Monday, November 12, 2012

Holiday Prep

Hello and happy Monday! First of all, a HUGE thank you to our Veterans and servicemen and women – we pray for you, thank you and are humbled by your service!!

I love a good DIY project as much as the next girl, (well, girls who love DIY projects), but sometimes it’s just getting the good old fashioned to do list done makes me the most happy.

There is nothing like the feeling of crossing something off a list, am I right? I have been known to write something that wasn’t there, just so I could scribble it out. Crazy maybe. Or brilliant? ;)

This time of year I always say I’m gong to be better prepared for the holidays, and every year I fail miserably. I mean, it’s not like the holidays suck or anything, but I always dream of an evening just relaxing in front of the lit up Christmas tree, sipping some hot cocoa, soaking it in. And it never happens.

So this year, I’m making an effort to get some stuff done and also declutter the house as much as possible before the holidays. I’ve gotten a ton done over the past week or so, starting with a quick run through of the house to see what needed to be donated. I ended up with one car full:

decluttering

OK, a few of those things always live in my car because I’ve been meaning to return them for a while…but most of that stuff was donated or taken to the consignment shop.

Most of it was from the house, but some was from the garage. We figured out a way to better utilize the storage space in there, so it’s the cleanest and most decluttered I think it’s ever been:

cleaning out the garage

And yes, that is clean for us. I haven’t been able to shut the doors on those cabinets for a YEAR. A year!! Whoo!! In the spring I’ll tackle the organization of the items inside them, (it ain’t pretty) but for now, we are able to walk into the house without tripping on stuff, which is awesome.

I drive by our neighbors houses with pristine, empty garages and wonder how it is possible. How do you live without 15 different lawn tools? ;) Someday I want to be those people. We’re getting there. (You should have seen the before.) At least we always park IN our garage – that’s something, right?

The weather was incredible this weekend, so yesterday we took care of some of the outside stuff that needed to be done before winter hits – mowing one last time, raking leaves, cleaning out the flower beds and window boxes, and I knocked a biggie off the to do list – I finally fixed our landscaping lights:

landscaping lights

They’ve been broken since the spring and since then the plants have grown a ton so all the lights need to be moved. But I’m so glad to have those working before all the cold and snow hits! I looooove landscaping lights and they are so easy to install! Sometime I will do a tutorial – it really is simple.

Speaking of snow…we didn’t have time to get to the patio or deck yesterday, and of course today we get our first snow:

I forgot about those pumpkins. ;) We need to tackle that spot and get everything we can in the garage ASAP.

There are still two BIGGIES I want to take care of this week. First is the toys. OH, the toys. I always do a big purge before the holidays. My son’s birthday is in December as well so there’s an influx of new stuff that comes in.

The next is my beloved storage room in the basement. It’s kind of a disaster:

storage room shelving

I adore this space, but I can barely walk in there right now. I finally made time to start on it the other night, walked in, and a MOUSE ran across one of the shelves. INCHES from my head people. Right next to my face. I’m just glad I survived.  

I can handle a power tool, but spiders, snakes and mice, no way. NO. WAY. So we caught him, released him outside and then guess who ran by my head last night when I went back in there to start on it again? Little dude. Same shelf. Same shriek from me.

Hubby thinks it may be the same one. All I know is I am sufficiently freaked and won’t be going back in there till the critter people come. It took everything in me to open the door to take this picture today. I thought I saw something moving about 25 times in ten seconds.

Seriously, I feel like if I looked hard enough at the picture I’d see him. Do you see him??? OK, don’t tell me. Really…do you see him?

*Shiver.*

Anyway, even with those projects still not done, I feel like I’ve accomplished a TON lately. Next, the actual planning for the holidays needs to start, and soon. Shopping lists, Christmas picture and cards, and of course the decorating!! (Which we don’t typically start till Thanksgiving weekend but I make no promises this year.)

So that’s what I’ve been up to all week! No great DIY to show lately, but it feels good to get the other stuff done.

How do you prep for the holidays? I loved Tracie’s ideas to do now (or soon), so you can really enjoy the holiday season. Do you meal plan? Clean the house top to bottom? Decrapify like I have? Do you write things down on your list just so you can mark them off like me? First one on my current list: Get rid of little mouse dude(s??).

45 comments:

  1. Mice are a real problem here in Minnesota right now too. I have my Rat Zappa set up in the basement to get the little critters. They don't scare me at all but I can't stand the mess (and possible diseases). Oh, and yes, I love marking things off a to do list! I am aiming to get stuff done early for this holiday season too. Good luck to us both!

