Tag Archives: changing your life

Modifications

  1. One of the “truths” I’ve gotten to which I wrote about is that I not only need to do maintenance cleaning (dishes, laundry, sweeping, etc.) but deep cleaning (cleaning cabinets, appliances, windows, etc.) to get the house clean.
  2. I’ve also noticed that the only way to keep areas where items are always in use decluttered is to put more away than you use, like the chart, here.
  3. These days, whatever I’m doing, I look at the pieces with the idea that maybe I should get rid of some of it?
  4. Today I decided that if I ever expect to declutter this house, I have to make the culling and removal of the items stored in boxes as much a part of my cleaning routines as the others.

So, what did I do? I swapped out the summer and winter scarves and robes today. In the process, I pulled 2 hats out for culling, 1 purse I’d forgotten was in there for resale. Then I opened a box and found FIVE chunks of old business records from 1990-1992 to put into the paper recycling.

The swap is part of the regular seasonal shift. Also included: washing the shower curtains, refreshing the Never Wet on them (We have a lot of iron in our water. Without the Never Wet, the curtains turn ruddy brown.) Cleaning and storage of the heavy winter blankets/flannel sheets. Swapping winter clothes for lighter ones.

Just for grins the other day, at Target (?) I looked at shower curtains/liners. Curtains were about $25, liners $5. We have 2 cloth liners, one black, one white. Works fine!

Our plan today is to take both cars to the dump and get rid of the bags of leaves as well as another large chunk of stuff.

DH put the knobs on the new bathroom cabinet. More progress!

I put things away into the new cabinet. Found the missing back stock of deodorant and shampoo, got the emergency supplies (first aid and eye wash) organized and in one place again. (Did that first.) So, although the bathroom project isn’t finished, there’s a bit less chaos now than there was this morning!

 

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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 some things off the cabinets and put them in the “sell” stack. I pulled some things 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!

When I Grow Up, I’ll . . .

Odd, at 60? to be in the position to think this, but that’s pretty much where I am.

I spent so much time/life energy fighting the pain, the crapola that came with the abuse, the neglect, the PTSD that resulted from that, yada yada. So, essentially, I’m done. Yeah, I have the house to finish, the memoir to finish, etc. but it’s details.

For DECADES I’ve put aside things, put them off. I couldn’t keep the pain at bay, couldn’t deal with  the intensity, couldn’t cope if I let myself get heavily involved in anything other than my…self. Now I don’t need that.

Do I want to go to school? Learn to sew? Try again to write a novel?

The only “goals” I can see are ephemeral, not concrete: be happy, stay in the light, flourish, be creative, and grow.

Hard to schedule THOSE classes!

I’ll think on it!

J

Slowly, Slowly . . .

Some of you may know that I’ve been playing with a kitchen book for years, a decade or more probably. I’m finally getting one place, one space to put all the various bits & pieces I’ve had. ONE PLACE. It’s amazing.

Scarey, I couldn’t find some of my data earlier today. Found it, backed it up, you bet! But there’s other pieces of this that are personal that I’ve just (re)discovered. I had, many years ago, made a “in season” calendar for myself. When I went looking for one online, it didn’t exist for the part of the country where we live. I could find almost every other region of the US, England, Australia, and Canada, but not New England. So, being me, I made my own.

Now of course there’s dozens out there; there wasn’t, so I made my own. I pulled every list I could find and edited them for what I knew was nutty here. You don’t get fresh tomatoes in season around Boston in Feb., for example. Anyway, that’s what I did; it took me hours, no months. But I did it.

And, again, being me? I went and ran the ingredients in the recipes I use thru the “in season” calendar, so I knew when I should make them, both for flavor and  lowest cost. That file was one that had been missing for oh a long time. I found it. Yay! So I printed out the Dec. list today.

People who benefit from my December food gift (usually bread) may just get more this year, maybe!

This getting organized business has become what I do when I’m not working. I told DH and a friend it feels like paper dolls for adults. I’m moving stickies all over pages and making pretty stuff, or using pretty stuff. On the other hand, if the pretty stuff helps me unravel the decades of mess in this place, I’m all for it.

