So, Next?

The laundry is almost caught up.

The things I’d pulled out last week have been put in the attic. Some things have been pulled out of the attic as well. Rule about tossing/donating/selling SPACE BUDGET applies to the storage and the attic too. Everytime I go into one of those places I have to remove things to cull or sell. Right now I have two more trays from the storage to go through with books in them. They’ll go to the flea market I’m doing Sunday. If they dont’ sell, they’ll go into the MADD book donation bin the books went into last week.

I just added about 50 magazines to the antique booth. Last month I sold mostly magazines. This month I’ve sold mostly paperbacks. Two months ago I sold mostly paperbacks. So, I’m restocking stuff a bit at a time. As long as the sales continue, I’m good!

The other booth isn’t doing so well, that’s where I’d sell housewares. The rent is only 30% of the other booth, but I’m still not selling stuff.

What I did for the flea market two weeks ago was pull a lot of the stuff that hadn’t sold from both and took that as my stock. Throughout the day, I kept lowering my prices on the $20 and less items. Many of them wound up on a table marked $1. What was left on the $1 at the end of the day was donated to a thrift shop before I left town. The rest of it came back and is now in the storage. The last cull in the house, the living room specifically, wound up in the sell pile. Except for one piece that went to the big antique store, those items will go to the Flea Market this weekend.

My whole attitude about stuff is different than it used to be. At this point I’ve had it with selling my own stuff. I’m tired of lugging things around, trying to get more than I paid for it. At this point, I don’t really care. I mean I won’t sell a piece I paid $100 for $1, but selling it for $80 or $90 is not beyond me. If I lug it around long enough, I’d probably go down from there.

I just want some cash and less stuff. With luck, I’ll be out of the book business before the end of the year. Then I’ll go out of the antique business. No more hauling things around — how nice that would be!

How do you get rid of your excess stuff? Does your town/neighborhood have a yard sale once a year? (I keep threatening to organize one here. There’s a parking lot at the end of my street, and there’s another at the baseball field, and . . . .)

I have, after decades of therapy and contemplation come up with a few truths

I have a personal philosophy about what works when dealing with problems are these simple things: CONCRETE AND POSITIVE trumps almost everything else. I remind myself to “put a cap” on it when things seem to start to go out of control.

The other  is something I first articulated about six months ago. It’s the answer to a  question which I get sometimes, “How do you keep going?”

That question has two honest answers. The first is I don’t. I don’t go continuously. I go in fits and starts which is what works for me. The second is the piece I came up with a few months ago. To get through any long-term problem, you must do one thing: start one more time that you’ve quit or failed.

I know intellectually that I’m finishing up the work I’ve spent 5 decades on. Believe me, I know exactly how long it is. But if I look at what I have yet to do dragging that along, I could NOT do anything, I’d be exhausted and pissed. If I focus instead on the NEXT step. Now that? That I can do.

There you go and you didn’t have to live with daily pain for 50+ years to get it either!

J

Dehoarding

I have been working on my house, a lot.

As per usual, I work like mad, then stop. It’s not a regular effort. Dismantling the piles of stuff here still has all sorts of emotional booby-traps for me, so I’m dealing with stuff, dealing with the emotional fallout, dealing with stuff — you get the idea.

Last week I pulled all the laundry out of the laundry room. I had an idea bout the boxes on the kitchen counter (the counter is 9 feet long or so. The boxes are 4 feet long. I had previously moved one into the laundry room where it became two shelves. I wanted to put another on the other side of the room, but it won’t fit with the ironing board. Okay, rats! But our washer/dryer are away from the wall and I am SICK of dropping stuff behind them, so I took down part of my box wall today and moved one of the boxes on top of the washer & dryer. My plan was to hang it with the L brackets I bought today. Would work, except.

Except? Except there’s a water filter line in the way. I can turn it off on the washer side, but have no idea how to shut the valve down at the filter. So it has become a DH project. Even if my mounting idea doesn’t work (L brackets) I have an alternate which will use the brackets already there. But even then the water filter line is in the way. So, it’s a DH project no matter what DARN IT!!!

To do this today I tore apart a major storage area of my kitchen. I moved the vase collection up to the top of the kitchen cabinets. I pulled somethings off the cabinets and put them in the “sell” stack. I pulled somethings out of the dining room and put them aside to be hauled up to the attic and others also got added to the sell stack.

When I tackle a new area or an area I haven’t for a while, there’s a new rule. I have to find THINGS TO SELL OR DONATE! I am enforcing  a SPACE BUDGET every time I do this. Between the two, There’s a lot less stuff in the house.

For example. My darling husband for Christmas a few years ago gave me a dehydrator. Our new stove has a dehydrate setting. I am giving the dehydrator to my SIL. It isn’t a huge machine or anything, but it’s  a duplicate function and I don’t need it.

The only problem with dehydrating in my new stove is that no one either at the company site or the store where we bought it could find and order the screens the company made for this, so we couldn’t get any when we bought the stove.

On the Figure This Out list are stainless screens to fit in my stove, for dehydrating. I want 3: 1 full size and 2 1/2 size. If we can’t do anything else, I’ll just buy the screen material and figure out how to store it so it doesn’t get bent and use it without cutting my hands to ribbons.

Last year I used my cake racks, which worked, kind of, but not well enough to do anything in bulk. And I want to do bulk drying. I’d rather dry food than can it, it’s easier to store, lasts longer, and I don’t have the worry about messing it up, like I do with canning. When food isn’t dried enough and it’s going bad, you know it; it molds!

