Spring Cleaning Day 3 – or not

So this is the third day of spring cleaning with SimpleMom. It is the second day of living room cleaning. For me, it will be the first day I go to work in an office in about 14 months. No worries, it’s not a 9 to 5 job in a cube farm or anything… it’s a part time writing gig in a creative online media joint and I’ll be going in one day a week to work there, have meetings, etc. I might do some cleaning in the evening, but for the most part i will be focusing on “going to the office.” I’m actually kind of excited about it. So, instead of clutter, let’s look at the garden.

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Look at that beautiful cucumber flower. I am hoping I can grow enough pickling cucumbers to actually do some nice pickling, well, at least one nice batch. We have gotten so much rain this week I was worried that the garden might get a little over saturated but it looks like it is actually thriving. The fact that it is not yet regularly topping 80 degrees is pretty out of the ordinary and due to the rain we have hardly had to water the garden for TWO WEEKS! Craziness. The peas are going gangbusters and getting tall and flowering, tomatoes, cantaloupes, squash, cukes, and pepper are all flowering. We’re eating lettuce from the garden almost every night in a salad. There are three tomato plants with little green tomatoes growing and my second batch of potatoes (planted in straw in a chicken wire tube) are sprouting. It’s all looking really good.

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The Spring Cleaning Party has been really fun. I’ve been trying to hit most of the pople that are posting about it and reading up what they are doing, looking at before and after pictures and leaving comments. It’s interesting to see other people’s organizing ideas, see that my house isn’t really the messiest place ever (it’s just normal) and read about some of the revelations people are having. I’m really glad i decided to participate. I think Robert is enjoying it too. He, of course, likes the clean house, but he’s also helping out and making an effort to purge some of his stuff too since I am making a real effort to go through my stuff. I hope being at work most of the day doesn’t derail the Spring Cleaning Party at our house, I won’t actually be behind but I have a lot going on Thursday and Friday as well. Not to mention I have some sewing projects I’d like to finish up so I can meet some deadlines. We’ll see I guess.

And here’s one cute puppy to start your day.

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Spring Cleaning, Day 2 – The Living Room

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Day 2 of the Spring Cleaning Party focuses on the living room, family room or wherever the family spends the majority of their time. Now, honestly, that might be my office but I’m saving that monumental task for the day everyone else tackles kids rooms (which we don’t have). Daisy woke me up at about 6:45 begging to go outside – even though Robert was in his office wondering why she hadn’t wanted to go out yet. I took her out, came back inside and considered staying awake and getting started. But, I decided a little more sleep might not hurt. 😉

I got up, made coffee and started pulling everything out of the living room. I know for some families this is going to be a huge undertaking. Luckily, our living room is pretty sparse so it wasn’t awful. There are no bookshelves, which helped. All my before pictures look pretty clean due to the clean sweep on Day 1 but I did get into all the drawers and sort things out.

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This is all the stuff that came out of the living room. The coffee table is a big rectangle with a drawer that pulls out from both sides. The end tables both have drawers and then the entertainment center had stuff in it too. That white laundry basket is completely full of DVDs. It covered the dining room table but it wasn’t packed init was definitely doable in one day for me.

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This is my before picture which I’m sure will annoy some of you since it looks completely clean. I’m telling you, before we decluttered, that coffee table was covered in magazines, DVDs, Wii stuff, books and more. The clean sweep did wonders for my house. This view will be important later though, I promise.

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I found these big piles of magazines in the coffee table drawer. They obviously got shoved in there several times in an effort to “clean up” before company came over. Unfortunately they were mostly all mine too. What can I say. I’m a writer. I like to read… wait til you see the bookshelf in my office. It’s scary!

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I kept two cooking magazines to go through and pull out recipes for the recipe file, a few that I haven’t read that will go on the to be read pile (and then to the recycling bin when they are done) and then, I went through a lot of Texas highways and Birds and Blooms my Grandma had given me and pulled out the full page photo pages. I use the pages to make envelopes for the handmade cards I make. I had been hanging on to the magazines for that reason. It is a much smaller pile now that I pulled those pages, and put them in a folder with my craft stuff. All the other magazines went into the recycling.

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We had some rather unfortunate puppy accident stains on the carpet. (Robert is going to be unhappy if he knows I posted this one – just keeping it real!) I used the heavy duty carpet cleaner recipe from the SimpleMom eBook. Whoa.

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That was after letting it sit on the stain for several hours (salt, vinegar and borax). Several hours after letting it sit and then vacuuming I can see the outline of the stain again though, so it may need another treatment or two to really get it all out, I’m not sure. I need to go buy a gallon of vinegar before I do any more treatments though since I’m out.

All in all, the living room is good. Things are organized, purged a little and it feels calm and clean. Oh, and I cleaned the windows which hasn’t been done in at least 2 years. They look so much better. Wow! And if you need to clean your screens?

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Put them in the shower and spray them down. It worked really well for me! The only thing that is left to be done is for Robert to go through the huge pile of VHS tapes. I am going to ask him to try and contain it to the wooden box with the duck on it. So they are put away and out of the way since it won’t be something we would use very much if at all. Most of them are EMS and Firefighter training stuff so I am just asking him to hopefully pare down some. So, ready for the after shot?

