2018 total: $10011.76


The Hoarders

I have no business giving anyone any advice on how to clean their house, unless that advice can be "Don't. It sucks." If I can make that recommendation, then we're golden. Otherwise, I should likely keep my mouth shut.


YOU GUYS. I'M ON A SOLID STREAK OF GETTING CRAP OUT OF OUR HOUSE. I'm kind of proud of myself, so I feel like I should share the magic.

First, the back story.

I live with hoarder(s). I use paranthesis around the 's' because I'm not positive if the girls are going to fall down that rabbit hole. Alexis shows signs of it, as does Mila, but neither of them is completely committed to being that brand of crazy. If I'm putting money on it, I'd rank Mila as more likely, but we shall see.

Because I live with people who don't know how to throw things away, there's too much stuff. Our house is about 1000 square feet bigger than we truly need, but it's busting at the seams and IT'S ALL GARBAGE. I wish I were kidding, but I for real threw away several garbage bags of stuff when I cleaned out the pantry, so SLOBS. THEY'RE ALL SLOBS. And monsters who put garbage in the closets.

So I started the year with a mental commitment to tame the closets. There's plenty more that needs to be conquered, but the closets have been on my nerves for a while. When I can't put a roll of Scotch tape away because there's not two free inches of space in a closet, it's time to go on the war path. I made up my mind that I would clean out one closet per weekend. That includes going allllll the way in on said closet. I not only throw away whatever needs to be thrown away, I also donate the things that someone else will love more than I do. As in, I'm not done cleaning until I've dumped those bags off at Goodwill or an equivalent.

I'm six closets into this game. SIX CLOSETS! I have effectively managed to clean out SIX closets. I have thrown away a total of 9 large bags of trash and donated about 20 more. Which, that's a lot of stuff. I still have three more closets and then it will be time to tackle the playroom, where I will likely die of misery, but let's just sit on the fact that I have followed through so far. I know I'm impressed it's getting done!

So, for those of you who live with hoarders, here's my advice ... break it down. If I had set out to clean out all of the closets, I would have quit by now. Instead I set out to clean one closet per week, which somehow makes it seem more manageable. And then! That thing where I drop off donations the same day? It's magical. It's way to easy to say, "I'll do that later," but then later gets delayed and next thing you know, your grandkids are rolling their eyes because you're trying to sell them on your kid's 30-year old dress. Small, manageable goals are making everything better. I swear it.

Here's to hoping the people in my house catch on to what I'm doing. If not, I'm afraid I'm going to throw away some stuff they want to keep and I won't apologize at all because STOP HOARDING.



Chana Masala

I don't know why I've always been scared of making Indian food, but NO MORE EXCUSES. I remembered to buy a bunch of spices when I was near a little Indian grocery store recently, so it was time to dive in. I handled it exactly the way anybody else would; I started with some internet searches then went, "OMG, THIS IS DUMB."

I pestered a co-worker for recipes instead. It required something that probably was borderline harrassment because "a little cumin, garlic, coriander ..." "A little" means so many things to so many people. I need measurements until I know what I'm doing.

I am now competent to stray from measurements. And, uh, y'all, THIS WAS EASY.

January 19 015

Chana Masala

Jasmine rice, prepared according to package instructions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 green chile pepper, chopped (with seeds if you want to burn your face off)
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cans (~14 oz) cans finely diced tomatoes
2 cans (~14 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Lemon juice
Cilantro, rinsed and chopped

1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and roast for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until they are a nice golden color.

2. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, and pepper and sauté until the onions are clear (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Stir in the coriander, garam masala, turmeric, and salt and cook a few more minutes.

3. Add the diced tomatoes. Stir and smash the tomatoes while cooking them for a minute or two.

4. Raise the heat to medium high and add the chickpeas. Simmer for about 10 minutes, adding lemon juice and/or water if things start to seem too dry.

5. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro, if you're one of those people who is on speaking terms with cilantro. I still am not, but only because it won't quit growing like a weed in my yard. Seriously, I can't seem to kill it.



January 19 013