Category Archives: Housekeeping – Maintenance

Thoughts on The Art Room Project

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I’ve made more progress today on cleaning out my art room. I have a total of FOUR 39 gallon leaf bags full of stuff to donate to the Veterans Thrift Store soon.

The thing I didn’t expect was that this project would make me so emotionally tired, too.

I’ve spent a large part of my life trying to create things, paint things, decorate stuff – to sell on my former website, Creative Artworks. Last year I closed the website down, shifting my work to Etsy  and  ArtFire.

Now I’m trying to pare down what I’m trying to create and the materials I need to make them. This is surprisingly hard, in that I’m closing some doors. I’ll feel better once this is finished and I have more room to spread out and start trying to make ideas rattling around in my head come to fruition, but I have to talk to myself, pushing myself to admit I no longer want to make something and actually gather the materials to give to others. I’m happy to provide materials for others who might love making use of them, it’s just hard to make my creative world a bit smaller.

So now I’m trying to picture my art room looking clean and spacious, trying to gather motivation to continue this needed project. Some things are more difficult to go through. It was much easier when it was pots and pans…

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Art Room Clean Up Progress?

Well, I was planning to show you pics of a couple of tables I’ve managed to clean off in the art room. So far I’ve gathered two large bags of things I’ll donate, plus a nice big bag of trash to put out for the trash people tomorrow.

I brought my husband in to show him my progress last night right before we went to bed. I was thinking he would notice how clean two of the tables are. He looked around and said, “You’ve got a lot more work to do, don’t you.”

I’m not admitting defeat here. I’ll just keep going up there, deciding what I can get rid of, and keep on keepin’ on…

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Slogging Through the Art Room Clean Up Project

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I’m having to do really short sessions on cleaning my art room. I keep getting distracted when I find something interesting I didn’t remember I had and wanting to do something ‘artful’ with it, instead of continuing to go through things.

Last time I got the idea for a new line of stationery, note cards, thank you notes and greeting cards. The idea is rattling around in my head, plus I’m dreaming about it, so I guess I’ll need to make time and space to at least get started on the idea soon, but I really need to get the art room ‘healed’ first.

So far, I HAVE cleaned off my drafting table. If you walked into the room, though, you wouldn’t be able to tell anything else had been done. This is the kind of project that looks worse before it even THINKS about getting better.

I’m going up there now to see what I can do….

I would appreciate your sending good wishes, persistence, and focus in my direction today…

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Good News and Bad News

The GOOD news is that we’re having an absolutely GORGEOUS day – particularly for mid-February. It’s 77 degrees F. outside now and the sun is shining. There’s a gusty wind, but it’s coming from the south.

We took the opportunity to walk around the yard when we got home from errands.

The BAD news is that we’re finding more of what living in the same place for over 30 years brings.

We have severalbrick planters in the yard because we have no soil on top of the ridge line. We have two 8’x2′ planters across the front of the house that are giving it up, falling apart.

 

Those were pics of the first planter. Below are pics of the 2nd planter –

 

 

 

We have a sample brick to take to Fort Smith to see if we can get more or something similar. My husband will calculate how many bricks we need have the company deliver them, leaving them to the side of the top of our driveway.

We’ll see if we can find a real brick layer, rather than trying to do these again ourselves.  We plan to dig out the plants, saving the ones we can. We’ll dig out the soil, putting it in huge piles on tarps in the front yard. We’ll demolish the planters down to the concrete pads. (We’ll see if we can use these bricks to make a walk-way or two in my greenhouse later.)  Hopefully by doing this much ourselves, plus putting soil back in when the brick layer has finished and says it’s okay, we’ll save as much money as possible.

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Cleaning Out the Art Room – Day 1

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I’m going upstairs now, armed with trash bags for donations and trash bags for trash, to get started going through things in my art room. As bad as things are in there, my biggest problem will be NOT picking something up and wanting to stop cleaning and PLAY with something wonderful I’ve found. I have my mental ‘ruthless’ hat on, so I’ll do my best.

