Friday, March 27, 2015

Light: Reading Retreat update

To review: We've gone from this...

March 1

...To this:

March 28

That clean floor is a miracle.

Well, that's better.

Something I've struggled with in the past is just getting stuff out of the house. My go-to is our church's annual rummage sale, which is a great cause that I'm happy to support, but it's in June each year, which means the bags really start to pile up after awhile. (Side note: Why do we still have so much crap? We don't bring much in anymore! It's astounding.)

Since my goal was to deal with everything in this space, I wanted to get it another home ASAP. I still ended up with a bag of clothing and random items for the rummage sale that is now residing with the others in our electrical room, but I tried very hard to think outside my box and donate as much as I could as soon as I decided to discard it. And I did! Observe:
  • A stack of three baby/toddler-sized blankets, given to us when Johanna was born, went to a local service and outreach program. Women in need of clothing for their children can pick out items for free. It's not a stretch to think they might need a lovely, gently-used blanket, too.
  • Two hardback books in excellent condition went to the library. The librarian was thrilled.
  • An oil pastel that Johanna made in the second grade went to the frame shop, like I've been planning for the past two years. Cost me double what I was expecting, but you know what? I love this thing. It's now hanging in the living room, which will be its permanent home... but not in its current wall location. I have plans for that, but not this month.
  • I took photos of a couple of items and posted them on Facebook. A backpack went quickly; the wire organizational rack didn't even get a like. Which is why it's in the aforementioned utility room.
  • And Ben in editorial got a couple of my REM cassettes. Yes, cassettes. He was surprised I'd part with them, but the songs I like I purchased from iTunes years ago. I do not need these, too.
Some of the mess just needed to be properly sorted and put away:
  • Awards I thought the girls might actually like to look at in the future went into their designated school container things.
  • Ditto for old school work/art projects. (Johanna especially has some cool stuff.) 
  • Unused envelopes went to Eric's office.
  • All gift bags and boxes and usable tissue paper were put together in one big bag extravaganza.
  • Random items I won during last year's Lioness raffle and other little things I've just been holding on to for some reason went into a "present" bag.
  • Those flour sack towels I purchased to make bread bags? Now in my kitchen towel drawer. Failure project acceptance isn't the worst that can happen.
  • My food drier went to its designated storage closet.
  • And items designated for the rummage sale were put into garbage bags and taken downstairs.

Gift bag sack above, random present sack below. Now what?

CDs, the Box of Awesome, two books I need to get back to
people, a letter from Marlene, and some jar labels.

A lot of stuff was recycled--I suppose we don't need Johanna's "Welcome to Kindergarten" letter anymore, now that she's a fourth grader--and, sadly, some was just tossed. It pained me to do that, but honestly, there weren't other options. It's this kind of thing that makes me really think about what I want to bring into our house... because it's all just future landfill fodder.

Wait, now I'm depressed. Let's take a break while I collect myself.


Is the room perfectly spotless now? Um, no. Well, it was an ambitious project. And frankly, some of the stuff I've unearthed, I'm just not sure what to do with, i.e. my new present and gift bag sacks. Also: Who takes used CDs? I'm honestly wanting to know, since we've got over 100 we haven't listened to since roughly 2009.

Still, I'm extremely proud of myself, if I may be so bold. I chipped away this project a couple of times a week. It was amazing what I could accomplish with 20 minutes here and an hour there.

And since I started with the easy stuff first--the papers and general mess--I saw results quickly, which gave me the will to keep at it. (I get easily overwhelmed by my possessions and that makes me want to quit.)

When the easy stuff was done, I started to tackle some of the harder stuff, like the photographs from my scrapbooking days, when double prints reigned. I expected to feel a little bummed about that particular loss, but instead I just felt relieved. I haven't dealt with those pictures in the 11 years we've lived in this house, and not having those photographs or the storage bin around anymore is extremely freeing.

So overall, I'd say this has been successful. I technically need a second month to deal with the rest of it... but that is another project for another time.

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