Friday, February 24, 2017

Day 54 of Decluttering

Had to laugh this morning when I came out of the bedroom. We have several shelving racks lining the passage between the bedrooms and the living space and my SD has designated one of the shelves for her father, and placed items that he needs to assess and make decisions about! Brilliant! That being said I fear that she may need more than one rack by the time she has been through everything, unless she can make him stay on top of things. She already has him committed to making decisions about the 7 (8?) vacuum cleaners we have. My SD spent hours cleaning, testing, repairing when deemed worth the effort and retesting to make sure that all of them worked but says that some work much better than others.

Kitchen / Family Room / Dining Room
While I had great plans to get things done in all of these rooms today helping my SO deliver a vehicle 50 miles away took much longer than either of us anticipated. By the time we got home I still had to run errand / check on cars and so I didn't feel like doing much but snuggling up on the couch with the 3 dogs and watching a bit of television before dragging myself off to bed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Day 53 of Decluttering

Another busy day doing things other than cleanups and working for myself, but it was necessary. The SO needed help and so I spent a good part of the afternoon with him. I was tired when I finally got home but didn't get to rest for very long before the SD decided that I needed to get doing something else. She is very enthusiastic right now and I need to encourage and support her efforts as she is encouraging and supporting mine.

I made the mistake of believing that the freezer would be much easier to clean than the fridge. I was most definitely wrong. It wasn't dirtier but whereas I could remove the shelves of the fridge door, the freezer shelves are fixed and therefore I had to clean them where they are, working my way around the strip across the front that prevents things from falling out. I actually started by cleaning the ice section at the top of the freezer and then remembered that I had started the fridge by doing the door first. Rather than just do a shelf or two I completed the entire door, with almost all the contents going in the trash. The big mess you can see at the bottom of the door is Pepsi that my SO put in the freezer and then promptly forgot about it so it exploded. He never cleaned it up and in my being stubborn I didn't clean it up either.

Tomorrow I will work on the main section of the freezer, and as trash pickup day is Friday it might be wise to go through all the contents and purge as much as I can. It will certainly make it easier to clean the freezer without things thawing. If I feel up to it I might just do the entire freezer and then the following day all that will remain to be done is the grill strip across the bottom and a good wipe down of the exterior. It feels great to be getting things not just organized but thoroughly cleaned too. Maintenance will be so much easier than the actual thorough cleaning, and provided I stay on top of it the fridge and freezer should never have to be given such a cleaning again. And while I will want to celebrate getting the entire refrigerator clean and organized I will then have to turn around and clean the other fridge! It is not very dirty at all because it is barely used, but it will still need to be thoroughly cleaned because it is to be turned off, wrapped up and put in the garage. I will put baking soda in both the fridge and the freezer to try and eliminate any odors that may be created from it being closed up for any length of time.

I think that I spent a little under an hour cleaning the freezer door and top section of the main part of the freezer and so I am satisfied that although I didn't do anything specifically in the dining room or family room I did, however, get a lot done. I have been feeling pretty tired these past few days and so am not as energetic as I would like. Also, I am not setting my alarms to get the declutter/cleanup sessions done at regular intervals. Part of the reason for that is because my SD is working when she feels the urge to and often wants my help or advice. The main thing is that improvements continue to be made and as long as that is true then perhaps not working to a specific schedule is less of an issue.

Day 52 of Decluttering

Won't be too many more days and I will have completed 2 months of my decluttering journey. Not sure that I have enough to show for it but when so many little things are done sometimes it is not quite as noticeable. I am happy with the progress but eager to continue and reclaim more and more space with each passing day.

It is done! The fridge section of the refrigerator is now shining like a brand new penny (only white)! It might sound incredibly silly to get excited by a clean fridge but it really does give me joy to open the door and look in on clean shelves, bins and walls. Now that the hard work has been done it will be so much easier to maintain. Wiping it out on a regular basis will ensure it always stays clean.

Tomorrow I start on the freezer and just from memory I am pretty sure that a lot of the contents can go to the trash. It's not that they are unusable but if they haven't been used in all of this time it is highly likely they never will. There is no point giving over freezer space to food that won't be eaten, particularly when it is a struggle to find room for food that we will eat. I am looking forward to working on that and having the entire inside of the refrigerator completed. The outside will take very little effort to clean up because I wipe a lot of the front and side almost every day. The last thing I will clean is the grill that runs across the entire bottom. I am hoping (and pretty sure it does) that it comes off so I can scrub it at the sink and not have to try and do it on my hands and knees.