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New Purging Project Starts Today – My Art Room

I converted our third bedroom to be my art room. I can create to my heart’s content (when I can make the time and have the energy).  I consider it a treasure trove of wonderful ‘stuff’ I can use if/when the creative bug grabs me. Between projects, though, I tend to just open the door quickly (the cats try to dash inside the minute the door is cracked) and stash whatever it is, thinking I’ll get to it later. This is the result of all that stashing.

I really have no excuse, other than being a slob. My biggest problem when I try to go through things and clean in there is that something grabs my interest and I want to sit down and play with it.  :0)

 

Under all this is a nice drafting table.

This used to be a dressing table when it was a bedroom. It is mostly set up (under all the ‘stuff’) as a jewelry making center and wrapping center. (I know – it’s hard to believe.)

 

This table is for alcohol ink creations, drawing, etc.

This is an area where I keep art supplies.

I have shelves on both sides of the drafting table.

The last time I cleaned this up, I was mainly straightening things. This time I’m going to concentrate on purging (donating things or throwing away), THEN cleaning, and THEN reorganizing.  This will definitely be a multi-day project.

We have the truck packed with a big donation from the pantry purge to the Veterans Thrift Store in Ft. Smith. When we get home, we’ll repack the truck with all the trash bags from the same project, hoping that the good trash people will take them all.  THEN I’ll start making more…

 

 

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Pantry Project is Finished!

Recently I showed you the NON-FOOD side of the pantry. Here is the FOOD side – mostly – except for the very top shelf.

 

Today I went through the top shelf mainly. We just bought replacement flood lights for an outside corner of the house. Today I found that we HAVE some…. I found a lot to put in the Veterans Thrift Store donation area, a lot to throw away, a lot that needed to go elsewhere. I then thoroughly cleaned the top shelf and then reorganized it. There are still two containers holding miscellaneous small light bulbs, but we won’t have to paw through them to find a regular replacement light bulb anymore.

 

I bought and used a lot of see-through plastic bins to help me organize things. We also have small ‘critters from time to time, and these will help us move things quickly to clean, plus The critters may decide to go elsewhere when they find it’s hard to get to anything edible now.

 

My husband made some special can shelves for us several years ago. We have these labeled, so we can quickly find the veggies or soup we want. We put new cans in the back of each partition, so the older ones keep moving to the front.

This is a picture of the non-food side of the pantry.  I can now just walk up and get the small appliance I need, rather than having to stand on my head to get one out of the cabinets in my island.

I’m pleased to have this much better organized than it was before. Even my husband noticed a big difference, though his main focus was on what I did with his ‘chip food group.’

The next thing I’ll need to do is list and pack up the things for the next donation to the Veterans Thrift Store. We’ll need to make this donation tomorrow or so.

 

 

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Pantry Project – Day 4

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This is Day 4 of the Clean-Out-The-Pantry project, and I HOPE it will be the last. I’m hanging in there, but I have to admit I’m pretty bushed. I now have 7 large trash bags in the garage to go out Monday evening, and we haven’t started gathering the ‘regular’ trash for the week! We do have several things to give to Methodist Church’s food pantry when I get finished, and I’ve gathered several things for the next trip to the Veterans Thrift Store.

One thing that has helped is we got 6 large plastic see-through bins so I can put like things together, such as sugar substitutes, or low carb baking mixes, or different kinds of flour. I used 4 yesterday and we went back today – since we’re due for freezing rain all day today into tomorrow, and shopped for groceries, too – to get 2 more. I THINK that should finish it. It will certainly make cleaning easier in the future.

Other than my husband’s sacred ‘chips and crackers food group,’ we’re pretty much down to things we can/should eat now in the pantry. Things won’t be so jammed together and it’ll be easier to find things.

If I finish today, I’ll post pics.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

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The Contest is On….

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EEK!!!!!

The contest is on for the oldest thing discovered in our pantry. So far, the winner is 1996 – a can of fruit cocktail in one of the back corners…

I had also been keeping large plastic containers of things – Better for Bread flour, All Purpose Flour, Brown sugar, regular sugar, etc. in two rows, one on top of the other, all the way across the back of one shelf. I’ve just finished throwing all that out. We’re not eating ANY of those anymore. I don’t know why I was so reluctant to dispose of them. Some were yucky, too….

