Better on Toast

Sassymonkey, of course, was reading Better on Toast so I had to read it too. I loved the idea… until I got the book and then I remembered that I don’t really like anything ON toast except butter. No jam. No honey, no nothing else.

If I’m going to have a sandwich, open-faced or not, I don’t really like my bread toasted. In fact, I’d really rather not, thanks.

That made it hard for me to get into the idea of this cookbook. I asked Sassymonkey if she’d made anything from it — she hadn’t, because it had to go back to the library. She did say that she thought something with mushrooms or figs would be good. I agreed. Except, not so much.

So I’m sending the cookbook back… but, I am thinking about making ONE thing from it. Maybe even this weekend… if it works out, I’ll come back and let you know.

The KonMari Method: Paper

Well that went well. Mostly. We had paper everywhere! We definitely still have paper up in the girls’ rooms but we’re ignoring that until they’re both here and can participate in the Kondoing of their paper. I’m sure we’ll also find more paper tucked away in various places as we move through the process but the bulk of it is DONE.

I gathered up the paper from our desks, from our bedside tables, from the cubby in the bedroom, from various junk drawers throughout the house, the two plastic file boxes jam packed full of “important papers”, and from the drawers of TW’s dresser in the cold room.

We ended up with three bags of trash and a bag and a half of paper to shred. We also have a box of “sentimental papers” to go through at the end.

One of the file boxes is completely empty and the other isn’t even close to being full. We also stumbled upon dozens of gift cards and I’ve gone through the annoyingly tedious process of checking to see if any of them have balances — most do. The ones that didn’t, were cut and thrown away so we don’t have to go through that process again. I’m pretty sure there are more gift cards in the “sentimental” box because our sorting piles got a little confused for a few minutes and I was not going to go back through the box to find a few darn gift cards. We’ll deal with them later.

I’m pretty pleased with our progress. Now I just have to decide if there’s a community shredding event scheduled in the near future at a time that’s convenient for us to go shred. Or, if we should just buy a shredder… I’m leaning toward NOT buying a shredder but I want this stuff out of the house ASAP. It defeats the purpose of sorting it and bagging it if you’re just going to leave the crap sitting around in bags. Hmph.

Next up: DVDs, VHS tapes, CDs, albums and video games… those are all over the house, too. (What isn’t?)

The KonMari Method: Books (Part 4 and DONE)

We did it. We made it through the books category without killing each other or ourselves. (Or having the kids kill us.)

TW went through all of the cookbooks last night. I went through them after her — twice. Elly indicated she wanted to go through them and then she didn’t. Turns out she wasn’t attached to any specific cookbook (though she probably is and we were smart enough to feel joy for those anyway) but was attached to the idea of all the cookbooks, always and forever, amen.

Which is pretty much how we feel about all of our books, which is why we really did need to take each one off of the shelf and hold each one in our hands and THEN make a decision about a book.

It worked well and here’s our final talley:

We have a total of eight full-size billy bookcases. Five have height extenders. We also have two corner Billys with height extenders. There are five small bookcases upstairs in the girls rooms. Before we started, all of the shelves were full plus we had books stacked in other locations around the house. And, a big rubbermaid bin full of books.

Now, we have 13 full-size Billy shelves that are completely empty. There are four corner Billy shelves that are empty. The bookcases in the girls rooms upstairs are mostly empty. There are no piles of books anywhere (except in boxes and bags to donate, lol) and the rubbermaid bin is empty of books. I have one stack of magazines that bring me joy.

The donation pile/recycle pile looks like this.

5 kitchen-sized garbage bags were recycled.
33 grocery shipping bags were filled.
14 boxes full of books (most are UHaul book boxes but some are amazon boxes of different shapes and sizes, a box for copy paper, and a flat for some sort of fruit or veggies from Costco.

I’m really pleased with how well we did. I also think we’ll be able to discard some more when we pack out next year. I don’t think we’ll discard a lot, at that point — but some more things will go.

One other note — there are 12 shelves of OLD books/series that mostly bring us joy. They’re sentimental favorites and so we did not really touch them at all during this phase of KonMari. We will revisit them at the very end of the process, though I suspect most, if not all, will bring us joy.

KonMari Problems: We Just Can’t Let Go

We’re pretty much through all of the books and magazines — though I’m very sure there are some lurking in corners and drawers and all the places that we will stumble upon later — and I’ve learned a lot from this exhausting process.

There are some things that bring us joy, things we just cannot let go.

Children’s books, obviously. We knew that going in. I, however, was more ready to let go of children’s books than TW was. I was more likely to keep books that I knew my children loved, because they’ve said so or because I have strong memories of them reading those books (or asking me to read them aloud.) TW was more likely to keep children’s books that brought her joy… whether they brought the children joy, or not. I let go of a whole lot of Newberry winners that brought ME joy but never brought my kids any joy at all. TW retrieved them from the discard pile because they brought her joy. I get it. That was me the last time we discarded a lot of books. lol

I had trouble letting go of orange books… but not nearly as much as I’d expected. I love orange. I love Penguin books. Turns out I was ok letting go of a whole lot of orange that really didn’t bring me joy except that they were orange and they were Penguins. Hah. I can always buy more Penguins later. ;-)

We both had a whole lot of trouble letting go of non-fiction. Anything about women or children or minorities in general, we seemed to keep. Anything American history related, we seemed to keep. TW has a fondness for math and science books — me, not to much lol. Children’s non-fiction, oy. Don’t even get me started. I think we’re going to have to weed some more of those out later. How many visual dictionaries do we need?

