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Monday, January 5, 2015

I'm a Border Collie on a Mission

I started 2015 by cleaning house, literally and figuratively. With Greg home, my house seems to stay in a perpetual state of tornado-induced chaos. I don't mind if the tradeoff means he's home. ...but if you visit, call first!

I have boxes and boxes of things for this spring's garage sale. As I go through the house, I'm boxing anything I haven't used in over a year. I've emptied drawers, closets, and checked all the nooks and crannies where I store hide stuff.

Clean slate. That's my mantra this year. If it's not useful, beautiful, or beloved, it goes.

Then I attacked my blog feeder. 

I was shocked! Dozens and dozens of people had stopped blogging. If they hadn't blogged in three months or more, their blogs were deleted from my list.

The other cuts were to bloggers who did constant promo. I don't mind the occasional advert, but as a reader, I want to read about interesting stuff. Stuff they learned, the skeletons they discovered, or new adventures they're attempting.

I didn't cut too many, but if they never bothered stopping by my blog and theirs was a daily rendition of 'buy my book', I gave them the Marie Antoinette haircut.

2015 is the year to be interesting again. Blog about the stuff that makes you, YOU. If you allow guest posts, insist your guests be interesting.

I plan to blog at least twice a week from now on. Probably Mondays and Wednesdays.

This Wednesday, I'm going to talk about the expense journal I started and the humiliating discoveries I made about myself. This thing punched me in the gut. If I was a drunkard, I'd be stone sober right now, instead I'm just black and blue.

I took down my Christmas tree over the weekend. The house looks so sad now. I drove Greg crazy with the way I stored stuff. You see, I have specific boxes for each kind of decoration and room. It just makes life easier when it comes time to bring them down again. 

Greg calls me Mrs. Sheldon (a la Big Bang Theory). Nana is also a Sheldon. She can't stand things not going in a certain order. That's the border collie in her. Maybe me and Sheldon are really border collies.

Are your lights and decorations down? Are you a "Sheldon" when it comes to storage?

Stop by and see me Wednesday. Maybe I can convince you to start an expense journal even for a week. It's an experiment you won't soon forget.


Mike Keyton said...

Our Christmas stuff is apportioned between two attics and a garden shed. They're all packed away now, but for the Crib and three disconsolate kings who have only just arrived on the scene :) The fridge, too, is weirdly bare - only three slices of ham and a tired potato salad actually thrown away. Success. I however am full and 9lb overweight :<
First World problems eh. Happy New Year (Once Wednesday is over)

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I still have fudge left, but how that happened is nothing short of a Christmas miracle.

The last of the breads gifted to us was given to the chickens, so nothing went to waste.

I am not brave enough to weigh myself. Hopefully I've been active enough to balance it out. :)

Angela Brown said...

Good on you for bringing in the new year with a clean slate.

I like your idea of getting rid of things that you haven't used for a while. Helps to de-clutter and reduce the "hoarding" potential.

The Christmas tree is still up as I've been more focused on getting things done for our move. We're just about done.

As for that expense journal, if it is anything like doing a food journal, it is a ridiculous wake-up call on things we do, habits we have, that we don't realize until we see the proof in black and white. Now that I'm in this new place, an expense journal will go along way to helping me find ways to reduce my expenditures.

Mark K said...

My wife and I are massive 'Big Bang' fans, so your analogy wasn't lost on me there :)

This year we didn't put up light or decorations, having recently moved into the house - I know, it's not an excuse. But it just worked out that way.

I realise now that unless you plan for Christmas like it is some major military operation, the little bugger sneaks up behind you and bush-whacks you with a scream of, "TAH-DAH! I'm HERE!", and before you know it it has gone again.

As for me being a 'Sheldon' - yes, I'd have to say so. For me there is a place for everything and everything has its place.

My wife on the other hand adopts the tornado approach to putting things away. Drives me crazy. Really.

As for the journal. Nah. All my money goes on the bills, so no needless expenditure there (although I would argue that point - certain bills are needless in my eyes!).

