Not Mine

Today a found a jewelry ring and some random piece of plastic in my car. Rather unusual considering I did a deep clean vacuum about two weeks ago. Naturally I had to find out where this stuff came from. Time for family group text.

You’d think that eventually kids would stop saying “not mine” when asked about something. Nope. Even at aged 16 and 18 they say it. I’d like to pretend like I didn’t know where that response came from. But alas- my wife also said it.

Now I don’t really care about the ring. Someone lost it in my car. Oh well. I just find the observation of the reactions to be interesting. Perhaps I missed it when I cleaned out my car. But realistically it was one of the kids at some point. Whether it’s their’s or not- could have been a friends ring- I tend to keep a very tidy car and have since given it to our 18 year old. They can have it now and try to find the rightful owner. Or keep it for themselves.

That’s because this ring is NOT MINE.

Super Clean

Creating pride in our home takes work. I have pressure washed and scrubbed the outside over the past few weeks. We have also worked on the front yard to create curb appeal. Plus there is the amazing gazebo we built for the backyard. But there is still more to do.

Today was all about the upper back decks and the windows facing the backyard. Our middle child scrubbed the deck that leads out from the kitchen. It turned out fantastic. I worked on spraying the windows on the house.

I cleaned the algae off the awning above the deck prior to the scrubbing of the deck. Afterwards I cleaned the glass railing. Once the green algae was washed off, I gave it a quick clean with Windex and let it dry. The trick afterwards that made them crystal clear- I used spray car wax.

I misted it on, used a microfiber cloth and wiped it all around. Followed by a dry cloth to polish it up. It almost looks as if the glass is t even there. I’m really impressed by the finished look. Next nice day I will do the lower patio deck glass railing. The yard is almost ready for basic upkeep and lounging.

I really cannot wait until summer hits in order to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Weekend? What Weekend?

Just like that, my days off are over. The first day off entailed my being a chauffeur to our middle child to and from school. I also had to drop my wife and son off at the airport. They went away for the weekend up to Fort St. John for a long track speed skating meet. If he does well- he will be off to Quebec in April.

Then my next two days were all about pressure washing our back deck. I also got to chauffeur our middle to and from school as well as to the mall so that they could get an ear piercing.

Needless to say, I am sore and exhausted from all my time off work. I did enjoy being outside for the last couple of days in the sunshine. I was able to listen to music and feel accomplished with the deck cleaning. At the end of the day, I just sat outside and had a cold beer.

Poof. My weekend is over.

Is It Spring Yet?

Here on the West Coast we have been getting teased with sunny weather. It doesn’t help that the stores are also bringing out the summer stuff. Displays of lawn furniture, planters and BBQs make it feel as though winter is over.

So I’ve been actively getting the yard ready. Got some pressure washing underway and will complete it tomorrow morning. As zen-like as the activity is, it really hurts my back and I feel it for a few days afterwards. We have a large 75’ deck and poolside concrete that I’m about 2/3rds done.

I also assembled most of the patio set that I picked up last week. I figure with the sun out tomorrow, I may sit out there and enjoy the upper deck for a bit. This seating set will be going on the large wood deck when spring officially starts.

On Saturday I will be having a new gazebo delivered from Costco. Unfortunately it is too much for just me to assemble and I will be doing a shoutout to a few friends and ask for help. Pretty sure some beers and pizza will be a good payment for a few hours of work.

Are you getting excited for winter to disappear?

Adding Storage Options

With Christmas behind us, we realized that we like the house to be less cluttered. Because we had moved in at the start of summer, most of our time was spent enjoying the outdoors. Now that our mild winter is upon us, it was time to re-evaluate our home. That meant figuring out storage solutions.

First I started in the garage. We had a few boxes that we hadn’t opened yet, and an empty wall. An old bookcase becomes a place to store shoes while some shelves went up on the wall to store lightbulbs, candles, sunscreen, etc… We had some clear bins and fabric ones which worked well to organize and add some uniformity.