I’m taking a break now, and then I’ll start to try to make a baking supplies area, a condiments area, etc. out of the chaos that reigns now. At the rate I’m going now, it’ll probably be the end of the weekend or into next week before it’s reasonable again.

I think I’ll sleep well tonight!

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Pantry Purge – Day Three

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We’re going to enjoy our good friends at Lunch Bunch today and then I’ll start Day Three of the clean-out-the-pantry project. The non-food side of the pantry is almost finished.

 

 

On the food side of the pantry, I’ll try to recapture areas such as baking supplies. I’m going to first start gathering food we aren’t (or shouldn’t be) eating on our low carb lifestyle – except for ‘saving-marriage-stuff, such as the chips food group, for my husband.

I’ve got this! (I HOPE)

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Another Exciting Day at the Lewises!

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I wish that I could tell you that exciting things are happening at our house, but it ‘just ain’t happnin’ as Arkansans say.

My husband will probably work in the shop again, working on his welding lathe. He’s had to make almost all the parts, and he’s done a beautiful job. He has the main part of the tool welded together, painted, and on casters with brakes now. He’s having to carefully put the long 2″ in diameter solid tube of metal on the lathe today because it has to be exactly 2″ in diameter, and there are places where it is over that. This means it won’t go inside the 2″ hole in the tool that it has to, so he’ll have to carefully cut off the parts that shouldn’t be there, whittling the piece down to as close as 2″ in diameter as he can get it. He’s heating up the shop now. I’ll take progress pics soon and post them.

I’m making slow progress on my clean-out-the-pantry project.

I have discovered in all the cleaning out/purging/donating/reorganization stuff I’ve done this year, that I try to have one area serve way too many purposes. I’m trying to consolidate and relocate stuff that ‘shouldn’t be there’ more than anything. Hopefully, this will result in my being better able to find things going forward.  (An example of this is I had two over the counter meds on the shopping list for this coming Sunday. In going through things yesterday, I found we didn’t need to buy them – we already HAD them!)

 

Another example of my lack of organization was that I keep buying another package of clothespins, which we use around here for all sorts of things other than hanging laundry. I had them ALL OVER different parts of the non-food side of the pantry. I’ll probably never need to buy another one, along with good bottles of shampoo…

I went through both of these bins, throwing away expired meds for both humans and animals and reorganizing the rest and labeling them.

 

At least you can see that some of the shelves are cleaned out. I’m heading back in there in a few minutes to continue my slow, but steady work.

I hope that YOUR day is more exciting than ours….

 

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Pantry Project – Day One

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I did three sessions on my cleaning out the pantry project. So far, it looks worse.

I’ve thrown away a bunch of stuff, started gathering stuff to donate, and have reorganized some things in bins, but there is ‘stuff’ still on the dining area table and unless you know where to look, you wouldn’t know anything had been done in there. WHEW!

One good thing – I certainly got my exercise today.

This is one of those projects where it only looks better when an area is completely redone. That won’t come for at least another day or so. I’m concentrating on the non-food part of the pantry first. There is a LOT to go through, so I may not be posting any pics soon – at LEAST until I get the non-food part cleaned and reorganized.

I’m trying to keep the kitchen so we can still cook, make hot drinks, feed animals, etc., with an area clear for doing each activity. It seems impossible right now, but little by little, I’ll get it done.

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New Purging Project – Pantry

When we built this house 30+ years ago, we wanted to be SURE we had two things: plenty of closet space and a big pantry. We have walk-in closets in all the bedrooms plus the front hall closet and cleaning closet you visited in other recent purge projects. We have a room off the kitchen for the pantry. Not just a few nice shelves, but an entire room. Ahhhh!  I’ve cleaned this out before, but it was before we changed to a low carb lifestyle. I’ve also stashed things in here because we had the room. Now, of course, like so many of my other purge projects, it is overflowing with goodies.

 

As you can see, we have heavy shelving that goes all the way around the room and a fridge in-between. We have ceiling-to-floor ‘stuff’ that has gotten totally out of hand.

