Countdown to SPRING (cleaning)

Yes, I WANT spring.  Desperately.  I am ready! (I will have the most fantastic garden this year, I just KNOW it. And I will love it and weed it and name it George, and by mid May, be over it) BUT.

There is that other part of spring, I’m not a fan of, and that is spring cleaning.  (actually, it is a known fact that I am not a fan of house cleaning on the whole, but that is another story altogether.) I’m sure I can find something to do that is more exciting. Absolutely anything.

“A place for everything and everything in its place” SOUNDS nice, but the practical application leaves much to be desired, as I like having my things out and around and available.  I do love pretty containers, but more often than not, I buy them for the wrong reasons, and they don’t get used the way they should. And, truth be told, while I probably have too much stuff, this house has too little storage. There isn’t even a coat closet, broom closet or mud room area!

My thought this year is to break down the house into manageable chunks, and assign tasks and days, and hopefully be finished by March 21. Then I can spend the vernal equinox trying to balance an egg on its tip in celebration!

















If I start on the 4th (I am away on the 1st and 2nd, the 3rd is my birthday and not particularly how I planned on celebrating….) AND I am of course, working 40 hours a week… lets see, thinking out loud here, can’t do it on Mondays, that’s Laylabug day…

Kitchen 4, 5, 6

  • clean out all drawers and cabinets
  • wash curtains, windows, floor
  • clean fan, cabinet doors
  • Refrigerator,-emptied, cleaned
  • stove, microwave

Dining room 7, 8, 9

  • clean out all drawers and cabinets
  • wash curtains, windows, door, floor
  • clean fan, all art

Living room   11, 12

  • Vacuum under/behind furniture
  • Remove rug, put liner down.
  • Vacuum couch, cushions/chair
  • wash curtains, windows, door
  • clean fan, all art
  • China Cabinet
  • Get rid of winter clothes/clutter at door

Den  13, 14

  • Vacuum under/behind furniture
  • Vacuum couch, cushions/chair
  • wash curtains, windows, door
  • clean fan, all art
  • all bookcases and side tables

Bath one 15

  • Under vanity
  • basic deep clean
  • Do linen closet as well

Bath two 16

Under vanity

  • basic deep clean
  • utility area

Bedroom one 18, 19

  • Vacuum under/behind furniture
  • wash curtains, windows
  • clean fan, all art
  • side tables, headboard
  • closet
  • change out clothes
  • dresser

Studio 19, 20, 21  Notice that it is conveniently at the end.

  • Vacuum under/behind furniture
  • wash curtains, windows
  • clean fan, all art
  • closet
  • scrapbook side
  • desk
  • fabric side
  • cutting tablepickerimage2









  Anyone interested joining me? Keeping me honest?



Mountains O’things

It has been a very very long time since I have posted anything about 27-thing flinging, organizing or de- cluttering. Does it mean I fell off the wagon? Got lost under my mountains o’things? Not really. Just life and all that….

I probably stopped some time around Thanksgiving, because I took up the blog with Christmas Photo-A-Day posts, and right after the first of the year, my dad died. I’ve moved on to a Photo A Day on my other blog.

But spring is in the air (well, down here it is, at least for today!!) and I think it may be time to revisit some of the the ideas of decluttering, getting ready for spring cleaning! (oh, YIPEE!)

The major concept was to daily locate 27 things that could be removed from your household (living creatures do NOT count). Some of these things may be donated, some things may have always been trash but never made it to the garbage and some things may end up being given to someone else who can utilize them.

In order to make this a bit more ‘organized’ rather than random tossing, I had made a list of areas. This link takes you to the initial post last year.

This is the breakdown of categories I had come up with, and I have added to it how far along I feel I have gotten.

