Category Archives: Hoarding

More Getting Ready for Retirement: Food & Home Improvement

There are things I definitely agree with in Aslett’s book, Make Your House Do the Housework. And things I don’t.

One of the main things I do agree with him is that the easiest way to make something easy to clean/not require cleaning at all, is to change the overall system/design of something to that end. He has some favorites:

  • Vinyl (which we won’t use because I’m allergic or sensitive to many kinds of plastics and petroleum products). I don’t disagree with him about the stuff being easy to clean but I don’t want easy to clean and makes me sick at the same time!
  • Medium tones in colors, as very light or very dark show stains and spots more easily.
  • Built-ins. Built-ins take away areas to clean (or should) as they frequently go from floor to ceiling. Last week I found someone making a “built-in” from Ikea bookcases and they left a 4-6″ gap at the top, so you have a weird looking top and an impossible to clean horizontal surface? I don’t know what’s up with that? Built-ins are just that, built in. And if they go up over my head, they’re going to go to the ceiling, not almost!
  • Suspended Furniture. Wall mounted tables, chairs mounted to the front of a counter, etc. All make the single biggest horizontal surface in a home, the floor, easier to clean.
  • Water filtration removing things like iron which cause staining.
  • Reduction of surfaces, like using mirrored glass doors instead of louvers.

Okay, I mostly agree with him. I’d love a whole-house vac, but there’s no way thats possible in our solid-wall log home, forget it. That means at least 2 pieces of clutter/tools, vacuums. Of course, being us, we have 3. [We had 5 — I’m doing better, don’t get on me about this!]

DH has one for the workshop. I have a small portable I can and do carry around. Finally, I have an upright for the large rugs. We use all of them, every week. The workshop one DH has can be connected to tools to clean as he goes. MUCH better than before, I’ll put up with the extra piece to store! Not to mention that it’s much stronger than the other 2 vacs, so if I have something really filthy I borrow it . . . . And he made it a place to be put away, so it isn’t part of the floating clutter. That’s 2 of the 3. The upright doesn’t really have a put away place, and it needs one. It IS a part of the floating clutter. . .

I need a list! (I’ll add to this as I come up with other items.)

FLOATING CLUTTER (Cull, find a place to put it away, and/or use them)

  • Upright vac
  • All 3 rakes
  • Empty kindling bins

Proud of myself! Just figured out a spring/summer use for these: taking leaves to the dump! I have been reluctant to bag up leaves, because I couldn’t figure a way to do it without getting my face right in it.

My neat-nick neighbors put their leaves down a slope on the edge of their yard or put them in a trash barrel and haul them to the dump. They have trucks. We don’t. Putting leaves in barrels isn’t a solution here!

seth-doyle-43138-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

I’ve had a cold for a month now. The idea of using the kindling bins for hauling the leaves to the dump means that 1) they now have an out of season use which is much better than storing them empty 2) I won’t need to use bags to haul leaves to the dump, which means we won’t need to buy them and 3) I can get leaves prepped to go to the dump without getting my face near them.

WIN!!!

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Undoing the Mess

The only way to be a hoarder or live with one is to learn to ignore the mess.

Ignoring the mess was easier for me than dealing with feeling unsafe all the time and having continual panic attacks.

But we’re undoing the mess here, one piece at a time.

fullstorageunit

I can tell our attitude is different than before. We’re congratulating ourselves/each other when we deal with one nasty spot or the other. When we finally find that ” ’round tuit” to clean some long-ignored corner.

It’s hazardous waste collection for our community today. We’ve dug into the sheds, the hobby spaces, the yard, etc. and out have come the cans of old paint (not latex) and coolant, and cans of ?. We decided that we’ll make a spot for things to go which fit this category, so next year (our community does this annually) it will it all in one place already. Not ignoring it.

Very different!


Also different, and still different. In my on-going battle with email? I just eliminated all the X person pinned your pins from pinterest. (These days, there’s only 25,8xx unread emails in my primary email account.)

I know I’ve gotten all the pinterest emails, because I got to the email which thanked me for opening my account, in 2012.

Slowly Back To It

I have all kinds of crud in my lungs. Used to be every time this happened, I got bronchitis and then was sick another week. It was always the last stage of my cold.

However, those were the years when I smoked. And I now haven’t smoked 2x as many years as I did. The difference is that I am not coughing up as much, and I feel much better today than I did yesterday, that’s the semi-good news. The bad news is that I am managing to get things done in about 5-10 minute blocks, and then I’m just wiped out.

I’ve been working on a couple of new ideas here: floating clutter and finishing chores (or getting them to a set midpoint).

