De-cluttering My Way

I am so excited about the work I finally did last week in my bedroom/craft room and in my office. It happened because Jessica was coming home with the twins for a weekend, and we were not really sure where to put them. OK, so that is not really true. We had planned to put them in my room because it is the largest, but I had it so messy that it was actually hard for me to function there. And if you need to see any proof of all that scroll back to October 17, 2017 to the post titled: Declaring War on Clutter, sort of!

So, everything is put into a can or a box or a tote, and they are even labeled so that I know where to find things without opening up everything. I fixed, as in sewed the stack of items without buttons or torn and returned them to the drawers and closets where they belonged. That was a good feeling. I have also been working on my Works in Progress items in the crochet department. Hopefully I will get to the sewing on the “to do” list by Monday or Tuesday. I even threw away the scraps of yarn that were too small to use for anything. In the past I saved them and set them out for the birds to use in their nests, but they never took them, so into the landfill they go.

So, the cleaning was thought up because of the pending visit, but it was not the actual trigger of my de-cluttering frenzy, which is still going on, Hurrah!!!

Baptism display

What actually happened is that I thought I was scheduled to sub on Thursday and Friday of last week. I got up on Thursday morning, got dressed and ready, and went along with James to school only to see the lady I was covering for in the building. I had the right day but the wrong week; I am subbing today. Instead of being super upset, I took it as the gift of a free day to do whatever I wanted to do. I went home, went to my office and began to sort. I sorted books into a spot in the bookshelf. I put items into the file cabinet and the desk drawers where they should have been in the first place. I sorted so much that I even put up the pictures of the twins’ baptism and Ana’s baptism on the top of the bookshelf. Those are the three children that I have baptized since beginning in ministry…well since ever. Duh!


I also cleared off all the items from the top of the computer desk and put up my display of Christmas angels. At first I was wondering why I put them there, and then it hit me that what better inspiration to write my messages than a bunch of angels. These angels have either been gifts from family or friends for Christmas or were things that I picked up at auction sales in $1. boxes. I think that the only one I bought for myself is the one on the far right in the back. Both the blue one and the green one belong to a daughter and the two little reindeer don’t really fit the theme, but they match in color and are staying with the angels rather than moving them to the Santa display.

The plant stand in my office.

Mostly I sorted and tossed little sticky notes of paper and sheets of things that were no longer relevant. I also found an empty shoe box and filled it with the Christmas, birthday and cards of congratulations from my installation. That was set aside to make myself a scrap-book later. I was really happy to fill the garbage so full. I got so excited that I even cleared out a stack of old magazines and reduced that by nearly half. I also found a pile of old manuals for nearly every appliance around. We even found the one for the washer and dryer that we had to toss this summer. They were given to us by James’ parents on our wedding. I wish they were still with us. That set worked far better than what I have now. Oh well… So, this is all for now. All I know is that I am happy about what I was able to clear out, and that I only tossed out the items that really had no further value for me. I refuse to toss just to toss, but it is time to go. Hope you are having a great day!!

Frosty morning…

This is what I could see from my upper porch this morning. I tried to capture it better than this picture does, but the sun was so bright it was hard to know what I was getting until I up loaded. I should have spent my time cleaning the bathroom or taking the dead leaves off the plants that we brought into the house from outside this summer. I am just so tired of dragging those plants in and out and trying so hard to keep them alive. I don’t know that I will have all those plants next summer and I don’t think that I will be keeping any in the house anymore other than a select few. I am about to toss all of the geraniums because they look terrible and it just seems to bring plant lice into the house, and actually, I have had enough. I think that maybe I have outgrown my indoor plant days. Oh, yes I will keep the aloe-vera and the kalanchoes that seem to multiply like guppies around here, but other than the snake plants and a few others, the rest are out the door within the next day or two. I am really just so over house plants.

I might be over some other things too. I am tired of piles of things that serve no purpose. I will give you an update on what gets tossed later this week. I can report that yesterday after I returned home from the shopping trip I went on after my Aunt Glenda was finished at the dentist, I did some tossing in the pantry. There was a jar of syrup that is used to make candy, like the old stuff from what we used to use on our pancakes when we were kids. I think I moved it with us when we came from Jamestown in 1999, I am not kidding either. That went out. There was also some unused bags of this and that from years ago. I decided if we had not eaten it in a year, out is was going. I might be throwing a few more of those items out later today.

My next room is going to be this office that I work in. I was in here most of the day, and I am about sick of seeing things piled on the ground while there are empty shelves I cannot reach because of the junk in the way. I have a plant stand that is getting filled before the night is over with some of the plants that get to stay. Then the books that were arranged on it once upon a time are being put back in order. I will also toss all the pencils and pens that no longer work and will go down to only two pencil holders here. Next are the pads of paper, they are going in a container to be pulled out one at a time for actual use not just stacking up.

