Spring Cleaning

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This weekend Matt and I undertook the task of spring cleaning. I am not entirely sure what inspired Matt to lead the change in this effort, but I am not complaining. To me, the greatest way to spend an afternoon is cleaning out my closet. I love the feeling of de-cluttering and then refolding and color coding all of the clothing that I want to keep, there is no greater joy. I know, I have a sickness. So when Matt suggested that we spend the day de-cluttering our entire apartment, I felt like I died and went to heaven.

After 5 hours of cleaning, we were left with 4 bags of garbage/recyclables, 5 bags of clothing to donate and a few miscellaneous piles of thing that we needed to figure out what to do with. The piles contain the following:

CDs and DVDs – honestly, what does one do with these things? Suddenly, I fully understand why my parents had boxes of records in our basement for years. There is nowhere to put outdated technologies.

“Things for when we own a home” – This pile consists of a down duvet – when we upgraded our bed to a king, this one no longer fit; however, I want to keep it for when we have a guest room (I know, I’m dreaming), a beautiful picture frame that we got for wedding  – it really needs to live in a formal dining room (which we don’t have) with my china (which is all in a closet at my parents house), and a few other things that I want, but don’t have room for right now. Now I just need my parents to ‘swing by’ and pick all of this stuff up… I’m sure they will be thrilled to serve as my storage unit for more stuff.

Baking Supplies – well, not exactly supplies, but super cute containers to put cookies and treats in. I know, whatever happened to good old Tupperware? Blame Martha.

Craft Supplies – anyone who had been to our apartment can attest to the incredible amount of craft supplies I have managed to fit into our one bedroom apartment. Honestly, it rivals most preschools in the city. Unfortunately  my collection continues to grow. As a result, I created a pile of things that I thought might find a better home at Robin Hood’s offices. I know, lucky them!

So even after 5 hours of cleaning and a trip to Housing Works (an incredible Robin Hood funded program) to donate our clothing, there is still a bit of work to be done.  Looks like this episode of hoarders to be continued next weekend…

A Resurrection

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Easter is a Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead following his death on Good Friday. This is a rebirth that is commemorated around the vernal equinox, historically a time of pagan celebration that coincides with the arrival of spring and symbolizes the arrival of light and the awakening of life around us.

While neither Matt nor I are very religious we do celebrated Easter. Typically this comes in the form of dying eggs, eating jelly beans and receiving baskets full of delicious candies and chocolates. This year our celebration took another form.

After three hours  and 5 garbage bags filled with donations, Matt and I celebrated the resurrection of our closet.

It was the first time since college that Matt weeded through his clothing. Our closet was jam packed with ratty polos,  pleat front pants and dress shirts that were 2 sizes too big for Matt. Simply put, the disorganization was nearly killing me and I’ve been sacrificing for a lot longer than the traditional 40 days of Lent.

It was truly a holy day for the Englehauer household.

My Top Five Guilty Pleasures

Wikipedia defines a guilty pleasure as, “something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The guilt involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes. Fashion, video games, music,movies and junk food can be examples of guilty pleasures.” I define it as something I like and get enjoyment out of, but would probably be judged for it and therefore, I don’t go around broadcasting it to the world…

or do I?

 

5. Rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher at work

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I’m not going to lie, we have a pretty crappy dishwasher at work. The “spokes” of the rack are spaced much too closely together and we have rather large/thick dishes in our kitchen. People are forced to shove their dishes into place and  the spokes become bent creating even more inefficiency. Regardless of the technical flaws with the machine, people just  pile their dishes into the dish washer, not really taking into consideration proper dish placement, an art form that I have definitely mastered. As a result, I spend approximately 5-10 minutes, probably every day, rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher. Honestly, it is really embarrassing when someone catches me doing this – I try my best to conceal. But the thrill of seeing all the dishes lined up properly, as well as the creation of more usable space, it really quite exhilarating. I know, working with me is pretty much a nightmare dream come true.

4. Refolding, sorting and color coding my clothing

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Every five or six weeks I tackle the project of reorganizing my closet. Most of the time when I begin this project my closet is pretty neat and organized. Or at least that is what most people would think, but not me.  I begin by piling everything onto my bed and begin folding, sorting, and organizing before putting it all back in place. The entire process can take a few hours. In the end, my goal is to have my closet look like the shelves and racks of a high-end designer boutique. I want all of my sweaters to be folder perfectly with a piece of tissue paper inside. I need matching coat hangers – at least within each “section” of my closets (i.e. dresses, skirts, blouses, tank tops, etc). And ideally things should be color coded. Basically, I want my closet to mimic that of Ms. Martha Stewart herself. When Matt and I moved in together this goal became much more challenging as I lost roughly half of the hanging space and now have to deal with his disorganized system, which includes metal hangers and shirts in plastic bags from the dry cleaners. I’ve yet to include his clothing in this re-org project, but I am not too sure how much longer I can hold off. Although Matt would probably be furious with me, the idea of having our entire closet organized is just too tempting.

