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

Rollin’ up the sleeves

This morning I woke before 6 a.m. mostly because of the time schedule we had been on in Baltimore and partly because my knee was hurting so badly. I should make an appointment for today to get that hip back into place and hopefully things will smooth out. In the long run, I need to do a bit more in terms of exercising to strengthen my thigh muscles and then I won’t be hurting when I over do in the garden or with cleaning and lifting or just plan walking like we did the day we went up to see Ft. McHenry. I saw far too many people using scooters and walkers this week. I understand that some of that in not to be helped, but by golly I am going to delay my need for that as much as I possibly can. Enough on that.

Cleared off in case of storm

I also was up because I could see yesterday when we got home that there is just so much that needs doing, and we have so little time to get it all finished before either it all dries up or James is off to coaches’ convention and then to the start of football and school. At that point I will be alone in the house with the harvest and the cleaning and who knows what I will get involved with doing. I guess we need to prioritize and just get the sleeves rolled up and off to work. The big question of “where do we start?” might be easy to answer. We start where we can stand the temperature. If it is cool enough, we go to the garden. If it is tolerable we go into the shade and fix up the flower area. If it is oppressive as yesterday was, we head inside and if that is bad (I turned the thermostat to 74, it was so cold in here I have a sore throat.) we head to the basement which has needed cleaning for four years.

Coffee and make lists

Such ambition, but now out to have another cup of coffee, finish my breakfast and make a few lists. Hopefully we can cross off a few things before the end of the day. I bet if I put laundry on it I will be guaranteed of a few cross-offs. There is no wind at this time, and so I should really start right away because it is a perfect day to hang everything out. But I won’t because starting the washer will wake the others in the house and the best thing about an early morning is time to just be alone to think. Oh such a lovely day it will be. I may even start to like this early morning stuff (don’t tell the family) because it is only 7:30 a.m. and I already have 3/4 of my message for Sunday in place. I might just have a Saturday night for a change!!!

Jan. 11: Sorting clothing

I do not have any pictures of my work yesterday, you will just have to believe me. I really, really want to take my closet apart and start over, but at this point I do not have a place to put everything or the time to do it, so I am starting small and working my way up. Yesterday I went through the hanging items and took out everything that is a summer garment. At this point with anticipated wind chills of -32, I am fairly sure that I have no need for any sleeveless tops or cropped pants. They all were folded neatly and placed into a tub until summer, well except for the one that needs washing. In my next round I will sort out all the items that are old and worn and should not be seen on anyone in public. Those will go in the rag container or the drawer of t-shirts to wear in the garden whichever seems most appropriate.

The other clothing items that I dealt with were my drawers of socks and unmentionables. I now have a box of socks and a few other items to sort into what I am not sure. There were three items that went into the actual trash right from the drawers, so that was a very positive thing. I also set aside one top from my closet to the sewing pile to take a chance on repurposing it. I am hoping for positive result with it as it is a fairly unused top, but I never liked how it fit, and maybe if I try chopping it up and sewing it into something else, it might be of use, and if it doesn’t work, nothing really lost.

Finally the last area that I cleaned out was the towel area. This cupboard drives me crazy because it is way too deep. If I put my towels all the way to the back of those shelves I would never be able to reach them. It originally was a horrible closet. The carpenter who did our house showed the space to the cabinet maker, but they never discussed how to do it. The carpenter but in three shelves, but the cabinet maker made a front for it with two doors. For at least three years, I nearly lost my mind every time I tried to get something out of it. I finally took out the shelves then crawled into it and repositioned the little ledges and put in one shelf at the same level that the cabinet door opens. It still is not the best, but I now use the back of the shelf area to store some of my Christmas collections. So, the sorting included arranging a few boxes of Christmas items in the back, taking out the old worn out towels and sending them to the other bathroom for storage until I can deal with deciding to toss or cut for rags, restacking the good towels into piles of bath, hair and hand towels. I also left some storage for the extra TP so it doesn’t have to go into the area below the sink and risk getting wet if the sink leaks. Hurrah!! Now if I only had a master list, I could cross off 5 things!!

Roger by her heater vent.

Roger by her heater vent.

