~OH GOODNESS, I had to pour 1 bottle of white wine down the drain!!  I hate it when that happens. (Left over from a little get together with friends)
~I saved another bottle of wine by freezing it in 1 cup increments. I have already used one cup in a dish...
~I saved fresh spinach & mushrooms (that were on the verge of going bad) by making a super yummy almond crusted chicken breast on a bed of spinach with a fantastic mushroom sauce (in which I used 1 cup of frozen wine...well, I did thaw it).  Totally made the recipe up and it ROCKED the house. Now if I can find the piece of paper I wrote on that tells me exactly what I did.
~I saved fresh basil by going out and buying a bottle of vodka and made more Basil-Lime Martinis (hey, deployment is coming up soon, don't judge me).
~I saved 1/2 a diced tomatoe by freezing it, and then I used it to make salsa later in the week.
~I saved 3 helpings of chili by putting in individual containters for 1 serving dish for consumption later on.
~ I made grillled cheese sandwiches out the heels of bread, turned the crust to the inside and no one was the wiser!! (Thanks Sarah)

So, I still wasted several items these past 2 weeks, but seriously, look at how my list is shrinking!!
1/2 block moldy feta cheese
3 pieces slimy salami
1/4 of a slimy green pepper
1/2 a small slimy cucumber
1 mango that got lost in the drawer...
I soggy orange
2 egg whites...oops, let them sit too long and was afraid to use them....
Almost an entire bag of mini bagles!  I totally forgot I had them.  The would have made great croutons, or bread crumbs..
Another 1/2 bottle of wine...went bad before I could drink it.

I DID NOT BUY Celery!!

In the past two weeks I removed 176 more items from of our house - the most painful was a super cute pair of pair of shoes. I've been holding on to them for years because they are so cute and I keep thinking that one day they won't hurt.  I wore them around the house the other day for 10 minutes before going out, they hurt, I reluctantly put them in the Goodwill box.  Although I am not sure it is really "Goodwill" some other poor sap will fall in love with them as well, and will try to wear them, they will hurt her feet and they will hang out in her closest for a few more years....oh, how the cycle never ends. ;)

In the past two weeks I went shopping and I added 22 items to my house....

For a grand total of 973 items out of my house since 3 Dec 2010!!!

We are not even going to talk about the gym.
I know I said I would post every Friday about decluttering and food waste but I think I was a bit overzealous when I said that.  I'm now thinking every other Friday (or Saturday or Sunday) is a better idea.  Last week got away with me and before I knew it I was a week behind on this venture. So, here I am 2 weeks later. I'm going to try very hard to do this every other week (did you hear me?  I said TRY). So here goes, these are the things I/we wasted/threw out over the past 2 weeks. Even though our list is long, I think we did MUCH better that the previous week since I am more conscious of waste in the kitchen.  However I am wondering when I will STOP buying celery!  I always throw away more than we consume.

Things we wasted over the past 2 week:

1 package of chives
1 package celery – yes, the entire package.
10 baby carrots
2 green onions
½ bag of lettuce mix
1 bunch of parsley
2 helpings of sliced steak
2 cups of buttermilk
8 bread heels 
½ green pepper
1 almost full jar salsa (it was a science experiment)
1 hamburger bun
1 piece of Chicken Pot Pie
1/2 red onion
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

What should I do with all those heels? Not one person in my family likes to eat them....give me idea folks, or this will keep appearing week after week on my list.

OK, a few things I did differently to keep from throwing things out -

-I had 6 egg whites left over from a cake I made.  Instead of throwing them out (like I normally would have done - don't hate) I saved them for breakfast the next morning and made egg white omelets. Boy 1 looked at it funny, but ate it anyway.
-With our left over steak and chicken from Mexican Street Tacos, I made flautas!  They were wonderful and were all gone within a day.
-With my leftover Mexican bean soup I made refried beans for burritos!  Yummy!

In the past 2 weeks we (I say we because Hubby is loving this and is getting rid of things as well!) have gotten rid of 140 more items from our house.  In the past 2 weeks I have purchased 14 items, bringing my grand total of things out of our house to 819 items!!  Only 1192 things left to go!!

