Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 30: Fugly Sweater

I thought this sweater was awesome when I ordered it from Urban Outfitters. It was on super-clearance, but I went ahead and ignored that red flag because I love retro 80's wear. Even if I'm in denial that my childhood can be considered "retro," that's not going to stop me from wearing leggings and oversize sweaters every day. And listening to the Bangles on constant rotation.

But I don't think I've ever found an occasion that seemed appropriate for this sweater. And I think I've figured out why: Because it's too fugly for the real world. I realize I'm not doing it any favors by wearing it over my pajama pants and performance fleece in this picture, but trust me.

DESTINATION: Goodwill. I tried to sell it on eBay, but no luck. Then I attempted to give it away on Facebook, but not one of my 300 friends was willing to take it for free.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 29: Useless Ruler

G, being an engineer, measures everything down to the .0000001 inch. For example, I'll say, "How big are the openings on our bookcase?" and instead of answering, "about a foot," he'll say, "11 3/16 inches."

So I don't know why we ever had a bendy ruler with haphazard 1/8"-wide tick marks.


Day 28: Sippy Cup Fails

Finding the right sippy cup has been an epic quest. For starters, I'm pretty sure our almost-two-year-old intends to stick with the bottle until at least college, if not longer. Also, there are approximately 1293849246829846 types of sippy cup on the market. These two didn't work out, as measured by intensity of tantrums and amount of water that ended up on the floor instead of in the mouth.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 27: Water Bottles

We got these water bottles for free at American Eagle -- and we're pretty much double the age limit on shopping at American Eagle now, so it must have been years ago. Despite owning several water bottles that we actually like and use, we've been holding onto them just in case. Just in case of what? I can only come up with two possible scenarios:

Scenario #1: We decide to hike the Appalachian Trail or some other endeavor that requires several water bottles per person.

Scenario #2: We have a sudden craving for water that tastes like aluminum foil.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 26: GMC Sonoma

GEORGE: It's a little bit of a bummer for me, but today I drove my Sonoma to a new home across town. It has been an extra vehicle in my fleet for the past 8 years. I used it for a good portion of our last move, helped out many neighbors and friends, and hauled everything that Lowe's has to offer. We've done a lot of projects together and it was always there when I needed it. It was also my backup plan for when my old VW wasn't running (which was pretty often). I got a reliable car last year (totaling 4 cars for 2 drivers) so the bottom line was that in between these projects, I just didn't NEED the truck. The 600 bucks I'll save in insurance covers quite a few Lowe's rentals, and I can put the cash from the sale towards a better car for the family when we're ready, or some other house upgrade.

KARA: I drove this truck whenever my Mazda was acting up (which was pretty often). While I could technically reach the brake pedal, my legs weren't long enough to compress it if I actually wanted to stop. I basically needed to slide under the dashboard. So I won't miss that. But now my car is the least clean and most utilitarian one in our fleet, so I have a feeling I'll be lugging the dirty cargo from now on!

DESTINATION: A great home across town. Another car loving family with more cars than us.

Sidenote, George is really overachieving this week! I've thrown out spices, and meanwhile he's selling off big-ticket items all over the place!

Day 25: Pepper

We really slacked on using this fancy pepper. I think we used a total of, I don't know, 18 peppercorns from each jar. Like the Spice Rack of Unknown Origin, it's pretty much a safe bet that the pepper has lost most of its flavor.

DESTINATION: Trash. Maybe I'll be a better cook someday!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Inspiration: 18 Things to Toss

Just some light reading -- I found this article on the front page of Yahoo, which gave us some great de-cluttering ideas.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 24: Solidworks Training Manuals

Look at me, I'm bloggin'! Since this little purge was all mine, I figured I would get in on all of the hott blog action (thats right, hott with two t's). Since I know low people in high places, I aquired these training manuals back in 2005 with aspirations of going through them and learning Solidworks. It turns out that without a large project, I'm not that driven. For small projects, it was easier to just fumble through it. At this point I've had a ton of seat time and I know Solidworks really well. I love this software.

I finally decided to list them on eBay, and apparently they're still worth quite a bit of cash (then again, pretty much everything is worth something on eBay -- see our Geico bobblehead). I'm psyched that this box of books that I have been holding onto for six years has been turned into cash!

