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“You’re not funny”, my BFF “B” told me. We had just gotten our checks after a dinner out, and I noticed I’d been charged with both our beverages. I waved the waitress over and told her, “I bought this woman a drink but she won’t put out. Can you move the drink to her check?” “B” was annoyed and the waitress was confused. I guess sometimes it just has to be enough that I amuse myself.

I couldn’t decide which area to declutter tonight, so I did what I usually do when I need to make a decision. I pulled tarot cards.

WOO-WOO ALERT: Tarot reading coming up.

Card for continuing working on the Queen closet: Death. That’s actually a great card. It means the death of one way of life and the birth of a new one. That’s exactly what I’m trying to create, a new way of life, so I could have stopped pulling cards here. Of course, I didn’t.

Card to start the Queen bath: Ace of Wands, reversed. Can’t make a decision and move ahead. Well, I knew that. Aces are new energy though, so a reversed ace can mean loss of energy. I don’t want that.

Card to start the dining room: 7 of Cups. Too many choices. Getting spread too thin on too many projects, so I don’t see progress, so I quit. That sounds like one of my top self-sabotage techniques.

Card to continue working on the studio: 10 of Pentacles, reversed. Waste of available resources, lack.

Wow, it’s like they all mean the same thing (except death). Quit wasting time and energy doing lots of little things all over. Stay focused on one area until it’s done. Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream! It’s back in the closet for me.

1 bag. It’s not much, but it’s progress.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Mom’s Legacy

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My parents divorced when I was 15…and 16. It was a bitter fight that lasted 18 months. Dad got the house, the money and the kids. Mom got…the clothes on her back. Mom always said Dad had 2 lawyers, his and hers.

Even if Mom hadn’t already been profoundly affected by spending her formative years in the Great Depression, I think this would have triggered any “collecting” urges she had. Her Mom, my Grandma, died a few months after the divorce and Mom and I drove down to Iowa to pack up what things of value we could find in her house. You know, dish towels, cheap flatware, a carpet sweeper. Things of value to Mom, who had absolutely nothing.

Eventually,with her earnings of $5000  per year (mostly in nickel tips) from a waitressing job, she was able to buy a used trailer. Not exactly the good life she had imagined when she’d left Dad, but there was enough room for me and my No.7 Sis to move in. After we left for college, No.8 Sis and Mom’s No.2 husband moved in. Mom lost her vast estate (the by now paid for trailer) in the second divorce.

Mom started over again, moving from our mid-sized home town to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, where most of the grown kids lived. After living with No.2 Sis for a while, she got a 1 bedroom apartment and a decent job with the library system. By this time it would have been a miracle if she hadn’t started hoarding, I mean collecting.

Mom had always had too much paper, too many books and a jar of pens that didn’t write. Don’t ask. But now she could indulge her love of all things pretty…costume jewelry, dishes, table, bed and bath linens and antiques…especially antiques. She asked me once if I thought the chi could flow through her living room okay. I looked around at the couch, the 4 chairs, the 3 tables, the desk, the 3 armoires, the 2 blanket chests and the jar of pens that didn’t write. I said, “Mom, if the light can’t get through, the chi can’t get through”.

So that’s my Mom’s legacy to me. Mom and I were very close when I was a child and teen (a little TOO close according to my therapist, Dr. Ima Shrink) and I absorbed her lifestyle 100%. Well, 95% at least, but I’m trying to find a better way now. Less materialistic, less stressful, more about experiences and relationships than things. It may seem late in the game, as I’m 55 years old, but it’s been a long uphill battle to get to this point. Just ask Ima.

Stay tuned…

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Even though decluttering the walk-in closet in the Queen bath isn’t a high priority, I was inspired when I came across this post on a blog I just started following.

http://www.thegrowinggreen.com/the-wardrobe-experiment-6-outfits-for-6-months/

6 outfits for 6 months! For Miss Growing Green, that translates to 3 pairs of pants, 6 shirts and 6 sweaters, so she can layer as needed. My laundry is done every 2 weeks, so I would amend that to 9 work outfits for my wardrobe pare-down (I get every other Friday off). I work in a very casual office, so all my work clothes can translate into play clothes, too. Of course, I need work-out wear (theoretically), one dressy outfit for weddings, funerals, etc, a swimsuit, and pajamas. But let’s just focus on the work clothes for now, and stipulate this is for fall/winter. I can set aside (for now) any pieces that are special occasion or  spring/summer only.

