Friday, September 26, 2014

bath stuff.

So let's talk shampoo, body wash, and lotions.

You may recall that earlier in the year, I got rid of a lot of "bath stuff." I had it all: body lotions, shower gels, bubble bath, soaps, and body splash and most of it sat pretty much unused or partially used in the bathroom closet for... well a long time. And once after posting about it on twitter I got asked why I didn't just use it up. It got me thinking, why didn't I use it up. Why did I opt for pitching or donating almost all of it? Which of course sort of led to the question of why I had it anyway.

And well, for some the answer to the first question was easy, it didn't smell the way it should have smelled.
Lotions, oils, soaps all have a shelf life after which they start to break down. So my vanilla body spray from Victoria Secret stopped smelling like vanilla and started to smell like alcohol--the kind you drink. Let's just say it wasn't pleasant. Other things (like the bath and body works cucumber melon) just were not to my liking anymore. They still smelled like they were supposed to, but I no longer really found that to be a pleasing scent.

Which of course begs the question--why if I liked it so much did I not use it up to start with? Why did the vanilla body spray go bad?
That answer is more complex.

In the case of the vanilla spray, I loved it so much and then Victoria Secret discontinued that scent. I wanted to save this for special occasions. I didn't WANT to use it up, because then it would be gone and irreplaceable. I was going to say, that might actually be useful for some things, but then I couldn't think of a single thing that you could save quite like that. Maybe a concert t-shirt?

In the case of the second example above--it is no longer to my taste. Well how did I end up with so much of it, that I tired of it before I ran out of it? Why did I have 4 travel sized bottles of cucumber melon shower gel, when I don't even like cucumber melon? And the answer is, that at one point I liked it enough to buy some, and then when people asked for gift suggestions or looked around at what I was using, they saw cucumber melon--and bought it for me. And then I tired of it. But trust me, when you have tired of a scent--you won't use it up.

Then there is the whole issue of I don't really use lotion anymore.
I used to have super dry skin in the winter. I used a lot of lotion. I liked lotion. But then I switched soaps--I started using a home made soap that I buy from the maker and it really doesn't dry my skin. So I don't really use lotion anymore.

I bring all this up because recently, I found a stash of shampoo in another cupboard. These seem to be bottles I bought for some specific purpose or out of desperation maybe? And I decided that maybe I'd use these up. One is shampoo I bought when I took swimming lessons (a few years ago--not as a kid) to keep my hair from getting super weird between winter and chlorine. Another is a shampoo I bought when Suave discontinued my regular kind. Both of them seem to not have broken down and neither has a strong scent, so I decided I'd just use them up. Although, maybe one of them will just get pitched, we'll see how it goes, either way--it will be gone.

Friday, September 19, 2014

School art

Last week, I finally went through the kid art from school that had accumulated all year. A few years ago, I had this huge pile because I had every intention of keeping every thing--forever I guess. I mean after all these are my babies and they will never again be in first grade. And don't I wish I had some of my art from third grade or whatever?

My husband helped me see the light.
We don't have space to save everything. Not everything is worth saving. And the novelty factor of having a piece of art from second grade is worth about a minute of pleasure. Unless....

Unless the project meant something to you at the time.

His idea was great and I'll share it with you in case school art is something you struggle with too.

I still save everything all year. At the end of the school year (or in this case the beginning of the next), I go through everything and photograph it. And I make sure I get really good photographs (even if it takes multiple shots).
Then, I go through and pick ONE that speaks to me--either as indicative of the personality of the child or a piece I just really like. Then I have each of the kids go through their work and pick one or two that they like.

Originally, the plan was to pitch the rest. However, another family member (ahem grandma) decided she would keep everything we didn't want. So now, it all goes to grandma's house.

Occasionally, shutterfly will offer a free photobook, and one year I documented the school year in one, and included the photos of the art. One year, we made thank you cards using the pictures of the art. One year we gave notecards with pictures of the art as a christmas gift.

This year, as an aside, it was much easier as the art teacher went on maternity leave mid-year. You could TELL by the projects when the long-term sub had come. I think we may have saved every piece done under the original teacher.

How do you deal with the school art?


Monday, September 8, 2014

back into the swing

So, summer vacation for my children came, and my opportunity to do much beyond keeping my head above water so to speak vanished. You would think that my de-cluttering came to a halt as well.

And in some ways it did.

It became harder and harder to focus on one area the way I had been doing before vacation. Before, I'd designate an area and every day I'd work a little bit on it. During vacation it became more like: "UGH I can't get this drawer closed. Hey why do I have 3 of these?"

That's not to say that the latter way of decluttering isn't useful. I discovered a mosquito repellent that had a "yuck" sticker placed on it by my then pre-kindergarten girls after a safety camp. And they started MIDDLE school last week. I also cleared space in cabinets that I never even thought of as cluttered.

Like when my girls sent me on a hunt for small phillips head screwdrivers for a model building day one rainy day, I discovered I had a bunch of junk where I usually store screwdrivers/scissors in the kitchen. And decided I only needed one of each there. I should probably decide just how many screwdrivers total I need and de-clutter the toolbox in the garage.

I also discovered that I need to teach my children about what is trash. A lot of the time when I'd be picking up stuff, I'd discover a cache of wrappers (gum, rainbow loom,candy, and whatever) that they had shoved under other papers or behind cushions. It kind of defeats the purpose of clearing space if the children fill it.

So, the girls are back in school, I am working on getting back to my routine. And I'm willing to take suggestions--What is a problem area for you with regards to clutter? Tell me about it, either in a comment (or send me a tweet @todaystwo) and perhaps I'll use it as a jumping off point for my get back into the swing of things!