AND to my embarrassment I have only worked out ONE, 1 time in the past 2 weeks......
So you all know I am on a decluttering kick.  I want it to be mind, body and house.  I'm not sure how to achieve the mind part, but I am working on it.  The body, well I have a secret to tell you all, I haven't been to the gym ALL YEAR!  Aughh! My excuse has been that my doctor had restricted me from the gym as it was a big pain in my ass (literally) when I ran or did body pump or combat.  Well, the gym restriction has been lifted, I am free to go back, however my doc did advise me not to run or do any exercise that with impact….in other words all the things I like to do.  I now have to do yoga, which I like (but the time is just not convenient) and I guess yoga can help me with mind as well as body – right?  I’m free to use the elliptical, (which I dislike) or to take spinning classes….spinning?!?  I dislike spinning more than the freaking elliptical!!  And I am always welcome to hang with the old ladies in the pool classes. (Shoot me now!) I guess I need a trainer to motivate me – any volunteers? 

OK, back to what I meant to write about….since being on this decluttering venture I am also paying more attention to waste.  One thing that I have noticed is how much food we waste .  I am now going to TRY to stop wasting as much food in our house.  Each Friday I am going to clean out our fridge and write down what we wasted.  Maybe if I see it in writing I will be more prone to stop the waste. I will also write about how I kept from wasting things.

On Friday I cleaned out the fridge and this is what I threw out:

4 kiwis (way too soggy)
½ head of cauliflower (OH GOD, the smell)
½ green bell pepper (soggy)
2 slices prosciutto (slimy)
5 ready to cook flour tortillas (mold spots)
4 taco shells
¼ avocado (all brown – yuck!)
1 piece leftover chicken saltimbocca
2 servings of chili

Next week I will try to do better.  I am also going to make it to the gym this week.  Wish me luck!

So, my husband think this decluttering venture makes us sound like hoarders, we are not.  Especially him.  He keeps NOTHING.  Really. Girl, well I'm a little concerned about her ~ we got rid of 177 items from her room alone and this number does NOT include clothes that were too small.  I do keep way more than hubby, but by no means am I a hoarder either. I admit that I do have issues with dishes and papers ~ I'm working on the paper issue, but don't touch my dishes.  If you do I just might be forced to break your hand and never cook for you again.  

ALSO, we do have 4 kids and with 4 kids comes STUFF, lots and lots of stuff.  Sometimes I save things because I think the next kid might want it, or we might need it for a rainy day (like the 42 board games we have - hey, give me a break, I just got rid of 12!), but then that rainy day comes and goes and I did not need that item.  I am going to tape all the game boxes shut and at the end of the year any game that is still taped shut is GONE!  Several years ago I stopped 'saving' Boy 1's clothes for Boy 2.  I mean there is 7 years between them and I realized that by the time Boy 2 can wear the clothes, they are hideous.   OK, maybe not hideous, but definitely out of style.  Plus, that is a lot of crap to move from house to house to house.....  Yes, I do save clothes from Boy 2 to give to Boy 3.

Since December 3rd, 2010 I have gotten rid of 584 items that we do not use.  I've decided to add a new rule to my decluttering venture, something I have been thinking about, but wasn't committed to, but now I am.  Hold on to your seat, here it comes rule #12 ~ if I buy something new, it counts against my number.  Like the Wok I just bought, and the book shelf and the 4 organizers for boy's room.  So I guess I am down to only 578 items gone.  It's OK.  I'm good with it.  This will keep my purchases in tact as well.

Make sure you guys let me know how you are doing – I’m off to tackle the boy’s room.
I've committed to removing 2011 items from my house in 2011 - that is 5.5 items a day for 365 days.  I was going to wait till Jan 1, 2011 to start, but I just couldn't wait that long I started on 3 Dec 2010 and I will go till 3 Dec 2011.  I want to be clutter free and I want to be clutter free now <<Insert foot stomping here>>.  (I feel like Veronica from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)  I know it will take much longer than that to make this happen, but I'm on a mission & would love to have friends, family and YOU join me on my 2011 declutter challenge.
I am keeping track of my progress in an excel spreadsheet.  I have 3 columns -  a date column -  # of items column and an item name column. I have the spreadsheet so I can WATCH my progress.  I need the visual plus it calculates for me. Here is an example of what I have so far....

