New Year’s Self-Inventory

by 2ndhandroses on 2015/01/04

 

Pop the bubbly! Pop the bubbly!

 

It’s the middle of our new decade. Time for a new (organized) home.

 

After the champagne has gone flat in our flutes, the noisemakers have silenced, and Ryan Seacrest has moved onto other TV venues, it’s time for the obligatory ritual carried out this time of year known collectively as…

…getting organized.

 

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re muttering under your breath (I hear you!) something about what does a junktiquing queen know about getting rid of stuff when most of my time is spent on acquiring things? And I agree…it seems a bit paradoxical, but even the most die-hard of us packrats can at least once a year see the benefit of shedding the old in an effort to make room for the new, be that new decor or a new attitude.

 

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? So with those positive-organizing thoughts in mind, let’s consider five simple ways to declutter our lives at the beginning of this new year.

 

Clothes basket ready for donation Clothes basket ready for donation

 

Look around your house, focusing on one area at a time. Perhaps spend one day going through your closet. Take out anything you’ve not worn in at least six months. Ignore that voice in your head that says, “but I am sure I’ll fit into it if I give up Rocky Road ice cream!” Instead, grab a large trashbag, toss those items in your wardrobe that have not seen the light of day since the last general election, and take the whole thing to a charity. You can carry on this purging all year; it does not have to be limited to the month of January. Resolve that for the next item of clothing you bring home, you’ll take out one item. That way, your look stays fresh and you don’t have to worry about reinforcing your closet hardware. Do the same thing for everyone else’s closet and I’ll bet you’ll be surprised how many items of clothing you’ll end up carting to Goodwill.

 

 

Lucky Star Lucky Star

 

Before you stuff all those holiday decorations in their appropriately (and well-marketed this time of year) plastic tubs, take a hard look at them and toss anything that’s chipped, has missing parts, may be duplicated, or is simply silly to keep…such as strings of lights that don’t light anymore (usually they die just before it’s time to put them on the tree and then the replacements die in the bin over the summer). Take your holiday cards and rather than toss them, send them to the St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Nevada. Do you really need 5000 strings of tinsel or will a mere thousand do? Holiday stuff tends to pile up and it’s always a garage-sale favorite, so if you end up tossing something you regret later, I’d be willing to bet that you’ll find an adequate stand-in sometime this summer.

 

 

 

Now where did I put that receipt? Now where did I put that receipt?

 

Purge your paperwork! Aren’t we supposed to be a paperless society? Why is it, then, that around this time of year we’re bombarded with cleverly positioned filing materials and office supplies in our local mass-merchandisers, all with the goal of managing MORE paperwork? Think twice before printing out something from the internet. Do you REALLY need two copies of an obscure chicken recipe or can you scribble down the ingredients on a 3×5 card and put it in a nice recipe container on top of your stove? If you’re worried about important papers such as tax files, bank statements, receipts, I’d suggest you look at http://publications.usa.gov. It’s a wonderful resource for such questions and should provide you with great guidelines.

 

Treasures Lie Within Treasures Lie Within

 

 

Since you’re not likely hanging out a whole lot outside (if you live in a Midwestern climate like me at least) and you’re even one-tenth the bookworm I am, now would be a good time to go through your personal library and purge volumes that have not seen the light of day since Ronald Reagan was in his second term. Check out http://paperbackswap.com. Therein you may find a long-lost tome of days gone by and in turn, you can divest yourself of your tattered copy of Carrie. While you’re at it, take a duster to those shelves, open the windows (for a moment!) and get the dust of ages out of your library.

 

 

Uncle Fred's (third) Wedding Tape Uncle Fred’s (third) Wedding Tape

 

Ditto for CDs, tapes (remember those?), VHS tapes, DVDs, and video games. Are you likely to watch another rerun of M*A*S*H? If not, take out a nice cardboard box, fill it up, and either put the whole kit-and-kaboodle on Freecycle or check out http://swaptree.com.

Now’s the time of year when we take inventory of ourselves and our surroundings; to purge ourselves of old habits and clear out the cobwebs of past years, to emerge anew and face this new year with a clean slate and an open mind, and maybe even a dust-free shelf or two.

