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Name: merrymishaps (Lauren)
Home: Annapolis, MD, United States
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Friday, November 27, 2009

parental cleanup

My parents arrived tonight. We'll be celebrating Christmas early this year, since both my brother and I will be with our in-laws on the actual holiday.

So today, when I wasn't doing last-minute shopping - I was getting my house mom clean.

Surely I missed some things since I was pressed for time, but I did what I could. Floors swept throughout the house and Swiffer mopped. Living room tidied. My husband vacuumed.

This month's cleanings has certainly helped get the house in order quickly!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

happy thanksgiving!

I ran a very muddy Turkey Chase 10K this morning -- which ended up measuring 6.39 miles instead of 6.2. And due to the mud I'm guessing, they parked us along the road and in smaller side lots rather than the field across from the start line. After the race I jogged back to the car to grab my jacket and logged the distance on my Garmin -- I was about .3 miles from the start. So I jogged back for post-run breakfast to make it an even seven.

Once home, I started cooking. Pumpkin and apple pies first, followed by Tofurky, mashed potatoes, stuffing and vegetarian gravy. By the time dinner was ready, I had been cooking for about six hours! (When will I learn to make pies and maybe the potatoes -- which I also bake -- ahead of time?)

That said, there was no official clean-up project today. However, all dishes used in food prep are clean (hubby helped!), and I tidied up a bit and wiped down the counters.

The kitchen is cleaner than when I started this morning!

Now ... if my day wasn't crazy enough, I'm going to go shopping at midnight!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

a simple solution

For some reason, we have a wet bar in our living room. It's not like the house is so big you can't make it to the kitchen for a glass of water. I don't think we've ever used the sink.

But the counter space does come in handy. Since there's an outlet, we usually charge our electronics here. I've got my laptop on it right now. It's a little awkward -- I've got a cat situation keeping it off my lap at the moment. But it works!

Anyway, where there are electronics there are cords ...

wet bar before

I've been meaning to get a charging station for a while now. It won't hold everything ... but the phone cords and a rarely-used charger fit in the base, and my camera battery charger and camera fit in the bin in front.

And when we're not charging anything, the cord can tuck behind the station. Perfect!

wet bar after

That's a picture frame in front. I'll eventually replace the Target label with a photo!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

making progress

I spent the night buried in papers, as I sorted through and filed many piles and boxes of paperwork. It's finally starting to pay off!

What once looked like this:

office disaster

Now looks like this:

office progress

There's still work to be done, but I'm definitely moving in the right direction!


Monday, November 23, 2009

more cabinet clutter

I really didn't feel like cleaning up anything tonight. I was even almost tempted to tackle the ironing pile.

But I persevered and took on a much larger project.

bathroom cabinet -- before

This is the cabinet in the master bathroom. Since we don't have a medicine cabinet or any other storage except for a small shelf, everything winds up under here.

There were empty boxes, shampoo samples, and expired medication scattered throughout the cabinet. I tossed the trash and put all the samples into a few cosmetic bags that were already in there. I also threw out a few very, very old and/or unwanted bath products. When the plastic bottle is starting to discolor, it's time to let the body wash go!

bathroom cabinet - after


Sunday, November 22, 2009

more laundry piles

This time the clean clothes:

laundry pile

I'm happy to say everything has been put away! It was a tight squeeze, but all of my clothes are currently contained in my closet or dressers.

laundry away

Well, except for the ironing pile. That's a whole other issue!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

cleaning out the pantry

In the beginning of the month, my pantry looked like this:

messy pantry

I started working on the problem last week, clearing out the bottom and sorting out the bag situation.

clean bottom pantry

After a trip to the grocery store today, it was time to tackle the rest. I took out everything, shelf by shelf.

Apparently, our pantry is a black hole. We had far too many expired products in there. Crackers from 2006, salsa from 2008, etc. I think the worst may have been the marinade that expired in 2003 ... though I did find a coupon in a box of hot chocolate packets (expired in 2008)  that was only good through 2001. So those probably moved here with us, over eight years ago. Ick!

I claimed to have thrown away expired food the last time I did this. I must not have looked too closely!

It's hard to organize those deep shelves, but I tried to group items together. This is what it looks like now:

organized pantry

The second shelf from the top looks a bit cramped, but it's actually quite organized. Pasta and sauces on the right, assorted other ethnic (Thai, Mexican, Indian) on the left. The third shelf is the snack shelf. It would have been nearly empty if I did this yesterday ... there was a good sale!

I usually don't have that much salad dressing. My neighbor works for a company that sometimes sends her samples of products to share. I have a feeling she has a lot more where that came from.

We have to start working on that before we wind up with more expired dressing. Would you like some?


