tag team.

My resolution this year was to declutter the apartment. Ever since we have unpacked the boxes, the apartment has been side cluttered and counter cluttered with a bunch of junk! Since I last seriously posted about my resolution, here’s what I had left to accomplish:

To-Do List:

  1. Finish hanging pictures. (Two left in apartment, one we have to get from Husband’s grandma’s.)
  2. Sell desk/chair on Craigslist and organize Husband’s side of back room.
  3. Put away both air conditioners!
  4. Tackle stairway closet: clean out the unnecessary and organize what’s left.
  5. Put together box of wedding memorabilia (from a year and a half ago … sigh)
  6. Stow away Husband’s marketing books/paperwork
  7. Donate two bags of clothes in living room
  8. Find better way to store photo albums … and unused picture frames
  9. Reorganize Stepson’s side of back room
  10. CLEAR OUT THE PANTRY!!

Last night I was feeling particularly ambitious. We had had someone unexpectedly over a couple weekends ago, and the apartment was in really shabby shape. Needless to say Husband and I were both embarrassed. I decided it was time to stop procrastinating and finish up what needed to get done — 2013 was just a couple weeks away!!

Before we went to bed I explained my dilemma to Husband. There were a couple things (numbers 1 and 7) that I had done on the list, but that still left 8 unresolved items! We had Stepson this weekend, and he had hockey practice Sunday morning. Husband and I agreed that he would take Stepson to practice alone, and I could get a head start on the projects. Then when Husband returned, he could help me in one way or another.

Oh, and we also had four bags of laundry to tackle.

My morning started at nine. I made myself coffee and started easing myself into cleaning while Husband and Stepson ate breakfast and got ready for hockey. I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher and folded up the pull out bed and folded the blankets. While they were at hockey, I organized the laundry into baskets, cleaned the bathroom (toilet, shower/shower cubby, sink), and cleaned off the dining room table for good. The dining table has been a dumping ground for some time now, and for whatever reason every time I ‘clean’ it, I really just organize the piles of dumped junk. So today I completely cleaned off the entire table, scrubbed it, and then only put back on the runner and a centerpiece. Everything else found a new home (and in some cases, the trash can.).

When Husband and Stepson got back, we agreed that I would continue doing what I needed while Husband took care of the laundry and kept Stepson occupied.

I kept it up in the “dining room”. Our dining room is the biggest area in our apartment and used to be our living room … long story short the room we used to have the table in doesn’t have light and gets dark too soon to eat in. Anyway, all that belongs in the dining room is the bookcase and the dining table/chairs. Of course there was actually a bunch more crap in there. So I first accomplished numbers 5 and 6. Then I put away all the books I just bought at the Goodwill, cleaned up a pile of old papers I had on the floor, and then did number 8. I took an old vintage suitcase Husband got from my aunt and filled it with the unused frames and albums. Everything fit nicely, and I stowed the suitcase next to our couch with our Scrabble board and a multi-game board. Fancy! I was really excited and I thought this was a great solution that also gives the suitcase purpose.

Next, I did number 10. I had already done this before, but like with the dining table I was very pack ratish and kept a lot of things that were now expired and that we would never use. So I purged the pantry and straightened up. Hooray! Next, the actual kitchen. I like our kitchen, but our counter space is minimal and I felt like our counters were filled with, yes again, junk. We don’t have any counter appliances (just a coffee maker), so for me that made it even worse that there was so much junk! So I took everything off the counters and scrubbed them. Then I decided what we really needed on the counters. It was this: cookie cutter jar, decorative storage jars, coffee maker, and Husband’s grottos (grotto = decorative, special beer holder).  We decided to put the cereal boxes on the fridge and get rid of our bread box, since we don’t use it. So much more room!! Loved it. Then I did with the fridge what I did with the counters — purged, cleaned, reorganized. Then I cleaned the microwave and the stove top. CONFESSION: We have not cleaned our microwave since we moved in. A year and a half ago. Because we are filthy people, idk, I can’t believe we’ve ever had people over. Anyway.

