Tag Archives: home

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Day 83/365: Mar 24, 2014

I’m thankful for:

  • Silly, one-footed, toddler poses.
  • An incredible view beyond what I could’ve hoped for.
  • The joy of a simple breeze.

Continuing to uncover delights of our new home.

100 Less things

Some people make a statement with spick and span homes that they have their lives together. Some are neat freaks. Some are OCD clean. Some are extremely naturally organized.

I do not fall into that category of “some.” If I’m honest, clutter comes easy to me. I don’t necessarily enjoy clutter; it generally does not drive me crazy. I can tolerate it, but eventually, depending on my mood and the amount of clutter, it does start to get to me.

When clutter annoys me I have two choices: A) let it grow, or B) try to tackle it. Normally in order to tackle it I need a source of motivation or a specific plan of attack. Often, my attacks come in a frenzied attempt to make the home more presentable before guests arrive. In a hope to become a better homemaker I am working on being more routined in housework as well as trying to tackle the clutter at times besides right before guests’ visits. (Though I must admit I finished this most recent decluttering right before my mom visited us!)

When I first saw a “Throw Out 100 Things” post – I was a bit skeptical that I could pull something like that off myself. However, as I pondered the idea, I became excited at the idea of finding one hundred things to get rid of from our home. How blessed would our home be with 100 less items? For my own purposes I figured blogging about the task would encourage me to see the, albeit silly, goal through to completion (and associate an unpleasant task with a pleasant one).

Maybe I’m selfish, but I’m hoping I’m not the only one prone to clutter. Perhaps this post will encourage others to throw out things that they are holding onto. Additionally, my thinking is that cataloguing all the things I at one point in time thought were worth keeping in my home (or that I was just too lazy to throw out) will encourage me to be more proactive at keeping the clutter away going into the future!

Without further ado, here’s my 100 things. I’ll include notes of what I got rid of (threw out, recycled, or gave away), and lessons learned along the way:

Items 1-40

  • 1-9. Glass jars.
  • 10. Garlic press piece.
  • 11-15. Tin cans.
  • 16-17. Emptied plastic containers.
  • 18-19. Random container-less lids.
  • 20. Box.
  • 21-22. Candy canes (we don’t even like/eat them!).
  • 23. Fish water treatment (fish-less for a while now).
  • 24. Mushy CNY mandarin orange (let’s be honest, no-one was going to eat it!).
  • 25. Filled up dehumidifier.
  • 26. Not sure what this was.
  • 27. Broken bubble bottle.
  • 28-29. Repetitive wooden utensils.
  • 30. Old belt (I had threatened my husband not to wear it anymore anyways!).
  • 31. Cardboard tube.
  • 32. Foil lined plate.
  • 33. Baby snack containers (have other ones).
  • 34. Bag carrier (the stroller works better).
  • 35. Non-working USB/SD card reader.
  • 36. Worn out elastic.
  • 37. Broken bike license plate.
  • 38. Random item.
  • 39. Ice cube tray (that we could never get the cubes out of without breaking them into many pieces).
  • 40. Deflated balloon and free key chain.

Lessons:

  • As nice as jars and containers are for storage and repurposing, if it doesn’t have a specific and immediate use, it will just sit around and create chaos. As the FLYlady says, “You can’t organize clutter!”
  • If I get frustrated with using and give up on using said item (see item 39) it’s not worth keeping.
  • Broken things are just that: broken!
  • Non-working things can’t be fixed are worthy of one purpose: throwing out.

Items 41-80.

  • 41. Extra blender (broke a few blender containers, so I had extra blender bases).
  • 41b. The rest of the garlic press – see item 10.
  • 42-44. Random lids.
  • 45. Free clutch from the grocery store.
  • 46-49. Non-working pens.
  • 50. Free HongBao envelopes.
  • 51. Shampoo that irritated our skin.
  • 52. A baby mobile that Gideon is too big for.
  • 53. Old sea weed.
  • 54-55. Old candy.
  • 56. Random item.
  • 57. Glow in the dark thingie (was cool, but now I probably won’t use it till Gideon is a lot older).
  • 58. Peely earphones cover.
  • 59. Container from bath salt.
  • 60. Chopsticks that we haven’t used in forever (besides non-disposable chopsticks are nicer and take up less space).
  • 61. Free bear resifted from someone else.
  • 62. Broken rattle.
  • 63. Broken usb cord to laptop fan.
  • 64-65. Old bag with ineffective elastic tangled with something else.
  • 66. Brush (that is uncomfortable to use anyways).
  • 67. Drain (that doesn’t fit our sink).
  • 68. Old “medal.”
  • 69. Car (that makes me nervous with its not-friendly-for-under-3yr-old-parts).
  • 70. Rag.
  • 71. Extra letter puzzle pieces (we have enough in his play corner without these).
  • 72. Emptied cleaning solution container.
  • 73.Old toy.
  • 74-75. Extra gift bags.
  • 76. Plastic bags (we have way too many in this house already).
  • 77. Random plastic piece.
  • 78. Extra speakers.
  • 79. Old furniture mover.
  • 80. Rags.