Friday, November 20, 2009

the domino effect

My guest room often doubles as a laundry room. Generally it works out well -- we rarely have guests and it's right by the washer and dryer.

messy guestroom

Actually, it was much worse than this. I took this photo a few loads of laundry ago!

It's mostly my running clothes and other clothes that I line-dry. I hang them on the rack, on a rack behind the door, doorknobs, treadmill, etc ...

And then I don't put my clothes away before the next load of laundry, and the dry clothes start piling up.

But it's hard to promptly put away your clothes when your drawers look like this:

messy running

too many t-shirts

This is my second dresser, dedicated to running clothes, t-shirts and pajamas. It was definitely time to clean out my drawers and pack away my summer clothes!

First I got rid of about a third of the t-shirts, clearing a little more space for my running clothes. (Winter clothes take up a lot more room!)

reorganized shirts

Then I dumped everything out of my main running-clothes drawer, packed away the out-of-season stuff, and shoved the in-season clothes in there somewhat neatly. It seems I still have too much stuff!

reorganized running

After all that was put away, my guest room is almost ready for guests!

clean guestroom


Thursday, November 19, 2009

step into my office

messy desk

What? You didn't think my clutter problem was limited to my house, did you?

Well I was inspired to straighten up the mess today. This picture doesn't do it justice. It was worse than it looks here!

First I tossed a pile of Post-its that mostly just nonsense at this point. Then I sorted through the paperwork. I often print out project requirements when I'm working on them so I can take notes. But I have electronic copies -- there's no need to save them once the project is finished!

I do have a couple of piles that I need to sort through, but at least they're neat now. Once the surface was clean, I gave it a good wipe-down. Wow, it needed that. All those papers were hiding lots of crumbs!

clean desk

Now just my notebook and printouts for current projects are by my side. Much better!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

tidying up

I just found out an acquaintance will be coming over tomorrow night ... so I figured I should focus on some general cleaning tonight!

I've already gone through the mail pile (again) (it wasn't that bad this time), put away items that didn't belong on the kitchen table, wiped down the bathroom counter, and brought some books upstairs that were cluttering the living room.

I've still got more work to do. It won't be perfect, but I'll do what I can until bedtime!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

this one doesn't make much of an impact

But I found what I was looking for!

Tonight I sorted through my choral music. I had to find the music I need now that we're rehearsing for the holidays, so it was the perfect opportunity to reorganize.

office disaster

I store my music in the gray file box seen above, and it's safe to say I don't always put things away promptly. Or ever. That pile to the left of the file box is also music; the red folder at the bottom is Christmas music. From last year. There was a lot of stuff just shoved in the back of the box behind the hanging folders. I found a rehearsal schedule from 2005!

I sorted through a large pile of papers, a lot that were duplicates or things I don't think I'll need again. That can go, freeing up a little more space. The rest is now sorted alphabetically in hanging folders. It had folders before, but I added a few more since it was a bit too stuffed before.

Then I shoved the file box under the corner table so it's out of the way.

office files

That large pile of papers next to the shredder is waiting to be shredded. It can only handle a few sheets at a time!


Monday, November 16, 2009

sorting socks

I was looking around for a portable project tonight. I've got a lot to watch on my DVR and I wanted to multitask!

I wasn't really in the mood to sort through piles of paperwork, but I came across another issue in the office that would work.


Somehow these old storage bins back from the early apartment days wound up storing some of my running clothes (mostly socks) that I hadn't gotten around to pairing up and putting away. Since there were also three pairs of gloves in there, this pile has been building up for a while!

I matched 24 pairs of socks and put them away. I also folded and put away the three tank tops, two running skirts, and pair of shorts that was in there.

And then I got out all of the stray socks from the laundry pile and tried to pair them up.

But I still have a lot of orphans.

stray socks

I'm not giving up hope until we get to the bottom of Mt. Laundry. (But I did throw out several that were not worth saving!)


Sunday, November 15, 2009

accidental clean-up

I had a busy day today. And actually, quite the busy weekend. I've still managed to post daily for NaBloCleanMo, but I've fallen behind.  I'm currently not working a day ahead on any of my cleanup projects.

When I got home around 6pm tonight after being out all day on a running-related field trip (more on that later), I wasn't really sure what I was going to tackle tonight.

I went about showering and putting on my jammies (yes, before 7pm), and then went into the kitchen to fill up a water bottle. It's hard to drink out of cups in this house! And I got a little sidetracked ...

While I have plenty of clean water bottles, I decided I should wash out the three in queue next to the sink. And then I washed the colander that had been sitting beside the sink for a few weeks.

And then I cleaned out the empty cookie jar. Even though they were long gone, everything had been tasting minty since the last of the Candy Cane Joe-Joe's (which should be back soon, if not already. Yay!).

I also have a canister that used to have whole wheat flour in it. I ran out long ago, yet hadn't gotten around to washing it out. Until today.

