Monday, November 15, 2010

Dealing with Sentimental Clutter

A common decluttering tip you've probably seen is to purge your sentimental clutter, or at least as much as you can bear to part with. You lived through it, the conventional wisdom says, so you really don't need to keep the mementos to keep the memories.

I disagree with this statement wholeheartedly. Maybe my memory is worse than most, but scrapbooks and other items are great memory aides. While I'm probably not going to forget the amazing overseas trips I've had, or my favorite vacations, I do tend to forget some of the little details. Flipping through scrapbooks, diaries, and cards reminds me of these things. While I agree that we shouldn't spend too much time living in the past, sometimes it's fun to remember special times and trips.

Lately though as I've gotten serious about ditching my clutter, I have begun to resent the space and weight all those scrapbooks and journals from years past are taking up, especially compared to the amount of time I spend looking at them.

Toss versus keep isn't the only solution
Luckily, there is a middle ground between keeping those space-hogging memories or dumping them. You can digitize them instead. I'm finding more and more things I'm willing to part with, provided I have digital copies to look at when the sentimental mood strikes.

There are several methods of digitizing your memories:

1. Scan scrapbooks, cards, papers, art and other mementos: I hate the amount of space my old scrapbooks from college take up, especially compared to how often I look at them, so scanning them is the perfect solution. While this can be time-consuming, it's nice to be able to view the pages anytime from my laptop.

2. Retype (or scan) old journals. Scanning takes a lot of time, so for things like journals I've willing to part with I find it easier to just retype them. You may want to scan a few pages to keep a sample of your handwriting or to capture special pages.

3. Take pictures of items that you'd like to remember, but don't want to hang on to anymore.

As a bonus, making digital copies of items and keeping them online or in a safe spot outside your home protects them from being ruined in a disaster. Just don't forget to back-up your digital memories in more than one location.

Monday, September 20, 2010

House Voyeur

Yesterday my mom and I went to a local home tour and it was FABULOUS! I snapped a few pics, mostly of bathrooms for some reason. I guess I have bathroom renovations on the brain.

If only I had space for this clawfoot tub, but alas, I do not.

Hex tile is definitely on my most-wanted list. I have problems understanding how people could not love this floor.

The blue accent tile got me thinking.

This hex tile is pretty fantastic too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Odds and Ends

I'll have a real update soon with pics from our lovely vacation at the beach, but until then here are some odds and ends I've found online recently and felt like sharing, or bitching about.
  1. IKEA: Herding Cats Experiment
    Just saw this on Apartment Therapy and love, love, love it. This only makes my IKEA obsession that much stronger. If you like cats at all, it's worth viewing both videos.

  2. New blog obsession: Going Slowly
    I found new-to-me blog Going Slowly this week (sadly I can't find who originally linked to it at this point) and have been hooked ever since. If you have or have ever had the travel bug, then this blog is a must read. Tara and Tyler have a definite talent for writing and photography, and their journal makes me almost feel like I'm there crossing Siberia with them.

  3. Bloglines shutting down October 1
    Total suckage. I already exported my feeds to Google Reader, but so far I don't like it anywhere near as much as Bloglines. I mean sure this is a good excuse to clean house feed-wise even more than I have been, but to me, Bloglines was much more user friendly. Using an RSS reader is what makes it possible for me to check on so many of my favorite blogs quickly. Recently I got rid of some old feeds and went from over 150 subscriptions to 123, although I doubt I'll be able to go much lower than that. I needs all my feeds, needs them I say.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Reno Dreams: Cheap-N-Good Kitchen Redo

Dreaming about renovating my kitchen is tons of fun; actually embarking on that renovation, not so much. Nothing indulges my kitchen reno fantasies like inspiring DIY renovations that don't break the bank.

This Old House featured a DIY reno (found via Apartment Therapy) where a couple transformed this nightmare:

Into a magazine-ready kitchen for just $1,500! Very impressive.

I love, love, love this little organization station. I'd love to fit something like this in my kitchen, but the only possible space is going to be used for a much-needed pantry. Well, it would be if I ever decide to go from kitchen reno dreaming to kitchen reno doing. *shudder* I hate thinking about all that dust, and work, and arguments!

But if I had a lovely spot like this to eat dinner in, and even have another couple over, well it might just be worth it.

