Category Archives: stuff

Craft Supplies: What to Use or Cull?

I have too many craft supplies, of course. I need to either use the stuff up, sell, toss or otherwise cull this collection down A LOT.

I have been trying to think what I have to do/get rid of/cull next? And I don’t know. I have fabric at a seamstress currently to turn into \ throws. I don’t need more, those will do us year round, with the one my MIL made.

So, then what? I have pillow forms, fabric, beads, yarn, basketry material, and paper crafting supplies.

The obvious thing to use some of that up would be to do the knit the pillow covers project. The not so obvious thing is whether I have yarn in the right sort of colors/textures for the living room. That I do NOT know, I’ll have to look.

After that project and making myself a new hat. (Remember this? I decided to make myself another hat.) I have no idea how much yarn I’ll have left, how many pillow forms I’ll still, and what to do with what I DO?

I also have no ideas about the rest of it. I need to work harder to find projects or just decide to get rid of the stuff, in quantity!


Okay I sorted. I have enough, with an additional skien or two, to make pillow covers. One or maybe two? We’ll see. I also seem to have enough to make another hat. After that? I have a bin full of yarn, most of it with no particular use in mind. The one exception is the rug which was being knit/crotched for the bathroom, the one that takes about an hour to get 1/4 of the way around and 1/4″ thick  per row. In other words? To make that rug takes a LARGE amount of time/effort, which is why it got dropped to begin with. I either need to ‘fess up and admit I won’t ever finish it OR I need to actually finish it. Storing the tools and supplies and 1/2 finished rug just is dumb!

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Found Time

It occurred to me that one thing I’m doing to be more efficient is using all those “little blocks” of time, while waiting for something:

  • Waiting for the toaster to pop.
  • Warming myself in front of the wood stove.
  • Waiting for the microwave.
  • In the bathroom.

I have started washing the few hand-wash items on the kitchen window sill, while I wait for the micro. What gets put on the window sill are items which will be ruined if washed with the other dishes: the wine glasses would break, the wood dough scraper would get soaked and ruined, the thermometer would get soaked and its electronics ruined. After use, they’re put on the window sill. And frequently, although I don’t mean to, I forget about them. These things are getting washed and put away, regularly now. Yay! One less set of FLOATING CLUTTER!

I don’t have a set thing to do while waiting for the toaster, yet. I tend to do whatever I see that I can do quickly. But it occurs to me that maybe I should use it as a time to wipe out the micro! The micro gets cleaned now on an as-needed basis. I’d like to be more regular and proactive than that. Cleaning it while the toaster works seems like a good plan.

Warming myself at the wood stove and in the bathroom I use the time for the same thing these days, that is, I grab a handful of papers which need sorting and go through them. This is slowly but surely, getting us through the boxes and boxes of papers we’ve had stored.

Do you use these little blocks of “found time” to clean or cull? What do you do?

 

More Culling, Electronic & Otherwise

Have to declutter. Along this line, I have been looking at my pins on pinterest.

I just looked at one and deleted it. Why? Because the link to the content I wanted got a 404 error on the website where the pin originated! If you’re so lazy that you can’t fix internal references, either on pinterest or on your own website, why would I want to read anything you had to say about organization?

That stuff counts people!

I also deleted a post where in order to read any content you either had to sign up for their emails or pay for it. If it’s not free, say so up front! I wouldn’t have pinned the front page if I’d known that to start with. Don’t waste my time! Also, I do NOT need more email coming into my inbox! If I read your content and it seems worthwhile, then maybe, I might sign up for your emails. Maybe.


What this reminded me was that I need to set goals with the decluttering and cleaning. I’d forgotten about that idea, but it really helps.


I have slowly but surely been doing a little of the seasonal/spring cleaning. I haven’t finished cleaning the doors/walls in the hall, but I have cleaned the bottom shelf and window in the laundry room, the shower curtains have been washed and reversed to their summer positions.

(Yes, there had been a photo here of a closet. But until I had a reason to scroll up from the bottom, I hadn’t noticed the naked female torso,crotch to neck, under the closet!) So much for images from upsplash. You folks will have to make do without images again for a while until I can find another source.

I took the salt and handwarmers out of the entry and discussed with DH how we need a “seasonal” shelf: insect repellant, sunscreen, hand warmers, pathway salt all need to be stored in one place. Whatever you need you grab.

I know where I’d like it to be: the coat closet shelf. Or maybe a decorative, lidded basket near the entry? (The salt container will be the determinate there; it’s the biggest piece.) Maybe under the entry bench?

DH took over the coat closet a few  years back with motorcycle gear. And although I’ve removed about 1/2 of it into 2 other locations, there still isn’t enough room to actually use it for something like this. Not to mention that the closet door frequently gets blocked with items going into/out of my office, sigh.

I suppose if I’m going to start decluttering, now. The first place I should start is that hallway. I will get access to the closet door, the last door I need to spring clean, so that job will be finished. And I can look at the closet for general house use vs. motorcycle stuff, again.


DH’s lunch project is to hang the laundry rack. We bought a few years ago a rack  you can raise and lower from the ceiling to dry clothes. This is another way to save $, make use of what we already have, etc.

We also had a discussion about whether it’s too soon to put away the wood burning materials for the season. DH reminded me we were building fires still in June last year, so nothing got put away.


I worked in my office some this morning. Took out the 3 covered enamel pots I store stacked one atop the other. I’d had yarn, etc. in them. That collection got culled. Some of it went in the trash, some of it is going to the swap shop, some of it is going to the flea market, and some of it is going back into my office!

I also pulled a metal file box out, filled with paperwork. I reused the file box to house the “this needs to go into the filing cabinet” papers and the receipts, etc. which it held are getting put into the new system for that.