I don't have a before picture since I didn't really intend this to be tonight's clean-up project. It just happened.

cleaned up kitchen

Once everything was clean I wiped down the countertops. Sure it's only part of my kitchen, but it makes a big difference!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

mt laundry

I can't take credit for most of today's cleanup. My husband did most of the work while I napped on the couch, recovering from this morning's 9-mile run. Since I had a chorale concert last night and another tonight, I needed the rest!

Onto the cleanup ... Our laundry stack had gotten quite impressive!

mt laundry

I can't believe it didn't topple over.

After I got back from my run, I did wash a load of running clothes. This didn't help the main problem ... but my running-clothes hamper was also full. Yikes.

Once that was done, I pulled the darks/colors out of the mountain and my husband took over from there.

laundry progress

It's still kinda full, but the lid closes!

Before my nap, I tried on all of the jeans and pants in my dresser. I'm less likely to put my clothes away if my drawers are too stuffed! I found a small stack that I didn't wear much or didn't fit well that'll go to Goodwill. I didn't get rid of that much ... but it should help.

Now I just have to go through the rest of the drawers ... and my closet ...


Friday, November 13, 2009

this is a recurring problem.

I have too much stuff, and not enough places to put it.

Tonight I returned to cabinet in the powder room. This half bathroom truly is my powder room, since I use it to do my hair and makeup in the mornings while my husband is in the shower.

Aside from storing toilet paper and some cleaning supplies, I have a quite a collection of hair products, sunscreen, lotions and bath products in here.

vanity before

I find it kind of amusing that the black box in the front was full of stuff I hadn't yet organized the last time I cleaned out this cabinet. It's referenced in the post I linked to above ... from November 2007!

Anyway, that's gone now. Also gone are a lot of half and mostly-empty sunscreen bottles that have expired, some empty boxes, and some products that I remember disliking.

vanity after

I have the same problem as last time -- a ton of nearly-empty hair products that I simply won't toss until it's all used up. I now have all of them consolidated in a large basket in the front. This time I really do have to finish off all the almost-empty ones, and figure out if I like the full ones. And then toss them if they don't work!

Last time I didn't have that large basket ... and all of the extra hair products were in the back where I couldn't access them as easily. Hopefully this works!

I still have some work to do with the small basket in the front. There are some lotions that can stay, but there's also a rather large assortment of travel-size shower gel, shampoo and conditioner bottles that should probably be stored with the others I have in our master bathroom cabinet.

But that's another project for another day!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

paper or plastic?

Apparently, both.

I started going through my cluttered pantry last night. Here's what we started with:

messy pantry

It seems I feel the need to save every paper or plastic bag that comes into this house. By cleaning out just the bottom section of the pantry, I was able to remove this:


Oh, I also re-attached the bag holder/dispenser that had fallen off months ago. That was also shoved into the floor area of the pantry.

clean bottom pantry

I still have a long way to go. But at least now stuff won't fall on me every time I open the door!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

a-tisket, a-tasket

I organized my basket.

Well, not completely. But I got rid of a lot of junk.

When you last saw my dresser, it looked like this:

clean dresser

Note the position of the first basket on the left.

The other night I went through this basket, throwing out old receipts and prescription labels, tossing some old broken sunglasses, and putting away two random socks.

cleaner basket

See how this semi-organized basket is actually smaller than the one in the middle? That's how much stuff was shoved behind it. I tend to put things there that I need to save for some reason.

There were quite a few receipts from online orders where I've made returns. Do I ever go back and check the statement to make sure it's on there? Not usually.

There were a lot of prescription labels, saved for ease of refill. But does the whole bag need to stay there? Of course not.

This is still very much a junk basket, and it will probably stay pretty random. But it's better than having all that stuff all over my dresser!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

this one's going to take a while

It looks like there's been an explosion in my home office.

office disaster

Most of it is paperwork. At one point I started to reorganize my filing cabinet, but just ended up with piles all over the room. Part of the reason I have trouble filing promptly in the first place is because there is way too much stuff shoved in our small filing cabinet!

So when I started this reorganization (months ago!), I cleared out the bottom drawer so I could start fresh. And I wound up with this.

file pile

I sat down and started going through some of the files. Car insurance records from 2004 -- from a provider I no longer use? Bank statements from 2001? (Remember when banks sent back checks in your statements? It was also pretty easy to tell when I started using online banking -- no more large stack of checks!)

I still have a pile to shred but got through quite a bit. Very little actually needed to be saved.

files sorted

I still have a long way to go, and it doesn't make a big visual impact. But I'm moving in the right direction!


Monday, November 09, 2009

another messy dresser

We've already established my problem putting things away. Of course I have a problem with my laundry as well.

clothes pile

Here you see a combination of clothes I neglected to hang up / put in drawers, clothes that needs to be washed separately, and running clothes I've started pulling out of storage for the cooler temperatures.

