House!: January 2011 Archives

Cleaning up

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Yeesh. Between being pregnant, being sick a fair bit in the last month and a half, traveling, and all the stuff that comes along with all of that, it feels like we haven't got the apartment all the way clean in awhile. I spent some time digging us out from a mess it feels like has been around since Thanksgiving. (This isn't exactly true, but it feels like it.)

Since we still had some unpacking to do from our trip to Omaha for Christmas and needed to do something (for now) with the baby things we got as gifts, I took the opportunity to pull down the bag of things that were given to us before we moved. It's now all packed up in a Ziploc storage cube and up on a shelf, at least until we make our trip to Ikea for more appropriate baby clothes storage. In the meantime, I discovered that one of the gifts we received this summer was declared by the CPSC and the FDA to be unsafe. It's a sleep positioner - an assembly of foam and cloth and mesh designed to keep babies in a certain sleeping position. I've read enough about baby bedding to be aware that even plush stuff not immediately adjacent a baby - like bumpers, comforters, and stuffed toys - are not recommended. The theory is that plush stuff near a sleeping baby poses suffocation and SIDS risks. The manufacturer has a statement on their website acknowledging the statement, and they're no longer distributing the sleepers; for consumers, they say if you wish to return the positioner, you should take it back where you bought it. No help for me, since I got it as a gift months ago. I'll be calling them tomorrow to see if I can send it in for a refund, or find a local retailer where I can return it.

Now just to finish unpacking and putting away the laundry so we can go to bed.

One goal missing

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When we moved to San Francisco, we pared down our belongings by a huge amount. We only brought one piece of furniture with us - our kitchen island, for extra counter space, since our kitchen is without exaggeration the size of a closet. Our dinner and cookware got chopped by about half, our wardrobes by at least a third, and our bookshelves by 70-80%. And now, for the most part, we use what we own. The knives in our drawer get dirty and have to be washed every time Sam does dishes, because we just don't own any that are extraneous.

But getting rid of the extraneous is an ongoing thing, not something we can stop because we're done with the move. We're pretty careful about not making new purchases when we can re-purpose something we own to fit a new need, but we do still occasionally have to bring new items into the apartment. Since we moved from a house (where we had something like 2500 square feet of space for living and storage) to an apartment (roughly 500 square feet), we can't afford to bring in stuff indiscriminately - or without taking stuff out. Even if we could, I don't think we'd want to. Having less stuff around lets us appreciate the stuff we keep - it doesn't get lost behind all the cruft.

So this is not a paring down, but rather a process of continual review, and it is one of our areas of focus - for 2011 and probably beyond.

I'm off to a good start: after hearing that a friend bought Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian on our recommendation, I realized that our copies were stuck behind a number of cookbooks that we never use, plus a few others that we use less frequently. We pulled the ones we don't use from the shelf - I'll trade them in on Amazon or list them on Freecycle - and rearranged the remainder so that the Bittman books and our bread books (which also get used all the time) are much more easily accessible.

Next up: my wardrobe. I have to be careful, because I have some clothes I'm only not using because they won't fit until after the baby comes - I don't want to get rid of those. But I also have clothes that I probably wouldn't wear even if they fit, or would only wear grudgingly. (I have underwear in my drawer that always gets pushed to the back of the drawer. Why do I own underwear I don't want to wear?)

Is anyone out there paring down like this? I'm particularly interested if you're doing a continuous review process, rather than a one-time purge.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the House! category from January 2011.

House!: March 2007 is the previous archive.

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