Next was the laundry room. Originally there was just a single shelf and a lot of wasted space above. I had taken out some wire shelves from my closet (in order to fit a dresser) so I reused them in this space. Again, we used fabric bins and put old towels and rags in them. The very top shelf will have overstock of cleaning supplies in clear shoebox size containers.

The last thing I did this week was add a more decorative cabinet in our kitchen. It fit nicely under our coffee bar. It also matched the red coffee maker and kettle. Now our teas and coffee have a better place to stay. Originally we had put a temporary wire rack underneath with all those cloth bins I mentioned.

I do prefer the clear plastic storage containers and the cloth bins over the cardboard boxes we had from moving. Even though those boxes were labeled, truly knowing what was inside was difficult. After going through some of them, we were able to gather up more donations and even discovered some items that we had no idea where they had gone.

With so much more stuff to go through, we are slowly decluttering our home. Some stuff that we brought along in the move just isn’t “us” anymore. My wife and I are trying to pass along items that we either don’t use, doesn’t bring us joy, or we simply had no idea why we still have it.

How are your storage solutions? Do you purge items regularly or do you wait for spring cleaning?

Snow Joe Blows

Overnight we had a healthy dumping of snow again. This time, my wife was ready for it. And she was excited too. Not like her considering how she prefers warmer temperatures.

Two days ago- a small electric snow blower was delivered from Amazon. My wife was so excited about it that she didn’t let me get any unboxing photos. She also assembled it herself with great glee while I was at work. I think she bought it because it was called a “Snow Joe”.

Again, she was so excited to use it that she asked me to call her when I was off work at 6am. That way she could clear the driveway before I got home. The foot of snow was gone for my car to back into the driveway. She demonstrated how amazing the “Snow Joe” was and I quickly finished the rest of the driveway before the neighbors were even awake. That’s right, I finished after my wife was satisfied with herself.

For the amount of pleasure this blower brought my wife, and the ease at which we cleared the driveway, I’m surprised we hadn’t bought one sooner. Although in our last home, the trees helped keep our driveway clear. (I’m pretty sure all those pine needles and small branches would’ve damaged this machine.)

I also think the neighbors are a bit jealous now at how quickly our property cleans up. Sweating with a snow shovel is no more! Do you use a shovel, snow blower, or private company to do the dirty work? Let me know in the comments.

The Vacuum Wars

Vacuuming is unavoidable. In our old house we had a central Vacuum. About every six weeks or so we had to empty it. This was mainly due to all the dog hair that would accumulate. Dragging out the hose and attachments was an ordeal and a hatred when putting away.

Our new house is piped for a central vacuum. However, we decided to buy a small handheld vacuum. We picked up a Dyson V11 cordless vacuum. It is extremely powerful and lightweight. It has made vacuuming a tad more enjoyable and easier to do.

On Friday, my mother insisted on buying us a Shark bot vacuum. It does it’s little dance throughout our main floor helping to remove the dog hair. Today it got under my feet in the kitchen as I was attempting to make breakfast. I think this little robot is attempting an uprising already.

Since we’ve only had it working a a couple of days, we shall see how good a job it does. So far it has done an okay job just mapping out our floor. Hopefully it makes keeping the floors clean a bit easier and having to do it less often. We all love convenience.

Organized Chaos

Even though we “Purged” before we moved, we still have a bunch of stuff that needed to find a place in and around our home. As fun as it is to fill the ,Garage, I like being able to park at least one of our cars inside. The other side will have to wait until the summer is ending in order for me to want to hit the attics again.

I took advantage of the nice weather today to hang up our kayaks and ladder on our back fence. At least it keeps them off the ground and away from moisture and dirt.

Last week I worked diligently on organizing the garage and utilizing all the available space. I went old school with a pegboard for my tools- which my son organized and put up. I also built a makeshift 4×8 suspended shelf for my wife’s fabric. I throw a couple hooks up for bikes and the car topper. It made for a ton of more floor space and easier to navigate around the garage.

While we still have a few boxes in our home to unpack, this is a great start to our new life. Unfortunately with things the way they are, we are waiting for bookcases and a hutch to become available in order for us to complete the house. For the time being, those items are off to the side and out of our main living area.

