The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2010-03-21

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Put the fear in organizing!

Things have progressed since I posted this picture and all others like it the other day.  And also I worked like a dog (Well, not my dog - She doesn't work but picture some other dog that would work)  swabbing the decks, battening down the hatches and shivering me timbers because I couldn't live like see picture below for all that much longer without developing a tic.


And my fear of tic development isn't so much because of the mess; I assure you I'm not especially neat.  It was more the feeling of undone everywhere I looked.  There was simply no place to rest my eyes.  Not a room, not a space, even my laundry nook-speck-room was  jam packed and filled with OMG and what exactly am I supposed to do with all this mess and why did I buy it in the first place

So I had to finish a room.  Any room. I picked the one that was under that  mess in the above picture.


It's much neater in the dining-breakfast room/nook.  Overall I am very happy with it. All except that rug.  That thing has to go and soon.  I used to like it and it went with the room but we now call it, the doody rug.

Everybody in the world guess why it's called the doody rug...

peeking ginger
 Except Ginger can't guess cause she knows...

So. Yeah.  But before you think the house looks better let me turn the camera to the right so you can see my kitchen...


And left so you can see more of my kitchen.


Things are going much better in the dining-breakfast
room/nook however the kitchen's a might problematic. Still.

I did the one room but the house itself remains in flux.  Everything is still pretty much everywhere and I'm trying to deal with it all the best I can.  My son's friend came over today and I quickly said, We're cleaning around here and he said, That's what it looks like.  And you know...

I can't decide if that means it really does look like spring cleaning is going on here or it looks SO bad that he felt sorry for me and that he was so utterly dumbstruck he could only agree with me because he just couldn't think of anything else to say without offending his friend's mom...  Either way I'm grateful and we are taking him out to dinner.

I went to the library this morning and took out a few books hoping for some insights and ideas.  Perhaps getting everything out at once wasn't so bad although granted, it's overwhelming.

Maybe there is something to be said for hauling everything out and having to look at it.  Having to say to yourself, Good gracious and for the love of snollywaddle, what the heck was I thinking when I brought this stuff home?


This one because I'm hoping for some ideas that will work
in a small house... Even one loaded and craptastic.




This one because all that space is very appealing at the moment...
Honestly, space is the only things that's very appealing at the moment.


This one because I might be getting tired of the color in my kitchen...


And this one because they scare me and maybe that's what I need...

And maybe that is what you need every once in a while.  Someone or something to scare the perspective back into you and the crap out of you. Or out of your house as it were..

A bit of fear might be just what's called for in organizing...

I'll tell ya... to see all you have all over.  Not in bins or stuffed away.  Not neatly put away but on the table and the floor...  Maybe that's the way you have to see you're stuff to really know how much you have...

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes ever -  Spilling your guts is about as attractive as it sounds.
Fran Lebowitz.

Maybe we all need to spill our closets and our bins from time to time...

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Today's the day for the 'It's up to you and worth $75' Giveaway

For about a week now I've been posting little 'do you want to win this...Or maybe not' pictures in my sidebar and not saying much else about it.   So (and imagine Paul Harvey saying this) "Here's the rest of the story..."

Jason from CSN stores asked if I wanted to do a review (or giveaway) on my blog about a month ago.  He gave me some really good store suggestions  (kids furniturecookware, toys and games) and than let me have at this like a crow with a laptop on a website full of shiny, shiny things.

And that's when the problems started. First, I couldn't decide. There's  200 stores  involved here, it's like a mallapalooza. Or something.

And two.

There's the putting on my big girl organizing panties thing.  And the giving stuff away all weekend thing.  And the cleaning out my attic thing.  And how selfish am I to tell everyone about giving things away only to keep this for myself?

And I really wanted to do something to say, THANKS! for reading  the hooey I jabber daily ... For like a year now guys.

I wrote Jason back and said, Can I run a giveaway and let the winner do the picking?

Jason tapped his chin thoughtfully (Okay, I made that part up.  I just imagined that's what he did.) and said, yes.  

And that's where we are now.

The giveaway is for $75 (U.S) credit at CSN

I'd love it if you'd tell me how you would use the money.  I've thrown out a ton of ideas already and am still finding new ones.  Even Tazzy's cage is available at a CSN store.  I didn't know that till yesterday. Like I said, Mallapalooza.