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  2. Driving through our neighborhood this weekend we saw the full gamut of holiday decorations & my son said it would be cool to make a snowman out of pumpkins. I thought a jackolantern nativity would be interesting. So, there you go. Repurpose those puppies. Secondly, you need to look into FB online garage sales as a means to decrapify (I'm going to blog about them in between spra'int exercises today if you want more deets). Lastly, if you name the little guy he won't be so scary and if he's like most men the more you engage him in conversation the quicker he'll make his exits. Done & done.

    ~Dee @ deeconstructed.com

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  3. Man, oh man, do I love a good list. I too write things down that I've already done just so that I can mark them off. It's a great feeling.
    Dryer sheets. They're supposed to keep mice away.
    I always super clean before I put the tree or any decorations up. And I always have to buy egg nog to drink while I decorate.

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  4. I am in the midst of deep cleaning and decorating right now. We are going away this year for Thanksgiving so it will be nice to come home and have most of it done done. I do save a few decorating projects for after we get back just because I enjoy doing them. I can completely relax knowing everything's ready. I even have Christmas dinner marinated and in the freezer. Yep, I love Christmas and want to have time for all the fun things with my children and time to just sit and enjoy and reflect on the season.

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  5. We had a beautiful weekend here, so I took the time to clean out the garage (I think my Goodwill haul was even bigger than yours) and put away the patio furniture. It feels good to have those things done so we can start prepping for the holidays.

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  6. I just have to comment on garage organization. We used to have so much junk in our garage that the kids had to CLIMB in to get their bikes out. We got these overhead storage racks from Safe Racks--they are AWESOME! I feel like I gained my very own storage room! Love your blog!

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  7. It's horrible, but ...Rat Attack (or some poison like that). The cute little mice take it back to their nests, and all the little mice eat it, and it completely dehydrates them. It'll smell for a couple of days if they die in the wall, but it does get them all at once. We used it in our old house and it controlled the problem really well--we would usually get a couple in the spring/fall. But it's not safe for kids, so you have to put it in the rafters or up high or put a lock on the storage room door or something (I can't remember how old your bubs is and whether he would be able to stay away from something like that if asked--my kids are too small and probably would not). It's poison, and it's not nice, but for us it was very effective.

    Anyway, good luck w/ the mice issue--where there is one, unfortunately, there are often more :(

    Wilma

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  8. I LOVE marking this off my to do list. We got our Christmas stuff out this weekend to see what can be thrown away and what can still be used. Our tree will go up this week... I'm so excited!
    I am shocked you have mice since you have a cat. We had issues with mice and then got an outdoor cat and he keeps all the mice away. I find it funny that you decorate with the mice stickers on your steps for the fall even though you hate mice.

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  9. An outdoor lighting tutorial would be AMAZING - I keep trying to tell my hubby that it can't be *that* hard :)

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  10. Ooh! I have an empty garage!! Because we have a thing called a basement that collects all the junk :) I make lists for EVERYTHING, so I definitely have one going for the holidays--decorating, gift giving, meals, etc. So much fun :)

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  11. Yes, I am trying to clean my house from top to bottom - because my in-laws are coming for a week for Thanksgiving! I also have two kids birthdays coming up in Nov and Dec., so we also need to go through the toys and make space for new things. And like you, every year I want the next to be calmer and smoother, so we'll just keep trying.... We have seen our share of mice in our house/garage too. YUCK! We border a farm field and I think they just run right in when they can. My husband is trying to talk me into getting a cat to help with the mice but I have four kids and am worried I can't handle another responsibility! We just use traditional mice traps and have caught quite a few that way. But maybe we should try the poison like another reader said... Good luck!!

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  12. Way to go!! How great you have already knocked so much off your to-do list. I totally feel you on that! There is a lot of work transitioning seasons, especially going into winter. Today I scrubbed the gutters on my day off :( Not a fun task but it does feel great to see mold-free gutters. Check one off my list!

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  13. Wilma and Catherine, thanks for the ideas! I talked to a guy today who recommended a similar product called Contrac Blox -- he said kids and animals can't get to it? We're going to have someone out tomorrow so we'll see what they say. :/

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  14. Welcome, we have two cats and they aren't helping much, but they ARE cute. :) I *think* the mice are just staying in the closed storage room, thank goodness. Ewww.