  1. Clothes-closet and drawers. This was done, and I ‘thought’ I had been successful. Sadly, Goodwill is my downfall. My new work around with this has been to force myself to wear something in the closet, and after I get it on, decide WHY I haven’t worn it lately, or get rid of it. My work clothes are starting to outgrow the location I had assigned them, so I am not putting clean clothes away, but emptying out the drawers, item by item, and WEARING IT. If it is tight, cut oddly, stained, ripped, frayed, torn, or collects cat hair more than other things, it is gone.
  2. Clothes-undergarment/socks. This is completed. Getting socks to not be eaten by the washer or dryer is another issue altogether.
  3. Toiletries/makeup. This area could certainly benefit from an expiration date check-up.
  4. Spices. Under control. Can’t change the size of the location they live, so I do have to remember to replace items as I go with smaller containers of spices.
  5. Kitchen utensils. Another section I feel has stayed under control.
  6. Dishware/cookware. Requires only a bit of tweaking as to what goes where. (getting dishes washed and put away? NOT part of this conversation.)
  7. Under the sink. I need to identify duplicates and get them used up, and really, could use another shelf of some sort under there.
  8. Refrigerator/freezer. It never hurts to go through this and toss anything hidden that has died!
  9. File cabinets Thirty minutes of my life would get this back to 100%.
  10. Knick knacks/home décor. The day to day stuff is in good shape. I LIKE it, and want to keep it near me.
  11. Linen closet. Our linen closet is too small for ANYTHING to fit in there, so I really need empty, disperse to other homes and totally declutter.
  12. Cat toys/supplies All beheaded and gutted stuffies are tossed upon witnessing their demise. Otherwise, contained and under control.Cat face
  13. Shoes Considering I don’t buy a lot of shoes because my feet are so bad, it is quite bizarre how many pairs are littered about throughout the house. If there was a place for the laundry basket to live other than in front of the closet door, I wonder if more would find a home in there? Probably can toss a few more pair.Disappointed smile
  14. Jewelry box/hair do-dads. Taken care of.
  15. Quilt fabrics IMPOSSIBLE!!! I DID the impossible. I folded all my fabrics and stored it in bins on the shelves in the studio. While doing that, I was able to purge a small amount and gave them to a single mother I know who is learning to quilt. ALL my fabric is in a container, most of the containers are in one location. (all in the studio)
  16. Quilt books HARD!!! But done. See Above. Of course I needed the space for the new ones. Quilt show is next week.Angel
  17. Quilt patterns HARD!!!  Ditto.
  18. Art supplies HARD!!! Haven’t even made an attempt.
  19. Paintbrushes/paints HARD!!!! See above.
  20. Glues and adhesives HARD!!!! See above.
  21. Papercrafting/scrapbooking HARD!!! (Ahem, cough cough) Ditto.
  22. Jewelry making HARD!!! You must be kidding! It is however CONTAINED. It all stays in one location, in containers designed to hold it, and seriously needs some editing.
  23. Magazines HARD!!! Done.
  24. CD’s HARD!!! Done. All 4500+ songs are on my iTunes/iPod. I bought two large CD books, tossed all the jewel cases, sleeved everything. Saved one shoebox full of interesting liner notes and the Christmas CD’s were not part of this. If I go into Goodwill one more time, I will need another book.Surprised smile
  25. Books HARD!!!! But, done. To Be Read (TBR)  are all in the bedroom on the headboard shelf. Keepers that have been read are on all the other bookshelves. Buying a Nook certainly has made this a doable goal. I didn’t get rid of any reference books.School
  26. Kitchen cabinets/pantry. Is this ever done?
  27. Photographs HARD!!! Digitally, I am half way there. Hard copies? HAH!Nyah-Nyah

Areas of interest not in my 27.

The den. That is Timmy’s domain. When we had the carpet installed the room was emptied, and he did his own version of de-cluttering while putting everything back.

The Attic. I have this small window of time that I can comfortably get up there and work. The location stinks. There isn’t enough room to stand up straight, the floor isn’t solid. And a lot of stuff got shoved up there during the carpet. But I was very careful sending things back up after Christmas, so I feel confident that Christmas can be moved to one side.

The Garage and Shed. Timmy’s domain, and he is interested in getting a shed that will pass inspection and then he can clean out the garage. ( He has this idea of putting a CAR in there? Anyone heard of such a novel use for a garage??)

How about a SUCCESS photo??


2011 2 15IMG_5982

New carpet, new bed. The bed has three full depth drawers under it. The wicker box under the window holds a lot of linens (see linen closet, above)

The bookshelves have ALL my genealogical stuff and old family letters and photos. The basket in front is temporary because I have an art show that I am getting photos ready for. (and the closet is de-cluttered, too)

I had a cancellation for next weekend. I’ll leave the light on!

OK, so I’ve fessed up. How are YOU doing??

