Unstuffing the medicine cabinet

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Our medicine cabinet isn’t one of those mirror-fronted, wall-mounted numbers; it’s an actual cabinet, tucked into the eaves at the top of the stairs. It’s large enough – and particularly deep enough – to be dangerous; there’s a tendency for things to get lost toward the back of the shelves. Some of of those things are still useful, but many are not. What came out of the medicine cabinet that didn’t go back in?

To be donated to a local shelter (33):

  • 8 toothbrushes (our dentist gives each of us one at each 6-month cleaning, and we’ve somehow gotten behind in swapping them out)
  • 14 small containers dental floss (see above)
  • 2 small tubes toothpaste
  • 6 bottles hotel shampoo/conditioner/lotion
  • 2 bars hotel soap
  • pair of socks from airline travel

To be discarded (36):

  • 7 rolls bulky gauze bandage (if you wonder why we bought these by the case back in 2004, see here)
  • 4 boxes disposable contact lenses (expired)
  • 4 bottles contact lens solution (expired)
  • 2 contact lens cases
  • 7 bottles/tubes old lotion/cream
  • 11 mostly empty bottles hotel shampoo/conditioner
  • Loving Care temporary hair coloring (tried coloring once or twice, but decided to let the gray have its way)

To be discarded safely at our local drug store (18):

  • 5 expired prescription medications (nothing fun)
  • 4 bottles assorted vitamins
  • 2 bottles aspirin (exp. 2005, 2007)
  • 3 bottles OTC cold and flu meds (exp. 2006, 2008)
  • 4 boxes OTC antihistamines/decongestants (exp. 2003,  2004, 2005)

After the unstuffing, and a little rearranging, the containers that were beneath all the top shelf clutter are again visible, and their contents organized by system (digestive, respiratory, teeth, skin). The bottom shelf, without any organizing system other than careful stacking, is a disaster waiting to happen (again). I’m sure we have containers around here somewhere that would be useful for this; now I just have to find them.

Paul’s closet

February 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

While Paul was out on a mission of acquisition today, I decided I’d do a load of laundry for him. When I went into his closet, I started looking at just how much there was in there. Paul’s clothing had definitely outgrown his (large by old-house standards, miniscule by modern MacMansion standards) closet.

Paul’s closet has seen a number of additions recently. The past couple of times we’ve been to Houston, my mother has given Paul shirts, jackets, trousers and belts that my father is no longer able to wear. They are beautiful garments (prior to his Alzheimer’s, my father was quite the clotheshorse), and Paul is enjoying them. However, there has been no corresponding release of older clothing from Paul’s wardrobe into the world; it was time for some unstuffing.

While I did some reorganizing in Paul’s closet while he was gone, I waited until he got home to start the uncluttering. Together, we collected the following to donate:

  • 5 dress shirts
  • 7 sweaters
  • 4 sweatshirts
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 belt
  • 4 pairs of shoes
  • 4 baseball caps

With those 26 items out of Paul’s closet, I think his remaining clothes will fit… except for the t-shirts.

T-shirts will be the subject for another day.

Day 43: 100 Things One Day

February 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of the powers of the internet is that it can help us feel that we aren’t alone in our passions, our pains, our eccentricities… or our decluttering.

As I’ve been working on unstuffing our house, I’ve also searched the web for others who are getting rid of the clutter in their lives and blogging about it. One fellow traveler is Christine at 100 Things 100 Days. For each of 100 days last year, Christine got rid of 100 things in her house. That’s 10,000 things!

My first reaction to Christine’s blog was to think that we can’t possibly have 10,000 things in our house, much less than many unnecessary things. Then I did several rough counts:

  • Books: 40 books on one living room shelf x 16 shelves is 640 books. Those shelves hold maybe one third of our books, so the total number is close to 2000.
  • Tableware: Eight 6-piece place setting of stoneware, twelve 6-piece place settings of stainless, 2 dozen glasses, a dozen mugs. Already 150+ items, and that’s just the everyday stuff that’s easy to count. Adding china and silverware and stemware and serving pieces would more than double the tableware count, to perhaps 400 items.
  • CDs: 12 discs per section of our living room rack x 22 section is 264 CDs. Add the others scattered around our house, and we’re talking 300+ CDs.

See how quickly the things add up? I can estimate roughly 2700 things in only three categories. It no longer seems impossible, or even improbable, that we could have 10,000 things or more.

Whatever the count, I knew by the beginning of this year the number was too high. By the end of January, we had reduced the item count in our house by 485 things. We were out of town last weekend, so today was the first unstuffing of February. I wanted to get this month off to a good – if belated – start, but I needed a break from working on our office, so I decided to find 100 things to declutter in one day. In order to make the count, I went for the lowest-hanging fruit, so these 100 things are a rather random assortment, gathered from all over the house.

Donating (76 total):

  • 2 small heart-shaped frames
  • 4 Easter baskets (2 egg-shaped, 2 small w/ handles)
  • 3 heart-shaped soaps (beautiful, but the fragrance makes me sneeze)
  • “K” ceramic box
  • Murano perfume bottle with glass stopper (since I’m allergic to most perfume…)
  • Crabtree & Evelyn toiletry pouch w/ lotion and body wash (again w/ the fragrance)
  • 7 tote bags (giveaways from conventions and conferences, all nice quality, but more than we need)
  • 2 small zipper pouches
  • 4 key chains
  • Green Man flask
  • 2 sets of wine glass charms (music and Texas themed charms)
  • heart-shaped brass box (engraved with date of wedding of friends now divorced)
  • small copper pitcher (souvenir of Brazil)
  • 2 wooden fish chopstick rests
  • 3 bead bracelets
  • 2 bead necklaces
  • Texas charm bracelet and earrings
  • 9 pairs costume jewelry earrings
  • 3 costume jewelry pins
  • children’s heart necklace (came with a tiara, which I’m keeping, and earrings, one of which has been lost)
  • ugly little Halloween toy (one of many odd things that came with the house)
  • PMS refrigerator magnet (absolutely no need for this any more)
  • 2 travel candles (in small tins)
  • 2 luggage tags
  • sequin Santa ornament
  • Crazy Cat Lady action figure with 6 cats (I’m counting this as 7 items)
  • 2 “The Fridge” drink coolers
  • blue florist vase
  • “K” notecards
  • ceramic box
  • 2 bird-shaped Mexican ocarinas
  • ceramic Mexican ornament
  • tiny flower pot with chive seeds
  • small bottle of potpourri

Tossing (20 total):

  • small electric fan (broken while removing other things from a shelf)
  • 7 lonely half-pairs whose mates are long gone: 4 socks, 1 glove, 2 earrings
  • broken watch
  • old potpourri sachet
  • 3 ‘LiveStrong’ knockoff bracelets
  • 4 eye masks (Continental, Virgin Atlantic, Jet Blue)
  • travel toothbrush, comb and shoehorn set (Virgin Atlantic)

Recycling (4 total):

  • 4 shoe boxes

Where Am I?

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