Final, Final Pictures and Final Bag Count

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Nearly a month has passed since my last post. During that time, with the help of the city sisters, I had a huge estate sale and sold most of everything I owned.

I packed up my clothes and toiletries and moved in with No.2 Sis. I now live on a pull-out couch.

I hired movers (Two Men and a Truck– accept no substitutes) and got everything moved from the local storage locker to a locker near No.2 Sis’s house. It’s climate-controlled, and will be much better for my antiques and art work.

Then No.2 Sis and I cleaned our asses off. We left Laurel’s Cottage in superb condition for the new owners.

We closed the sale on July 15th, and it is officially over.

I saved the best pictures for last. The storage room/art studio turned guest room. After TONS of decluttering, cleaning, and painting, No.8 Sis staged it beautifully with mostly borrowed furniture. It came out absolutely gorgeous, especially when you know how it started out.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

 

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

STUDIO, BEFORE.

Sorry about the dark and fuzzy old photos. My photography is improving, yes?

Guest room-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest room-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GUEST ROOM, AFTER.

I’d removed 362 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture before I decided to sell my house. After that, I got rid of 221 more to prepare for the sale of the house and the estate sale. I didn’t keep count of how much was sold and cleaned out during and after the sale. My final count was 583!

I’m so proud!

Next time I’ll tell you where I’m going from here.

Stay tuned…

 

On My Own, or 362*

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I suddenly realized that my left stride was much shorter than my right stride when I found myself walking down the hall nearly sideways. Must be all the physical labor I’m putting into prepping the house for sale.

A visit to Dr. Bob, the chiropractor, fixed me up. Thank Goddess. If it had gotten any worse, I’d have only been able to walk in circles.

No.2 Sis wasn’t able to help me this weekend, so I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be motivated to continue my great progress in clearing the Art Studio. I did quite well on my own, though!

I packed 5 more boxes for Half Price Books, 1 box for the thrift store, and delivered 2 boxes of stamping supplies to No.2 Sis, including all of my stamples (stamps + samples = stamples). That’s what she gets for not being there; she has to take some of my junk.

I also dumped 2 bags of recycling and 2 bags of garbage into their respective bins.

That means my total boxes, bags and small pieces of furniture cleared out of the house since January, 2014, equals 362*. Not bad!

Stay tuned…

*I also killed a hideous, hairy spider. I didn’t count it as a bag, even though it was quite large.

 

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.

LAUNDRY-BEFORE

LAUNDRY-AFTER

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

HALLWAY-BEFORE

HALLWAY-AFTER

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).

BELLA IN LEVIS

BELLA IN LEVI’S

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 Future, and New Year’s Resolutions

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This Christmas is over, and after all the gift-giving, card-sending, partying and over-eating, all I want to do is…start on next year’s preparations.

Am I sick, or what?

It might be because I never finished decorating for this Christmas. Or it might be because I haven’t had time to do anything very creative for a while, so I want to make some more Christmas cards and some earrings to give as gifts. Goddess knows, I have enough earrings for my own wearing for this lifetime!

But, it’s New Year’s eve today, so I must review my 2015 resolutions to see how I did.

2015 RESOLUTIONS:

1. CUT CREDIT CARD DEBT BY HALF.

Oh my, oh my. This was a complete and utter FAIL. I started 2015 with $8000 in credit card debt, and ended 2015 with $12,600 in credit card debt. I had approximately $6000 in medical bills this year, while I had $1500 budgeted. I also had to buy new tires for Gypsy Blue, to the tune of $1000.

This week I withdrew $4500 from my retirement savings (gulp) to pay off the “small” cards, and I refinanced the $8100 balance on an expiring 0% interest card to a new 0% interest card.

2. CONTINUE DECLUTTERING AND BLOGGING.

This went pretty well, if slower than I would’ve liked, so I’ll call it a WIN. Yay!

I started 2015 at 231 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture cleared out of the house, and ended the year at 309.

3. CONTINUE TO COOK, AND EAT WELL.

This was a 50-50 success-fail. I had a weight loss of 25 pounds, then fell of the lo-carb wagon in slo-mo, gained 15 pounds back, got back on the wagon, lost 8 pounds, fell off the wagon from Thanksgiving through Christmas, got back on the wagon, lost 2 pounds…

Up and down, back and forth, to and fro…you get the idea.

I just decided, a tie is a WIN.

4. TAKE A PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE.

FAIL. I bought a new camera last year and can’t even figure out how to turn it on.

5. TAKE TECH WRITING COURSE.

FAIL. This was an “I should do this to try to make extra money” resolution. My heart wasn’t really in it.

6. LEARN TAI CHI.

FAIL. This was an “I should do this to make Dr. Paul, my naturopath, proud of me” resolution. My heart wasn’t really in this one, either.

I didn’t make a resolution to get back into my Herbalism course, but I started it up anyway. I had left it a little while (cough*years*cough) ago, when I was just 60% through part one of three. I finished parts one and two this year! Yay! BONUS WIN.

TOTAL: 3 WINS, 4 FAILS.

Embarrassing to admit, but probably my most successful year ever.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! MAY 2016 BE THE BEST EVER!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! MAY 2016 BE THE BEST EVER!

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, 2016:

  1. CANCEL ALL CREDIT CARDS EXCEPT NEW 0% AND MY BANK VISA.
  2. BUILD UP $1200 EMERGENCY FUND. (Not much, but $1200 more than I have right now).
  3. PAY CASH FOR EVERYTHING. (No new charges).

Of course, I want to eat well more consistently, and I want to continue decluttering, and I want to learn to use that damn camera, but I don’t want to focus my resolutions on those things.

Hey, to make sure I’m extra successful, maybe I should resolve to NOT take a tech writing class or learn Tai Chi!

Stay tuned…

p.s. I made $59 extra in December. I sold $24 worth of household goods to a thrift store and won $35 at the casino.

 

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.

MY FIRST CHRISTMAS (IN BLANKET). LOOK AT THE ROLLER SKATES THAT YOU CLAMP TO YOUR SHOES.

Christmas past - 1

PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF THAT MY MOTHER SOMETIMES COOKED (I’VE HEARD RUMORS, BUT HAVE NEVER SEEN IT).

MY FIRST DOLL.

Christmas past - 2

THANK THE GODS, THE NUN DOLL WAS NOT FOR ME.

Christmas past - 3

WHY DO I HAVE A FEATHER IN MY HAIR? NO. IDEA.

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.

LITTLE SOLSTICE TREE

LITTLE SOLSTICE TREE

No.2 Sis made these ceramic Santas for me.

CERAMIC SANTAS

CERAMIC SANTAS

And this is one of my favorite ornaments.

SISTERS ALWAYS STICK TOGETHER

SISTERS ALWAYS STICK TOGETHER

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.

"R"

“R”

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.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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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.

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…