Clearing the Clutter: Part 1

We’re getting ready for this trip and it’s not exactly easy. I have consider myself pretty good at getting rid of things. I try and take a load of items to Goodwill once a week or so and I have a bin that I consistently add items to, but I just recently finished the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” which helped me get motivated to do some big purging and clearing this week. There are a lot of concepts in the book that make perfect sense and really helpful, but there are also a few ideas I probably will never get on board with. I agree that when we start clearing out the things in our house we need to really look at what we need and want and start there. Instead of just getting rid of random things, it helps to stop and think what do I really truly need, then, everything else is just extra. The other concept that I agree with strongly is, get rid of anything that does not bring you joy. This is something that has helped make the process a lot easier. If I look at an item and have no idea where it came from or the purpose of it, it is really not bringing me any joy. And off it goes. Another concept that I found very helpful is organizing everything in the house by category.  In my bedroom, this is extremely useful when pairing down clothes. Another idea for clearing is to make sure you take every item out of the closet or cabinet that you are clearing. This way you have a blank slate to start with and you really see how much you actually have when it is all lying on the floor in front of you. Some of the concepts I don’t think I will follow are the ideas of thanking all of your items as you put them away each day. I agree we need to put the items away, in the same spot each time. Everything needs a home. But actually talking to them and thanking my shoes and my watch for its service. It seems a little strange. Greeting the house when you walk in, also a little creepy, but I guess if you do it in your head, it might work. For now I am just sticking with clearing out the items I don’t need.

This week I worked on my kitchen cabinets and my bedroom closet. Little by little we’re getting it done. In the kitchen it was amazing how much expired food and spices I had, that made it super easy to toss. It is also nice to be able to see all the items in the cabinets now. We have tall narrow cabinets that hold most of our food, so getting rid of the things we don’t need and showcasing the food we do eat is what I focused on.

Collage_kitchen before

Collage_kitchen_after

I sure hope you can tell the difference! I know I can. We still have a lot of stuff, but at least we can get to it a little easier now.

One of the big challenges for getting ready for this trip is figuring out what I need to bring to wear. We are going to be on the road for 9 months. We will be in cold climates, warm climates, celebrating holidays with family, going on a cruise, exploring Disneyworld, visiting the ranch, skiing, surfing and so much more. With all these activities, how do you find a small wardrobe that will keep me covered (no pun intended) for the whole time? In my opinion, I think I have a pretty small wardrobe to start with, I work from home and rarely get dressed up, so the extent of my clothes are jeans, tops, skirts and a few dresses. It shouldn’t be that hard. This week I cleared out my closet and started thinking about what I will be taking. Once I have that all figured out I will report back. But for now, this is the transition I made in the closet.

Closet_Collage_before

The 50 lb trunk full of photos is under the hats, sweaters and basket of hats & scarves (left photo). You can’t even see it – not a good use of space!

Closet_Collage_after

Can you see the difference on this one?? Lots more space & I can get to my shoes now! My daughter said I have a walk in closet now, cause you can actually walk in! Another KonMari tip – don’t buy new organizers to organize your stuff, use what you have. I actually got rid of one of the “organizers” in my closet that was just holding a bunch of crap!

The hardest part of clearing the closet was moving the 50 pound trunk filled with old photos and journals, it was not that tough actually moving it, the tough part was not spending my whole afternoon reading my old journals and looking at all the photos. That will have to be a whole day project on its own. The KonMari Method recommends saving photos and mementos for last. With that in mind, I moved the trunk out of the closet and will dedicate another day to just the photos.

Thanks for reading and peeking into my closets and cabinets. It’s go time! More to come later!

