A Day Without Electronics, or 315

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Most weekend mornings, when I first get up, I reach for my Kindle. I check my e-mails, I read my favorite blogs, I check out the news, look at some You Tube, and I play a few rounds of slots.

I say to myself, I’ll just play with my electronics while I have breakfast. Eventually, my battery goes dead and I have to admit I’ve just wasted half the day. And now it’s time for lunch.

Last weekend I decided one day would be electronics-free, so I could get something done.

I cleaned the laundry room, which is the transit station to and from the car.



I cleaned the hallway, which is the overflow transit station.



I went to the grocery store, and the bank.

I cleaned out the fridge.

I made Bone and Leaf Soup.

I did the dishes and the laundry.

And I continued to work on cleaning out the Art Studio. I shredded 4 bags of old papers and threw another 2 bags of recycling in the wheelie bin. That makes 315 bags, boxes, and small pieces of furniture I’ve gotten rid of since January of 2014.

And, of course, I spent lots of quality time with Bella (who wears the pants in the family).



Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Chic on a Shoestring.

p.p.s. I also shared this at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson.

p.p.p.s. I shared this post at A Bowlful of Lemons.



The Ghost of Christmas Past, or 309

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Okay, let’s face it. It’s 2 days until Christmas and I’m not going to decorate the mantel.

I got the tree put up. I got my shopping and wrapping done (thanks Mrs. Mary Kay, AKA No.2 Sis). I got my Christmas letter written and my cards sent out.

I’ve had the first of four Christmas celebrations. And I’m done. Well, except for the three parties this coming weekend. Then I’m done.

I was looking through some old photos of Christmases past.


Christmas past - 1



Christmas past - 2


Christmas past - 3


Besides doing all my Christmas chores this week, I worked on cleaning out the Studio. I donated 2 more boxes to Goodwill. That makes 309 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture removed from the house since January, 2014. I thought I’d be done by now. Hah!

Stay tuned…

A Little Solstice Decor, and 307

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I haven’t put up a Christmas tree in a few years. In fact, I just got rid of my five-foot tall artificial tree while cleaning out the garage.

I decided to buy a new,  smaller tree this year. Small enough so Bella the cat wouldn’t recognize it as a tree that needed climbing. Large enough so that she wouldn’t mistake it for a cat toy.



No.2 Sis made these ceramic Santas for me.



And this is one of my favorite ornaments.



I added a bunch of the ornaments I no longer use to the “Sell” box and took 2 boxes to a thrift store that pays cash for home decor. They bought one of the boxes (none of the ornaments)  so the rest went into the Goodwill donation box.

That brings my total number of boxes, bags and small pieces of furniture cleared out of the house up to 307.

I still plan on decorating the mantel (yes, I know it’s getting very close to the Solstice/Christmas) and when I do, I’ll post some more pictures.

Stay tuned…


Mirror, Mirror, or 305

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No.2 Sis and I were complimenting No.8 Sis on her well put together outfit the other day, and we agreed that having a full-length mirror might help me do a little better with my couture. No.1 Sis was shocked that I didn’t have a full-length mirror. She had 2 that were slated to go to Goodwill, so she gave me one to take home.

I’m not sure it will really help, but I figure it can’t hurt. Or can it?

The mirror had slots in it for photos, and one of the pictures was of No.1 Sis’ grandson, “R”, at the age of 5. It was taken during a trip Sis, “R”, and I took to North Carolina to visit Dad. What a drive that was. How many ways can a 5 year-old embarrass his great-auntie?

We stopped at a motel with a pool one evening, and I took “R” swimming while Sis had a nap. “R” jumped into the pool, cannonball style, and I complimented him on the resulting splash. He yelled, “You cannonball! You’ll make a HUGE splash!” Thanks, sweetie.

I did train him to open doors for me though, and to call me “Princess Auntie Laurel”. I think it all evened out.



