Saturday, April 24, 2010

Garage Decluttering Weekend

This weekend I'm tackling my overstuffed garage. It's full, so I can't park my car inside it, and that will probably never change due to my home business. Half of my garage is full of merchandise for my business. Mostly, that stuff is kept neatly stacked and organized already. Mostly..

The other half of the garage, however, is a nightmare. There are dozens and dozens of boxes of keepsakes, books, dolls my mom and I used to collect, Christmas ornaments, Halloween decorations, extra dishes, and photograph albums. There is even some canned food I'm storing since my pantry is so pathetically small.

If I'd kept up with my "A Box a Day" sorting project a couple years ago, this would have been all taken care of by now. (However, there are some things I just won't be able to get rid of, like keepsakes and letters, photo albums, and my Christmas decorations, of course).

And of course, if I might have stopped shopping and accumulating, the garage wouldn't have gotten so bad to begin with. (I'm relieved to say that while driving through my neighborhood on this sunny weekend, I've observed that all my neighbors have garages much fuller than mine. None of us seem to park our cars inside!)


- Linger over your breakfast, tea and coffee this morning. Enjoy a magazine. Don't rush yourself.

- Have you taken vitamins recently?

- Go for a long walk if the weather is nice enough.

- Eat meals outside today if it's warm enough.

- Eat as many "whole foods" as you can. A handful of almonds? Slices of avocado? An apple? an orange? An artichoke? Asparagus?


If it's warm enough weather where you live, open up your garage, air it out, and start sorting out clutter. Throw or give away as much as you can. I'm amazed when I drive through my neighborhood on warm days, seeing everyone's garage open, all full of junk. I can only theorize this is due to the rarity of basements and attics nowadays and in Seattle.

Where else am I supposed to put my mother's four boxes of wedding china - too sentimental to sell or throw away, too 1960's ugly to actually serve dinner on, too chipped to sell or donate?

Today I'm sweeping, restacking boxes, and seeing if I can consolidate anything. I already found two half-full boxes of letters that I can merge into one box. Now I have an empty plastic box. One of my missions today is to get rid of as many cardboard boxes as possible. I've been working on this for months, after rats moved into my garage last summer, chewing up and pooping in the cardboard boxes. I really prefer plastic for long term storage.

I'll try to move my canned food back into the house, but I'm afraid my deep fryer and KitchenAid artisan stand mixer will have to live in the garage still. Otherwise they'll take up counter space and make my kitchen look cluttered.

I'm forcing myself to reevaluate all of my Madame Alexander dolls to sell at a loss on eBay. Which dolls are the cleanest, nicest, that someone might want at a bargain price? I have way too many dolls. I don't need to keep all of them to remember the fun my mom and I had collecting them.

Serious about decluttering? Plan to have a garage or yard sale in a couple weeks. I'm not allowed to in my evil fascist covenanted neighborhood, so I haul boxes of stuff to a nearby cousin's house. I promise my cousin that I will remove whatever of my junk that doesn't sell, and we then put up a Craigslist ad. We barbecue, eat picnic foods, and make a fun family event of it. I might only make a few dollars here and there, but more importantly, I'm sending off my junk to someone else's house to be their junk problem now. Muwahaha!

LOVELY BLOGS: Notes on a Party

This blog is by an events planning company. They find interesting things to blog about, such as bamboo grow pots, the Treetini cocktail, and Zoku Quick Pops.

LOVELY FOODS: Les Fleurs de Chocolat

Perfect for a Mother's Day gift, here's Les Fleurs du Chocolat from Vosges. Fruits, flowers, chocolate and cream are combined into these beautiful truffles, which are then topped with edible, organic flowers.

LOVELY TRAVEL: Vacationing at Home/Staycation

I love this idea that Cooking Light had a couple years ago. If you can't afford to travel, take a vacation at home instead. Their idea was: for a weekend, serve ethnic foods from the country you wish you could visit, watch travel shows as well as movies set in that country, and read travel magazines and websites about that country.

I think I'll modify that idea next time I get the travel bug. I'll just go on vacation at home. I'll wash my bedding and clean the bathroom the night before (since you always have fresh clean sheets and towels in a hotel). Turning off all my phones and avoiding email is paramount to making one's home vacation authentic. Maybe I can talk my teenager into bringing breakfast in bed to simulate "room service." (I'll tell her I'm staying in a five star hotel so the eggs had better arrive hot and plated attractively!)

We'll pretend we're tourists and explore Seattle, going to see the sights that natives normally avoid: the Space Needle, Pike Street Market, the Aquarium. If I can't afford to "really travel", I probably can't afford to have a spa treatment. So maybe I'd do my own nails and pedicure. Then at night, I'll stop in at my "hotel bar" (My living room) for a nightcap, then laze around in bed doing exactly what I do in hotels at night - stay up super late watching movies. What do you think - sound fun?


Conserving Water With a Rain Barrel (Old Fashioned Living)

Famous Movie Scenes of Women Giving Birth (Slate)

Italian Escarole Soup: A Reason to be Bitter in Spring (NY Times)

Most Vegetables are Suitable for Container Gardening (Pittsburgh Live)

Nostalgic Desserts for a Modern Age (Star Chefs)

The Secrets to Perfect Pasta (Dallas Morning News)

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