Category Archives: declutterfication

“You are such a guy!!”

A new series.

I say this so often to the KoD. He drives me crazy sometimes with his pragmatic look at the world. He is Mr Logic and I am Ms Emotion. It makes for some interesting conversations. I attribute a lot of it to him being a man, and looking at things in the male perspective, but maybe, just maybe, it’s just him?

My KoD has the most clutterless house I have ever seen. You don’t need something, out it goes. Papers are filed, they do not pile up (shocking!!), no dirty clothes on the floor, no socks under the sofa cushions, no wet towels thrown over the bed. When he takes something out of the cupboard he puts it back in the same place when he is done. (OK this is something I really like!! Wish the boys would learn to put things back). He is not OCD – but is seemingly allergic to excess stuff. Oh what a rude awakening he is in for when we move in!! Snicker.

Me, on the other hand, I have stuff. I am a woman, and as most people know, being a woman means having a lot of stuff, especially, if like me, you are a girlie girl. Make up and hair dryers, curling irons, and hair products, wigs and hats and scarves, in every shade and colour. Lotions and potions. 170 different pairs of shoes vs the 3 pair that most men have. We have clothes that fit us, and clothes that don’t but we wish that they did so we hold onto them just in case we lose those excess pounds. We have photos and mementoes that we have kept since we were in grade school. (I still have my autograph book from when I left elementary school). Birthday cards that our kids made for us in Kindergarten. The dollar store fake carnation they presented us with at their first grade French Spectacle. Most of the things we keep have feelings and memories attached to them. Ladies – you know what I am talking about!!

So we were talking the other day about packing and moving and all of that, and I happened to mention that I have a lot of the kids’ artwork to bring with me. His view – I am sure it is sweet etc but why do you need to keep it? (Well, I do have most things in quadruplicate. Same school, same teachers for all 4). Because the kids made it for me. “But why do you need to keep it? You are not going to look at it again. Ever.” – again, my answer “Because the kids made it for me. Duh!!”. “But what is the point of keeping it? They drew that when they were 3 – they can draw better now. Get rid of it.” Sigh. He is such a guy. I bet he would say to chuck out that carnation too…

It isn’t that he is not sentimental. He is. He hasn’t thrown out any of the cards I have sent him (but maybe that’s because he knows he would be in BIG trouble) and he does appreciate when the kids draw him something, or make him some lego or show him something they are working on. It just doesn’t need to stay around in a drawer for years.

KoD, I love you to pieces, but you are such a guy!!!

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Heinous or Harmless – marital possessions

This stems from an interesting discussion I had with the KoD last night. We started off talking about my numerous crystal serving platters that I unearthed during yesterday’s marathon declutterfication. Most of them I probably received as wedding presents first time around, and have never really been used or seen the light of day. We were discussing whether I needed to bring them with me when we move, or if they should be passed on to someone who will use them. (I said bring, he said pass. (OK I actually mentioned I should hold onto them because please God soon in a few years we will be making Sheva Brachot for the kids….)).

So this got us thinking. When folks get divorced, do most throw out or get rid off EVERYTHING that they shared together, do they buy all new stuff, do they keep some things and not others. What worked for you?

My point was, that generally, the wife / mother gets to stay in the marital home with the children (even if, like me, they eventually have to move). In order for the kids to have some familiarity and comfort at a tough time, I am of the opinion that the mother should more or less keep everything – at least dishes and stuff like that. The one that leaves is the one that usually has to buy everything new.

I immediately got rid of our beds and the linens and everything like that that I associated with the togetherness of being married. But that’s where I stopped. I still have the dishes we used, the candlesticks I got as a wedding present (I don’t use them any more), the challah board, the dining room set and the sofas etc. My Shabbat dishes are gorgeous, but I used them during my first marriage – is it cruel and unusual punishment to use them in my new marriage? (Do you know how much one pays for a Noritake place setting these days??!!)

Is it heinous to hold onto this stuff, especially going into a new marriage, or is it harmless, and ridiculous to expect someone to make a totally clean slate and get rid of everything they owned during their marriage?

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It’s just a box, just some broken glass

On my declutterfication kick today, I was going through the breakfront. I came across this little box from the olivewood factory. It has a picture of Jerusalem inked across the top. Within, you will find the broken glass from my first Chuppah. I remember my uncle, soon after my ex stomped on the glass, whisk away the broken pieces, wrap them up in a napkin and disappear with them. A few months later, he presented us with this box. The fabric of that marriage shattered just like this glass, yet this box still resides in my breakfront.

I have a new broken glass to put in a fancy box. It is time for me to say goodbye to this vestige of what was. It’s just weird how I haven’t thought of that brief moment of time in so long, and I can still feel the warmth of my uncle’s wink at me as he bent to pick up those pieces.

It’s just amazing the things we hold on to.

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How Many Do You Really Need?