Back to the much more recent past, I worked a bit in the studio over the weekend and finished going through the latest crap tower. In addition to the 3 boxes/bags I pulled out of that pile the weekend before, I came up with one more item. The little plastic set of drawers had to go. I thought I’d keep it until I find a use for it, but it’s that kind of thinking that got my house into the overstuffed state it’s in. Decision made. It’s out of here.


Studio, after. (See before here.)

I haven’t been able to get any of the piles down to zero, so I may have to go through them again (and again). As they say in 12-step groups, “Progress, not perfection”. That still puts me at a total of 305 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture I’ve gotten rid of since January, 2014.

Speaking of progress, when we arrived in North Carolina, we encouraged “R” to go to his great-grandfather and give him a hug. He stayed right where he was, crossed his arms over his chest and asked in a belligerent tone, “Hey Mister, ya got a boat?”

When we were leaving less than a week later, “R” ran to my Dad, gave him a huge hug, and told him he’d miss him.

Now that’s progress.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Chic on a Shoestring.



Domesticity, or 304


As we got older, most of my siblings and I moved to Minneapolis/St. Paul to start our careers. That left No.1 Sis and her 3 kids in our hometown to look after Mom.

Sis would visit Mom in her palatial manse trailer, and sometimes Mom would cook for Sis and her family. My nephew would help set the table and his keen, young eyes would sometimes spot bits of caked-on food debris on the dishes. Mom didn’t have a dishwasher, and the lighting in the palatial manse trailer was none too bright.

When Sis pressed her son to help wash dishes at their home he complained, “Aw, can’t we just wipe them and put them in the cupboard like Grandma?”

No.5 Bro, No.1 Nephew, and me in 1977

No.5 Bro, No.1 Nephew, and me, in 1977

This is why I’m so proud of myself when I do anything domestic and do it well. Why, just this week I ran a load of dishes in the dishwasher and also ran a load of laundry through the washer and dryer. Where’s my gold star?

I know, I know, this is what adults do. And I have a dishwasher, and lights. Oh, and a housekeeper. Let’s not forget the housekeeper.

With all my chores done, I decided to go back into the art studio and make some headway on the next tower of crap. I got about halfway down. That netted 2 boxes and a bag of donations.

I found some junk jewelry I’ll have to go through to decide what to keep, what to donate and what might be sold. And I found a box of funny money! You know, silver dollars, mercury dimes and wheat pennies. Sweet!

Speaking of money, I made nothing extra to apply to my bills in October. However, I did get a better than expected yearly raise, and my health insurance premiums didn’t go up. Shocking, as they have always gone up every year!

And, my homeowner’s association is lowering my HOA fees by $50 per month next year! Lowering? Amazing!

I’m so grateful for all the little windfalls. And with the added 3 boxes and bags donated this week, I’ve gotten rid of 304 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture since January, 2014. That means every week, my house is getting bigger and bigger.

I hope the housekeeper doesn’t notice.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I originally posted this on Thursday, November 12th, but accidentally put it on a different page. Reposting today, Sunday, November 15th.

Queen Bath Clean-up, or 301

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I figured the Queen Bath was overdue for a clean-up, since I could no longer see the counter.

queen bath-1

The zipper bags are from my July Women’s Weekend. The clock doesn’t work.

The needlework of the kitten confronting a praying mantis has been leaning against the wall for years, while I tried to decide between hanging it, hanging a shelf, or installing a towel rack.

I’ve used this Waterpik once and I spewed water all over myself. I guess I have to get naked to use it, much as I have to get naked when cleaning the kitchen.

queen bath-2

And why do I have aluminum foil in the bathroom? Really, tell me why, because I can’t remember.

I put everything away and wiped the sinks and counter. I replaced the upside-down shelf in the middle with the curio cabinet I got for a pretty penny from my BFF “G”s husband.

Of course, this is what I really want, but time and money are required first.

I hung the kitten needlework, which was a gift from my BFF “T”, since I’d finally bought a little free-standing towel rack.

queen bath-3

Beautiful, yes?