Edit Attaching this link to a very interesting article…


Yes, I am a slacker. My 27 thing fling verve and vigor have evaporated. I can talk the talk, but walking the walk—well, it is a hard row to hoe.

Mini-vacation time is popping up here with regularity. A quick weekend here, a few days there, add a holiday gathering out of state, and my days off seem to be travel days, not stay at home and putter days. Then, when  I do have some free time, it’s used editing photos, or reading a book, or doing basic household chores and simply NOT keeping up with my flinging.

Part of the reason is very obvious to me. The easy parts are semi-done. It is all hard from here on in. We are talking studio flinging time! Uugh.  I can see possibilities in almost everything that sits in this room.  There is even a sign–

  • “I am not a squanderer. I have what I have because I keep it and not because I save it. Why should I throw away that which was kind enough to reach my hands?” (Pablo Picasso).

And to me, it is true. I think I mentioned once before, how when my cousin lived with me, he loved that he could ask for anything, and I could go into my craft closet and pull it out, or pull something that could do the job. It saved me many a late night trip to the craft store when my daughter needed a project for school. But there are no children here, and no grandchildren on the horizon that would benefit from the overflow of things in this room. I have to own this stuff. It is MINE.

And I want it. All of it. So therefore the thought of flinging this room, abandoning the possibilities of so much– it has paralyzed me. I think that is why I have glossed over the actual counting in the last few flings. I have been subconsciously trying to forget I need to keep flinging! (Do I need to or just want to?? Why do I want to?)

I guess now is when I need you, the reader, to stay on top of me! Make me accountable! Tell me of your success stories, give me some encouragement and make me do this!!!

I do know that one thing I think I will try to do is also add a 27 minute clean to my routine. That’s less time than I get for my lunch hour, and it goes by fast enough then! In those 27 minutes I think that re-enforcing the previously flung areas, clearing surfaces, returning things to their homes– the kind of busy work that just has stopped being a part of my normal routine. Once upon a time, when I lived in a two-story home, the rule was don’t go up or down the stairs without taking something with you. Being in a ranch for 7 years, I have lost that habit. I am trying consciously to keep my hands full.

I believe that 27 minutes will be an amazing amount of time—if I don’t get sidetracked. I  don’t think I can do it while cooking dinner, for example. Unless it’s already in the oven and can be walked away from for 27 minutes. I guess I will have to set my stopwatch on my phone to keep me honest. That and the shuffle on the Ipod….


No, I don’t mean getting to hurl your computer across the room, no matter how much the idea appeals to you!

Let’s fling files, and junk mail and old, out of date folders. This could get messy, folks— make sure you are paying attention, because you don’t want to lose something important.

First, email. Junk mail, advertisements, message board memberships, forwarded jokes and the like.

Have more than one email address!! It doesn’t have to be with your internet service—Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail— there are plenty of places to open free accounts. Choose the one (or more) that works the way you like. Open a second or third account. You can make it easy on yourself and just call it “Firstname.LastName1” (Mary.Smith1, Mary.Smith2, etc) Why?

Because the next time you go to a store, or fill out some survey or buy online, you can use the address that you choose to be for marketing purposes. You want this to be different than the one you give to family and friends. You should check it often, for special sales and such, (and who doesn’t love a sale!!) but it won’t clutter your daily, personal email. If you are newly doing this, then every time you receive some sale message, IF YOU STILL WANT TO RECEIVE MAIL FROM THEM, go to their site and change your address.

Second, DO you still want to receive mail from them? You ordered a sweater for a gift from a company you don’t normally shop at, and now they bombard you daily? Unsubscribe!! Usually right at the bottom of the message, you have a link. (A low-impact way to do this is what I have been doing. Each day, at least ONE piece of marketing email is either unsubscribed or re-subscribed to a different box.)

If you are a member on a message board, can your Email program sort these messages into folders, so you can read at your leisure? If so, take the time to set them up properly. If not, consider changing programs!!!

Then, take a look at the message boards themselves. Are you not really involved in all of them? Remove your membership! Don’t be a slave to it. Choose those that fit best.

Now, onto the harder stuff.

(All the following assumes you have a good command of your computer, and I am unable to give precise direction as so many things are different….)