 

My plan is to get rid of most of the things we’re not supposed to be eating now – donating it to one of the various food pantries in Greenwood, and there are some things I can donate to the Veterans Thrift Store.  I want to organize the food that is left so I can find things more easily.  I’ll move some of the things in here elsewhere and I’ll throw out a lot of stuff.

 

I also have small appliances, like a toaster, an instant pot, etc., that I want to be able to get easily off the shelf.

This will be a several-day project. I think I’ll start removing the obvious things that shouldn’t be here first. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed right now, but I’ll just do a session at a time and just keep on keepin’ on.

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Productive Day and Play Tonight!

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We had a really productive day! We

  • took 8 large leaf bags of donations to the Veterans Thrift Store
  • exchanged an empty bottle of Argon for a full one (for my husband’s TIG welding)
  • got cash at the bank
  • got parts for the welding lathe at the hardware store
  • found coconut flour at the grocery store for the low carb blueberry scones recipe I’m planning to try
  • found a new welding supply place that is closer to us AND a bit cheaper when we signed up for an account
  • I got the guest room bathroom clean and reorganized (this finishes the guest room reorganization project)
  • I gathered trash – managing to fill an extra bag for the week – according to my plan for the year.
  • I put our bowling balls in the back of the truck for tonight, gathered bottles of drinking water for the women
  • put the bags of trash in the back of the truck so we can put them out on the way to bowling tonight
  • cleaned up the rear seat of the truck, whisk brooming/vacuuming/using a lint roller/and finally a damp cloth to get Amber’s hair off the seats and floor. I also washed the inside of the windows because Amber tends to slobber while enjoying the ride in the car.
  • I made us a late lunch (we don’t eat dinner on bowling night because we want to enjoy some Braum’s ice cream after we play)

Tonight we’re bowling with good friends, catching up with what’s been happening since last week, and enjoying ice cream.

A great day!

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Guest Room Project Finished (Almost)

 

I finished the purging and reorganization of the guest room closet this afternoon. I have 8 large leaf bags to take to the Veterans Thrift Store on Monday.

 

Other than my out-of-season clothes and our luggage, the only other things are spare sheets for the bed, a spare comforter and pillows for the bed, a velour blanket. I tried to leave a big space for hang up things – long and short, for our guests, plus hangers, plus lots of shelf space.

 

I cleaned all the shelves, rods and carpet, so everything is nice and clean and much better organized now.

 

This is the guest room book shelf I went through the other day.

 

The only thing left having to do with the guest room is the guest room bathroom. Maybe that’ll be my project for Monday.  I’ll list the stuff for the Monday donation tomorrow. Right now, I’ve earned a nice cup of coffee and the chance to put my feet up for awhile. :0)

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Guest Room Closet Project – Progress (?) Report

I spent most of the afternoon getting everything out of the closet except for my out-of-season clothes, which I moved to the far end. Everything else is now out. When I get home from Lunch Bunch and errands, I’ll make lunch for my husband and then clean the closet before even thinking of putting anything else back in.

 

Going through my spring/summer clothes again will wait until I switch over at the end of winter.

 

Right now the guest room looks like a bomb went off in there, doesn’t it. I’ll probably start with linens and bed stuff I want to keep for the guest room. If this takes me through Sunday, I’ll just take time off for the SuperBowl and then do another session. :0)

 

 

 

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Thursday+ Project

You already know what a slob I am, and that I put lots of things – almost anything – above cleaning stuff out.  I feel the need, however, every 30 years or so, to go through things.  We have NEVER stayed anywhere for more than 7 years. Our first house closing was in 1970. Our second was in 1977. Third 1981, and last 1987.  ( know these dates because of a wonderful wooden plaque my parents had made. It has a mounted champagne cork on one side and a gold plaque mounted on the other with the dates – added to each time we bought another home. We’ve had it on a wall somewhere since 1970 (some 48 years now. :0) ) When you move, you’re forced to go through things, purging, cleaning and reorganizing.

I use the guest room walk-in closet as storage for my off-season clothes. I ALSO use it for our son’s leftover luggage, some memory boxes I created, bedding for the guest room bed, and LOTS and LOTS of other things.

