De-clutter/Reduce/Repurpose or Move it out 1-10

I keep reading these lists of what to eliminate in order to get rid of all your clutter. They vary anywhere from 25-100 thing to throw out. I can’t say that I agree with many of them. Actually, the more digging I have been doing, the more I have been finding the value of hanging on to certain things. It seems that the past two weeks, I have been more than thankful for the many things that I keep around. I do agree that certain things should be rearranged or organized better, and some should be eliminated, though I don’t see that all things should be tossed into the garbage. Some of them should be donated or repurposed. Well, you can probably guess what is coming. Here are 10 ideas I have of what to do with the extra stuff hanging around your place.

1–Old Towels: Some suggest donating them to animal shelters and that is a good idea. Here we use towels until there is not much left and then I end up cutting them into squares to be used as scrub rags. I did notice a post someplace about cutting them into strips and weaving them into rugs. I might try that one sometime.

2– Shoes: I was always taught that shoes mold to your feet and shouldn’t be passed on like other clothing. I also wear mine until there is not much left, so they really need to be tossed out.  I am not quite like the stereotypical woman when it comes to shoes. I have a shoe rack that holds 9 pair and seldom have more than it can hold. When I bought a new pair for the wedding, I checked the rack for some to remove. I found a never worn pair to donate and a worn out pair of tennis shoes that was ready for the garbage. Hurrah, that was my toss out for the day, but not before I salvaged the shoe strings. I always find those helpful in sewing projects, or if they are not in the best condition, they end up in the garden cabinet and are used to tie up the pepper plants in a wind storm.

3–Clothing: I have not done a serious purge of my closet, but I did a few drawers earlier this winter. Socks, unders and such. I mostly tossed what was worn out, had elastic showing. I did find some never worn items that will be donated. I also have a pile of about 10 pair of socks that I just plain don’t like. They will become a snake for the door in the near future. I will post on that when it happens.

4–Old Eye glasses: Recently I realized our eye Dr. place takes old glasses. What a relief. James and I gathered up about 7 or 8 pair between the two of us. I also cleaned out several of the glasses cases and included them. Hopefully they will be able to help someone. It felt really good to be able to remove something that will be of value to someone else. And, the best part was because we turned in so many, they refilled two of our glasses cleaner bottles for free.

5–Paper and notebooks: This is one that really gets me when I see suggestions to throw away extra notebooks and paper. Instead organize them and place them either in a designated desk drawer or a shelf where you can locate them. Recently I also found lots of little note pads which I stacked up and put on the edge of my desk for future use. Drop one in your purse and put one beside the phone with a pen for taking notes. If you really want to get rid of the extras and you have full notebooks, drop them off at your local elementary school. Teachers can always find a use for paper.

6–Pens and pencils: Sort before you toss. Dry pens and pencils too short to hold belong in the garbage, but all the rest can be used at sometime by someone. If you don’t need all that you have, find a place to donate them. Again schools are always an option.

7–Food: So this might not be a donate area. This is a reduce. James and I have been trying to limit the amount of food we have been purchasing and using up what is already in the freezer or on the shelves in the pantry or the cellar. The positive of this is that we have been eating less junk food and the freezer is finally not a problem to close. We might even be able to defrost it by summer. Ha!!


8–Apps: Before we left for Tennessee, I realized there would be no pictures taken with my phone or iPad unless some of the memory was freed up. I began by eliminating at least one of the games that I never use.

9. Pictures: Pictures take up most of the storage on my phone. We downloaded what was on the iPad to the computer and burned them onto CD’s then I erased them from both the iPad and the phone. I would back them up onto the cloud, but I need to take the time to clear that of an App that should not have backed up on it.

10. Computer files: We needed to take the lap top in for a virus check, which in the long run was a good plan. Because I was afraid of losing files, I finally put the important items on a zip drive and now I have them with me to use at home on the lap top or in the church office if need be. It was actually nice this past Wednesday in the office to have access to all of my sermons and bulletins for reference when I was trying to plan the rest of the Lenten services. And the laptop now has lots more room for other files, like the new track season.

So, that is all I have for now. I am looking at the clutter on my coffee table and looking forward for when it is empty. Currently it holds a pile of papers that need to be organized into a neat little list for the income tax person. My plan is to have that turned in by Monday afternoon. Hopefully I don’t get side tracked. It actually isn’t a problem and is rather fun to do once I get started. Now if I would just finish here, I could get to it.

Packing for the wedding/baby shower

I don’t know why, it might be learned behavior from my mother, but traveling always seems more fun in the early stages of planning than on the day of leaving. I can’t remember a specific, but there were so many times when I thought as a child we were going to go some place or do something fun or exciting, and in the end we stayed home. She was even worse as she aged and getting out and about started being hard for her. Today I wish that we had taken better care of her and helped her more, but in our defense, she never wanted to be in a place that didn’t allow smoking. Now I fully understand her attitude about wanting to be at home with your own comforts (though no smoking here) because I have that same attitude.