Hmm, I wonder if I'll ever use my Pro-E manual...?

DESTINATION: Kansas, by way of Ebay

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 23: Spice Rack

This week we're sticking to the kitchen.

There is no story to go along with this spice rack, because we have no recollection of how we acquired this spice rack. We know we brought it with us when we 2007. Which means the spices are at least four years old, but possibly double that.

Mrs. Dash would not approve.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 22: LBD

I was walking to my car a few weeks ago and found a size 12 little black dress in the middle of our lawn. It was like someone had an awesome party at our house and forgot to invite us! It still had the tags attached, so I hung it from a tree on our lawn with a Post-It note that said, "Found this." Foolproof!

Then I forgot about the mysterious LBD. Then there was a blizzard. Then two days later, I tromped through a foot of snow to my car and saw the dress, still hanging from the tree. Oops. But amazingly, it was still in perfect shape -- even the tags! So I put the dress in my car and put a "lost" ad in our neighborhood newsletter. Someone called a few days later to say the dress had gone missing from her front porch -- a mile away! She had gotten a replacement already and told me to keep it.

As you can see in the photo, it doesn't fit.

DESTINATION: It went back from whence it came. And I don't mean my front lawn.

Sidenote, there's a 98% chance I would have actually worn this outfit in high school. Oh, the mid-90's riot grrl days.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 21: Aveda Makeup Bag

The awesome thing about working as a magazine editor is that you basically get all the free makeup you want. Over the course of six years, I probably accumulated a few thousand dollars in cosmetics, even though I rarely left the house in anything but mascara and lip balm. (I used the past tense, but it's still true.)

A few months ago, it occurred to me that I went freelance four years ago (yikes!) which meant my amazing makeup collection was...kind of yucky. Now I'm basically down to my Korres mascara and a few tubes of Blistex (the two products I actually used enough to replace). So I really don't think I need TWO makeup bags. Unless the mascara and lip balm want to keep separate residences.

This one was a freebie with my Aveda travel kit. I'm an Aveda addict, although lately I've been cheating on it with Yes to Carrots. Cheaper, smells better, works miracles.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 20: Adobo

G and I have been attempting a "real food" diet where we cook from scratch and only eat foods with ingredients we can pronounce. Not counting Mint Milano cookies, which are exempt. We're going through about two dozen eggs a week, and learning through trial and error (lots of error) how to cook dry beans.

Anyway. Tonight we made plantain burritos -- one of our favorite recipes -- but for the second time in a row, we added adobo seasoning and it ruined it. It tasted like a salt lick.

Adios, adobo. You've ruined your last meal!


And if tu tienes hambre, here's the recipe for plantain burritos. Whatever you do, don't add adobo!

* olive oil
* little bit of garlic
* thawed plantains
* black beans
* 2 T. cumin
* dash of hot sauce
* dash of black pepper
* 1 c. cheddar

Saute (is that the right word?) the plantains in the olive oil and garlic, then add everything but the cheese and heat it all up until it's mushy and delicious. Cheese goes on top. Dip in green salsa.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 19: The Pineapple Mirror

We inherited this mirror from the previous owners of our house -- it was sitting in the basement along with two air conditioners that were older than I am, and an extra can of the baby-blue paint that they used to paint every single wall, door, and baseboard in our house.

Four years later, we've finally gotten around to selling it. Of course, about three minutes before the woman arrived to buy it, I went to wipe it down and realized the streaks of "dirt" were actually the silver breaking down. It's that old. I felt bad and tried to haggle myself down from the $5 I was asking, but the woman seemed unfazed. I guess that's the difference between people who appreciate antiques and, um, me.

DESTINATION: Haddonfield, by way of craigslist.

(P.S. the reflection of our dusty basement in the mirror gives me agita!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 18: Lens Wipes

Little-known fact: I wear glasses. It's a little-known fact because I only wear them when driving at night (if I remember) or if I want to look smart-hot like Tina Fey. Anyway, I got these lens wipes free with my last pair of glasses and I was like, "Wait, can't I just wipe my glasses on my t-shirt?"

The answer is yes. I can just wipe my glasses on my t-shirt.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 17: Zoom Lens

G gave me this 80-200 zoom lens back in college -- so long ago that it was intended for my Canon Rebel G film camera. I took it on vacation to Mexico and was like, "Holy crap! I have to be so far from the thing I want to take a picture of!" I remember taking a picture of a Mexican flag, not because I thought it would make a particularly good photo, but just because it was far enough away. I haven't really used it much since. I'm a wide-angle girl.

