Tantrum –> Cleanathon

1 01 2010

Last night I had another mini meltdown that almost put me over the edge. Luckily, I was able to channel that distress into an incredible New Years’ Eve office cleanathon! The things I found!! (more on this later)

But first, the meltdown. My husband got a notice from Fastrak, the electronic toll collector, that he had violated a toll passing. It included a bill for $29. But we HAVE a paid account, so this was an error. Tried to call and go online to clear it up. But couldn’t because we did not know our account #, OR the PIN they had sent us like 5 years ago. I had signed up for automatic bill pay (good, right?) and then basically forgot about it. When a payment notice comes in the mail, I usually just toss it, thinking it’s been taken care of.

So basically, without the account information we could not deal with this bill.  I could feel my frustration mounting as we kept hitting dead ends because we had no account number or PIN. And to me, it was just another indication of how messed up we are that we can’t keep track of our lives, and we have no file, either paper or online, that is accessible to us. That once again we are at the mercy of our insane disorganization.

Well, I could’ve downed an entire bottle of champagne OR eating a box of truffles, but I did neither. Nor did I scream at my spouse, but I wanted to do that too. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH UUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSS?!?!?” Instead I came into my total pigsty of an office, and set to doing the homework that LM set for me last week. I took out some empty cartons and set about Removing Things From My Office that Do Not Belong Here.

I found: a soccer ball, a sheet of Christmas tags, a pile of random clothing, a half-finished hook rug, a sock monkey dog toy, a bunch of CDs, a pair of fuzzy rabbit ears, two silk scarves, a Tide destaining pen, some earrings, a purse, a bunch of Weight Watcher snack bars, a Chinese takeout menu, a loofah sponge, some soap, a necklace, kids’ school notebooks, DVDs. I sorted these into two boxes: My Stuff and Other Peoples’ Stuff. Amazingly, as I searched around for the Stuff that Did Not Belong, the surfaces began appearing.

And guess what ELSE I found: two manila envelopes, one full of stamps and the other full of address labels. (I did not blog about the other internal meltdown I had last week when spouse asked, “Where’s a stamp?” and I COULD NOT ANSWER.

AND: (this is the cherry on top of the sundae) Underneath all the debris, a plain little envelope, SEALED, with my mother’s handwriting. Happy Birthday. (note: my birthday was in AUGUST) I opened it.

Here’s what was inside. 🙂

And here’s my  after.

Note: this entire process took ONE HOUR.

Happy New Years to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




14 responses

1 01 2010


Ok, I’m going to go organize and purge now.

(Do you ever watch “Hoarders”? It’s way extreme, but it got my fiance to clean his office!)

1 01 2010

Beautiful job! An organised home helps keep clutter out of your mind…keeps you focused on your goals!!!

1 01 2010

For your fasttrak account, I think it’s the last four digits of your phone number!

ALSO — GOOD JOB!!! It looks great!

1 01 2010

Wow, congratulations! I’ve done that too, before… found money when I finally cleared a stack of papers.

2 01 2010

It’s amazing what you can get accomplished in an hour. I try to keep that in mind when the house is total chaos. it feel like you just keep climbing the same mountain.

2 01 2010
Caroline Leavitt

Um please will you come to my place and do the same?

2 01 2010

Wow, you were richly rewarded for that hour of clean-out!

I prefer to externalize these things. It infuriates me to have to have a different pin/password for every damn thing. My blackberry does have a password keeper which helps.

3 01 2010

Just cleaned my son’s desk and found an ipod nano (which had been missing for a few years) so I get to keep it!!! woo hoo!

5 01 2010
Lorie Marrero

Congrats on your success!!! A picture is worth a thousand words– the money in the envelope was an amazing reward. How cool is that??

Lorie Marrero
Creator of The Clutter Diet®

5 01 2010

Oh-if only I had a camera! I am two days into cleaning out my huge closets to make room for the boxes I brought from my parents house. This is what I have found so far in terms of stuff that should not be there-my ex-husband’s old, old clothes and one sneaker, a rusted old hanging candleabra (that I can’t even spell-and refuse to throw out because someday I may just have the perfect garden to hang it in ), three boxes of toys confiscated 4 years ago, my boppy nursing pillow, a diaper bag (actually, two diaper bags) four kickballs with spiderman on them, tight sleeveless dresses (oh I miss my upper arms of youth) a million dust, clothes I will NEVER fit into again, and a kitchen cabinet door. This is in addition to all the clothes that are supposed to be there. And, that is only 1 closet (and it was the less full of my closets).

Really, for my 50th b-day-forget funfilled trips, I just want someone to come and declutter my life!

6 01 2010

JUNE, that is awesome! Amazing!! Keep going with that. I wish you had a camera, too. Great list.

7 01 2010

Great job! I love how you were instantly rewarded for cleaning all that up, too! ^_^

9 01 2010
Christine Simiriglia

Great job on the office. It is amazing what we lose and rebuy when we are cluttered and can’t find things. I think you should take your mom’s birthday present and you and your hubby should go out for a nice dinner and buy yourselves an exquisite bottle of wine!

14 01 2010

Hilarious that you found money!! That is really to funny. I also got a kick out of the weight watcher bars and the chinese take out menu together, lol. It looks great and only 1 hour? Hmm!

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