Project Life 365 – Day 9 – In a Drawer

Hi, my name is Lori…

(Hi Lori!)

…and I am a junk drawer failure.

It’s okay, folks. I’ve come to terms with it. We all know the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. And I have a big one.

I’ve already written about it at length in previous blog posts. Here are the links if you’d like to refresh your memory…

365 Project 2011 – Beware the Junk Drawer

Excavation 2012 – I Fought the Junk Drawer

The sad part is, even with my well-deserved victory decluttering and organizing last year, somehow we’ve come to this…

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A disorganized drawer filled with a random assortment of useful items. And that’s the biggest problem here. As much as it irritates me to have to sift through the crap to find a tube of chapstick or a breakfast cereal coupon, I can honestly say that every item in the drawer at the moment is not junk. No lies people. I could make you a list of stuff in the drawer right now and not have to throw out one piece of it.

Now, if we could just keep it organized…but that’s a goal for another day.

Elf on the Shelf – Day 7

We learned something very interesting about Miss Cosette this morning. For as mischievous as our little elf can be, she is apparently just as anal as my husband. Boy was Steven impressed when we woke this morning to find this…

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Cadence, on the other hand, was not nearly as impressed. She couldn’t seem to figure out why Cosette would go to the trouble of getting the blocks out if she wasn’t even going to build a tower. ūüôā

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Don’t worry, Cosette. Your hard work certainly did not go unappreciated. Steven is thrilled that he finally has at least one girl in the house he doesn’t have to nickname Tornado 3. And while I have to admit I fully agree with Cadence being dubbed Tornado 1, I don’t know what I ever did to earn the nickname Tornado 2…Well, unless you’re factoring my office desk into the equation, and then yes, I sort of understand. But I still maintain that it’s an organized chaos, and if you ask me what is in each of those piles, I can make you a very detailed list. So don’t touch them!

Excavation 2012 – Day #46 – The Great Photo Organizing Extravaganza (part 1)

Long before I was a professional photographer, I was a photo fiend. I’ve always loved photographs. My own. Other people’s. Simple snapshots or gallery worthy. I love holding them, flipping through them, looking at them, studying them, trying to imagine the moments that led up to the one frozen in time, and trying to imagine the moments that came after.

Today, as I headed down to the cellar to see what new treasures I could find and dig through, I came across this dusty old bag…

I don’t remember exactly where the bag came from (could have been one I picked up somewhere, or maybe it was Mom’s), but I had no idea what was in it. Mom brought it to the house several weeks ago, along with the stack of bins and boxes from her basement. Since then, it has been sitting in our basement, quietly waiting its turn. And here’s what I found inside…

I thumbed through the contents of a few of the envelopes, finding all sorts of old photos in no particular order. Knowing that we have several boxes and bins of photos that we have been meaning to get in some sort of order for several years now, I decided it was probably wiser to tackle the project when I was properly prepared. And prepared means finding the photo boxes we purchased nearly four years ago at Ikea, but have still never used.

Brace yourselves, people. Tomorrow, the Great Photo Organizing Extravaganza begins. Until then, I’ll leave you with this…

Proof that, at one time, I was both cute and willing to wear a dress. ūüėȬ†Tune in tomorrow¬†to see what¬†else I dig up.

Excavation 2012 – Day #44 – There’s Something About Mary

So, I’ve had a couple nights where it has been hard getting to sleep this week, and inevitably I have found myself watching reruns of Hoarders. It’s somehow becoming my newest obsession. I can’t help myself. If I’m flipping through channels and see that it’s on, I immediately tune in. And even when I am absolutely mortified by what I see (like the lady named Mary whose hoarding had caused serious structural damage to the house, and who had resorted to sleeping on one small section of her mattress which was covered in cat feces and soaked in urine), I can’t look away. God help me, I can’t look away.

The opening credits of the show say that 3 million people in the US are compulsive hoarders. 3 million. That’s a whooooole lot of hoarding going on people. And even if I am nowhere even close to Mary’s ballpark of hoarding mania, this Excavation project has certainly opened my eyes to some of the more ridiculous things I’ve been holding onto.

Case in point–Cadence’s birth announcements.

For those of you following this blog, you know that Cadence celebrated her 2nd birthday almost 2 weeks ago. Yet, somehow, these announcement postcards have survived two years and two moves, following us from place to place. And honestly, I can’t even tell you what my rationale was to hang onto them this long.¬†Obviously we ordered way too many, but I just couldn’t bring myself to toss them right away.

