Category Archives: Creativity

Feeling Virtuous, but. . .

I probably shouldn’t.

I got 2 crates into the pantry on the pull out shelf today. The crates I’d used previously were too big to use with the pull out hardware. Without the hardware, however, the crates with sanitized sand and carrots were too heavy for me to move easily, so…

We had these other crates. Putting them in the pantry dislodged what had been there since we took out the other crates: an Elfa basket with gallon bottles and a few other things.

I have to go to the hardware store and buy 2 bags of sanitized sand (sold for sand boxes) and find one of the rolls of hardware cloth, to make “lids.” Finally, I have label holders I’ll add to one side of each crate, so I can remember when I put the veggies in.

I removed a small, round plastic bucket which had salted herbs in it. Used one of the available rectangular plastic bins. The bucket will go to the dump, tomorrow. I also removed the 2 dog biscuit canisters I’d been using for canning jar lids. The canisters will go away. The lids have a new home, in a Euro canning jar I also already owned.

(Seeing a pattern here?)

The result is that the hole where the shelf goes was cleaned, the shelf was cleaned, two cleaned crates are on the shelf, empty, with the step stool, and 3 rectangular bins, one has salted herbs in it, the others empty.

The water filters (which had also been on this shelf) are set aside to be put into the attic. I have no idea what to do with the Elfa basket, or the gallon jars, but I’ll figure it out.

So, 3 pieces out, 3 pieces to attic, 3 pieces pulled, nowhere to go, 2 containers used, and a lot less chaos in the pantry. All good!

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In the General Direction Thereof…

We’ve been measuring. The candelabra won’t fit in the stairway. The rack I wanted to use for cups won’t fit where the current peg rack is, pooh!

Finagling is required: the table top *might* go into the staircase. The candelabra *might* go on the kitchen wall over where the marble table has been. If the pieces won’t fit in either place? Then I suppose the answer is really simple. We attach the table top to its original base and sell the coffee table, for one and sell the candelabra or put it back where it had been.

I have the following over large pieces: candelabra, coffee table top, candle cattail piece, and old shop signs. I like the shop signs (what’s currently in the stairwell) but that part of my life is over and I’d like to have something else in that location. Not to say that I won’t use the store signs anywhere, but I’m not sure where that would be! There’s one hanging on the outside of the woodshed that’s gotten really faded, so I hardly think I want to hang the other sign like that or the little sign outside. Maybe in my office? Maybe in the attic? Dunno, we’ll see!

Glass Door Knobs: the Problem

My husband and I had a conversation the other day about how we’ve gotten so much stuff and how hard it is to get rid of it. He was helping out at the gallery’s tag sale today and took donations with him. I donated a few more things to the swap shop and made 2 dump runs of recycles, yard waste, etc. today too.

The realization I came to a little while ago was this: I was raised by an engineer, who talked about design, how things worked or didn’t — all the time. Everything from chairs, to lights to airplanes, to street paving equipment was fodder for Dad’s design discourse. So I was taught to view almost everything with an eye to its design, good or bad.

Accordingly, I am attracted to things I think are designed well, WHETHER I NEED THEM or FIT MY PERSONAL TASTE, or not. And I am reluctant to get rid of things which fit that category, whether they are practical for my home or not. The candelabra (which hadn’t sold as of yesterday) is like that. Some thing else like this is two sets of glass door knobs I’ve had for 10+ years now. I like door knobs like these:

clear glass door knobs 2

(The image are new ones.) For years they were all but impossible to find or insanely expensive. Mine are old ones. I love them, and they won’t work, or won’t work easily in my home. Where I had anticipated using them was the closets: one in the hallway and one on the landing. But my knobs are so old they won’t work that way because there’s no provision for latches.

Anyway, both the candelabra and these knobs are the same type of thing. I love the design of them, love the objects, but I really have no practical way to use them in my home. That automatically makes them clutter, because they’re just being stored, unused. And so I should cull them and really, really do NOT want to.

DH is the child of an engineer too, but he’s also an artist. So we both have the “good design” problem. We get things because we admire the design of the object, without a clear need for it or any notion of where it will be used or put away. We know there’s no way we can get/keep/store/afford to buy all the things we like.

The first or second or third culling isn’t hard. Duplicated, broken objects, things you no longer remember why you bought or kept are easy. After that, for me, it gets down to things like the glass door knobs, which I still love and still want to use, and know that if I’m being an adult, I’ll need to shed more than a candelabra and 2 sets of door knobs, but it’s no longer easy.