It is ok to think about travel and trips and say maybe or yes I will, but when it comes right down to packing and leaving, I just want to stay home and have them tell me about it. So my issue today is really more than we will be spending three days in the hotel two weekends in a row. I am starting to realize my angst is for that trip to Baltimore to go to General Synod that is looming on the horizon. I also don’t want to have to think past these next two weeks, I want to focus on them and enjoy them. What was that in my New Year’s Resolution post, something about being in the moment, Just Live, I think is what I titled one post.

But maybe all this running around will turn out for the best so then we will be content to sit and rest for a bit. Ha!! Fat chance of that. As soon as we return from Tenn. the track season starts up and Jaxon will be in the middle of his second wrestling season which could involve some Friday night or Saturdays, and then we have meets and Paulina has outdoors and some time in there I suspect there will be a set of twins dropping in on the family. Maybe the trip in June will be our rest. At the least I feel that James and I have become the poster children for day trips around either the state of North or South Dakota. Our poor van is at 209,000 miles and going. Maybe that is what our next trip should be, to a dealership for another vehicle. Yikes!!

Ana in dress

Ana posing in old dress. Only she would get to stand barefoot on the kitchen table.

I think my biggest worry today is that I will leave something behind, though not a problem because there are two sisters coming later and they could maybe go to my house and dig until they find what I need, if I even have what I need. Thankfully two things will be allowed to stay home and that is really a blessing. I dug out the flower girl dress that Victoria wore when she was young, and though it fit Ana, it is not the best fit on the sleeves. I washed it, hung it outside to dry but because there was no breeze to fluff it out I was going to need to do a little pressing of it, groan! Well yesterday Victoria finally mentioned that she found a new dress on line that was very reasonable and is pretty and so great relief because I was able to take that headache off my to do list. I also found a clear bowl that will work for one of the activities and now I don’t have to clean up the old pretzel container that was in the garage. Through this whole endeavor, I keep finding more and more things that have been deemed clutter in our house, but actually are of use here. Not something that a pack-rat/near hoarder should be learning.

What I am most excited about in this whole wild weekend is that in digging out things to take along or to give away or to use in the endeavor, we ended up doing some cleaning and sorting out. I have that useable cupboard beside my bed which I wrote about a couple of posts back. Then last night as we were digging in the cleaning cupboard looking for some extra table cloths, we ended up sorting and tossing and organizing all the cleaning rags and containers. This was one place we ended up with the most thrown out items of all the de-cluttering we have done. We finally tossed shoe polish from the 1980s and some old vinyl car cleaner along with lots of worn out rags and empty bottles. It was great because with the room we cleaned out, we were able to move some containers from under the sink to a more secure area in this cabinet. I am bothered by this area each time the grand children come, so now that is eliminated.

Well, time to get on the road to Linton. I have a few stops down town, so catch you later maybe with a few wedding picks, or shower or both or maybe just by the pool. At least I am not on duty on Sunday morning. Yikes……  Oh yes, “Yippeee, going to the wedding!!”

One cupboard clean!

Book shelf of unread books.

Book shelf of unread books.

So, on Tuesday I got a bug to do some cleaning in my room. I just could not stand all the junk standing around anymore. In fact, I had complained about it the night before, and decided it was time to do something and quit talking or even thinking about it. As I looked around the room, I decided that in order to et a few things put away, I needed access to a certain wall, to set some items there, which caused me to end up cleaning out a cupboard which should have been cleaned out long time ago. Well, that was an interesting endeavor. The end result was a new bookshelf where I have stored up several books I would like to read in the near future. Actually the big bonus was the envelop of cash that I found. It was from 2014, and was money that I had set aside for Christmas presents. I remember looking for it then finally believing that I had already spent it. Good grief!!

In terms of the de-cluttering part of the day, I was able to part with a very few items that were deemed garbage, and I now have a large box of cards, photos and papers to sort through in the future. Hopefully the not so far away future either.



The old wire bookshelf that I was using has been dumped to the car shed for now. It may end up outside in the flower garden, but I have not totally decided. Since it is wire, it could be a good place for climbing plants, but it could also be a place for a few small pots growing herbs. Just not sure yet. The wall where it used to set is now filled with old pop corn tins. I know these items drive some of my daughters crazy, but for me they are great holders of things. I have at least 4 of them filled with yarn or yarn items. One is just for the cones of thread that I use to make the dish cloths. Another has my sock loom and yarn to go with it. Two or three are simply filled with yarn and others are filled with various individual projects including one full of socks that are headed for the sewing machine in the near future to be turned into a long sock snake to be put in front of that door that leaks so badly at the bottom. My great hope is to empty them one at a time meaning that another project is complete,/ and they can be reassigned to hold some other part of the clutter hanging out around here. Mostly, I just want to slowly, but surely whittle down the piles in my area.

