De-clutter advice

I hope you all see this post for what it is worth without being offended. I have been putting out a few posts here and there about de-cluttering and getting organized in my house. I have also spent lots of time on some “sites” to see what others have to say about clutter and how to eliminate it, and they mostly include list after list of what to eliminate. May I just say that people who keep most of the items on those lists are not looking to eliminate clutter because if they keep those items they don’t really have a clutter problem, they have a hoarding problem and that is a completely different issue. There I have put out my feelings on this and so after one little explanation, I will give you my list.

Here is the thing, I keep things mostly because I am anti-filling up the land fills. I want things to be thrown away only when they have completely reached the end of the road of use. I am all about repurposing items and recycling. I just wish that it was financially possible for us to have a recycling drop off in our area. Because we are such a small population it is more costly to collect and transport items to a center than it is to purchase more land for a land-fill, and in our are that means taking land out of agricultural production, which means less area to grow food, so you figure out what that really means.

Styrofoam

I have come to the conclusion the only real way to de-clutter is not to buy it in the first place, which is a bad idea for the economy and capitalism, but that is a completely different post. Now with that as background material, here is my “list” of what to please leave off any future lists of 25, 50, 60 80, 100 things to throw away to get rid of clutter. I already know to toss these items and I don’t want to be insulted because I see them on your list. So here is my list of 10.

 

  1. The banana peels from breakfast. (compost pile–then on the garden)
  2. Empty juice containers (recycle)
  3. Cardboard boxes (ok so I do need to break mine down and recycle them)
  4. Broken dishes (like really do you put that on there–of course I have been saving some to break up for a mosaic table top, but those are old ceramic pieces)
  5. Styrofoam insides of flower arrangements (Yes, I forgot where I put them, they are in the garbage now)
  6. Used gift wrap (I swear I threw it away this summer)
  7. Plastic bags from stores (I reuse them for small garbage bags, and I promise to take back the rest and recycle them in the future)
  8. Old food in the fridge or pantry (our rule has always been when it smells or the mold covers the entire top, it goes out, and not to the stray cats either because here we just end up with skunks and raccoons in the yard.)
  9. Toilet paper rolls (I confess there was a time when I used them as candle molds, or fire starters in the fire pit, but currently they are straight in the garbage, they are cardboard and will break down at some point–I need to find the company that figured out how to make the rolls without the tube.)
  10. And finally, last but not least or best is the: Dried up pens. (I have a theory that pens and pencils multiply when we leave the room, and though I don’t ever toss one that is still functional, I am quick to eliminate the dried up ones.)

Hopefully this has come off in the way I intended. Perhaps I will work on a serious list of what I keep to recycle and repurpose and what we actually do with those items. Earlier this year, we filled our van and drove to the place where Jessica lives and dropped the items at the recycling center there. It was a good feeling to know that what we were removing from our space was going to be remade into something useful and not just dumped into a landfill. Mostly I am hoping manufacturers begin to figure out ways to reduce the amount of garbage that comes with each product. I know that a good part of our packaging is there as a safety factor, but we need more of a happy medium at this time.

What do you do to help out the environment???

Rain clouds

Clouds to the south over the trees.

Looking north

I took these pictures a few days ago, but the sky isn’t much different tonight. I went to check the garden (found a cucumber) and James went to dump the kitchen compost container, and we both barely made it into the house before the rain began to smatter against the windows. It was not much rain this evening, but enough to keep the pool closed. Paulina will not be getting much of a final check at this rate. Either no children come, or the weather sets in and they have to leave after an hour or two this whole week. It sounds like next week will pretty much be the end because the other guards are leaving to return to school, and they really have not had anyone there. It was plenty hot and busy in June, so I guess that is just how this summer is going.

It is good that we are getting this rain now, at least some of the crops will be salvaged, and perhaps there will be a little moisture going into the ground for hope of something better next spring. James talked to his brothers and it sounds like the row crops will be a little less than a great crop, but at least it is better than if the heat would have continues. Also, I am hopeful that this means the pastures will be ok. Half of what we own is pasture land, and I am always concerned for how that holds up.