How organized is your home? Do you feel like you have too much stuff like we do?

Let me know in the comments.

Haul It Away

This purging thing my family and I are doing is making me crazy. It has now reached the point where I had to get someone out to haul away the junk we have collected. Especially since we don’t have a truck or a trailer to take things away on our own.

We have stuff that just never found it’s way off our property. An old pool table, a fridge, a bbq, a lawnmower, scrap metal and wood, plus a variety of odds and ends. Some is absolute trash. Other things should find a new lease on life at a donation drop off.

After an hour, the truck was almost 3/4 full. A few hundred dollars later, and our yard is empty once more.

It’s a good feeling to be rid of all this junk.

Carpet and Pets

Our home has very little in the way of carpets. Which is both good and bad.

It’s good because the wood floor is easy to keep clean especially with dog hair running rampant. We just need to sweep or vacuum regularly to remove the hairs and dirt. A light wash every so often and the floors look amazing. This type of flooring is so much better for my allergies.

For carpet- we have our media room and the main hallway upstairs. Over the weekend we finally bought a carpet cleaner… after living here for almost 14 years… I’ve borrowed carpet cleaners from friends and rented a Rug Doctor a few times in the past. But with Covid still around- it was time to just buy one for ourselves. Thank you Amazon and next day delivery!

Our hallway looks so much better and smells a ton better as well. The carpet cleaner really pulled out the pet smell from the floors. I don’t like carpet for the fact that it collects dust and allergens. But I like the softness under my feet. Maybe I can fall in love with carpet once more.

Which do you prefer hardwood, tile or carpet?

Blended Days

January is ending shortly. Probably the fastest feeling month of the entire pandemic. How did this entire month fly by?

For me it was because every single day blended into the next. Half my week was spent at work. The other half was spent decluttering the house. Every week for the past month has been like that. Go to work then come home to cleaning. I’m not even sure why or how the entire month dissipated into nothingness.

I have a feeling February is going to surge past as well. Especially since it’s only 28 days long. Perhaps this pandemic will be behind us by summer. We can only hope that the months go by quickly towards a cure.

After that, I want the days to stretch on forever. Yes, even the days at work. I want to appreciate life in a sense of normalcy once more.

Not blending all my days together.

Junk It.

Over the past couple of weeks we have been actively donating and Giving away items that we no longer use. However it feels as though we’ve hardly made any headway in decluttering. Now that most of the “gently used” and “well loved” items are gone, it’s time for the big play.

Time to get ready and Junk It all.

That means gathering all the big items that are just too damn large to toss out or get recycled and have someone haul them off for us. It’s going to be a pretty arduous task to collect everything in order to get the best bang for my buck when collected.

We have an old pool table, a fridge, scrap wood, scrap metal, old electronics, broken power tools, and just stuff that we need to ditch. Some items are still in our possession because of the mindset “Maybe this will be useful one day.” Only that day never arrives.

Catchy radio jingle. That means I should call them.

So as I take advantage of the weather over the next day or two, the trash heap will grow. Until I finally have had enough and call a junk removal company to haul it all away.

Why do we keep so much crap? Is it laziness in throwing it all away? Or perhaps the frustration that you once owned something that is now rendered useless? Whatever it may be, I have a collection of junk to get rid off now.

Will Purging Ever End?

It feels like we’ve been tackling the clutter in our home for ages. With so much space comes so much stuff to fill it. It’s crazy to think we’ve been collecting items for years now. A combined 95 years if you add our ages together- not including kids. The collection of junk happened so slowly.

Yet after a couple of weeks it still feels like we haven’t made a dent in this “editing” thing. In fact it feels as if we’ve gone in the opposite direction. Our home seems messier than ever. We are stumbling over boxes and trinkets trying to rearrange our lives.

Our theater room for example has become a hoarding nightmare. For the longest time I would collect CDs followed by DVDs. I cannot tell you the last time I listened to a CD. Yet my wife and I have a collection of around 500 of them. If you were to do the math from back in the day at $15 average/cd we spent at least $7500 on music alone in that format. Seriously though, if we bought a cd every week for about ten years- that’s how we came to possessing such a large collection.

