January is such a serene time.
(I am casually ignoring the subArctic temperatures that will surely prove disastrous to orange juice futures which is what I always think of when Florida is freezing and then I have Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy in my head. Don’t ask, it’s awfully untidy in there.)
The hustle is over. There is no more to-do list than spans pages and pages. There is no more laying out the money to buy the gifts to ensure one more year of people loving you. There is no more pinning up the holiday invitations and the resulting RSVP-ing. There is no more more, it’s all supposed to be less. We’re supposed to jump into a “New Year, New You!” outlook on life, which apparently involves buying all sorts of workout clothing and storage containers.
(I admit, I have a weakness for storage containers. The thought of visiting the Container Store while they’re having a 30% off sale is giving me the tingles all over but I am not going to do this. Ssshh – do not remind me the sale is also on line.)
Me? There will be no workout clothes bought here. The thought is laughable. Squeezing this body into some spandex and baring my midriff (midriff; that’s a funny word, don’t even think I could describe what I have as being a midriff, more like a mountain range) just will not happen. I will not be joining a “gym” or “fitness center” or any other euphemism for sweaty bodies showing off to each other. A long time ago I was using Richard Simmons’ “Sweating to the Oldies” and I almost paralyzed myself trying to look at the TV and do the complicated movement at the same time. Plus my sneakers were inferior.
I am, however, rethinking how to organize so. much. stuff. and make the house a haven instead of a place to say “oh crap I forgot I have to do that!” or “honey, where is that bill that was due two days ago?” I troll Pinterest on a regular basis, and I used to buy magazines featuring StorageSolutions! but that just contributed to the massive amounts of stuff around here so I stopped. I’ve noticed that things appear organized when they are in similar shaped containment systems and lined up in size/color/use order, sort of like a supermarket. Sure enough, someone wrote an article about Supermarket Organization and it featured pantries that would make an Amish housewife weep with joy. I simply don’t have multiples of similarly-shaped things needing storage to worry about (those magazines notwithstanding) but instead it’s the weird stuff that needs to find a home before it can be put away.
For example: we now have a breadmaker sitting on a toy box. We didn’t used to have a breadmaker, but Older Daughter brought it home and we needed to put it somewhere. But somewhere that it can be used, not somewhere like “oh stick it in the basement until we can find a place for it.” (Which explains why no visitors are allowed in the basement.) So we put it on the toybox. Why is there a toybox in the kitchen? Well, it’s well made and wooden and just because there’s no toys to put in it any longer doesn’t mean it should end up in a landfill. It has become a useful piece of storage near the back door for all the things that used to be needed in the backyard, like pruning shears, baseball gloves (nobody in this house plays baseball), gardening gloves, bubbles, and the fire extinguisher. The fire extinguisher is my fault, because when we had our kitchen redone I didn’t want that ugly red thing to clash with all the pretty new stuff and I gently suggested (also known as insisting in a slightly hysterical way) that it could live there, it’s easy to get to, and we all knew where it was. Now there’s a mammoth breadmaker sitting on top of it which hopefully won’t catch fire.
(Speaking of re-doing the kitchen, I’d like to get those designers back in here and ask them what were they thinking when they deliberately did NOT design a place to put all the brooms and mops and things? They’re just hanging out in a corner of the kitchen, and look far uglier than a fire extinguisher.)
We have about 50 VHS tapes in the basement. They’re all Disney, Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss, Land Before Time, etc. and what do you do with it all? Can’t donate it to a nursery school because they don’t use VHS any longer. Can’t throw it into the landfill. Can’t trade them in because they’re worth less than nothing. So what do you do with them all? You put them in the basement, naturally, with all the books that nobody has looked at in over twenty years because they’re too good to get rid of but yes of course we’re going to buy more, and the punch bowl that makes an appearance once every eight years, and the decorative gifts that have been given over the years that serve no purpose but “we can’t throw that out! So-and-So gave that to us, think how’d they feel!” (So-and-So has been dead for over twelve years.) Everything my children made in school is in the basement, in boxes and bins that don’t see the light of day but when I come across them they are three years old again (my children, not the bins) and their eyes are sparkling with excitement to show me the beautiful creation they made.
Clearly, we need to get rid of things to make a pleasant space around here, and since there are seven tins of Christmas cookies still present, I am selflessly doing my part to get rid of them and free up that very necessary space. (I wonder if the Container Store makes a gadget for holding empty Christmas tins?)