 

My goal is to only have linens for the guest room plus my out of season clothes. Everything else has got to go – either somewhere else, be donated, or thrown away. I plan to spend a couple of days (or whatever is needed) to take the time to go through everything carefully, armed with a large trash can, large leaf bags for donated items, a pen and paper to list what I’m donating, and cleaning supplies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know. It’s disgusting. It’s a good thing we’re friends, ’cause I wouldn’t show this mess to just anyone….

Wish me luck, please, on healing this.

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Monday’s Project Update

Before – I honestly couldn’t get much more IN, and actually had a few things falling on me while trying to take things out. I filled a leaf bag, relocated some things, cleaned the shelves and the floor, and then put what should be in there back.

 

I don’t think a cleaning closet ever looks ‘pretty,’ but this one looks a  LOT better than it did this morning!  I’m not sure you can tell, but there are about HALF as many bottles of ‘stuff’ as there were this morning. You can actually see the floor now. Things are clean and organized as to type of cleaner, and – best of all – nothing falls on you when you try to take something out!  Hooray!!

Since we’re bowling with friends tonight, I’m going to declare victory for the day and do some serious resting before we need to leave.

I hope you’ve had a good day, too. :0)

 

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And Yet Another Project…

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This purging/cleaning/re-organizing ‘trip’ I’ve been on continues. It may drive me to drink because it’s not like me at all. I may be in the running for the world’s worst housekeeper. I’m not DIRTY, but I’m not NEAT, either. It has been over 30 years since we built our home on top of our ridge line in Greenwood, Arkansas. We have a nice, big house that encourages one to keep bringing more into it. And we have. Things come in, but rarely go out.

I finally decided that enough was enough (to coin a phrase :0) ) and am determined to use this year to really clean things out around here. I’ve also made a promise to do it again every thirty years…..

I’m trying to get donations together once a month – every month – this year for our local library in Greenwood and the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. We made a donation to the Veterans store earlier this month, and today we took several bags of books to our local library, just in time to make our goal for January!

My new project is to go through what I call my cleaning closet in the utility room. It’s to the point that if I brought another cleaning supply of anything into the house it COULD IN NO WAY go into the closet…. Things don’t fly out at you when you open the door, but….. UGH.

This is the infamous cleaning closet in the utility room. I had to open the door to the garage to get these pictures.

Ugh. Things don’t fall out when I open the door, but it’s close. Things have been jammed in there for years and I can’t even see what’s behind the stuff at the front of the shelves.

top shelf

 

I don’t believe anyone could get one more thing on these shelves. I hang my head in shame, but I AM going to try to do something about it now.

Pretty frightful, isn’t it.

 

I’m going to tackle this one shelf at a time. This may take a couple of days, but I’m determined to make this much more usable.

Here I go!

 

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Bookshelves Project Finished!

It took me two days, but the purging/cleaning/reorganizing of the guest room bookshelves and my bedroom bookshelf is finished!

This is the set of guest room bookshelves. The guest room is our son’s old bedroom – hence the really large built-in bookshelves, a desk, a walk-in-closet, etc. When it was no longer needed by our son, we hired a man to cut a doorway between the bedroom and the bathroom, allowing us to give our guests more privacy with a private bath they can access from the bedroom.

 

This is the set of built-in bookshelves on my side of the master bedroom.  I can now see what I have, reach everything, and it’s CLEAN.

I gathered enough books in this project that well have a nice-sized donation to take to the local library tomorrow for their semi-annual fundraising sale.

NEXT PROJECT:  the cleaning closet in the utility room. (Pics to follow)

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Shhhhh!

I saw a set up for selling plants at the co-op as we drove by last week. I did some research and discovered that February is a good months to start onion sets in Arkansas.  We’ll check there tomorrow and see what’s what.  We had such good luck last year that I’ve been enjoying them since harvest and still have two nice hanging mesh bags of onions in the pantry. :0)

 

We have six 4’x4′ raised bed planters like this in our square foot garden. If we DO get onion sets, I’ll first have to mix some Mel’s Mix to top off a couple of the planters. We don’t have string strung yet to create the ‘square feet’ for the garden, either.  I’m not really in planting mode yet. I’m still thinking about how I’m going to set up my greenhouse so that I can get seeds growing. And I really wasn’t planning to start THAT until March….

