August 4, 2011

First You Have to Find the Recipe

As busy as summer has been, I am proud to say that I have tackled and conquered two huge cleaning projects that I talked about here. You might remember the first one as looking like this:

The "arts and crafts" center was a huge project that I put off for months. I had done some "pre-work" here by at least gathering everything into one area and throwing a ton of junk away.  I had a feeling it would not take me long to finish this job - if I could just get started (uff-da.) When I finally motivated myself, with a large glass of Pepsi and some Toby Mac, I am almost embarrassed to admit the whole process only took me two hours.  Two hours to sort, throw, organize, and throw some more  - then I had this:

A HUGE box of garbage (the picture does not do it justice) and LOTS of empty containers.  

Here's the amazing Before and Afters (Are you excited as I am? *snort*):
Before                                                                                                           After

All of the crayons, scissors, markers, rulers, etc, etc, etc, went into some containers and a rotating thing-a-ma-jig:

Now if the boys can't find their stuff, I can honestly say it's. not. my. fault.  And the boys reaction to their clean and organized workspace was priceless.  They were truly very excited about it.

High off my success in the basement, I was ready to conquer this:

What a mess! But extra motivation for this project came from the fact that son #1 was coming home on leave and, like any good mommy, I needed to cook up a storm while he was here.  Only problem?  Um...where in that mess are my recipes?

This project took me three lo-ong days to finish - that was working on it in hit-or-miss increments between other projects.  And I seriously almost gave up on it more than once except that I still hadn't found the recipe for my Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies. (Peanut Butter + Truffles + Brownies = Need I Say More?)  There are also few things I hate more than paper clutter, though, so I kept going.  Along the way I found a lot of junk, several copies of the same recipe (ugh) and one thing that made me very sad.  It was this:

That is a "Build Your Own Greenhouse" project kit that son #1 ordered from Scholastic in, oh, ...4th grade.  My son is now 20 years old and, as you can see, we never opened the box.  I can still remember how excited he was when he brought it home.  I can also remember, with a sick feeling in my stomach, how I kept promising him we would get it out and put it together "one of these days".  I cannot express with words the feelings of regret I have over this. This small little box represents so many lost memories and is a visual reminder to me about just how fast time goes.  And, sadly, it takes something like this - or worse -to remind us that we cannot recapture those moments.  We need to make those memories now before it is too late.

Christopher, if you're reading this - (and I'm sure he is because he assures me that he reads ALL his mother's blog posts) - please forgive me for that broken promise. And I am pledging, right here and right now, that next time you come home we will build this green house.   And it will be the best miniature green house e-ver and we will grow alfalfa sprouts the size of Jack's beanstalks.  Seriously.  (Cause I love you that much.)

But back to my recipe cabinet.  Are you ready for it?  (*drum roll, please*)

Please, (please), notice the empty shelf space in the after picture.  Before I cleaned this cabinet, I could barely close the doors.  Now, not only can I close my doors but I can find what I am looking for - including my coveted PB Brownie recipe. Woot-woot!

Job well done, if I do say so myself.

What have you cleaned out or cleaned up lately? What's the most exciting - or disappointing - thing you've ever discovered when clearing through your clutter?

I'll be linking up to A Slob Comes Clean and her monthly de-cluttering wrap-up. And I'll also be over at I'm An Organizing Junkie for her 52 Weeks of Cleaning!

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