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  15. Oh, I am definitely a list maker who writes things down just so I can cross them off. I've been known to write down have a cup of coffee on my list! Sorry about the mouse, but I don't see him in the picture if that makes you feel better! :D

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  16. Adding something to the list just to cross it off ~ brilliant. Definitely brilliant. At least that's what I tell myself when I do the exact same thing :)

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  17. sorry to tell you this but if you have one mouse there are probably more. my husband loves to feed the birds and we improperly stored some bird seed in our garage which was much appreciated by a gathering of mice lol.

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  18. Long time reader and I just have to plead with you to try a humane method to address your nice problem. Poison that slowly tortures them to death by dehydration? That's awful. There are lots of humane options out there. Thank you for considering my plea.

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  19. Liz, I do appreciate that and I don't know what we'll do yet. We already caught one and let him go. At this point we're afraid there's a few of them, so we need to figure that out. With a child in the house I do need to consider the quickest way to get rid of them. Don't know what that is till I talk to experts more.

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  20. Ooh, ick, I'm shivering over here just thinking about that you-know-what (imagine I'm sayigntha tin a whisper). I'm also totally scared of those critters, we accidentally closed one into our house when construction was over and I never saw it but was totally freaked out until we caught it. Like, wouldn't go downstairs by myself (to the kitchen!) scared.

    Anyway, thank you so much for the reminder to donate things. I have a million and a half coats that I should get into Goodwill before it's spring and they are no use to anyone:)

    Jessica

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  21. ValenzMom (aka Helen)November 12, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    My dad used to put peanut butter on the old-fashioned mouse traps and catch them in the garage that way - it was cheap, safe and effective.
    As for holiday cleaning, the 4-day Thanksgiving weekend was always our family's time to clean out the closets and toy chests. I'd tell the kids that old toys & clothes needed to be donated for others because Santa was bringing new stuff in a month. They never argued or whined. They knew it was happening every year.
    BTW, I saw those tomato cages you donated and I've turned those into mini Christmas trees by turning them upside down, tying the ends together & wrapping them with mini lights. Sorry you got rid of them?

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  22. I left a lot of stuff in Ukraine when we moved this summer for people in the village. The only problem is that I need to replace it (bath mats, shoes, kitchen chairs!)!! We've been purging this side of the pond, too, and it seems like a full time job sometimes, but I do like the monthly check from our base thrift shop and the pile has been reduced significantly. I do meal plan and normally, I have my shopping done and mailed by Thanksgiving, but I'm using the overseas move card this year! :) We have a big lego party this weekend for the birthday boy, and then perhaps I can concentrate on the new stockings I want to make and all the shopping!

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  23. You can actually park in your garage??? I am so impressed. We haven;t parked in ours for at least 4 years. But that will soon change. I can't take it anymore. I did the toy purge of my grandson's toys too. My oldest Grand's birthday is Dec 30, so he gets hit double duty. Of course they pitched a fit that I was throwing away all of their toys, even though most had no arms, no heads, etc. :) Love my boys!

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  24. OH My! I hate mice. Just reading that gave me shivers! I swear I could nothave even taken that picture! Kill the things! Don't let it outside! Are you crazy??? LOL Good luck!

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  25. Decluttering is great! I have tons of stuff in my house that has to go! A great way to declutter and help the Vets is to use scheduleapickup(dot)com. They will even come to your house and take away your stuff, and you get a tax receipt.

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  26. I just love seeing your "clutter! It looks so much like mine.... It's nice to know I'm not alone! Haha!
    Kelllene

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  27. Similar over here as well... LOVE lists & hubby says there are too many lists happening right now. lol. But it is the season for outdoor cleanup and indoor prep for the holidays (oooooooooops, did I add a few projects?).

    MICE! Ok girl, you have to deal with this in a big way. There is probably more than one (hate to say) so before your pretty things are ruined nip it in the bud. We had this happen many years ago and it was terrible! They breed so quick!!! Traps with a peanut stuck in peanut butter works PERFECT. But most important is take a tour of the ENTIRE outside of your home. Fill any holes or spaces (no matter how small) that you can find. Our problem started when we didn't notice a small opening where the power box is... the caulking had come away a bit and voila, the mice thought our home was a nice warm hotel to move into!

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  28. some people think I'm crazy, but all my Christmas decorating was done last week. Top to bottom, done. Now, in my defense, I am in Canada, so our Thanksgiving has come and gone. I LOVE getting the decor out early not only to enjoy my favorite time of the year, but also so I can just focus on finishing shopping, wrapping (try to do this by end of Nov) and then move onto baking. By early Dec, I have nothing to do but sit on my toosh watching Elf (smiling is my favorite) and spreading Christmas cheer for all to hear =)

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  30. My sister and I both add things we have done to our lists and scratch them off. There needs to be a sense of accomplishment when nothing on the list is getting done. I don't know if it is a girl thing or not. I don't know of any guys that make extensive lists like I do.

