240, or Sorrow and Hoarding

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I’ve spent the day missing things I’ve gotten rid of. This is unexpected. In particular, I miss Dad’s t-shirts. They never fit me because he was a little gnome, and I’m a grand Teutonic queen, but I took them after he died because I thought they were funny.

Dad volunteered for several different organizations and collected some odd t-shirts that he had to wear at events. There was one slightly lewd one with a chocolate-covered banana on it. The sale of the chocolate-covered bananas was an annual fund-raiser for the Lions Club, or was it the Elks?

There was a hot pink one (not Dad’s chosen color) with a fat little porker on it. It was for a barbecue for the benefit of the church. Then there were colorful tees for the historical society, and the library, and the hospice society.

I got rid of them in an early round of purging. I just saw an idea on Pinterest for making pillows out of old t-shirts. Now I’m sad that I don’t have Dad’s collection.

When I think about it though, I’m really sad because my Dad is gone, and my brother-in-law just passed away. Sorrow is hard to deal with. I want to keep things, so I don’t have to deal with the loss of loved ones. It doesn’t work that way, of course, but this is the thought process that leads to hoarding for some of us. I won’t mention any names.

Sigh. So I must feel my feelings, and not try to hoard them away, or shop them away, or eat them away. That about covers my dysfunctional coping skills.

My functional coping skills? Talk it out, take it one day at a time, and continue to get rid of stuff.

Meanwhile, a little home maintenance is in order.


Living Room:

1 hour 20 minutes. This included the usual picking up, but also included going through all the mail and opening some Amazon packages that had been piling up. I got a little herb garden, some Swiffer dusters and some Bissell carpet cleaning solutions. I packed up a box to donate, and 3 bags to recycle (mail and packing materials).

I also ordered and received these 2 scarves, because I felt I needed a treat (or two).

Okay, so I did a little emotional shopping. My bad.

Stay tuned…

Note to readers: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link (whether it’s the product I recommend or another). Thanks for helping me earn virgin margarita money!

235, or Dr. Doogie and the Ice Pack

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I was planning on getting a lot done this weekend, but that was before I saw Dr. Doogie, the chiropractor, Friday night. She was poking around my ribs and sternum and asking if it hurt. Well, it didn’t until you starting jabbing me like a schoolyard bully.

Apparently, in addition to my back being its usual wonky self, my ribs and sternum were misaligned. How does that happen? She ordered me to go directly home and apply ice. There are two essential things I lacked for an ice pack. The ice, and the pack.

I stopped by the drugstore and bought a gel pack (similar to the one linked below, only I paid a lot more) and a bag of ice. I put the gel pack in the freezer to cool for future icings. I made a pack out of the ice cubes by putting them in multiple snack bags and putting the snack bags in a one gallon freezer bag. That made a pretty flat ice pack, and I thought I was pretty clever for thinking of it.

Ice pack

Although I won’t take the vacuum cleaner to the repair shop as planned, or make a Goodwill drop-off (too much lifting), I still need to do my weekly maintenance.


Kitchen: 12 minutes to load the dishwasher, clear and wash counters, and scrub the grill. I didn’t try any new recipes this week. I just grilled a few burgers and a couple of steaks to build meals around.

Queen Bedroom: 15 minutes to mate socks, put away clean laundry, clear some junk off of bed, and make bed.

Queen Bath: 5 minutes to clear counter and pick up dirty clothes.

Queen Closet: 20 minutes to put away clean clothes, clear dresser, and pick out outfits and accessories for the coming week.

I managed to fill the donation box that I started last week. I added the candle bowl that I de-limed a while back. I found the base to a similar one in the garage and found the bowl in the dining room hutch. I added that to the box, too. I added a tablecloth from the hutch, then I tucked in some books from the studio and called it done. It will go to Goodwill when I feel I can safely lift things again.

I also filled a bag of recycling. That puts me at 235.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I linked this to Cozy Little House.

Note to readers: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link (whether it’s the product I recommend or another). Thanks for helping me earn virgin margarita money!



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I went to see Dr. Doogie, the chiropractor. She told me that my continuing back pain is caused by poor posture at work. No doubt, she’s right. I told her I’d stick a post-it note on my computer screen to remind me to straighten up.

I started thinking though, a post-it note isn’t really motivating enough. Maybe I can MacGyver up a laser beam at my desk. Every time I lean forward and break the beam, it would set off an alarm. Ooooh, I’ve got it! An Invisible Fence! I’ll have to wear a shock collar, but I’m sure they come in lovely fashion colors.

Meanwhile, it’s time for my weekly reading list, and I’ve read absolutely nothing all week. I’ve been glued to my television with my Amazon Fire TV running. Oh my goddess, the cool shows I never knew existed!