Your C drive—is it sluggish and slow? Do you have folder after folder of writing, memos, and other files just cluttered here and there? Do you NEED them any longer? (Itinerary for a trip taken two years back? At best, print it and store with your photos and other souvenirs. You haven’t printed the photos yet? Store the file in a folder labeled Archives-Various.)

Remember, use the folders to your advantage, just like a real filing cabinet. Make the categories relevant and useful to YOU, and FLING the stuff that is out of date!


  1. Do not go digging into places you shouldn’t be. Be careful that your flinging doesn’t go so overboard that you need to call in the computer repair person of your choice to put you back together!!!! (While MY computer repair person seems to think nothing of 11PM house calls, yours may not…)
  2. PHOTOS. Don’t just fling. And, by the way, this could take TIME!!!! Take a break. Work a bit at a time. It didn’t get this way in a week, you probably can’t undo it in a week.

PHOTOS: Make sure all your photos are in one folder on C.

Then, make additional folders and label by year (2010, 2009, etc).

Inside each year folder, make a month folder ( 2009-JAN, 2009-FEB, etc)

Gather all photos that are on C, sort by DATE TAKEN. Select all images taken in Feb of 2009 and move to C:Pictures/2009/2009-FEB. (At this moment we are sorting; you don’t need to look at images for whether they are worth keeping. That can come later. Once you have established a system, however, you shouldn’t put ‘bad’ photos in it.)

Do this for all the photos you have. Make a file for photos others have sent you/things you have collected online, etc.

If you find that in May of 2009 you went to cousin Jim’s wedding and took a lot of photos, you can make a folder called 2009-MAY_JimWedding and put those photos in there ( C:Pictures/2009/2009-MAY/2009-MAY_JimWedding) The rest of the photos taken in May will simply stay in C:Pictures/2009/2009-MAY. You can do this for any special occasion, vacation, etc, where you have a good number of photos of a particular subject (that cutie pie grandchild for example!)

Continue until all photos are in folders, by year and month.

Using your photo viewer, (of whatever type you use, I can’t give specific direction) look at everything, and do this,folder by slow folder:

Fling any photo that is obviously out of focus, dark, blurry, or otherwise an epic fail. If it is with the subjects eyes closed, and the photo following has their eyes open. If the group shot was taken 13 times, save the 2 or 3 that are ok. Do you have images that are really meant for the recycle bin? Then FLING them. Right into the recycle bin. If someone’s expression is good only for blackmail, either blackmail them already or fling it. Not so quickly, however, with photos of YOU. Don’t edit yourself out of the family by being overly critical of images of yourself. Your grandchildren will thank you.

The only reason to save a really bad image is—IT IS THE ONLY PHOTOGRAPH YOU HAVE OF THE EVENT OR THE PERSON. AND IT HAS GREAT HISTORIC SIGNIFANCE. See, that eliminates most of the reasons for saving the bad ones.

Now, Rename the images you have saved. Select all images, and sort by date taken. Find your select all/rename option and call all the images you just sorted through and found worthy: 2009-MAY_JimWedding The program will add a number to the end of that for you automatically.

Next, do photo editing if you do such a thing, burn CD, order prints, send to family, BACK UP images.

Is there any image you would like to print?  Print them. Order prints. Today. Sign up for Kodak Gallery, or Shutterfly, or Snapfish or load them back onto a card and take them to Target or to wherever, but get them PRINTED. After all, WHY did you take the picture in the first place?

Burn a CD. Back up in some fashion. Create a second set of these images. Grab a fine point sharpie, LABEL the CD in the center, 2010-JAN, photos. 1 of … . Put the CD into a jewel case, and create a spot to store it. Important images? Maybe  burn a CD that will stay in someone else’s home as well.

Also, create offsite storage online for additional backup protection. Use the online gallery at Kodak (about $20 a year IF you don’t order photos from them) or whichever place floats your boat… Smugmug is my choice. I am thrilled with all the options I have there. My account is at the pro level, but you can purchase lower level accounts (less bells and whistles, but still same storage facilities and ability to print.) Use this coupon code  and save $5.00 if you choose to go with them. PMfvFGKyQzxgg

Whatever you do, don’t trust the fact that you have never had a computer crash. In this age of digital cameras, and every moment being recorded, we have a true opportunity to end up with no images if we are cavalier about their care and storage. Old negatives may be shoved into the backs of dresser drawers, and get scratched and stick together, but they can still be printed. A file, lost in the computer, if not backed up, no longer exists if you haven’t at least printed it, or emailed it to someone or burned a CD/DVD or backed it up in cyber-space.