Floating Clutter are those things which may (or may not) have a home,but rarely seem to be in their home. The pepper grinder that seems to always live on the table, even though it should be put away on the side board is an example.

I have decided two things: 1)Floating Clutter is what it is because it’s too difficult to put it away, for _____ reason. 2)I’ve been trying to find new places to put those things away.

Things are tidier here than they usually are, because I’m concentrating on finding and putting away or relocating the floating clutter.

Finishing things is because I realized there are a lot of pieces here for projects which weren’t started, jobs which seem (and are) too big to get finished in one session of work.

These project items are likely to be culled these days or put in a box if I can’t deal with them now. I’m tired of looking at them, moving them, and their generally being in the way.

house with bookcase

The too big to finish thing as a stopper is being worked on. Some work is better than NONE so I’m working hard at finding partial steps I can do and finish now, rather than ignoring the piece because I don’t have the time/resources, etc. to do all of it NOW.

One result of this is that the top of the washer/dryer are cleared again. (The laundry was a big job, got nibbled at until it was done.) And the kitchen counter is also cleared again, same strategy.

There are two boxes downstairs and one upstairs of project pieces.


Result? Cleaner house, less floating clutter. It’s all good!

The Missing F.B.I File . . .

(This was written at the beginning of March, 2019)

I wrote for my Mom’s FBI file. Yes, she had one. No, I’m not going to discuss why. The paperwork from any part of that inquiry has been missing for a long, long time. I found today my copy of the last correspondence with the FBI.

It seems like it was someone else who wrote for it. It’s certainly only a side-note now. Odd how we grow and change and the things which were vitally important can become only interesting side lights.

J

 

The Way It Seems to Work

What have I done today?


#1 – Sweep the laundry room floor, after removing all the undone laundry, and put down a rug which previously had been there? Was somewhere else? I don’t know, but it fits, so for the moment, it’s staying.

The above has generated these action items:

A) Put away the clean laundry on top of the washer/dryer.

B) Wash the laundry which was on the floor. Still in process the next day. 3/27/19

First loads of clean clothes and of household “linens” (dishtowels, etc.) ready to put away. (10:12 a.m.)


#2 – Packed a box of books going out, but not sorted, researched, etc.

Which has generated these action items:

A) Pack a box or two of books to keep without homes. 3 4 so far today.

B) Clear the asst. books which got piled on the bed off the bed. Done by 3 p.m.


#3 – Work on organizing the living room bookcase.

Which has generated these action items:

A) Go through the stacks of books of various categories. Are there dupes to cull? Those I think I’ll never use, aren’t those also culls? This made a huge mess. I dealt with some of it, didn’t with other pieces of it. I just don’t have enough book shelving for all the books I want to keep and it’s a continual problem. Considering who I am, there are really only 4 bookcases in this house, not anywhere near enough!

B) Try to get the annuals organized so you can see any dupes. This at least got finished.

C) Clean the shelving as it’s revealed. IT NEVER GOT REVEALED! This isn’t done.


It’s 9:15 a.m, and doing all of this will keep me plenty busy today! Fortunately, I can run the laundry while doing the other things. I’ll annotate the list above as I get things done!

 

 

 

First Panic, This Time

Had the first sign of a panic attack last night. I had asked DH if he liked the way the house looked earlier, that may have triggered me. I woke up, mid sleep, palms sweating, leg cramped from pushing with it, and near tears. Figured out what was going on and rolled over, calmed myself down and went back to sleep. Only to wake up again, later and again rolled over and went back to sleep.

On the other hand? Things are getting done. The laundry room, bath room, kitchen and dining room are picked up. The living room has been worked on, so has the bed room. Just too much stuff to get it done.

This morning, for example, I unpacked a box in our bedroom. There’s a bunch of books in there, which are mine or need to be gone through. There was a stack of magazines, I’ve pulled all the pages I want out of all but 2 of those. And the magazines (minus pages) are in the paper recycling bin.

I grabbed the overlarge rattan satchel I’d bought a few months back, without a specific idea where I’d put it or how I’d use it? I knew I loved it, wanted to use it for kitchen linen, but it’s too big for that. It’s now the designated spot for “out of season bedding” one side of the tag in blue says cool weather and the other side says hot weather in red. (We still have flannel on the bed and probably will for another month or so.) The satchel isn’t big enough to also store excess blankets in the summer, but I do have another basket for that. It’s not covered AND it’s not big enough to take the extra sheets, duvet, and pillow.

I’ve decided that I love our duvet covers (one is black & white linen the other is greens and cotton) and will use them instead of a bed spread. (I now have one bedspread to add to the flea market stock.)

