The Clutter of Unfinished Projects

file00074170513Unfinished projects, whatever they may be, can be double trouble when it comes to clutter. First, there is the actual physical clutter of the supplies needed, the stamps and scrapbook paper, the yarn and needles, the candle molds, the paints, how-to books, whatever the projects require.

Next, there is the mental clutter. Do you feel good when you look at your unfinished projects, excited by your progress, or do you feel a sort of dread because they still haven’t been completed. For me, looking at unfinished projects starts negative thoughts because I feel like I have failed. The unfinished project supplies mock me.

In my experience, there is the initial excitement of starting a project that may carry through for days or even weeks, and then something happens. Life comes along, the project gets put aside and there isn’t the time or motivation to get back to it. The usual response is “Of course, I can’t just throw it away, right? After all, I have already invested money and time into the project.”

So there the project (or more likely projects) sit, waiting. Sometimes we move them around the house a bit, from a desk to under the desk, to a closet or a tub, but like they never go away.

Letting go of unfinished projects is hard, but I challenge you today to try to release at least one unfinished project around your home. Maybe pick the oldest project. I’m going to do the same. Free yourself of clutter space in your home and in your head.

Meanwhile, out the door for me today are two large bags of clutter (garbage) and a car full of stuff ready for donation.

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Why My Chicken is Dr. House

House-M.D.-Gregory-House-1479Warning, grossness ahead.

We were all ready for a nice dinner of homemade biscuits, salad and roasted chicken. When my husband started carving the chicken, he discovered that its insides were lime green. I’ve since learned that the most likely cause is Deep Pectoral Myopathy, the same thing that gives Dr. House his limp. In other words, the muscle of the chicken likely died while the chicken itself was still alive, and then both muscle and chicken started to rot.

In the interest of not making everyone throw up, I decided not to post any photos.

Since the kids were grumbling the other day about not being visited by a naughty leprechaun who unrolls all of the toilet paper or turns their milk green, I took full advantage of the serendipity of green chicken. Then I promptly excused myself and turned the bathroom toilet bowl salad green.

Update (3/20/13) Lesley H had the same thing happen to her. Her brother-in-law, who is a butcher, had another explanation for the green chicken meat.

“He said that what can happen is when the chicken is kept at a temperature that only partially freezes it, the deepest part of the chicken will sometimes not reach a temperature cold enough to prevent bacteria from growing.  This is more common on larger chickens- and in fact, the one I had was nearly 6 pounds if I recall correctly.  He said the outside may seem frozen, but if it hasn’t been allowed enough time to freeze through all the way and then is moved to higher temperature conditions (such as for transport) the deeper parts can begin to rot out.  I do recall that the chickens at the grocery store usually are only partially frozen, so the explanation made sense in my situation.  Who knows though.  Since what happened to me, I am careful not to choose those really large chickens anymore, and haven’t run across it again.

“ETA, I wanted to add that my chicken had NO foul odor whatsoever- it seemed perfectly fine from the outside.  It was only when I cut into it after it was fully roasted that I discovered the disgusting green meat.”

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When It Comes to Laundry

When It Comes to Laundry

I’m trying to teach my oldest child how to use the washing machine and dryer. Any tips?

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March 15, 2013 · 4:41 pm

It’s 1996, Let’s Buy Cheez Whiz

file0002020216998De-cluttering and becoming minimalist has had some fun moments. My husband is starting to get on board and agreed to go through old paperwork with me that was stored neatly, although obsessively, in our many (Eight! Seriously!) file cabinets. I found an entire set of folders of old grocery receipts, dated in the 1990s. I learned some interesting things about my husband from them.

“I never bought Cheez Whiz,” he says.

“Hoo Hoo, it says Cheez Whiz, right here. April, 1996. You bought Cheez Whiz.”

“Maybe I was making Macaroni and Cheese?”

“Cheez Whiz is the stuff that you spray out of a can, right?”

“I don’t eat that stuff.”

Pause for “the look,” which after 12 years of marriage is close to being perfect.

“It must have been for a party or something.”

“Uh huh.”

Days later, I proceeded to shred the evidence, along with stuff that had financial information and social security numbers, perhaps more damaging in the wrong hands than even the Cheez Whiz receipt. The somewhat ancient shredder died on me, so I bagged it up along with the paper shreds. I actually made it so far as to toss the whole thing in the trash can (cut me some slack, our recycling bin was full, and I just wanted the stuff out of the house).