We’ll see! I’ve some to do on the cleaning plan tonight before I go to bed, I have to note what I cleaned today and I have a section to figure out. AND I have the Dec. and Nov. recipe lists to file too, but those go in a separate place, for now.

Life is kind of weird and interesting and I may just buy stock in 3M — I should I’m using their tape and stickies by the bagful! I’ve gone from doing lists by hand on notebook paper to specific items on stickies on a grid. (I modded a printable I found.) I know what I want to do for the final version too, but refuse to let myself get side tracked BEFORE I finish the cleaning plan.  I have 2 sections to go I think.

I came up with, a few months ago, the SEVEN LEVELS OF STUFF. And I’m using that as the basis for my cleaning notebook. If it works, hurrah! I may do a FB page etc. If not, I’ve spent about $20 to buy post-its and ink.

We’ll see!

J

Behind, again, or Ahead, but Who Knew?

I listened today to a radio show about childhood traumas and how they can make you more resilient. Well, yes, I knew that already, thanks.

Most of the story and the folks they talked to posited the idea that a traumatized kid had some support network, albeit a nontraditional one: a friend, a grandma, a teacher, church, or whatever.

Me? My “support network” was a shifting network of people, stuff, and a LARGE dose of stubborn.

Since I only heard part of the show I thought I’d look for it to see if there was more info I could use. Can’t find the show. But in googling around trying to find it, a found a plethora of “help” out there. People think trauma is real, are doing something about it, and there’s resources. Wonderful. Almost none of it fits where I am; I’ve recovered too much. I was abused/traumatized too long ago.

Ain’t that just my luck? I mean here I had this thing decades before all these “experts” they know so much more than they did and almost none of it can help me.

I wasn’t depressed when I started the search, but — I mean after fighting something for 50 years there’s a huge amount of help which wasn’t there before, and next to nothing in what I’ve found is useful!

I wish that I wasn’t always on the wrong end of the curve, behind it or ahead of it? It seems I’m usually left behind or just bowled over/drowned out by the mob.

Being Self-Sufficient & Not

It’s getting colder, thankfully, the furnace is finally fixed! We’ve been using the woodstove, a thing we’ve decided we’ll do much more of this winter. For one thing, it helps deal with the various downed wood on the property. For another, it uses the resources we’ve already paid for, like firewood, instead of incurring a bill with the local propane company.

We’ve wintered here without a furnace before and it isn’t fun to come into an absolutely frigid house, but it can be done.

I have for the first time put root veggies (carrots) in wet sand to store them overwinter. We’ll see how that goes. Being able to buy organic and then storing them without refrigeration sounds like the best of all possible worlds to me. Along that line, I found a Mother Earth News article (of course) about this. You can find that here;

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/how-to-store-fresh-vegetables-zmaz04djzsel.aspx#axzz3Gn2iYEhy

Also, I’m making bread again. Making our bread all by itself saves us about $5 a week as we like hard crusted, “gourmet” type bread, not the supersoft cheap stuff. It ends up being about 2 loaves in a week. This time I cut up the end of the last loaf, to prepare it to become breadcrumbs.

I’ve been using a lot of breadcrumbs lately. I made stuffed mushrooms Sunday morning for both the political party my neighbor had and my writing group. Last week, I made a crustless quiche, why I’ve never heard of this technique before I don’t know, but I doubt I’ll ever make a quiche, at least for us, with a crust again! You just brush the inside of your quiche dish with olive oil, then spread a layer of breadcrumbs on that. Then add your quiche batter and bake. It was great, took WAY less time than a pie crust, was made with ingredients I almost always have at hand. Not to mention that it probably uses way less fat than traditional crusts too.

Otherwise, I did something I never thought I’d do. I gave up about cleaning the house. Last week I started to get really depressed, the house was a mess and no matter how much time I spent on it, it seemed it was still a mess. Or, I clean it up and then mess it up again. I finally asked 3 people to help. All of them know about my house, indeed two of them are neighbors. The other is one of my bosses (!). But I asked for help. I’m not getting it done on my own, I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done, fits and starts and forward & back.