I also decided that since we’re down to one sets of bed linen for each season: winter and summer — (bottom sheet, top sheet, and duvet) and no more, I will try and do what I’ve heard others do: wash their sheets and put them immediately back on the bed. This will cut down the amount of things needing to be bought, maintained, and stored, saving money and storage space. All good — all I have to do is make sure to start the sheets in the morning….

I am slowly, but surely, finding a work pattern here. It isn’t fast, but it has been working. There’s only one piece which has really amused me. I decided I should clean the toilet after the first time I used it, daily. (We have a lot of iron in our water, so it needs daily scrubbing.) Wouldn’t happen,didn’t happen, no matter how often I told myself I had to do it! But the second time I use it? Well, then I can do it.  I’m greatly amused at my human foibles, but it is what it is. It’s getting scrubbed every day, and that’s all that matters, but I have to have my coffee first! 🙂

 

And so it goes, and goes and goes!

 

Today’s job and tomorrow’s is to organize the flea market stuff and get it into my car so I can take it to the storage or just store it here, in one place, and neatly, which would work better. It needs to be in one place and having it at home means I can clean, sort and price things as I have time, instead of trying to do it all at once, either at the market or in the storage.

I feel like it’s one of those marble or ball bearing games. Today this falls through the hole and gets caught. Tomorrow it will also get caught with some other piece. I am letting this process develop, organically, as it were, at its own pace. And it’s getting done; again, that’s all that matters!

Different

I have been reading a book I’ve had for some time, and only used before as a reference: Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. She has this to say, which I found really mind-boggling:


“The sense of being at home is important to everyone’s well-being. If you do not get enough of it, your happiness, resilience, energy, humor, and courage will decrease. It is a complex thing, an amalgam. In part, it is a sense of having special rights, dignities, and entitlements — and these are legal realities, not just emotional states. It includes familiarity, warmth, affection, and a conviction of security. Being at home feels safe: you have a sense of relief whenever you come in and close the door behind you, reduced fear of social and emotional dangers as well as physical ones.” (page 7)


 

As an abused and neglected child, I had none of those things. Home was, as I have said elsewhere, the place where they knew how to put the (emotional) knife so it hurt the most. And, if a person wasn’t actively hurting me, they were wondering wtf my problem was? So, I have no expectation of safety at home.

I also have no experience of someone as she talks about caretaking a home as a way of showing love.

DH’s circumstances were different from mine, but his childhood home wasn’t happy and protective entirely either.

I have been for years trying to figure out what makes a place “home” and the most I could come up with was cozy and safe, so that’s what I’ve been heading towards decorating wise. But it has been an ongoing problem for me, because I want something I have never had, and decorating magazines and books just do NOT talk about how to create a home-like atmosphere.

And then there’s this:


“…what a traditional woman did that made her home warm and alive was not dusting and laundry. Someone can be hired to do those things (to some extent anyway). Her real secret was that she identified herself with her home.” (page 9)


And that I’ve never done.

The panic attacks happen in at least one predictable way, or used to. That was if I set up something to please myself. I was sure others would see what I did as laughable, stupid, or just wrong.

That’s a product of years of conditioning as a kid. It’s part of the cyclic rant: “Someone will break it. Someone will steal it. Someone will deride it or make fun of me,” that is the verbal side of my panic attacks.

Standing in front of a bookshelf with palms sweating and near tears, because I displayed some of my favorite things isn’t an experience I remember fondly, but it used to be common.

I identified myself not with the space I occupied, but internally. Inside was my only safe harbor.

I feel rather at sea in some ways. Years ago, my therapist told me to nurture the wounded kid inside me. I asked, “How?”

She looked at me and said, “If you’d had a kid, you would have learned, because your instincts and the child’s needs would have taught you. But you never had a kid. And you weren’t nurtured. I’ll have to think about that.”

And we came up with some answers, but not a lot. Although I don’t see myself as an uncaring person, frankly, I suck at relationships.

I ruin friendships, put off people, and always have. Some of it was being wounded, because I said inappropriate things, but much of it was just that I never learned how to build community, closeness, not really. I try hard. I try to have integrity. I try to be of use to the people I know, but I’ve never been sure I do it right, and think I screw it up, all the time.

The house is much the same sort of thing. It used to be that every time I did some new decorating thing or worked on cleaning the house, what I said to my husband was, “Are you mad at me?”

And although that’s pretty pathetic, it’s still the truth. These days, by contrast, what happens is that I’m grumpy. I was this morning, when I cleaned the kitchen.

You know? I’d really, really love to outgrow my childhood. Maybe by the time I’m 70?