This isn’t because I think the stuff is valuable. It isn’t because I have a sentimental attachment to them, both of which are the most common things people seem to think hoarding is about. Nope. I just plain love these as objects and I have nowhere to use them. Unless I find a way to use them (I have an idea which might work.) they need to go. DH was talking about wiring the candelabra and putting it in the stairway, the only place really big enough for it. . . . if it hasn’t sold . . . ? So, we may actually keep and use both the door knobs and the candelabra, but we also know we can’t keep that up. At some point, we’re going to be selling or giving away things we love.

I’ve gotten past the “I really like this and I’d like to keep it” things. In most cases, other people really like those things too — the stuff I pull from here which I had intended to keep usually sells before things I buy for resale. The last one was a small standing black metal crow. I’d kept it for a while and finally went, “Halloween is coming and I do not need this, although I like it quite a bit.” Yep, it sold in a week or so.

But I’d really like to use my glass door knobs!

 

 

Friday’s Five & Backlog

I did something which shows me how things are different these days. Yesterday I gave away brand new packages of lunch bags and staples, to two different businesses. The lunch bags were given to an antique store who uses them to wrap china and glassware. The staples were given to the antique store where I have a booth.

In both cases, I have more than I think I’ll use in a reasonable time, without them.

I use about 1/2 package of lunch bags a year for drying herbs/spices. (And I reuse them sometimes too.) I had come to the end of a package and bought some, thinking I was out. When I went to put it away, there was another new package! I sure didn’t need another 50!

The box of staples came from a box of shop office supplies. I thought I’d folded in or deleted extras from the shop’s supplies long ago, but I found a box a few months back filled with labels (mostly tossed), the box of staples, and a few miscellaneous pieces. When I cleaned office shelves last week or so, I realized we had 2 complete boxes of staples, more than we’d likely need until oh 2050. I don’t expect to be alive or wanting staples by then anyway!

Previously, I would have kept them; in fact I did. These days? They’re clutter I can get rid of easily, and that’s great!

Friday’s Five:

  1. Find something to do with the extra eggs.
  2. Make pepper jelly.
  3. Figure out a new way/place to store the yarn and put it away.
  4. Look at the stored snow tires. Need new ones? In the budget?
  5. Make cookies with the frozen oatmeal.

Much of this is dealing with food, obviously. Partly because farm day was yesterday. But it’s partly because the other chores in/out are so far behind. I have to cook no matter what else happens most of the time, so this is an “easy” way to get the list pared down. If it’s a cheat, it is — sue me!

BACKLOG:

Thursday:

  • Empty my desk, again.
  • Cut more sage and other such from the garden. Kale Fri. 10/13, most of the rest of it 10/15. Need to pull some tarragon and that’s it.
  • Make up/try the Naval Academy brass polish.

Wednesday:

  1. Clean off DH’s desk.
  2. Cull books from one “holding pattern” bookcases. Either they’re out or they stay!, in process Thurs. a.m. (I did the 1st shelf.)

Finish laundry room clean up.

Tuesday:

  • Weed the brick path around the veggie garden, edge it. in process, 1st quarter done 1:30 Fri., 2nd quarter and 1/2 the 3rd done Sunday.
  • Move the lumber which needs it from the shed so it can be put away in the loft.
  • Work on grading the last pile of dirt.Fri. 1 p.m.

Monday:

  • Put family photos in the album. Can’t be done. Photos located, album missing! 

Friday:

  • Examine winter coats for flaws, etc.
  • Do the last gather of flea market materials, last market is Saturday 10/14 date changed to 10/21

Thursday:

  • Put ice scrapers in the cars, examine and see if they need replacement?
  • Ship the box to the BIL, make up more boxes of things which should be shipped and get them sent! I think I did this, although I’m not sure. I cannot find the box anywhere!!! Refound and shipped, sometime later. He got it mid/late Oct.

Monday’s Backlog:

  • Clear stuff from my car and run a vac through at least part of it!.

New Ideas About Cleaning

Aside from the PTSD, bad habits and panic attacks, as if that wasn’t enough, I’ve had one other major problem about cleaning up the house. No one ever taught me how! This means that no one ever showed me the “right” order to do things. I was taught at boarding school how to make a bed, clean a toilet or trash can, but not how to make a schedule or plan to cover the basics, regularly.

And, I admit, that doing anything regularly wouldn’t have happened anyway, because of the panic attacks. Cleaning is like writing a novel or any other longer piece, you have to keep slogging away at it I’ve found. Difficult for me, if not impossible for much of my life.