Family Room
My SD did an absolutely stellar job of cleaning up and clearing out the entertainment center the new television sits on. She even went as far as to pull the cabinet out and vacuumed behind it. She wiped everything down, wrapped the cords from the Marantz radio unit in plastic bags to prevent them from getting dirty again, polished all the wood of the cabinet itself and then put just a few items back on it so now it looks fantastic! 
If I wore a hat I would certainly take it off to her today. When you compare the before to the after photo it is a huge difference. I love that there is very little on the shelves, and it will certainly be much easier to keep it looking that good.

Dining Room
Now that I have shown all the good stuff that has happened today it is time to hang my head in shame as I introduce you to our dining room. This has been what my Canadian friend would refer to as a 'shit pit' for a very long time, with stuff being shoved in there to the point where there is barely room to even reach in there for things. Down the left of this page you can see all of the before photos. As you can clearly see there is a lot of work that needs to get done in this room, and sadly the living room cannot be worked on until we get this room under control. 

The living room is sunken down one step from the dining room and although you cannot see it right now the dining room opens onto the living room. 
To the right of the room as you stand in the doorway from the kitchen you can see a shelving unit. At one time that was in the family room and held the television set and stereo. It totally dwarfed the room but will most likely be just fine in the living room because that room is larger than the family room. It may turn out that we don't want it in there either but we will have to make a decision about that when the time comes. In the meantime it is cluttering up the dining room but is being useful in that it holds many of the things that should be in the kitchen cupboards.

On the left of the room as you look in from the kitchen doorway you can see the cupboards that back onto the built in shelves in the family room, and beneath the cupboards doors that you can see are another set of cupboards that are accessible from both the family room and the dining room. At the moment those cupboards are not being properly utilized and so much of what is on the shelving unit to the right can go in there.

The dining room makeover is going to be a huge challenge on its own but there are many items in this room that can either get donated or sold. Underneath all of that stuff is a dining table and 6 chairs, plus leaning against the shelving unit is another dining table that has 6 chairs to go with it. Also in this space are two wheelchairs; one is manual and the other is electric but the electric one just up and quit working one day for no apparent reason. It needs to be looked at and both of the wheelchairs need to be sold.

There are various pieces of a dinner set, some decorative tins, plastic containers as well as a bread maker, an indoor grill and many, many other items that all need to be organized or disposed off whether by donation or sold. There is also a butchers block. We actually have two but the other one is currently in the guest bedroom where it will stay until the living areas of the home are organized. There seems little point in tackling the guest bedroom or the SS's bedroom while we have so much to contend with in the family room, dining room and living room. I would also like to tackle the hallway and master bedroom/bathroom before even considering working on the other two rooms. 

I truly believe that our standard of everyday living has to be top priority, with the rooms we use regularly needing attention before anything else. Once they are decluttered and thoroughly cleaned we will be better equipped to deal with the rest and will have the space necessary to sort and move things around. Right now moving large items from one area of the house to another is very challenging because we have to navigate our way past obstacles such as the shelving units that currently line one wall of the passage.

While you cannot really see that anything got accomplished in the dining room here are a couple of after photos from today's efforts. Working in the dining room, at least in the early stages, entails pulling a few things out, assessing them and then putting back what is going to stay in there and disposing of the items that aren't or relocating them to their proper locations.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Day 51 of Decluttering

I have had to drag myself out of bed at 5am two days in a row now and I am starting to suffer from low energy. Yesterday I stayed up but today I went back to bed and although it took me a little while to fall asleep I believe it was the right things to do in order to get through the rest of the day.

Because I have been a bit lax over specific kitchen cleaning over the past few days while I focused on working with my SD to work on areas she wanted tidied up, I decided to do extra time today. I initially planned on cleaning up the breakfast bar but when I opened the fridge for something I was reminded that I had been focused on getting the shelves cleaned up.

Today, although I intended to only do one shelf I ended up doing two. When I removed most of the items on the bottom shelf I realized that there was a huge sticky residue at the back of it. I think this came from a fruit punch drink that my SO likes but puts away in the fridge when he doesn't finish drinking it all. This in itself is not an issue but the drink is in those waxed paper fast food cups and it leaks after a while.