Fabulous, fabulous kitchen!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Declutter Bug

Decluttering seems to be a never-ending process for me and every time I go through my stuff I find something I can get rid of. I mean we're hardly at a bare-bones level around here. Luckily, if I'm in a right mood I find decluttering kind of fun. Yesterday I attacked some kitchen cabinets and other drawers that had gotten out of hand and were bugging me.

The dark after photos (forgot to take them yesterday). If you
can't see the difference, that's extra space in there!

the rejects

And here are some of the rejects. Yesterday the following items hit the donate pile:
  1. Ice cube trays
  2. Two snack bowls
  3. Two mugs I kept forever even though I never used them just because they are Bodum. How silly is that?
  4. Sugar pourer
  5. Old travel bottle
  6. Jar
  7. Tea strainer
  8. Two blank journals that I'm never going to use. I prefer to go digital these days.
  9. Facial toner - Most pointless skincare product ever!
  10. IKEA pot - pretty but never used.
I've also created a new page with a list of most of the things I've decluttered during my last two years of concentrated decluttering. Here's the list of the dearly decluttered.

Hide-N-Go Seek

Pig always finds weird places to hang out. This is what I woke up to yesterday and I couldn't resist LOL-ing it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

The zinnias are blooming, the zinnias are blooming!

I know I'm a little late, but I didn't want to miss two Garden Bloggers' Bloom Days in a row. So without further ado...

Zinnias are one of my favorite flowers. This spring, after I planted my wintersown zinnias, something ate them right up. Dismayed at the idea of not having zinnias this year I direct-sowed the rest of the seeds I had on hand in pots. And they turned out beautifully, so beautifully in fact that I'm putting this on my mental to-do list for next year.

I just love poppies. This is the first time I tried growing the gorgeous venus poppy (winter-sown of course), and I'll definitely do it again. The only thing I long for is to have many, many more of them.


Ditch lily




I'd forgotten about sowing these white coneflowers until they bloomed. I used to not plant white flowers, I thought they blend in too much with my white house, but I've come to love them.

Also blooming in my garden:
  • Balloon flowers
  • Coreopsis
  • Dianthus
  • Gladiolas
  • Lavendar
  • Liatris
  • Snapdragons
Want to see more blooms? Visit May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of every month to see what's blooming in gardens around the world.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is Veggie Gardening Frugal?

You've read it a hundred times: grow your own food to save money on your food bill. But is growing your own food really cost-effective? Sometimes I have my doubts.

Certainly some gardens are worth it, especially if all you had to buy was seeds and garden tools, but when I think about the costs of the containers, plants, potting soil, fertilizer, etc.that went into my small container garden, I have to wonder. I mean when locally grown cukes are only 33 cents each at the grocery, the paltry four cukes I've harvested aren't even worth the water bill. Of course my cukes are completely organic. Which means they're probably worth like 75 cents easy.

I don't grow veggies to save money though, I grow them because of the convenience and it's fun. Oh and home grown vegetables taste better. I love not having to worry about if I have enough cukes and tomatoes for my nightly salad and being able to just walk ten steps outside to pick more. Plus did I mention how awesome homegrown tomatoes taste? It is disheartening though when disease or the dreaded powdery mildew cut my harvest short (like I see signs of this year).

In order to get a better idea of just how much I do harvest in a season, I'm going to try to keep better track of it right here.

Veggie harvest 2010:
  • Cucumbers: 5
  • Lemon cuke: 2
  • Lemon boy tomato: 7
  • Tomatoes: 12
  • Green onions: Didn't count, definitely worth the cost of bulbs.
  • Basil: Loads
  • Cilantro: 5 bunches
  • Carrots:
  • Jalapeno peppers: 3
  • Habanero peppers:
  • Tomatillos:
Veggie count updated 7/17/10

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Small Green Steps

I think one of the reasons I've been blogging less is that I'm thinking much less about home DIY projects and gardening these days. Instead my latest obsessions are simplifying and going green. This obsession is fed by our recent hobby of watching documentaries on Netflix streaming (No Impact Man, Supersize Me, Food, Inc., etc.).

