Sunday, April 28, 2013

Can a Book Get You Organized?

Recently while browsing the new book area at my library, I noticed a remarkable number of books on organizing, de-cluttering and cleaning. I browsed through a few of them and found them to be generally...silly. Tips included the following: donate anything you don't need (stating the obvious in my opinion), buy pretty storage boxes (so the junk you keep looks better?) and out of sight, out of mind (the motto of a hoarder for sure).

I've moved so frequently over the past 20 years that I have very few items, whether it's my past mementoes or my sons that I can't find quickly. Older, useless items such as toys, knickknacks and trinkets I get rid of and with only a few boxes of personal items left I am almost box free. Like so many people I have boxes of old photographs and personal papers. Which each box I go through, I discard about 99% of the items and keep only what is precious and irreplaceable. Old photos of my family, my son's grade school art work, letters from my Grandparents and other items I keep filed in a filing cabinet.

This weekend during a break from gardening I went through 2 more boxes and happily filled an entire garbage bag with items. As I get older I tend to be even less sentimental than I was when I was younger.  Old love letters, birthday cards, Valentine's Day cards etc... are so easy to dispose off. I open them, read them, smile and feeling nothing but a remembered sweetness, toss them in the garbage. Old photos of vacations and special events with people I will never see again and who have come and gone from my life are also tossed. The feelings attached to the items just aren't there anymore.

So I don't know why so many books are written with silly tips on how to de-clutter and organize when so much is what you don't need anymore. It's so freeing to just let it go. I'm hoping that the next time I browse the new book area there will be more books on less is more instead of buy more to organize less.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April Showers Bring...

It's raining in Chicago. How fitting for April. I'm guessing we will have many May flowers this year. After experiencing ideal weather during our trip to California, Paul and I returned to a gloomy, drenched City. I'm taking it in far no water in my basement. After the infamous Chicago area flood of July 2011 that flooded my basement and thousands of others I've struggled emotionally with every rain storm but after having my gutters cleared and the rain guards removed, my basement has been bone dry. Here's hoping it remains that way.

So what to do when it rains day and night. Well I was going to go to a Cubs night game this week but the thought of fighting traffic in Chicago after days of horrendous traffic in Los Angeles didn't appeal to me. Nor did a night in a wet ball field even for the Cubs. So instead I am warm and dry at home with my favorite things.

Since I missed this week's Monday 5 list. Here are the things I can't do without in Chicago's rainy season.

  1. Rain Coat. I found mine at a thrift store for $5. It's bright blue with toggle closures down the front and a giant hood. It covers my butt and keeps me warm and dry. Sure I look like a 5 year old kid dressed up like a sailor but I wear my coat to walk my dog and save my Burberry rain coat for light rain.
  2. Wellies. I bought my Hunter wellies years ago in the UK before you could buy them in American stores. Best boots ever made for rain and mud. Plus they are fun to splash through puddles in as they cover all the way to my knees. Worth every penny. 
  3. Martinis. I love a vodka martini with a splash of vermouth and 3 olives. The olives serve as dinner many nights when its been a long day and a meal is a martini. Paul makes the best martinis and we often hand stuff our own olives with blue cheese.
  4. A sense of humor. Seriously you really have to have a sense of humor to live in Chicago, definitely a passion for the greatest City in the USA but also a sense of humor for the weather, our politics and our sports teams. But it's worth it, even in the rain. 
  5. The Classics. Maybe because these are the last days for months that I will be inside due to terrible weather but as it pours outside I retreat to watching my favorite Jane Austen stories on film (Pride and Prejudice 1995 TV and 2005 film versions and Sense and Sensibility 1995 film version). Plus I am loving a record that we found in an amazing record store in San Francisco's Little Italy, Pachelbel Kanon and Music of Handel, Vivaldi and Gluck. This beautiful album conducted by Christopher Hogwood features musicians on original instruments. 
Where ever you are, stay dry during Spring rains!