Later, my husband rescued the whole thing.

The shredder was just temperamental, he said (sure enough, scared for its life in a land fill, it started right back up). The shreds were not cross-cut, so they needed to be burned in the backyard. (Yes, yes, green police, I know, strike two.)

So, what was the purpose of spending time with the old shredder if it still required burning paper in the backyard?

Booyah! score one for Minimalist Wife and the shredder is no longer taking up space in our basement. (Minimalist Wife is blessed to have a husband who can concede defeat when presented with logic.)

The shredder never did make it out to the donation pile in the car, so I have my suspicion it might have been quietly buried in the backyard where it will one day be unearthed and declared an ancient device used in religious rituals.

Progress is progress.

 

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I Blame The Muppets

Image

Spring cleaning…a necessary part of modern society, or a crafty well-organized government alien conspiracy to get us to buy things that smell like lemon?

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Is There Such a Thing as Too Modest?

modest girls clothingI just returned from an outgrown clothing sale at a local church. My good friend, Amy and I, along with my littlest boy had a good time hunting for bargains. I think we moms both made out well, especially for our girls, but even at this church-sponsored event, there was quite a bit of immodest or inappropriate clothing, I thought.

When did our little girls go from pretty dresses in pastel colors to belly shirts of dark purple and black or from rolled up jean shorts to booty shorts with attention-getting sayings on the behind? When did the boys start wearing T-shirts with leering and suggestive writing on them? I know it is an old rant.

Sorting through some girls dresses, I narrowed down my selections and decided to put two dresses back. They were pretty dresses, one a white eyelet and the other with pink ribbons sewn at the hem. As I passed one of the tables on my way to return the dresses to their rack, I stopped to offer the dresses to two moms who were sorting through girls clothing of the same size. We had chatted earlier for a bit about our daughters. “Oh, no,” the one mom replied. “My daughter is too old for those styles.” Her little girl is eight. The other mom just shrugged and went back to sorting.

Later, while I was sorting through some boys jeans and chatting with some other moms that were browsing through the same sizes, I examined and put back one pair of jeans. It had a number of strategically placed holes, and I thought they were immodest. “I can’t believe someone would sell something like this,” I muttered when I should have been quiet. The lady next to me snatched up the jeans and proceeded to tell me that this was the style, and I must not have any style. She talked about how she used to work in the fashion industry and knows these things. “I think you are right, I muttered,” and then made my excuses to move on. I don’t have much style, admittedly, but…Dejected, I left the piles of clothing with a sense of ickiness.

I promised my little guy that we would look at the toys, and he had been so good through the clothes shopping. As we walked to a different section of the sale, up the stairs and into a different room, it was easy to see the excess out there. That is the topic for a different rant.

Anyway, we made our way over to the toys, and my child selected a small blue teddy bear that he insisted on paying with his own money. Thinking back to the many, many stuffed animals we have at home, I almost said no. I did sort of try to talk him out of it, but I am proud of the fact that I stopped myself. It was one stuffed animal. How could I deny him the chance to embrace and hold on to his childhood, when society will want him to grow up before his time?

So I ask you…am I making too big a deal over the clothing choices that are out there? Am I dooming my kids to always look old-fashioned with longer skirts and plain shirts? Is there such as thing as being too modest?

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Money Saving March Day 5

money saving marchWelcome to Day 5 of Money Saving March! Each day during the month of March we will take on a new challenge that is easy to do and will save or earn us some extra money. 

Well, March is certainly coming in like a lion with yet another winter storm. Today, I think we need an easy money-saving task that will also help improve our homes.

The challenge for today is to go around your home and find at least five things that no longer add meaning to your life. Place these things in a box or a bag and set them aside to either donate or sell. Selling the items may earn you some cash, but if you donate them instead, you can get a write off on your taxes.

After doing this little purge, the items will no longer take up valuable space in our home, so you won’t be paying the square footage just for storing things you don’t really need or want. If you rent a separate storage unit, then today’s challenge can have even more impact. The more clutter you remove from your life, the closer you are to removing the monthly storage fee!

Ready? Set? Go!

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