While I'm not about to pull a No Impact Man, or be Green as a Thistle, I have been taking small steps to improve. And part of my love of documentaries and books like Sleeping Naked is Green (great read!), is that I just love seeing what steps others are actually taking and how they live their lives a little more green. So in the interest of passing the voyeurism opportunity, here's my list of new, future and ongoing green steps.

Latest green steps:
  • Slowly switching to less- or non-toxic bath and body products. I'm starting slowly with deodorant and body wash from Trader Joe's and so far, so good. I've also vowed not to step into a Bath & Body Works again until they start making a natural line, which is huge for me! I'm going to use up the remaining products I have first, rather than toss them. There's some things I probably won't be willing to give up, like my much-loved Bed-Head hair products.

  • Switching to recycled paper towels

  • Using recycled toilet paper

  • Going to the Farmer's Market and eating local and organic foods more often. I'm cheap, so visiting the farmer's market has never been high on my priority list. Watching Food, Inc. however scared me enough to take some steps to support local farmers.

  • Buy more organic and local food

Keep trucking:
  • Stopped using pointless products: I've finally started questioning some of the things I buy just because I always have, and some of these items haven't made the final cut. Fabric softner sheets are the big one. These are so pointless. I don't use them and don't miss them, although I haven't been convinced the boyfriend on this step.

  • Growing veggies and herbs: While I hope to expand these efforts next season, I'm off to a good start this year with cukes, tomatoes, onions, tomatillos, peppers, basil and cilantro already growing away.

  • Not using pesticides or non-organic fertilizers on the lawn

  • Buying and consuming less

  • Decluttering my stuff

  • Taking decluttered but still useful items to Volunteers of America

  • Switched to non-toxic and less toxic cleaning products: including baking soda and vinegar. The one toxic cleaner I refuse to give up is something that kills the mildew and nastiness in the shower.

  • Switched to CFLs and put outside bulbs on timers. I've done well with switching many bulbs, but I still need to try to find CFLs for the ceiling fans.

  • Compost and use that compost in the flower garden instead of fertilizer

  • Online banking & switching to e-bills

  • Being stingy with the thermostat. I set the thermostat lower in winter (68) and higher in summer (75-77)

  • Drinking tap water from the Brita filter instead of buying bottled water. Unfortunately I haven't been able to convince the boyfriend to give up buying bottled water completely.

  • Wear clothes and use towels several times before washing. I've been reusing towels and certain items of clothing several times since I was a teenager, a habit I picked up from my Scandinavian friend.

  • Unplug electronics when not in use.-I'm getting pretty religious about doing this with the coffee pot and laptop, but I could go further.

Steps to take:
  • Actually using the freaking reusable bags I've been keeping in my trunk all these months regularly. I did remember to bring them on our last big grocery trip.

  • Try the Diva Cup - I can't believe I'm even contemplating this one but after reading about it in Sleeping Naked is Green it doesn't sound so bad

  • Buy a PVC-free shower curtain

  • Buy only beeswax or soy candles
Have you taken any new green steps lately?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hello Lemon Boy, Nice to Meet Ya

I've read about people that managed to grow a ripe tomato by July 1, but I've never been able to accomplish it. Until now (take that mom!). I've had my eye on this guy for weeks and I knew he was close, but imagine my surprise when I came outside and spotted this tomato has turned yellow overnight. After checking the tag I confirmed, it is a Lemon Boy and it's ready to get in my belly!

I haven't eaten it yet. I'm letting the anticipation build a little longer.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Columbus Rose Festival

To further fuel my rose obsession, we stopped by the Whetstone Park of Roses during the Rose Festival last weekend. The Park of Roses is another local garden treasure that I haven't visit nearly enough.

There are gorgeous roses around every corner of this 11-acre park.

Cherry Cordial

Love & Peace HT

Early Morn

Brigadoon HT

Fascination HT


Rose Explosion

As you look into the back yard you begin to see them, the little pops of color.

As you walk closer they come into focus.

Roses! Rambling roses so heavy with blooms that the canes can barely hold them.

This year these old rambling roses are really showing their stuff.

Aren't they pretty? I absolutely love them. All they get is some compost, a little pruning and a drink if it's really, really dry. No pesticides of any kind are required to be rewarded with so many blooms. Plus, while their big show is in June, once I prune them they'll bloom more lightly throughout the summer.

There's plenty to clip and bring some inside to enjoy as well.


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