So I am having a very productive day of decluttering. It’s extremely cleansing in some ways, but in others – well, it makes you wonder how you can get attached just to a thing?!

Anyhow, we have approximately 100 benschers (booklets for Grace After Meals) in our collection. (plus 75 or so that somehow did not get given out at one of the barmitzvahs). Some of the marriages commemorated on these benschers have ended in divorce. Some of the barmitzvah boys are fathers themselves, some of these people I don’t even remember.

How many does one really need? And if I choose to get rid of the rest – do I put them in sheimas, or will there be a community organization that would be glad to have them?

How many do you have?

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And now it starts!!

The pre-pesach insanity. The minute Purim is over, for most balabustas, it’s full steam ahead for pesach preparations. Suddenly you cannot eat anywhere but the kitchen, the dining room is off limits. Closets must be emptied and reorganized. Light fixtures have to be taken down and scrubbed. The moms are on a mission to rid the house of anything chametzdik. In some houses there is not much decent to eat between now and Pesach.

But really, this craziness goes so much further than that. Most of this Pesach cleaning is really spring cleaning, but using Pesach as the excuse. According to the halacha, you don’t need to take down each individual crystal from your chandelier and scrub it in hot soapy water. There will be no chametz there, and certainly no recognizable or edible chametz. Just plenty of dust. Women who are not machmir on many things year round, suddenly in the month before Pesach are incredibly strict on what can pass muster as being clean for Pesach.

I like my home to be clean even when not preparing for Pesach. When I have the energy and the inclination I might take down the light fixtures (even though I am Hungarian I have no chandeliers) and clean them, but it will not be explained as cleaning for Pesach. Taking everything out of the closets in my room so I can wipe down the walls and ceilings and vacuum the floors – that’s nothing to do with Pesach – I don’t keep bread in my bedroom closet. To clean for Pesach you need to just get rid of chametz. Dust is not chametz. Lint is not chametz. A disorganized closet is not chametz.

If you keep your house organized and clean year round, then cleaning for Pesach should be no great hassle, and doesn’t really need to be thought about till the week before. Rooms where you know there has been no chametz don’t even need to be cleaned for Pesach. The kitchen and dining areas are really the only places that need a thorough going over and you can’t really do that until just before the holiday.

I have made Pesach annually since I got married the first time around. I have it down to a science. I would like to think that I don’t make the kids insane for weeks in advance. That I am not a dictator who has a panic attack every time someone walks out of the kitchen with a cookie in hand. When the kids were babies, yes, I found cheerios etc in interesting places. Soon enough they learned to do the chametz wiggle before leaving the kitchen in the week before Pesach.

So many times I hear women complain about how exhausted they are by the time they sit down for the seder. It’s unnecessary to be that tired. It’s a holiday. I want to enjoy my holiday with my family, not be a burned out wreck because I have been a cleaning and scrubbing fiend for a month!!! “Avadim Hayinu” – we were slaves – in Egypt, not in present day 2010! Please, get it all into perspective, ladies, and show up at the seder in your yomtov finery, with a smile showing naturally on your face, and know that you will enjoy yourself, not fall asleep by the second cup of wine.

Yes – once the house is Pesachdik there is a lot of work to be done. The changing over the kitchen, the shopping and the cooking. Food preparation for Pesach is a lot more time consuming. Get everyone involved. Plan your meals. You CAN cook on yomtov, it doesn’t all need to be prepared before hand. There is no need for us women to be zombies – let’s enjoy every part of the pesach preps.

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Cover Girl

So I am going through boxes of stuff and came across the magazine that I was in as an 18 year old. Thought I would share the picture with you. I was so young…. if anyone in England remembers CATCH magazine, I was in it.

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wanna see some more? from a different shoot…..
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Photo Project

I am the kind of mom that has photographs of her kids everywhere. On the walls, on the end tables, in frames, albums, digital albums etc. There are definitely way too many around the house. Seeing as we are moving, and doing the blended family thing, I need to be sensitive to everyone and not cover every surface with pics of my kids.

The photos that I have had up on the walls – some have been up for over ten years and are my favourites. What can I do to preserve these wonderful pictures but not display them? Bear in mind I am not that crafty.

Thanks in advance….

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7 years? 9 years?

I am doing a major paperwork cleanup today and I pose the question – how long do you need to keep stuff like bank statements etc? I have heard 2 years, 7 years, 9 years. I have also heard that because these days everything is electronic anyway you don’t need to keep a thing.

How long do you keep your bills and statements and cancelled cheques?

…and in other news the kids cannot wait to come home today and start shredding the stuff that needs to be destroyed!!

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It’s a Mugs Game

I posted this on my FB and Twitter pages and people were very funny but haven’t answered my serious question. I have 36 coffee mugs – how many do I really need? Bearing in mind we are merging households and the KoD already has 9 or 10. Mine do not match, his do. My humongous Krispy Kreme mugs come with, no question. So do I need the other 34?

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