Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gift card queen

I'm still plugging along with some of my projects, both for Baby's imminent arrival (less than a month until our due date!) and for other things. For instance, one of my goals for quite a while has been to work on and give away more warm knitted items. Some will go to charity, some to friends. A worthy goal, right? Except I haven't done pretty much any of the projects that I wanted to do. I've been lazy and pushed them off. But, our apartment really is feeling cluttered with stuff, particularly now that we're adding in so much baby stuff. (Holy crap, that kid has a lot of clothes already!) So, one small part of decluttering is to actually use up some of my yarn stash. I have tons of yarn. Approximately six large bags worth. It's silly. What's even worse is that I have a few half-finished projects but would need to buy more yarn to finish them! Oy. So I'm working on the things that I can, for now. I'm making a hat for one of my friends, some socks for baby (and if I can get the pattern right, more socks for friends and family who are having babies of their own), and some Christmas gifts. If I have time, I'd also like to make a quick mobile to hang in Baby's closet. Nothing fancy. I'm thinking I'll just make crocheted balls of different colors and hang them from an embroidery hoop.
I did actually get started on reorganizing our room and closet to make space for Baby. It seemed like such a daunting, cyclical task. I have to do X before Y, before Z, before A, before B...but that one requires X task be finished, otherwise it would be a huge mess. So I finally picked a spot and just started there. All of our baby clothes until about 3 months are washed, organized, and in our closet. Our nice clothes are in the closet in the spare bedroom (since we don't wear them that often) and our everyday clothes are now in the wire cube things next to the desk. (We've used the wire storage cubes as our clothing organizer for years now, rather than a bulky dresser, and it works out pretty well.) Not only this, but it's now doubling as a cat perch, so hopefully our cat will hang out with us more when we're back in the bedroom. (Usually he lurks in the hallway, staring in at me--not Shane, just me--and being a little creepy.) The one drawback to this: this morning he didn't want to let me get my underwear (in a basket in the top cube) and kept batting at my hands. I had to bop him (gently) on the head to get him to leave me alone. (He wasn't hurt, just offended.)
I still need to make and set up the curtains to go over the closet, and we need to move the cradle in. (It needs some wood glue first, just to reinforce it.) We still need to figure out something for where to put dirty cloth diapers and wipes, where to keep baby blankets (the pets have tried to claim them, and I don't want them getting ruined by cat claws or the dog's incessant need to create a nest whenever she lies down), and what to do for changing diapers. We could use some baskets or something to keep a few items in the living room, except we don't have baskets and I don't feel like buying any. (It's not in our budget!) But, I'm sure that we'll get the necessary things done before Baby's arrival and the rest can be figured out after she's here.
Because we had to move things around, it did necessitate a little bit more decluttering. I realized that there were a few clothes I owned which I could part with since I was mostly keeping them around because they're still in fine condition so I might as well, right? Never mind the fact that I didn't like them much and only ever wore them because I felt like I should. Not anymore, they're gone. I also have a couple of t-shirts which I wanted to hang onto but they don't look good on me. So, they're waiting for me to decide if they're really worth storing or if I should donate one and toss the other (not in donatable condition).
I got Shane to help me pull down a box from the spare bedroom closet, one I've assumed was full of his stuff, only to find out that it was full of my things. Even better, when he pulled it down a bag full of empty soda bottles came down with it, which my little brother must have left in the room when he moved out. (Thanks.) And we found two small boxes of the Boy's stuff, as well. The things in my box all went immediately into the donate pile, the bottles into the recycling stash in the garage, and the boxes of the Boy's things are waiting for my parents to take them home to him when they visit. Even just going through that small amount of stuff is making me feel lighter, though. Better. It's amazing how getting rid of stuff can make you feel more organized, even if you really aren't.
This doesn't really help with decluttering, but we do have a number of gift cards that we've received over the years and have never gotten around to using for one reason or another. Generally, it's because there isn't that store in town. Shane's family is big on sending gift cards, but terrible about remembering what stores we actually have in Fairbanks. *Shrug* But, I can't argue that they're not useful. We've just been a bit lazy about using them. I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but we had an incredibly generous gift card to a certain home store that someone gave us for our wedding. Since we've accumulated plenty of kitchen items we either wanted to upgrade (bread pans, thermometer, measuring spoons) or didn't have (muffin pans, 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup) we went ahead and used it. We got some really nice, incredibly useful kitchen items and spent a grand total of $1 of our own money. (And the things which they're replacing, such as the bread pans, are getting donated.) They arrived only about a month ago and we've already used the least used of them (the muffin pans) three times. You can imagine how often the nice measuring spoons have been used! (Always, always get glass or metal kitchen utensils whenever possible. Plastic ones just suck.)
We also need a humidifier. Our big old one that we have grew mold and we can't find any replacement filters. It's from the 70's (I think), enormous, probably a huge energy hog, and at this point pretty useless. So it's time to get rid of it. But a humidifier is very, very nice to have here. Already my hands are starting to peel and even crack because of the dry air. And that's after a rainy night! It gets much, much worse over the winter. So I used a gift card to another clothing/home store and found a humidifier. With shipping, there was $.24 left over on the gift card so $0 spent on our part. That makes me very happy.
We have other gift cards, including two for other home/clothing stores. I'm keeping an eye out for flannel sheets, since we don't have any and the jersey sheets we got as a wedding gift have already worn out. I'll hang onto them and use the material for other projects as needed, but they've got a few large holes in them that make them not so nice for bedding anymore and that means we're effectively down to two sets of sheets, one for our bed and one for the guest bed. Not the worst situation, but since we have the means to fix it, why not? And, it's hard to argue against having a set of flannel sheets in Fairbanks.

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