Friday, May 30, 2014

Lost and found

Back in March I wrote about how I had lost the wrench tool to my ice cream maker. I thought about buying another, but in the end, the slumber party ice cream wasn't really affected by the lack of a wrench. But it was clear that warmer weather would possibly change that situation. Fast forward to this week, when my husband pulled his favorite oven mitt from the de-cluttered drawer (seriously! I de-cluttered the oven mitt drawer) and under it was not only the wrench but the instruction booklet. I debated about if I should keep it there, since I know several people suggest various methods, like put it the first place you looked for it, or put it where it makes sense (which would be in the ice cream maker I guess). I however, will probably now always look for it where it was found, so I just left it there. So here you go--if I lose it again, someone tell me to look under my husband's favorite oven mitt.

A more baffling (at least to me) loss was also discovered this week. Somehow, I have forgotten where I stored the plain cotton "summer" sheets for the girls. I don't think I gave them away, but I can't find them anywhere. I did find one set but I know I have a second. somewhere. In addition, I seem to have lost a fitted jersey style sheet. I took it off the bed, washed it, dried it, but then when I was folding it wasn't there. It is like the sock monster got really hungry and ate a sheet. I hate to put those away without it, but I am at a real loss. I mean my house isn't *that* cluttered (anymore). I think I'd notice something as large as a twin bed sheet lying on the floor.

Mostly though this week, I am still slogging through endless drawers of fabric. It seems every day my twitter is nearly the same "today I got rid of some fabric". And I am making headway, I have cleared out most a dresser drawer of scraps that heaven only knows why I was saving. I even found scraps from several baby quilts I made in 1998-2001. I know I kept those scraps so I could do repairs if needed, but those "babies" are all teenagers now and so out with (most of) them.

Funny how sometimes, you can feel like you aren't making any headway as you slog through the same task day after day, and sometimes, you can see real progress. Seeing that nearly empty drawer, I feel like progress has been made, even if most of the stuff from the drawer is sitting around the room in various piles and even though I have a huge blanket box that I'd like to incorporate into my current storage. For some reason, it just looks like even though I only get rid of the equivalent of about 1/2 yard to a yard every day, that I am really making a dent.

Maybe next week, I'll even post a picture.

In the meantime, follow me on Twitter, to see what goes every day.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Waiting on your Clutter

You know how when you decide to get rid of things, they can sometimes still sit around? Sometimes it is just that you are waiting to fill up a box or a bag for donation, or sometimes you have to wait for the next "hazardous" collection time (old aerosol cans, paints etc). Sometimes, you can't decide which is the best option for getting rid of something.

In my case, this week brought about the once a month heavy trash pickup. One heavy trash pickup week, you can set out large yard waste (my neighbors cut down a huge hedge!) and/or you can put out trash too large for the garbage cans. Many times, people in pickup trucks drive around the large trash area (each section of town has a different week) and they scavenge. This used to bother me a little, but now I'm feeling like it is an easy less greedy form of freecycle. And I find it interesting at what stays until the trash guys come by, and what things don't sit out for even an hour.

Last month, I pulled out an old window blind, and a broken plastic carpet protector that had been sitting in the garage all winter, plus a bunch of mops that I decided to part with. After 24 hours, all that was left was the cracked plastic sheet. This month, I dragged up a bunch of carpet remnants that I have been saving for at least 3 years. They stayed and got picked up by the trash collectors.

Side note: Why was I saving carpet remnants? I think I had this idea that either I could carpet some mythical dollhouse that we will someday build or that the scraps could be used on the one set of stairs we have not yet re-carpeted. I have no idea. At any rate, I do remember not wanting tho throw those pieces out. And now that they are gone? Whoo hoo does the closet in the basement ever look big and spacious.

I mention this because my current de-cluttering efforts are running into the problem of "what to do with it." I have over the years saved many many scraps of fabric from tons of projects. Some of it, I know is no use to anyone, and I am hoping that it will get recycled. Some of it is from a few projects I've started but never completed over the years. I'm tryign to put together those projects first, before I decide which are reasonable to keep.

And then there is a third area of fabric scraps or rather larger pieces. Pieces that someone else might be able to use (pre-cut 4 inch square, pre-cut 2 inch squares, 1/4 yard cuts, large sections of what was once a fat quarter) but that I no longer want. It is these things I am having difficulty dealing with. I would love for them to go to someone or someones who would use them--and I know there will be more. I'm considering several options, one of which is donation to a quilting project, one of which is selling them on Etsy. I haven't decided which route to take. So I have some use piles now that need to go somewhere--I consider them gone already. And yet, they are still around. It is making it hard to see the progress that I know is happening.