Or we can look at cleaning in a totally new light….

The nice thing about being detained in Canada is it’s like being in a Days Inn; it’s very clean and very nice.

–Bill Ayers

 

Photos courtesy Jean Schijen, Andrea Katzenberg, Dora Pete, Marcelo Gerpe, and Craig Purdum of Freeimages.com

 

 

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Be Truly Thankful

by 2ndhandroses on 2014/11/27

Let's Talk Turkey Let’s Talk Turkey

 

Between the turkey, cranberry sauce, heaping mashed potatoes, libations, a half-time show, and overloaded dishwasher, it’s easy to lose the message of Thanksgiving.

How many of us actually stop to reflect on the lives we enjoy?  Do we sit down and truly consider how fortunate we all are as a Western society to have the opportunity to gather friends and family in our warm homes, place settings for all, with our very best china set out to receive a momentous bounty of succulent treats?

It’s a beautiful thing we have here and it behooves us to impart deeper meaning of the word “thanksgiving” to our children, in between bites of sautéed beans and pumpkin pie a la mode.

To some, Thanksgiving may simply mean a day on the calendar to take off from work, relax, watch a football game (or two) and stuff ourselves silly.

For others, it may mean the start of the holiday shopping season, with plans to turn in early to get enough sleep before the 2 a.m. rise time to prepare for Black Friday, sale flyer clutched in hand, credit card at the ready, and a determination to score the best deal on that super-cool Xbox One.

For kids, Thanksgiving may involve school lessons  about an autumn gathering in 1621 between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians, with books read and costumes prepared for a play, their hand-print construction paper turkey decorations stuffed in their backpacks for presentation to Mom or Dad. Of course the days off school are pretty nice as well!

Those preparing the meals may reflect on Thanksgiving as a bit of a mixed bag.  Their hours-long toils in the kitchen; peeling, mashing, sautéing, roasting, measuring, and baking may provide exhaustion in a physical sense but a deep satisfaction when they bask in their guests’ compliments.

Forks and Spoons

Forks and Spoons

Others less fortunate may, however, face this Thanksgiving with a far-less cheerful mindset.  From the homeless lining up at the soup kitchens, ragged mittens clutching paper plates of donated meals, to the family gathering at the table with one place setting unoccupied; a beloved member having recently passed, giving thanks sometimes takes effort.

On faraway cots in a distant, dusty land, many of our loved ones may, on this day of thanks, be simply gratified to emerge alive, their USO connections binding them home with care packages of special treats.

Chicago columnist Eric Zorn has reminded us in articles past about how “we live better than kings.”  It’s true.   Our Western culture’s relative wealth has afforded us a measure of existence only dreamed of around the world.  From our modern conveniences to the luxuries of running water and reliable electricity, to the seemingly endless supply of food, we truly enjoy a lifestyle that by its very nature lends itself to complacency.

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A Place to Call Home

October 11, 2014

one of the most noble, kindest things you can do with that phone is to recycle it in the form of donating it to someone who really needs all the help they can get right now. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, there are many charities operating that will be glad to take that now-uncool-to-you phone and provide a woman literally with a lifeline.

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Non-Retail (back to) School Therapy

August 20, 2014

now I’m in the dubious position of being a prematurely graying (yikes!) mom to a 16-year-old style expert who somehow replaced my will-wear-anything toddler seemingly in the blink of an eye. Now I find myself in the bittersweet position of rejoicing in his burgeoning adulthood while feeling the sting as his fashion choices make larger and larger dents in the family budget. Gone are the days, unfortunately, of buckling him up in generic overalls and T-shirts. Nowadays, it’s all about the labels.

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Giving Instant Ancestors New Life

March 12, 2014

And so we come to the subject of showing these precious photographs off. Now I am a wee bit crafty, but having been trolling Pinterest for the past year or so, I realize now that I am woefully lacking in the creative department when it comes to really shining new light on these old lives.

I’ve found some cool ideas I wanted to share with you, in case you wanted to show off your newest photograph of dear old great great great uncle Melvin.

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