Sunday, January 18, 2009

Join the Club

In an effort to save on groceries by buying in bulk and stocking up, last year we went to the local big box club store on one of their free trial days. We saw enough products that we thought we’d use that we went ahead and joined. We’ve found that we should have done it years ago – especially the years I was doing home daycare. It comes in handy now for all of our regular staples – we get our syrup, ketchup, snacks, dog food and bottled water, just to name a few. (Not sure we REALLY needed the gallon jar of dill pickles sitting on the shelf in the pantry, but SOMEONE ;) just had to have them.)

Recently we tried the jumbo can of sausage gravy – half a can will feed all of us, and we freeze the other half. It heats up in no time. Pop open a can of biscuits and by the time they’re baked, we have a quick, easy, tasty dinner.

We’ve gotten some good deals on their non-food items also – a flashdrive for data storage, my Tommy Hilfiger flipflops last summer, golf umbrellas – all at great prices.

When we went this weekend (you have to go on the weekends for all the free samples – you can eat lunch while you shop!) they made an announcement over the loudspeaker offering free $5 paring knives. We were standing next to the knife demo stand as they made the announcement, so we thought, “we're here, they're free, why not?” We can always use another paring knife. There was quite a crowd listening to the demo, and when it was all over we walked away the proud owners of a whole new set of knives. Still not sure if: a. we’re just a couple of suckers, b. the guy had a great spiel and was a good salesman, c. our knives suck THAT bad that we were willing to try anything, d. all of the above. For $40 we got 3 large “utility” (i.e. Ginsu) knives, 7 paring knives, a filet knife, 3 juicers, and a food chopper - and they’re all guaranteed for life.

So if anyone needs to cut through a tin can, saw through the head of a steel hammer, or cut a chunk out of a piece of wood, then peel the skin off a tomato and slice through a sheet of paper – we’ve got the knife for it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Urge to Purge

I haven’t posted anything in a while, but it’s not because I’ve been slacking off. I’ve been working on my home “office.” Notice I didn’t say IN my home office. You couldn’t really work IN it. My office is supposed to be my sewing, craft, painting, project room. But it had become the dumping ground for all those things no one in the family knew what to do with - extra shoelaces, old school papers, friends’ birth announcements, buttons, the flotsam and jetsam of our daily lives. Common type of questions: What do I do with my letters from my pen pal from camp? What about this sock with no match? This Christmas ornament has a piece that broke off, what should I do with it? Where should I put this flower girl dress I wore in 1999? The answer was the same for all of the above: Put it in my office.

There was no way any work could be done in my office – every flat surface became piled with “stuff.” (I use the term “stuff” but it is interchangeable with “sh*t.”) It had gotten to the point that there was even “stuff” piled on the floor. Although there was a path through the “stuff” to the ironing board, ironing was the only productive thing that could be accomplished in there.

I spent the last week completely re-organizing, re-arranging and purging things in my office. And I mean purging - I was pretty ruthless. I gave a bag of clothes to a co-worker for her daughter, 2 bags of "stuff" to charity, and I have a large bin full of other "stuff" to list on ebay. I threw away so much “stuff” that I completely filled our 90 gallon trashcan (I have no idea where our normal garbage will go till trash day on Friday). I had so many unfinished projects that I always thought I’d finish one day and I threw most of them away. I’ve come to the realization that just because I start a project, it doesn’t mean I have to finish it. Various granny squares I crocheted with scrap yarn, small pieces of terry cloth leftover from making hooded baby towels for gifts over the years, old film canisters, and miscellaneous odds and ends that I thought I might need for crafting with the kids (from the home daycare years and two scout troops over the course of the past 10+ years). As I got rid of these never finished projects, I actually got rid of sooo much stress. I never realized how much pressure I felt having those pending items hanging over my head. Now that they’re gone, I have an amazing sense of relief.

The result: an actual office. There is room to move and work. My desk has space for my sewing machine. I enjoy making doll clothes, and the rack for the completed dresses to sell is right by the window. The floor is so open and clear that I was able to layout the fabric and pin patterns to cut out two bridesmaid dresses for my nieces last night. I have a small desk set up just for painting with my brushes and paints set out close at hand. I am a painter at heart. Not having my paint and supplies packed up and having them right out in the open may actually allow me to paint for the first time in over 12 years. Things are organized and stored – and most importantly, I can easily figure out where things are.

I’m not trying to become ultra-productive. But if I get inspired or someone sends me a cool craft idea, now I can easily act on that inspiration. Just walking into my office gives me a sense of satisfaction. Now, my only dilemma is: what do I want to work on next?