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The first trick will be finding a way to walk into my walk-in closet. The clothes in the back need to be ironed and/or mended. They look like they’re mostly spring/summer. There are also things hanging on both sides of the door and stuff on a shelf hidden behind the clothes on the right.

I had no idea I had so many pairs of pants! Gack! I need to try all of them on. Out of 36 pairs of pants, 14 fit me. The rest go to Goodwill. With the shirts I purged too, I filled 4 garbage bags. I’m nowhere near 9 outfits, but I’m pleased with my progress.

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I know the after looks nearly the same, but…22 pairs of pants! 4 bags! And just look at this shelf!

Self where many pairs of pants were previously hidden.

Shelf where many pairs of pants were previously hidden.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

 

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I wanted to tackle a little project in the art studio, so I decided to go through these three shelves. I picked them because they’re the only ones I can reach.  I was able to pack up 2 boxes of books to donate. There were some craft books on making jewelry with seed beads (too tedious), calligraphy (my BFF “T” is an excellent calligrapher if I ever need some lettering done) and some new age psychic yahoo books that are so low on my reading list that they’ve been wasting shelf space for years. The other books I got rid of were organizing books. They haven’t helped yet, in fact I find their presence damn annoying, so it’s time for them to go.

Before.

Before.

After.

After.

I kept most of my drawing and painting books, most of my jewelry making books, and a few tarot books. Not bad for about 15 minutes of work.

Stay tuned…

It Takes a Village…

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I wrote in an earlier post that I wasn’t THAT kind of hoarder, you know, the kind of hoarder who finds a missing family pet under a pile of garbage when the city comes to condemn the house. I would love to take full credit for being an extreme clutterer versus a disgusting, burn the house down and back away hoarder, but I do have help. Lots of help.

My BFF “T” occasionally (every 2 weeks, like clockwork) comes over while I’m at work and spends the day cleaning. Not decluttering, but cleaning. She scrubs the floors, toilets and counters, dusts, vacuums, and changes the bed. When I had to go on overtime hours at work, I asked if she’d consider doing the laundry too. Yes to that. Did I mention she’s my BFF? Of course, I compensate her with more than my undying gratitude and admiration, but still, I’d be in big trouble without her help.

“T” leaves my clean, folded laundry in baskets, which I dress out of, and I throw my dirty laundry on floor. This system has worked for years (I use the term “worked” loosely). Since I cleaned my Queen bedroom though, I’ve been putting the baskets of clothes away and throwing the dirty clothes into the empty baskets. Just like a grown-up…my parents would be so proud! Sniff, sniff.

I also have a very bad habit of not fully unpacking my suitcases after a trip. When I  cleaned the Queen bedroom, I found quite a few toiletries, grooming aids and a few pieces of clothing still in my suitcase from a cruise taken a couple of years ago. Yikes. I just got home from a week in Sedona, Arizona, and completely unpacked and put away my suitcase today. Progress.

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

My houseguest while I was gone was “C”. She’s a friend of No. 8 Sis, and swiftly becoming a friend of mine, too. She was here to look after Bella, the cat. Such a dear. “C”, not the cat. I left last Saturday, and it took until Friday for Bella to stop hissing at “C”. She’s a loyal one. Bella, not “C”.

I’ve already mentioned what a help No. 2 Sis has been, and I often get assistance from my other sisters and friends in the form of hands-on cleaning and decorating, and of course, oodles of advice (which I largely ignore). It takes a village to raise Laurel. 🙂

Stay tuned…

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I talked to No.2 Sis today and told her I was worried about cleaning for my upcoming house guest, especially since I feel like I’m coming down with a cold. Dear Sis said, “I’ll be over as soon as you get off work!” and by goddess, she was. She brought herbal remedies to try to help fight off the cold, and she helped me clean the living room and dining room. Actually, I should say I helped her, because she had WAY more energy then me. But between us, we got 10 more bags out. Sweet!

