Monday, September 20, 2010

Organizing clutter

Well, I'm here to tell you that you can't organize clutter; you have to get rid of it. But what to do with it?!? I'm sure that you've heard that when you go through your clutter that you should label boxes "keep", "trash" and "donate". I have a Good Will donation center right near my house which is brilliantly convenient. Tonight my family and I helped sort donated items for a garage sale that my community is having this weekend, to raise $ for the new hall. So I took some of my clutter there: an IKEA bird house that I never got around to painting, a fancy restaurant-like cheese grater that I won at a Christmas party, some picture frames that I haven't used in years.

[Mmmmmm! Have you ever added cinnamon hearts to your hot chocolate? You should cuz it's delish.]

Anyway, while helping prepare for the garage sale I met a lovely young family who was dropping off some quality vertical blinds that Good Will had turned down. Good Will had told them "to throw them in the landfill". They really thought that was a waste, so they brought them to donate to our sale. But I had to tell them about Freecycle. I joined one called Earthcycle, but the idea is the same: to keep stuff out of the landfills by offering it to people who could use it. It's free to use. All offers list the item and the area of the city that you live in and people respond via e-mail and you pick someone and set up for them to come get the item. The items run from a package of coffee filters that are the wrong size to bunk beds, an apple tree for the picking to an ipod. I seriously saw an ipod one time; doesn't that guy have a friend who doesn't have an ipod? You can also post "Wanted" pleas. But if you're in Edmonton, I want you to click on this link for Earthcycle and sign up (don't get the e-mails sent to you; just visit the postings online) and try it. If you aren't in Edmonton, try clicking Freecycle and see if your area has one. The Edmonton Earthcycle site is dying but after looking into the link right now, I see that there is also an Edmonton Freecycle and it is getting more traffic (600 postings int he last week v.s. 200 for Earthcycle) . In the past I've posted an old ironing board that had a new cover, an art easel, a small fish tank, and an indoor tree. People responded, I picked one to come get it and told them I'd leave the item on my step on the evening that they said they'd come by and BOOM! Clutter gone and conscience calm. Because I don't like the idea of perfectly usable stuff in the landfill, either.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Professional Carpe Diem-er

In June I did not hike, but our family went for a couple of short hikes in the mountains in Jasper in July. In July I didn't do much that would be classified as art but I did organize a craft for the cousins at our family reunion and do portraits. In August I did not bike but my DH took 5 minutes to teach our 5 year-old to ride her two-wheeler, and he organized a 'bike rodeo' for 22 children in the neighbourhood - it was fantastic, complete with a jello mould of a pinky-grey brain and safety vests. So that's my retro-active list of accomplishments in my unobserved areas of focus. Butt what I DID do was carpe diem. I was able to really value life and embrace what it had to offer. I looked around and recognized activities that I wanted to do, and I did them. I booked a 1-hour rafting trip in Jasper. 

I bought a family membership to the art gallery. I took a bike ride in the river valley with my DH. I took my 4 children to WEM... by myself - that's pretty adventurous for me. I basked in the delight that my DD radiated when she got her ears pierced. Funny story: the second night that she had real earrings in, having done her time with the original studs, my DH and I were out on a date. Just as dessert arrived, my cel. phone rang. My DD wailed into my ear, "but my bwaddohs don't know how to get my eawings out!" After instructing and encouraging said "bwaddohs" we returned home at the end of our date to find her sound asleep, on her back, in her "sweddoh" AND her jeans AND her socks since she couldn't get her tight-necked sweater over her head with her earrings still in... I don't know how that affected her inability to get out of her jeans. Age 5 and she's already been introduced to the price of vanity. Tee hee.

AND I finally got around to the job of re-painting the trim and doors upstairs - that professional painter/handy woman goal that I skipped so many times. I don't have a large house, but what I recognized is that I can have a well cared for house. A house that shows pride of ownership. A tidy, clean, uncluttered, creatively decorated house. Now that my youngest has begun kindergarten (sigh) I'm going to work this month (professional home organizer!) to streamline this house. I now have a label maker, so I'm ready! And our community is having a garage sale to raise money for the new community hall, so perhaps I can declutter my  house AND help them out.

How did you carpe diem this summer?