I'm cleaning in preparation for my mother-in-law's visit next week; she's arriving Monday. I've been cleaning a little bit each day for a few weeks now. I keep attacking low-priority projects (box of diaries!) instead of high-priority ones, but it's okay. Sure, Elizabeth's closet is not as important as the living room, but as the visit gets closer, it'll be easier to face the living room and not as easy to face Elizabeth's closet. Besides, every task contributes to the overall cleanliness of the house and to the level of my despair about it. Besides-besides, the living room will just get messy again before she arrives, but Elizabeth's closet will stay tidy.
The last few days, I've been working on our computer room / office. It's a tiny room, and we've got it so crammed with stuff it's amazing any human being can squeeze in there. There are two computer desks, one craft desk, and a big piece of furniture we call The Furniture because we don't know what it is: it's over 6 feet tall and it has two shelves, a secretary's desk (folds out), and three drawers. All four of these pieces of furniture collect paper and clutter like you would not BELIEVE. It's the most cluttered room in our house, I think.
I started with The Furniture, and I am KICKING myself because I had a whole shelf cleared off before I remembered to take a photo. And it was the worst shelf, too! It had a 2-foot teetering stack of child art, and a "desk organizer" bursting with desk supplies. I'd also cleaned part of a second shelf, removing several 3-ring binders, several folders, and five---FIVE---boxes of special envelopes purchased on a post-holiday clearance. Also: a handful of cardboard pieces for putting in envelopes with photos, three hardcover notebooks, three boxes of stationery, a stack of videotape labels, and a stack of mail-in film processing envelopes (we've been completely digital since 2005).
I almost didn't bother to take a photo at all, I was so discouraged. But I took one anyway, and you're just going to have to imagine that all the cleaned-out gaps are stuffed with the same type of crap as is stuffing the rest of it. This is The Furniture from the top (where we keep two fleece nests for the cats to escape to when the children are being persistent) down to the secretary's desk, which is folded out because there is too much stuff on it to close it (I didn't photograph the drawers because they're closed and uninteresting):
It really would have been more impressive if that top shelf hadn't been empty in the Before shot. Oh, I am so CHEESED about that! I mean, if anything the After shot looks WORSE! Well, we must work with what we have.
The biggest improvement was getting rid of the huge teetering pile of child art, which I had already done here; it HAD been taking up nearly that whole top shelf. I transferred it to an empty diaper box (those boxes are so handy), which I'm storing down in the basement. The now-empty 2-inch-deep box the pile used to be teetering out of is back in place to receive more art, and we'll see if I can make myself empty it into the downstairs box when it's full.
Or maybe the biggest improvement was clearing out the secretary's desk enough to be able to CLOSE it. All the stuff that was on the folded-out part is now on the shelf, which is why that shelf is not particularly pretty right now---but at least it's tidied up.
I don't know what I'll do with that top shelf now. It seems like it would be perfect for large decorative items, but I don't think I have any homeless large decorative items.
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 1 of 2 - I have TWO 8-year-olds to buy for, so I’m going to split it up into two posts. Today will be the things we’re getting for Edward. I dislike saying “Gift id...