Sunday, June 17, 2007

Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air. The squirrels have eaten their share of the bird seed, but I foiled them by getting a really (really) squirrel-proof bird feeder. The durn squirrels ate their way through the last squirrel-proof feeder I had. It was the type where the outside sleeve would slide down and cover the feeding holes when a bird or critter that was too heavy attempted to feed. The squirrels simply chewed new holes right through the plastic so they could feed in the 'closed' position. I discovered this when filling the feeder and all the seed kept pouring out. I fixed them, though! The new feeder not only slides over the feeding holes when too-heavy critters land, but it is a metal band that covers the holes--just TRY and chew through THAT. Plus, the feeder is too long for the squirrels to hang from the top and reach the feeding holes. HAHAHA! The larger birds have figured out they can flap their wings to reduce their body weight so they can feed, but it does slow them down. So today my only task was to go to the local Bird stuff supply store and get more seed. Naturally, this meant having to leave the house, so I was looking for a distraction, and I found it - Spring Cleaning.

Please do not misunderstand me. I was not actually cleaning, or anything like that. In fact, I started a load of wash this morning and just now (10 hours later) remembered it needed to go into the dryer. You see, I have been distracted by stamping-related Spring Cleaning. Now THAT's important!!!

This all started when a local stamp store had their First Annual Flea Market the first weekend of June. I took that opportunity to sell all of my old retired Stampin' Up! sets (from prior years, of course!) that my Customers did not want, plus a bunch of other non-Stampin' Up! stamps I never use. I sold over half of it. Yay! This reduced my "old stuff" storage space requirements significantly. So a few weeks ago I started in on the current list of retiring Stampin' Up! sets to see what kind of space I could reclaim.

I am probably one of the few Demos who was actually happy that over 70 of my Stampin' Up! sets were on the Retiring list. At first I'll admit I was not pleased, but as I went through my sets, marking them as Retired, I found I had not used most of them in over a year. Sad, but true. In my new downsizing mode, I decided it was best to just dispose of them and make room for all the NEW stuff.

The next happening that pushed me into cleaning mode was the Elfa Meltdown & Recovery, which forced me to clean off my Craft Room table that until now had been used as storage overflow. This process yielded a stack of cards that had been started but never finished. I finished those up a few weeks ago, and they are selling quite well at the Farmers Market, thank you!

Back to today and Spring Cleaning. First, I went through the list of Retiring Wheels and pulled them from my handy wheel storage boxes and gently placed them in the To Go boxes. I updated my spreadsheet (yes, I have a spreadsheet - leave me alone!) which lists all the sets and wheels that are retiring, their original price, what I sold them for, who bought them, and when. This anal-retentive record-keeping serves many purposes: (1) I have a complete list of everything I am able to sell; (2) I know how much I spent and how much I am selling them for (the totals are really scary); (3) I know who bought them, as many of my Customers ask me what they bought before (some of us are old and we forget, okay?!), so I am prepared; (4) I know what I sold, and what year, and (5) Numbers 2 & 4 help me keep Uncle Sam happy at tax time.

So yes, I updated my spreadsheet(s), and I am ready for my Retired Stuff sale in July. Yay!

Next, I went through my pile o'cards I have accumulated from all my workshops and SCS challenges, and decided I do not need to house them in my Living Room any longer. After all, what good are they in boxes? My Customers do not need them - they have already made their own copies of most of them. So today I created an assembly line and set to documenting (of course) and packaging them for sale. First I scanned all of them into my 'puter (this is the a-r part). The good that came out of this, over and above the record-keeping, is that I had a count. Over 80 cards. Yeesh!

I separated out the front-only cards and set them aside. They will become full-fledged cards in my next phase.

I then stamped my Web site name and my SU Copyright stamp on the back of each card, included an envelope, and sealed them all into individual clear envelopes. All set for sale at next week's Farmers Market.

Next, I cleaned off my display door. Yes, "door". I have a very small place, so the only space I really have to display anything for my Customers is on the outside of a closet door. I thumb-tacked three long ribbons to the top of the door, then I use paper-clips to secure cards to the ribbons. I purged the display of all cards that used retiring sets. It is pretty empty now. I then followed the above-mentioned procedure and prepared these cards for sale, too.

As I gaze around my craft room, I see promise. I have half-empty Elfa shelving waiting for possible drywall repair; I have an organized stack of stuff on my Craft Table that will eventually go back on the Elfa shelving; I have a neatly-organized collection of the retiring In Color card stock, ink and stitched ribbons (hoarded, yes, because I love it); a new box with the new In Color card stock; my new In Color ink pads and ink refills are in their new home in my Color Caddy; my Elfa drawers that hold my stamp sets are mostly empty, and awaiting new sets. I think life is pretty good right now.

As a side non-stamping distraction, I got to do an unplanned Pantry Purge this afternoon. One of the bennies of being a crafter at a Farmers Market is all the fresh produce. Yum! I stock up every week. This stuff is picked on Friday and sold on Saturday morning...short of living on the farm, it does not get any fresher than that! So this afternoon I set out to cook some of the zucchini and eggplant I bought. Everything I added to the pot was from the Market, but I needed tomatoes, and all the farmers were out of tomatoes yesterday. But never fear - I have a well-stocked pantry. Unfortunately, I used to cook a lot more than I do now, and most canned food has a shelf life, which I apparently exceeded. I soon discovered most of the canned goods in my pantry were well past their Use By dates, which resulted in the afore-mentioned Pantry Purge. The good news is I now have room for all the pantry-overflow goods currently living on my counter and in bags on my kitchen floor. Luckily I found several cans of tomotoes in my overflow area, so the cooking effort was saved. I have much to recycle this week, and my counters and floor have never seen so much light. So I guess I did do a little non-stamp-related cleaning...

Lessons learned: (1) Make a card, and DO something with it. No more tossing them into a pile in the Living Room; (2) No more pantry-stocking without associated cooking activity. The Pantry Purge is so wasteful.

The craziness that is June & July in the Stampin' Up! world has begun, and I look forward to every minute of it! And after my Spring Cleaning episode, I have room, and I am ready. Let the games begin!

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