Spring — Don’t Stop, It’ll Soon Be Here.

Wish I knew how to imbed music into a post. If I did, Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop would be playing for you right now.

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here.

It’s hard to think ahead to Spring when the weekend brought more snow and the temperature was in the low-20s when I woke up this morning. It’s hard hard hard to keep moving ahead with my spring cleaning prep when it seems like it’ll never happen. My strategy of taking care of little bits at a time helps…as does the right playlist. Don’t Stop — $1.29 on iTunes….worth it.

To help get you started or, for a boost, read about my spring prep strategy – Spring Cleaning Prep – on the evox site (a new favorite of mine). While you’re on the evox site, be sure to see other hints and tips and good common sense about our spring cleaning rituals and a lot of other good stuff….explore, bookmark, register.

Getting Ready to be Ready.

Clocks change-over this weekend and Spring arrives shortly after. I should be starting my Spring routine. Hard to do in the middle of a snow storm. Still, I have to do something to start, to get my head in a new direction, to convince myself that Spring will come and it won’t still be snowing in July.

But what clutter can I attack sitting on the couch in the middle of a snowstorm, which is where I want to be right now? Computer clutter, of course.

Holiday and vacation pictures have been transferred to the hard drive, as have too many pictures of snowy scenes. Winter meals have been documented.  So, my first clutter task is to organize hundreds of pictures, deleting the blurry ones, the dupes (I love burst mode), creating new albums and making sure everything is backed up. It always takes longer than I think it will.

On to clearing out the mail box, reading, saving, deleting, unsubscribing to mails I don’t want anymore. I’ll hit the reading list next, actually reading the articles I’ve saved or deleting them, then move on to the way-too-many bookmarks that have built up in the file. And, though I try to save things electronically (Evernote is my favorite clipper), there are still clippings sitting in a desk drawer. The JotNotPro app is a scanner I can use on my iPhone that is quick and easy and useful. Love it.

For the fun part, on to iTunes. Soon enough I’ll be on the river bike path and new playlists are in order. Spring music…happy, bouncy, full of anticipation.

This start should get my head in the right mindset when Spring does finally appear and bigger jobs will need to be dealt with. But for now, clearing clutter from the couch suits me just fine.

Catalog Clutter

If they haven’t already started, retailers are getting their mailing lists ready for the holiday season. I’ve found a great, free app that will easily get you off the lists you don’t want. With the PaperKarma app on your phone, you just snap a picture of the mailing label that shows your address and the sender’s, hit the ‘Use Photo’ or ‘Retake’ button, then hit the ‘unsubscribe me’ bar at the bottom of the next screen that pops up. That’s it! I’ve been using it all year and have found a noticeable decrease in my mailbox.

PaperKarma is available for the iPhone, Android and the Windows 7 phone. In addition to catalogs, it can also unsubscribe you on lists for magazines, coupons, credit card offers and fliers. It takes seconds and keeps the mail clutter out of your house!

Click here to get started – https://www.paperkarma.com

181 Cookbooks on the Shelves

I have 181 cookbooks on the shelves. Bought and received over the years, written by some of the great chefs and cooks of all time… Elizabeth David, Julia Child, Jacque Pepin, Julia and Jack, David Waltuck, Lidia Bastianich, Lee Bailey, the classic Time-Life international classics, James Beard, Ann Willan, Craig Claiborne, Escoffier…..and only a very small handful of ‘today’s network cooks’ and, in most cases, written before the cameras starting rolling on them.

photo

I do love to browse and look at the pictures, but only a small number are used with any kind of frequency in the kitchen. Some of them have to go. Actually, more than half should go. And now, finally, after a few half-hearted attempts, I think I’ve found a way to sort through and thin out the herd. Every week I’ll take a book off a shelf, spend some time with it, cook something from it and make the stay/donate/sell decision.

Of course, some are untouchables that will immediately get a ‘Save’ sticker. Julia Child’s The Way to Cook tops the list. Could not do without it. It’s the perfect gift for new cooks  and I have given away many copies over the years.

I’ve just pulled Bobby Flay’s first cookbook – Bold American Food – off a shelf and will start with that one. His first restaurant, Mesa Grill, recently closed, so I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.

On a final note….The last book added to the shelves was one I put together myself for a wedding shower gift. I asked friends and family of the bride and groom to send me their favorite family recipes, with pictures and stories, and put them all together. For fun, I added a poll, asking about their favorite kitchen tools, books, magazines and web sites, favorite comfort food and entertaining tips, and included a picture of each person next to their answers. I used Evernote (a free app) to organize the emails and recipes and made the book on blurb.com. Both were easy to use. The couple got a hard cover edition but I also ordered a PDF version and sent one to everyone who contributed. It was a fun project and was well received by everyone. Am looking forward to the opportunity to do another one.

 

Weeding the Stash for a Cause

If you’re a crafter of any sort, you have a stash – or stashes – hiding in various corners of your house. Be it yarn, fabric, paper, boxes of photos, canvas, paint ….. it sits there waiting. This isn’t something you can get rid of easily…cause you never know when inspiration will hit and that half skein of yarn will add the perfect burst of color to a neckline. You’ll get to it someday…yeah.

I have an attachment to my yarns. I remember the item knit, the smooth feel of the yarn over my fingers, the pleasure in the finished garment, the sweaters I imagined in my head. But the stash takes too much room, inflicts too much guilt and I need to make space in my closets.

I find it easier to give things up to a cause. When it’s time to weed out some skeins, I take a half dozen or so and put them in a basket with some needles and put it where I can see it. When I’m watching TV or on the phone, I’ll pick up the basket and start a baby hat. They’re small, work up easily and keep your hands busy. And, they’re easy to give away or donate. Think new babies, school fairs, fund raisers.

There are plenty of places that will accept donations of yarn or finished items. The Lion Brand web site lists over 200 places you can send your donations to. They have a store on 15th Street in New York. I like the fact that they give back to their community and help their customers give back to theirs. And, they have some new lines that work up beautifully.

To learn more about how to donate your items, and find easy, free patterns, click http://www.lionbrand.com/cgi-bin/pg.fcgi?page=charityConnectionTemplate.html

Giving back and making room….two good feelings.