So one comment per person please and if you want to tell me what you would pick, I'd be all over reading them. I can totally get into shopping vicariously through you. Please leave me your email address in the comment - I'd hate to not be able to find you and have to pick someone else.  I will pick another winner if I can't contact the first person.

All comments must be by Saturday March 31th 11:59 pm Eastern. I'll announce the winner on April Fool's Day - Just a coincidence.  Swear.  I will not be emailing the winner and than emailing them back like two seconds later and say, April Fool's.  Hardy Har Har and better luck next year. After which we will both have mutual knee slap and iChuckle together.

Nope, not gonna happen.  The April Fool's thing is a total coincidence.

Contest is open to U.S. and Canada residents.

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And in case you're wondering  I don't have a relationship with CSN stores unless you count the ulcer I most likely gave Jason over my inability to decide what to do, a relationship. I just thought you guys would like a giveaway where you could pick what you wanted for your own personal selves. 

I'm not getting paid or getting an item after the giveaway is over and I bought Tazzy's cage years ago.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

The decluttering version of nothing tastes as good as thin feels

I thought a lot today about posting.  Or not.

I had a lot of conversations with myself regarding the pros and cons.  I made a mental list and I decided to post even though it's embarrassing.   Really embarrassing.  It feels like the stuff that used to be hidden in a drawer, or behind a door is now on my coffee table.  If I had a coffee table.  I actually don't.

It started this morning when I went into the attic to see what I really had up there and needed to get rid of and the next thing I knew I was throwing stuff out the hole in the ceiling.  Or the floor.  Depending on where you were standing in relation to the attic.  No pictures of that but I have the wake.

It deteriorated from there because I didn't do the one thing every organizing specialist recommends - Do one thing at a time so you don't get overwhelmed, they say -  Nope didn't do that.   Now every flat surface around here looks like this...


That's my kitchen table.

Once I got going I was emptying drawers, cabinets, closets, those evil bins in a kind of free for all...


Because I don't know why. 


That was just how I was rolling today I guess.


I had people coming all day from Freecycle.


And  this stuff should have left years ago. That is an
excessive amount of Halloween decorations, I mean...
Three bins.  Well, two and a cauldron.


Ginger tried to hide the entire day.  This is the remains of my craft supplies.  The suitcases used to be stuffed to busting with craft supplies.  Now only the little one is full. I gave about a third, maybe a half of my crafting stuff away today. It stung. I'm thinking of listing the two large suitcases on etsy.  That might hurt a lot.

It's still looks like "explosion at the flea market" around here.  It gave Ginger a stomach ache; she gets them when she's upset and she gurgles.  She's been gurgling all day.


 I will never buy all this stuff again.  I spent so much money for nothing.  I enjoyed it at the time but in the end I ended up storing it in a box someplace and it added nothing to my life.

Some of this stuff was hard to give up.  Some of it cost me a lot, some of it I was emotionally attached to... 

Some of it I liked when I got it, liked all the time I had it and still like it to this day but when I hold it in my hand and think of it - Really think about it - it adds nothing to my life.  And it's taking up space which in the end is sapping me.


I can't look at pictures like this and not feel sapped, stunned and exhausted.    That's where I am now and I know I'm usually a bit more effervescent ... but man, I'm drained.  And my fibromyalgia is just banging.  And yeah,  I know I don't usually talk about that kind of stuff either but shoot, you guys just saw my house worse than anyone's ever seen my house in the history of my house which is like, worse than seeing me naked. Almost. So I guess talking about my banging fibro's not even that personal if you put it in perspective of nakedness and slobbidity.

I hope.

If rule number one was Bins bad, shelving good.

And two was with decluttering there is a darkest before the dawn stage.

Than three must be something akin to the diet quote- Nothing tastes as good as thin feels. I'm sure I can come up with what that would be in relation to clutter vs. the space the thing took up but maybe tomorrow when Ginger and I aren't so fried.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You can't organize clutter and you can't stuff it back in Pandora's box either...

I fell asleep last night but my son woke me around one with things on his mind.  So we talked and laughed and watched a rerun of Shear Genius.  Well, I did.  He doesn't share my fascination with the show (It's just hair, Ma. Hair.)  I think he found my running commentary about every moment of the episode - Which ran along the lines of, Okay now Kim Vo - He's the really blond guy and watch, he's gonna say, Blonderexia!...Wait for it...Heeere it comes! Ha! See. Told ya! -  excruciating and it lulled him over the nighty-night edge.  Or he just pretended so I would leave.

