Tag Archives: next steps

Decisions, decisions!

Things got complicated here.

Life got in the way of my plans, but also goaded them on. My plans were for the summer to remove 1/2 of all the stuff here, right?

I didn’t make that goal. But now I really need to, one way or the other. We have decided that we’re going to live in the main part of our house, and turn the areas where we currently sleep and work into storage and other auxilary space. It makes a lot more sense for aging in place; it also will be easier to use the mini-split by itself to heat/cool this place, etc. It will be more economical as well.

This requires a huge shuffle of furniture and stuff. It will also require a huge cull of the same. We talked this morning about what moves where. What the obvious culls are. About getting  estimates for moving the kitchen plumbing, etc. We intend to sell what we can of the excess stuff to pay for this, or just pay down the debt, either will put us in a better place in the future.

I have become completely fascinated by self-sufficiency videos. I’m not chasing the idea that if we don’t grow it, we don’t use it. But one video I watched talked about turning a house into a place producing what you need, instead of being a place where you consume what you need — and get somewhere else. I found another where a retired first-generation geek has automated his house in various unique ways. Many of the videos I’ve found are of people in Texas, California, etc. and we don’t have weather which enables us to use some ideas they do, but there ARE things we can do, sanely.  Consolidating our living space is a big way we can cut down what we own, what we “need,” and use.

It’s remarkably easy to think you need socks when you can only find one pair, because the others are in another part of the house, waiting to be washed or whatever.

Consolidating our living space won’t automatically solve all our disorganization problems, but it likely will help quite a bit!

The minisplit may be put off until spring 2020, but the beginning of the consolidation won’t.

 

I Have Been

Working hard — on the house. I’ve been following my cleaning plan.

It seems to me that a major shift is in order. Instead of trying to sell the memoir as a psych. program auxiliary piece, maybe what I need to do is sell the cleaning plan and make the memoir the back piece to that.

It would solve the problem of the memoir just not having a plot, being first-person, too short, and a mess of other issues. Of course, I still haven’t heard from my publisher, but my feeling is that I will not. Not now and not in the future. It will be as if it dropped into a black hole and vanished… poof!

This has completely stopped the work I was doing on the memoir. I had even talked to a friend about coding it for an ebook. Okay, fine.

I can’t sell the cleaning plan if I can’t use it, right? I can’t set myself up as an expert on anything unless I can actually DO whatever. (Well, that’s not true. These days the woods are full of blow-hard know-it-alls who make pronouncements about any and everything. EVERYONE is an expert, about anything they feel strongly about!)

But I was raised by someone who genuinely was an expert in his field. My brother is. My husband is too. I have been surrounded my entire life by men who are really good at their jobs, and became “experts.”

So I have standards about about what it takes to BE an expert:

  • You must know what you’re talking about.
  • You must be able to do something rather than just talk about the subject.
  • You must have some sort of track record, that is a history, of successfully being able to do whatever it is.

My dad taught aeronautics  and designed airplanes for 40 years, my brother has worked in his field for the same amount of time and he’s still teaching and writing about it, my husband has been in his field since the field started, about 30 years now.

Me? The only thing I’m expert in is the inner workings of my head. The memoir is 50 years of life & learning and took me 10 years to write. The cleaning plan started in one way when I started this blog in 11/2011. I’ve been whacking away at the problems since.

I couldn’t do the memoir until I did the trauma work.

I could write, but not use, the cleaning plan until I did the memoir.

So, we’ll see if the next step is what I want/hope it to be? That is, using the cleaning plan, make it  a habit, and a book and/or app is the next step. (Habits take 90 days to be established.)

I sure hope so! I don’t know that I have the patience to spend 10 more years on this project.

So, I’ve shifted gears. I was all set to publish the memoir, whack away at the cleaning plan, then when I finally got it to work, get it ready for publication.

Nope.

Doing it the other way around. Going to get the cleaning plan working,  finish up the writing related to it, get DH or someone to make the app I have in mind, then publish the CLEANING PLAN, with the MEMOIR as back material.

Then the lack of “plot” or “arc” or sex, drugs, rock n’ roll won’t matter. I’m not selling the memoir; it’s explanatory material, I’m selling the cleaning plan. Want to know why I set the cleaning plan up the way I have? Read the memoir and you’ll find out.

street signs

Image is not mine, not sure where I got it. Sorry!

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!

More Frugality

Because the thing I want to save the $ for is a heating/energy unit, I went looking at our electric company’s website. So they kept referencing apparently an old, Obama-era site, which of course is no longer active, but there’s no other referral.

I am, can you tell, really impressed with our local electric company. Wonder why? See here for more info.

In their defense, I will say that the 3rd time they sent us the “You’re using more energy than your more energy efficient neighbors” letter, they did at least make some reference to what they were comparing us to, a typical home in our zip code. Of course, they never actually said what that was, so it was still meaningless, but less so than previously.

DH is set on getting at least one minisplit  this year and maybe another next year. Okay. The chimney cap we’re replacing this year is the last piece of the chimney/wood stove replacement project. The only piece other than that on the chimney which hasn’t been replaced is the veneer over the pipe, a box around it. I’d love to replace the box, but it’s mostly cosmetic, not structural.

If I win the lottery, we’re going to get the minisplits, solar panels AND a new fake riverrock box around the chimney pipe with a mantel to match. Just sayin’!

Barring that? We’re getting a new chimney cap and at least one minisplit.

My husband said to me, empathically emphatically this morning, that he didn’t want to haul wood or load it into the stove another year.

Okay!

I just have to find a way to make this happen! Squeeze those dollars!


