That would be me. I have been so busy these past few weeks and I have neglected this corner of the internet. Please forgive me and trust me when I say that I have lots to share in the coming weeks.
A dear friend and I have agreed to a quilt block swap with simple rules that is focused on fun and just enjoying the process while learning some new skills. Each month we will surprise each other with our block choice….stay tuned to see what I made for her (it is AWESOME!) and what she sends me! I have been busy with that but of course I can’t share just yet or there would be no surprise for her and that my friend, is half the fun.
I am also working on a birthday gift which cannot yet be revealed. These things take time but again…a post for another day.
But the main thrust of my energy has been focusing on cleaning and decluttering our home.
We have lived here some 17 years and back in the day, there were actually some empty rooms and even an empty closet. HA! That hasn’t been the case for quite some time. The problem is that the more space you have, the more compelled you feel to fill it. ALL of it.
I come from a line of pack rats. You giggle, but it is true. I clearly remember my grandmother keeping a coffee mug with a broken handle because “she might need it someday”. She had a whole dresser filled with nice clothes but tended to wear shabby, thread bare items because she was saving the others for “good”. My father was a child of the depression and there is no doubt that this fed his propensity to hold on to things way past their prime. Then there is me. See what I did there? The ancestry of Packus Rattus.
Now, throw in a dose of sentimental. I am surely screwed! I have an attachment to paper that defies explanation. I don’t understand it but I have a love/hate relationship with printed matter be it books, magazines or greeting cards. I struggle to throw these things away as they have value to me and it seems a waste to just toss them off to the side. At one point I had nearly 50 years of National Geographic magazines in a bookcase in the basement. Not sure how I did it, but one afternoon the stupidity of saving something that no one would read and that I could get on CD for a pittance, spurred me into a full on purge. I threw every issue away. They must have weighed about half a trillion pounds when I carted the three garbage cans to the curb. No doubt the sanitation workers still curse me.
While the mister isn’t nearly as sentimental as I, he does have his things and I understand that. But now is time for cleaning. Spring Cleaning. The big purge! I started on the rooms upstairs and intend to work my way down to the basement and this method is working for me thus far. My first thing was to make a plan where I wished to start, what I planned to accomplish and what I would do with my “discards”. I have a pile of items to pass along to several friends as well as few things that need to be returned to their rightful owners. Sorry! *blush*
My second pile was truly trash….things that held no value such as crappy plastic and wire hangers, outdated keyboards and mice, non-working hard drives and owner’s manuals to items we no longer own. Also in that was things that I didn’t feel were worthy of the last pile. The donation pile is the last stop. I made a stack of shoes, clothes and housewares that will be donated. In doing this, I am keeping an inventory of every item that I will be giving to charity. This accomplishes two things: It helps me when I claim the donation on my taxes and it makes me feel better about who I may be helping with the giving of coats, shoes and other clothing items. I have been fortunate and successful in my life and it is good to pay it forward.
Now that I have my goals out of the way, on to the hard work. It is hard! Hard to part with items as well as time consuming and tiring to go through each item. Years ago we rode motorcycles and secondary to that we had quite a collection of black t-shirts. Time for them to go. Along with all of the clothes that no longer fit and so on. Once I cleaned out the closet upstairs that I store extra shoes and suitcases in, I reduced the shoes by half and the suitcases too!
When I was still on the corporate carousel I wore a suit or dress clothes to work nearly every day. I can’t yet bring myself to throw them away since I have worn them a few times since. My husband rarely wears a suit but it doesn’t make sense to throw out those that he does have. So these things were moved out of our bedroom closet and into the closet that I just cleaned out. Now, that might not make a bit of sense to you but trust me it does. We still have (infrequent) times that we require dress clothes but we already own them. Now they just have a better home.
Next I cleaned out the mister’s computer desk. Lots of scraps of paper, duplicate photos, extra cords and stuff that just needed to be rearranged. On to the bedrooms! Bedroom one never had much in it but the dresser is now 100% empty and the closet holds but a couple of items. Bedroom two however, wow. First I worked on emptying out the dresser which went fairly quickly. Then I worked through the armoire. Lots of VHS tapes! Yikes! I threw everything away that was pre-recorded. The remaining were photographs and slides, which I decided to deal with later.
On to the closet in bedroom two. When I started it held boxes of Christmas decorations, photos, a cross stitch stand, boxes of Boyd’s bears, a wedding dress and fly fishing waders as well as a wet suit and motorcycle leathers. I totally destroyed this room. Seriously.
One of my biggest jobs was going through 25 plus years of greeting cards. I have every card that the mister and I have ever given each other (I kept those). Plus years of Christmas, birthday and thank you cards. Impossible to read through all of them and many went in the trash. I did keep all of the cards and letters that the kids sent (a few dozen) plus some special cards like a birthday card from my dad. I placed them all in a under bed box and stacked them neatly. One day I may scrap them all, but right now I would like to think that the kids would get some serious laughs from reading the sappy, silly cards that their dad and I have exchanged over the years.
Next I tackled the closet. I discarded several jackets, gave away my motorcycle jacket, vest and chaps and several other articles of clothing. I boxed up several things, rearranged some and consolidated quite a few things. One of the largest items in this closet, by sheer volume, is photographs. Knowing that it took me hours to go through those cards, I know that job will take days. I have decided that I will tackle this job this coming winter (if this winter will ever END!)
I am now feeling quite empowered and excited about this. The dresser (not visible in the photo) is completely empty and the armoire is 75% empty. The dresser in the closet is filled with photos. Yes, the whole thing. Completely. Plus those photoboxes on top.
However, prior to this cleaning I couldn’t even see the dresser. So there! The rest of the closet holds some bulky items that just are no good no matter where you put them…..a wedding dress, a wet suit, two sets of bib waders and a motorcycle vest and jacket.
Photographs do provide clarity. Now that I look at this photo, I see that the sad little Christmas tree must go. But honestly, it was sad when it arrived. As we were completing our home it was nearly Christmas. Workers were still going in and out but my father-in-law stopped by one afternoon and left this used, store sample tree in our as yet unfinished dining room. It was this house’s first Christmas tree and I have lit it every year since we have lived here. It is looking way past Charlie Brown now and I am thankful for its faithful service.
A word about containers. I love them, I really do. But the point here is to purge, not just organize. While many would encourage you to spend money on buying some really clever and cute doo-dads to hold your shit, I will not. Use what you have if you have it. You don’t need more crap to hold your crap. If you are generally neat, you will neatly place your stuff back into that copy paper box. But if you are a slob, no amount of pretty colored receptacles is going to make you pick up after yourself. I already owned those shoe organizers, the suit dust covers and all of the plastic containers. I didn’t need to buy more of THEM, I just need less of the OTHER.