Sunday, November 9, 2008

Christmas in November

This afternoon Bert took Una out of the house and I found myself with 3 hours of peaceful bliss while Duet slept. I guess she's making up for her lack of nighttime sleep (I am happy to report though that for the last 2 days she's slept in until 6:15am. What a sad commentary on my life as of late that 6:15am is considered sleeping in). Anyway, after Duet fell asleep I really just wanted to curl up with John Steinbeck (I don't think it's possible for me to love East of Eden any more than I do. So far it's one of the best books I've ever read. But I haven't finished it yet, so if you know what happens at the end don't spoil anything for me. And can I just say that I was thrilled to discover that both Steinbeck and I chose the name Una for one of our characters? If he, the Nobel Laureate for literature chose Una and I too chose Una, then by the transitive property I'm practically a Nobel Laureate. I'm feeling like a better writer already). I looked at my book and the couch and the warm inviting blanket and then I remembered my new challenge.

With a heavy heart I trudged upstairs to Una's room where I could clear some things out uninterrupted. She had quite a few items I needed to part with without her there to protest their dismissal from the house. Chief among them were some broken preschool craft projects, torn books, and a puzzle with missing pieces (or more accurately contaminated pieces that were thrown out a few weeks ago due to this incident). I ended up working in there for over an hour (talk about exceeding my 10 minute de-cluttering goal) and came away discovering that:

1. The top of Una's dresser is a lovely shade of brown. It's amazing what projects, clothes, papers, kleenex, and post-it notes can hide.
2. We will not need to buy any Christmas presents for Una or Duet this year because like every good mammal, I have been squirrelling away goods over the last few months. All of those bargains that I just had to get have been sitting unused (and unseen by either child) on the top shelf of Una's closet waiting for the day when I would bestow them upon my girls. Of course since there's so much stuff in my house I'd completely forgotten what exactly was up there, but I uncovered some gems today and effectively did my Christmas shopping in the closet.
3. Una is in need of another dress and (now that the cold weather is upon us) some tights to go with that dress (this is truly a need. She only has two that fit her at the moment and one of those is a sleeveless summer dress). The good news is I spoke with my mom today and she's going to be sending money so that I can buy the girls some Christmas gifts from them (this is not laziness on her part. She has 21 grandchildren and 4--soon to be 5--great-grandchildren. She doesn't know what each child wants and so she lets the parents do the shopping for her. It's a system that works great for us). I've decided to use Una's money to get a Christmas dress and tights from her grandparents, Cougar and Bear (yes, that's what she calls them. It was her idea, I can assure you, not my parents'. Although they're totally into it. Especially my dad, Cougar). Una loves to wear dresses so she will be thrilled with this gift. And I am thrilled to be using the money for something she needs (as well as likes) instead of something that will just add to the clutter in my home. Win-win. Or, if you're a fan of The Office, I think you'll agree when I say that this is one of those rare scenarios that can be called "win-win-win."

This exercise today has left me wondering what other treasures I will unearth as I devote my 10 minutes per day to de-cluttering my home.

12 comments:

Amy and Chad Larson Family said...

Loving your blog, Mary. Keep writing. You inspire me to dream that my blog could be more than a scrapbook and a dumpy ground for unedited uninspired writing.

Denise Eskelson said...

hear, hear! Keep posting, Mary.

Mary Poppins said...

amy--glad you found me. and thanks for the kind words. on second thought, maybe that comment was from chad. he does seem to be the scrapbooking type.

denise--your request is granted. i will continue to post. tomorrow in fact.

amydear said...

I've been meaning to tell you that I went through our house VERY thoroughly before we moved and got rid of a lot of stuff. When we moved in to our new place, I was so pleased to find extra room in most of our closets. I don't have any boxes of "wonder what's been in there for 5 years." And I'm being uber-careful about what I buy for the new house. Each new decoration, frame, etc., is carefully thought out. Do we need this? Do we have a place for it? Will I like it for years and years to come? Things look kind of sparse, but taking it slowly is saving me a lot of money, and saving me from having a lot of things I don't really need! It feels great! I hope you keep up the good work. I've been employing the 10-minute decluttering session idea for some time. I'm a huge fan.

Liz said...

We need to get together and hang out more often. east of Eden is MY favorite book. I read it the first time in high school, and I think twice since then. Each time I find new treasures in it. I too enjoy when the grandparents send $$ for presents. This year we combined the kids birthday money and got our new compact double stroller. The kids still got a little thing so they didn't feel like "gee thanks a stroller." Last year I got 72 hour stuff for Christmas, some may say what a bore, but I loved it. It was a need and a want all in one!

Mary Poppins said...

amydear--brilliant. i'm so glad to know your strategy has been working. hopefully some day i'll get there.

liz--glad you agree. both about the book and the money. come back soon.

The Cog said...

your writings have made me laugh out loud this morning (as the husband is till snoring away...)...I just had to add you to the list of one my favorite new blogs to visit!

Mrs Furious said...

I did not know that she called them Cougar & Bear!! That is hilarious.

Mary Poppins said...

the cog--i'm feeling somewhat sophisticated today so i'll say "bienvenue a mon blog et merci." on other days i'd simply say "welcome to my blog and thanks."

mrs f--she's a funny one.

Steve and Kenna said...

My mom and dad send money too, but I do not buy anything with it. My kids love to put the money in the bank for when there is something big they want.

Baba/Ann said...

Dear Mary...No, I think MaryDear is better. Anyway, to add to AmyDear's comments, I think it should be a law that one must move every 5 years just to keep the clutter problem in check. After having lived in a small apartment [about 900 square feet]in Europe for the last three years, we have discovered that we could actually live with a lot fewer 'things'. So, I too, am in the de-cluttering mode. I've found that FLYLady.net is a fabulous website for getting organized. Several family members have used her ideas. Oh, by the way, I voted for your blog!!

Mary Poppins said...

kenna--another excellent suggestion.

baba/ann--loved the comment. thanks for the tips/suggestions and for voting!