Plant and landscaping frugality: A 1 gallon potted perennial is $35 at Lowes, about $32 with a discount. If you buy them at garden club sales, they’re around $10-$20. Cheaper yet? Layer a 2nd one from one you’ve got, or plant the seeds, or divide it? — Free!

Mulch frugality: Garden centers at big box stores typically sell opened bags of mulch, etc. for 1/2 price. Cheaper yet? Use the pine needles, pine bark, leaves, what have you that you have in your yard already as mulch. Free!

The Celery Thing: I’ve run into this a couple of times, people talking about planting celery plants in their yard. I did this last fall, and the plants are gone this spring, again.

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Photo by Sole D’Alessandro on Unsplash

I went looking for more information. The best I found is a woman who’s been using the same 7 celery plants for years. She lifts them in the fall and makes them houseplants during the winter (and uses them). You can find her write up about this here. (The site is full of interesting ideas too: choosingvoluntarysimplicity.com .)


Gawd I love spring.

And I hate it; I’m always overwhelmed with things to do, ideas to explore, etc. Too much!


Despite still being sick, I managed to spread one of the remaining bags of mulch this morning on the bulb bed. I also transplanted two daffs AND moved some rock, sand, etc. I was wiped out after about an hour, which is typical these days.


On Saturday: the plant sales were a success and not as cheap as I’d hoped. The library/town sale where I’d bought a 1 gallon pot for $10 last year, they were $15. (I got 2.)

The other plant sale where I stopped I got 2 6″ perennials for $5 each.

Sunday? Our next door neighbor took out 90% of a forsythia bush (what the 1 gallon pots held)  and gave me a branch which should get us the last two plants I think I need, for free. I wish I’d known the neighbor was going to whack up his 15 year old plant 1 day earlier, could have saved us $30!

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.)

The New Entry?

This morning I had an epiphany about an entry. Talked to DH about it. It will displace the ironing board and the pantry overflow.

  1. We bought, some time ago, a vintage ironing board cupboard. This houses the ironing board and iron and hangs on the wall, no legs. We had one of these in my childhood home, most efficient! My idea was always that it was on one side of the new broom closet. DH said, “We’ll see.” I’m not sure if DH has to make me an ironing board to go on the cast iron piece in the cupboard, or not. We’ll look into it. In any case, it needs to be sanded, repainted before it’s put into place. Definitely a summer job!
  2. We get the Dutch bench out of the attic and put it back beneath the window on that wall. (Expense = $0) Or, we can move the beautiful bench I bought and put it there. Since we already own both, whichever one we choose would cost us $0 as well.
  3. That we put up 2 coat hooks, one on each side of the window. (We don’t own these. Although Gawd knows, I have lots of hooks!) Unknown expense.
  4. That we move the stray sock basket next to the wall next to the washer.
  5. That we move the 3 round wire bread baskets next to the table where they’e used.
  6. I paint the mullions on the laundry window the same color we’re painting the baseboards. (We will already have the paint. Extra cost $0)
  7. That we move one of the closet doors to hide the washer and dryer part of the room, making it possible to hide that mess. (We maybe able to use what we have for this already too!) This probably won’t work, the dimensions aren’t the same on the closet door I measured. . . .

At the moment, our entry is by the front door and always a mess. There’s a coat/hat rack which was taken from an old fire department. I love the history of the piece, but I hate the fact that there’s always a row of messy coats, hats, mufflers, etc. It has a narrow shelf above it we added, but the shelf isn’t big enough to take anything of size. There’s a bench below, but because of where it is, jammed up to the stairs, between the base of the stairs and the front wall, you can’t sit there without fighting the jungle of coats.

We do have another coat closet, but it’s full of motorcycle jackets and DH’s hobby equipment, mostly. The last time I looked I think I had one coat in it. He’s also filled the upstairs equivalent of this with hobby equipment. His hobby takes a lot of space and for a while it looked as if the necessary equipment and supplies were no longer going to be available. He’s culling it down a little at a time, but it takes reminders from me and tolerance. He’s not the person who filled the living room with boxes, 8 high — I am. Filling two closets, etc. isn’t anywhere near the same amount of stuff! And I still have 2 corners of the house and the storage unit full o’ my stuff. I have less than last year, yes, but still ….


We bought a new to us dining room table last night. I thought DH was set on it, he thought I was. It was cheap, but not quite what either of us thought (it looked better in the pic than it does in real life). We may buy another table I found yesterday instead and donate this one to Habitat, where we got it. We don’t mind donating to Habitat, but usually do it with a check and without hauling furniture around.

We’ve been together for > 40 years now and we still miscomminicate this way every now and then. Fortunately, this wasn’t all that expensive. . . .

However, the jury is still  out. We haven’t actually decided to do one thing or the other, yet.


The table has been salvaged. How? DH sanded and then waxed it. It looks MUCH better! We’ve used it a couple of times. This weekend we looked at other tables in antique shops, but decided not to buy anything else unless we love it. We now have 2 tables which are good, but not terrific. Need to replace those with something we both really like, or not buy anything else anyway.

Today…

We got the last of the old dining room rug free (it was under a heavy wardrobe in one corner), which is the next step in the redo the kitchen/kitchen storage project. We talked about replacing the light we’d decided we were going to sell and the next steps of that:

  • Getting the “new” shade out of the attic. Got both of them out, decided which one we’d use and which one was being sold. 5/1/19
  • Figuring out its dimensions and buying/mounting an appropriate pendant lamp kit. Tried 2 different ones, neither do we like the looks of. More search and procurement needed, along with returning the unwanted lamp kits.
  • Remove the old light and replace it with the new.

We also talked about our potential new broom closet, cleaning supply closet, and other items which are likely to be stored in and around the kitchen area.

More progress! It’s not a lot, but it’s progress.