James and I were in Bismarck today to pick up my aunt from the airport as she came back from Phoenix. She had been there since the middle of July or so. It was just a little less than a month, and I think time for her to get home. Ha!! I don’t know how many times this past week, I wanted to pick up the phone and ask her to come over for coffee or just sit on the porch, and then I remembered she wasn’t here yet.

One of the best things about the trip to Bismarck was that we really didn’t have much time to shop, so it was plan what we needed and get to it. I liked the idea because not buying is my new best way to eliminate clutter. We did purchase a few needed items, and then we browsed the canning area where I picked up some lids and both powdered and liquid pectin for making jelly. I need to get at those choke cherries tomorrow afternoon, no excuses. I also bought a larger embroidery hoop to do those towels that I stamped yesterday. I put a new bulb in the light beside my rocking chair, now I have no excuse for not doing those towels as I watch television at night. Hmmmm.

I learned that I won’t need to start my long-term substitute job on the first day of school because they are going to have the students stay with the regular classroom teachers on the first week until they get the schedules all in place. I will be starting on the last Monday in August and stay until the teacher is back. Ya!! I enjoy that room and am looking forward to being there. I know most of the students and the other teachers, and it is one of those really small schools that just feels like home.

Well, enough for tonight. I am supposed to be finishing my message, and I just can’t get to it even though I pretty well know what I want to say. These are the times, I would love to use note cards and a few key words and just talk. I am always afraid to do that because I might never get to the point and end it. I already carry on too long for some people in the audience (mostly family, Ha ha!!). Catch you later.

De-Clutter: One project done

Finally I can report on a project finished. I, apparently, work better on a deadline. Tomorrow is a baby shower for a girl who grew up across the street from us. I made one of my signature flannel blankets and I think it turned out pretty well. There were some issues with the bobbin and the tension on the first side, but after I had it adjusted correctly everything went pretty well. The biggest thing with this “pattern” is to be sure to press the seams. Basically you purchase to swatches of flannel. I used to get 1 yard of each usually a pattern and a matching solid. This time I took 1 and 1/4 yards because that makes the blanket more of a square. Also I was not happy with the solid colors that would match and chose a polka dot for the backside. I am really pleased with the result. I think that I will use polka dots or strips in the future rather than solid.

So, why did I put this under the title of de-clutter? Yesterday I spent the better part of the day trying to organize on paper this mess in my room. I finally came to the conclusion that this stuff is not leaving because I am not willing to let go of it in its present state. In other words, I am not willing to throw out my yard or my material or any of the other things that I have piled up. But, on the other hand, if I can turn them into something useful then I can let them go. So, this material is now a baby blanket and well, maybe I will get started on a few other things. I did drag out the stencils this morning when the iron was hot and stamped a couple of dish towels to embroider. That puts about five in the bag and three more to stamp. I need to put a deadline on them and maybe I can get them out of here too. Eventually I will have this place cleaned out.

Let’s see, perhaps a goal of reducing the piles by 10 percent each month might be a reasonable goal. I read a pin this past week that makes the most sense of any clutter free/organizing post I have ever seen. It wasn’t so much about how to throw things out as it was about not bringing more clutter into the mix. I think that is where I need to start. Nothing new until 10 things have been removed. So, the baby blanket you see on top of this post is item 1. Now I only have 9 more to go. Now if I can follow that rule for my craft items, I better do the same for my house plants. I really want to reduce those for this winter. Hmmm what about the canned items?

The getting organized bug

Now that the big sale is over, and we have taken two of the left over boxes out of the house, I have the “bug” to start digging out more and more, but I am not really willing to live in the midst of junk like we had to last week when we were setting up for the sale. I would like to do the rest of the clearing away in a more methodical and organized way. I stopped in at an antique store in Eureka today and mentioned that I have the old wedding dress of a former resident and I would be willing to give it to them if they would take it. The owner said she would take it and check if the museum would like it and if not they would be happy to have it in their store. One more item gone. Now where to start with the rest. I think the first thing I need to do is begin with an itinerary and a list and mostly a deadline. And, I need to just keep picking at it.

