Day 23: Kitchen Chaos

By now I have gotten rid of a lot of items I just don’t use.

This room, the kitchen, is used. A LOT.

We cook. We bake. We grill. We potluck. We entertain. We like to make homemade ‘specialities.’ The French Onion soup bowls, creme brûlée set, sushi maker, fondue pot, breadmaker, ice cream maker all get used (at the very least) once a year.

Remember, food doesn’t count. Still there is a lot of stuff in here that can go.

First, the drawers. Good grief!! I’m from Wisconsin but the number of cheese tools here is out of control. Next, the cabinets. And the cabinets…there are actually two cabinets in here that I only open once a year (or less.) Nice stuff in there too; nice for someone else. Bye.

Lids for? Not the container the are sitting in. A second sugar/ creamer set? Third and forth string back up utensils. Wicker plate holders. Baking dishes. A million muffin tins. And my favorite:


Anyone want a Christmas cookie? I’ve got a scrawny tree and a…shape. Who would eat that? Perhaps the flat angel?

That was pretty easy. This space I’ve got plans for. The cabinets were too full, now the rest of stuff can spread out. Some of the stuff on the counter can join it.


Day 22: Little House of Hoarders

Today when I picked my littlest one up from daycare, he was not in the little baby room. He was in the mobile baby room. My babies aren’t babies anymore.

As much as I would like to keep them little forever sometimes, obsessing over this would only cause me to miss out on what’s happening now.

Today I attempted to let my kiddos help with my project, their rooms. Not sure that they would willingly find 22 items they’ve outgrown and would part with, so I let them try. I was shocked…

Laura, brought me eleven items in less than five minutes. I was sad to see the Strawberry Shortcake dolls in her pile, so I asked her, “are you sure about these?” She said, “I’m not really ever going to play with them anymore.” And she was right, she hasn’t played with them in a long time. But three years ago, they were her favorite; now replaced by her ‘playing school’ set. What’s happening now is short.

Micah and Joel also participated rounding up enough to complete my twenty-two items for today. They’ve also set a great precedent for my next contestant, to be named later this week.


Day 21: Unpacking

I just went on a trip; five days that included: hiking, site seeing, sleeping, going out to eat, shopping, sun, snow, a wedding, a Packer party, swimming, flying. Brad and I shared one suitcase and two carry ons. They weren’t even full.

For five days, all I needed was a bag and a half of stuff; and I never missed a thing. If I needed anything to spark the last ten days, that’ll work…

So for the last ten days, I’m traveling again. This time through our house; unpacking as I go.

I’ll start with the bedroom; mainly because I know there is a wallet in there that will cancel out the one I just bought. Wallet gone. Back to zero.

Here we go: the pile of random contents of my nightstand (counted as ONE, for the ruthless judges: Brad and Carrie); a combination lock with no combination; seven articles of clothing; three scarfs; six hats; a bundle of pens (also counted as one!); a glasses case; and a book.

Three weeks and 231 items down; nine more days and 265 items to go.


Day 20: Happy Meal Toys

I have a bone to pick with Ronald Mc Donald today…and it has nothing to do with fast food.

It has to do with these little guys:


Happy meal toys. I hate you.

Now the reason I hate them, is because they are cool! My kids love them as much as I did when I was a kid. They can’t be banned from my household; they have a place in childhood for sure.

But they are infesting our house. These little guys are holed up all over the place. So what to do…

My dad loves to do scavenger hunts in the woods with the kids up north. These are perfect for hiding in the woods.

I go on a scavenger hunt in our house to gather them up, took me about five minutes to find 20 (and I even found a few bonus items for grandpa.)

Off they go to their new home!!

Day 19: De-Clumping Jewelry

Jewelry > Make Up

As much as I derive no pleasure in having a wide variety of make-up, I love jewelry. It’s fun to wear, it’s fun to buy. Jewelry ranks right up there with shoes.

I don’t have very much “expensive” jewelry, but I have a clump of random jewelry. Yes. A clump; meaning a bunch of necklaces wound together in a mess with a couple earrings stuck in there…what a shame, this is how I store possessions I like and use??

I begin to disassemble the clump. Easily, I can pick out about three dozen pieces that I wear a lot. Then there are a few sentimental pieces. Finally, a few more pieces that go with certain outfits (that I still have.)

The clump is gone. Along with nineteen items, plus a few bonus items. Most of it is outdated, some of it is ugly or just plain ruined.


Day 18: Cosmetically Speaking

I have a drawer full of makeup. I wear six products, applied by three applicators…I am not a person that requires a variety of cosmetics. Makeup is routine.

