So fresh and so clean…ish

So cleaning month is going pretty well. So well, in fact, that it will have to continue into the next month because I still haven’t tackled that guest bedroom closet yet.

But for good reason – I had company here for Derby and also May is always the most insane month of all months (everyone schedules everything for the same days and times and not a weekend is free in May. Ever.)

Anyways, this is not about what I haven’t cleaned, but what I HAVE.

You already saw the closet and clothes overhaul-type thing.

I also had two nightstands I had to clean out…one of which I haven’t even looked in since I moved in (A year ago, today, in fact, woot!).

It proved to be a treasure trove of sorts. I found lots of pictures, perfect for #tbt possibilities, and essentials like my garter from prom 13 years ago, entirely too many unused legal pads (#writerprobs), a small London phone booth decoration, TiVo remote for a system I no longer have, and hospital information for post-appendectomy life.

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Post-appendectomy life is very gassy. Other than that, relatively normal. It’s time to part with the paperwork.

That was a couple weeks ago. And I cleaned out a box’s worth of crap. Most of the stuff in those pictures was tossed, including that folder, from a Feature Writing class in college where I had a professor who once made me decorate her Christmas tree and claimed she could feel earthquakes before they happened. In Kentucky.

Anyway.

Speaking of crazy. Did I mention the month of May is?

So just because I haven’t been home doesn’t mean I haven’t been cleaning.

I’m on a delete spree, guys.

I have entirely too many emails I don’t need in my email inbox taking up space. I have people’s phone numbers I talked two twice and/or not for years now. I have texts from two years ago, thanks iPhone. I have annoying Twitter accounts I follow.

CLEANED THAT SHIT UP.

Still a bit in the process with that one, in fact. Like today, when, in honor of one year of home ownership, my AC stopped working and I didn’t feel like moving cause I was a puddle of sweat, I deleted doubles of photos on my phone, apps I haven’t used since downloading, files I don’t need off my computer (which is still saying it’s about out of storage space).

See, you can still be productive when you’re having a “lazy” weekend! There is hope!

Not to mention I feel guilty on days I don’t do anything at all, even if they are really few and far between.

But this cleaning (and realizing today that I’ve been in here a year) has led me to my next month of this project, that I’ll start soon…and I’ll give you a hint about what that is. It involves my condo.

I’m sure this has been suuuuper exciting for y’all to read about, but I promise, it’s made me happy and my house more comfortable and better looking. So there’s that.

Any of you done any major cleaning sprees lately? Spring cleaning and whatnot? Find anything good?

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The land of lost sunglasses, chapstick and tiny hats?

There were a few things I knew I’d find in the process of cleaning out my bedroom closet.

• Clothes I haven’t worn since I moved in last May

• This tiny hat hair clip I bought for New Years 2015 and will never wear again

• Every newspaper clipping of mine since the beginning of college

• Approximately 9,130 partially used chapsticks.

• Four pairs of sunglasses

I was close. Found all of the above, though the number of partially used chapsticks was closer to 8. But the 9,000 number makes for a better lead. #journalism

And there were three pairs of sunglasses. Damn.

See here’s the thing. I get sunglasses and chapstick – apparently at the same time, because I have about the same amount of each. Then I use/wear them all of about 2 days. Then they’re lost in the abyss. And by abyss, I apparently mean my closet.

Too many apparentlys in that sentence. Soon I’m gonna sound like this kid.

As part of my first month of the Me Project, I eased on in and spent a couple hours last weekend going through my bedroom closet. It wasn’t out of control, as you can see by these pics…

But I knew I had shit in there I didn’t need that was just taking up space and it made me anxious. And if you know me in the slightest, you know this girl doesn’t need any more anxiety in her life.

I started with clothes.

Note on my clothes. I am not fashional. I am working on it though, so I used that as motivation to get rid of some of the stuff I was questionable on.

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The shelves weren’t bad, but I do have every color of the rainbow as far as tissue paper goes because I kept buying it thinking I was out. In reality it was all hiding in the corner of my bedroom closet. Where I do all my present wrapping.

I filled two entire garbage bags with trash, including some clothes with holes in them or that I didn’t even want to inflict on the nice people shopping at Goodwill (I’m looking at you, high school marching band wind suit with giant coffee stain on the inside).

I even wound up with an entire trash bag full of clothes to give to Goodwill. And I got to organize my clothes by type. BECAUSE I AM A FREAK OF NATURE.

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I realize this all may not be that interesting to you all, because I didn’t find anything too crazy (but the guest bedroom closet is still to come, and that’s where the magic’s gonna happen).

And in return for you making it this far, please enjoy these photos of my best friend, Ashley, with some of the treasures she found in her closet clean-out. She got motivated by my first post and tackled it last weekend. And I for one am really happy she still has those bright white Basic Editions from her Patti Mayonnaise costume.