As well we have trinkets and things that we acquired over the years. All to just fill shelves and floor space. Some of it still “Sparks Joy” so those items need to be left out. Other things will be stored until a later date when we can decide what to do with them. And some things are just being given away.

This is just one room. We still have five bedrooms, a kitchen, bathrooms, dining room, and closets to get through. Maybe by 2022 we will be done the cycle of clearing out the house only to start in the first room once more.

Give It Away Now

It’s January! Just like everyone else- the start of the new year means time to get organized. Buying new totes for storage, drawer organizers, and packing up the stuff we hardly use. It also means donating and give aways.

Over the past two decades, my wife and I have collected items that we once thought we would use. Some we have even refinished and brought a new lease on life to. Other items fell by the wayside only to be a project that never happened. It’s those big items that we are about to list for someone else to give love towards.

None of these items belong in the trash. They’re just not suitable for our lives at this time. Hopefully this clears up some space in our house and make it feel more spacious.

Hours of house cleaning is behind us and hours more to come. Pretty sure our teenagers are getting frustrated, but they have stuff they’ve collected over the years that need to go as well.

Do you purge your home every January as well?

Christmas Eve 2020

Everyone I know has some sort of tradition they do around the holidays. This year, being what it is, may have adjusted or outright changed those traditions. We have a few that begin this afternoon. But first things first- we had a couple of other events that aren’t as exciting.

A big house cleaning is one of them. Dusting, floors, windows, even the skylight needs to get a good ol’ sparkle before we do anything else. The family loves to do that. *eyeroll*

Next is the sad realization that I need to do a quick shopping run for last minute items. A Baguette is on my list because the loaf I tried to bake this morning was a pretty good failure. I guess we have some bread lightsabers to swing around…

As well, because of the snowstorm on Monday our daughter’s driving lesson got moved to midday today. Which was totally fine since I was able to make my errands completed during her lesson.

So even though we have traditions that we will adhere to this afternoon/evening, our day was kind of like any other day. My wish is for all of you readers out there who do celebrate, to enjoy your Christmas Eve! No matter what it may bring.

Cleaning for Christmas Season

This past weekend we did a pretty good cleaning up of the downstairs of our home. My wife has been adamant over the years that we are not permitted to put out Winter Decorations until the house is cleaned up. I push every year to start the process in early November.

That’s because I love decorating our home for winter!

This year, my wife was a big part of the decorating process. In fact, the entire family was a huge help and we had fun doing it. Well, maybe not the cleaning aspect… but the decorating for sure! All that’s left is the trees to come out after my wife’s birthday… on December 6th.

Have you already started decorating for the winter solstice or other such celebrations?

Coats

It’s getting into much cooler temperatures these days. So that means wearing heavier coats and jackets in order to stay warm. If you’re like my household, the jackets never end up where they belong after being used.

Usually the coats end up on the backs of chairs. Or tossed onto the couch. Of the six dining table chairs- my wife currently has jackets on two of them. This morning, I just walked in and tossed my jacket onto a chair in our front foyer.

I know what you’re thinking, “But Josef, why don’t you hang up your jackets?”

I really should do that. Especially since NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO CLOSE THE CLOSET DOORS. The closet we hang our jackets in is always open. You’d think that we would be able to grab a hanger, put the jacket away, and close the door again.

Nope. Five people in this household and the closet is always open and our jackets are keeping our chairs warm.

I should just get a coat rack and hang up a jacket on it that I won’t wear for two or three years. As well, on one of the other pegs will be a jacket from a visitor, only no one will ever claim it. That’s what a coat rack is for, amirite?

The worst part about my rant today? I’m going to leave the jackets where they are. I’m just as guilty and lazy as the rest of my family. And most likely you are as well. Let’s stand in solidarity as the jackets hang out on chairs!

Organized Mess

It’s the last day of my vacation. The family is home as well with me. So we are going to do some quality family time activities- cleaning the house.