Sophia sleeping by the window

Sophia sleeping by the window

I do have a couple of pictures to share. In the morning before I got started Sophia and Roger were in the kitchen with me and as I was having breakfast they were taking a break. Sophia was sleeping on the blanket that Paulina left for her on the dining room table looking to the north. She is quite happy that I finally put that Advent tree away and packed up the toy trains. Roger on the other hand was sitting tight against the heater vent under the sink. It is one of her favorite places to sit. After I took that picture I noticed how dirty the floor was so I ended up sweeping the kitchen a couple of times. Yikes, embarrassing to see that in a photo. It seems that the more we bake and cook around here the worse it gets. So, what have you sorted lately??

Jan. 9 Working on the clutter/organizing

It feels like I did nothing today, and yet I picked songs for Sunday and organized my brain which took the major part of the day. Ha! What I really did was fill in my calendar in terms of when I have to lead the worship at the Health Care Center and write the articles for the local newspaper this year. I also sorted through my binder of what needs to be completed this year. That was the organizing my brain part.

Messy counter

Messy counter

Clean counter

Clean counter

What I accomplished that you can see is cleaning off the kitchen counter, sorting and organizing the empty jars and removing several items from the freezer so that the pizza order fits in. We made it with that just barely. I had to drag three of the larger ones into the freezer above the fridge. I guess I know what we will be eating this week. Not really, pizza is usually set aside for Friday nights.

Tonight is a clean out the fridge sort of night with some hamburgers and hash browns made from the potatoes we boiled up on Thursday night when Paulina was here. So the cleaned off counter is sort of a joke. I still have to sort through those onions and probably slice them up for dehydrating tomorrow. I will be sure to put on some really sad music since the aroma with have my eyes in tears anyway. I put the other items where they belonged and the biggest issue was I finally fit those blue mugs into the cupboard. Hurrah. I love using them, but I just always overlook them where they are. They were a gift from my sister-in-law a few years ago. Notice the two trays hanging up on the wall. It is my version of no backsplash. I know that my cupboards are not considered real modern, but this house was built in 1917 and the intent when we took it was more of a semi-restore than a full out remodel. White cupboards and marble countertops were not really the fad in those days. Everything was wood on wood and that is where we are.

That propane tank was cleared off a bit on Friday, now look at it.

That propane tank was cleared off a bit on Friday, now look at it.

Well enough for now really. What have you decluttered today? What have you organized?? I am still thinking that the bathroom upstairs is calling my name. I am thinking that might happen tonight. Last night I went through the church email via the webmail and got it from over 500 to a little more than 250. If I throw out what I sent, I should have it wiped out. Hurrah!! Digital clutter counts as clutter, no need to keep what you won’t ever use. Enough and stay warm, we had more snow this morning, just glad it quite by afternoon. Hope the storms mentioned for early this week do not develop.

Dec. 31: Happy New Year

View of the church with the ice from the road.

View of the ice at church. James heading to the side door.

The pond touching the street. After the city maintenance person put sand on, it started to thaw, great now when you step on it, you sink down in 4 inches of water.

The pond .

Side door is on the right and the elevator is on the left, don't think we are going in this way.

Left is elevator door, right is the side-door.

No church again tomorrow. It is getting a bit old in that department, but there is not much we can do about it. There is an actual skating pond on the concrete leading to the church. After the city maintenance person put sand on, it started to thaw, great now when you step on it, you sink down in 4 inches of water.  Yesterday James and I went to check it out and try our hand (his mostly) at getting it open, but we only opened a small circle and that was in the middle of it all with no access to it unless you were willing to chance skating to it. We have a very elderly congregation and even if one of the youngest among us goes down, it won’t be a good thing. Paulina is our very youngest member, and I sure don’t want her falling and messing up her chances at throwing this January.

The bricks beside the steps were all covered with an inch of ice not just on top, but along the sides, like they had been wrapped in ice. The carpet going up the steps had an inch or two of ice on them. I wouldn’t let James chop on them or put de-icer on in case it would damage the carpet. The door at the top of the steps was frozen shut. Several people found the doors to their machine sheds frozen to the concrete and one man told me he chopped for 45 minutes to get his pay-loader out of the shed to clear the yard. Another woman said her husband is having trouble moving any snow because it is all frozen solid. With cold air forecast for the coming week, things don’t look hopeful. One woman said May until we thaw, the other thought July. HAHA!!

