. That's all clutter is: procrastinated decisions.

Time to make some.

Report on Day One is here.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

The AT Cleaning Report: Week 1. A (very) Partial Success.

When I finished the January Cure, I wanted to make sure I wouldn't fall back into my slothful ways. A fellow curer mentioned the AT 30 Day Cleaning Schedule. I copied it into my Bullet Journal and promised myself I would begin February 1st.


I forgot all about it, actually, until Saturday, the 6th. I briefly thought about doing all the days previous just to catch up--but I was in the middle of doing the entry ways, so I consoled myself with the thought that it will all come 'round again.

Indeed it will.

The schedule includes 16 tasks spread out among 30 days. It also stipulates doing dishes and a load of laundry every day. My favourite thing about it though, is that it promises you can do these 16 tasks in just 20 minutes a day. And if that's true--then this is doable.

I started on the 6th with the assignment to clean the bathrooms. So, I did.

I set the timer for 20 minutes--and I stuck to just the downstairs bathroom (which really needed it!).

On Sunday, the 7th, the assignment was to clean all the windows (inside side only) and the mirrors. I had no idea I had so many mirrors in the house! Essentially, I have one in every room except the dining room and my son's bedroom, though we won't count the two in my daughter's room.

Let's see. On the main floor, there's the bathroom, of course and

the Living Room:


Front and back Hallway:

Upstairs, there's the bathroom,

the three in our room,

and a little set of square stick-on mirrors from Ikea which I put in this space between the arch and the second floor. There is a south facing window, opposite--you can see the light from it so clearly! I simply wanted more light on the stairs. I love it.

That is the main reason I have so many mirrors--to bounce the light around.

I set the timer and I sprinted round the house--and at the end, I even had six minutes to devote to this beast:

So, it was doable. And it felt great.

I plan on posting about this weekly.

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Week 4: The Launch Pads (or Entry Ways)

Turns out, I am taking this challenge much more seriously than I thought I would. I have not been able to get over to my Mom's as much as I should--whenever I've been free, she's been sick or otherwise unavailable. So I have a bit of time on my hands to focus on my own place--and I don't want to decorate--so cleaning it is!

The "launch pads" --or entryways-- are such practical spaces. They are the spot for all things coming into and out of the house. I have a small shelf in the front entry hallway for letters and casserole dishes and such. The bucket beneath it is for library books.

Around the corner, in front of the coat closet, I have my communication centre.

Friday, I spent cleaning up the front hallway. I washed all the walls, the door, the trim and the baseboards with a weak solution of T.S. P. (Tri-sodium phosphate.) Then I vacuumed the floor, washed it on my hands and knees near the door and then mopped it. I washed the entry way rug--and ruined it.

It didn't come completely clean and the edges started to unravel. I had had a bad feeling about it. Next time, I'll listen.

I had to fold it to get it to fit in the machine. If it weren't for the chewed up edges, I'd throw it back in. As it is, I now need to buy another one. sigh. 

Saturday was the back entry. It is a terrible place to get pictures of.

So much more work!

I wanted to declutter this pocket hanger--so I googled to find out when the mosquito repellant expired. Turns out, it doesn't. These are from at least a couple of years ago. Last summer was so odd: no mosquitoes, no butterflies and no bees. The only insects we really saw were some wasps at the end of August. (They made a nest in our front eaves.)

So, again, I washed the walls and door and trim. I vacuumed the carpet on the landing. I washed the stairs to the kitchen and the stairs to the basement. I tidied the baskets going down to the basement and washed the boot shelf on the other side. Somehow, it took me all day. (I also cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen, but that's another post!)

The floor underneath the carpet still needs to be painted.

I felt good at the end of it all, though. The area doesn't make me scowl anymore--so that's something.

This coming week: The Living Room.

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Dining Room Is Cleaned

I have joined yet another on-line cleaning challenge. This one is from A Bowl Full of Lemons. It is a fourteen week program to thoroughly clean and declutter every single room in your house. (Even though it is called a home organization challenge--it really is a spring cleaning challenge.)

This week, our focus was on the Dining Room.

You know how you know that you are going to clean something soon--and so it all just sort of goes to h*ll right before you clean it? That's kind of what happened here.

I broke it up into several days--all of which have blurred together on me. But here's what I did:

1. Unloaded the Expedit and washed




There was some weird film of greasy dust in each one.