Lessons:

  • Rags are useful, but not if you have too many of them that they’re in too many locations.
  • Free items aren’t necessarily worth keeping.

Items 81-100

  • 81. Old tire (with a puncture).
  • 82. Random plastic.
  • 83. Furniture mover.
  • 84. Old stuffed toy.
  • 85-86. Pipe cleaners.
  • 87-88. Plastic spoon and containers that had been doubling as toys.
  • 89. Free key chain.
  • 90. Left over fabric from a clothes alteration.
  • 91.Toilet cleaner that really didn’t do its job.
  • 92-93. Plastic containers/lids.
  • 94-96. Boxes and plastics left over from a friend’s move.
  • 97-98. Cardboard tubes.
  • 99. Straw (doubled as a toy).
  • 100. Sponge.

Lessons

  • Toy chests should be purged every so often. The 15 month old won’t notice that old things aren’t there and in fact he’ll play with more because he can more easily find the toys he enjoys playing with. AND “repurposed” containers/such should be thrown out every so often.
  • The last stretch to 100 got a bit tiring and I was coming up with things that were a little lame. But I’m glad I completed my goal.
  • It would be worth doing this challenge again and often. Hey, if I do it often enough that it becomes difficult that means there’s less clutter int he home, yeah?

I say these are “lessons learned” … but I’m sure I will have to remind myself of them in the future.

How about you? What ways  do you keep the clutter at bay? Do you think you could throw out 100 things?

H is for … Pizza?

It just so happened that the H date fell to Andrew to plan. Only fitting that such a handsome husband should be qualified to prepare for an H date, right? Andrew settled on a date idea and divulged to me that it would be a simple affair at home. I suppose a Home based date is the way to go for H anyways, right?

Bit by bit pieces of his plan started to take shape: We picked up chick peas (garbanzo beans… why it has two names I don’t know…) He took out the blender as he started dinner prep.

Before long he announced, “Appetizer is served.”

Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

It’s not every day that you have homemade hummus. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think I ever had hummus made from scratch before. Andrew out did himself. He served it Singapore style: with toasted naan (the Indian version of pita bread) and a garnish of chinese parsley. The chinese parsley was a bit to akin to cilantro for my liking, but Andrew enjoyed it the bite of the flavor. The naan was the perfect paring though, would definitely do that again. And I think we both agreed we are making hummus again.

What most of you probably wouldn’t expect for the main course, was another round of hummus. This time on pizza! Yup, you heard me right: hummus pizza.  Andrew created the pizza using hummus as the base sauce and added spinach, cheese, and chicken. It was surprisingly delicious. Different, but tasty. It reminded me in some ways of a white pizza made with ricotta in that it was a less strong acidic note like tomato sauce is. But the chick peas added a nuttiness to the flavor that I don’t think I’ve had on a pizza before. It was a great veggie pizza, and believe it or not, I think we’d try it again despite its unconventionality.

After Gideon was put down (who loved the pizza – ate two adult slices!), Andrew sat me down on the couch in front of the TV and we started our movie for the night. Andrew had secretly obtained Homeward Boundone of the classics from my growing up. I LOVE the movie, but hadn’t seen it in ages. I was excited, probably even giddy, to discover the H movie he had planned for our date. We both thoroughly enjoyed the hearty laughter that accompanied the movie. And for myself, I was thrilled to be able to watch what had been a classic in the house growing up, now with my husband in our own home.

So there you have it, is for a date at Home with Homemade Hummus, Hummus pizza, and Homeward Bound. 

Before & After – Bye-bye pink!