______________________

I’m still in cleaning out mode, feeling better and better as I get areas around the house finally cleaned out and decluttered.

I’m working upstairs today – the second day of working on my bookshelves on my side of the bedroom, plus the shelves in the guest room. I’m hoping to finish that today.  During this process, I found a bunch of books that I no longer need, so I brought them downstairs to the office. About a third of them were saleable on Amazon, and the rest I listed to donate to our local library.  I have to concentrate on the ‘cleaning’ part of this because I see a book on art, want to sit right down and look at it, drooling over the pictures…

My goal this year is to continually gather donations for our local library fundraisers and the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. I would like to be able to make a donation each month this year. I’m also trying to gather an extra large bag of trash each week. This week I’ll be putting out TWO extra bags!

_______________________

I hope you’re having a nice Sunday,too.

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Current Projects Update

(1) My husband put a HEAVY piece of 1/4″ thick metal on the CNC table yesterday. He loaded the code he wrote to talk to the computer that guides the torch. He was able to cut out the rounded triangular piece with the holes in it that you see in the model picture just below the horizontal tubing above. He had to turn the speed of the cutting down to crawl because the metal was so thick, but he was able to do it! There is no way in the world he would have been able to cut the piece out by hand and cut the holes to specifications if we didn’t have the CNC machine and my husband’s expertise. Hooray!  I think he’s going to work on the horizontal tube next. I’ll post pics as he starts putting the tool together.

(2)  We cut out the new Christmas mailbox decoration yesterday before my husband did the heavy metal cutting. (He DID have some ‘heavy metal’ playing on the speakers while he was doing it :0) )

Here’s the picture from which we are working.

First, my husband created the code needed that tells the torch needs to cut to create the design we would like. The computer-guided torch then cuts the design out while we watch. This is the cut out metal design. We’ll get the rough spots off the back and then my husband will make the part that attaches it to the mailbox and he’ll weld the two together. Then we’ll mark the piece using a transparency printed on our printer and an overhead projector. I’ll show you pics as the work progresses. I’ve stored this in my painting area for the moment, because it won’t be needed until the end of the year. I’m working on the pumpkin mailbox decoration you can see on my painting table in the background, trying to pump up the orange color. I would LIKE for it to glow in the dark when car lights hit it…

(3) Our third project started yesterday was the complete emptying and cleaning out of our front hall closet – made unusable due to our stashing of ‘stuff.’ My goal was to put things that should be elsewhere in their proper place, see if there was anything we wanted to donate to the Veterans Thrift Shop, throw stuff away, and reorganize what was left, putting it in a clean closet. That project is FINISHED!

This is the closet when I started.

 

This is the cleaned out closet.

 

 

 

We now can use the closet as a front hall closet – hanging up visitors’ coats.

We have a bin in the basement where we store extra out of season coats, vests, etc., so we moved what we didn’t need now down there until the spring. We now have two large leaf bags of nice winter things for the people who shop at the Veteran’s Thrift Shop, plus some exercise stuff that was redundant to the equipment I’m using, or not being used enough to keep.  We want to add to the donation bags a bit more before we make the trip to Fort Smith, but should do that by the first week in February, at the latest.  Another area checked off!

TODAY’S PROJECT:

I have a set of nice, big shelves on my side of the bedroom, plus an even larger set in the guest room. I’ve been going through both, but at a very slow pace. I’m going to try to get both sets of shelves so that I can find and reach the books on the shelves, getting rid of a bunch in the process. A lot of moving, hauling, shelving and cleaning ahead – my exercise for this wonderful rainy day!

 

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Friday’s Projects – Thing One and Thing Two

THING ONE:

We’ll use our CNC table and computer set-up to cut out this metal design for the mailbox. It’ll be about 2 feet high and 2-1/2 feet or so wide. (My husband converted the image we found on the net to computer code.)  We’re doing this today because my husband wants to work on a part for the welding lathe he’s building. We have about half a sheet of metal on the table currently, so cutting out this design serves two purposes – a start to the mailbox decoration AND being able to clean off the table and put the really heavy metal for the welder part on it.

