Addicted to Squirreling Part 2

If I have learned one thing from watching HGTV, it’s that my house can’t be clean without getting rid of stuff. This fact is exacerbated by my other guilty TV pleasure – Hoarders on TLC. I’ve never seen an episode where the hoarder was also clean. It just doesn’t happen! No one has ever made the connection cleanliness with minimalism but it makes so much sense!

This summer I played a mind game with myself and pretended that I was moving/the world was ending/I am renting out our home to Martha Stewart and proceeded to purge. I decided to purge before I made this blog so I didn’t have the foresight to take lots of pictures. (please excuse the Google image search results of the first two pictures) Here are some things we’ve hung onto for YEARS because we were certain it would be useful:


Idea: Bringing this into the classroom and plugging it in so my students could listen to running water while they work quietly. Clearly I am delusional. Reality: If this was in my classroom, it would most certainly mean water fights every day. Verdict: Sunnyvale Goodwill.

Idea:  Every time I would have guests stay over, I would place a set of amenities that I had saved from my last trip. Reality: Aint nobody got time for that. And often times these hotel shampoos don’t lather very well and they have weird scent combos like mandarin almond ginger. Great dessert idea, not so great for hair. I ended up buying full-size bottles of Garnier Fructis for the guest bath. It’s pleasant, gender-neutral and makes great suds. Verdict: Hauled my ten pound stock pile to Sunnyvale Community Services
Idea: It’s no secret that this guy has significantly changed shape in the last two years. Well both of us have a hard time letting go of our “fat” clothes because you know… what if we decide crossfit really is cuckoo and stop one day? Tim had a second closet FULL of dress shirts (this one here was a slim fit), nice jeans and sweaters. Reality: Even if we find ourselves fitting into these clothes again, we probably will have changed in our taste. Verdict: Almaden Goodwill.

I may have to make this an S family tradition. I love purging! I ended up taking 1.5 car loads to GoodWill filled with household goods, bags, purses, clothes, shoes and board games.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Purge frequently.
  2. Make an effort to know what is in your house so you don’t buy things you don’t need.
  3. Buy less. But if you do do buy, make sure it’s quality so it can withstand a lot of wear and tear.

Addicted to Squirreling Part 1

Some of you may know that I grew up as a Pastor’s Kid (PK). There are many great things about being a PK. There are also core competencies you gain being a PK. I grew up constantly having people over at our house so much so that I can’t remember a single Thanksgiving that was just “us.” One of the best skills you can acquire if you are to be a PK is to be an excellent picker-upper. It was not uncommon that mom would get off the phone and say “Auntie _____ (in Chinese custom, you always call other adults aunties and uncles no matter how unrelated/related you are) is coming over! And we as kids just knew, it was time to haul butt hide all the $%^ around the house. I mean yes, of course it would have been nice to really clean, but aint nobody got time for that!

I got to be the best damn squirrel-er in San Diego. Dinner table a mess? No problem, stack the papers and put them on the seats. Unfolded laundry all over the couch? Throw them in a basket and hide it in an unsuspecting person’s room. Honest to God this is what I thought cleaning was because that’s how we would roll growing up!

See how I have feigned orderliness with the help of the humble and yet glorious basket.

Display shelves behind the dining table.ImageUnder the coffee table.


In the entertainment unit!


On the other side of the coffee table!


A whole piece of furniture with little drawers built in!

Every family has their junk drawer. That is totally reasonable. In fact if you didn’t have one, I’m 99% sure you have control issues. I had 18. Prior to the start of summer, I swear that every single one of those baskets was filled with crap. What kinda crap?

  • Tangled Nokia/Motorola phone chargers.
  • Appliance manuals
  • 43 cent stamps (we are at 46 cents now)
  • Random foreign currency (Rupees, Wons, Euros, Hong Kong Dollars)
  • Gel pens, Markers, Binder Clips, Paper clips, Hair Ties
  • Random nails and screws
  • 6 nail clippers

It wasn’t until I got married that my house of cards came crashing down. It was bad. Tim would ask, “Hey Candy! Have you seen that bill from the HOA?” “Give me a sec. * Rummages through baskets* TaDAH! It was in Wicker Basket Number 3!!” This happens every. week. Thankfully Tim hasn’t gotten too annoyed at his squirrel of a wife yet because this squirrel still has a fantastic memory. But when I found Tim’s PhD Diploma next to my Laura Ingalls Wilder collection, I had to come to grips with the reality that:

  1. I suck at organizing. (Tragic for someone who thinks she’s a J according to Myers-Briggs)
  2. I can’t go on like this!!!!

And because of it, we inaugurated the S family tradition of THE PURGE. (to be continued)