I’ve been working on a 2 year, on-line herbal studies course for about 4 years now,  and I think Sis may know more about it than I do. So I’m happy to take the immune-enhancing herbs she brought for me, but I’m not sure I can take her advice when it comes to drinking a blue-green algae smoothie for breakfast. Though, when I look at her energy and stamina….I’m exhausted. Again. Still. Maybe algae would be better then Cheerios?

Three more days until my guest comes, and I’m sure she’s never seen the house look so good. I’m so proud of my accomplishments so far, and SO grateful for Sis’ help. Thanks Sis, you’re my very bestest BFF!

Stay tuned…

 

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No. 2 Sis came by today to help out with my de-hoarding. Of course, I wanted to rearrange furniture in the Queen bedroom and make it all pretty, even though my artwork project isn’t done (started) yet. Sis said “No, show me the studio”. Yikes. She is one of the few that has seen the art studio that I made from the second bedroom. It’s in rough shape.

In my defense, although I really don’t have to defend myself (I’m feeling a little defensive now), I have a lot of stuff in there that I inherited when my Dad passed on. My BFF “L” lost her Mom within 24 hours of Dad’s passing, so I inherited a lot of stuff from her too. But that was FIVE YEARS AGO! And I haven’t been able to use the room since.

North wall.

North wall.

South wall.

South wall.

No. 2 Sis and I spent hours upon hours sorting and packing things for Goodwill, the trash, and recycling. We got 15 bags and boxes out of there! I get a lot more done with No. 2 Sis there, as she is an amazing (dogged, stubborn, unflagging, never-say-die) taskmistress. I’m so grateful for her help! I’m also exhausted!

The after photo isn’t terribly impressive yet, but you’ll see the top layer of the south wall has been cleared, and though you can’t see it very well, a lot of stuff from the floor under the library table was cleared. You can kind of get an idea of how many hours have passed too, from the change in the light outside.

The beginning of the after.

The beginning of the after.

You know, after I admitted in my last post that I wasn’t the hostess with the most-est, No. 2 Sis reminded me I’m having a house guest all next week. You may be surprised that I’d forget that, but did I mention I’m exhausted? Why, oh why didn’t we clean the living, kitchen and dining room, where all my art projects and supplies have migrated over the last five years? I can always shut the door on the studio. I know what I’ll be doing after work every night this week. One thing at a time, one thing at a time, one thing at a time…..(trying to not get overwhelmed, this is the first time I’ve had a deadline). One thing at a time.

Stay tuned…

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Do you ever suffer from aspirational shopping? I do, all the time. I have this fantasy that I’m a fantastic hostess. (I apologize to those of you who may have been drinking a beverage while reading this; I know how it hurts to snort liquids out your nose. )

At age 55, I’ve just started experimenting with cooking, and I rarely have a clean house, and I don’t have a guest room. But none of that has stopped me from buying top-of-the-line cookware, multiple sets of dishes and flatware, a boatload of table linens, extra dining room chairs and another boatload of bed linens. I don’t want to blame my Mom, but after she passed on, we found a note she had written to herself that said, “Always keep champagne and caviar in the pantry. You never know who will stop by.”  Stop by her one bedroom apartment in a low rent hi-rise for champagne and caviar? Mom, the Empress of aspirations.

Under the last pile of stuff in my Queen bedroom, I have a cute chair that I bought so that I could entertain larger groups (I hope you’ve put down your beverage), and there’s a mate to it in the garage (or somewhere, I’ve lost track). It’s more cottage style than my current Early American dining chairs, and I do want to go more cottage with the decor. But it will take some repair, as it’s a bit rickety, as I found when I tried to stand on it to change a light bulb. I sustained only minor injuries. And I’ve had it for years without doing the necessary repairs. So I’m torn. Keep it or donate it? Indulge my aspirations or be brutally honest with myself about my limitations? Are you starting to see how I could spend 6 weeks cleaning my bedroom?

The last pile.

The last pile.

 

I’m flipping a coin. Heads, I keep the chair; tails, it goes. Tails. How about 2 out of 3? Heads. Tails. 3 out of 5? Okay, okay, it goes. But don’t blame me when you come to one of my sumptuous dinner parties and you have to sit on a box.

Goodbye, aspirational chair.

Goodbye, aspirational chair.

4 bags removed and the Queen bedroom is clean!

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Stay tuned…