This year, I hoping to kick 2015 in the balls and run away laughing - 2014 did that to me, now it's payback time!

LD Masterson said...

Organized packing of Christmas decorations makes perfect l sense. I not only do mine that way, I stuck my nose in at church a couple years ago and now the decorate/undecorate process takes 30 minutes to an hour instead of several hours.

We've got all the indoor decorations packed away but the outside lights will probably stay up for a while. Cold front just rolled in and I'm not taking down lights in single digit temperatures.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: A wake up call is right. Here I thought I had everything buttoned up only to discover that money seeped through little crevices.

Maria Zannini said...

Mark: If you could see my husband's workshop, I'd say he uses the same approach as your wife.

I'm not without clutter (paper-wise) but everything else is always in its place.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: I don't blame you for leaving the lights up. We're getting hit with a cold snap this week too. Other than assuring everyone outside is sheltered with warm water, I'm hibernating!

Diane Carlisle said...

My biggest storage fiasco was in the master bathroom...under the ole vanity! Guess what I did when I remodeled my bathroom? Out with the vanity. In with the dual pedestal sinks. I couldn't be happier because now there is nowhere to put stuff I will never see again, I just chuck it if I don't need it. :)

Click through to see my before and after photos at my public facebook album.

Nice job!

B.E. Sanderson said...

I'm a clutter-hound until it starts to get on my nerves. Then I go through like a whirlwind, putting everything in its place. Christmas decorations, though, are taken out after Thanksgiving and put back away in their spots right after NewYears. And no one should ever ever look at my blogfeed. Some of that stuff hasn't been posted to in years. But I hate the thought of deleting it - just in case someone wakes back up again.

Rebekah Loper said...

I've been cleaning and organizing like crazy, too. The only things left are all the closets. And the shed. But the shed will probably wait until spring.

Hubby and I worked hard for two days just to get the office spotless and functional. The fact that Hubby worked harder than I did on it is probably a Christmas miracle.

My Christmas stuff, however, is still up. It'll probably come down tonight or tomorrow.

Happy New Year, Maria!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have a large rubbermaid containers where I sort different types of decorations.
Having extra children home during college break makes my house a bit' tornado-ish also.
Except for the grocery store, I goes weeks without spending any money, not even gas.

Sarah Ahiers said...

We juuuuust took down our decorations this morning. It's a little sad, but it looks much cleaner now, so that's nice

Karen Jones Gowen said...

It's the perfect time of year to do mad streamlining of everything! I lost a follower on my blog recently, hope it wasn't you LOL.

Joss said...

I spotted you on a friends blog and your boule Merle border collie in your photo meant I had to come check out your blog. So glad I did too :) I've also been trying to de clutter although it's a very slow process. Another of my goals is to get more organised, but keeping track of my finances seems way to advanced for me lol. I might sneak a peak though and see if I feel brave lol

Maria Zannini said...

Diane: Your bathroom is beautiful. Even Greg went over to take a peek.

It looks so much cleaner and elegant.

Maria Zannini said...

BE: A few of the blogs I deleted made a final statement that this was there last. The others, I imagine have lost heart.

I used to keep a few abandoned blogs that I really enjoyed and thought I might go back to browse their archives, but I never did, and probably never will. It was time to let them go.

Maria Zannini said...

Rebekah: Happy New Year! We have a small but growing list of things we need to do come the spring. Two more months and then we can get outside full time.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: I use the Rubbermaid totes too. So much easier (and cleaner) than plain old boxes.

Re: grocery store
And that's where my downfall began. It was amazing how many little things we simply bought on impulse made their way into the cart. Now we think through each item before it goes in.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: As much as I like the festive colors, it's always nice to get my house back to normal.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Tree is still up. I need to take it down. Maybe tomorrow.

Can't say I'm such a Sheldon when it comes to storing, but each ornament goes back into the box I bought it in (I buy a dated one each year, and have since we got married). Then they all go into this huge Army storage box we got when we were stationed at Ft. Wainwright. We painted over the olive drab with yellow and it's still yellow...sort of. Best box, that's for sure.