Now, a quick note about access, then I will leave you alone. Images you have shot belong to YOU. You possess the COPYRIGHT and control whether other people may print it or borrow it, or put it up on their blog. Just as you go to my photo account, you will find you can’t right click and save. Those images are MINE.

Be careful if you are storing/backing up your images someplace like Flickr/Picassa Web/Photobucket/Facebook—the more descriptors you put on the images, the more opportunities you provide for someone to steal your images. You don’t want someone’s innocent child to have photos taken and used in ways that are not appropriate. Choosing a place that has passwords, and that the general public can’t just peer around in is something to consider.

Oh, and by the way? You need to do this to ALL your computers. Good luck!

Carry On flinging…

  • Linen closet
  • Cat toys/supplies
  • Shoes

Does it feel like we should be DONE already???  I chose three categories this week….Some easy, some difficult?

Shoes, for ME, aren’t difficult. I may WANT a lot of pretty, impractical ones, but my feet don’t. I listen to my feet.

If you are going to judge me (for a job, promotion, friendship or what-have-you) based on the fact my shoes aren’t the to-die-for perfect pair for my outfit, rather than appreciate that I know my limitations and work within my abilities, so be it.

My horribly flat, bunion-ed feet need to be comfortable …free and barefoot if possible, but otherwise not forced into something that resembles the shape of my foot not one bit.

The linen closet in my home resembles an ironing board cubby, so I am somewhat forced into obedience here as well. (In my childhood home we actually HAD an ironing board cubby in the kitchen. Ours had shelving added and it was a nifty spice rack…)

A general rule might be:

One bath towel and wash cloth, per person, per day. (Do the math. That seems quite generous. Make it less if you know it works for you!!)  One set for every extra sleeping accommodation. (Couch, guest room, inflatable bed…) That isn’t to say you only use the things once and wash, but it seems more than a reasonable number to allow for laundry issues.

BIG HINT: They do not need to match the bathroom perfectly. They should be more than threadbare. If they are threadbare, move them to car-washing or pet-cleaning status.

If you remember to put them out, then seasonal linens are acceptable to keep. Think about storing them WITH the appropriate holiday decorations, however.

Sheets, pillowcases, etc. One set per bed ON the bed, two back ups. Again, you can allow for seasonal adjustments.

Really, do you need 6 or 7 sets for one bed? Save the nicest sets. (Highest thread count, not stained, still have all the matching pieces…) Maybe store the extra set for the guest room IN the guest room.

Blankets, comforters, quilts. Ok, quilter here. Do not ever fling a quilt. Not one that was made for you, or by someone personally. Find someone to give it to if you must, but it doesn’t go to Goodwill! The bed-in-a-bag $79.99 special, sure. But not one made by hand (By hand, I mean individually created and made by one person to give to anther person,  one at a time.) It can be made on a machine.

If your grandmother made it and you don’t want it anymore, and can’t find someone of your family or friends to take and appreciate  it, email me for my address. (Seriously.)

Blankets with holes–cut them up for pets, or turn into lap blankets or put in the trunk for emergencies.

Tablecloths. If you own them, do you use them? Is there a cabinet in the dining room where they fit and actually get pulled out to use? Otherwise, they seem like prime flinging material.

Pet supplies.


 IMG_5455 Rory.

 IMG_5599 4x6 GandolfIMG_3801 Miss Tatiana.

We have three (not short-haired) cats, seven cat brushes, four lint rollers and STILL have cat hair everywhere. Gonna have to fling the brushes that don’t work, and that they don’t like. Examine their toys and fling the ones that have had the stuffing pulled out of them. (Literally in our case. Hamish had a habit of disemboweling  little fuzzy mice. We would come home and find a flat green mouse and snowy white ‘innards’ of poly filling everywhere!) A crinkly bag (complete with fuzzy tail) houses all their toys, until they pull them out again.

I have a basket on the bookshelf in the den with the brushes and such, which I need to sort and fling. The bath and kitchen cabinets have their meds and vitamins and soaps, gloves and hose for bathing, but they were flung back when I did those rooms.

