Tag Archives: de-hoarding

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;


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.


The valance idea has run into several problems. When/if I get them worked out, I’ll let you know! My original idea was to stretch wire through eyebolts across the top of the hangers/rod. That could work, if you know in advance how big the window is and the exact placement of the eyebolts. I didn’t. In order to make that work, I’d have to completely disassemble the curtain rod and build the valance in place. I did most of that before I quit. I have a 2nd idea, and that is to use dowels between the eyebolts. If that works, then that’s what I’ll do, much easier! At the moment, there’s a piece of flat copper wire up there. That won’t work for a permanent solution, but the pieces up prove the concept. It isn’t ugly and although definitely feminine, I don’t think DH will mind — no waterfalls of lace, no pink everywhere, no cutesy animals with bows around their necks or tails or such. Definitely feminine and definitely romantic. However, I warned him and he has veto power!

Doing this required that I dig into and start to deal with one of the dust pits. There’s 3 empty artwork tubes, dusty, out in the snow along with a pop flat. I’m sneezing up a storm and need to go take a shower. However, I can absolutely claim this:2 pieces wire,  6 napkins (valance), 3 eye bolts used, 1 reveal (art storage),  4 boxes out. More cleaning accomplished too although that doesn’t count. 2+6+3+1+4=16 out or used

The curtain rod I took down in the dining room can be put back up. The window is a different size than the one upstairs where I’d intended to use it. I have another  gauzy curtain I can put on it temporarily, until I get the kitchen curtains made.

The probable next piece in the bedroom is to empty the corner bookcase. This will take several days, as it’s very dusty and I have not considered what to do with these books. For a long time, it was the case of books I thought I’d almost always keep. And, although that’s not true now (I sold all the really good stuff to help pay the shop’s bills.) what’s left are still pieces I thought would be in the collection forever.

The shower was wonderful and it’s 2:15 or so. I need some lunch!

Also Up in the Air

about the idea of counting stuff this year. I don’t know that I want a goal like the past 6 or so years, but keeping track, good or bad, doesn’t seem to “push” on me the same way.

We’ve decided that rather than wait for spring to do whatever stuff in the house that we’ll do whatever we can to the house and stay indoors. One of the long-range plans is a place for DH to put equipment for his hobby, which there hasn’t been room for frankly, because there were too many books here.

Also, we have been talking about, for years, about rearranging our bedroom. That’s on the queue for this winter too.

There’s an old studio light that we got from the dump (the kind they used to use for making movies). It has been hanging on a pipe in our kitchen for years. DH got it down, put a new light fixture in it and hung it in the living room. Looks great, won’t use up bazillions of watts of power and hard-to-find-bulbs, and it isn’t obvious that it has been hacked. Win! Less stuff, more useful objects and things being used!

I’ve gotten rid of 31 books in the past 5 days. I have packages to mail to various people. Today we went to the dump and a chunk o’ stuff that I had in the booths went to the swap shop: a 2 bay chafing dish, a serving dish, three gold chargers, and 5 Christmas tins.

We forgot to take the old shop vacuum cleaner. It’s a flying saucer, literally, it floats on a pocket of air. I couldn’t resist it when I found it, I mean what OTHER type of vacuum cleaner could a science fiction bookstore own, I mean really? But we forgot it, so it’s still here. Decided it had to go last month when I realized we had six total vacuum cleaners: two uprights, 2 wet/dry ones, a portable and the flying saucer. The best wet/dry one has a few vital pieces missing for the wet function, which it does much better than the other. (It’s in the attic.) The two uprights each “live” in their designated area of use. The portable is what gets used most often, and it’s all over the place. But the flying saucer had just been stored in the storage unit, for !0 years now, and there’s no reason to keep it, so it’s going out — when i can remember to get it outta here!

Necessary Fall Chores

Columbus Day here is the “end” of summer, or, if you’re in a tourist-based business, it’s the end of the tourist, leaf-peeper, summer people season. ( I was for years.)

What I was supposed to be doing on Columbus Day was hauling a commercial van’s worth of books to a bookstore in Maine. Which ain’t gonna happen, at least not any time soon.

What I did was some of the outstanding chores: I transplanted bulbs & strawberries, moved a little gravel, etc. There’s still HUGE quantities of fall-based chores, and of course the house-based chores as well. I deep cleaned the bathroom yesterday. Deep cleaned the hallway today.

We bought a new front door, it’s beautiful and I’m glad we’ve got it! The guy who put on our roof is going to probably build us a new entry shelter, and the doorway was the next “to do” item. We need a new threshold, door frame, etc.

I’m working on the house, we’ll see if I can keep up the go through a room every day for the next few days? The “fallout” from the hall and bathroom is now cluttering up our bedroom, bigtime. THAT’S tomorrow’s agenda (along with the staircase), aside from going to the dump.

The chore list/surface cleaning thing doesn’t do well with seasonal stuff, yet. I have a l0t more work to do to get it to a form where I really don’t have to think about it.

I belong to a “daily” website. You pick tracks and do one thing a day. I was in the clutter one a while back. Almost all the organizational and decluttering things they wanted me to do, I’d already done, and had been doing for some time. Currently, I”m in an organizational track. Either it doesn’t really pertain because I don’t work for anyone else, or it’s something I already do, or it just doesn’t apply.

My conclusion? I am organized enough, I absolutely can declutter and purge stuff. I just have TOO MUCH stuff in this house! So, this week and next, my job is to try and change that.

I don’t know if I’ll make it, or not, but it’s a goal. And I’ve got to have a goal or I just don’t get things done.

Happy October everyone!

Stuff, more stuff, less stuff, more stuff etc.