I have been slowly putting up the holiday decorations and I am getting a little weary about all the crap I have to deal with first in order to find a place to set out what I would like to put on display. Today was my only day this week to get anything done in the house and I spent the entire day working on the songs from now until the end of Christmas. At least I am nearly finished with that business. I have two Sundays left to choose and one is going to be the service of Lessons and Carols, so that will be interesting. We are holding that on Christmas Eve day which is a Sunday this year. So, no extra service to plan, which is actually sort of sad. I may have to make up for it by doing something fun the following Sunday, since it is New Year’s Eve Day, or maybe just more fun stuff during the Lenten Services. Not sure yet. Anyway, thanks for listening to me crab about the loss of a day, well sort of. I can still get a few things finished. Mostly I was not feeling the best, so that always slows down the progress of the day. Teach me to order something different when I eat out. I guess my digestive system is getting old and mostly boring. Here is to hoping you are having a good day. Also prayers and thoughts with those who have lost loved ones in Texas.

Work not on the list

Cabinet and open area where washer was.

Left over carpet as the counter top.

Today I need to get my message ready for tomorrow, but I am not ready to sit down to all of that, so in the meantime, it was off to work in another corner of the house. So after a little consultation we decided to take a stab at the garage in the northeast corner and deal with the counter top and the area where the garden items are. Mostly the picture to the left shows the east wall of the garage. The space where the washer was in now filled with boxes that hopefully we can fill and send out of the house as the summer goes along. The cabinet has no counter on this picture. We cleared it them took off the board that acts as the counter top so James could sort through the drawers without a hindrance. We also took off the cloth that we cover it with and washed it. Instead of putting the cloth back, we decided to try a carpet remnant that has been rolled up in a corner for a couple of years. Now to buy some staples to hold it in place. As we were working on it, we did a few other things that I am hoping to post soon, but have to wait for the sun to set to get the last picture in the project.

Washer on the pick up

Bye-bye old Maytag!!

The issue for today was to remove some items that are no longer of any use and to open up a little space in the area. We also wanted to clear the counter so that we can use it to do things rather than have to work on the little yellow cart or the freezer. It seems that every counter in the house or garage is so full of junk that we can’t ever work on it. The biggest deal of the day was my agreement to toss out the old Maytag washer. It was a gift from Albertus and MaryAnn (James’ parents) for our wedding which was 35 years ago this August. It worked up until last spring. When we tried to have it repaired we were told the drum was out and because it was so old there was no way to get parts for it. Quite sad.

Rearranged inside the porch

Blinds are down. Flag shows no wind today.

I also rearranged and sorted out my planting pots. By the time I was finished I decided to repot a few plants and moved some larger and some smaller and ended up opening up one of my big coffee cups so it could house a spider plant. Next James found one of our shades in the big shop. Somehow it was taken down last year because he thought it was broken. We made a few adjustments to how it was arranged, and yes it was partially broken, but we repaired it and hung it then expanded both it and the one beside to block some of the west sun. Sure makes the porch cooler and in turn the living room. Nice. So none of this was on the list from this week, but it was on the “all-time clean-out everything” list, and this was a nice start. My goal for the rest of the summer and fall is to toss out at least one bag, hopefully two and repurpose at least one other bag of something each day. I would say with the half a bag of garbage in the container and the removal of the washer we hit the garbage goal today. By rearranging and restacking the plant pots, I am hoping I can count another bag of repurposing. Now for a shower and get to that message for the morning. I am pretty sure there won’t be a power point this week, but maybe by the week after Father’s Day.

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.

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???

Jan. 6. Third item revealed and dividing an aloe vera

Scooby doo burp rags!!

Scooby doo burp rags!!

So yesterday I wrote about making three items, then stopped short of telling you the third one. Today I am able to tell you what the third item is because it has been delivered. Item three is a set of 4 burp cloths. They don’t really look like a set, and I did a horrible job of setting them up to take a picture of them, but they are off to the left. The picture shows two with print side up and two with the burp puke on me side up. I used some material left over from making a shirt I made for Victoria when she was a CNA. Little did I know that the neck line wasn’t right for her, and I ended up donating it to a thrift store. I sure had fun sewing up that top. My big thing was doing the pockets. They were matched up so well you couldn’t tell they were there. Anyway, I did some research on what material is the best at absorbing liquid and I came up with a flour sack dish towel. I had James pick up a couple of new ones at the drug store before he came home from school. I used less than half of one on this project.

Samples of notches

Samples of notches

As I mentioned yesterday, this is a simple matter of having two pieces of material that are the same size with the right sides facing and sew around three sides and part of the fourth. Trim the corners with a V notch, turn and press or press and turn then top stitch the edge that was open in order to turn it. This is basic common sense and beginning to end it took me less than an hour. The hardest part was squaring up the scraps of print material.

The plant I took apart was the one in the background.

The plant I took apart was the one in the background.

Gift for Marva

Gift for Marva. I tied it up to brace it for a bit.