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After the clothes were properly, obsessively put up and the shelves cleaned off, it was time for the binders.

You guys, I have a disgusting amount of binders. BUT THEY ARE SO USEFUL. I have binders for work, two for youth group (that I separated out from one giant one and it made me insanely happy). And probably 10 just filled with my clips from working at the various newspapers over the years. Because I want to have them someday, if and when print goes extinct like some people think. Also because I’m a narcissist. (One of those statements is a lie. I’ll let you guess which one).

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There they are. Also included – the binders full of things I didn’t want to throw away for whatever reason. Cards from various years’ birthdays and graduations and stuff, wedding invitations and whatnot.

Plus things I should never throw out like these signs and notes made for me in high school, toooooootally not during class or anything, ever.

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Oh and there was this time when I was immature and got this hat because it said Peckers. And also because the guy I liked was called that and I thought it was cute and funny and I should not have admitted that out loud….

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But who am I kidding – I still am immature and think it’s funny that it says Peckers and I would wear it but it got all gross.

Next up is the guest bedroom, which I’ll likely tackle after Derby, because I’ve got company in town next week and also this is Louisville and EVERYTHING stops for Derby.

Have you all done any major cleanups lately? How’d it make you feel?

I know for me, going into that closet now is definitely less stressful because I’m not staring directly at the row of shirts I don’t wear anymore.

Lesson one from this project: It’s the little things.

Closets, closets everywhere

You know that episode of Friends where Chandler finds Monica’s messy closet? She’s so annoyingly clean and organized in every other part of her life but she has this one closet in their apartment just full of crap that spills out as soon as he gets it open.

Here’s a clip if you live under a rock and have not watched one of the greatest television shows of our time and also because there’s never really a bad time to reference Friends.

I guess I kinda sorta have that. My problem is, I have multiple closets. I would also venture to say here that my car counts more in this situation because as clean as my house is, my car always looks like absolute crap – a fact which one or more of my youth group kiddos likes to remind me of/remark on each time they have to ride in it somewhere.

Every so often – usually after an episode of Hoarders, as I’ve mentioned before, but also when I start looking for something and get distracted – I’ll clean out some stuff in my place. Moving helped some, but not enough. (“I swear, I’ll probably need this someday,” she says about her notes from the Astronomy class she got a C in in college.)

Basically, my move from my apartment to a pod/my parents basement should have been a catalyst for some sort of big purge of shit I never needed in the first place or hadn’t touched since the previous move. But the beauty of a pod is – throw all that useless shit in there and you don’t have to see/think about it until you get to the new place and put it in a new closet or storage area. So…that’s what I did.

My condo is clean. And stays that way 94 percent of the time. But the closets are a different story. And it’s not even that they’re packed full and I can’t open them and stuff spills out and I throw something in and slam the door so there’s not an avalanche. There’s some semblance of organization at least. Stuff is in boxes. Or crates. Or giant rubbermaid containers. Or a purse I haven’t used since ’06.

And what bothers me is that I know it’s there. I don’t have so much that I’ll find buried treasures (at least I don’t think so, but hey, fingers crossed), but I have enough to sometimes think about it being in there in disarray and get a little stressed.

ALLLLLL of this to say, in terms of cleanness and de-cluttering in my life – my closets need work. So that’s where I’ll start for my first month of my project. Cleaning out/up my closets. (Cue Eminem..I’m sorry Mama…)

Phase 1 starts this weekend with some work on my bedroom closet, because it’s the smallest and easiest and I already basically did the entry-way closet but will have to go back after depending on how much space I create other places. And I’m going to clean out my dresser and nightstands.

Sounds riveting, eh?

The plan is to toss some clothes I haven’t worn since I moved in last May – and by toss I mean donate – and create some semblance of order in there. Not that it will stay that way, necessarily, but right now I’ve got dresses mixed in with winter clothes mixed in with T-shirts I don’t wear… And I’ll organize and clean off the shelves I’ve got in there.

I recently bought a hamper for my closet to use instead of the laundry basket I’ve had, and due to an error in ordering ended up with two – one of which now holds my shoes so I don’t have to see them on the floor. That alone has helped it look a little cleaner in there but there’s still work to be done.

I’ll post before, during and after pics next week, and keep track of any treasures I find. But the fact that I’m getting excited about the plan to clean and organize my room makes me feel like this was a good way to start my project. Ease in, as it were.

