Monday, June 2, 2008

Clean Up, Clean Up, Everyone, Clean Up!

That's the little chant my daughter sings to get Toddler C. to help with cleaning up his toys. She makes a game of it and it works! He helps to fill the toy box and the plastic bins with a smile and a song. I've been chanting that little ditty all morning and all last week, too. I was way behind in getting rid of the clutter around here. But since I want to have my other grandson come and stay with me for a week this summer, I have to clean up what used to be his father's bedroom and what is now the den.

I started with the books. There are books everywhere in this house due to the fact that I am a biblioholic. My husband had his fair share, but I way outstripped him. When my son's bedroom became the den, we installed huge bookcases along one wall. I thought I would never fill them. Hah! They are overflowing as you can see. Most of the shelves have books behind the visible books. And I am ashamed to admit, all those books are mine except for one lone shelf way at the end up at the top where my husband had a few books. But to be fair, he had an office at work where he could hoard his stash and I have found boxes out in the garage filled with his college textbooks. We also shared many interests, so the books on astronomy, birds, and quantum mechanics were read by both of us.

I even have books in the pantry—cookbooks, what else? Now that I am a low-carber, I don't have shelves and shelves of packaged goods like cereals, cookies, crackers, etc. anymore, so I filled the shelves with cookbooks. Then they are handy when I need them. The living room has a fancy bookcase filled with art books. I never could resist buying the beautiful coffee-table-type books they sell at exhibitions on the exhibition. I will have much more restraint in the future because now there is no more room.

OK, I know the obvious is to throw some away, or give some away (to whom?) I am doing that. Just this morning, I threw away about five books I bought in 1973 on how to get yourself published. Blogging on the Internet has taken care of that urge. In fact, the Internet has taken care of a lot of research problems. I don't need any of the directories or encyclopedic type books anymore, because I get that information from the web now. Besides, those kinds of books are out of date before they even get printed. And now there's Google, where you can find all kinds of goodies. I recently found some out-of-print genealogy books there that I was able to download as PDFs. I am keeping my huge, unabridged Random House dictionary, though. I don't want to have to fire up the computer just to look up one little word.

Speaking of the computer, I am cleaning that up, too. Literally. Here is a link to Microsoft's tips on cleaning your computer. At first, I thought they meant disk cleaning and de-fragging, but they mean actually opening the thing up and using a Q-tip to clean the dust out of the inside. But I am doing the disk-cleaning and de-fragging, too. It's so much easier than other types of cleaning. You just click the mouse on OK and the computer does the rest.

Once you get started, says my daughter throwing things away gets easier. I'm not so sure. It isn't as easy as it used to be to throw things away. I feel obligated to re-cycle, and then there is hazardous waste to consider. You can't just throw things in the garbage bin anymore and be done with it. In fact, I have a book on how to simplify your life by Scaling Down, which tells you what to do with your stuff. Even though I have no plans to move anywhere, I found the book helpful. Reading it also allowed me to procrastinate a bit longer. But now, where do I put the book?

The garden needs cleaning up, too. The spring growth has made many plants too large, so they need pruning and cutting back, and the weeds have taken over my herb garden. But that's another post.

Did I mention all the music I have collected over the years?


  1. You can donate your books to your local library. And when I said that throwing away things gets easier, I was referring to your emotional attachment to things. Once you throw away a few things and realize that you really don't miss the items, it's easier to get rid of more stuff.

  2. Yes, I know that is what you meant, but there are things that I have absolutely no attachment to that I don't know what to do with, like old clock radios that used to play CDs and don't anymore, but are still good clocks; lots of computer stuff including programming books and manuals; a drawer full of cables; computer parts and peripherals. Today I found two large boxes of floppy disks (the 2.5-inch kind). I'll never use them again, but they may have personal information on them. If I can't read them anymore, can I assume nobody else will be able to?

    I could probably find good homes for most of the stuff, but it takes so much time to do that.

  3. You can set aside all the computer stuff in a bag/box labeled e-waste and drop it off at the hazardous waste center.

    To make sure no one can read the floppy, snip it with your kitchen or gardening shears. Just one big nick through the plastic to the magnetic media will render it unusable.

    Some people try to see their books online. I just take them to Dave's Olde Book Shop in MB:
    Whatever they don't take, I give to the RB Main Library.

    Before you get rid of the art books, can I look through them? Maybe we can hold a book swap?

  4. I think you should send books my way. I like poetry and cookbooks and Fiction and travel books with amazing photos. I love music MMK