Stack of projects in progress

One exciting issue is that James and I have decided to turn the small back bedroom into my sewing/crafting room. We actually discussed taking out the wall between that room and the office, but neither one of us has carried the sledge-hammer up the steps yet. On the other hand, we have agreed that it won’t happen until there is a replacement bedroom in the basement area, so it will probably be about a year before I get that room. My real motivation for switching out that room is so that no one ever has to sleep on those old beds ever again. I found out the hard way this week that they are terrible. They have served their purpose, but really need to go.

Bag of Vic’s material

In the meantime, I will need to do a little better job of organizing the space in my bedroom to house the stuff I have. Actually I am starting to see the best idea would be to get started at completing a few of the projects and moving them on, as in out of the house. The other thing that I need to stop doing is allowing new items in. Since I still have Victoria’s sewing machine, she decided it would be a good idea to bring me her material for me to use in the projects she had planned. Like I need anymore ideas. Perhaps the best place to start would be a totally complete list of everything here. Yikes, that alone could take two months to complete.

Perhaps my plans for tomorrow after laundry, dishes, start the Sunday message and weed in the garden will be an inventory of material and items in progress. Right after that I will map out a plan for world peace because if I can get that list finished, I should be able to accomplish anything.

Sorting, washing, organizing…

We spent today sorting many of the boxes that we dug out of the closet and up from the basement. We also dug out more boxes from almost every corner of the house. Sadly we didn’t completely clean any of those corners. I keep hoping for some time yet this summer and into the fall. At least the closet looks better, and it feels so much bigger. James and I sort of agree that it is because of all those craft boxes that have been removed, and also because of the new shoe shelf, which allowed for us to toss out that ugly broken shoe stand. Yipee, it was nothing by a pain that I tripped over and it scratched up the floor.

Sweatshirts drying on the line.

So, the bedroom looked pretty cluttered yet last night. We drug most of the boxes of clothes downstairs, and I am about 3/4 of the way through washing everything. Most of it will end up on the rummage sale. I have picked a few things to put away for another day, about four items to keep, and an arm load of old t-shirt material items to add to the stack slated to be cut into t-shirt yarn for to crochet rugs. I also have a pile of jeans to be cut into quilt squares. Like I said, I am hoping to get to some of these projects this fall. If I have to do it in the evenings, I am thinking that I will need to invest in a decent light.

The best part of it all is that I was able to find homes for the sheets in the towel closets in the two bathrooms upstairs. We also fit the boxes of pictures into the computer room for now, and James went through a box of old pay stubs and bills, and was able to toss everything except one envelope of information about the concrete in front of our house. He put that in with files of other house upgrades. I also threw away some boxes, but still need to figure out how to let go of those balloons. I mean really, I think I have every myelin balloon that was ever given to anyone in this family. In 35 years, that is a lot of balloons.

Our real goal this summer was to get the basement emptied of some of the junk there, so we can actually use it as livable space. As it was we took about five boxes up stairs from there. Paulina went through her suitcase of Bratz dolls and a couple of other containers and organized things better. I think there was even some garbage generated in the sorting. In going through containers, she found some of the pieces for certain of her dolls, so they can now be stored away for when she ever has her own place.

Workbench that may become a plant holder, or a seat, not sure yet.

She has identified a few of the old pieces of furniture that she is willing to take to college. She and her friend, Katie, will be living in a campus apartment this year, and so they have room and need for more than just their clothes. They won’t need a fridge, but I can send some dishes and baking supplies, which should help clear out some of the kitchen areas, too. Yaaaa!!! All these things go with the idea that they are not to come back. Haha, as if that idea has worked well in the past. I also identified a few pieces that I would like to see removed from the house and not brought back inside. One of them ended up on the porch for now, not sure if it is going up for sale in the near future, or just staying outside.

Plant mess

Last evening as we were working in the house there was a short rainstorm outside. When the wind came up, we just ignored it, which is not something we ever do. When I went downstairs to put a box on the dining room table, I peeked out to the porch from the living room and found a slight disaster. The plants that had been sitting on the ledge and the little table were on the floor and some of them were completely out of their pots. I did the best I could to stand them up and put them back together, but I am afraid the little aloe vera plants will not survive.

Tent is doing well!