I think we may have come to just about the end of the easy stuff. Stay tuned, and start your spring cleaning in a spot you’ve already flung. It will be….well, not a joy….but far easier!

containing it all…

Well, the Olympics has been over for a week….did you find this week easier to fling or harder because of the topic (books and magazines?)….

I know I am slowing down…the beginning categories were easy….clothes, dishes, who CARES about that stuff!!! LOL.  It’s these last few weeks that I have not done well….I may need you to check on me and make sure I am walking the walk, ok? Can I hear some success stories?

I think I have, for the most part, resisted the urge to send you out to BUY things to hold all the stuff around you. I believe my thought process was something more along the lines of, ‘lets not buy more containers to store stuff we should be flinging, lets FLING!’ I tried to not fall into the ‘this will make everything easy, if you purchase XXXX"…’ trap.

There is always a breaking point, but the idea was not to get so sucked into the storage sales, the organizational sales that retail pushes on you at the beginning of the year. (Did anyone notice that one of the campaigns run for Sunday coupons was actually about tossing old medicines and clearing out medicine cabinets and re-stashing with all the first aid needs of your family?)

My breaking point is now. And since I have cleared all the shelves at the CVS’s near me, I can share this without fear of MY plans running amok!!

I love containers, boxes, bags….anything decorative that holds stuff. I break down and buy this cute little box or that adorable little basket.  The problems are two: They don’t all play well together. This box doesn’t fit on the shelf with that basket, or looks odd or doesn’t stack well.

The other, and far more difficult issue is that I prefer to have EVERYTHING out. Yeah, a bit of a conundrum. I love the boxes, and the way they make the area look pretty, crisp; and technically they are so helpful to organizing, but I need to have everything at my fingertips! I am a visual person–if I don’t see it, I don’t HAVE it.

Problem number two is a personal issue, that I will have to resolve (Tweak. I play at finding the best way constantly.)

But problem number one will simply require money, and a bit of decision making.

I had to lay out money to buy ALL of the particular storage totes that I decided worked best for me. (Yes, I found a sale.) But the fact is that these containers all stack neatly, are that milky clear color, and easily accommodate the items I want to store.

By the way, this storage is for the studio. I know, we haven’t gotten there officially. (and that many of you don’t have a studio…) …But I have LOTS of stuff going on in there.

Some of the containers I currently use in this room may be repurposed in other rooms, were decorative trumps function. Some others will be flung. This is going to be a LONG Fling in here, when we get there.

Thoughts on storage:

  • Big Lots, CVS, the Container Store, JoAnn Fabrics (the superstore sized ones), Target, Bed Bath and Beyond. There is no ONE place that is going to solve everything for everyone.
  • Just because I am modifying storage doesn’t mean what I have doesn’t count. I can gather the pieces that are similar and use them in some areas, because these pieces DO work. It’s the areas that are NOT working that I am playing with change.
  • Price DOES matter. (At least the full price.) Some of the ‘off’ brands may be great, but the larger items, the ones with drawers, the better (stronger, probably more expensive) brand is a better idea. Mostly because the drawers will not cave from weight, etc.
  • Plastic, wood, hat boxes, baskets: You need to decide on the type of storage and what will GO into the storage container. You are not limited to one type of storage, but resist the urge when shopping to buy a BUNCH of things that don’t work together. That’s what you (I) already have.

The next big task is to avoid simply moving things from box one to box two without flinging. It means that the look of the room is going to be worse while in progress. Accept this.

A labeling system and a shelving system to hold all your boxes needs to be assigned. I own a P-touch, or if you have nice handwriting, a Sharpie and some labels is fine. Something consistent would be better. (just the visual aspect of it….you will feel more organized at the end, don’t you think, if it looks crisp?)

After that?? It’s really up to you. I don’t know WHAT room you purchased containers for, I don’t know HOW you prefer storing things.  Just remember to FLING it first, and store only what is worth storing.

Make this a week to tweak what you have finished, look around the areas you have flung to see if it stayed flung or has it gathered stuff again—basically, ponder how things are going. Shop for some storage, if you find that is a place where you are lacking, and think about beginning your own version, at your own time, of Spring Cleaning. (I am SO not helping out on this one, sorry!!!)