3. Buying things on sale and bragging about it

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I love a good sale. The thrill of getting something at a discounted price is definitely a high for me. Even though there is typically a huge retail mark up, I think that because I am not paying full price, somehow I have “won”. After nearly every shopping trip where I have saved something, be in 5% off or 75% off, I need to brag about my accomplishments. Typically I call either my mom or my sister – they are the most likely to be impressed and make me feel good about my purchases. Sometimes, if I have purchased a really practical item, I will call my dad. I NEVER call Matt because he always makes me feel guilty about spending money – no matter how much I have saved (major buzz kill –  I guess it is something about perceived savings…) Just last week I called my mom to tell her about the great articles of clothing I got at the Gap, all at ridiculously discounted prices. She was appropriately impressed and even thought about making a trip to her local Gap store as well. Unfortunately in my haste to score a deal, I didn’t try on anything and ended up returning half of the things I purchased this afternoon. Sad. But hey, returning clothes is essentially like making money, right?

2.TLC

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Toddlers and Tiaras. Extreme Couponing. John and Kate Plus Eight. 19 Kids and Counting. Say Yes to the Dress. Sister Wives. Hoarding: Buried Alive. Sarah Palin’s Alaskan Adventure (I know, I just threw up in my mouth a little). You name it – I’ve probably seen it.

I’ve got nothing here – I just like trashy, low quality tv. John Hamm – please don’t hate me. I still love Don Draper.

1. Tween Music

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It began when I was a tween – New Kids on the Block, Spice Girls Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Back Street Boys and 98°. It then progressed to Hanson, Mandy Moore and Jessica Simpson. Lindsay Lohan, Jesse McCartney and Hilary Duff rounded things out as I ended the teenage chapter of my life and entered my 20s. Unfortunately, my love of the tween pop sensation stayed with me. Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, the Cast of High School Musical, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber  all  make regular appearances on my iPod.

And now, there’s Carly Rae.

Please don’t judge me.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Hood

At Robin Hood, you never really know who is going to show up at our offices (since I started the following folks have walked through the doors at the hood: Christy Turlington, Admiral Mullen, the Chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all his secret service offices, Mayor Bloomberg and countless billionaire hedge fund managers), how much money we will bring in during one day (in 2011, we raised over 160 million dollars, which is over 400,000 dollars each day), or what artist has signed on to perform a concert to benefit Robin Hood (just last year we had Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas and Sting – just to name a few!) But those are the big things, and this blog is about the little things.

Well yesterday there were a couple little things to celebrate.

I received an email mid-morning letting me know that I had a delivery upstairs. I wasn’t expecting anything and my mom had just sent some cookies, so I couldn’t imagine what it could be. Well, needless to say I was SUPER excited to open the packaging to reveal this:

"The Organizing Issue"

I spent the rest of the morning looking at all of the wonderful organization solutions that Martha and her team came up with for all the various areas of your home. I LOVE having a friend “on the inside.”

Then, as the afternoon “slump” set in, we received a floor wide email alerting us of delicious baked goods someone brought in from Chelsea Market. Instantly, a herd of people (including myself) ran over to the designated table. We sampled brownies, rugelach, and sugar cookies. YUMMY. After devouring nearly every treat, we decided to use our creative artistic abilities to capture this afternoon fun. You’re welcome for that.

Clearly it was a slow day in the hood. But sometimes, that is just what you need.

Organizing a Disorganized World

I am not a huge lover of art. I am slight embarrassed to say that after living in New York for nearly 3 years, I have visited exactly one museum, the Museum of Natural History.  With its large display of dinosaur bones and various animals, this museum appeals to the average 5-year-old child. So I guess it isn’t too surprising that this is the one museum I have visited.

Art is something that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I remember standing in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre getting pushed by the crowds who flock to see this painting. Sure it was cool to see this painting, that has been replicated countless time in person, however I didn’t really find it that moving. I walked into a room adjacent to the famous painting, which was basically empty, and found 4 or 5 other paintings that I found much more interested than the Mona Lisa.

And don’t even get me started on modern art. Maybe my cultural pallet isn’t sophisticated enough to understand this art form, but I do not understand how an abandonded grocery cart is art – I see those on the street nearly every day and they aren’t art – only when someone puts one in MoMA does it become art.

So anyone who has been around my blog for a while knows that I like things organized. Maybe that is why art doesn’t appeal to me – it isn’t rational and most of the time, it isn’t organized. That is, until Swiss artist Ursus Wehrli came along.

Ursus Wehrli is also the author of Tidying Up Art, a unique  manifesto that seeks to provide a more rational, more organized and cleaner form of modern art. In deconstructing the work of Paul Klee, Jaspen Johns and other masters into its component parts, organized by color and size, Wehrli creates a more perfect art world.

Now this is art, and a world, that I can make sense of!

https://ted.com/talks/view/id/400