After my fiasco with the plants,  I was soaked and needed to change. By that time James realized the wind had picked up, and he ran out to see if the tent needed to be taken down, then he was soaked. He had put it up in the morning to see if it was still usable. We have had that thing since 1992 when we were chaperons for the Senior Class trip that was a canoe/camping trip in Minnesota. That was the only time we ever went camping away from home. The only other times we used that tent was with track meets. It was along at the 1997 State Meet in Minot and Jessica, Victoria, Paulina and Sarah Wiley stayed in there through the whole meet. We were really afraid that Paulina would try to get out and run around (she was only 2) but they must have had enough toys along to keep themselves occupied. It was great.

Well, James decided not to chance taking it down during the storm thinking it would do more harm than good. This morning when he went out to check on it, there were only a few damp spots in it. Apparently all the years packed away in the basement have not done it any harm. Hope the kids have fun playing in it this weekend. James is thinking that Jaxon might enjoy camping out with grandpa on Friday night. We shall see how long that lasts. I wonder how high they would jump if someone snuck outside and tried to scare them????

 

Sorting, organizing and even tossing

Old wrapping paper.

Oh my oh my it really happened. I cannot believe it, but I finally let go of THE most ridiculous thing that I have holding onto forever. I had this box of gift wrapping that I saved from the baby shower held for me and Victoria when I taught in Jud. I have moved this and stored this and saved this for… lets just say Vic is nearly 30. I was always going to cut a wee piece from each one and put them into her baby book, or a scrap-book. It never happened and I even did a picture book for her and Jessica during a snow storm one winter. Let’s just say after three days of no school you have to accomplish something.

I always blame the results of how they destroyed those books while in high school for a history project on why I no longer do anything about organizing pictures or dealing with my clutter. That business devastated me. I had worked so hard on those books and for me they told a unique story of my children, and then for some stupid project they were destroyed and most of the pictures never did come back, but I can’t even talk about it in detail because of how it upsets me, so I don’t know how it snuck in here.

Also funny, but the computer has been jumping the text around and I have not been able to type some of the things that I wanted to say. Must be some powers watching out for me, so I don’t put things onto social media that should not be said. There should be a filter on all of these sites that pop up and ask the author if they are sure they want to post certain things and they should have to double and triple click yes before it is actually uploaded. Anyway, that is just my opinion.

His side, the new section

My side

So I wrote that yesterday and was interrupted by a bout of who knows what. I still think it was a psychosomatic disorder related to clearing out clutter. Today James and I actually got to tackle that closet of ours. We drug everything out of the south side, took off the shelves and redid it to put in a hanging area for his clothes. I have pictures to show the after. The before is not something that anyone should see, except the other picture that I have is what my room looks like with everything piled on the table while we worked on the closet. After a few rounds of vacuuming and some dusting and swiffering, we began to put things back. We also threw out the shoe holder that was scratching the floor and even a few of the shoes on it.

The junk from the closet.

I have several items set aside for each of the daughters, and an entire table full of things in the dinning room set for the sale on Saturday. Hopefully I can get the rest of it sorted and ready in the next two days while still getting the house ready for them to show up here. It is amazing some of the things we found, as in James found a fancy towel and a blanket that he must have been given when the football team made it to state like 10 years ago. I think we need to start using what we have. If the girls have to sort all of this junk they will throw it all away. Oh, yes my biggest pile of sale items will be old Herreid sweatshirts that are in mint condition. Hope they sell! Well, that is all for now. Catch you all after a bit more

Garden helper

Last week when I was working in the garden, I soon found I was not alone. When I looked at the tomato plants, I found a guard cat watching me. Roger often stands guard in the area where I am working both inside and out. I sometimes wonder if she thinks she is a dog. Haha!

I had started a longer post today about cleaning out some of my closet and sorting through boxes from the basement, but early this afternoon I had to back off and am currently sitting up in bed trying to rest until whatever hit me goes away. I am blaming my ears, but am not real sure what this is. James made an observation that Tuesday’s are not my best days especially when I do lots of laundry on Mondays and hang most of it on the line. I think it started yesterday already as I kept feeling like I was walking sideways. I just know that I don’t want to think about going out in the heat,but now I am under the covers because I am cold. Maybe it is a psychosomatic reaction to sorting and throwing away stuff saved forever. Enough said, just wanted to share this picture of my guard cat, Roger. Hope you are having a great Tuesday.

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