I’ve had it. I’m stuck already. I asked for help, and thankfully, all 3 of them responded that they’d help. This is sort of scary for me, but I don’t really know what else to do. Professional help isn’t possible, it will make me panic AND we can’t afford it, so that’s out. And I’ve tried almost everything else I can think of, short of getting a dumpster, and that’s out for much the same reason the professional organizer is.

So, I swallowed my pride and asked for help where I needed it and otherwise, we’re working at being more self-sufficient.

Woodstove Going and . . .

our furnace is on the fritz (part is on order). This has meant that things in the living room have been majorly upset; a good thing. I’ve been whittling away at the bedroom a bit at a time, but the living room needs it too.

Had a friend over for tea last week, that got the table cleared off, which also needed it. Unfortunately, this meant the downstairs table was cleared off just in time for the colder weather (in an unheated house), when the inclination is to eat in the warmer rooms, upstairs! Backwards, that’s us.

So today started with me trying to make waffles. The waffle iron surfaced during the table clean out, for a long time I didn’t know where the waffle iron was, then the cable was missing. Found that. Thankfully I had marked it with a bread tag! (Do you use bread tags to mark things? I’ve done it for years, way before I ever saw a pic of such on pinterest!)

The waffle iron needed to be cleaned & seasoned, (it had been cleaned before it was put away, but the outside had gotten sticky somehow) so no waffles. Decided I was going to make pancakes instead. While looking for a missing ingredient in the canisters, one package of hull-less barley came open in the bin — another cleaning project.

My day, if you’re counting, before breakfast consisted of cleaning projects: the wood stove area, the waffle iron, and now the canister, sigh. At this point, DH took over and made pancakes. I finished cleaning/organizing the tools, etc. that had been used on the wood stove, so DH could put them away when he got there. He dealt with the barley (at that point I was still going to be the cook). And I put dishes away.

Almost every day now, when I put something away, I make a point of culling what’s stored with it, at least once a day. This has yielded a bunch of stuff, and the wagon is pretty full of things culled this way: a time card rack (factory type), a brass lamp shade, tape tins, etc. stuff — that’s going away, today (didn’t yesterday, stayed home, cleaned and wrote mostly).

The culling sort makes me almost miss the counting thing: combining stuff in the pantry, filing papers or tossing them, tossing excess clothes, etc. I know I’m doing it, not counting. I do notice though!

I sometimes wonder how I’ll know when I’m done? One paradigm I’d set was “being able to walk across my living room.” I haven’t accomplished that, yet. But the house is cleaner and I’m managing to not undo whatever I’ve done; a major victory, if you’re me.

For years, the idea of keeping some space clean would give me panic attacks. This going one-step-at-a-time isn’t fast, but I can sustain it, which having a professional organizer, spring cleaning or what have you doesn’t.

The dishes get washed daily (although I can honestly say they don’t ALL get washed all the time)! The toilet/sink/bath counter get washed regularly, but not on a schedule. The bed is made almost every day. The sheets have been getting washed every weekend. And I’m culling/selling/tossing stuff every week.  This is a slow but steady process, it has to be slow to keep the panic at bay.

When I wrote the memoir, I wrote about me and stuff and the woman who was my abuser. When I put the realities of what happened to me in a few succinct paragraphs, my being a “hoarder” makes sense. It also makes sense that I’m not attached to the stuff as much as the mess. I learned real quickly that anything of mine was subject to be “acquired” by someone else, or derided, or damaged, or broken, or given away. I learned that to protect myself I had to act as if my “stuff” had no value. The more I valued something, the more likely it was to be derided, broken, “lost” or stolen. I learned to hide behind mess, it was the only thing that worked.

Fifty-plus years later, I’m trying to undo that process. Not easy because most of it became unconscious behavior, and the panic is real. How often would you clean if the idea gave you a panic attack? That’s where i was for most of my life.

It’s changing. One piece at a time. Wish it was faster, but it is what it is. And, if this is like the PTSD behaviors, what will happen is that I’ll reach some point where 1)I’ll panic big time because the old behaviors are nearly gone and 2)I’ll ride that out and learn to live with whatever vestiges of the panic remain for the rest of my life, in a probably mostly clean & tidy home.

Took a lot of years and stuff to get here, it’s going to take some time yet to get out. Too slow, but it’s what works; and that’s inarguable, since the alternate just stops me cold!