14-Dec    1 old towel
               1  20 pieces of old mail
16-Dec   1  cracked wooden rolling pin 
17-Dec   1 broken hand mirror
18-Dec   3 formal dresses
             2 pair boys shorts 
            13 boy shirts
19-Dec   2 tank tops 
             1 shirt
             5 capri pants
             4 jeans 

You can do this anyway you would like, but I have set some rules up as a guideline for myself.  I'm pretty sure I will have to add to my list of rules as time goes on, but this will help you get started!

1. 10 sheets of hard to get rid of paper (kids art work, old cards I have a problem with collecting Christmas cards & birthday cards from years past) = 1 item
2. Paper clutter, 20 sheets = 1 item
3. If replacing an item, you cannot count the old that is going out - example, I just got a new vacuum cleaner, I cannot count the old vacuum cleaner even though I am giving it away.
4. Consumable items DO NOT count in the purge - newspapers, shopping bags, empty shampoo bottles & so on.
5. Consumable items that you do not use and that have been sitting around your house for years DO count - example - that nasty bottle of perfume that Aunt Sue gave you for Christmas 3 years ago & you NEVER use, but haven't had the heart to toss it, well now is the time, it counts as one item! 
6. If it comes in as one item, it goes out as one item.  Shoes, you cannot count a pair of shoes as 2 items.  They came in as a pair; they go out as a pair - 1 item.  EXCEPTION: if your pet alligator ate one shoe and you have been holding onto the other shoe just in case you break your foot and you only have one foot to dress...give it up, throw out the single shoe and you can count it as one item.
7.  Items that come in and go out on the same day do not count, example, mail, shopping bags, kids daily school work etc.  I have WAY too much of this clutter around my house. Starting today you (I) need to look at it and throw it out same day.  It does not count.
8.  You CANNOT bring something into the house JUST so you can count it as an item to get rid of.  EXAMPLE - when the school is giving away magazines and you take one just so you can throw it out later - that is a NO, NO.  (Hummm....I wonder who I am talking about here...)
9.  If you borrow something, you cannot count the item when returning it to its rightful owner.
10.  Yes, magazines count - 1 magazine counts as one item.
11. 1 book – 1 item, no matter the size

Happy decluttering!!!  Since Dec 3rd, I have removed 306 items from our house!!

Can you guys believe it is almost 2011?! When did that happen? I remember when the song '1999' by Prince, (or the artist formally known as Prince, or whoever he is) came out in the early 80's! 1999 sounded so far away, now once again in (almost 2011) it sounds so far away!  Crap, did I just date myself?

Anyway, every year I try to improve upon myself in some way - sometimes these ‘improvements’ work out and sometimes they don’t, but I always TRY.  So this year I got a great idea from my friend Mary.  DECLUTTER. Mind, body, soul and house.  I was going to wait until 2011 to start, but this past Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL day here in Central Texas (only about 80 degrees F) and our village here on post was having yard sales.  I wasn't going to participate because really who goes to garage sales in December when Christmas is right around the corner?  I thought this was an insane idea, but whatever, I decided to go with it as it would be a great excuse to clean out the garage!  You see for the past 7 months it has been a dream of mine (really a dream of Hubby’s for me) to clean out the garage so we could park BOTH cars in the garage.  As it turns out, doing the yard sale was a win/win.  My garage is clean enough to park BOTH cars in it and I have some extra cash in my pocket! 

So, this year for the decluttering of the house I am going to TRY to remove 2011 items from our home (I'm betting I could do this in Girl's room alone).  That is 5.5 items a day for the entire year.  AND since I started early I am a little ahead of the game with 245 items already GONE!  I will keep you guys updated on this little adventure, as it will make me more accountable.   I’m documenting all items that are being removed from our house & will give you guys a list of my rules as I finalize them all.  (I’m sure this rule list will be a work in progress for about the next 12 months.)   Wish me luck, and if you are up for a challenge please feel free to join me on this adventure!