One other item that I want to show off is the aloe vera plant that I repotted and took off the new little ones and repotted them. I was after a gift for my church secretary. She had picked up one of the little aloe plants that I took to church a couple of years ago, but it ended up dying. I always give away plants with the idea that they have a life-time guarantee. So here is her replacement plant. I took the main plant and put it in a rather large pot, but because these aloe vera plants are so large and top heavy, I realized that it needed to be braced up.

The large plant repotted and baby plants given a new home.

The large plant repotted and baby plants given a new home.

I had just been in the cupboard filled with old flower pots and ribbons and such, and had seem a bag of small dowels. I used them around the plant to hold it in place. I also took one of the long plastic sticks that holds the card in a bouquet, and used it to brace up the plant for Marva. I also found a cute decoration that is a silver wire that curves around the plant perfectly. I also tied them up loosely to give the plant some support until it gets settled in the pot and takes root. As much as I want to get rid of the clutter, I just can’t toss things when I can find a use for them as I did in this project. I think more than tossing, I need to do some sorting and reorganizing so that I am better able to find things when I am looking for them. Well, hope you have enjoyed these little projects. I love to give things I have made myself or something that I have. Making all three of the projects that I wrote of yesterday and today, were really fun to put together and to sew. I also am very happy when I have a plant that is good enough to share. If anyone knows me they understand that when I give you one of my plants it is like giving a part of me, so you know it is special.

Leaving Linton

Leaving Linton

Well that is all for today, catch us tomorrow and hopefully there will be something exciting, though I am not sure that I will really have anything. We are currently in Jamestown. We drove here today to help Paulina move onto campus at University of Jamestown. We are one day too early to get in on a couple of basketball games. Rats!!! We will try to get home in the light tomorrow. The roads coming on US 83 were not the best, though I 94 was just fine getting into Jamestown. OK. enough!

Advent: Dec. 17 Cold, cats and iPad games

Roger checking out Gummy Drop

Roger checking out Gummy Drop

I woke this morning about 4 a.m., why I am not sure, maybe because my hand was cold from sticking out of the covers or maybe it was that I needed a bathroom break, not sure. Actually Roger was part of the blame. She was nagging to get into the bathroom and eat. I have to keep her food there so Sophia doesn’t get into it because of her thyroid issues. I finally turned off the television and decided it was a good idea to tuck back into bed, but only after a little time with Gummy Drop on the iPad. Roger usually snuggles in with me and often likes to watch the movement on the iPad while I am playing games or reading news stories. I fell back asleep and finally got up at 7:30 a.m. CST. James was still in bed amazingly. I can’t believe he wasn’t already running around asking what the plans were for the day.

It was pretty cold in the house and obviously much worse outside. I believe it was about -4 degrees F. Now at 1:30 p.m. it is -9 and going down. By evening it will be sub -20 and dropping. The wind chill should not be much of a factor outside of our door at the time because the sun is shinning and it looks like an absolutely beautiful day. James did go downstairs to the furnace to see why it wasn’t kicking in as often as we thought it should. While there he changed the filter just to be sure it was clean. I suspect it is because we have the little village all crowded around the thermostat and so the temperature doesn’t really register as cold on the thermostat as it is in the rest of the house.

Later this morning, I ventured out to the garage to dig in the freezer for some items to cook. Our garage  is actually part of the house since our master bedroom is over the top of it. While out there  I nearly ended up with frost bite on my fingers. Next trip out there this weekend will be with gloves and a coat. I managed to pull a bag of frozen zucchini and some ham into the house. We had ham and cheese sandwiches with some chicken and rice soup from a can.

I browned up a container of stew meat and we will have stew with dumplings for supper. I found a recipe in my Taste of Home cookbook for some baking powder dumplings, and I actually can’t wait to get going on making that when I am finished here. I think I will only put carrots in with the meat and boil the potatoes up for a kettle of mashed to go with the stew. We never have anything fun to eat, so being home all day and not having to prepare a message for tomorrow, I could take some time to do some cooking and baking. I plan to use up the last of the apples that were in the fridge to make some apple dumplings, but I won’t make those with a full apple as it called for in the recipe. I plan to cut them up a bit and make smaller portions.

Aloe Vera that needs the little ones taken out.

Aloe Vera that needs the little ones taken out.

I did get a couple of loads of clothes washed and watered all the indoor plants. I want to take the new shoots off this aloe vera in the very near future because I am planning to use at least one as a gift. I also have a few items to wrap from our trip on Thursday night. This year James and I decided not to try to guess what the other one wanted. We each picked out our own items, things we needed to get anyway like new jeans and a couple of shirts for him and a pair of winter pj’s for me. I also picked up a Christmas CD. We will put them in Christmas bags that we are reusing, then when we open gifts we will have something from each other. HAHA.

Well, I am off, phone just rang, we have a funeral in church on the 23rd. A woman who reached the great age of 102 has passed on to eternal rest. Seems just when I am about to wonder about the reality of it all, I am reminded of what our life is really about. God’s Blessings to all of you and yours, and stay warm!! That is an order.

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