Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Sometimes there is no motivation. You just have to get up and do it anyway."

So yesterday was a red-letter day, organizationally speaking. I was laying on the couch play Bejeweled Blitz when Gina called to see what I was up to.  I was tied to the apartment because Michael and I are on duty and he was driving student to Harvard Square, but I was very nappish, having stayed up until 2 am the night before.  I told her I was waiting for motivation, and she told me, "sometimes there is no motivation."  She advised I just get off the couch and get started someplace.

So I did.

Luckily, Alexis called just a few minutes later and asked what I was doing.  When I told her I was organizing, she started cleaning her house too.  So there we were, me in Boston and my best friend in Phoenix, cleaning our houses while chatting on the phone together.  I love that.  Is that weird?  And when I got to the stove and found I didn't know how to get the drip trays out for cleaning, she told me how hers worked and voila!

You know I did the fridge the other day, but I thought you might like to see a picture of the end result. It is glaringly empty of food, but the condiments sure are well arranged! =)  And, here's a tip for you to take home, courtesy of my friend, Gina: to tame those condiments, use small lazy susans; they take up less room and eliminate the need to rifle through the fridge, since you can just spin, spin, spin.  Now we just need some food to put in there...

I moved on from the fridge to the cabinets, cleaning and reducing as I went.  All those rice and noodle mixes that don't fit our current "healthier" diet? Out. The never-opened peanut butter that got replaced by reduced fat? Gone.  Well, so far, still in a bag in my apartment, but hopefully I 'll find a good home for them soon.  Another little tip for you--I found organizing racks with drawers on Amazon to make much better use of the space in these large cabinets.  Again, these help eliminate the need for rifling--which often results in a mess. (See before & after shots)


 Then, I moved on to the pots and pans closet, and the spices.  There wasn't much weeding out to do there because although we have a lot of spices, we do use many of them. But, I did recently purchase this beautiful spinning spice rack with labels.  You put your own spices in (it comes with extra labels) and, if you want, it can be mounted under a cabinet for easy spinning. (I'm a big fan of spinning.)  The best part is that you can take one out at a time, and either shake it out (or use a spoon) from the top or measure it out from the bottom.  Each turn dispenses 1/4 tsp of spice into the waiting dish below.

Then it was time for the cookbooks.  Considering that we cook about once every two weeks currently, we have a surprising amount of cookbooks.  Some are really useful.  Some are leftover from my college (and post-college) days, and show my mom's sense of humor: Help! My Apartment Came With a Kitchen! and Tray Recipes: Cooking in the Cafeteria.  When I went through them all, though, there weren't THAT many I felt good about leaving behind.  What about the Christmas cookie cookbook? Won't I want that when I have kids? Alexis (still on the phone) pointed out that I could likely find just the recipe I want online when the time comes. If the time comes. Given that there are no children in sight, they probably shouldn't drive this decision.  Out it went.

 Oh, and this happened a while ago, but is a useful tip I thought I'd share. We bought a sliding drawer and installed it in the cabinet under the kitchen sink for the trash. Now it slides in and out for ease of use!

I was able to clear a lot of things we don't use often from the counter tops and microwave, and all of the appliances were cleaned. I cleaned out the cabinet over the fridge, and all the stuff from the top of the fridge. The only thing I didn't do was weed out the tea mugs. We probably have more than we need, but we made many of them, and others were meaningful for other reasons, and we do use them often.  Alright, I've just realized while typing this that I'm making excuses, so after this I'm going to go thin those out.  But otherwise, there's nothing extraneous in our kitchen and everything there has a place...The kicthen is done!

It was bothering me that when I de-cluttered the living room, I hadn't dusted and cleaned it at the same time, and Gina offered to help me with that while I was cleaning other stuff.  But then, suddenly, we were moving furniture to really clean underneath it, and considering how rearranging furniture might give the appearance of more room...and, about an hour later, our living room was reimagined in a much more workable (and cozy) configuration.  So now the kitchen AND living room are clutter-free, clean, organized, and more spacious.  I have to tell you that afterward, I just sat there in my little massage chair with a big old grin on my face. Just soaking it all in...the feeling of contentment to be in my own home.  A feeling I haven't had for a good long while.

While I was on the phone with Alexis, she asked me what Michael thought of my little organizing kick, so I asked him.

Me: So Alexis wants to know what you think about all of this.
Michael: I think it's great that it's getting done. And I think it's great that I don't have to do it. (pause) And I think it's good for you, actually.
Me: In what way?
Michael: You're taking control of your enviroment, taking action to make changes you want to see.
Me: See? You really do understand me!

So all day yesterday, I was putting food, cookbooks, etc. in a bag.  And now I'm left wondering how to get rid of them. Sort of an odd and chintzy donation (which, let's be honest, I'm a bit lazy about actually driving out into the world to deliver it somewhere.) And the dorm parents are talking about having a yard sale this I store it in the basement until then, to see if I can make some money? Or do I bite the bullet and find places to donate things? Do I send out an email like I did with the magazines to try to get people to come get it? Or do I just throw it out and get it out of my life as quickly as possible?

What do you think?? free polls
What should I do with the remains of my de-cluttering efforts?
Store it in the basement until the yard sale and make some money!
Stop being lazy and take it somewhere to donate it.
Send out an email to see if people will come grab it themselves.
Trash it and move on.


Anonymous said...

Kitchen looks awesome! Living room is better that way I think

Alexis said...

I had a problem with letting food I didn't know I had expire. So I did not allow myself to buy any canned stuff, pasta, rice, ect., no matter how on sale it was, till that stuff I already had was gone. Didn't save myself money when I was throwing things away anyway! Plus I had less stuff, which meant more storage space..
- Alexis

Melisa K. said...

A--that stuff expires?? haha. No, I know what you mean. We've started actually going to the store just for what we need for dinner or lunch for the week. Luckily, Michael doesn't mind that sort of thing. Drives me nuts. My instinct is to go once for the whole month (And that worked well for me for a long time.) Michael doesn't mind going just for the stuff we need for dinner tonight. We do waste less this way, and we probably spend less money since we're only buying what we need.

A Little Irish Girl said...

This message might be late in coming (sorry I'm catching up now), but if you have anything that you think the kids at my hospital might use that is sitting in one of those bags let me know :)

Melisa K. said...

hmmm....I still have the bags but it's hard to know what they might use. There're a few pairs of size 10 jeans, but mostly it's work clothes I think. And a bunch of tank tops for someone with a smaller chest than me (or less interest in covering it).