Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out

You know how some people have a junk drawer? For the past several years, we’ve had a junk room.

That wasn’t the plan. It was supposed to be my office, for the freelancing business I was going to have on the side. But that’s not now things turned out.

To begin with, I don’t freelance. I have a business license and no business, which means that every year I get to tell the City of Los Angeles that I am happy to pay them a percentage of $0. Add to that the fact that we have no time and no energy, and that means that on the rare occasions that we clean up, we wind up making stacks of things and then saying, “Just put that in the office.”

What that meant was that we had a room so full of stuff that we wouldn’t let Baguette go in there. We went in as little as possible, and then felt guilty just looking at the closed door. Our house is not that big, which means that removing a room from use drastically reduces our available space.

So last week, Mr. Sandwich and I took two days off of work. We sorted and threw out and recycled. We made a trip a day to Goodwill. And, based on a tip from a co-worker, we made multiple trips to Office Depot to deposit papers in the locked shredding bins that will be disposed of by Iron Mountain.

We pushed on through the weekend, and are continuing throughout the house. But this room was by far the worst, and that meant it was the place to start. So what did that process look like?

Thursday
1-Thursday2

Friday
2-Friday2

Saturday
3-Saturday2

Sunday
4-Sunday2

Monday
5-Monday2

We’re exhausted. But we feel much better.

Not Enough

Donations at Eden Project

Over at Wandering Scientist, Cloud has a post about dealing with a multitude of holiday food drives.

I’m facing the same thing. My workplace has one. My alumni club has one. Baguette’s day care has one. Each of them benefited a local organization, which I also like.

It’s easy enough to go through the pantry and select nonperishables that I don’t need or can’t remember why I bought (green enchilada sauce in mild, medium, and hot?). But then where do I take them?

This year choosing a food drive was also easy. I drive to Baguette’s day care but not to work, so it’s easier for me to drop canned goods off at her center’s office than to manage them on the bus. And I didn’t go to my alumni club’s December event anyhow.

The university I work at has a program for students with children; we gave Baguette’s infant carrier and stroller, Moby wrap, Boppy, and assorted other items to a grad student whose baby was born prematurely (she should be home by now, I think, and I’m so happy I was able to provide some supplies to help bring her home from the hospital).

Earlier this year, we sent a friend stationed in Afghanistan a huge box of food, which she shared with the other soldiers at her base. Last month, I donated money and blood and a box of baby wipes and formula to various organizations helping with Hurricane Sandy.

I wish I could send everything I have to New Jersey. It’s 3,000 miles away, but it’s local in my heart.

Photo by HowardLake, via Flickr. (Creative Commons)