And since I’m giving myself a month, I’m going to have to get moving on the other parts of my place that need some work too.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

31: The Year of Happiness (or something like that)

If you’ve read this blog…ever…you know that me and happiness go back and forth. I continuously try for it and have gotten so much closer in the past few years in so many ways. So, for a while, people kept telling me “You need to read this book, the Happiness Project.” Never one to shy away from a good book suggestion, I finally gave it a try about a month ago.

I knew the premise – a woman took a year and month by month, she tried to do different things (and in some cases cut out different things) to try and make herself happier.

As a writer, I didn’t really like the book, because of her writing style. She’s a former lawyer, and it read at times like a lawsuit. Small tangent: Yes, I know what those read like because I used to have to read them at times as a part of my job at a community newspaper. JARGON CITY.

And then there was the month where she mentioned in passing that she was trying to curb her habit of eating a spoonful of brown sugar out of the jar whenever she passed it in the kitchen. WTF.

Anyways. Criticisms of the writing aside, I loved the idea. Each month, she was taking a different aspect of her life and focusing on it and how she could be happier in it. One month it was family, so she focused on creating good memories with her kids and new traditions and taking time to slow down and enjoy her time with them. Another month was work, and she made the promise to herself of a certain amount of writing a day. She also planned to write a book in a month – so she did.

The basic principles were there. I wanted to do it. I didn’t wanna copy it completely, but there was so much I could learn and apply on my own. And by doing it on my blog, I would have the opportunity to hopefully communicate with others who may be doing the same or who could give ideas and feedback.

Plus there’s the fact that I need this right now. Maybe more than before. I recently made the heart-wrenching decision to find a new home for my sweet puppy, because it’s what is best for him, though it won’t make saying goodbye any easier. I also recently made the decision to talk to my doctor about my medicine and making a change. My therapist – who I will somehow name a child after one day – and I have had some discussions and think this may help things even more with my moods and anxieties and depression. (I’m not going down in dosage again, it’s not that. Just FYI.)

So I need a distraction. I need a project. I need something.

As for a start date? What better than a birthday? Today I turn 31. (ACK). So why not make 31 the year of my own Happiness Project?

I don’t have it all mapped out yet, but I have started a bit of a list. (Go ahead, act surprised even though I know you’re not.)

But here’s the premise. Each month I focus on something different. The whole month I work on that and that alone. It may be something I only have to do once. It may be something I continue to do throughout the year as I add in the different months and their goals. I currently have 9 ideas for the project and have known since I finished the book which one I would start with.

The way it will work? At the beginning I’ll announce the focus and why. That month, I’ll do different things in that vein. We will see if it makes me happier, but as I’m writing this entry I’m coming to the realization that it’s not even so much about happiness, it’s about focusing on me, something I really don’t do and when I do I don’t do it well. (Drink every time I say focus in this post and you’re too hammered to read this sentence.)

Throughout the month, though, I’ll keep you updated of the progress and of what I’m doing to accomplish that month’s goals. At the end of the month we’ll see what changes/differences if any, it’s made.

And the first month starts today.

I didn’t wanna jump in TOO crazy-like, because turning 31 is a lot to process on it’s own (I’m OLD), but the first month I knew needed to be about cleaning up.

ME PROJECT, MONTH #1: Cleaning up, decluttering and dehoarding

I’m not messy. And I’m definitely not a hoarder. But when I moved last year? Boxes would come in I hadn’t seen or touched since I moved into my last place. So did I need what was in them? Probably not. Yet several are sitting in my guest bedroom closet, just kind of taunting me. Not that I have, like, other stuff to put in there, really, but I know for a fact in there right now are most of my folders from classes from college. WHY? Don’t tell A&E about me, guys.

Small tangent again: Is that show on anymore? I guess not. They brought Intervention back, though, so maybe there’s hope. Also anytime I watch that show it just makes me wanna throw out EVERYTHING. Also vomit.

I also need to admit I got a slight head-start on this month in a way. I have a ridiculous amount of T-shirts from college (because sorority and also free shit). They’ve been sitting in my dresser/closet/giant Rubbermaid container for the 9 years since I graduated just collecting dust, basically. I wasn’t going to throw them out or donate them because the sorority shirts at least, did mean something. And I spent a lot of cash on ‘em.

Luckily, a good friend’s mom quilts and makes blankets and is a pro. She’d just made my friend a T-shirt quilt out of her old lacrosse shirts and I asked her to do the same for my shirts and she luckily, thankfully, agreed. The Rubbermaid container full of shirts is no longer taking up space in my front hall closet and I’ll have an awesome new blanket soon that means something special.

I have a couple of other things in mind to do, but I’ll save those for later posts and update you on my progress as I go.

Have some ideas for my project? Are you doing your own? What’d you think of the Happiness Project book? Do you eat a spoonful of brown sugar every time you pass it in your kitchen?

Oh. And Happy Birthday to Me, I suppose.