I started using a separate hamper for my running clothes years ago. I used to throw items with special washing instructions in there as well, to keep them separate from the main laundry ... but that wasn't working out. So I purchased a third hamper. Hopefully this will help keep some of the mess from coming back!

It didn't take long to put away what was clean and toss what was dirty into the new hamper.

put away

You could barely see the clock in the "before" picture.

All that's left are two pairs of my husband's shorts that need button repairs. They've been waiting for a while!


Sunday, November 08, 2009

shoe mountain

The same thing seems to happen each season. I start pulling shoes out of storage before packing away the past season's shoes.

Resulting in this:

shoe mountain

I pulled everything out, stored the spring/summer shoes in an under-the-bed box, got rid of several pairs I wasn't wearing or had replaced, and reorganized.

shoes organized

I don't actually expect it to stay this way. It's hard to manage all these boots in such a small space!


Saturday, November 07, 2009

dresser disaster

Sticking to the bedroom, I decided my dresser would be the next clean-up project.

messy dresser

I had mainly accumulated a collection of tags and extra buttons from clothing, papers, receipts, jewelry gift boxes that I obsessively save to re-use, a pillow case for some reason, and random junk.

clean dresser

Ah, much better.

I still have to go through the baskets, but I'll save that for another day!


Friday, November 06, 2009

bedside clutter

Another trouble spot is the space beside my bed. I have a habit of stashing things I don't feel like dealing with, usually when cleaning public spaces.

messy bedside

For example, see that box beneath the window? It was full of papers and objects that I "cleaned" off the top of the entertainment center when we had company. Judging by what was in there, our guests visited in or just after December 2008.

That black bag is full of goodies taken home from the Rock and Roll half marathon I ran Labor Day weekend in Virginia Beach. And that pink bag behind it? Yeah, that's also from a VA Beach Rock and Roll half marathon. In 2008.

I've finally got all that stuff sorted out. A lot of trash is gone, and everything else has found a better storage place.

clean bedside

I picked up a new trash can today that's now tucked by the nightstand -- hopefully some of these problems (like two empty tissue boxes!) can be avoided in the future!


Thursday, November 05, 2009

basic cleaning

Yesterday was a really long day.

We got let out of work yesterday for a mandatory meeting, which was held 40 miles from the office. Due to crazy traffic, it took an hour and a half to get there. I caught the end of the meeting, and then promptly had to drive back home for my choral rehearsal.

Of course that meeting was 40 miles away from home, and it took an hour and 40 minutes to get back. I didn't have a chance to stop home first, but I made it on time!

By the end of the night, I was beat. So I'm really glad I decided to work on my clean-up projects a day in advance!

I planned on doing some simple cleaning last night, but decided that could wait until today. I've just doubled up on projects tonight!

Anyway ... my make-up project isn't anything that will improve the overall clutter of my home, but it had to be done.

I cleaned the bathroom.

The master bathroom is the one we used the most, but sometimes it doesn't get cleaned as often as it should be. It was time. I only scrubbed the toilet and counter, but it made a big difference.

There are no pictures since that would have been gross, so you'll just have to believe me.

Don't worry, I'll resume posting photo evidence tomorrow!


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

this is embarrassing.

So you know I'm serious about cleaning up my home!

Whenever I get to the bottom of a bath product in a plastic bottle (shampoo, contact solution, etc.), I set it near the trash in the bathroom, intending to rinse it out and bring it to the recycle bin.

But it seems I have a problem with this concept.

recycling problem

How horrible. It must take a few months for me to go through a bottle of contact solution, and there are FOUR bottles visible in that photo. I think there were actually five there. Yikes!

It didn't take long to fix that. Items have been rinsed out and are ready to recycle.


My bathroom is still ugly (uh, somebody put, and then partially peeled off, gold trim on the dark green molding) ... but that's a much bigger problem to solve!


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

one pile of junk at a time

I won't have enough time for any big cleanup projects most weeknights. Last night was no exception.


pile of junk

junk gone!

It may be just a small improvement ... but that pile has been sitting next to my dresser since August. I'm glad it's gone!


Monday, November 02, 2009

excess baggage

I went on a long run yesterday. By the time I finished a late lunch and went home and showered, it was after 4pm.

All I wanted to do was relax and watch TV, but I was dedicated to my goal. I had to clean up first!

I decided to tackle the mountain of bags that has accumulated in the living room. (Another downside of having no real entryway! Though, some of those have been there since August. Yikes!)

messy fireplace

There are some bags that we use everyday that are allowed to stay there, but everything else had to be put away!

clean fireplace

I suppose I should also move the reusable bags into the car so that I'll actually remember to use them. Baby steps!