Work v. Play

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Aren’t I supposed to be feeling light and care-free with all this decluttering? Why am I so cranky? I used my entire year’s allotments of f-bombs at work today (under my breath,of course) and it’s still January. Here’s a philosophical question for you: If an f-bomb falls at work, but nobody hears it….oh, never mind.

Maybe I’m cranky because I didn’t eat much at all today so I have low blood sugar. Or maybe I’m cranky because I looked up Clutterer’s Anonymous. Why does the “Are you an alcoholic?” quiz have 12 questions and the “Are you a clutterer?” quiz have 25? Do we just have to have more of everything???

WOO-WOO ALERT (Tarot reading coming up):

Present situation: 10 of pentacles (wealth)

Whatever we sow, we shall reap 10 times over. There is abundance of all kinds in my life, but because I constantly doubt it, I fill my house up with material things that I don’t really  need or value.

Challenge: 9 of wands (preparation)

I have a very hard time laying a foundation and preparing ahead of time. I tend to jump into things half cocked. For example, I needed to change a light bulb but didn’t want to go to the garage and pull out the ladder. I had a rickety chair and a rickety footstool near the light fixture and I figured 2 rickety pieces of furniture equals one solid piece, right? So I put one foot on each wobbly piece, they each moved away from each other, and I did the splits and fell. I did not see that coming.

Path: prince of cups (creativity)

I need to take a young lover. No, no, no, that’s not what it means. I have been so sick of doing the decluttering in the bedroom, and I’ve been wanting to do some artwork for above the dresser, but I’ve been denying myself the pleasure until the work is all done. Maybe I need to indulge in some artwork, or should I say artplay? Then I can go back to the work part of this home make-over.

Outcome: The Star

Ah, sweet. The conscious self coming to know the sub-conscious self. Learning the truth about myself and my destiny. What a relief to see this card. It’s more than okay to play and express myself through my artplay, it’s an absolute necessity. Have fun girl, let your light shine!!!

Okay, I might have gotten a little carried away there.

Stay tuned…


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I finally got a break from my hectic social life (haha) and got back to work de-hoarding the Queen bedroom. There was nothing earth shattering about this little purge, although I did solve the mystery of why I can never find a nail clipper. There were four on the nightstand.

I cleaned off and cleaned out the nightstand, filed some papers from beside it, put away two baskets of clothes, and filled one bag of garbage, one bag of recycling, and one box for the Goodwill. I put the Goodwill box in Gypsy Blue.  (Haven’t you named your car yet? Go right outside and do it now. I’ll wait…hum, hum, dee hum…back?  Okay.) Since it’s only one box and the HIGH temperature for tomorrow is predicted to be about -10F, I’ll probably wait a few days to drop it off.

Here are a couple of photos.





I have one more pile to clean up in the Queen bedroom, and then I can focus on making it pretty, yay!

Stay tuned…




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Back in the Queen bedroom, I tackled the last two boxes under the window. They were full of papers that I deemed important at one time, but never got around to filing. Insurance policies that I no longer have, shred. Pay stubs from a company I left 5 years ago, shred. Bank statements from closed accounts, shred. This is easy.

Sympathy cards from my Dad’s passing five years ago. Those make my heart ache. Dad retired down south 20 or more years ago, and I know I didn’t visit him nearly as often as I should have. When we heard he had terminal cancer, No. 2 Sis and I decided to drive down to see him, even though I had just started my new job and had no vacation time. They were very understanding and gave me permission to take a week off.

So Sis and I took off on the 1000-plus mile drive, bucking residual winds from Hurricane Ike most of the way. Dad looked exactly the same as he always had; trim and energetic and full of life. We had fun retelling old stories, and taking walks, and cooking meals together. Then, I opened a kitchen cupboard and a jar of picante sauce jumped out and smashed on my big toe. I iced my foot, but the toe swelled up and bruised black and blue.

After that, no more walks. We settled in to watch a light comedy on TV. Sasquatch, Dad’s cat, was on my lap when he decided he didn’t like me anymore, and he raked his claws across my arm. ‘Squatch is polydactyl, so that’s a lot of claws. Dad was able to staunch the flow of blood and bandage me up.

The next day, Dad took me and Sis out on his pontoon boat. We stopped on a little island, walked (well, limped) around the beach and did a little swimming. When it came time to get back onto the boat, I found my wobbly knees couldn’t take such a big step up, so I reached my hand out to Dad and he grabbed it to try to pull me onto the boat. That’s when I realized he was losing strength because of the cancer, and with my 50-plus pound advantage over him, he was skittering toward me and I wasn’t any closer to boarding the boat. If I didn’t do something immediately, I was going to flip my sick father right over my head onto the beach! So I sacrificed myself, threw my body onto the deck, scraping my shins all to hell in the process.

Ah, good times. Good times.

I got both of those boxes cleaned out, and only kept the cards. That puts the bag count up to 37.

Stay tuned…

P.s. I felt bad for a long time about getting so hurt all through the visit with Dad, like I was subconsciously saying, “Look at me, look at me!” instead of focusing on Dad and being there for him. But as I was reminiscing tonight, I thought maybe it was all for the best. Dad certainly didn’t want to focus on his illness, and maybe the best gift I could have given him was the belly-laughs he had because I’d turned into all Three Stooges in one. I miss you Dad.

One of Those Days


Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up late, and have to race around to get ready for work? And though you’re wearing all blue, you can only find green socks, and you thank your lucky stars you found two socks to match each other, forget  about matching the outfit.