Finished beanies

Finished beanies

My current work in progress is not one I want to show off at this time, but I will share the caps that I have recently completed. I love making these, and have found that I need to keep making them larger in order to fit adults. These are mostly the size of a teenager or someone a bit younger. Well, off to the next project. I am on a mission to get things into an arrangement that puts items within range of working on them and eliminate the many tubs of junk we have setting around the room. My goal is to be tub free in this room by Easter!!

Clean out the trunk/clutter issues

The inside look at my trunk

The inside look at my trunk

So, cleaning out the trunk was not really on the radar, or anything that I anticipated doing anytime soon. Short insert here to tell you about this trunk. I bought it for $12. As I reconsider it, I was out of college when I bought it. It was at an auction sale for a grandmother of one of my classmates. The house where she lived is now the house that my youngest sister owns. I bought the material you see because I intended to line the trunk and make it very usable. The material is older than I am married, and it still is not finished. I am beginning to think that I don’t have a clutter problem as much as procrastination issues. If I did half the things I thought of, I wouldn’t have much in terms of clutter. Yikes!

Flower girl dress from the back. If it fits Ana, she can wear it for fun sometime, if not, Vic can just have it.

Flower girl dress from the back. If it fits Ana, she can wear it for fun sometime, if not, Vic can just have it.

So, as you might see, I have moved the trunk to the foot of my bed and mostly it serves to hold the blankets from falling to the floor, or to hold a few extras if I think I might need them. The other day after a long conversation with Victoria, we got to the deal of “whatever happened to the dress I wore as a flower girl?” And it took me a couple of hours, but I finally realized that all the dresses that I value are in that trunk, including my wedding dress, my snow queen dress, a couple of bridesmaid dresses and the dresses I sewed for my girls for the Centennial. I should drag those out and take pictures of them sometime. I bet some of the little girls in the family could wear them about now. Ha, Ha, only for some “old-time” pictures that is for sure.

White rat

White rat

So, the issue here is the clutter clean out. As I was digging into the trunk, the first round of items were all of my stuffed animals. I hope you all know none of those are being donated or getting tossed at this time. I did pull one old white rat out of the mix and saw the ears were bad, and it seemed dirty so I put him in the garbage, but he was rescued later in the night and is now sitting  of the table waiting to be washed and returned to his home in the trunk. I just couldn’t think of him going in a garbage bag out in the cold and being crushed in that big ugly truck then transported to a land fill and dumped there to die. I just could NOT do it. This is why people like me live with clutter. No one taught me that toys are its and not hims or hers. UGGGHHHH. Maybe I am secretly related to Linus from the Peanuts gang or something. I would have sat in the Pumpkin Patch, too.

The stuffed animals and the pom-poms.

The stuffed animals and the pom-poms.

The other angle.

The other angle.

I did, though, toss a set of old paper pom-poms. Hurrah!! They took up way more room then that poor rat, and they were dusty besides. I didn’t even one second consider keeping them for Ana to play cheerleader. She needs to learn how to play ball or wrestle or run or throw shot or something, but not shake pom-poms and dance around. I bet you can’t guess how I responded to the headline that Playboy bunnies are making a comeback. Well go figure with this political dumpster-fire we have going on. Enough said.

On the other hand, I want to give a shout out to my oldest daughter who just recently painted her nursery with her future mother-in-law (Kim). After they were finished, Kim asked about this little cupboard thing that was in the living room. Well it was Jessica’s when she was little. James and I, again at an auction sale, found these two cupboard like cabinets that were handmade and bought them one for each girl, Jess and Vic. Over the years they used them for bookshelves of toy shelves or any number of things. Kim realized that it would be a good match in the nursery and could hold anything from books to diapers to whatever was needed and would save them from having to purchase something. She had the same idea that I often have, which is “Shop at home first.” It was one of the rules that I mentioned back in early January with my frugal ideas post. I love it!!

I can’t wait until I can get to Jamestown and see what they have done with the place. It makes me jealous that we live so far away. If I wouldn’t like our yard so much, I would be tempted to find a house close by and become like the mother in Everybody Loves Raymond. HA!! In the meantime, I should see what I have that might match a froggy themed room. Hmmm, I don’t know if I have ever seen any of those around here. (In case you didn’t catch it–that was a reference to the book about the Wide Mouthed Frog.) I wonder if one of those would be ok to bring to the shower?? Sure hope Jess didn’t have time to read this. Catch you later!!

February newsletter for Church

Here is the little write-up I included with the newsletter for the month of February 2017.