Maria Zannini said...

Karen: I'm sure I'm still on there. I haven't removed myself from any friends' list.

Maria Zannini said...

Joss: So nice to meet you!

That's my Chelly in the picture. She's been gone for a while, but I love that picture of us and can't bear to part with it.

I'll be by to check out your blog soon.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: One box? I think I put 8 of them, not counting the tree bag.

How I ended up with so many decorations is a mystery. :)

Stacy McKitrick said...

Only have one box that holds the ornaments (and stockings). It's a big box! And we have one box that holds the tree. There are probably boxes that hold lights and stuff, but I never pulled them out. Decorating was at a minimum. Has been since the kids grew up.

Darke Conteur said...

I do like posting stuff on my blog, my problem is finding ideas. I have a whole schedule and lists that I use to find interesting things, but there's one slot that I can't seem to fill and that's the Saturday one. I had it for personal stuff, stuff that didn't fall into writing or any of the other things I blog about, but I don't know, meh...

Re: Decorations. We had some bad weather over the weekend so Husband was home and HE took them down. He put them up, it's only fair he take them down, right? We also finished off any holiday treats. Well, except the butter tarts. They didn't seem to be popular this year. Don't know if I'll make them next year.

If you have any ideas as to what I should do about my Saturday blog post, I'm all ears. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: At my age, two little boxes are better than one big box. LOL.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: You have such a nice assortment of topics, why not take Saturday off?

Or you could do what Sarah Ahiers does with her Wednesday Weird, weird stories from across the globe. That's always interesting and diverse.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I'm going to stop by your garage sale and add some of my stuff. That's cool, right?

Also, how do you tell a guest they must be interesting? I mean, my guests are always fabulous, dahling, but I'm just wondering how one asks. Maybe do a post on how to get guests?

Marian Perera said...

I've been cleaning house too, though I still have a filing cabinet's worth of paper that needs to be dealt with. Not to mention some, uh, science experiments in the fridge.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: That's a long way to go to drop off stuff. You'd probably get better traffic where you live.

Re: guests
Good idea! Off the top of my head, my first request is that they write a post that has more global appeal than just plain promo.

That might be a blog topic right there.

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: Ugh. Paper clutter is my kryptonite. It's hard for me to let it go.

Jenny Schwartz said...

I love Nana :) She's welcome to come and organise me any time ... someone ought to!

Happy 2015, Maria!

Anonymous said...

Sadly, we have de-Christmased the house. It looks so bare now.

My decorations started like yours but it has become less so over the years. Once we've moved I'll do a proper purge and reorganization of the decorations.

My blog roll definitely needs work. Kudos to you for tackling that so early in the year.

Here's to a fabulous year, my friend!

Anne Gallagher said...

We barely had a tree this year. Just not in the mood. Call me Scrooge.

As for decluttering, I just told another blogger I still have stuff in the basement from a move 7 years ago. Perhaps this will be the year I get my act together.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Nana is a pill. This spring, I'd like to give her some more training herding goats.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: I'm trying to buy at least one elegant ornament a year and retiring the cheeseier stuff. This year the tree turned out quite stylish.

Maria Zannini said...

Anne: I was the same way for almost three years when I moved. I don't know why I avoided emptying those boxes. Obviously, the stuff inside wasn't terribly important. Maybe I should've just put them in a garage sale.

Shelley Munro said...

We were away for Christmas so there wasn't much to pack away. I tell you, running away for Christmas makes things much easier. I'd put up a tiny Christmas tree and that is now stashed in the cupboard.

I think you would hit it off with my hubby. He's always ready to clean out cupboards.

Re the blogging, I'm hoping to get back to blogging in 2015. The last four months of 2014 were frantic and blogging went by the wayside.

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: Given the choice of putting up a Christmas tree or traveling, I'd choose travel every time. :)

Welcome back to the online world.