It’s been a long time coming, but finally we’ve gotten around to taking pictures of our “new” non-pink apartment. I feel like each time we painted a room, we would take a break of a week (or a few!) before starting on a new one. Eventually it got to the point where we only had one more room to paint, so I figured I’d just wait to post until I could post pictures of the whole apartment. Well, we finished depinking our last room – the guestroom – right before Jehiah & Selam’s arrival. So now that the painting is done, it’s time to show off 🙂

No turning back and no remorse

The Living Room

With such a dark color on the walls, this room took the most work to transform the look. In some areas we ended up with three coats of primer and three coats of white. When we first started putting up the yellow our thoughts were, “what have we done? Maybe we’ve taken it too far the other direction.” But now that we’ve had time to adjust to the color, we absolutely love it! The white compliments the yellow and brings out the architectural features of the room.

Before: Magenta walls, un-matching curtains, and an odd layout. After: Yellow and white walls, covered couch cushions, new curtains, a filled bookshelf, and a stash of shoes and umbrellas inside the door.

Before: The only item on this side of the room was the TV; the only piece of artwork. After: TV died and the landlord replaced it with a new one, original artwork moved to guest room, and a beautiful boggle quilt from my sister, Cedulie, is proudly displayed against the nice YELLOW wall.

Before: While the former layout may have left the wall more open and less cluttered, it didn't allow me to play piano. After: Andrew's anniversary gift to me found a home on the open wall. If you look closely, you'll see we left the latch on the door to the guestroom as the one reminder of what our apartment's pink was like.

Before: The floral print on couches matched the pink walls but wasn't our style, the layout didn't show off the space and wasn't conducive to daily life. After: Couch cushions were recovered, dining room moved from kitchen to living room, wedding pictures were framed and added to the long wall, and the immovable gate between the two rooms was covered with curtains that matched the other side of the room.

Kitchen

One of our favorite aspects of the whole apartment was the 11ft countertop and the huge number of cabinets. After living in a basement apartment with a half fridge, tiny sink, and enough counterspace for a drying rack, we were (and still are) in heaven! Now the look is simplified and doesn’t leave one bewildered at how many colors are going on.

Before: The two tones of blue on the cabinets competed and didn't allow either blue to win, the cabinet trim was in poor condition, and the microwave was in an odd position. After: The second blue on the cabinets was replaced with a white to decrease the number of competing colors, the microwave was repositioned, and the fridge became part of the home filled with spice containers and coupons.

Before: The pink (of course) fought a losing battles the rest of colors, the dining room table dominated the room, there was no oven, and the windows that were right next to the bathroom doors lacked any form of privacy. After: A darker blue replaced the pink and complimented the whites and simplified the look, the table was relocated, the bike and its stand found a home, the sideboard cabinet was moved next to the laundry machine for practicality, an oven was added, and curtains were made for the windows.

If you look closely you’ll see we have the drying rack is full of dishes, the fan is pulled out for use, and the poles are hung up with clothes on them – all evidences of a kitchen seeing use.

The Master Bedroom

Instead of walking into our bedroom and thinking, “Wow! Do I have to sleep with bright pink flowers???”… we can now rest in a tranquil setting.

Before: Yet another shade of pink, a bedspread that matched the walls, and a bare room. After: Blue! The larger wardrobe from the guestroom was switched with the smaller one originally in the master bedroom, new toned down sheets were added as well, and husband was still happy enough to pose for me 🙂

Before: The same curtains that didn’t match the living room’s magenta didn’t match the pink of master bedroom either, and they blew around when the “air con” was turned on. We discovered the ceiling wasn’t white but actually a different shade of pink! Oh dear. After: New curtains were made to suit the windows and the room, two nightstands and a dresser were found on craigslist to give us some drawers, and the ceiling was painted a refreshing white.

Guest Room

Maybe it’s because it is the most recently completed room, or maybe it’s because it doesn’t see much use, or maybe it is because it looks peaceful and inviting – whatever the reason, I think this room ended up being my favorite after it was decorated.

Before: You can guess which curtains were found in here, a fourth shade of pink was found behind the wardrobe, and the larger wardrobe dominated the room. After: Another set of curtains were made, bedspread replaced, pink = gone, and smaller wardrobe was moved in to match the available space.

And that, my friends, is a preview of our apartment without pink. It’s has a more “lived-in” feel and has the clutter of daily life, but it is no longer a generic pink apartment. Instead it is our home – and a distinctly not-pink home at that.

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