So, another Sunday off and hopefully we can spend some time this week working on opening up the walk ways for the following Sunday. I am starting to think that I am really behind in terms of knowing what I am doing anymore.

Puzzle of Capitol in D.C.

Puzzle of Capitol in D.C.

After spending a good part of the early afternoon on the phone discussing and making and calling to let others know, the rest of today was a bit of a wash. I wrote out one long over due Christmas card and worked on the puzzle a little. We really just need to take that apart and put it away. I don’t see us getting it finished too easily and it is really taking up time that could be spent in a better way.

Calendars to write on the birthdays and anniversaries for the family

Calendars to write on the birthdays and anniversaries for the family

In terms of clean out or organizing, I sorted all the Christmas letters and tossed what we will not be keeping, and I took all the envelopes and updated the address book, then I was able to toss those too. Next project is the family calendars. I didn’t buy any this year. I picked them up at the bank and James got two where we have our oil changed. I think one of my resolutions this year will be to keep track of those sort of things in terms of how much did we save by doing that. I also intend to keep track of the garden that way. What do I spend and what do I save.

If I keep track of all the spending I do on potting soil, seeds and fertilizers and such then note the price in the grocery store at the time of picking and canning, I will know what the spending or saving is to have home-grown or home-canned verses store bought. It might make the blog posts more interesting, and should help me see the reason for doing it besides just knowing where and how my food was grown.

I also want to do that with the items that I knit, sew, crochet or any of the other things we make. It sure would be nice to finish off a few items and get them out of here. I was able to use my stash of dish cloths this year at Christmas. We gave each of James’ siblings (family gifts only) one of those cloths and a little half-pint of pepper jelly. I made those a couple of years ago and they didn’t gel like I wanted, so this year we took 11 jars dumped them into the kettle and reboiled them and added new pectin, and they turned out great. Spread on top of cream cheese on a cracker and they were great. It was a big hit at the big family Christmas gathering. I have enough left in the basement to do another batch. I should also do that with some of the plum juice that is there, we are almost out of plum jelly and that would be good to have the next trip out to see Jaxon.

Well that is all for now. I have included a few pictures of the front of the church so you can see the ice we are dealing with in our area. It is no wonder the power lines sagged and the poles snapped off. The ice on the metal hand railing at church was so thick that James had to use a hammer to knock it off. Just so you get what it is like around here, James had a phone call today from his good friend who is the janitor of the new school in Lincoln, ND. Arlan finally finished clearing off all the snow so they can get into the building on Tuesday, and there is snow predicted for Sunday night. Happy Holidays! The joke seems to be on us this year.

To all of you….HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

De-cluttering and Organizing cupboards

So this is likely a really boring post, but I am so excited that I finally got to work that I just have to share. Tonight, after supper actually, I couldn’t deal with it anymore and I took everything off the two shelves above my spice shelf. I had moved the cookbooks out of a cupboard above the stove a few months ago and put them in a bookshelf (amazing concept for putting books), but the shelf was away from the kitchen and on the floor, and I haven’t really used any of them since. Paulina says it is because I don’t cook or bake anymore, but she is just not right. Anywho… I cleared out the middle shelf in the cupboard above the counter where I do all my work, and viola…I think I have a winner, you see below.

Cookbooks on the shelf.

Cookbooks on the shelf.

View two shows that the plastic cookbook holder even fits in.

View two shows that the plastic cookbook holder even fits in.

The top shelf ended up with the flavors and food colors and tea and such. I removed all of the water pitchers that had been stored up there and put them into the lazy Susan that is on the lower cupboard. In order to do that, I had to take all of the home canned items back to the basement. I almost felt like that Bert and Ernie story where Ernie moves all sorts of things around in order to accommodate the fish, at least that is how I remember it. The whole things goes on and on with Bert asking where things were and Ernie keeps saying, “I’ll show you Bert.” I loved reading that with the voices to my oldest daughters. I was always annoyed with how they had everything out of place. I am thinking that the moving of things today will take a little getting used to, but the best part is that the pie plates and casserole dishes that were stacked on top of the cupboards are now inside a cupboard and the clutter up there is starting to come down. Now if I can just convince myself to throw away those plastic containers that are up there it might really look ok. Happy de-cluttering to you!!

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