The plan was to go to back to bed but I tripped over some of the raging disorganalia in the hall and the effort it took not to scream and punch a hole through the wall sucked the tired right outta me.  And got me thinking.

And so.  Here I am.  Thinking.  Writing.  Drinking coffee.  Icing the ankle. And what does it matter if my ankle looks like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man's neck from Ghostbusters, no one in this hemisphere's awake.

But onto the post...

After I wrote my bin rant the other day I thought a lot about it because this process isn't just an intellectual exercise you can escape from.  This is real.  This is like a 3-D movie that gives you a gigantic headache but is still there when you take the glasses off.

Once you empty those bins, all the things that you used to have hidden are just...



And I was thinking about something else.  That Pandora's box Greek myth.  I know it's supposed to be about the Greek Gods and gifts and something something... else, opening the box, all the world's ills come out.  The end.

But don't hold me to that, high school was a long time ago.  So listen,  I'm rethinking the whole myth. 

I think Pandora was a Greek hoarder, you know?  And she lived, oh I don't know... a mile from Mount Olympus or something but the Greek Gods had to pass her house on the way to the Oedipus Diner and Cyber Cafe and they couldn't stand the pink flamingos and brightly colored gazing balls on Pandora's Lawn so they stopped by one day to give her a copy of the Official Greek God Housing Association Rules regarding pink flamingo lawn ornaments and when she opened the door and they saw the inside, they were all, Dude you're a slob.  Get this junk out of here.  

And somehow in the retelling, cause you know how that goes - we have what we have regarding all the world's ills instead of clutter.  Which at the moment, looking at my hallway.. and my ankle, isn't such a stretch.

Anyway.  The point of this whole entire post was - I'm calling this phase of decluttering the darkest before the dawn phase. Because once the bins are open, being able to hide from your clutteriness is over.  

Make that all over the place.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Retro Tuesday that could give you nightmares...

Weird night.  I woke at 2:30 with nightmares and tried to go back to sleep.  Shouldn't have.  I slept on and off till 4 and it was the same story.  I should have just cut my losses and gotten up at 2:30 because now I feel.... off.  Anyone been there?

I haven't done a food-related Retro Tuesday in ages; haven't found anything in any of the magazines I've been using that I wanted to do.  This morning on a whim I brought some magazines inside that live on my porch (some old magazines smell so bad they will knock you flat)  and with the conviction that my stomach was strong enough, I steeled myself and commenced with the business of...

retrotuesay stamp

The magazine is a Woman's Day from 1954 and I thought it was from the 40's until I looked at the date.  Funny how some magazines are more progressive in style.  And of course ads would follow the style.  This magazine still reflects the decade before - Heavy on sewing. Heavy, heavy.

Today I was attracted to food related stuff.  The first ad that caught my attention was this one...


I'd totally love to find them at an estate sale not that I have room for them and all except for that clown one which I so do not want and would like to forgot I even saw.


Although they aren't what Retro Tuesday's about today.

And neither is this but I couldn't resist...


It's called the New Wedding Ring Salad.

Looks more like the Jellied Wedding Couple meets CSI Lab Salad to me.  And want to know the only thing that could make that salad grosser?

If it came served in this...


And I'm sure that happened to horrified children all over the country because they came from the same magazine just a few pages apart.   And really the only thing worse than that?

Okay, Okay...  I got it.  Follow me here.

It would be if your mom fed you...


Jellied Wedding Couple meets CSI Lab Salad...


In a Psyco the Clown bowl and made you...


 Sit on Bencho, A Dear's face while you ate it.

But....  None of that was what Retro Tuesday is even about.

And I'm guessing I lost a good few of you by now...

As for myself, I'm taking a deep cleaning breath.  Inhale the good air, exhale the clown air...  Inhale good, exhale the Jello willies...  Inhale some oxygen, exhale sitting on Bencho's face...

I'm so sorry about the clown thing, Retro Tuesday is about white sauce.


Kinda seems boring now doesn't it?