You run to the car, and as you pull away see all the neighbors have their garbage cans out, but you have no time, so it will be overflowing next week. You see by the car clock that you have twenty minutes to make the thirty minute commute, and you figure it might be possible if you have all green lights, no traffic and a strong tail wind.

You make it to work in record time to find your boss and his boss and HIS boss lined up in the hallway like some Inquisition Grand High Council, and you figure if you give them a cheery good morning maybe they’ll overlook that you’re a smidge late. They all smile and return your good morning and you breathe a sigh of relief. You poke your head into your BFF “B”‘s cubicle and say a cheery good morning to her too, and she also smiles and replies in kind.

Then an hour or so later you go to the ladies’ room and see in the mirror that you have a nickel-sized GLOB OF TOOTHPASTE on your chin and you scrape it off and go back to “B” and ask, “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME I HAD A GREAT BIG GLOB OF TOOTHPASTE ON MY CHIN?” And she calmly replies, “I thought you wanted it there.”

Have you ever had one of those days? Around here, we call it Monday.


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I hate cleaning, and it’s no great mystery why. When I was growing up, I found all my siblings had perfected the fight or flight instinct while all I seemed to have was freeze. My Dad would come home from work, take one look at the chaos created by nine (count ’em, nine) unsupervised children in our small, story-and-a-half house and he’d start yelling. “You kids clean up…”, all the others would scatter and I was left with the deer in the headlights look, “…Laurie Ann.” You know, even the most menial jobs have some sort of training, not just a command to “Do it!”

Now I read books on organization and de-cluttering. De-cluttering, what a charming, innocuous word. It makes it sound like I have a few too many figurines on the mantel, rather than boxes and bags of junk that have no home.Of course, the de-cluttering books just add to the clutter. The most common advice is to make 3 piles, “toss”, “keep” and “donate”. I can do the toss and donate, but it’s the “keep” pile that throws me for a loop. A good number of boxes I’ve been going through are “keep” boxes from previous attempts at purging. And, as my bedroom gets cleaner, my living room gets more cluttered with the “keep” items that don’t belong in the bedroom.

Donate, toss...

Donate, toss…

I need a deeper type of sorting. I need a “keep in the bedroom and put away immediately”, “keep but belongs elsewhere”, “keep and file important papers”, “keep to sell on e-bay”, and “belongs to someone else so give it back already”. I may need to come up with more as I go along.

Keep. keep, keep, keep...

Keep. keep, keep, keep…

But I got 4 more bags out of the house.

Stay tuned…


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Oh my goddess. I’m working on clearing the hoard from the Queen bedroom and it’s gut-wrenching. I mean, literally my stomach hurts so badly. I think when I was clearing out the garage, I was much more detached. I had already emotionally orphaned all that stuff. But the stuff in the bedroom…I got through four bags before I had to give up.






WOO-WOO ALERT (dream interpretation coming up):
I had a dream that I was sitting on a couch next to Mom (my hoarding role model). Her pet lion (it’s a dream, remember?) jumped up on my lap and scared the bejeebers out of me. I asked Mom how to handle it, and she said, “Just tell him to get down, stupid tomcat”, as she pushed him to the floor. The lion paused, then turned and jumped back up, grabbing us both by the neck with his claws. We were both terrified.
The lion symbolizes control, and dominance. The dream is saying I can’t continue to power through this clean-up. I have to take it a little at a time and deal with emotions as they come up. Damn. That’s going to slow me down.

Stay tuned…


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When I first told No.2 Sis that I wanted to start a home blog (thinking of all the DIY projects I want to do), she said, “You’ll have to admit you’re a hoarder, and be honest about your feelings!”.

Whoa. On the long road from Minimalism, I’m pretty sure I’m at least one bus stop short of Hoarderville. After all, I can use (most of ) the rooms in my house for their intended purpose, I can see (a path in) the floor in  every room, and I can get my car (barely) into the garage. Okay, so I’m a hoarder. But, I know with certainty that I will never find the flattened, dessicated carcass of a missing family pet under a stack of boxes. I’m not THAT kind of hoarder.

One cat, present and accounted for.

One cat, present and accounted for.

And be honest about my feelings? Really? I’m the girl that raced home from school every day to watch Star Trek reruns, not for pretty boy Captain Kirk, but for Spock. Cool, calm, logical…I wanted to be just like him. Though I never could master the one eyebrow raised look.

So, hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off de-hoarding I go. The first 27 boxes and bags were easy. Most came from the garage. I threw unopened boxes and barely peeked-in bags in the trunk of my car, Gypsy Blue.  (what, you don’t name your car? Weird.) I dropped them at Goodwill in 3 separate trips with nary a pang nor backward glance.  Feelings, schmeelings!

But then the Polar Vortex hit and it was far too cold to work in the garage.  I moved into the Queen bedroom (I have no master) and things started to get harder.

Stay tuned…



About Me

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and I was raised by wolves. Of course, that’s not really true. I’d be much more civilized if I’d been raised by wolves. My eight siblings and I (I’m No. 6) were really raised by two mostly absent parents in an itty-bitty house filled with utter chaos. After spending decades continuing that life-style (the chaos, not the nine kids) I want to take my own  little house from chaotic hoard to charming cottage. This blog is to chronicle that process, get some help and support along the way, and perhaps offer hints and humor to others in similar situations.