That said, I have discovered a few things:

  1. Always clean more than you have to. That is, if the dishes are done and you have 1 item in the sink, find a candlestick or decorative something to clean too. This also applies to sweeping the kitchen, putting clothes away, whatever. Especially if the chores aren’t involved or big, add something minor. Cleaning the bath counter? Wipe down the box on the shelf, etc. etc. etc.
  2. Hard surfaces, impervious to water are the easiest to clean; where soft surfaces, which absorb water are the hardest.
  3. Clean the areas used the most more than others.
  4. Clean the most obvious areas first. (I have [had?] a tendency to clean closets and drawers when the urge to clean hit me. Before I realized the clutter was what I needed to feel safe, it was dumbfounding to me that I could spend a whole day cleaning and you couldn’t tell. This is, of course, backwards from the way most people work. And that’s the reason why those “toss this” lists really didn’t work for me.
  5. Find whatever works for you and run with it. I spent DECADES trying to use flylady or other cleaning plans, and couldn’t.  This caused more of the internal I’m stupid, flawed, and just screwed up mantra.  I figured “Of course this doesn’t work for me and it does for Mary or Jo. It’s me after all.” I finally accepted that I couldn’t adopt someone else’s plans, I had to come up with my own — in my 60s!

Morning Methods or Madness?

Not only is it MONDAY, so my brain is buzzing with all sorts of “things to be done,” but the construction people aren’t here, and there’s this huge back log. It’s also nearly FALL and so all the “delayed” and “put off” chores are screaming! at me.

Accordingly, my ADD tendencies have run amok this morning. I have worked on these items and finished the lined-through ones:

  • filing manuals, etc. for things we own.
  • cleaning out behind the washer/dryer Finished about 11:30 a.m.
  • culling/clearing out the top shelf of the small freezer
  • figuring out what I will use to replace the French door blinds
  • Researching how to do it.
  • Finding the fabric I already own for the curtains.
  • Figuring out a way to “put away” the scrub brush which went missing.
  • Figuring out a possible way to “put away” various roll goods: masking paper, Tyvek, shelf liner & weed cloth are the immediate needs
  • Work on clearing out the attic.
  • Work on cleaning up my office.
  • Laundry x 2 2nd load started around noon. Two loads done Tuesday as well.
  • Determining the trunk in the kitchen is still empty.
  • Figuring out another set of crates, etc. to take to the antique store as shelving.
  • Cull the clay flower pots — I have too many of course. Started about 2 p.m. but not yet finished. Worked on this Tuesday as well. Completed Sunday.

Still to do:

  • Go to the hardware store for a piece to determine if the method of hanging roll materials will work.
  • Clean the laundry room. Finished just before noon.
  • Make the bed.
  • Find the missing fabric and determine which piece will be used for the door curtains.
  • Clear out enough of the attic that the trunk can be moved from the kitchen up there. Enough of the attic was cleared Monday, but the trunk hasn’t been moved, yet.
  • Get the crates, etc. in my car and to the antique store. Completed Tuesday.

Saving $$$

Because of the new porch and wanting to pay off the loan we got ASAP,  I’ve been looking for ways to save money.

Usually, this means that I find a lot of sites/data that I already know. However, pleasantly enough, I found one this morning which had info. new to me!

(here)

I get aarp’s emails regularly and from them and other sites, most of the ideas are those I know and have used for years:

  • Drink water at restaurants
  • DIY morning coffee/snack
  • Cook at home, from scratch
  • etc.

The saving $ ideas of mine which I’ve never seen elsewhere:

  • Buy the most concentrated form of soaps, or anything else that you can. If you use it with water, you can add it yourself.
  • Buy unscented products rather than buying “his” and “her” products.
  • Use tank tops as underwear, flipflops as slippers during the winter and other such so that you can buy less stuff to start with.
  • Have a set budget for restaurant meals and plan to eat at least one other set of meals from it, whenever possible. (Our budget for 2 adults = $20, and the 2nd meals make that $5/per meal, still expensive, but a lot more affordable than it might be!)
  • Shop your fridge/pantry and use what needs using first instead of sticking with a meal plan.
  • Use a chamois to “mop up” steam from glass and metal shower/bath rather than using glass or chrome cleaners. The steam is a free by product of bathing, use it!
  • Use “snow” from your freezer as sweeping compound to clean your hard floors.

Not unique to me:

  • Buy in bulk when you can afford to, items are on sale, and you have the space.
  • Have a price book.
  • Share and borrow, as needed.

 

 

dollar sign from zazzle.com