Lifestyles of the Destitute and Obscure

dazzling and interesting on a shoestring

Tag Archives: organizing

Spring Cleaning

Look at me!  I got a fella who vacuums.

Look at me! I got a fella who vacuums.

Oh, yes, it’s spring here in the land of the destitute. Everything is blooming: the nasturtiums have declared their mission to take over the balcony, and the Japanese maples have filled out so that it feels like we live in a tree house. Our ducks made their stopover on their flight back to wherever it is they spend the summer.  It’s all very lovely.

Our feathered couple observe the resort atmosphere.

Our feathered couple make a stopover on their way north.

The inside of our house, however, is less lovely. Boxes have piled up in the closets, the book hospital where toddlers have overenthusiastically loved a few books has made a mess of my bookcase. My desk has turned into a storage unit, even if I have resigned myself to the fact that I will not be sitting at it anytime soon.  And then there’s the dirty windows, the filthy rental carpeting, the couch sprouting week-old popcorn, and my winter-worn and mother-weary face.

The clutter-pile also known as my desk.

The clutter-pile also known as my desk.

 

 

 

So some spring cleaning is in order. Here’s the list (if you didn’t know already, I’m a list-maker):

  • Master bath
  • Other bath
  • M’s books
  • M’s closet
  • A desk
  • A closet
  • K closet
  • B & E closet
  • B & E books
  • Clean carpet
  • Clean couch
  • Mend couch (it’s vintage and busting its seams)
  • Dust
  • K basket
  • Red bowl on dining room table
  • Wash comforters
  • Linen shelf in kitchen
  • Wash windows
  • Sew B & E curtains
  • Taxes
  • File box
  • Oil change for car
  • Facial for Mommy(even my face needs spring cleaning, and I refuse to see this as frivolous)

 

I am happy to report that as of this posting, the list is about 2/3 completed (note that I crossed those items out—a wonderful feeling), and that my husband is the one that deep-cleaned both bathrooms. Did you know, men, that cleaning the bathroom increases your sex-appeal by 42%? Proven fact. (see picture above for further proof of my guy’s cleaning prowess)

The closets were purged of all clothing that didn’t fit, wasn’t interesting or wasn’t going to be worn. Those items, both kids’ and adults’, went to Macedonia. The discarded baby equipment and some baby clothes went to a center for young mothers.

A few select, fancy and seldom-worn items went to consignment. In order to sort through and re-organize the six boxes of baby clothes that I have (hand-me-downs, leftovers from Big Sis, and a handful of family hand-knits) I enlisted the help of my parents. They came down for the day, card table in tow, and set up shop in my living room to sort, fold, wrangle toddlers and also to run the carpool to school. I couldn’t have done it without them. The living room was completely full of bags, boxes and stacks and stacks of little girl clothing. I could have opened up a consignment shop of my own on the spot. I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures, but you’ll just have to use your imagination and my sparkling description as a prompt.

Twin Who-sits working on their early literacy skills.

Twin Who-sits working on their early literacy skills.

The local high school rummage sale provided us with a new bookcase for the big girl, and an old vintage dresser for the little girls. This enabled us to put the bookcase that formerly belonged to Big Girl into the twin’s room.  And now everybody has room for all their books, the paper/tear-able books are out of little harms’ way and I have an excuse to buy more books.  I love Spring!

 

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Love Those Hand-Me-Downs

As the mother of two new babies, there is nothing so helpful and appreciated like hand-me-downs.  The purpose of hand-me-downs is two-fold:  I receive much-needed clothing for my growing critters and somebody easily cleans out their closet.  I honestly don’t know what I’d do without the generosity of so many friends and their older children.  And I certainly don’t know where (and can’t afford) to buy such cute, cute clothes.  Image
Those clothes that were originally worn by oldest are then passed on to the consignment store in hopes of serving one last purpose as a few bucks in cash.   A few of the generous free-bees make it into the consignment pile, too, but for the most part, I try not to be stingy with the karmic circle of generosity, and I pass it along to the next needy mom or donate them to a nearby charity.  Please note that my motivation to accepting cast-offs is not to turn them around for a hefty profit—the last time I checked my balance at the consignment store it was less than enough to order a pizza.  It helps pay down my school debt and bought me a dining room chair, from a consignment furniture store, incidentally. And most of it is used to clothe my two babies.
I have received more gracious gifts than I can practically use.  Here’s how I add a little organization to the chaos of tons of baby clothes:

  • For instance, my summer-born babies will not likely be wearing summer rompers at 6 months; it will be cold by the time they get that big.  So I pass it along.
  • In my house, shoes don’t go on children who aren’t walking.  They are terribly cute, but I only save a pair or two of the hand-me-down shoes (for special Easter-like/picture-worthy occasions) and give them to the consignment store, because most parents can’t resist Mary-Janes or Converse in size 2.
  • I organize appropriate items in boxes by size, and those that are too small get organized by season (spring and fall) for sale or donation.

The best way to give and receive hand-me-downs is to be involved in a moms group, or church group with other mothers.  Neighbors are wonderful connections as well, since we can easily see their crammed garages and pregnant and then un-pregnant bellies.  It helps, of course, to be in a group with kids at least six months older (the givers) and about six months younger (the receivers) in order to make the perfect circle.  But I have been blessed enough to receive gifts from friends of friends, hundreds of miles away.  What a wonderful, wide-spread village!

Being well-connected, organized, generous and grateful are all essential in the great recycling circle of hand-me-downs.  Believe in them and their usefulness and you may never have to buy kids’ clothes again… well, maybe not never, but certainly less.