By the time we were packing to leave Arizona, Cadence was already 10 months old, so it would have been the perfect time to trash them, yet somehow they made it into a box instead of the garbage. I guess maybe I thought I should hang onto them just a little longer, in case we accidentally missed someone when we mailed them out. At this point, that excuse is more than a little moronic.

S0, it’s time to say adios.

I am a birth announcement postcard hoarder no more! Woohoo! I feel so liberated. Onto the next.

Excavation 2012 – Day #2 – I Fought the Junk Drawer and…I Won

After getting sidetracked by the bag-o-coupons yesterday, it was time to get down and dirty with the dreaded junk drawer. But, before I could really give it the attention it needed, I knew I was going to need a system. After all, we do have a lot of things in the drawer that are useful (really, I’m not lying), and I needed a way to make sure things stayed organized after the decluttering.

Armed with one of our Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons that was due to expire today, Steven and I hit the store to see if we could find something that would work. While it may seem a little counterproductive to bring something new into the house when the whole goal of this project is to get rid of things, we were actually successful in finding something that worked.

But first, the junk…

Okay, so we’re suckers for rewards cards at the stores we frequent. Promise us a $5 gift certificate for every $50 we spend and you’ll have no trouble getting us to sign up. Steven’s BestBuy and my Barnes & Noble and Borders rewards alone have yielded us hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars of merchandise over the years.

Neither of us is really keen on carrying a thick, heavy wallet (and those who know me well know that the one time I ever carried a purse was to sneak snacks into a movie, and I had to borrow the purse), so we were excited when stores started offering these nifty little keychain cards instead.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the excitement to wear off.

See, these cards are great in theory, but they are just as annoying as the actual wallet size cards. They clutter up your keychain. Add more than three or four of them, and they are not longer comfortable to carry around in your pocket. The worst part though, is that it took all of nine days for the barcode to wear off.

Luckily, stores just let the cashiers key in customers’ phone numbers, which is how we’ve been racking up the rewards for the past, oh, five or six years now. So, why are we still carrying these useless pieces of plastic around? Good question.

Goodbye.

Digging a little deeper, Steven and I discovered that, somehow, we have become the proud owners of 17 pairs of scissors. Neither of us remember ever buying a pair of scissors, but nevertheless, there they are. My theory is that the sock fairy has finally begun feeling guilty about leaving us with half-pairs of socks, so she decided to make up for it by leaving behind stray scissors as collateral.

It’s either that, or one of us is a kleptomaniac.

As of today, we are officially down to 16 pairs, since we decided to toss this one. We figured between them being dull and rusty enough to require a tetanus shot in the event of an accident, we could probably do without them.

Like most people, (except maybe the Iphone users who should just go ahead and have the damn things surgically attached to their hands once and for all), I have a love/hate relationship with cell phones. I enjoy the convenience of being able to send random text messages to my husband to please pick up more diapers on his way home, and love the fact that I can check my email, my Facebook, and keep more than a dozen games of Words with Friends going at a time.

What I hate though, is the way the damn things seem to be on a self-destruct timer that begins counting down the moment your sign your new 2-year contract and leave the store. I also hate the fact that I am never able to just get rid of the old phone when I get a new one. Somehow the phone or the case or the chargers just seem to hang around.

Well, hang around no more. Goodbye old Samsung charger and cheap cell phone case. You’ve served your time well, now get out of my junk drawer!

So, this is only hitting the¬†tip of the iceberg when it comes to things that I have held onto longer than I should have for nothing more than sentimentality (just wait until I start tackling the boxes in the basement). I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for hanging onto little trinkets that have certain memories attached to them. I guess I’m a bit of a tactile person in that way. I like to have a little thing that I can actually pick up and hold in my hand, a little thing that helps me hold onto the memory.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad trait, I do think that I am guilty of holding onto things that that I really don’t need, even for the memories. I’ll set something aside, simply because I want to look at it one more time, or because I don’t want to throw it away right at that moment, and then it just gets shuffled off or misplaced or tossed in a pile and suddenly becomes just one more piece of clutter.

Case in point–Cadence’s 1st birthday candle.

Yes, Cadence’s birthday candle. It’s been hanging around for almost a year now. I’ve taken it out of the drawer a few times, telling myself that it’s time to get rid of it. I’ve got dozens of photos of her first birthday. I’ve got the memory of her first (and now most of the 2nd) year of her life burned into my brain. I’ve got a whole year of stories written about her, and videos shot of her doing the crazy cute things she does. Throwing away a candle that burned for less than¬†a minute on her first birthday cake is not going to erase all of that. So, into the trash it goes.