Fewer pieces. Less stuff! More organization! Fewer expenses (laundry rack).

All good (except that image; THAT made me MAD)! I’m not against nudes, or even think the image was ugly or in particularly bad taste, but I feel broadsided by the fact that I should have vetted the image more. Even needing a more detailed vetting doesn’t bother me, it was the shock of NEEDING to do that which upset me!

So, I apologize if you got this post with the image and it offends you. It was completely unintentional!

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!

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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!!!

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.

Editing

In an effort to store less, I’m seriously considering a major reduction of my cookbook collection. I of course have too many.

My trunk novel’s protagonist was someone responsible for feeding an entire community through winter, in an unindustrialized culture. So, I have a lot of cookbooks related to that: Colonial American cooking, Medieval cooking, butchering, root cellaring, etc.

This came about in part because a gent I’d met had a character in his novel, a tavern owner, doing a marketing survey before industrialization, which simply wouldn’t have happened. Starvation was no joke in those days! Marketing surveys as such didn’t exist accordingly. The result is that I have a slug of premodern era cookbooks. Those are an easy cull, fascinating though I find them.

We also really only eat meat as a condiment these days, 3 times a week or maybe 4 at the most. So meat-centric cookbooks are probably another easy cull. (When I learned to cook, the way you started meal planning was determining the meat first, then the rest of meal around that.)

Along with those, I’d actually like to reduct the ENTIRE collection. The way to do that would be to copy the recipes I think I’ll use most into some type of house notebook or card file, and then eliminate the books.

I have a designed card, based on a commercial one. (I tried a cut/paste, it didn’t work.) The top of the first side is divided into 3 columns: measure, manipulate, and areas. This is directly related to the self-cleaning cooking posts. The bottom 1/2 of the card is the precooking actions

I have  “weird” symbols on many of my recipes. The on-going self-sufficiency index. I wrote a post about that here. That’s represented by 3 numbers, separated by slashes: 3/8/29, for example.

Another is something which shows up looking like a ratio, as this: 5:3, which is how many ingredients are used to create how many precooking pieces. I started doing this when I was working. I would do things like saute onions in the morning before I went to work and then come home to finish making dinner.

There is a type of food indicator: E S or D (entree, side or dessert).

And a list of month numbers, 1-12, so that I know when the ingredients are at their freshest.

Lastly there’s the source of the recipe and the page number.


This sounds really complicated, it isn’t in practice. Much harder to describe than use!

The other side of the card is divided into 4 columns: Qty, Unit, Ingredient, Procedures.

The bottom edge of the card has the name of the recipe spelled out again, for filing.

These are set up as 4  x 6 cards. The reason I haven’t made the cards is that I really need to change the format that it can fit on 3 x 5s. I have a 4 drawer file box I can use for those, but not for bigger cards.


Maybe make the cards hold less, linked by a recipe numbers maybe?

Recipe 1, Tools (card 1 front) Preprep (card 1 back), Cooking Instructions (card 2, front & back), Misc. Info, (card 3, front and back).


If I can get the cards printed by a computer, that should work.

I’ll have to talk to DH about it. Much of the work I had done for this is in a program I’d we don’t have running. I’ll research the upgrade and put it into the budget queue. Then retrieve the data I’ve already got.

In the meantime, I can go through the cookbooks I use now which I didn’t have, then, and get the data and do the obvious culls.

So, I’m off!

I’m not well, but for the first time in almost 2 weeks, I’m not hacking, wheezing or sneezing. I actually feel pretty good. And by comparison with yesterday? I feel terrific.

I am throughly tired of being sick and tired!

Whacking and Hacking

I did some work in my hobby space/office this morning. The drawers I plan to remove this summer are empty. However, the piece on top of them is NOT. Nicely, the bookcase which sits nearby is mostly empty, so I started the process of moving things from the top of the drawer units to the bookcase this morning. After that’s done, the top DH added can be removed. THEN the floor area needs to be cleared enough so we can get the small dresser and toy chest out and then, finally, the drawer units.

It won’t be tomorrow, that’s for sure!

However, there’s progress. Pieces were culled and added to the “flea market” stack, going to the storage, when convenient.

We got rid of the chair which has been lurking on the porch all winter last week, it went to the dump. It had checked (split) and neither of us thought it would sell, so off it went. It was a good, oak chair, but we couldn’t sell it, we tried in two shops, at various price points, nada. So it sat and sat and sat, and eventually the seat became checked.

Still  to be removed is the old flat file. That was waiting on better weather which we have now, but with both of us being sick, it’s way down the list, It can stay where it is, it’s a wind break on the porch.

DH examined the laundry vent, which got bent off 90 degrees by ice this past winter. It’s going to require patching, a diverter it should have had to begin with, and more sealing than it apparently had too, sigh.

THAT job is going to delay my moving the wood piles. We had one which fell over last winter and the plan has  been to move a lot of the wood storage to the porch. That has to wait until DH is done with the roof project. Since I didn’t want to move the wood 2x, I figured I’d just load it onto the porch around now. Hmm. Not now.

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Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

I did get the last of the unstacked wood stacked yesterday. The last fall delivery was dropped at the lowest point of our driveway, the wood on the bottom was pretty wet, even sitting on a tarp. I had a plastic pallet,slated to go to the dump, but what the hey, I used it atop the lower tarp, wet wood stacked on it, put the 2nd tarp back on top. There’s not much there, only about 20 pieces, but it has a chance of drying now and it probably didn’t before, it would have just rotted.

Yes, I’m still getting things done. Yes, I still feel fine, and then have no energy, like water running into sand. It’s inching forward, but it IS forward. I am whacking away at it.

(Hacking is what I sound like, mostly, if I’m not croaking trying to talk.)