Okay. so I went to the big antique store. In addition to the 5 pieces I knew I’d sold, I sold at least 2 rice bowls, 1 book, and a few other odds & ends. I’ll have a check and more exact details later.

I donated 12  books and a bag of bags (10) at a thrift shop today, the ones that had been slated to go to the community sale I didn’t go to on Monday. The pieces that were going to go on consignment today didn’t make it to that thrift shop, it will have to be Friday instead. (+22)

But, of course I bought stuff too. I bought 4 pieces at the antique store: a chicken thing and 3 kilt pins. (-4)

Then I went to the thrift shop down the street and gave them the bag with the sweater in it (+2) but I got a bunch o’ stuff at the same time: a napkin/egg holder, 2 spice jar racks w/ 7 jars, 1 candle holder. Then at the shop where I got rid of the sweater and bag I got 2 plates a 2 piece pot, and 8 kids tshirts. -12

This morning I have been culling stuff, moving things around, cleaning and making decisions: I decided I needed to purge another vase. I moved the new strainer into the box shelves. I have an idea for mounting the pots, both decorative & accessible — we’ll see! Also moved the placemat/tablecloth collection so that it was easier to get to from the table, and rearranged what’s up there that’s decorative/storage so it looks better.

I got the bed liner out of the laundry room and staged to be cleaned (it can’t, unlike what I thought, go in the washer). Put 2 loads of laundry away, started another,

Things have been progessing, slowly but surely.

This a.m. I took a load o’ stuff from the “dump pile” next to the driveway. This is mostly pieces of wood, metal rods, etc. that come out of the shed, etc. and I use to fill in when I’ve got a dump load. There was enough of it that it was a load and I took it by itself. The car is currently full of the regular trash & recycles.

I’m off for load #2 today! I got rid of a decorative box earlier which isn’t in the counts above.


Sigh. I’m still doing this! I’m doing it in fits & starts, getting rid of great swaths of stuff and then nothing much for a while.

The no-stress/low-stress cleaning schema works for me, so the house is CLEANER. However, it’s still FULL of stuff. Last week, I for the first time in a long time processed a box of books, one of the box stacks that had reached the ceiling doesn’t now. I need to get the stepladder out, grab the next box and do it again. I have a grocery bag full of books to go away by the front door (they were going to be donated yesterday),  4 more books in the dump bin. I’ve organized and found ways to store the tshirts I’m using to make rugs, and the remaining pieces. But, it’s September, after Labor Day and the house is still full o’ stuff.

It’s 3:30 roughly as I write this. I think I will figure out wtf I’m going to do for dinner and start stuffing the car with things to go away: to the booths or to donate. We’ll probably have dinner in the middle of this effort. But I’m going to go fill the car. It isn’t as big as the house, by any means, but it will hold a lot!

What I’ve done (real time notes):

Clean the trays in the laundry room. Replace the plastic bigger trays with smaller enamel trays that were just hanging around. Unless DH will use them, the 2 large trays are going OUT. Consolidated some pantry storage and found a new spot to store the banana bags in the process. Cleaned the dust bunnies off the laundry room ceiling. The laundry room looks cleaner and tidier. (20 mins to 3:50)

Also out: a cape, a decorative box, 3 placemats, 1 table runner. Used 1 metal tray (now holding what was in the decorative box), 2 basket liners  — in the baskets they were made for. (30 mins to 4:20, includes a break)

I need to go do something else for a bit. I’ve got the laundry all set for the day, and I’ve been working on the laundry room itself.  But the other tasks I set myself today  haven’t been done. I just printed the outline of the memoir, so I’m going to go do that and juice the limes.

First 2 major sections of the memoir edited (1 hour to 5:20). A box of books sorted as well, most of them will be donated tomorrow.

I’ve got dinner started, the limes have been dealt with as well (1 hr 10 mins to 6:30)

That’s all for tonight!


For someone who wanted to stuff the car, I did a remarkably poor job of it! However, I do have a box o’ books to go away as well as other things to take to the booths and/or donate. I just need to keep doing this, over and over again!


New & Different

I left here with a mission the other day:  to get rid of stuff!

I took books to the bookstore to sell, sold 2. Went to another bookstore, traded 2 and bought 2. Went to the market & put 6 books in the donation bin. If you’re keeping up that’s 8 out. Then I went to one of the antique booths and left 3 for sale. Sold a rattan case. Also swapped out a display at one store and slightly rearranged things in the other. More to do, more to do!

The following few days, everywhere I went, all of my favorite church shops, etc. were having sales. I bought a LOT of stuff, but put it in the booths ASAP. I don’t think I bought anything for the house at all except maybe shirts for the rugs.

Since then, I’ve sold another book to the bookstore, a book case, a vase, donated about 25 books, cataloged another box to go on the spinner, etc. It’s Labor Day weekend, and I wanted to be moving my bedroom around/painting it now, not just the same old, same old, sigh.

The 2nd household rug has now been designated for the laundry room, needs to be the biggest rug I’ve made. That’s being worked on.

I have a plan for the cleanup/prep of the memoir file so that I can deliver it in TWO WEEKS

Have emails out to the other paritcipants about a promotional event maybe for the current product.

Have started clearing out the corner of the kitchen so I can use the big kitchen table for the rug, but also, it’s the next large piece slated to be sold.

We’re waiting on the schedule for the roof, there’s been a glitch for the contractor.

I’ve got an entire egg box of books that I’m processing today to go out to the shop where I’m selling paperbacks, got maybe 12 left to do for that effort. They’ll go out, I’ll put an ad in craigslist and if they don’t sell, next week they get donated. I don’t have time to keep things around anymore!

Same song, slightly different dance —