Monday, October 01, 2007

Monday Musings - Getting the job done

I thank those of you in advance who do read my blog regularly for STILL reading my blog despite the fact that it is far from regular lately.

I think I may have talked about this before, oh look I did! We all complain (well I sure do) that we have too much to do and so little time and I really do! For real, in real life as Rosebud would say. I am a compulsive list maker, without lists I feel very lost and unhappy. No matter how long the list might be, it is better than no list. Keeping lists is my way of freeing up my mind, once transferred to the list the problem seems more manageable.

I have a list on the side of the fridge with our big projects, house projects that we need to complete or start as the case may be. Here is a sample of that list.

House Jobs
-Put down laminate floors on our main floor (the last place we have carpet)
-Organize the basement (more on that later)
-Clean the fridge and freezer in the basement
-Fix the caulking around the tub, I also have always never been crazy about our upstairs bathroom floor, so add that to the list too
-Empty and go through our cupboards, wash them down and put everything back

Then there is MY list the list of stuff I want to do, the jobs that keep our house humming and from drowning in our own crap.

Jen's List
-Finish putting our Florida pictures in the album, put away our travel stuff (brochures, pressed pennies, menus, miscellaneous vacation schlock)
-Print our recent digital photos and put them into albums, I have not printed since May. Since Papoosie Girl has been born I have been vigilant about putting our photos into albums with white paper dividers on the pages for me to record dates, add captions, etc. My girls love to look at these albums and if I have done nothing else this is my crowning achievement of home organization.
-Sort and put away Papoosie Girl's Grade One work into her keepsake tote
-Craft alert: help the girls glue the damn shells on the wooden frames my Mom bought after we got back from Florida (last summer)
-Put all our extra photos, remember what it was like before digital? You got the photos back from developing and used maybe half of them for albums and family and tossed the rest somewhere? I bought some cute photo boxes with dividers so I can get rid of all those envelopes.
-Figure out what to do with all those greeting cards. I love cards and give them freely and in turn we receive cards. I like to keep them, but this creates a lot of cards in our home. I have two hat boxes full and while I did let the girls use some of our old Christmas cards for crafts we still have many, many cards. They are special to me and I hate the idea of getting rid of them. I think I could purge them though and only keep the really special ones.

The basement is another story all together. I have made attempts in the past to organize our basement. Keep the Christmas stuff together, keep our high school and university stuff in one spot, our Royal Doulton dishes we have never used in one spot, you get the idea. The problem is that when you move into a house you have less stuff than you do say ten years later. As time goes on you stuff your newly acquired crap in every nook and cranny you can find. It is random as long as it is put somewhere. Now ten years and two kids later we need to take a step back and give this basement some thought.

Our basement is not finished and we basically use it for storage. There is a small area we have carpeted for the girls and we have some of those funky IKEA toy storage shelves with bins. The girls can come down and play and get their dress-up clothes any time they want. This area is generally organized and I won't include it in my disdain for the rest of basement.

The basement also has about 25 Rubbermaid totes (no joke) with kids clothes. I keep all of Papoosie Girl's clothes for Rosebud and I keep what Rosebud is outgrowing for my goddaughter. It is a non-stop merry-go-round of clothes shuffling, winter in, summer out, too small in, too big out, next summer, boots for next NEVER ends.

So between the wall of totes, our holiday boxes, keepsake stuff, photos, dishes we have no room for upstairs, and a husband who keeps the box from every single thing he buys; our basement is getting kind of stuffed around the edges.

How do you keep everything in order? How often do you clean everything out? It has been several years since we did a big clean out, taking everything off of every shelf, purging and putting it all back nicely. When the basement gets too crowded I feel claustrophobic every time I go down to the basement. The rest of the house is fine, peek in my linen closet, open my medicine chest, the pantry is pretty good; but the basement is annoying.

Why I let it annoy me is another story. With all the day-to-day things on my plate the basement hardly seems important, but looky here is a whole blog post devoted to it! Here is the thing, what I have noticed is that when my mind is cluttered I look to my home and what is around me to see where the problem lies, but this time it is my mind that is cluttered. I am wrestling with some stuff that I shouldn't* really blog about and it is weighing heavily on me. Nothing life threatening or earth shattering, just stuff I am not really ready to talk about here yet. Do I stay on the school Council? Do I put up a fight so my daughter can participate in her First Communion with the rest of her class? Do I have another baby? How do I get myself healthier and carve out a bit of time for myself that doesn't involve sitting on my arse reading blogs? How on earth do you get dinner on the table every single night?*

*So maybe I am ready to talk about them a little. Just a little though.

My mind and my basement need a dusting and airing out. These things on my mind are preventing me from being able to concentrate and I hate that the constant narrative that is normally harmless and even enjoyable is now bothering me. I want to be fun and happy and carefree and my big dumb old brain won't let me. There will always be things on my mind, it is my ability to park stuff in the back of the lot that I need to work on. Everyone worries about their house, work and family; it is human nature. I just hate when it gets too near the front and it starts bubbling over in that frothy way.