DESTINATION: Kentucky, by way of eBay.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 16: H&M Scarf

I have a scarf problem. They've taken over an entire coat rack in our hall closet. So when I spotted a checkered Mickey Mouse scarf at Disney last week, G made me promise to get rid of one of my scarves. I had just read an old blog post by Michele Connolly about the OCIOGO rule, so that sounded like a good idea. This woven scarf is kind of itchy, so off it goes.

Please take notice of how completely awesome my new scarf is. I'm thinking of getting it surgically attached.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 15: The Hamburger Phone

We bought this vintage-style Pottery Barn phone for $10 at a "divorce sale." It was perfect, because it was big enough to cover the ugly patch of unfinished wood on our wall where the previous owners had an actual vintage phone -- a.k.a. old and large.

Maybe the phone had bad karma, because we had it for about three seconds before I dropped the handset on the tile floor. From then on, it sounded like we were using a walkie-talkie on a deserted island. But because it wasn't broken-broken (you could still hear as long as the other person talked really loud and there was no background noise!) we refused to get rid of it. We dubbed it the Hamburger Phone as a shout-out to Juno. ("It's just, like, really awkward to talk on.") The cute nickname didn't change the fact that the phone sucked and we started every conversation by cursing at it.

We decided maybe it would be better to replace it with a less attractive, more functional $7.99 handset from Target. It doesn't cover the ugly spot on the wall, but at least every conversation doesn't sound like KKKRRRRRRPPPPPPFFFFSSSSHHHHHHHHH.

DESTINATION: Trash. About three years too late.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 14: Shower Curtain Hooks

There's really nothing to say about these. They held the shower curtain until we replaced them with prettier silver ones. I guess we were holding onto them in case our house magically sprouted an extra shower, and we didn't have the $3.99 for a new set of hooks.

DESTINATION: Trash. No one wants our grimy hooks.

Day 13: Geico Caveman

Unfortunately this is the kind of swag that engineers get. G brought this treasure home from a trade show a few weeks ago.

Goodbye, Geico caveman. We hardly knew ye.

DESTINATION: Illinois, by way of eBay.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Days 6-12: Technojunk

We've been on vacation for the past week and figured the best way to catch up on our thing-a-day project was to get rid of seven things at once. And the best way to get rid of seven things at once was to tackle our stash of "tech supplies," which is really just a box of misfit cords and wires that we could conceivably need someday, if we were to go back in time to 1998 and forget to pack our power cords.

It's like a time capsule of crap...a time crapsule.

I nominated G as the taskmaster since he's good at matching things to their purpose. He said the box of wires "expanded like a pint of lo mein," which is a pretty accurate description. Here's what got tossed.

-- one rollerball mouse
-- Walkman power supply (when was the last time I opened this box?!)
-- Nokia phone charger from my first cell 2000.
-- Lucent Technologies answering machine
-- unidentified serial-to-mini jack
-- Verizon DSL filter (haven't had DSL in five years)
-- seven phone cords in varying lengths and colors (in case we ever were to buy a phone that didn't come with a cord, I guess?)

DESTINATION: Mouse and answering machine to Goodwill, everything else to the trash can. I suppose I could've sent the Walkman charger to Kelly Kapowski, but...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 5: Christmas storage boxes

We've been using these boxes to store our ornaments. They're pretty, but they don't play nicely with the other boxes in the basement. We kept them around because they had sentimental value...but we were kicked to the curb by the artiste sometime in 2009, so we finally decided to stop feeling awkward about putting them on Craigslist. Still makes me a little sad, though.

DESTINATION: The boxes will enjoy a lovely retirement at the shore -- a local guy bought them for his cousin's beach house. Our ornaments now live in a nondescript but stackable Rubbermaid. Order is restored.

Day 4: Gutter Clips

These seemed like such a good idea -- clips to hold your Christmas lights to your gutter! But this is why -- ahem -- the mechanical engineer in our household should be the one responsible for the exterior lighting design. Because I totally didn't realize that you can't use gutter clips when you have a gutter guard. Apparently, clips are among the things it guards against.



