Sunday, November 02, 2008


Smokey, one of our cats, in a contemplative mood...

I am embarrassed to say that I have been cleaning our master bedroom for several hours, and I'm nowhere near done. Closer, but definitely not done.

The problem?

It boils down to the fact that I like to save magazines, clip articles, and collect books, but I don't have a system for storage of these things, so I "put" them on top of things. And put, and put...pretty soon, all these potentially useful tidbits become one (or more) big messy pile that robs me of energy.


Every time I look at that ever growing heap, I feel defeated.

So today, I took my time and went through all the magazines in the pile and tore out only the articles that were important to me. A lot of these boiled down to recipes and decorating ideas that I made a separate pile of, then took a break to actually get them into sheet protectors and put into binders. Later I will go back through and actually sort according to type. For example, recipes will be sorted according to breads, sweets, main dishes, etc. For now it was more important to get them out of the magazines so that I can throw the magazines away, which cuts the clutter. Then getting them actually into sleeves and binders gives them a place to actually "be organized" instead of floating around in a pile and looking messy. I must say, although I am not done with the room, I do notice a difference. I wish I had taken a before and after picture, but I was too embarrassed by the sheer amount of stuff that had accumulated. So my immediate goal is to pare down the STUFF. With the cold weather coming up, it is going to be important to be able to keep a clean and tidy house. The quality of the inside air is immediately affected by my ability to keep carpets vacuumed and the stuff dusted. It is much easier if there is LESS STUFF to clean. Kind of makes sense, doesn't it.

Next step? I am going to put a waste basket and a box in the entry hall so I can sort the mail immediately and toss the stuff that is not relevant to us. I'd like to say I will have a recycle box, but right now I need to just get the stuff out and not let it sit around at all! I'll recycle once I get everything under control.

On the budget side, I am working on that too. I realized that we are spending several hundred dollars more for groceries and eating out than I had guessed. Gotta thank Pear Budget for making me aware of this! So for the rest of the week, I am planning meals and shopping from our pantry. I am trying to regroup and frame my attitude so that I am able to be creative with what we do have on hand. Except for possible buying meat at some point, everything else is going to revolve around what we already have. That said, we did opt for sub sandwiches out today since I was knee deep in cleaning. Hubby and I were going to go out later and get a coffee, but instead we made coffee at home and sat on the front steps talking and drinking the coffee. We saved gas and the $8-$10 we usually spend getting coffee out. It offset the subs a little, but we are going to be frugal for the rest the week and all of next week.

With the holidays coming up, I am trying to plan ahead on gift giving for friends and family members. The plan is to make pottery bowls for everyone and pack them with homemade candy. If I can make 8-10 bowls each week for the next month, everyone will be covered. We have a pretty large family on my side and a decent sized family on hubby's side, so I need to get started. These will be cereal bowl sized, so they can be pulled quickly. Candy is pretty easy to make. I take a weekend right before Christmas and spend it making several different types of candy. It is usually a pretty big hit. I am hoping giving everyone a bowl of their own will also be a hit.

How do you handle gifts for friends and family during the Christmas season? Do you opt for store bought or homemade gifts.

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