Declaring war on clutter, sort of!

The view from my bed of the east side of the room.

Looking at the southwest corner from the sewing machine

I am a little hesitant to add the pictures that go with this particular post. Frankly I am embarrassed at the way certain rooms in my house look. I have always said our house is for living, not for show, but I am not so sure that I have not slipped into existence rather than living. It is time to move closer to the issue of functional and enjoyable living. Now that you have this as the background, I will show you the “before” pictures of my bedroom, without the bedroom part in the picture. Just know this room should have been a family room instead of a bedroom. It is really large and I believe that is why it has become such a dumping ground.

I refuse to do a total an irreparable purge of all that I own, let’s just get that out there front and center. I refuse to throw everything that I have accumulated throughout my life. If it was valuable once, it is worth considering before it goes out the door. And, let’s be even clearer on the matter, nothing is going into the landfill unless it is absolute junk.

I am sharing this as a way to motivate myself. I hope to be able to update weekly or when something major is accomplished. I have a long list of what to do to get this in order. Yesterday I began by locating my tub of winter clothing. I thought that I had all my sweaters in the drawer until I was shopping and remembered what was missing. As I emptied all of the winter clothes, I went through my closet and put all the completely summer items into the tub including all my cropped pants and sleeveless shirts. I also took out all of the sleeveless dresses and re-hung the skirts so that it all looks neater. I also found the scarves that I bought this summer in Baltimore. I will have to figure out how to wear them. I think my next step in the closet is to identify which items need to be removed permanently. I just need to figure out where they are going, then they can be gone. Ya!!!

My next issue besides getting rid of all the produce in the kitchen/dining room and garage is doing some cleaning around here. I eliminated several of the dust bunnies hiding under the bed and tables and even did all the laundry and bedding. It was nice enough outside that I could hang out the bedding, and oh was it wonderful to snuggle under sheets that have the fresh smell of outdoors. I have not touched the windows. My sisters and I plan to do a little cleaning in our joint houses later this week. One of the things on their agenda is windows. I told them that I have never done windows and at my age I am unable to learn anything new. I hope that works for me through the weekend. Maybe I will end up cooking for the group, but that will be fine. I am working on bread again today, but that will be another post.

Well, I will get off the computer and get to work; Happy Fall to all of you!!!

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.

Room with a view?

James and I are at the North Dakota high school coaches convention and this is the view from our hotel room. Not sure if you would call it much of a view, but this is what it is. They are all currently at the big “social” and I opted to leave after supper. I am not a drinker and was not super impressed when the pitcher of beer was parked in front of me. In the first place the smell does nothing positive to my sinuses and my personal diagnosis is an allergy to the junk. If I were smart I would hope in the car and head to the fabric shop to buy more of the outdoor material that is on sale. We need to recover the cushion on the old swing. Last night I found some great material to cover the spools that we plan to use as tables. It was 60% off then we got a coupon for another 20% off the total. I think I ended up with 3.8 yards for just a bit more than the regular price of one yard. Yah! So I realized that someone needs to measure that cushion and send me the size before I can buy the material. I guess I will be making a call to that someone later this evening. So how are you spending your last week of July?

Ana time

Last night I shared several of the Ana pictures, but not the full business of what I took. She is currently tucked in bed sleeping away. Now there is a rule in our house about never waking a sleeping baby, which we followed sort of, but my personal rule about never wake a sleeping two-year old is super firm. The only way we do that is if we need to leave the house to be someplace at a specific time. Today, she is in bed until she wakes up.

Shark towel

Shark towel

Last night at 3 a.m. she was “hunry” I am not sure if that is how she said it, but I got the point. After a talk with Vic this morning, I found out that it is usually more thirsty than anything. She was also coughing so a little medicine and she was good. Sophia wanted to come and sleep beside us, but was not real sure if it was safe, so she went to the edge of the bed and watched the television cartoon movie with us and we relaxed back to sleep.

Playing

Playing

I know, I know, You are not supposed to use tv to fall asleep, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. For me it relaxes all the anxiety and makes that part of my mind work in a different way so it stops focusing on all the things that make me worried. In other words, “it keeps the boogiemen away!”

Feeding Kelly

Feeding Kelly

Before bedtime, which was before 10 p.m. because we were all tired from our trips, she was playing with all those things that we drug out of the basement. [More information on the post of yesterday] I have a couple of pictures of her feeding dolls and such that I have shared here.

Today I hope to drag out the camera again. I was thinking that we could bake up some cookies or something. Paulina is off throwing today, so we won’t be going to see her throw tomorrow. Hopefully it all works out well, and she will be in the car early tomorrow to get here to spend a couple of days with us. Ana will love that because “Pean” is her favorite. In fact she used to call her grandma because she was confused about which name went where.

kitty pillow sewed again!!

kitty pillow sewed again!!

So, I have broken the ultimate grandmother rule. I am washing the blanket. Here is the thing. The blanket is a match for this pillow that is a cat. The pillow is stuffed and has a head and feet, and well, as things go, the one foot came off and the stuffing came out, so guess who is invited to sew it back together. I should have taken a video of her helping to stuff that pillow. We were tearing off pieces of stuffing from a bag I found in the closet. Hurrah, hurrah!

Another partial clutter removal. It is happening small steps at a time, and being used in a good way, not just tossed out. By the way, have you ever checked on the places where you donate? Not all can use everything they receive and for some there are innumerable hours of man power taken to sort and decided what to keep and what to toss, so when you donate, make sure it isn’t something you should have tossed. Ok, so that was my advertisement for this post.

On the Giraffe

On the Giraffe

After we finished the stuffing and I started on the sewing it back together part, Ana decided to play “horsey riding” with Paulina’s giraffe. Fortunately we had prior permission for this, or we would not be sharing this picture. Ha!! So far we have not heard from Paulina. Ana and I have not done much besides the pillow and eating. We are tired from being up last night, and most of our day has been spent in play and when she asked if she could sit on my lap, there was no way I could be too busy just hold her and watch her play. Also her nap was really just a short one while I was holding her on the rocking chair. We both may have zoned out for a short time, but that was ok. Now to get some supper ready for when Grandpa comes home.

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.

img_8930

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!

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