You might think it’s a bit cliche that a writer has a pen fetish. But I do, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I love pens, pencils, markers, writing utensils of any kind. I’m super picky though, and I tend to hoard my favorites, squirreling them away where no one else will find and use them (in my backpack, tucked into my notebooks). I leave the ones I don’t like as well out where Steven and I can use them to write shopping lists or address envelopes.

This pen, in particular, was not one of my favorites, and has been hanging out in the junk drawer for about two years now. We noticed it leaking about three months ago, after Cadence decided she wanted to draw with it, and ended up with ink all over her face. Still, it took this long for us to finally say sayonara.

Okay, so normally I hold onto instruction manuals, especially for things that require assembly because there’s nothing quite as frustrating as taking something apart to store it for awhile, or move it, and then not being able to figure out how to put the darn thing back together again. Right now, we have a file cabinet drawer full of instruction manuals, many of which I’m sure will be showing up on this blog at some point in the coming months, because I’ve come to a couple of realizations…

1. Most products are pretty darn foolproof. Unless there are secret compartments or self-destruct modes, it’s probably okay to just press the buttons and figure it out for yourself.

2. Like my husband says, most product manuals are either available online, or can be scanned ourselves and saved as digital copies. While the writer in me will never embrace my husband’s ideal paperless lifestyle, I think he might be onto something with ridding ourselves of these useless manuals once and for all.

So, we’ll begin our anti-manual campaign with this one. After all, I think we’ve mastered the intricacies of Cadence’s favorite Busy Ball Popper toy–turn on, push button, giggle like crazy and chase errant balls, repeat, and replace batteries when necessary. Piece of cake.

And once the trash was hauled away, we were able to get ourselves and our junk drawer organized. Hell yeah! I fought the junk drawer and…

I won! ūüôā

365 Project – Day 339 – Dude, Where’s My Stuff

The worst thing about moving is not the packing. It’s not the long¬†road trip from on location to another. It’s¬†not leaving behind family and friends. It’s not trying to adjust to a new place. Hell, it’s not even having to change your address on every account, subscription, credit card, mailing list, and everyone’s Christmas card list (though that part is certainly annoying). No, the worst thing about moving is trying to find all of your stuff once you’ve moved into your new place.

Let’s face it, unless you’re still living like a poor college student and can schlep all of your worldly belongings from place to place in a couple of suitcases and a large garbage bag, you can pretty much count on¬†being completely stressed out the first few days/weeks in your new home because you’ll be spending all of your time digging through all the crap you wonder why you even bothered to pack in the first place and trying to find the things you really need. Things like hairbrushes and checkbooks and cell phone chargers are nowhere to be found, but by God you know exactly where to find your old ratty t-shirts and collection of V.C. Andrews novels.

Need that piece of mail you tucked in the box you were carrying on the way out the door? Forget it. Can’t remember where you packed the toilet paper or dog treats? People who have joined the Witness Protection Program have been located faster.

It doesn’t really matter how carefully you pack, how clearly you label the boxes. There’s always that random thing that gets tucked into a box just because it happened to fit. And¬†who hasn’t gotten down to the final stretch of packing for a move and just started tossing crap in boxes and saying to themselves, “It doesn’t matter. I’ll just sort through it all later.”

Later. Ha! Who the hell are we kidding? Everyone knows that “later” is code for “never”. And if not never, then definitely more than a year from now.

Steven and I are determined not to fall into the Later Trap. We’ve been living out of boxes for over a year now, because we were stubborn and refused to unpack anything more than absolutely necessary while we were living in the rental. Now that we’re finally in our own home again, we’re both anxious to get everything unpacked and put away. Unfortunately, Steven is away at work all day and I’m busy chasing Miss Cadence and working on photos. So, instead of being able get settled and feel at home right away, we’re forced to take it slow and unpack one box at a time.

While the clutter is driving my poor anal hus band crazy, I’m trying to look on the bright side of the situation. I’m planning to use my friend Kara’s Trashed 365 blog as inspiration in 2012 and go through every single box and bin we have left to unpack in this house. If it’s garbage, I’m going to throw it away. If it’s halfway cool or useful junk that I simply don’t want anymore, I’m going to sell it. And if it’s some old thing I haven’t seen in years that I can’t bear to part with, well, then I will find a place for it and hang onto it a little longer. In the end, it will all make for some really good stories of where it all came from and where it might be going.

Stay tuned…

 

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