Sunday, July 31, 2016

Misadventures of a Pack Rat - Day 4

Life has had a little more stress than usual as the Investigator was in the hospital for surgery.  That's one of those difficult changes I alluded to in an earlier post. Now that he is home and recovering I have been back on task as I continue my purging efforts in addition to acting as caregiver for my sweet better half. I am happy to say he is getting better every day.  You will also see that I have not been idle.

With just snatches of time here and there everything looks a bit disorganized, but I know that with each item that ends up in a bag or box progress is being made.  Unfortunately, letting go of some things takes a little more time than just putting them into a bag and sending them out the door.

Books for the church library need to be cataloged before I can put them on the shelves.  The top box is finished and ready to go.  The bottom box still needs to be done. Hopefully, I will complete both of them before the week is out.  After that, I will still need to take them up to the church.

Sometimes it feels like everything I own has a story attached to it.

Three years ago I  crocheted two baby blankets for my niece's twins, one boy, one girl.  They both turned out very cute so I made another pink one for a close friend's first granddaughter.  Next, I started to make this blue one for another niece, but it seemed no matter how hard I tried, it just wouldn't come out right.  I pulled it out and started over 4 times before I finally gave up in frustration and threw everything into the back of my closet where it has been for well over a year.  I have felt guilty about not finishing it ever since and every time I stumble over it in my closet it mocks me!  I have finally decided I really don't want to ever finish it.   I also know there must someone out there who loves to crochet and who will enjoy using all this yarn .  So out it's going.

Aren't these stacking boxes cute?  I bought them in a lovely little gift shop some 22 or so years ago. I can still see the shop in my mind's eye filled with pretty dishes, silk flowers and assorted candles as well some antiques. I was wandering through with family visiting from out of town when I spotted them and decided to bring them home with me.  My husband was thrilled! LOL!  My house had more of a cottage theme back in those days so I had them sitting around on shelves or under the tree at Christmas.  However, much as I always liked them I never really used them for anything useful.  They are just empty boxes after all.  If someone has a suggestion for what to do with them, I'm open.  Otherwise, I need to just make myself give them away.

 These woven afghans are also from my cottage theme years.  I have already given several like them away.  These take up a lot of space in the linen closet but I almost never use them.  However, these last two do have some emotions attached to them.  The one on the right was the last Christmas gift I ever received from my oldest brother before he passed away two months later.  The one on the left was a gift from a very old and dear family friend who has also passed away in the last couple of years.  I am still trying to decide if these are going back into the closet, even if I don't use them or if a photograph of them is enough.  We will see.

Before you completely despair of my ever being able to let go of anything, I would also like to say I have been working on my bedroom closet for the last two days.   Between my hubby's naps I have collected several bags of clothes, shoes and purses as well as a few more books and tons of hangers, so all is not lost.  Purging is happening.  In fact, I have another trunk load of stuff that just needs to be loaded up and sent on it way.  Hurray!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Blog Woes

For the past few days I have been reading Youtube videos on how to set up blogs, add pages, change things around and so forth. I have see all the really nice things you all have going on your blogs and I was hoping to do some of them on my blog as well.   I have been experimenting with little success.  In fact, instead of changing things to what I wanted I have been suffering from unintended consequences   Now all kinds of little things are not doing what they are supposed to do.  My home page isn't showing all the posts it usually does and somehow I managed to completely delete my blog roll of blogs I follow. Sigh!!  Now I will have to find a way to reconstruct it.  Fortunately, it wasn't a very big blog roll.
  Meanwhile, if my blog layout seems to be constantly changing.  It's because I am messing with buttons.  Hopefully, I will get the silly thing figured out and back on track. 

Blessings to one and all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Misadventures of a Pack Rat - Day 3

As I have been laying awake the past couple of nights "stressing" over how I am going to accomplish this goal of removing clutter and extra stress from my life, I realize that I can't just go haphazardly from one spot to the next without some kind of a plan.  I need to pick an area and keep working on it until it's done.  So today I chose the bookcases in the office as a place to focus.

Remember, this is how they looked on Day One before I started.

Over the course of the day, I removed close to 75 books from the shelves.  A few of them went into the church library box which unfortunately means I will have to handle them a second time because I am the librarian.  I will need to catalog them before taking them to the church.  Happily, the majority of them went into the bags for the thrift store.  There was no lollygagging.  Everything I have purged in the past couple of days was taken to the thrift store this very afternoon before there was a chance for me to change my mind.

Here is the final result.  As you can see, I still have a lot of books.  I filled one whole shelf with books from my room.  All my children's books are together on one shelf now, including some of my favorite titles, "Heidi", "The Secret Garden" and  "Peter Pan".  There is also a separate shelf for my holiday books.  Some people would still see this as cluttered, but I think it reflects me and I can remove more later if I want to.  The sailboat speaks to my love of the ocean.  The little pink candle and the red oxcart are gifts from my mom's travels.  I acquired the wooden giraffe during my mission trip to  Namibia, Africa, the eagle feather was found by my husband in our own front yard, and of course, the pictures are from when my children were in school, all things that generate happy thoughts.

