Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2014 Spring Cleaning

With Nick gone, Emmy and I had a lot of time on our hands.  I had planned to do a lot of cleaning and go through my clothes for donations.  I usually comb through every season when I switch my summer for winter clothes and vice versa.   Since moving back from New York, I realized how mild California winters are and haven’t had the need to do a seasonal clothing rotation.  Thus, my twice yearly donation cycle came to a halt and only really happened when my drawers became too full of t-shirts for me to close.  I set my mind to going through all of my clothes and shoes to give away what I hadn’t touched in a year or more. Some things are just really hard to let go of.  I saved some shirts for when I decide to try to make a t-shirt quilt.  It will likely never happen, but at least those shirts are in a bag hidden away for sentimental reasons and not cluttering up my precious closet real-estate.   

Along with clothes donations, I got rid of all of my Converse and Vans from college, only keeping the four pairs I still wear, and a bunch of ballet flats that I neglect for various reasons.  So much hall closet space was freed up once I got rid of the sneakers.  I was able to use the storage bin that held the sneakers for all of my winter boots that take up a lot of space in the hall closet.  They are now neatly stored away under the guest bed.  I also moved Nick’s old snowboarding boots into our storage unit because he doesn’t snowboard anymore.  I’m sure if I chucked them, I’d never here the end of it.  Looks like I’m not the only one who can’t let go of things.  When I told him my plans of Spring cleaning donations he looked alarmed and said, “You’re not throwing away my stuff are you?”  No, I don’t have the energy to go through all of his stuff to get rid of.  There is only so much caffeine one can intake per day. 

Also among all the things I was cleaning, I straightened up the pantry and closet where we keep all of my running gear and Emmy’s leashes.  I get really frustrated when I can’t find our head lamps and reflector bands easily.  By the time I got to that closet, I was a little tired and only straightened up rather than purge unused items.  Thankfully, I started the pantry first.   It is looking much better and has significantly less canned goods than when I first stocked up.  I’m trying to slowly phase out canned goods as we try to shift into a healthier life style.  Because all of my cleaning was done inside of closets, I left the closet doors open the rest of the weekend to admire my work.  Otherwise it didn’t look like I did much of anything around the house.  I also scoured our bathroom, which makes a HUGE difference in how accomplished I feel about the cleanliness of our apartment.  The same goes for our kitchen.  If the bathroom and kitchen are clean, it makes me feel like the whole place is clean.  Generally, however, if both are clean at the same time, I probably went on a cleaning binge.   I also managed to get one junk drawer sorted (yes, we have more than one junk drawer).  It was a very productive weekend.  

On top of getting our apartment back in shape, I did some Spring planting.  I think I skipped planting last year because I always kill my plants, but this year I’m back on the bandwagon.  I get inspired by sites like Pinterest and my Mom’s Better Homes and Gardens, but I know that I am the queen of dead plants.  Worse yet, I don’t like the way they look when they are dead so I don’t want to touch them to get rid of them.  I have been able to keep one succulent and a small aloe plant alive over the last year.  I was very surprised since I forgot about them for months on end.  I’m talking six or so months.  I kind of counted them out as dead.  The succulent that was placed on the balcony was there without water for even longer than the aloe plant on one of our side tables.  I figured when I went out to the balcony that it would be long gone, but it was surprisingly still alive with a bunch of dead leaves.   I ended up transplanting the aloe and barely living succulent into a bigger pot crammed in with a few other succulents.  I used the pots from the transplanted aloe and succulent for smaller succulents, forgetting that I had a pot with a neglected tulip bulb until I was finished.  It’s amazing how things don’t grow without water… who would have thought?  That particular pot looks like it is just full of dirt.  For one of the smaller, recycled pots, I crammed three succulents unceremoniously in.  I barely had added any additional dirt because they were so jam packed.  I would not be surprised if they are dead by next week from overcrowding and man handling.  I’m pretty sure my thumbs pressing into their roots doesn’t feel like a massage to them. 

I also purchased eight Dollar Store strawberry plants.  I didn’t want to put out a lot of money for something that will probably end up killing.  My Mom said that the Sequoia variety I committed to is pretty hardy.  I’m hoping that I’ll have the same kind of luck that they had with this varietal since I inherited my brown thumb from my mother.  I also got myself a watering can from the Dollar Store.  I was previously using an old pitcher, but the water came out too fast and would crush the leaves. I’m still on the hunt for some hardy herbs, aka rosemary (I’ve also killed many rosemary plants in the past).  I’ve grown thyme successfully, but I don’t use thyme that often when cooking and it is kind of a pain to pick. Lavender smells nice, but I don’t think I’d do anything with it.  Most other herbs I have not had much success.  Usually, this is because I get so excited that the plant is growing that I “harvest” my crops and end up picking too much and killing the plant.  I was thinking of planting the roots of some green onions that I bought or even some of our garlic.  For now, three of my rectangular planters are empty and waiting for plants to go on sale.  I went to Costco hoping to find their set of three, two liter pots of rosemary like I found in the past, but they only had a giant plant that I wasn’t willing to purchase knowing that I’d probably kill it.  I don’t know why I bother trying.  Hence the succulents.  They appear to be very difficult to kill.  I just have to remember to water my strawberries and to not over water the succlents.  I have killed cacti in the past from over watering.  In my defense, I was young.  My mom got me a little cactus to put on my desk.  She said that it didn’t need to be watered very much.   I took this to mean, it doesn’t need to be watered.  When the cactus started to flop over I freaked out and gave it a lot of water.  Big mistake. It drowned.  I did not have a live plant for a very long time.

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