Friday, December 28, 2012

A Year in SCRAP

This may not look like much, but it represents all of the donations I made to SCRAP this year.  I got curious yesterday, after I made my last donation for this year, to add up how much I had  brought them in 2012.  They weigh everything before they give you the receipt, and then they write it down for you.  I donated about 360 pounds of art and office supplies in a single year!!  That's 360 pounds of paper, plastic, wood and metal that won't be in a landfill!  That's almost a pound a day!

You're welcome crafters!  Hahahaha!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Law & Order

As if the 90 day anniversary post wasn't proof enough, here it is in triptychlicate.  The great white bookcase is upstairs, ready to go into the new office room when there's space there.  You can see the paintings on the rear wall looking less meek as time passes.  The little fox is braver each time an obstacle leaves the path from his tree trunk!  And you can't even see the flower still life in the left hand photo.

The wooden thing in the lower left corner of the far right pic is a bookcase I'm trying to give to a friend if she'll take it, and she knows who she is!  It's ready to get in the trunk of my car and go live with you! 

The white bookcase concealed the "here be monsters" territory I covered in this post over a month ago.  Now you can see it in its full glory.  At least it's mostly books.

I've just returned from the holidays away at my parents' and ready to clean like the wind!  My mom gave me a brand new dish rack for Christmas.  I'd been wanting one but even the cheap ones seemed expensive with a new tray beneath, which I also needed.  The one my mom gave me is deluxe!  Thanks Mom! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Helpful for you, maybe...

I have been glossing through some more reading on the my favorite subject, and it's still not the best use of my time.  Toss, Keep, Sell! by Leah Ingram was good for people who want to make money from things they don't need anymore.  I didn't really need it, because I've been using eBay and Craigslist for years to sell things I don't want.  These are good outlets for a lot of people to get a little extra cash, but it  bothers me that people are making a bundle telling other people that there might be gold hiding in their cupboards and cellars.  I've sold I don't know how many things over the years and I can tell you that it also takes a lot of time to do it.  Especially if you are learning how it's done.

The other book I had was The Complete Idiot's Guide to Decluttering by Regina Leeds.  I liked it a lot, I think it's a great guide for someone who doesn't know where to begin.  It's methodical and breaks the job down room by room, and then each room is categorized into smaller spaces.  It's a smallish book, unlike other Idiots' Guides I'm used to.  I'm embarrassed to be seen in public with this kind of book, you see, so it's nice to be able to conceal it.

I've also got a book from the Real Simple series of lifestyle books, all about cleaning different things in the home room by room.  Things like electronics, appliances, rugs, you name it.  This book also goes room by room.  Unfortunately I don't have the title or author info right now.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


It's been about 90 days since the old Fitzrovians began and it's time to evaluate my headway.  As if I haven't been for weeks now.  Still, I've digressed a lot with the parts about my upstairs quarters and I'm going to focus on the basement for this entry.

I would grade myself A+ for thoroughness, A for creative solutions in allocation, B+ for speed and efficiency, B for aesthetics, B for cleanliness (versus tidiness).  As long as something's not coated with dust or has a spider's carapace stuck to it somewhere I'm usually satisified with its sanitation.

So, here is a look back on our beginnings:

And the somewhat refreshing present day:

What's ironic about the title of this blog is that St. Crisp said you never need to clean house: "...After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse."  It's not just dirt I've been worried about, it's avalanches of books and boxes! 

I want to add before I forget that there is a really good resource in Portland for people who are as nuts about recycling as I am: Portland Metro's hotline!  It's 503-234-3000.  They used to have groovy radio ads and I decided to give them a call when I wanted to ditch some odd things years ago.  An operator can tell you who will accept what.

And don't you dare forget The ReBuilding Center.  I had a stack of old plywood in the Bad Apple for a long time, they took it as well as other carpentry bits that were not useful to me.  I found some hand tools that I think they can use too. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Regression Therapy

Sometimes before things get better, they start to look worse than they did after you did all that work to make things look good.  Such is the case with the basement area, which has had a slight temporary setback while I tried to figure out where a shitload of things are going.  I've even sold books and got rid of furniture from the area and it still looks terrible:

The Salvation Army came Thursday and picked up more furniture, this time mainly from upstairs.  I had that little twinge I get when the furniture disappears from view: there's still so much to do.

One of the lessons I've learned while doing this job is that you shouldn't confuse organizing with decorating.  Trying to work out an aesthetic scheme, while you are simply trying to figure out where things should go and what to keep, is a completely separate task.  Yes, things start to look prettier when they aren't bursting off shelves and covering the floor.  But if you try to work out color schemes and space planning at the same time as the decluttering aspect, you might be taking on too much at once.  Keep a notebook to record your ideas along the way.  And I think I've said this before: refrain from shopping for a whole new look with containers and shelves or design accents, because you might not be sure what you need until the worst is over.