So, I’ve been working on the house. Mostly in the living room, but obviously in the laundry room and kitchen too. I wish this was faster or more consistent, but it’s getting done a bit at a time and it IS getting done and mostly staying done. The emotional backwash isn’t fun and is in fact pretty scary for me, but I’m doing what I can do at one time and honoring myself when I have to quit for a while. This includes the days when I am working on things. Writing this was a break I needed. I’m frustrated the shelf idea won’t work, but okay it won’t. I have more of the kitchen/dining room to pull back together and more laundry to do.

Later!

Solutions?

Because of the disasters, including our furnace, we’ve been burning up our wood supply, which is good. Not so good is that we were real close to using it UP this week. A neighbor can help us out if need be and DH found ecobricks, like wood pellets for a pellet stove, but made into brick form.

Another ongoing problems has been bed sheets. DH doesn’t like the sizing and/or feel of the high density polyester in many poly/cotton sheets. I want to buy just  single flat sheets. They’re insanely expensive for good ones and not many show up at the thrift shops which are big enough. I decided long ago I should either 1)Buy hotel supply ones or 2) Make my own.

I’ve been trying to find  84″ wide sheeting material for some time. I think I found it, at theatrical supply companies. Huzzah! As a former theater major, I’m dismayed it took me so long to think of the muslin they use for flats, etc. as a possibility, but it may just work.

The older I get,  the less I’m willing to pay for “designer” names and prices on basic goods. Sheets are basic. Got along for decades without colored, designer sheets. If I want them dyed, I can do it or have it done. One place sells colored muslin, so maybe I won’t even have to do that.

My big “bitch” is that I really only want flat sheets, or to buy ONE and you can’t. I resent being held hostage to the department stores or manufacturer’s financial needs. I have my own: functional first then frugal, always. I don’t care what the neighbors think or much of anyone else, only my husband!

Disasters

One car needed its CV joint replaced, had the appt, it failed 3 days before that. About 2 days after we got it back, the other car developed a problem, check engine light running rough and all. Between the 2, there was not quite $1,000 worth of work.

Okay, the furnace? We had it worked on pre heating season, for a large chunk o’ change. It has an intermittant problem, now. We’ve had 3 service calls and it works fine, for while, then doesn’t.

Today? Today I was taking a shower before going off to my bosses to deliver papers, and the shower drain is apparently leaking, downstairs.

Sigh. April is usually the month for disasters. I can hardly wait for April, I mean there’s nothing left to fail, right?

J

Been Working on the Living Room, some more

we need to paint it, next month. I’ve unpacked 4 boxes of books (about 200) in the past week. Many of them are gone, either to the antique booth or donated somewhere. (DH took 2 bags of books away today.)

We’ve had a frustrating and expensive couple of weeks: the CV joint went on one car, the other car has acceleration problems and a check engine light on. The furnace was repaired, worked, quit working, got repaired (3rd time) then quit working reliably, again.

Because of the above, we’re both grumpier with each other than we’ve been in a while, which of course doesn’t make anything go more smoothly.

I got the contract for the 4th anthology in the mail, we had one story for the previous book that might apply to this one.

I have a work backlog that is truly massive: research/writing, form designing for one job, helping mail 200 pcs for the 2nd, the memoir revisions are ongoing and we’re trying to CLEAR the living room so we  can paint it in April. The contracts need to be signed/returned for book 4. And I’m not sure if anything still needs doing for book 3, I hope not!

My goals this year are to

  1. Get the house clean.
  2. Get rid of the storage unit.
  3. Get the memoir edited and formatted for people to read on a computer.
  4. Start the marketing plan for the memoir.
  5. I’m sure there’s something else, I just can’t think of it right now!

I have been focusing on other things and i really need to hunker down and CONCENTRATE or I’ll never get this done!

None of this is hard, just time consuming!

J

Ongoing and Herbal Frugality

I’m getting rid of stuff, amongst other things, like using stuff I already have. None of this is new, but I’m FINISHING things, and that IS.

I made two new rugs for our bathroom. I have to finish C’s rug, work on the living room rugs, etc. I have finally confessed that I have a hobby: I make rugs.

In the course of this and that last fall, I didn’t grab any parsley, or enough, I ran out. I usually have LOTS, in fact more than I need, but this last fall, I didn’t dry herbs like I usually do, so I ran out.

The price(s) of herbs in the market are just INSANE! If you don’t do any other gardening, growing your own herbs is one of those things that will definitely pay for itself. Herbs cost more than meat per lb, a lot more!

So when I went looking for parsley, I was outraged at the prices I found. The best I found was $41/lb, and that was an unknown brand. What to do?

A bunch of parsley at the same time was .99, so I got 2. I used one in the recipe I needed it for and took the other and put it in a brown paper lunch bag, hung it on a hook in my kitchen and dried it. We’re having pizza tonight, I wanted parsley on it, so I got the bag down.

After I stripped the leaves off the stems, etc. I had 5 grams of parsley flakes, for .99. I have NO idea how to frame this as an equation to figure the $ per lb. I know it can be done, and I should be able to do it, but my brain is just not up to it this second!

Five grams = .011 lbs by the way. So, roughly speaking, it costs about $100/lb to dry your own, bought in bunches from the supermarket, at a guess. Hmm. I would have figured it would be about 1/2 at the most of buying it in little bottles.

Huh!