“Sherlock” is my newest addiction. Awesome! And I love to watch old faves before bed time, like “New Girl” and “The Big Bang Theory”.

I did manage to make time for some weekend maintenance.


Queen bathroom: 10 minutes to pick up jewelry, clothes and toiletries.

Queen bedroom: 10 minutes to pick up clothes and magazines, and make the bed.

Living room: 20 minutes to pick up Christmas gifts and wrappings, mail, clean laundry and miscellaneous accumulated junk.

Kitchen: 15 minutes to clear counters and do dishes.

I collected a bag of recycling. I also sent my BFF “G” home with the big box of draperies that has been cluttering up the hallway for quite some time. That brings my bag count to 233.

Stay tuned…

Note to readers: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link (whether it’s the product I recommend or another). Thanks for helping me earn margarita money!


6 New Year’s Resolutions

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I was only going to make one New Year’s resolution this year. Unfortunately, No.2 Sis insisted that “be perfect” was an inappropriate resolution. She thinks maybe I should come up with something a little more realistic.

I don’t remember making any resolutions last year, although perhaps I did and just forgot. I got a lot accomplished in 2014 anyway.

I started decluttering the house and garage. I got 231 bags, boxes, and small pieces of furniture to a donation center, the garbage, or recycling. I’m not done, Goddess help me, but I’ve made a huge amount of progress.

I organized the Queen bedroom, Queen bathroom, Queen closet, and kitchen. And I got the chandelier hung in the Throne Room.

I started cooking, and I started eating in a more healthful way. Of course, there was one slip-up (lasting from Thanksgiving through Christmas), but I lowered my blood sugar enough to go off all of my diabetes medications, and lost 22 pounds.

I started this blog, and posted to it pretty regularly. Do you know how many projects like that I’ve started and given up on within weeks? I don’t even want to think about it.

One thing I didn’t do so well, was manage my finances. I ran a credit card up to the limit, and it will probably take two years to pay off. That’s IF I can be diligent with large payments and make no more charges.

So, here are my resolutions for 2015:

1. Cut credit card debt by half.

2. Continue decluttering and blogging.

3. Continue to cook, and eat well.

4. Take a photography course.

5. Take a tech writing course.

6. Learn Tai Chi.

That’s manageable, right? I’ll have to do a reality check with No.2 Sis to be sure.

Oh, I do remember making a New Year’s resolution for 2014. I was determined to finish my Herbal Studies course. That lasted about 3 weeks. I’m now going into the sixth year of a two year course, and it doesn’t seem important enough to add it to the above list. Hmmm, that’s giving me some information, isn’t it?

Happy New Year, and I wish you great success with all your endeavors!

Stay tuned…

p.s.  I shared this on Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House.

And on The Creative Collection at Classy Clutter.

And on Flaunt It Fridays at Chic on a Shoestring.

And I Heart Organizing.





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Oh dear. I’ve been back on heavy carbohydrates all week. It was my birthday a week ago and I dined with 5 different friends over the week (and I had to have dessert…it was my birthday!). I guess I could have gotten together with all of them at once, but I don’t like crowds. Hell, I wouldn’t even get together with my sisters all at once, but we need 5 of us to play canasta. 4 to play, 1 to serve drinks.

Besides getting back on the lo-carb regimen, I’ve decided to spend a little time each weekend to do some maintenance on previously decluttered rooms. I hope that a little attention will keep these rooms from backsliding too much while I continue to work on seriously cluttered areas. My BFF “T” cleaned last week, so I don’t have to do any scrubbing or dusting (ever), but she leaves my piles of junk for me to figure out (as she should).


Queen Closet: 5 minutes to put the last of the larger pants in a bag for Goodwill, arrange shirts by sleeve length, and clear top of  dresser. I was down to 2 pairs of pants that fit me, so I went to Goodwill and shopped, instead of just dropping off bags. I bought a pristine pair of blue jeans and black dress pants, and a pair of olive green Levi’s with the tags still on! Total clothing expenditure: $21. Sweet!

Queen Bath: 5 minutes to pick up jewelry, scarves and makeup.

Queen Bedroom: 10 minutes to put away clean clothes, clear the nightstands, and make the bed.

Living Room: Um, didn’t get to the living room (again).

Kitchen: 20ish minutes to clear the counters and load the dishwasher. I did some of this while cooking and some after cooking a batch of food. I made tuna stuffed peppers (recipe was for salmon, but I only had tuna) and chicken parmesan. The chicken recipe said simmer in sauce for 4 minutes, but my chicken breasts were SO fat, I mean practically spherical, so I simmered them for 12 minutes, checking often to make sure I didn’t simmer all the sauce away.