I also went through some old paperwork from the garage and filled 2 bags of recycling. That makes 301 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture I’ve cleared out of the house since January, 2014. Even though the bathroom counter won’t stay this beautiful for long, those papers are gone forever! Yay!

Stay tuned…

p.s. I shared this at Chic on a Shoestring.

Laundry Closet, or 299

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I called No.2 Sis last Sunday and asked her if I could borrow my drill. She graciously said yes.

Before she came over, I cleaned out the laundry room closet. I threw away a pair of shoes. I put two more pairs in a Goodwill bag with some jigsaw puzzles. And I recycled two bags of bags. That brings me to 299 bags, boxes, and small pieces of furniture I’ve gotten rid of since January of 2014.

Untitled design-3

When No.2 Sis arrived, I unpacked the two organizing widgets I’d purchased from Amazon. One was to hold the ironing board, and one was to hold the brooms, mops and dusters.

We decided to hang the broom holder first, because it looked more difficult. We held the broom holder up on the wall, and I drilled through each of the six mounting holes with a 1/16″ bit.

Then we put aside the broom widget and enlarged the holes to 1/8″. Hmm, too small for the drywall anchors. We tried 5/32″. Too small. 3/16″. Too small. I used every drill bit I owned. Finally, the largest bit gave us the proper-sized hole for the drywall anchors.

We installed the anchors, put the broom holder back up to the wall, and screwed in the six screws. Beautiful!

Ew, that broom needs a good hose-down.

Ew, that broom needs a good hose-down.

I hung the mop up. It slowly slid down to the floor. I hung the broom up. It also slid down to the floor. Damn it!

Well, at least the hooks would hold the dusters. On the contrary, the hooks were quite large, and the holes on some of the dusters were quite small.

I went to my trusty hardware bin, and pulled out some “S” hooks to adapt the dusters. Harumph! The “S” hooks were too small, too.

No.2 Sis noticed some plastic rings in the hardware bin. “What about these?” They were old plastic curtain rings.

The curtain rings were small enough to fit through the duster holes, and large enough to hang on the broom widget’s hooks. Unfortunately, they didn’t snap closed. A quick rummage through the kitchen junk drawer yielded some twist-ties, and I wired the curtain rings shut.

I hung the modified dusters on the hooks, hung the mop from another hook, and put the broom in upside-down so it couldn’t slide out of the holder. Beautiful!

I had to make it work. I damned well wasn’t going to try to get those six screws out after they were anchored into the drywall!

Sis and I figured the ironing board holder installation would be a piece a piece of cake after the broom holder experience.

laundry closet- ironing board widget

We held the ironing board holder on the wall, and I drilled two 1/8″ holes. Oops. The screws just popped into the holes with no resistance whatsoever.

Another rummage through the hardware bin, and we found two more drywall anchors and hammered them into the wall. The screws actually screwed in after that, so the ironing board hanger was securely mounted. Whew. I mean, beautiful!


I bought both hangers from Amazon.com. The broom hanger was:

This got mixed, but mostly good reviews on Amazon. Some people did mention that their brooms and mops tended to slide out of the hanger’s grips. I should have read more of the reviews before I bought it. I wouldn’t recommend it.
The ironing board hanger was:
It would have been nice to have been told the drill size needed for the screws, but otherwise, good price for a good basic hanger. I’d recommend it.

Stay tuned…

p.s. The links included in this post are not affiliate links (I don’t get any commission if you click on them).

p.s.s. I shared this at Cozy Little House.

Autumnal Equinox, Or 296

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It’s the Autumnal Equinox. Don’t forget to dance naked in the moonlight!

I took advantage of the cooling temperatures to get some work done in the garage last Sunday. It was around 70 degrees F, which was perfect, as my comfort range is 70-72. If it’s 68, I think I’m freezing, and if it’s 74, I feel I’ll faint from the heat.

Yes, I am a delicate tundra flower.

No.2 Sis came over to help me clean. I get so much more done with her help!