The thing is I've been trying to cook in a more interesting manner and sometimes adding a sauce is all it takes.  Chicken gravy.  Cheese sauce on - Well, just about anything.  I might lick a foot covered with cheese sauce.  Um, forget I said that.   Moving on... Sometimes I want something to just thicken up the jus at the bottom of a pot roast and so I've been buying those little packets.  I have about five Knorr gravies in my cupboard now but I got them on sale for half price and they don't go on sale when I need them so I thought this might work for me.


I like powdered milk.


Cold.   It's way best to drink cold.


But in recipes it's fine.


And nope, haven't tried it yet but I plan on it.  And I'm so sorry about that nightmarish visual.   And the licking cheesy feet thing. 

It was a weird night, lemme tell ya.

I don't know if I'll Mc Linky but I'd love to post your link here.

If you want to link up with me - Post mine and EMAIL ME and I will add you link right here in this post.  Which maybe a better solution anyway for Retro Tuesday...   And I'm going to add one now just to show how it will look ...

Vonlipi's Favorites (and for Heaven's sake Miss V- DON'T POST IF YOU DON'T WANNA...and she knows what this means!)  I think I will rotate my Retro Tuesday link friends just cause even if they don't post on Retro Tuesday!

Scarborough Seashells

And don't forget Colorado Lady for Vintage Thingies Thursday!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Bins bad. Shelving good.

I can't solve my organizing problems because I've been looking for love in all the wrong places.

Wait, that's not right.

Hang on a sec.

Where was I going with that?

Oh, right; I've been looking for information from people who are naturally organized. And I think they don't get me. What I read assumes I don't know what to do with the junk I got, just a itty-bitty bit.  Or assumes I'm a hoarder.   I am neither.  I just have more (but not a reality TV shows worth-a more) than my house can fit comfortably and very few things I own have 'a home'; a place where I always know they will be and they can live happily ever after. The end.

All weekend I was finding stuff I didn't know I had and where in the world did this stuff come from and why do I have nine of them in three different brightly colored bins in the fifth place? You may think containers are good, that they store stuff that they make your house look neat and to that I say, HA!

Let me extrapolate.  Every time I endeavored to organize the first thing I do is  go buy bins, containers, boxes... Things with lids.  Wrong.  The wrongness pains me now.

Bins bad. Shelving good.   I used to think of bins as soft baby bunnies dusted with magical pink glitter but they aren't.  Bins are evil. Bins are Dr. Evil.  Bins look like soft baby bunnies dusted with magical pink glitter because they mean to lull you into a false sense of security.  But one day your house is gonna explode in a mess of unused school supplies, crochet projects, potpourri, and evil glittery day-glo bunny bits and than, my friend, you've got some grisly awful on your hands, believe me.  I just lived that scenario over the weekend.   It was a mighty frightful beast.

Actually that was a seriously disturbing visual.  I should have stopped at...

Bins bad.  Shelving good.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Send. Machete. Now...

Still got on my big girl organizing panties and moving on with the clutter challenge. It's been all take no lip from jumble and pandemonium here in suburban New Jersey. Or maybe it's hold no clutter hostage?  I don't know and maybe I'm mixing metaphors but the dust around here is thickly fierce and it's pretty much discombobufuddlating.  Anyone know of a good air filter?

Or a machete?


 I'm convinced that organization is about getting rid of stuff first.  That it's impossible to organize clutter.  So this week-end was a non-stop brutal do I need that and if not yer outta here and no, you did not give me the best years of your life you're a magazine rack get over it.

I've got no pictures of the blood shed.  It's probably best.  

But really, what's wrong with me?  I found school supplies I got for my son the summer before he was going into his high school senior year and they are waiting to be picked up as I write this. Freecycled 'em.  The awful thing is they were in a bin I'd just stopped seeing.   Coat closet.  Floor.  Blue plastic bin. On top of it was several pairs of shoes and wrapping paper.  Some hats.  And near as I can tell, garbage.

Don't think I've noticed that bin let alone looked in it for - Well, over a year now.  And it's a HUGE bin.  Feet big. Feet tall.

It's empty now.  The school supplies are going to a good home (a teacher).  These perfectly new things  had lived for more than a year in a  blue Godzilla over Tokyo sized invisible bin along with several half done crochet projects, a few totally done ones (OH! That's where they got to), some potpourri in revoltingly brilliant colors that had lost it's smell and some - near as I can tell, garbage.


What's wrong with me and how many huge invisible containers are there around here that I don't see that hold stuff I don't know I have?

Plus garbage.

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