April 23, 2015

Yogis: April 23rd, 2015

Most of the time, I talk about getting rid of physical things, and we certainly did that today like every day. Today, however, Mike also “got rid” of one of his psychological hang-ups.  He actually agreed to join me (and my running bud) for a yoga class!

It was great and fun to have him with us.  And much to his delight, there was another dude in the class.

Day 174 scorecard: 870 down, 955 to go…looking forward to “even steven” day.

April 22, 2015

Consumption Rules Refresher for Earth Day: April 22nd, 2015

Today I celebrated Earth Day by…generating one heck of a lot of paperwork.  My job is not the most earth-friendly in the entire world.

We did enjoy ice-creams tonight in cones (except for one of us who shall remain nameless who needed a plastic cup).  Cone are, after all, the most environmentally friendly way to eat ice-cream (no dishes to wash and use up energy, no plastic dishes to recycle).  I wish more treats came in edible packages! Incidentally, Max suggested a new flavour of ice-cream: ice-cream cone flavour…

Shifting focus, however, I’ve been thinking about Spring cleaning, which many people are doing right about now.  It comes with its challenges, earth-friendly-wise. Thus, it seemed like a good time for a little reminder (to myself and whomever is reading this) on the “stuff” rules:

Before acquiring:

1. Do I really need to buy this?  If no, then don’t!  Problem solved.

Once you want to rid yourself of said object:

2. Can I use this object in some other fashion?  Then do so!

3. Could someone else use this object?  Great, give or sell it to that person.

4. Can this item be recycled?  Make sure you do so correctly.

5. Can I learn from my mistake?  This is if 1-4 do not work and you need to put the item into the landfill. Of course, there will always be things that will fall, unavoidably, into this category. Sadly, this will be the case with my leaky boots.  I’d love a better solution to worn-out/broken footwear.  Alas.

Happy Earth Day and keep the earth in mind when you’re consuming!

Day 173 scorecard: 865 down, 960 to go.

Illustrated below (to assure Grandparents and for posterity’s sake) photos of Clara’s eggs and in situ in combination with Solomon’s eggs.  Also, I apologize for the quality.  It’s already past electronics-off time…I had to rush!

Totally adorable...but they would be deadly stink bombs if they fell.

Totally adorable…but they would be deadly stink bombs if they fell.

South African bird, Ukrainian Eggs, locally sourced pre-fallen chickadee nests, and the eggs made by Clara.

South African bird, Ukrainian Eggs, locally sourced pre-fallen chickadee nests, and the eggs made by Clara.


April 21 2015

De-booking: April 21st, 2015

There seems to be some sort of spring in the basement.  A spring of children’s books.  It just keeps bubbling up with more and more books with less and less appeal.

Last night my friends and I (two of them, that is) were discussing babies.  One has not had any children yet and she was positing that she might want to insist on gender-neutral toys.

No, this is not going to be one of those “you don’t know because you don’t have kids” posts.

It just got me thinking about how I’m paring down the kids’ book collection.  Clara is just not as interested in the “boy” books that her brothers have outgrown (once Solomon was enjoying things like reading about pandemics, he abandoned tiny tomes about Lego guys).

Some of this is definitely marketing, but some I wonder about…she watches the same movies (often) as her brothers and they just don’t seem to resonate the same way.  It’s so tempting to blame everything on influence…but it just doesn’t entirely work for me for some reason.

I have no ready explanation, but I can tell you I’m really not as concerned with why she’s not going to read those particular books as THAT she’s not going to read those particular books and that therefore they need to take a hike.

Day 172 scorecard: 860 down, 965 to go

April 20, 2015
April 19th, 2015

Packing Party? April 19th, 2015

…and just when I start to fool myself into thinking my kids are into the 5Down thing, I venture into Clara’s room, thinking I’ll pick up a few of the 10,000,000 things strewn about her room, when I bend over to pick something up out of a toy basket only to find that it is a pair of underwear. A pair of underwear.  In a toy box. I can’t decide whether this means she removed and flung them or that she “cleaned up” her room by simply shoveling whatever was on the floor into the closest receptacle. I could go on about her hoarding, I could rant and rave about the quilt bunched up in the corner opposite her bed, the actual garbage stuffed into her nightstand drawer, the socks on her desk…but it almost makes me break out in hives.