We broke down boxes from my over-shopping days. We stuffed the recycling bin to overflowing (it was already over half full) and I counted it as 2 bags. That’s a very conservative guesstimate.

Do you realize how sad it’s been for me lately, coming home to a porch devoid of delivered boxes? Sigh, my budget thanks me.

I put 2 bags of garbage in the trash bin. It was all packing material from the aforementioned boxes.

We uncovered the broken mate to the aspirational chair. That had to go in the trash bin, too.

I found several gym bags (unused, of course). I used to get them for free for buying other stuff. More clutter. They went into a bag for Goodwill.

No.2 Sis took a table that No.8 Sis had been storing in my garage. No.8 just had a big rummage sale, so she has room in her garage now.

No.2 Sis also took a stack of moving boxes that look like they’d never been used. I’ll count that as 1 bag.

And No.2 Sis took a bag of weeds that I’d pulled from around the maple tree (Rocky 2) this spring. She added the dirt swept up from the garage floor, and she’ll take it to the compost site. She’s so green.

The only trouble with sweeping the dirt out is the garage floor is flat now. I used to know when to stop the car by when I rolled over the big hump of dirt.

garage, sept 2015

I still have some boxes stacked on the side wall, and the work-bench needs clearing off again, but what an improvement!

So that’s 9 bags on Sunday, which brings my total to 296 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture that I’ve gotten rid of since January, 2014.

Stay tuned…



Loll and Putter, Or 287

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I usually try to take one day per weekend to loll and putter.

I intersperse lying about reading, napping, and puzzle-solving, with a few bursts of house-cleaning activity.

Today, Saturday, was that day. I read a novel, napped, and played a hidden object game on my kindle. I lolled.

And I puttered. I typed up and e-mailed an assignment for my herbal studies.

I did a load of dishes.

I sorted through another pile in the art studio. That netted me 1 box of donations and 2 bags of recycling. I didn’t even count the flattened out boxes in the recycling. Why do I save so much paper?

studio-3, before

studio-3, after

Boy, that next pile is going to be a doozy. And I just love how it highlights my mad engineering skills. See how it’s stacked from the smallest box on the bottom to the largest box on the top?

I also ordered groceries, to be delivered tomorrow. That means I successfully procrastinated cooking for a day. Well played, I must say.

I started pulling together some outfits to wear next week. That inspired me to pull some things out of the closet that I haven’t worn and put them in a donation bag. I was able to fill an entire bag of clothes.

And, I started the laundry, even though I could leave it for “T” when she comes to clean. I’ll leave the towels and sheets for her, but if I wash the clothes I’ll have more to choose from when putting together outfits.

I think that was a good amount of puttering.

Yesterday, I heard a friend was having a rummage sale, so No.2 Sis and I boxed up my stamps and hers, and delivered them to the sale site. I hope they sell!

With the 1 box of donations, 2 bags of recycling, 1 bag of clothes, and 1 box of stamps, I’ve gotten rid of 287 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture since January, 2014.

Stay tuned…

Studio Progress; 282

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I tackled another pile in the Studio.


I spent a while sorting through it until I felt it was done “enough”. Then I took a picture of it and loaded it onto this blog. Hmm, not done enough after all.

I went through the pile that was left over. Packed up a few more things for give-away. There! Took a picture. Crap. It still looked like crap.

I thought back to when I first started this decluttering process, and realized that I used to get rid of things until it hurt! It hasn’t hurt in a while.

I went through the left-over pile again and put things in give-away boxes until it hurt, at least a little. I probably should have kept going until it hurt a lot, but I didn’t. Still, I loaded 2 boxes of stuff to donate, filled 2 bags of recycling, and threw away a negligible amount of garbage.


Finally, an “after” picture I can take a little pride in.

My total bag count (bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture gotten rid of since January, 2014) is now 282.

Next pile that I work on, I’m going to make sure it hurts a lot!!!

Stay tuned…

p.s. I made $0, nada, zilch, nuttin’, extra in July.