So, does anyone out there have any advice on fabric pieces and what the best place might be for them?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

basement

This week, I had a few items of work done around the house. The first was, we hired an electrician to come in and install a light fixture and install a new outlet in the basement that I could run my dehumidifier from without flipping a circuit. This is the same basement I am currently focusing my de-cluttering efforts on. Because of his impending visit, I had to move a bunch of stuff, so he could have access to a wall that usually has a dresser and a chair in front of it. I was moving things when I realized that one of the bins in the three drawer storage bins was totally empty. It was where I had stored patterns, but now all the patterns fit in one drawer (instead of overflowing two).

Second, we had our sprinkler system turned on, which has always required that someone move things around in both the basement and the garage. Last night, I went to check the area in the basement and realized that the suitcases and area rug I'd gotten rid of back in March were no longer blocking the way. I still had to move a few things in the garage but they are bikes--and because I finally sold one of the older bikes, that was easy too.

Many times, I've wondered, is two things a day enough? Will it ever make a difference that I can see? This week, I could really see what all those small steps led up to. Yes, it didn't matter that many times my two things were small (like the ton of bath gel and soaps and body lotions), it was all practice so that one day I could say--hey, I don't need this area rug I've been storing since we changed the first guest room over to nursery.

And two things works well for me. Today I spent 90 minutes in the basement, staring down this: DSCN2726

I went through all the fabric on the shelf in the bottom right. Some I discarded (I'm starting a rag bag, as I've heard goodwill takes rags and scraps that they sell. And if they don't I'll just throw it away as these are not sellable scraps.) and some I put away more efficiently. After that I started to get worn down and sat there staring at the mess and not really feeling like I wanted to part with anything else. So, I quit.

I had more than my two things, I can shut the door on the basement, and get back to it tomorrow when I am refreshed and ready to make good decisions.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Weird stuff found while de cluttering Pt1

We all have weird stuff we find when we start cleaning out closets and drawers. The oh my, why did I save this stained blouse with the three buttons missing? But every once in a while we find real doozies. Real things that we saved, tucked away even, that when shown the de cluttering light of day make you go hmmm. If you follow me on twitter you get to see just a verbal snapshot of some of these, but here are the longer stories.

I recently came across a set of Threads magazine that I had taken home after my library discarded them. They were filled with useful information about adjusting patterns and stuff. Well, when I pulled them down, I realized they were from 1994. I had 20 year old magazines! Not only that, I've never referred to them, and I figure if I ever decide to sew real pants (as opposed to pj pants) I can probably find that information elsewhere.

They weren't the oldest magazine I had though, I had a Better Homes and Gardens from 1988 on that shelf. I saved it because I made a cross-stitch pattern from it and some of the recipes looked good. Oh-Kay. Funny thing was, there was an article about things to do and places to stay when you go to the place we are vacationing this year AND the inn we are staying at is featured. So who says you don't find useful info from old magazines. ha ha.

A dryer accessory from a dryer I owned two dryers ago. It is a sweater drying rack, and it doesn't fit in my current dryer. I think I kept that out of habit.

I mentioned on twitter about my mop collection. Before I started this process I had, I kid you not, 6 mops. I have three now, only because I missed one which is in the garage and going out this week for large trash pickup. I should say, I have no idea why I have so many mops, but I know. I am searching for the perfect mop. Or they discontinued making the replacement mop heads. You know, one of those.

I also mentioned I got rid of an iron, but had two left. I rarely iron clothes, and use my iron almost exclusively for sewing. I owned three because... well because I accumulate things. See I got iron #1 as a gift (graduation, wedding, something) and around the same time I also got iron #2 which was nearly identical. SO I left iron #2 in the box and used the first. Then we moved and I LOST iron #1 in the move. So I opened iron #2 and decided I liked it better because it had an automatic shut off. Then iron #1 turned up. Over the years iron #2 has been dropped and moved and no longer had a low heat setting. And one Halloween I melted some fun fur fabric to it. My mother-in -law is great with sewing stuff and she gave me some iron cleaner stuff--and another IRON so now iron #3. I liked all of them, but really I only need one. That's why I got rid of iron #2 and am now keeping #1 and #3. Did you follow that? no?

Last thing, and know that while everything above has been removed from the house, this is still here. I found a baggie of beach rocks and beach glass that I saved, probably from Lake Michigan. One of them has a hole in it. I'm keeping it and a little freaked out by it because of having read The first 4 Spiderwick Chronicles. If you aren't familiar with the stories, supposedly rocks with holes in them let you see faeries and other invisible creatures. And in the books they are usually creepy. So, if I ever need to see faerie folk, I have a rock.