With all my talk the past few weeks about cleaning out the extra “stuff” and eliminating the clutter, on Wednesday I found out that sometimes it is ok to be a pack rat. I needed to find the wording for the installation service, and the bulletin that should have had it wasn’t on the computer in the office. I finally located it in my home office stash of papers. It wasn’t neatly typed and had never been on the computer, but I found it and was able to figure out what to do for the bulletin this week. I realize that I still need to deal with my clutter, but this incident reinforced for me that sort through is the term rather than follow the latest trends of just tossing everything out. In fact, had I not taken the time last month to sort through and organize the file box of papers where I found that old bulletin with the installation service, I would still be trying to figure out how we did it in the past.

Mostly I have been reminded of the necessity of keeping track of things that are important while cleaning out the “stuff” that no longer matters, and now might actually be of more value to someone else. It also reminded me of the verse found in Matthew 6:21 which says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Jesus gave this advice as part of his Sermon on the Mt. Just before this verse, he says that if we store up our treasure on earth it could be stolen or rot away and become useless, sort of like all the “stuff” we accumulate then store it in boxes or closets or containers where it benefits no one. I hope we are all able to take some time this month to ponder where it is we should store up our treasure.

Cactus in bloom too!!

Cactus in bloom

Kalanchoe in bloom

Kalanchoe in bloom

Not much else to say, except that I really want to find the time to do some of the sorting and cleaning yet this winter before the snow melts. I know that once the spring hits, it is all hands on deck outside getting the flower and vegetable gardens ready. In fact, I have to hold myself back, with the cold outside, I am longing to get started on planting some seeds to start tomatoes and peppers early. At least I can work with my indoor plants for now, and hope they stay this good.

Project completed

img_8928I did not take pictures as I was in progress with this project, but I have three from the completed item. I have been wanting to make this pillow for Jessica for a long time, and was glad to finally get the time. It actually only took me about half an hour to do. The easy part was that I had a pillow form to use for the stuffing and that is also what made it hard. I liked that I didn’t have to stuff it, but sewing around the form in closing it up was tough.


This t-shirt comes from the campaign to repeal the corporate farming law that was passed by the legislature. Jess was a pretty big part of that repeal and that is probably another reason she was targeted during her election this fall. I guess it is her gain not to be part of what is happening this session. By the time they get finished gutting education and higher education and anything that benefits the poor then giving tax breaks to the upper end, the state will look like … well no need to continue here. I am sure you get the picture.

The bottom was tough to sew but I finally got it closed.

The bottom was tough to sew but I finally got it closed.

Here Is another  picture of that pillow. And the best part was that she seemed to like it, hurrah! This project was a big win for me. I got rid of one t-shirt and the pillow form, so this counts on my anti clutter campaign, rah, rah!

Jan. 23, 2017: Working on the clutter

Today I finally bit the bullet and worked on some of the clutter mess. It was nothing organized and actually sort of random. I packed up all the snowmen. I did the Santa’s on Saturday and today found a piece that should go in that box, but how I have no idea. I got everything in so neatly last year even with a new addition, but this year it was a struggle. The snowmen on the other hand went back in their box with room to spare. I guess it all depends on how I see the puzzle at the time.

Desk in place

Desk in place

The real project for the day was the laundry and clearing the laundry room of the desk that has been sitting there since we moved Paulina into the dorm. Jessica had volunteered to keep the desk, but at the time, I was not able to part with it, as if, but I figured it out today. First off I had to clean out the papers that Paulina left in it, so now she has a box to sort when she comes home. Next I had to clear everything extra out of my office room. It was quite a trip getting that little library table back into my bedroom, but mission accomplished. Tomorrow sometime I will work on clearing out some boxes and refilling the drawers. It will be nice to have a few less shoe boxes setting around in the room. The idea thing will be to sort as I go through them and toss items of no value. Hurrah for that idea. I actually have a tin or two of items from when I emptied my teacher’s desk in Mobridge. It might be a good time to sort those and toss the things I really would rather forget.

Now the next step is to move the big table out of there, although I am not ready to do that until I have that last skirt cut out and sewed up. Maybe next month on that one. As I was digging and moving items today, I moved a few things around in my closet again. Not enough to really count it, but little by little I am making a start on that area. I found a few easy, quick projects that I drug out to the light of day, and hopefully I can complete one or two this week. I also have a couple of items on the burner that I have been looking forward to doing, but am unable to speak of them here because certain nosy daughters don’t need to know of them until they see them in person.

One other thing that will be leaving my house with the garbage this week is a dead kalanchoe plant. I was sad to see it when I went around the house to water everything, but somehow it must have dried up and tipped out of its pot. It was not a fantastic plant and the pot really needs to be redone a bit, so instead of putting it all back together and trying to save it, I pulled it out of the dirt and dropped it into the garbage. It felt so good to be able to let go of it. Besides, I only have about 8 more of those plants in much better condition all over the house and several ways to make more, so no loss there. What have you clearer out today???

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