I honestly don’t get it.  I think it is something unhinged in her (and mine and Solomon’s and Mike’s and Max’s) brain that causes us to look at a single object and instead of enjoying that object we inevitably have the same thought:

“I need to start a collection.”


My mother is of the opinion that Clara needs to learn to organize better.  I’m of the opinion that she needs to stop simply letting things fall out of her hands onto the floor, or into a nearby basket.

I’m also thinking it might be time for a “Packing Party.”

This is an idea that I think* generated with The Minimalists.  You can read their super-long post about it, or I can give you the gist of it with this excerpt:

We decided to pack all my belongings as if I were moving. And then I would unpack only the items I needed over the next three weeks.“**

Yep, that’s it.  It’s a clever way to figure out what you really need.  Now, granted, Clara doesn’t really need much of anything, and I’m not convinced that packing up the kids’ clothing would result in anything other than them being incredibly late getting dressed every day.  But all the other stuff in their rooms?  It’s worth a shot.  For example: I picked up a doll that was hidden under a pile of assorted toys, garbage, books, packaging (you name it) and said to Clara “I’m getting rid of this doll” to which she responded with a wail “NO! It’s my favourite.”  I spared her the agony of attempting to come up with a name for the doll…and chose another one to turf.

I seriously don’t think she cares about the vast majority of her belongings.  None of the kids really do.  But do I dare go to such an extreme?  What would you do?

Day 170 scorecard: 850 down, 975 to go.

* I attempted some desultory research and abandoned it because it started to feel too much like work.  If someone else came up with this idea first, let me know, and I promise I’m terribly sorry.

** and, so the theory goes, get rid of anything you’ve not unpacked in the 3 coming weeks.

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Junk Drawer: April 18th, 2015

Sometimes the biggest accomplishments sneak up on you.  I’ve been so delighted with my kids, lately (well, always, but in specific to this blog) with their enthusiasm for purging and organizing.

Today, Mike took it upon himself to do this:

No judging - unless you are willing to take a photo of YOUR junk drawer.

No judging – unless you are willing to take a photo of YOUR junk drawer.

I mean, yes, it really still is a junk drawer…but you can find stuff in there.  Stuff like an over-abundance of batteries and the handy-dandy battery tester (if you don’t own one of these babies, you should fix that oversight right. now.).  Also that yellow thing that helps me open jars when Mike’s not around.*

So what is the great accomplishment for ME?  Other than the obvious, that is?

Buy in.

Buy in is completely crucial for success in any family/couple project.  Sometimes Mike has waffled and wavered, but today he was entirely on board and I could not be happier.

Also I’m happy we can shut this drawer and locate “junk.”

Day 169 scorecard: 845 down, 980 to go…I love how these numbers are starting to converge…

* Yeah, yeah, I know how that sounds, but I did get my arm trapped between metal rollers about 20 years ago so my left hand has a weak grip…so do I hold the jar in my weak hand and have it slide, or hold it in my right hand and be unable to loosen the lid.  Hence: opener helper thingamabob.

April 17, 2015

Shiny Enthusiasm: April 17th, 2015

Maybe it’s the fact that spring is, so far, mostly snow covered.  Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight and the squishy ground.  Maybe it’s the forecast for flurries.

The usual upswing seems as heavy and sluggish as the poor crocuses still trapped under two feet of snow.

The ridiculous red cardinal in my yard this evening did not share my opinion.  I had no idea they had such a varied…and loud…repertoire.  I’m calling him ridiculous because he was so adamant in his singing that a nearby crow looked irritated enough that he finally flew off.  And the neighbourhood kid on her bicycle was nearly drowned out, telling me about a nest in a tree in her yard by her house that has eggs and one hatched…and I missed the rest when I shut the door and drove off.

This year I kind of wish spring cleaning came with a little hosing off of shiny enthusiasm as well.

Mike is in charge of the purge tonight.

Day 168 scorecard: 840 down, 985 to go