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I rearranged the furniture too. The couch wasn’t working where it was so it needed it. And even though there were only two magazines and one book that were ready for the coffee table, I couldn’t bring myself to put them out there. It looked too nice all clean and clear. I also worked on integrating some of our knick knacks on the mantle. I have Jim Shore angels, Robert has ducks. There were ducks in the guest room, ducks in one bathroom and ducks in the living room. I brought all the ducks into the living room. Two on the mantle, two on each end table. If I ask him if he wants to keep the ducks, he will automatically assume that I don’t like them, so I am working on figuring out a way to ask the right way. Plus, I don’t want everything to be totally minimalist.What do you think about the angels and ducks together?

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In case you’re wondering, the fireplace is directly behind the couch. There is no good way to arrange the living room it seems. One wall is the fireplace, one wall has three windows, one wall had french doors into Robert’s office and the entryway. The only blank wall has the TV on it. To face the TV, you have to have your back to the fireplace. Someday we hope to remodel the garage into a media room and have a formal living room which will fix it, but until then, we just kind of ignore the fireplace.

I’m a day ahead on this since I started on Sunday. I spent, I think, three hours in the morning and about two hours in the evening to get it all done. I went to my new office for a few hours in the middle and had dinner, called my Mom (she thought the Spring Cleaning Party sounded good but needed to know what an eBook was) and played with the dog a bit. The living room is supposed to be Days 2 and 3 but obviously, for me it was only Day 2. Tomorrow I need to spend some time working (I work from home) and I will either tackle my craft area in the dining room or do one section of my home office. I think my office will take two full days so I will be breaking it up here and there throughout my spring cleaning.

Ready for a puppy picture? Daisy definitely wanted to be outside playing today instead of inside where the mean old vacuum cleaner was. She hates the vacuum, we’re not sure why. She doesn’t mind the blender or anything else loud.

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Spring Cleaning, Day 1

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I decided to join the Spring Cleaning Party, hosted by SimpleMom and I can already say, I’m loving it! I purchased the eBook so I can more easily prepare each evening for the next day’s tasks and also have the time/ability to give Robert a head’s up of what will be going on. Day One is really simple. You have to go through your house two times. The first time, you pick up trash (and in our case, recycling galore) and the second time you make quick decisions on some of the little clutter-y stuff that visible. I actually decided to start a day early so that Robert would be available to help go through some of that clutter-y stuff that belongs to him instead of presenting him with a big basket of stuff to go through at the end of the day. Also (yay!) I’m starting a part time job today so I wanted to have a jump on things. So, the details. We worked on this on and off all day long. We stopped occasionally to watch TV, eat lunch, work on dinner prep and we even stopped to take an hour long nap because neither of us went to bed at a decent time last night. So, it could be done in a few hours I think. We have decided from the start that we are each responsible for our own home offices, so those will be done in bits and pieces throughout the week. And the guest room is not being touched at the moment because it has the emergency preparedness kit spread out all over. We have ordered some things to add to the kit so we don’t want to pack it all up, put it away, only to have to bring it back out in two days to reorganize it. So, those few rooms, we didn’t touch too much so far.

I did not take tons of “before” pictures because honestly, I was pretty embarrassed by the state of my house. Here is one of my desk in my office before I did anything to it. Imagine a similar state on oh, pretty much every horizontal surface in our house. I’m not even kidding! I meant to take one of the dining room table but it was almost done before I remembered!

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That is the area just to the right of my keyboard and such on the desk. It was obviously getting very disorganized. The coffee table in the living room was like this, the dining room table, Robert’s desk, portions of the kitchen counters. It was really really bad, to the point where I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by it and not really having a good plan on how to start. That’s why I bought the eBook. At first I thought, well that’s kind of silly, like I can’t figure out how to clean the house. Well, I found out by having it, it gives me a place to start and some clear instructions on what to do. I’m sure as I go along I’ll adapt lots of things and tweak things, but the thing that really helped me was just having a place to start. Want to see my desk later?

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It’s by no means perfect, I still need to find a place for some of those notepads but it’s about 99 times more calming and stress free to look at, don’t you think? And ALL of the rooms (except the guest bedroom) had a similar treatment. That’s one tiny space in my house but my whole house is like this. It feels really good just to sit and look around. I feel calm, I feel happy and wow, do I feel energized. I am completely shocked by the feeling too. I knew the clutter was bugging me but I had no idea how much. I am so glad I decided to do this. Robert agrees. It just feels better in our house. There is still dog hair on the sofa and a stack of books in the hallway that I need to sort through but overall the house just feels more calm. It’s wonderful. I’m totally psyched to do the rest of the job now. And check this out.. we had 2 bags of trash, just regular kitchen trash bag sized and a TON of recycling.

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We are a magnet for paper and cardboard it seems. Before I broke all the boxes down, they were in a stack taller than me! The best part is that we already ran them down to the drop off bin so even the recycling bins are empty. Well, except for the celebratory beers we had with dinner! Day One was a huge success. Did anyone else feel so completely happy once it was done? Maybe it is from the sheer amount of clutter/paper/stuff we had allowed to build up around us but it has really been motivating to get each room cleared out.

And now, to end with a puppy picture.  Daisy likes to run through the hose when I am watering the garden. She was just a little soaked here!

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So much to say, so little time

I’ll be posting lots of various updates this and two Taco Traveler installments. There is a lot to say. But for now, I just want to say that tomorrow, we’re starting this
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