Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happiness is.......

So when it snowed yet again this week, (it's the end of April in Utah and I miss North Carolina springtime so badly!) I got so depressed that I googled the sentence “How to be Happy.” I was desperate. Truly.

I read several websites. Watched one YouTube video. And then decided I had enough of a checklist to go forward with my proverbial “pursuit of happiness.”

Here's how I set out:

I decided that my kitchen needed to be de-cluttered. De-cluttering your home is #5 on this list of “how to be happy” And since I needed to be in the “flow” of doing something (another web suggestion), I decided to just get started. Not contemplate it for a few days first (my usual modus operandi.)

I started with the potting soil leaning next to the refrigerator. (Doesn't everyone have potting soil leaning next to their fridge?)  I worked my way past the popcorn bowl that doesn't fit in the dishwasher and so has been “waiting on deck” to be washed by hand for about a week and a half. Then I went through the cute ceramic pot I have by the side of the sink that I keep my dish brush and scrubby sponge in. Funny how there were 3 rotten smelly sponges in there and that I hadn't thrown any of them away when they wore out and I got a new one. (my hoarder upbringing still with me.)  I refilled the soap dispenser. And the spare soap dispenser. I don't know why I have a spare soap dispenser. Nor do I know why, for the last 6 months, I have left the original soap dispenser out sitting empty next to the spare one—which I have refilled 3 times since. I put the spare under the cupboard.

Next was the fruit bowl. Does anyone else have trouble with fruit bowls? It seems a simple thought. Have a lovely bowl on your counter and fill it with fresh fruit for your family.   They walk by, pick a piece up and eat it, and you refill it again the next week.

Then why do I end up with fossilized grapefruit and shrunken head apples? The ancient tangerine that was trying to outdo the grapefruit was so hard I could have murdered someone with it. “Mrs. McCall did it. In the kitchen. With the tangerine!”

Boy, was I going to town. I even got out the folding stool and climbed up to wash the window behind the sink. Talk about hard water spots!  Now I could see clearly the snow falling outside. 

A few distractions later, I found that what I really wanted to do was call it a day. One side of the kitchen was definitely clutter-free and clean as a whistle. The rest could wait for another day.

But you are supposed to stay in the “flow” to be happy. That's what the article said.  And I didn't have any other “flow” activities in mind. Certainly not any pleasant outdoor activitiy.  So I turned to face the stack. Or the basket. Or whatever it is supposed to be. The basket that overflowed into a stack next to it.  A stack-sket!  That place where we put “important papers” next to the kitchen phone. That place that was now taking up half my counter space. I didn't want to do it. It looked ominous. Frightening. Deeply disturbing. But I just started. Cause that's what happy people do. It said so on the internet.

Trash can beside me, this is what I found in our ever-so-important papers basket:

-6 Land's End Catalogs
-2 PotteryBarn Teen catalogs
-1 expensive furniture catalog addressed to the previous homeowners.
-137 receipts (not one of which was the receipt for the lawn mower that we need for the warranty, now that it has died after just one season!)
-1 old checkbook
-1 box of new checks.
-1 box of envelopes. Crushed.
-3 important documents regarding my mother's home purchase and a check from her title company (from when I was collecting her mail before she actually moved in across the street. Probably should have given these to her 2 months ago.)
-2 receipts from the vet documenting the dog's rabies vaccinations
-1 document for registering the dog as an AKC purebred (should we even bother?)
-my daughter's lacrosse season schedule (hmm, the season ends next week, this would have been nice to have on the fridge all along)
-9 pens, only 7 of which work
-6 pen lids in various colors. One chewed on.
-1 sharpie black
-1 sharpie blue, dried out.
-1 highlighter pen that looks like the donkey from Shrek
-7 unopened bank statements for my adult son that moved out 12 months ago.
-A $50 bonus coupon for future plumbing needs from the plumber that came on Christmas eve a year and a half ago and did a terrible job. (It expired in November of last year.)
-A graduation card for my niece with the $20 bill still's been a year now. (I wonder if she noticed I never sent it.  Because I told her I had.)
-4 Costco magazines with mouth-watering recipes in them and a hot tub I would like to have.
-3 Costco coupon books
-The entire 37 page receipt packet from the movers documenting every box and furniture item that was moved 1 1/2 years ago.
-The warranty for the mower (but still no receipt to go with it)
-The warranty for the dishwasher
-The warranty for the refrigerator
-The receipt from the air conditioner man
-The receipt from the Christmas eve plumber
-The receipt from the good plumber that came later
-My daughter's report card
-My daughter's report from driver's ed saying she passed
-Christmas cards from various friends. (Oh wow! I never looked at these photos of their cute kids!)
-A Christmas card from our Insurance Agent
-A birthday card from our Insurance Agent.
-7 post it notes with phone numbers of unknown personages
-A small notebook with shopping lists, menu ideas, thoughts, lists of things I want to change in my life, doodles, things I want to fix around the house, budgets, and church assignments in it.
-A cute notepad with owls on it that a nice neighbor gave me when she saw that I collect owls. I've been too afraid to use them because they are so cute.
-A triple A battery
-A 3M hook
-2 screws and 4 nuts
-2 quarters, a dime, 3 pennies.
-2 pencils with broken leads, one with no eraser.

Practically everything went in the trashcan. Maybe 5 important papers were saved. 5. And two pens. And the owl notepad. And the donkey highlighter. ;)

Now my kitchen is de-cluttered.  Do I feel happy?  Why yes, I think I do.  Thanks Google!
My new de-cluttered kitchen corner!


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