Easy peasy recipes and they were quite tasty. The recipes are from Low Carb Meals in Minutes, which seems to be only available used on Amazon.

Also, I made the chicken in my new Dutch oven, it’s maiden recipe! It worked great and cleaned up easily. It’s one of my newest kitchen additions.

dutch oven, low carb cookbook

Still Life with Cookbook

I worked in the Studio for a while, decluttering, and I filled a bag of recycling. With the bag of clothes for Goodwill, I’m up to 226 bags. Thank goddess, I broke the 224 slump.

Stay tuned…

Note to readers: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link (whether it’s the product I recommend or another). Thanks for helping me earn margarita money!

Focus on the Bedroom…..211

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After my parents’ divorce, Dad got the chaotic little house, and Mom bought a chaotic little trailer. Well, it wasn’t chaotic when she bought it, but after she lived there a while along with me and No.7 Sis, it became pretty chaotic.

No. 7 Sis and I got home from school one day, looked around at the mess, and decided to surprise Mom by cleaning up. We did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, living room, dining room and bathroom, vacuumed, dusted…we got that crappy little trailer sparkling.

Mom got home, looked around, and toured through the whole trailer without saying a word. Then she came back into the living room where we were waiting and said, “Well, you could have at least made my bed”. What’s the opposite of “motivating”? Whatever it is, that was Mom.

Regarding my bedroom, the bed is rarely made, and clutter seems to pile up quickly. I’ve again used Fabnfree‘s cleaning checklist to focus my effort, this time on the Queen bedroom.

Queen Bedroom: 1 hour 20 minutes

messy bedroom

QB view 1, before.

Wow, that looks wonky. I feel a little seasick.

messy bedroom

QB view 2, before.

messy bedroom

QB view 3, before.

messy bedroom

QB view 4, before.

Okay, it took an hour and 20 minutes. But didn’t it originally take six weeks? And it’s so pretty when it’s clean!


clean bedroom

QB view 1, after.

clean bedroom

QB view 2, after.

The wicker tray in the corner is for when I want to have tea and cruise Pinterest while in bed.

clean bedroom

QB view 3, after.

clean bedroom

QB view 4, after.

Here’s a couple of bonus shots, using some items kept during the garage purge.

nightstand vignette

Kwan Yin.

side table vignette

Yin/yang box

The 7 additional bags that bring my count up to 211 didn’t come from the bedroom. I collected them from the garage before yesterday’s pick-up. 6 bags of recycling, mostly cardboard boxes, and 1 bag of garbage.

Stay tuned…





Focus….Ooh, Something Shiny!

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My Mom, Ruth, decided to retire in June of her 65th year. Then she invited Aunt P. to visit in June so they could attend their high school reunion together. Mom immediately informed her employer that she was retiring in January instead of June, because she needed five months to clean her apartment. One room per month. That should be perfect, right?

I have decluttered four rooms in my house, so far. They’re the same rooms Mom wanted to clean and declutter before her reunion: bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen. The fifth room is the dining room. In Mom’s house that was a corner of her eat-in kitchen. In my house it’s a full-sized clutter tornado. All of my room have grown messy again, because I’m not very good at maintenance. So today, I want to clean/declutter them again. All five rooms, today. That should be perfect, right?

We’ve talked about my lack of focus before. I found a simple check list on this website, Fabnfree, to help me focus on one room at a time instead of running all over the house and, without fail, getting distracted by something shiny.

Queen bathroom: 35 minutes

Cluttered bathroom

Cluttered bathroom

I started with smallest and easiest room, the Queen Bath. I threw away a bunch of stuff I haven’t been using since the original declutter, and I packed up a few things for Goodwill. I put the rest away. It looks even better than the first declutter, which took days, if not weeks!

Ta Da!

Ta Da!

Kitchen: 55 minutes

Buried kitchen.

Buried kitchen.


I decided to do the kitchen next, because I’ll be picking up dirty dishes in each room. (If you link to Fabnfree’s list, you’ll see she says to pick up dirty laundry in each room. Dirty dishes are a much bigger issue for me). I want to get the dishwasher unloaded so the stray dishes don’t just pile up on the counters, which are already overflowing.


Clean kitchen

Beautiful and Organized again!

And now I’m ready for supper, and I don’t want to cook. I don’t want to mess up my beautiful kitchen so soon after cleaning it!

I may be able to get another room done after supper, but I’ll save that for the next post. I think Fabnfree’s checklist kept me very focused, and I feel like I accomplished a lot. You should check it out if you’re easily distracted like I am.

