Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How Many Cookie Sheets Does a Girl Really Need?

I finished painting the basement this weekend and I really wish I had done it sooner.  The walls, fireplace brick, ceiling, trim and doors used to be a dull country blue and were very dirty from kiddo fingers and the dog's tail. Now the ceiling is a flat white.  The walls are a yellow sand, the brick is a shade darker than the walls.  The trim and the doors are all semi-gloss white.  The difference is substantial and I find myself (and the rest of the family) hanging out downstairs a lot more because it feels so nice now. 

My eight bookshelves full of books has now been consolidated to two.  My DVD collection has been scoured: all cases have been eliminated and the disks and their jackets are now contained in two DVD binders-- the collection used to fill a full bookcase.  The CD collection too has been stripped of all jewel cases and relocated into one binder. The board games that used to balance precariously atop the line of bookshelves have been cut by 75% and now fits neatly onto the bottom shelves of the two bookcases. The file cabinet has been cleansed of years of collected articles, magazines, ideas, bills, manuals.  All the important stuff (tax and medical records, current product manuals) is now kept in one cardboard file box. All mementos, certificates, awards, report cards, school pictures are in the process of being transfered from four boxes to sheet protectors inside binders, one binder for each family member. I'm feeling so light and organized.

As I do my laundry I have gotten in the habit of carefully inspecting clothes before folding and putting them back into the kids closets.  The inspection includes a question checklist: Do the kids really wear this or is it a casualty of an overstuffed closet that continually slips to the floor and into the wash?  Do I want the kids seen in this anymore or is it stained or ripped? If it is stained or ripped do I want to fix it, will it be useful here or in Hawaii? Even if they wear it and it is in fairly good condition do I want to continue washing it and caring for it?  I have been collecting about a bag full of clothes a week to donate or trash. It feels so good to say goodbye to this stuff.

Heath was in charge of unloading the dishwasher this past week and got fed up with the plastics cupboard.  The ziploc containers and lids were spilling out and unmanageable.  He pleaded to pack it all up instead of reorganizing it.  I quickly agreed with him.  "Throw it all into a cardboard box and leave it against the wall for a couple of days."  Over the next 3 days I grabbed the plastics out as needed and then took the rest of the box down to the garage.  I can now store my blender, toaster and panini press in the cupboard with my 6 plastic containers and room to spare. Thanks Heath I needed that!

It feels so good to get rid of so much stuff.  I have fewer things to take care of, fewer things to have to look at and worry about.  I find the more I get rid of the more I want to get rid of. I never thought I'd be selling silver, donating canning jars and giving away books.  I never thought I had too much sheet music or too many cookbooks or more craft supplies than I could use.  I have found myself asking how many cookie sheets do I really need?  I can only put one in the oven at a time and usually only prep one batch ahead so why do I have two jelly roll pan style cookie sheets and four edgeless cookie sheets? I have five spatulas but only really use two of them. I have a drawer full of knifes but only use three. I have four sewing machines, I have five soccer balls, eight garden hoes, seven shovels, two barbecues, five propane tanks, ten garden hoses.  I do not use all that I have.  Some of these things I haven't touched in more than a year.  It is a fantastic feeling to just let it go.

I'm really not sure which is more exciting: moving to Hawaii or eliminating and downsizing? Yes, it is that good!


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