Also in this drawer. Three bottles of old sunscreen I am SURE we will never use. Out.

What is with all the surplus makeup and cosmetic products? This drawer is stressful to look at.

I also find a second set of makeup for travel to be handy. That can stay…but some of these products are older than my children. Free lipsticks (when have I ever worn lipstick?); products that are ‘out of circulation,’ and alredy been replaced; expired; or expanded varieties of items I will never need (do I really need my fourth favorite lipstick, when I don’t even wear lipstick?)

No argument for ‘what if I leave my make bag somewhere’ either. I can dip into my travel set, and the last (only) time that ever happened, I had to go to Walgreens quick because I wasn’t at home.

Seventeen cosmetic items out. A prettier drawer, and set of products that I use remain.


Day 17: The Pictures

Yesterday, was my Oma’s 86th birthday; also, it was the first birthday she wasn’t on earth to celebrate. I miss her.

Over the years, I watched and helped her downsize and move her life; until one day 86 years of collecting fit in a small, single room.

Perspective. We are not our stuff.

I visited my Oma about a year ago, in her single room. I told her stories of the past and talked about memorable events of a life well lived. Her memory was fading, but clearly, she was following everything I talked about with a smile…and then she said something I will never forget. “I’ve never had to worry about the pictures.” At first, I wasn’t sure what she meant. I clarified, “Oh! You can see what I’m talking about? The pictures are still there!” “Yes,” she said, “most of them.”

What a beautiful statement, most of her possessions gone; but the photo albums, home videos and frames in her memory remained.

When it comes to my photos, I will keep “most of them,” and I’ve actually got a pretty good plan for them. But these seventeen frames and photo albums are not being used. So off they go, in memory of my Oma and all the “pictures” she had a part in making.


Day 16: Ink

This might be my favorite post yet.

I previously mentioned that I am an underbuyer…that I buy what I need, and use what I buy. Thankfully, I also specified that this applies to most items.

Apparently, ink doesn’t fall under most items. Today, I get rid of sixteen ink cartridges that belong to a printer we haven’t even had in over a year. I am a closet ink hoarder. Absolutely ridiculous.

There is a backstory to these. We actually had two identical printers that took them. Brad used one for school, I had one for work. During that time when we both worked full time, and Brad was in school, we did ‘stock up’ on essentials (and ink was an essential) to avoid any delay or last minute trips in our then crazy life. The ink was purchased by both of us and stored/ found in two different places. I bought a set of ink, and my printer died before I could use it….so I gave it to Brad. His printer was soon to join mine in the dumpster.

And so they’ve sat. Today they go. Sixteen ink cartridges (that we will never, ever use) out the door.



Day 15: The Soundtrack of my Life

Another tough one. Cassette tapes. This time, I sort of know why…

A few years ago, I started going through my tapes, played listened to each one (both sides.) I found several SWEET Mix tapes, most of them taken directly from the radio. Before CD’s, before MP3’s and iPods; when we sat at our boom box waiting for the song we wanted and when it came on, pressed record.

If I knew all of my cassettes were just ‘SWEET Mix Tapes’ they would be gone in an instant. But it’s fear of the unknown that keeps holding on to the rest of them. I need to finish this project, before I discard the rest of them.

When I started going through my tapes, I found two of them that are priceless. One, my mom reading the Christmas story to my sister and I. Another, where I’m interviewing my Aunt about living in Berlin when the wall came down (seriously, how cool is that?) These voices of the past are now labeled, and worth hanging on to; I will get them moved to a more current form of media.

Fifteen cassettes leave, and a project moves up on my to do list.


Day 14: The Shirts Off My Back

As I get rid of more and more, I am starting to notice the dialog in my head telling me why I should keep, or have kept something. The internal dialog is around memories of the item, possible future uses for the item, possible alternate uses for the item.

T-shirts absolutely have the best internal excuses so far, especially since more than half of these were in a drawer I haven’t opened in months.

“I wore that when…”
“I could make a t-shirt quilt, headband, etc. with these!”
“I might need these (five?) shirts to paint in. Someday.”
“I’ve had this one since…”
“This one matches xyz pajama pants.”
“____gave this to me.”

T-shirts are like scrapbook pages. I recently saw a graduation party where all the graduates t-shirts hung on a line as decoration, a very neat idea to display her involvement and accomplishments. But kept in a drawer, most of them are just stuff, taking up space.

Fourteen t-shirts move out, and if wasn’t for the vacancy in my dresser drawer, I don’t even think I’d know they were gone.

Two weeks down; 105 items gone…391 more to go.