Until next time, — kg

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Happy New Year – A few days later

Highlight of 2014 was our hot air balloon ride in New Mexico

One of the highlights of 2014 was our hot air balloon ride in New Mexico

Happy New Year! I know this post is a little delayed, but the sentiment is still true. I am so happy to be starting a new year. 2014 was not the best year for our family, between cancer news, car accidents, impromptu kitchen repairs and a number of other bumps in the road, I am happy to say goodbye to 2014 and ask the powers greater than me that 2015 bring us more blessings, health and happiness. I know that life will always bring struggles and challenges, and how you deal with those issues is what makes you stronger and more resilient. I also know that we are still very fortunate for all that we have and things could always be a lot worse. But when you have stress – no matter what it is, that stress is equal to any other stress and needs to be managed in a healthy way.

My hope is that 2015 is a year of healing, planning, purging and getting ready for our next adventure. In my last post I said I would report weekly about how the planning for the trip was going – that was a lofty goal, considering that we had a lot going on over the last few months and although we are constantly planning and thinking about the trip, the main steps we are taking to get ready are mainly purging our house of things we no longer need and getting the camper ready for the trip ahead.  The next few months will be really about getting our house ready for renters. The first step is replacing the floor that was removed for water damage throughout the kitchen. Removing everything from the kitchen definitely brings an element of chaos to the house, but it is also a great opportunity to get rid of the stuff we don’t use and practice eating and making dinners in the camper.  Life is not always easy, and I know there will plenty more challenges along the way, but the way we handle them is what will keep your sanity.

Until next time, friends, thanks for reading!

mice…ugh

I am really not a fan of mice. ***WARNING: This might get graphic, it was not a fun time and if you are squeamish you may not want to read on.*** I actually put myself a little bit in the squeamish category which is why I have to write about it, so I can stop thinking about it. But they might come back that’s the problem. Ugh.

So here’s the story, once the girls started back at school I started hearing weird sounds around the house, scuffling, scratching, what I thought might be the ghost of Lola. I knew it probably was not Lola and more likely mice or rats, so I called a pest control company I used to use while I was working in property management – Willard’s Pest Control. They really have been great and helpful. They crawled under the house and into the attic to check for critters, blocked off all the entry points on the exterior of the house and laid out traps all around the house. Which is great, but guess what, the mice don’t come around when people are around, they wait until you leave.

Now we have a new ritual when we come home from any outing, we check the traps. The first mouse we caught was with the snap trap under our sink, the little guy was killed on the spot. The girls and I found him after the first Willard’s visit. We all screamed like little girls, then I stepped up and just swept him into the trash. It was not easy and I nearly threw up and cried a bit. I imagine some people might be wondering where was Andrew for all this fun? Well, all this happened during the work day, and apparently this is one of the lovely tasks that you get when you work from home. And really the first one to see it, is the one to deal with it, because you can’t let it sit there and wait for the husband or the exterminator to take it away. At least I could not do that and the girls would not leave it alone.

Yesterday was really the worst. We knew that the little guys were around the house because on Friday we found our peaches with mouse sized bites out of them.

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Luckily, Willard’s was scheduled for a follow up visit on Monday, so I showed him the picture and told him about the turds we found in Siena’s room. He said that mice are sneakier than rats, so we needed to set more traps all around the house (not just under the sink). This time he set out sticky traps because the snap trap obviously didn’t get the one eating the peach. But the problem is the sticky trap doesn’t kill them right away. Mice get stuck alive and eventually bury their face in the glue, then suffocate to death – so horrible. So, he put the traps out, we left the house for a few hours and when we came home from Parkour (distraction link, getting to the worst part) we found the peach eater (or one of his friends) right out on my kitchen floor, stuck in the trap eating peanuts. I had to get rid of it, the girls both saw it, we all screamed, cried, I called my neighbor (not sure what I was hoping she could do) but it bought me some time. I sent Andrew a text: FUCK. I hate mice. He was on his bike so he didn’t see it until it was too late. As he biked up the driveway, he asked me why I was crushing the garbage with the cinder block? He obviously had not read my text.

So there you have it, I have killed 2 mice and it feels horrible. I really need them to get out of my house, this is not something I can live with.