[[ Took a break to help fold laundry and give Stepson a bath. Ha. No I have not actually eaten anything at this point. ]]

After my “break”, I went to handle the living room. Since the living room is now the ‘dark’ room of the apartment, we’re rarely in there and there wasn’t much for me to do, just declutter our nesting table from forgotten papers and magazines I piled there.

FINALLY, it was time for the grand finale: the stairway closet (numbers 3 and 4!). The closet is in the wall of our stairwell and is actually a jump up into it — the door is basically in the middle of the wall. It’s a great storage space, but it’s also a pain to get anything in or out of there because of this leap from stair to door. Husband was really reluctant to get in there, because we have not touched it since we moved in (yes, we are the laziest people alive). But I convinced him that once we organized it, it wouldn’t be such a hassle to go in, so he agreed.

First we pulled everything out. This included a giant stroller from when Stepson was a baby, an air mattress, a bedding set, a (huge) cooler, a Sox duffle bag, my 5 piece luggage set, ornament box, back heating pad, our router box, a couple decorative boxes, and a box of things Husband wanted but doesn’t use. So we had all this in there, and we wanted to put in two air conditioners, a box fan, the wedding box, and a rolled up rug. Yet we wanted it to be efficiently put in there so we could pull things out as needed without having to take EVERYTHING out. Literally taking things out was Husband balancing at the edge of the closet with me on a step, him handing me things while I struggled to go four steps up to the landing without buckling under the weight (especially when it came to the stroller/cooler) and pitching down the flight of stairs. Yikes.

So we looked at everything, and decided that the stroller and duffle bag would be donated. The cooler was going to our basement storage area. Then we Tetrised the rest, making sure that we put things like the wedding box and Husband’s box in the back corner. There’s actually room now to step in it and stand and move around a little. Seriously, the stroller and cooler were taking up the entire closet. Why do we still have a stroller when Stepson hasn’t used it in oh, three years? Best question ever, and I think you can tell by now that L-A-Z-Y is the answer.

WE DID IT!!!! 🙂   and then you say,

BUT WAIT! THAT’S ONLY 8 OF TEN ITEMS ON YOUR LIST!!

TRUE. But 2 and 9 are measly, mostly because 2 is really more up to Husband than me and 9 was just a redo since it still gets messy from time to time. For me, the apartment is decluttered. It’s spacious and minimalist, which is just how we love it, and all the boxes, bags, leftover frames and new art are hung/stored/trashed. HOORAY!!

Looking back, I didn’t think when I first talked about doing this at the beginning of 2012 that I would actually accomplish my goal. There’s a lot of tasks that I started out excited about, but I abandon or overwhelm myself with them. This project certainly was overwhelming at times — steps seemed too momentous to tackle, or required prerequisites that I didn’t have time for or wasn’t sure how to handle. I definitely have to say that making a list of what I really wanted to accomplish turned a vague task (decluttering the apartment) into a manageable list of activities. I’m more than happy with the result, and I feel like our apartment has now become a home! Yay!

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to advent.

Last year around this time, I was stressing myself out because of a laughable situation: TOO MUCH FAMILY.

This year, things are at peace and plans have been settled long ago. This year, I feel an apathy in my heart as we are a mere fourteen days away from Christmas. My heart tugs for more.

So even though I was nine days into the season, Sunday I figured out two ways that I can bring Advent back into centering around Jesus’ birth, instead of all the secular trappings I find clogging my blog feed, Facebook, and Instagram. Let me be clear that I love Christmas and all that comes with it — it’s just that I myself need more daily reminders during this season to keep myself focused on what’s important to my faith.

SheReads Truth – Advent

This is a Bible study that I found on the interwebs. You can join via their website (shereadstruth.com) or search them on the YouVersion app (available on iPhone or Android) under Plans. I love this because it’s only a few verses each day, and once Advent is over they do a regular Bible study as well. The only drawback for me was that some days focus on the coming of Jesus, and others seem to be just randomly chosen verses. I’m hoping that this is just a lack of Scripture study on my part, because I really like it.

Amy Grant (Holiday) station on Pandora

It is 80% religious holiday music featuring Josh Groban, other Christian singers, and 20% secular holiday music with Michael Buble and crooners like Nat King Cole. Win Win. I love me some Amy Grant Christmas music.