When I removed the bottom shelf I had to clean off every single item that was on it and then discovered two things were seriously stuck to the shelf. They came out on the shelf and after some persuasion were finally removed from it. I then had some intensive effort getting all the sticky red goo off not only the glass but the spill-proof strip that goes along the back of the shelf. It had seeped in between the strip and the glass so I had to remove it and clean in the grooves. Ugh!

Now I have only the two bins at the bottom and of course the inside of the case in that area, plus a final wipe down of the edges where the door meets the case. That shouldn't take too much effort because the bins are usually washed out on a regular basis due to vegetables going rotten in them. I wish I didn't have to admit that but I am trying to be completely transparent about the things I am dealing with. I am responsible for some of this and if not directly I certainly am responsible for not addressing the cleaning up of these areas much sooner. Instead I have been stubborn, with the thought that eventually the person responsible will clean it up, which of course never/rarely happens.

Family Room
Nothing got done in here again today. I really seem to be struggling to get back to my routine. I don't know why.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Day 50 of Decluttering

Today I believe that the SD is going to get a spring for the garage door and once that is replaced her and I can start to organize the one bay so that all the tools etc that are inside the house can be brought out and put into categorized boxes. 

Now the refrigerators are not being swapped over I can finish off cleaning the older one and then consolidate the contents of both fridges, clean out the newer one and then close it up ready for storage. At this point I am not certain whether it is going out to the garage or into the dining room. The garage would be better in the long run but I am concerned about it getting damaged out there even though I will wrap it in furniture blankets and tape it closed with baking soda inside to prevent odors.

With all the stuff from off the top of both fridges strewn around the counters in the kitchen I felt like it didn't belong to me anymore and that I had to do something about it. That 'something' was to scrub the top of the older fridge so that things could be put back up there. It took some doing because it was greasy and I had to resort to a degreasing cleaner and a scrubby to get it out of the depressions. Our fridge has a textured coating and so there are little dips that the dirt appears to like to gravitate towards and so it took some elbow grease (my favorite kind of cleaner because its cheap i.e. free) and the degreaser to get it off. Once it had been scrubbed I went back over it with a clean cloth and hot water to make sure I got all the residue up. 
Sadly I like the before photo more than I like the after photo. If it were up to me I wouldn't have anything up on top of the fridge at all. I could learn to live with the air purifier machine but if I could find somewhere better for it to sit I would. Unfortunately the cord isn't long enough to move it further over into the center of the fridge even if I could find somewhere else for the rest of the items so for now, at least until I can come up with a better solution, it will remain where it is.

At least by putting the stuff back on top of the fridge I got to reclaim the benches either side of the stove. The breakfast bar however, is another matter entirely but I will work on that in my next session so that the kitchen will be back to as normal as it possibly can be. Perhaps then I will be able to get back to my 3 sessions a day routine and get some more improvements happening.

Family Room
It occurred to me that instead of selling the filing cabinet that it would be useful in the garage for tool storage! That would solve two problems with the one item i.e. getting it out of the family room and having more storage in the garage. 

The SD and I have moved the tall boy that was tucked in beside the fridge in the family room to the end of the hallway beside the master bedroom door. This entailed removing the bookcase that sat there, which was fairly easy to accomplish except that as we tried to carry it out it began to fall apart. As the bookcase belonged to me I made an executive decision to take it apart and just get rid of it in pieces. In moving it around to the side of the house temporarily I decided to smash up the little octagonal coffee table and put it in the trash.

My SD devised a plan to help her father (my SO) to give us his input on letting stuff go. It involves 5 different colors of stickers. He has 5 choices of what to do with things: 1. Keep  2. Sell  3. Donate  4. Trash  5. To be decided  / researched / assessed. She challenged him today to do 3 things, with one of them needing to be the television that is left in the front entranceway. He managed to do 5 things in total and although everything he assessed is on a list to be sold she managed to get him to also put a desired price on each item and a time limit to try and sell it. This is a major step in the right direction and is the beginning of him participating in the process.

A small low cabinet that has been sitting inside the front door for a couple of years got moved temporarily into the office and slid under a couple of tubs to get it out of the way. The purpose of doing this was to free up space near the front door for the televisions that are being advertised for sale (or free if they don't sell within a set time frame). The family room television is incredibly heavy so my SD asked her guy to come and help her move it. Turned out it was too heavy for her so I ended up helping and we got it moved. Then she and her guy set up the new television for me!