Poetry. I was more likely to discard poetry anthologies but TW plucked them right back off of the discard pile. We have all the poetry in the world. If you need it, we have it.

Last, but not least, lesbian fiction. The good, the bad, the ugly — we have it and we are keeping it. It’s hard to let that go. You never really know if a library will have lesbian fiction, and certainly not old lesbian fiction. There’s also the question of what would happen to those books after we donated them. I’m ok with the fact that once books are donated, anything might happen to them. They might be recycled, they might not. I just don’t want to think about all of these lesbian novels landing in a recycle bin or worse. All of the Naiads, oh the Naiads. Sometimes you just want to read lesbian fiction. Sometimes you just NEED to read bad lesbian fiction.

There you go, a look into which books bring us joy… and why.

Montage of Heck

Yes, I’m a Nirvana fan and not just because Christopher LOVED Nirvana when he was a little kid. I don’t have HBO so I haven’t seen the documentary yet but just as soon as it’s released on DVD, it’s MINE!

The book, Montage of Heck was excellent. Kurt’s art plus animation stills plus interviews = everything a Kurt Cobain fan could want, and more.

The KonMari Method: Books (Part umm 3?)

This must be part three, but my complicated numbering and labeling system is complicated and I’m glad we’re almost done with books!

We finished the 2 non-fiction shelves that are in the family room. I forgot to track specifically how many bags we filled because I was so focused on trying to even FIND bags. haha.

We’re up to 33 filled bags, one large cardboard flat full of books, another box (I think it originally held a ream of paper) full, and our entire dining room table is covered in books that I need to box or bag. I suspect we’ll be close to 50 bags once I manage to find some bags.

I also think we’ll be donating the bulk of our books to Books4Cause since our FOL can’t handle this many books. These folks will come pick them up or we can throw them in the car and drive them over — they’re really close to us and it shouldn’t be a problem to do that, if need be.

Next up: Magazines. (Cookbooks won’t be far behind … I just need to clear space for TW to go through them and find some more bags, sheesh.)

Free-Range Chicken Gardens aka Chicken Porn

I found an awesome chicken coop and garden on Pinterest (I think that’s where I found it, maybe it was on Houzz?) and in the post the blogger talks about the book Free-Range Chicken Gardens so I had to check that out.

It’s amazing.

Elly and I totally agree, it’s chicken porn and chicken coop porn and chicken garden porn and we loved everything about it. Every single thing except our inability to have all of the chickens and all of the coops and all of the gardens.

I might have to buy this book next year.

The KonMari Method: Books (Part 2)

I’ve decided Marie Kondo is right, you should really KonMari your house all at once, rather than doing a little bit at a time.

I said I was going to do like one bookshelf a day and that started off well but I found myself with a half a bag of books to discard and felt the need to just fill the bag, so I moved to another shelf. Which led to having another not full bag and so it went.

Before I knew it, we had done all of the bookshelves in the office! That was a lot of books and we got it done in just a couple of days. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough grocery bags to pack them all up. I never thought I’d reach a point in my life where I did not have enough grocery bags. That’s just nuts.

We’ve got 24 bags of books ready to go. I have enough for another three or four bags full stacked up on the dining room table, because I think I can scratch up enough bags for those. Then, we’ve got a flat box that came from our last Costco visit filled with books — that’s probably another three or four bags worth of books.

This leaves us with 2 Billys (no height extenders) full of non-fiction books and another Billy (no height extender) of cookbooks plus another two or three stacks of mostly cookbooks to go through. I’m trying to hold off on doing those because we have no bags to put the discards in but I’m feeling the urge to just do it. And, I know TW is also feeling the urge.

Maybe I can hold off a bit by jumping to magazines, though I’d kind of thought about doing magazines on Friday when I have a day off of work. That would be fun for me to just relax in bed with a huge stack of magazines…

Who knows… I just keep changing my mind, lol.

When I Was The Greatest

I had to take a little break from reading When I Was the Greatest because I was afraid things were going to go very very wrong for Ali, Needles and Noodles and I just didn’t feel like I could deal with that the day or two after the Charleston shooting.

I did eventually go back to the book and really enjoyed it. Things did go badly for the boys but not THAT badly. It could have been so much worse.

Interesting story — interesting characters. Well worthy of the Cybils shortlist. Pst, there’s knitting in this book!

Two From TW’s Joy Pile

I decided I was going to participate in the Flash Readathon on Sunday. I decided I was going to grab some children’s fiction or YA fiction from the shelf… something TW swears brings her joy but I have not read.

First, I grabbed Midnight Magic, by Avi. I’ve read a lot of Avi but not this one. It was fun. I’m not sure why TW is sure it brings her joy, but it was cute.

Next, I grabbed Wanted, Mud Blossom. A book I know was mine (my children’s) but I’d never read. Probably because I hadn’t read the other books about the Blossom family and I hate reading series books out of order. I don’t know if my kids ever read this book. Or if they’ve read any other books about the Blossoms. Whatevs. It was cute. Very young, not YA for sure.

I enjoyed them. I’m glad I read them. It was fun. And hey, it’s two books from my stacks! If it were up to me, I’d give them both away, though…