It’s amazing how quickly a home can feel like a disaster. Odds and ends being left around instead of put away immediately. Items just dumped willy-nilly in hopes that someone else will pick it up. Not today. Today we are all going to tidy this place. Time to even close the cupboards and drawers that get left partially open as well. Let’s get things put away completely please.

We are even going to dust and remove the cobwebs. I know- counterproductive with Halloween just around the corner. But it needs to be done. My allergies are taking a hit these days and it’s almost time to turn on the heat. Nothing worse than the smell of burning dust as you try and warm the homestead.

If you need me- I’ll be the one barking orders and checking the work being done by our teenagers. They love it when I make them do a task more than once in order to get it right. Ah, quality learning moments.

Super Cleaning!

We’ve been busy today with more cleaning. So much so that I don’t have much time to write today’s blog.

Our middle child took on the task of cleaning out all the cupboards in all the bathrooms. Pretty sure this is the look of regret by starting on it. She has found plenty of “product” that we never use. Time to turf it!

My son and I were cleaning the windows in the sun room. Bleach around the edges to get rid of the black and grime forming. Then washing the windows twice in order to get rid of the streaks.

Being cooped up in the house has it’s benefits. The cleaning was taken in stride and the kids were very willing to do the chores. Plus we aren’t out spending money- that’s always good for the bank account.

How clean is your house these days? Doesn’t it feel good?

All That Hard Work Will Make Our Home

Today the sun was shining and the weather was warm. It was the perfect day to clean the yard and the outside of our home.

Our son took on the task of adding some paint to their old playhouse. We use it as a garden shed now, but it can easily be converted back for play should young kids ever live here again.

Our middle child pulled out the lawnmower and gave the first mow of the season to the backyard. We have about half of our acre that needed a mow. The rest is mostly trees and bushes.

Our oldest enjoys pressure washing. With all the trees and dampness in our area- a lot of green shows up on cement and such. A deep cleaning at the start of the season will make for a good spring and summer.

At the end of the day, it feels like we’re only part way through. We’ll get there soon enough. And then we can relax enjoying nature and our home.

Empty Spaces

Yesterday afternoon we removed Christmas from our house. The walls, shelves and floor space are abundantly empty. It feels barren and spacious. It’s all sorts of creepy.

Our home looked so festive throughout December. It felt warm and inviting. Not to mention joyous as well.

Now it’s stark and devoid of life. But as we do quite often- it’s time to rearrange our furniture and knickknacks. During this time we will purge some stuff that we don’t want or need anymore. It always feels good to do that.

Have you De-Christmased your home yet? How does it make you feel?

The Big Freeze

Yesterday I went into our large freezer to look for a dinner idea. I wasn’t able to find what I was looking for. That’s because our chest freezer had become chaotic.

My wife and I were given this freezer twenty years ago from a family friend of mine. They were moving out of province and were giving away items. I picked up this chest freezer and an old school heavy a.f. pullout couch bed. Come to think of it, I have no idea where that couch has gone to now…

Anyhow, I decided to clean out the freezer and reorganize it. Jut like I did with our fridge freezer last year: Freezer Food

It was like diving into a time capsule. Deep down in the recesses I discovered ham from 2016 and beef stew from 2015. Looks like our dog was going to get those once thawed.

I scrapped all the ice off and gave the freezer a wipe down before reorganizing and taking inventory of what we had. Seems like we have meals for a few weeks remaining. It also looks like our freezer is only half full now. Where as before it was a jumble of crap. I’m happy to have gone through it and make it tidy once more.

To make myself feel warmer, I kept some frozen blueberries out and made a batch of tasty blueberry muffins. This has got me in the mood to start some Christmas Cookie Baking! Is it too soon? Maybe the first batches will be “testers”, right?

Vacuums

I take for granted that we have a built-in vacuum. With a dog that sheds excessively we need to clean up about two to three times every week. That being said, in the dozen or so years we’ve been living here- we give that centralized vacuum a workout. But it only does suction- there is no motorized head spinning to dig up the deep down dirt. Which is fine for the hardwood floors and tile.

