Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's Time to Simplify: 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge

Even the good stuff can be overwhelming when there is too much

My years-long obsession with home and decor blogs seems to be waning a bit. Instead, I've been spending more time at blogs that deal with simple living. Blogs like Small Notebook, Simpler Living and Simple Savvy.

Don't get me wrong, I still visit upteen home and decor blogs, but I'm really interested in feeling less like a hamster on a wheel that's moving way too fast. Up until now though, I've just been looking, but min hus has been feeling more and more crowded. Most of the clutter is hidden, but it's impossible to find anything in many drawers and closets around here. But after looking at the 365 days of decluttering challenge, I thought, even I can do that one.

So here's the deal, I want to get rid of at least one thing a day for the next 365 days. I'll probably be doing this on the weekends, rather than daily, but I'm going to keep a list here. I'm not sure how often I'll post about this, it's got to be fairly boring (for all three of my readers), but we'll see.

I was actually so excited I got started last night and filled a couple grocery sacks full of trash, several things went to recycling and I filled one shopping bag with clothes and things to donate. The boy unwittingly participated yesterday too while he was cleaning the garage and got rid of four tires and rims, seven (yes, SEVEN) bucket-size kitty litter containers, an old plastic table. He put it all out on the curb and it was gone within an hour. Even all seven kitty litter containers, I'm still amazed someone wanted those.

The dearly decluttered:
  1. Green plastic patio table
  2. White shower curtain that shrunk
  3. White O-N dress shirt (too big)
  4. Black sandals
  5. Red, white and blue knit shirt
  6. Red pj pants
  7. Blue plaid pj pants (week 1, August 23-29)
  8. white t-shirt
  9. white t-shirt
  10. Old space heater (only half-works)
  11. Old vacuum
  12. Green bag
  13. black tote bag
  14. linen drawstring bag (week 2, August 30-Sept. 5)
  15. black purse
  16. Brown sweater
  17. Pink sweater
  18. Cyndi Lauer tape (it's time to let the casettes go)
  19. Smashing Pumpkins tape
  20. Toad the Wet Sprocket tape
  21. Girl's diary (week 3, Sept. 6-12)
  22. Unopened pine candle
  23. Blue tealight holder
  24. Small plastic water bottle
  25. Dental tape
  26. Martha Stewart Living - June 2009
  27. Martha Stewart Living - September 2009
  28. Green flower plate (week 4, Sept. 13-20 )
  29. Kitty foot massager (lame)
  30. Cloth napkins (4)
  31. Partylite candleholder
  32. Plastic tablecloth
  33. Red mug
  34. yellow mug
  35. blue mug (week 5, Sept. 21-27 )
  36. green mug
  37. glass candy dish
  38. pink plastic cup
  39. Book: Smart mobs
  40. Book: Knowing Knowledge
  41. Book: The Three Theban Plays, Sophocles
  42. Votive candles (week 6, Sept. 28-Oct. 4 )
  43. Strawberry candle
  44. Red bead tealight holder
  45. Votive candles
  46. IKEA mail holder
  47. Cinnamon candle
  48. Votive candle holder
  49. Precious moments plate (week 7, Oct. 5-11 )
  50. New black bra
  51. New white bra
  52. Unmentionables
  53. Unmentionables
  54. Brown and black purse (donate)
  55. Blue cloth napkins (donate)
  56. red shirt (week 8, Oct. 12-18 )
  57. blue flowered shirt (donate)
  58. orange t-shirt (donate)
  59. purple clock (donate)
  60. Organic garden magazines (10)
  61. headband (trash)
  62. round brush I never used (trash)
  63. lotion (trash) (week 9, Oct. 19-25)
  64. tan capris (donate)
  65. Navy blue slacks (donate)
  66. Merona black velvet dress (donate)
  67. Jessica Howard dress (donate)
  68. NYC tan linen slacks (donate)
  69. Nine west gray slacks (donate)
  70. Apt. 9 white capris (donate) (week 9, Oct. 25 - Nov. 1)
  71. White short-sleeve sweater (donate)
  72. White sweater (donate)
  73. Old navy flower shirt (donate)
  74. bottle of nail polish (trash)
  75. bottle of nail polish (trash)
  76. Book: Les Miserables (Half-Price Books)
  77. Book: Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination (Half-Price Books) (week 10, Nov. 2 - Nov. 8)
  78. Black ODCE bookbag (donate)
  79. Coaster (trash)
  80. Spatula (donate)
  81. Sunglasses (trash)
  82. IKEA 2009 catalog (recycle)
  83. Pink Eddie Bauer sweater (gave away)
  84. Black Eddie Bauer Sweater (gave away) (week 11, Nov. 9 - Nov. 15)
  85. Navy blue Eddie Bauer Sweater (gave away)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fixing the Leaks: How I Got My Living Room Back

During my first two weeks off I spent the vast majority of my time doing projects around the house, mainly a lot of scraping, paint preparation and a little painting. Most of the results wouldn't stand out to the average min hus visitor, but they do make the place look a little brighter and cleaner.

One fix does make a pretty big difference however, and it's the project that pushed me into project overload: fixing the leak damage in the living room. Long story short, the living room has had a moisture problem for, oh, way too long. It was an extremely slow leak, but over time it did some ugly damage.

So why did it take me so friggin' long to fix the leak? Well, it was way above my knowledge level so I turned to family, friends and finally a roofer for help. Multiple quick fixes were tried and failed. Many inspections and estimates were obtained and finally, I hired a roofing company to redo the chimney flashing (in two spots). I'm still shocked they didn't say I need a new roof, let's hear it for honest roofers.

And while I'm still not convinced the roof leak is 100% fixed (call me pessimistic, but if it's not fixed, I'm pretty sure I know the cause and a fix is already planned), I couldn't stand looking at the damage any longer. Really, I can't even guess how much time I've spent glaring, cursing and crying because of that wall. Oi.

So on Wednesday I finally started scraping all the loose paint and whatnot off. The area under the window, which had cracked paint, was the worst. The layers of paint came off pieces so large that I literally got nauseous. Fortunately, feeling nauseous is a common occurrence for me during projects, and it's only since I've survived it several times that I was able to not cry, freak out and call for reinforcements. The damage was so bad in fact that even the boy thought I'd gotten in a little over my head when he came home and saw with the first coat of patching compoun applied.

After a lot of scraping, and a little panicking, I patched the wall, sanded, patched, sanded and finally painted. This took two and a half days (lots of drying time is required of course) and brought me to the end of my project patience, but in the end it was worth it. Yesterday I celebrated by deep cleaning the room and house, doing some small rearrangements and then calling an end to all projects for the rest of the weekend. Aaah!

My patch job isn't perfect, but I'll worry about that after I know that the leak is completely banished. For now I can once again sit in the living room and relax.

Even the scary patch under the window looks good again!


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