One last thing, I waited too long (more than an hour) to take my latest bags and boxes to Goodwill. I changed my mind and retrieved the yards of beautiful blue velvet fabric fit for a Queen. I do have a use for it though. No.2 Sis is having a Mary Kay open house in a few weeks, and I’ll be presenting some of my hand-made earrings for sale. The blue velvet will be perfect for covering my display table.

And lest you think this may have altered my bag count, rest assured. I put the remainder of the bag of fabric in an uncounted, half-full box, thereby filling it up. My bag count remains exactly the same, 204.

Stay tuned…






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Do you remember in “City Slickers” when Curly (Jack Palance) gave Mitch (Billy Crystal) the secret of life? “One”, he said, “The secret of life is one thing”. Of course, we have to figure out what that one thing is, and it may be different for each of us. Which brings me back to…you got it…focus.

I really want to focus on getting the garage pretty much emptied out so I can store the patio set inside this winter. After the days and days of painting, I can’t leave it to the merciless Minnesota weather anymore. I’ve invested too much. So, until the garage is done, that’s my “one thing”.

garage clutter

The next pile…view 1.

garage clutter

The next pile…view 2.

Monday: Came straight home from work and made a delicious dinner of sauteed chicken tenders, mashed cauliflower (faux-tatoes), and grilled asparagus. Worked in the garage and packed up 3 more boxes for Goodwill, all books. Filled a bag of recycling, which won’t fit into the bin until after next week’s pickup. Brought a load of old papers into the house to shred. I’ll shred them, bag them and count them later. Bag count: 186.

Tuesday: You know, the problem with this Queendom is that there are too many jesters and not enough counselors (councilors?). Bella, the chief jester, insists on playing with the drawstring from my gym pants instead of the toys I buy her. I guess that’s okay, except my gym pants keep falling down.

Back into the garage I go, holding my pants up with one hand. I got 2 more boxes packed into Gypsy Blue’s back seat. Again, mostly books. I also started a bag of fabric from my delusional “I want to be a costume designer” phase. The bag isn’t full yet, so it doesn’t count. Goodwill drop-off tomorrow. Bag count: 188.

cat with string

Bella, Chief Jester

Wednesday: Maybe I don’t need more counselors in my Queendom. Maybe I need an Exchequer. You know, the guy who collects taxes from the serfs and distributes them to me, the Queen. Wait, maybe I need some serfs.

Since I have no serfs, I worked on the garage some more. Found my scarf collection. Yay, scarves are back in! Found more fabric, tons of jewelry-making supplies, and some dress patterns from the 1980’s. Those were good for a laugh. Filled another box and 2 more bags for Goodwill. Bag count: 191.

Garage progress

Garage progress

Stay tuned…

p.s. I linked this to Cozy Little House.


Practice Makes Perfect

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My work friend, “M”, told me she practices the violin two hours every night. Two. Hours. If I had been putting two hours every night into cleaning the house, it’d be spotless by now. If I’d have done my herbal studies two hours every night, I would be a certified herbalist! If I’d have drawn for two hours, EVERY NIGHT, I’d have built upon my modest talent and might have work in a gallery!!! But I want to do it all, plus exercise, cook, read, write….. So how about 5 minutes of each every night? Oh, that’s kind of what I have been doing. That focus thing, it’s a toughie.

I figure if I can’t spend two hours cleaning, at least I can tackle the most pressing problem at home. That would be the clogged sink in the Queen bathroom.

clogged sink

Sink, before.

That’s a picture of the sink with the plug fully disengaged. And yes, I have rubber duckies, plural. Doesn’t everyone? I have a snake to clean the drain, but I find a wire hanger works better, because I don’t have to take the drain apart to use it. Well, the hanger works better until it gets stuck in the drain. Maybe the snake would have been preferable, after all. About ten minutes of wiggling and yanking later, the hanger came out. Whew. And the water drained out too. Success!

Unclogged drain.

Ducky down.

Stay tuned…

True Confessions

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I have to make a confession. The other night, when I cleaned off the Queen bedroom chair? I wanted to finish my blog post, so I cleared the chair by throwing everything on the bed. I had every intention of going back to put everything away, but after I finished posting I got very distracted by an urgent situation. An unfinished jigsaw puzzle. So the room has looked like this for the last couple of nights.

The truth.

The truth.

Um, yeah, I slept with all that crap in the bed. I just curled up a bit. Tonight, I came home from the country club (I’m finding “the country club” sounds more upbeat then calling my work cubicle “my cell”) and cleaned up that mess. For real. I’m so sorry for deceiving you. Can we ever rebuild the trust?

Cleaned up, for real.

Cleaned up, for real.

Oh, maybe now is a good time to mention that boxes 128 & 129, the old paint cans, are still sitting in the garage. To be fair, I never reported them fully gone from the property. Goddess, I feel so dirty.

Stay tuned…