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.





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

Guest room-1

























Guest room-2




























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.


Decision Made, or 350

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My Dad only gave me a few pieces of advice over my lifetime. One bit that stuck with me was, “Always stretch yourself when buying a house. Get the most expensive house you can qualify for, because as your income goes up, the payments will get much easier”.

DAD AND ME, 2007

DAD AND ME, 2007





























This was back in the days of rising wages and rising real estate values, of course.

I took my Dad’s advice when buying both of my houses. I stayed in the first one for 19 years, and by then the payments did seem quite puny.

When I move into my current cottage, the payments were two-and-a-half times my old payment. And I got laid off. And the housing market crashed, taking the value (but not the mortgage) of my current home into the toilet. And even when I got a new job, my wages stagnated for years.

So, after living here for 13 years, I’ve decided to sell my cottage. My home has (finally) recovered its original value, and a little bit more. They say it’s a seller’s market right now, so that will help, too.

To that end, I have to step up my decluttering efforts by an order of magnitude!

No.2 Sis came over last Friday and we slogged deeper into the Studio. We were able to pack up 16 boxes and bags!

3 went home with Sis, 3 went to Goodwill, 6 went into recycling, and 1 went into the garbage.

I also have to take 3 boxes to the thrift store to see if they’ll buy any of it. Whatever they don’t want goes to Goodwill.

That makes 350 bags, boxes and small pieces of furniture cleaned out of the house since January, 2014.

My goal is to get the house on the market by early May! I’ll keep you posted!

Stay tuned…

I Digress

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When I was growing up, Mom had the great idea to move all of the 5 girls that remained at home into 1 bedroom. I know I’ve told parts of this story before, but please bear with me. There’s a point to this.

The upstairs was unevenly divided in size between 2 bedrooms. The small bedroom had 2 built-in bunks under the eaves, and Dad built an additional triple-bunk along the wall.

The room had a half-height “closet” carved out from under the eaves.

The large bedroom was turned into a play-study-dressing room and held our 5 dressers, 5 desks, a love seat, and a record player. The room also had a tiny closet, but at least it was full height, and had 2 hanging rods.

Both rooms were stuffed to overflowing, but I loved to lounge on the love seat and play the 1 record we had over and over. The record was “The Best of Hank Williams (Senior)” and had many uplifting ditties, such as “Long Gone Lonesome Blues”, “Lost Highway”, “Why Don’t You Love Me”, and “I Heard  That Lonesome Whistle”.

My point is, I was programmed from a young age to try to fit 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag. And be depressed. Very depressed.

Back to March, 2016.

I needed to clean the house for a Stampin’ Up party being held at my house last weekend. I had 3 months to do all the work in, so I worked on clearing out the art studio (because, priorities). Meanwhile, the living room, dining room and kitchen got worse and worse.

The day before the party, No.2 Sis came over and helped me bag and box all the junk from the public part of the house and load it into the private areas. We tried to stuff 10 pounds of shit into 5 pound bags and then hide it from sight. Instead of making progress on the house, I made digress…congress?…regress? I made regress.

Now the laundry room, Queen bedroom and Studio look like this.

messy room digression



























And I’m depressed. Very depressed.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I signed up to be a Stampin’ Up demonstrator after the party. I know it helps depression if you can make decisions, any decisions, and take action, any actions. But sweet pickled Jesus, what have I done?



Miss Hiss, or 324

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I had to take Bella to the vet yesterday, and let me tell you, she was VERY unhappy about it. She was shrieking, SHRIEKING, in her loudest Siamesy voice.

The vet took her into a back room to sedate her so she could be examined and, from the exam room, I could hear Bella shrieking and growling for what seemed like forever. By the time the vet got back to me, I was bawling my eyes out. I’m getting teary just writing this.

Bella got her exam and her shots, and they kept her for a couple of hours until the sedative starting wearing off. I picked her up and brought her home, where she hissed loudly at me every time she saw me.

At bedtime, I found Bella under my blankets. I s l o w l y got into bed beside her as she hissed at me. Then I turned off the light and laid down.

You do not know terror until you’re lying in the dark while a fully-clawed cat circles your head, growling in a very menacing manner.

Today, Bella has been letting me pet her for a few seconds before she turns and hisses at me. Progress.



The really bad news? She has to go back to the vet in 2 weeks for dental work. Goddess help me.

I had to hide in the Studio to get away from the dear, wee kitty. While I was in there, I filled one bag of recycling and pulled out a little television set to drop off at Best Buy. They recycle them for free.

That brings me up to 324 bags, boxes, and small pieces of furniture removed from my cottage since January, 2014.

Stay tuned…

I shared this frightening story at Chic On a Shoestring.


Working On The Chain Gang, or 322

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I literally worked on a chain gang once.

It was my first drafting job, at Peerless Chain. Their trucks all said “Peerless Chain- The Chain Gang”.

That was me, working on the Chain Gang.

Now I work in a cell cubicle country club at “The Company”. “The Company” informed me last Friday that we were going on overtime. That always helps my bank account, but slows down my progress on decluttering my cottage.

I have been slowly clearing out the Art Studio. I took one pile of boxes at a time, often going through them in one go. Those were stacks of single boxes, one on top of another.

When I got to the corner of the Studio, the remaining pile was about 4 interlocking stacks of boxes in a Jenga-like tower. I’ve been working on it here and there for weeks.



I got it down to this short pile, which is mostly papers to file. That means I have to clean out the file cabinet. That means I have to shred the old papers that come out of the filing cabinet.



Oh dear, I see I’ve tried to keep far too many books. I’m going to try to sell them at Half Price Books to see if I can make a little cash for the Cush Fund.

I shredded 5 bags of paper (still not done with the shredding, though). That brings me up to 322 bags, boxes, and small pieces of furniture cleared out of my cottage since January of 2014. Thank Goddess the recycling is picked up early next week.

Stay tuned…




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…

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.

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.