2. sprayed spot cleaner on the spots on the drapes.

3. reconsidered and rearranged items in the china cabinet.

yep. There's a box of Christmas crackers on top of the coffee cups in there. I remember telling myself when I bought these that I really must remember to use them! Blast.

4. Wiped down the printer cart and tidied the baskets.

5. vacuumed the window screens and washed the insides of the window.

6. vacuumed the baseboards.

7. emptied the room--and washed the floor with Murphy's Oil soap. Then, I rinsed it. (I never, ever rinse it.)

8. Put the chair cushions into the washing machine.....and.....

9. Threw the drapes into the washing machine and hung them up wet to dry (so I could avoid ironing!) Didn't work.

But here we are. So lovely.

(I have it set up for every day--as a quasi home office. It coverts to a room for dining quickly and easily.)

still have to mount that picture properly

funny how one thing can pull everything together and make it look so coordinated and deliberate. That black and white buffalo check table runner which I bought for my Christmas table does that for me.

Big sigh.

This week: The "launch pads."

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Cure: Catching Up.

I feel quite behind, even though I've been working on the Cure or Cure related tasks nearly every day.

Time to catch up and come clean.

Assignment #1: Clean the Floors.

I did this...but only in the way that one would clean the floors during a regular weekly cleaning. I didn't bust out the stain remover for the stains in the carpet. I didn't get out the special wood floor cleaner and clean my wood floors. I just swiffered (upstairs) and vacuumed (downstairs). I did seewp the stairs thoroughly. (And two weeks later, I notice, they need to be done again.) I did not clean the kitchen floor at all.

So, in a way, I feel like that assignment still needs to be done.

Assignment #2: Make A List of Projects.

Assignment #3: Purge the Pantry.

Assignment #4: Set up an Outbox

Assignment #5: Declutter a Drawer.

I did this one very, very late, just before bed.  I actually asked someone on the AT Cure thread to tell me what to pick and I was told to clean either a drawer from the bedroom or the bathroom. Since we don't have drawers in our bathrooms, I chose the bedroom--but I chose the one where Ikeep my miscellaneous bathroom "toiletries." I never got around to blogging about it, so here we are.

Assignment #6: Clean the Kitchen.

Janel gave up the option of cleaning either the inside or the outside surfaces of our kitchen. Since my cupboards were long overdue (as well as the fridge and stove) I chose "inside."

I love it when my counter top is clean. I just wish I could keep it this way!

 I worked on it one drawers and one cabinet at a time. I was going to do a grand post when I was done--but I still have one cabinet left to do--and the floor, of course. Naturally, heavily used areas, like the stove top, counter top and the table need to be cleaned again.

Assignment #7: Observe: The Ten Minute Meditation.
I rarely do this one and I don't plan to do it this time, either.

Assignment #8: Clear a Closet and Assignment #9: Work on Your Project.

 Assignment #10: Get Your Get-Together Together.
Not having a get together.

Assignment #11: Clean the Bedroom.

Like the kitchen, this was a really big project.

I had a full day off to devote to it and enough bed-linens in reserve for the first time in a long time (namely an extra mattress cover and some pillow covers), so I didn't have to wait until all of the laundry was done in order to redress the bed. So, I was "done" in one day--not like the kitchen.

mid-way through the first day

But, then, the next day--also a day off, I decided to take down my curtains and wash them--and re-hem one of them.  But, fortunately, before I actually re-hemmed, I realised both panels had shrunk--so, now I have two curtain panels I need to re-hem--and no curtains on my bedroom windows. And no after pictures, either.

Assignment #12: Media Fast.
If I do this one, I'll let you know. The night it was scheduled for, I had to work.

Assignment #13: Lighten up the Living Room.
I think I am going to do the Dining Room instead.

Assignment #14: Medicine Cabinet Clean out.

Assignment #15: Look thru the Linens.
It wasn't that long ago I tackled this one.

Assignment #16: Scrub the Bathroom.
I really have to do a major overhaul of this room. The ceiling needs to be stripped and re-painted, the walls likewise. The grout in the tub/shower area needs a thorough scrub.

I just avoided it all weekend, really.

Assignment #17: Catch Up Day.
Believe it or not, I did nothing. Nothing. 

My husband, son and I did get out and see The Revenant, though. It deserves the hype it's getting. Glad I saw it even though I actually had to bring my coat up to my eyes and peak through it for some scenes. So gritty.

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