    As for the holidays, I start setting up the day after Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving is early this year so more time to enjoy Christmas. I just wish I had more Christmas stuff to put out. After tossing anything cloth or paper that might have been cross contaminated with mold, I wasn't left with a lot. Sometimes that is a good thing because I have less to put away and sometimes it makes me sad because I miss all the STUFF! I am looking forward to getting things going and have just started making a list. Last year I already had a good portion of my shopping done.

    I also make a spreadsheet to keep track of what I have picked up through the year as a Christmas present and the cost so I can monitor not only what I have bought but how much I have spent.

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  31. I absolutely write things on a list that weren't there before JUST so I can mark them off. Please keep doing that so I am not alone :)

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  32. Your mouse story is seriously the funniest thing I have read in a long time. Hahaha. Just wanted you to know that I really appreciated the humor and I think you are hilarious. =)
    The best part? *Shiver.*
    Hahahaha.

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  33. I really like what you do for home decor. Somehow my wife is dragging me into this and I am finding that I like it. Thanks for all of these great ideas!

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  34. From the bottom of my heart, I truly think that we would be best friends if we lived close!! We are cut from the same cloth my friend!! Have a fantastic day!!

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  35. My mom told me a story once about a mouse that my dad caught. he was trying to be humane and release it outside way on the far end of our yard and the mouse beat him back to the house! Those mice are smart.

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  36. Sarah, I used to love your mice on the stairs and had planned on looking for some to buy for myself, till we had a mouse problem in our new (old) house this fall! We caught three in traps but I'm always afraid of more, and I NEVER want to see any kind of a mouse (real or otherwise...!) again. I'm at the point of seriously consdering getting a cat, but I hear they're not all necessarily mousers.

    Love your blog! Thanks for all the great ideas.

    Tina Matteson
    singin(at)compuserve(dot)com

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  37. This post has been such a great motivator! I am going to de-clutter today too, I think. I usually do a big haul in the Spring, but this idea is so much better -- breaking it up before all of the Holiday clutter adds to the year's clutter. ;-) Thanks, Sarah! Hope you find that mouse critter, too!

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  38. This post has been such a great motivator! I am going to de-clutter today too, I think. I usually do a big haul in the Spring, but this idea is so much better -- breaking it up before all of the Holiday clutter adds to the year's clutter. ;-) Thanks, Sarah! Hope you find that mouse critter, too!

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  39. This post has been such a great motivator! I am going to de-clutter today too, I think. I usually do a big haul in the Spring, but this idea is so much better -- breaking it up before all of the Holiday clutter adds to the year's clutter. ;-) Thanks, Sarah! Hope you find that mouse critter, too!

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  40. lol brings a whole new light to your mouse decals on your stairs! eeek!

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  41. decluttered my Christmas stuff, now to get it removed from the basement! Then I will be able to get at my stuff next weekend. That storage room gets way out of hand. I have the upstairs pretty much decluttered but all that stuff you think you might use.? needs to go! We get mice in the storage room too, traditional snap traps! Had a few sticky ones that I hate, the dog recently brought the traps up to us with dead mice on it! Ew! He was saying, I don't know what this is but I think you need to take a look Mom!

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  42. I'm just getting the chance to comment on this, and I feel your shivers when it comes to mice!! I swear, I turn into a 50's housewife when a mouse is involved. Jumping on a chair with a broom in hand. ;-)

    We've been here just over two years, and our new house backs up to woods, and is a walkout, so evidently, it's not too difficult for the little buggers to make their way inside. Totally. freaks. me. out. I had one in my office (ewwwwwwwwwwwww!), and it just gives me the heebie jeebies. We figured out one way they were getting in - there are furnace pipes that were exposed outside, that they could climb in to, but from what I understand, they can' wriggle their way in very easily.

    I won't even tell you how fast and often they reproduce. We did get some things that you plug into the walls that are supposed to emit a sound that repels them. Hey, it's worth a shot, right?

    Knock wood, I haven't seen any in awhile...

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  43. Yes, PLEASE post a landscaping light tutorial! I think that's just what the outside of my house needs. LOVE your blog! Lisa

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  44. Oh my gosh. You all are making me feel so guilty...just noticed this post is marked November 12! Gotta get my sh*t together haha :/

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  45. loving your blog
    melissa- thetinsel.com

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