Getting the job done in my case may involve a lobotomy.


Omaha Mama said...

If it wasn't so far, I'd send my mom up. She's great with basements!

I picture your home so much more put together and tidy than mine. So I have trouble giving you any sympathy. Sorry.


Alpha DogMa said...

There's an old expression about "messy bed, messy head" which could apply to you but I can't think of anything that rhymes with basement AND makes sense.

Like you, a messy house makes me tense. I'm okay with a certain degree of filth, but not clutter.

I am a purger. I wasn't always, but at the time that OmegaMan and I were setting up house, his grandmother was going into assisted seniors housing. She was purging all the crap and clutter collected during her 80+ years, because she didn't want her death to be too stressful on her children and grand children. She felt their grieving process would be aided by not having to get rid of her belongings.

That has become my guiding principle. When I am dead will the boys really care about my Grade 2 report card? No. The dozens and dozens of medals and ribbons I won in track and field races? No.

We scan a lot of documents (including some that my grandmother-in-law gave me) and we regularly donate extras and duplicates to charity shops. I feel guilty sometimes, but ultimately enjoy my clutterless house more.

Glad you are back to posting. I was getting worried you were quitting on us.

What is going on with her First Communion? Do tell.

Alpha DogMa said...

PS - You are almost at your one year blog-iversary.

PPS - What's up with the date on this post? Are you a time traveller?

Jen M. said...

You know how to install laminate? You are AMAZING. I have to wait until I can ill-afford to have over-priced contractors do it for me.

Beck said...

I'd help you with your basement if you would help me with my horrible, nightmarish side room. But alas, we're too far away.

Mad Hatter said...

We had to rip up all the carpet in our basement this weekend after a spate of sewer floods. Yuck. Because our house is so old, the basement is only an icky rubble one, not fit for human habitation. We just need to keep it nice for the washing machine thank goodness. As for the rest of the house, it's a sty.

Christine said...

i need my attic cleaned out desperately. i think what makes me most upset is that last year i really cleaned it and some one else (read: my dh) messed it up again. it makes me want to cry just to think of it.

i feel your pain. and i am a list maker, too!

Jenifer said...

OM-I was thinking of your basement weekend when I wrote this! I do need your Mom, someone impartial to help us get rid of the junk! I am not going to lie because the rest of my house is pretty tidy, but I promise the basement is kind of junky.

ADM-I like that expression and I think there is a grain of truth to it. I agree with what you said about clutter, it just bugs me to no end, worse than dust bunnies.

I am a purger, but somehow it sneaks up on me. Every time we do a huge clean-out though we get rid of more stuff. You are right, my girls do not want my high school kilts.

My anniversary is in a few days. When I look at how much others have posted in a year I feel bad. I had high hopes for my blog, but you know I am proud of what I have done so far. I am funnier and more witty and deeper I just need to find the time to let it out.

I plan on posting about the First Communion situation...I'm just a little steamed at the moment. I need to simmer a bit.

jen M-I don't exactly know how, but Hubby does, he did our entire upstairs. We may get the downstairs done professionally though time is something we just don't have.

Beck-What I wouldn't give to live near you! I would help you and you would make me delicious things to!

Mad-Somehow I doubt it is a sty, how about homey instead? A friend of mine had a century home with a basement like yours...big spiders down there!

christine-Oh I blame my DH a lot...surely it can't be all my junk down there!

Mimi said...

ok not done reading yet but cards? here's something: munchkin got a bunch when she was born, and i put the nice ones in an ikea frame than showed off five at once. then when she turned one, i put five new cards in the frame, but left the old ones in behind, so that every year, we can have a lot.

i throw a looooooot of them out. you have to, or it will be overwhelming, i think. i'll be back to finish this later ...

Oh, The Joys said...

The problem is that if you cross everything off your list? A new list magically appears.

NotSoSage said...

I am a to-do list person. Or nothing would ever get done. That said, I'm the opposite of ADM: I can handle clutter, but not filth. Regardless, my tolerance for any of it is way more than Joe's and he gets truly anxious about it. It is one of our biggest challenges to negotiate that anxiety positively.

Good luck with your basement!

Mimi said...

I'm back. I guess you don't have an attic? Our tubs of clothes are up in the attic. Pynchon is a box-hoarder too: attic!

All the organizing books I have read (when I was procrastinating from organizing) say to tackle a little bit at a time, or it's too overwhelming to even start. Good point! So maybe pick one thing: "I need a better system for all these clothes!" and deal with taht first.

I hate clutter. Don't mind filth. If I lived with Sage, we'd be the perfect pair ...

Anyhow, I feel your pain ...