That said, I'm trying not to put any pressure on myself about this.  The holidays are here and I am behind on everything to do with presents and the usual planning. That said, I had a mini holiday party this evening where everyone complimented me on how nice everything looked in the living room.  I had to confess that a lot of stuff was hidden in the other rooms behind closed doors.  I should have taken pictures of my snack buffet table, before everything got eaten!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It's a mug's game

Here's some music while you read:

The lyrics to the song are a lot sadder than I actually feel, but I'm getting weighed down by the seasonal affective nonsense this week.  I can't seem to keep a train of thought going during the day, and I get weirdly more motivated as it gets later at night.  Right now I was going through a pile of Dylan's sketchbooks and other assorted papers to find safe spots to keep them.

I watched a terrible movie today: The Proposal.  Stupid!  I was hoping for more from Betty White, which is why I borrowed it from the library in the first place.  Sometimes I'll watch a dumb-ish movie while I do housework and I can listen to it without missing much if I'm looking away.  I don't like Ryan Reynolds at all or Sandra Bullock, let that be a lesson to me.

The fact that I had to go to the dentist today didn't help anything either.  And I forgot to bring enough bus fare to pay my way back from OHSU, so I had to walk down the hill in the gloom of a Portland evening.  I kept looking down the steep side of the hill that slopes sharply down from the sidewalk - more of a cliff, really - and thinking that a car could careen off the road and hit me and we'd all go over the edge, and I'd be impaled on a leafless tree branch!!

It's time to bring up the sun lamp from the basement, I think.  This S.A.D. is hitting code yellow, where I feel it but I'm not hopeless yet.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


What is this shit?  It's what I've been trying to figure out today.  I think I got done with it but I may never be sure.  These are all the cables and crap that I've been gathering to sort.  I made another big box to take to Free Geek.  I guess whenever you get a new electronic device it comes with all kinds of stuff.  I've never needed most of it for the last year so chances are I could just ditch it all and be fine.  I think I just echoed something I said in an earlier post, but I just don't care anymore.  Yes, that is Donald Glover of Community on my laptop screen there on the left.  I had to have something to take away the pain as I forked through this mess.

Now, take a look at one of my little triumphs...
I know it doesn't look like much, but it's my home filing system for all of my personal paperwork.  Well, this is one drawer, but it's pretty much the same for the other one.  And the one pictured is the drawer I use all the time.

I used to use multicolored files to make it look interesting and try to group certain categories, but after a while it only looked more jumbled.  I switched to all one color with matching tabs.  I used to work in office supplies so I already had them for years, I didn't have to make a purchase.  Here are my helpful tips for a streamlined file experience:
  1. Keep a folder for "Unpaid Bills" in the front of the drawer, as you can see I have above.  I used to have a "Mail" folder for all incoming stuff to sort, but bills just got lost in there. 
  2. I like to have paper utility bills, but I don't have individual folders for them anymore.  I put them all in one.  I almost never have to look them up so it doesn't make sense to be too pedantic about sorting them.
  3. I've been shredding bills and most other things that are more than a year old.  You can find most statements online now so why bother holding onto them?
  4. I love shredding!!  I now have the big shredder that used to be in Sparkplug's old office.  It gets rid of tension.  It's like a game of bowling but you can do it while watching TV!  Just put on subtitles if you can.
December 16 will mark THREE MONTHS that I have been piloting this blog!  I will make sure to celebrate with some primo photos.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Drudge Report

I spent a big part of today shredding a pile of old checkbooks.  Also I'm figuring out what I need to keep from a big pile of computer books, boxes, wires, and random parts.  Salvation Army will be here next week to take away some furniture.  I can see more and more of the floor in my computer room!

I found at least two sketch/notebooks of Dylan's.  He used to draw in all kinds of random notebooks that he had handy, and keep story and interview information in them.  I am keeping them together to share with our friends if they want to see them.  I still keep a lot of random bits of paper that he wrote on, as well as other ephemera of his that doesn't have a specific category.  I've been saving these little things in a special file for over a year now.

I have to confess that I've been leaving the basement alone more and concentrating on the upstairs area, partly because it's so cold and wet out and I've got heat upstairs.  For an unfinished basement though, mine stays fairly dry and free of mildew.  Right now it's becoming a little more of a catch-all for things I find upstairs that need to leave the house soon.  I've hit a little bit of a wall in the basement too, because some of the furniture down there is just waiting to come upstairs when I make room for it.  Which is exactly what I'm doing.

I tried reading Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post Consumer World, but it was really off the subject of what I meant to study.  I'm not even sure how I found it at the library.  I did learn how to slaughter a chicken humanely from this book, but it made me glad I'm getting more vegetarian.  There are so many pitfalls that I'd feel more sorry for the bird if I had to take it apart.  I'd end up making it inedible.