Day 3: Christmas Bows

Today would be a good day to institute a rule: If I throw something away but don't get to blog about it for a day or two, it still counts. We cleaned out our Christmas storage over the weekend, and here's the first casualty.

The backstory: G is a notorious humbug, so any holiday decorating is my responsibility. But in our first apartment, we got a notice that there would be a decorating contest and the winner would receive $200 off their next month's rent. The promise of free money turned Scrooge McDuck into Clark Griswold, and despite the fact that our exterior consisted of one sliding door and a four-foot balcony, I think we had around 800 lights up there. These bows decorated the railing.

Yes, we won.

That was nine years ago and no one has ever paid us to decorate since, they go.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 2: The Mysterious VHS Pile

This pile of videotapes has been sitting on top of our TV for more than two years now. We were reluctant to throw them away, because who knows what priceless footage could be on those tapes?

We finally sat down and watched them. Here's the answer.

1) Several episodes of Heroes. I didn't realize we were so committed to that show.

2) The 2002 MTV Movie Awards, a.k.a. the one when Michael Jackson mistakes a teleprompted compliment from Britney Spears as an "Artist of the Millenium award." I taped them because I was working the red carpet that year, and whenever I had to work the red carpet, I always secretly wished I was home in my pajamas, making fun of celebrities instead of being nice to them.

3) A college film project sent to me by some chick who asked if she could interview me about the teen magazine industry. Needless to say, she was actually creating a scathing feminist critique of how vapid and destructive teen magazines are. Obviously, I disagree. I think it's okay to read about crushes and hairstyles -- in fact, my hair looked like total crap in the video, so maybe I should have skimmed a magazine or two beforehand.

4) The episode of Lost when Naomi dies.

Verdict: Nothing worth keeping.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 1: These Shoes Weren't Made for Walking

I hate shoes. If I had my way, I'd wear flip-flops every day. I get a lot of lectures from G about the damage I'm doing to my feet. So before a trip to Germany, where we planned to do a lot of walking, I decided to invest in some actual shoes. With soles. And laces. And arch support.

They felt delightful but smelled so putrid that he made me leave them in the hallway of our hotel. I was like, "What if someone steals them?" He was like, "Trust me, no one is going to steal them."

He was right. Three years later, the shoes are still sitting in our closet because I'm afraid to wear them and release the funk in our house. So, out the door they go!

DESTINATION: The trash can.

SIDENOTE: G commended me for "posing" these shoes so nicely. My inner wedding photographer can't be tamed!

Less is less.

We have a clutter problem. On a good day, our house looks like the aftermath of an explosion at a paper factory. On a bad day, it looks like a flea market threw up.

It's mostly my fault. I'm a slob with OCD -- you'd think they would cancel out, but no. Look in my closet, and you'll see my clothes arranged by color and season. I fold clothes so neatly, I could get a job stocking shelves at the Gap. As a result, it takes me about an hour to put my laundry away, so I pretty much never put my laundry away. I need a headlamp to go digging for clean jeans. The same could be said for my office, my bills, the kitchen, the groceries, and so on.

I live with G, my hubby of six years. He's a neat freak with major sentimental attachment to everything and serious Italian guilt about getting rid of stuff. He hates clutter, but will hang on to scraps of lumber for five years. He's like a very orderly hoarder.

We were inspired to start this 365 by the simplification section of Tim Ferriss's The Four-Hour Workweek and the 100 Things Challenge blog. But we're not exactly minimalists -- I'm pretty sure I have 100 things on my desk alone. So in the interest of taking baby steps, we made a resolution to get rid of one thing each day, for the entire year. Hopefully it'll help us simplify a little. In all likelihood, our house will still be pretty messy come December. But maybe we'll feel a little lighter.

By the way, I know the saying is "less is more," but I feel like that's counterproductive in this case. "Less is more" implies that more is better, which is the opposite of what we're trying to achieve. We want to lighten our load, so the keyword is less. We're not moving to a cabin in the woods or traveling the world with nothing but the clothes on our backs. We're just trying to come to terms with the fact that maybe, just maybe, a family of four doesn't require 23 coffee mugs. (Especially since we don't drink coffee.)

One last note. I know January 1st would have been an ideal day to start a 365, but you know what? I got distracted. It can only get better from here! I think.