Now it's time to kick back and have a glass of iced tea.  It's been a productive day.  I haven't decided if I am going to do more tomorrow or if I am going to take a break.  It may depend on how well I sleep tonight. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Misadventures of a Pack Rat, Day 2

I cleaned out the clothes boxes I keep under my bed yesterday and filled a bag with nine summer tops, four pairs of pants, a swim suit wrap and two sweaters from my closet.  I was able to condense everything that was left from the two boxes down into one.  I know I probably could have taken out more but I’m pleased with what I was able to let go of today.   It’s a start and I feel encouraged enough to continue on.

Next, I decide to begin cleaning out the drawers to my nightstand.   There is a large stack of greeting cards, some are from birthdays and anniversaries.  Other ones are sympathy cards from friends.  As I have said before I get emotionally attached to stuff so this one is a little tough.  I sit and open each card to read them again and the memories come flooding in, some happy, some sad. I do put some into the purge pile.  However, I choose to keep a stack which I will put into a box to store for the time being.  

Now that the cards are put away what else is in this drawer? This is how my mind works as I begin the sorting process. I see a long wooden back scratcher that says it’s from the local sewer company.  Hmmmm… it must have been free as I don’t think I would spend money on a back scratcher.  Of course, I do have this distant memory of cute metal back scratchers that looked like little bear claws. I think they might have ended up in Christmas stockings one year so maybe I would.  The question is …do I need a back scratcher?  I can probably live without one.  Into the bag it goes.

I pull these ribbon bookmarks out of the drawer.  A lady from our church made them to bring to a women’s retreat a few years ago.  There was a big box of them so I chose to take a dozen or more with the idea of giving them to the girls I work with at school.  Somehow that never happened.  Should I keep them?  I already have several of them placed in different books around the house.  I know!  I will give them to the ladies at my book club!  Ok, good.  But…what if there are more than 4 ladies at book club?  That wouldn’t work, so, into the bag they go.  Whew!  At this rate it’s going to take a week to get through just one drawer!  I keep going.  Three pairs of sunglasses quickly end up in the bag. Wait! No, maybe I had better ask if they belong to someone first.. I take them back out of the bag.

A metal washer I sponge painted and hung on a string as a craft idea for the children’s program at church last year.  The kids wrote their names on them and wore them as name tags. Cute, but I really don’t need to save that.

I am making progress and then…Uh Oh!  Notebooks!  Notebooks are going to be a killer.  I never know what I am going to find in a notebook.  I open the first one.  It’s the beginnings of a journal started in September 2011.  The first entry talks about my need to sort through my stuff and begin to simplify my life.  I notice there are only 5 days of journal entries before it stops.  Oh dear!  It looks like not very much has changed since then. However, it does go to show how long this has been bothering me. 

 Another notebook contains some recipes I thought I would try one day, lists of things to do, a note to call my middle brother who has since passed away, disorganized glimpses into my life.  What do I do with these things?  Do I keep them or let them go?  Do they keep me from moving forward or are they anchors to who I am?  For now I close them and place them back into the drawer.  Eventually, one drawer is empty and the other is about half full.  I am not ready to let go of any more than that right now and it's OK. I am at peace with what I have done so far.  Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Misadventures of a Pack Rat - Day 1

Thankfully, I am not a hoarder.  However, I do have to admit to being a bit of a saver, an accumulator, a collector.  In other words, I am a pack rat.  I also happen to be married to a major pack rat and between us we have raised three more pack rats of our own.  The evidence is all around me, books spilling off of shelves, cupboards filled to overflowing, drawers that barely open because they are filled with papers and photos that need to be sorted.   Everywhere I look I find clutter. Not only the house but the attic, the basement and the garage are full of the accumulations of 30 years of living in the same place.  For the past couple of years, more and more I have come to the realization that some things really need to change. 

Most of the time we only want to share the beautiful spaces we have and I do keep my main living areas clean and clutter free.  However, there is also a lot of chaos in the background that I try to ignore and pretend isn't there. 




I think there is more than one kind of pack rat.  My husband is of the “waste not, want not” variety.  He saves things because he “might be able to use it someday”, triumphantly waving the two boards he has pulled from the pile of wood we have been walking around in the garage for the last 25 years.  My oldest son, on the other hand is a collector.  He is sure that his Dino-riders are going to be worth something someday.  Who knows?  Maybe he’s right.  I sure wish I had kept some of my old lunch boxes from when I was a kid.  Me?  I am more of an emotional collector.  I read the same books over and over because of the way they make me feel.  I also save books I think I should read but probably never will.  I keep things, I don’t even really like because they were given to me as a gift.  I save things because they remind me of people I cared about. I save things because maybe someday I will lose weight, go back to scrapbooking or knitting or quilting, the list of reasons is endless.  

Hall closet where I keep my photos & scrapbook supplies

Recently, I have been reading a book given to me by a sweet blogging friend called “The More Of Less” by Joshua Becker.  I very much doubt that I will ever become a minimalist.  I 'm not sure I even want to, but I definitely need to begin purging some stuff off the shelves, out of my closets and out of my life. I am tired of the extra stress it adds to my life.  I want to be be able to find what I want when I want it.  I want less to take care of and more time to just enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I want more time to read, more time in God's word, more time for prayer.

That is what these pages are going to be about.  I have tried to purge before and I am hoping that writing things down will help me to remain focused on the task. This will be my journal of the journey to a less cluttered life.  If you would like to come along with me you are welcome.  Here I go.