The other biggest problem we have is the location of the canister and motor. It’s in the room where our hot water tank and furnace are. So it’s very warm. Which causes the vacuum to overheat. We can usually vacuum most of the downstairs before it shuts off. In the end, the upstairs gets neglected. And that’s where we have the most carpet.

I have an old vacuum that was left behind by my mother years ago. It’s been through a lot, including a duct taped hose in order for it to work. Recently the band on the motorized head snapped, so it was pretty useless for getting the ground in dirt and threads from my wife’s studio. Of course it was when I wanted to do the carpets in the rest of our house that it crapped out.

So today I went to a store that’s been in Langley since, forever (or 1965 according to their website). The ladies in Big Gary’s Vacuums were extremely helpful and fun to talk with. They helped me get a new band and we talked about how people have no idea that Sears closed down ages ago. (That’s where the Kenmore brand vacuums were from). Anyways, $12 later and some shared memories about the Sears Wish Book, I have a working motorized head on an old vacuum.

All I need to do now is find a hose for my old shop vac. This was another Sears purchase two decades ago. I’m pretty sure I’ll find what I need on Amazon! They sell everything. They’re the ones who helped kill the brick and mortar big box stores, the least they could do is sell some parts for me.

What A Mess

Getting my kids to tidy up after themselves is tough. Our main living space is already hard enough to keep clean when five of us are always around. Especially with the fact that we are busy and always on the go. Always.

But their bedrooms are entities entirely unto their own. That is their place of solitude and peace if they so require it. As teens, they do love disappearing into their rooms. I just wish they’d make them, uh, more habitable.?.

Our two youngest are notorious for not making their beds. They’re also pretty good at leaving clothes everywhere as well. My wife and I try to get them to tidy up on a weekly basis. But it feels like their rooms explode into chaos almost immediately.

At least our oldest daughter takes pride in making sure her bed is made every morning. She is also the one who tries to ditch doing chores and hides in her room the most. The biggest problem with her room is she has the dog sleep in there at night. Our dog sheds a lot. Our daughter rarely vacuums her room. There is often little furryballs gathering in the corners.

It’s hard to motivate our teenagers to clean up. Instead of motivation, it usually ends up being empty threats of my wife and I claiming that we will throw everything out if they don’t clean up. But because of our hectic schedules, there isn’t much time to let the kids saunter through cleaning, so the mess just continues.

All parents face this dilemma. And it doesn’t get any better as the kids become teenagers. Oh well.

Rug Doctor

We live in a home that has very little carpet. In fact it’s only in our hallway and theater room. The rest of our home has tile or laminate hardwood flooring with a few throw rugs. I like not having carpet because it helps with my allergies. Sort of. Except we have a dog that sheds. He sheds a lot.

His shedding requires us to vacuum every few days otherwise there are tiny dogs everywhere in our home. Dog hair gets on all of our clothes as well.

The small amount of carpet we do have is rather, um, disgusting. No amount of vacuuming will get the dog hair out. Plus our once white carpet has turned beige with tons of spots everywhere. This is due to the kids growing up and spilling stuff everywhere. It may be time to steam clean it. It’s been probably a decade since the last time I tried to deep clean it.

When I was younger, my parents would rent a Rug Doctor every six months or so. They would spend an entire day on a long weekend cleaning our entire home. Being at home for this weekend of cleaning was stressful as well. Furniture would be moved around to one side of the room or kitchen in order to really clean the floors. No matter what they did though, the carpet would remain wet for three days after. Which was really gross because walking around your home in wet socks for a couple of days is unpleasant.

Eventually my parents bought a cheap steam cleaner that they had for years. It was okay at cleaning, but I’m pretty sure a professional would have been better. I don’t want to own a carpet cleaner since I would rather just get rid of our carpet all together.

I’m not sure when I will clean our carpets, if ever, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be renting a Rug Doctor and do it myself. Even if I have to go over the carpet a few times. I’m kind of cheap that way.