 

THING TWO:

Front Hall Closet Clean-out

This is a closet used for stashing. We hardly ever use it, otherwise, because people come into the house from the garage, rather than the front door. I’m going to change that, making it a closet where we can actually hang guests’ coats! (What a concept!) :0)

 

It’s embarrassing to post these pictures, but you already knew I was a slob. I hate housekeeping, second only to bookkeeping, taxes, and other legal stuff. I’m determined to go through my house, one area at a time, and take everything out, go through it to decide whether we want to keep it, donate it, or pitch it. If we’re keeping it, I’ll decide where it needs to live. A lot of this stuff should probably be elsewhere. I’ll clean the closet thoroughly and then reorganize what we’re keeping.

 

Here is a close up of the top of the closet.

 

And a close up of the bottom.

I don’t know how long this will take. I’ll put everything I take out onto our couch. That will give me the motivation to keep going until all of it has been sorted. I’ll post pics when the project is finished.

First, we enjoy our good friends at Lunch Bunch. We’ll do a few errands while we’re out. We’ll take care of animals when we get back, cut out the mailbox decoration, get the metal sheet remaining off the CNC table, and then I’ll begin.

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

ONE STEP FORWARD – I’m happy to report that I FINALLY got the counter top under and behind where the printer WAS and the computer screen IS – dusted and wiped down. Until you’ve tried to clean a gazillion wires with velcro ties of dust, dog and cat hair, and other “ickies,” you have NO idea what my morning has been like.  After several steps with dustpan and brush, then heavy-duty cleaner and wiping down wires, and finally Pledge, my area is now cleaner than it’s been in at least a couple of years and smells nicely of lemons. :0)

As I told you before, we moved the printer over after my husband extended the counter top with plywood and supports, opening up my work area and in preparation for the new computer my husband is building for me. My son convinced me, after talking about it a LONG time, to change from my PC and Microsoft to a MAC. In some ways it has been good. I had to learn to do EVERYTHING all over again. Anything I did by habit or with any confidence was wrong with the MAC. My son set up the computer and tested it, then helped me learn (with me taking extensive notes) how to do things. I’ve used it for at least a couple of years now.

Whenever it acts up, though, my husband is really frustrated that he can’t help me solve the problem. He knows nothing about MACs and is at the point where he doesn’t want to. Our son lives and works in Thailand, so when something goes wrong, I have to wait until we’re both awake (there is a 12 hour time difference) and then depend on him to walk me through telling him exactly what’s wrong, and working to fix it. Stressful, at best. Add to that my husband haranguing me about having the MAC and his wanting me to change back, and you can picture me tearing out what little hair I have left….

TWO STEPS BACK – (ONE) SO – we’re starting to receive parts for the new PC each day. My husband will put it together on the counter to my right, installing everything, testing everything, then moving things from the MAC to the new computer, testing again to make SURE all is there and reachable, before switching over, selling the MAC, and I learn again how to do things under Microsoft Windows 10…

(TWO) – I crowed and patted myself on the head recently because I had done my Creative Artworks bookkeeping for the LAST time (:0)  and was totaling up the various tax deduction categories in preparation for our CPA to send the tax booklet that organizes our stuff the way he likes it. That came to a screeching halt a few days ago when our scanner suddenly wouldn’t work. I HAVE to have copies of some stuff and couldn’t make them. The scanner would scan something halfway and then quit. Over and over. It wouldn’t simply make a copy when I pushed the button on the front, either. We worked and worked with it, but couldn’t get it to work the way it should. AND it was a fairly new scanner!  My husband contacted Amazon and they said they would send us a new one with instructions on sending the current one back to them.

We received the new scanner this morning.  My husband got rid of the old software, installed the new and we were again ready to scan. It did the same thing the old one did! After much frustration, my husband figured out that it was a communications problem, and instead of plugging it into our hub, plugged it directly into the back of the computer. It worked!

TODAY’S 2ND PROJECT – figure out where I was in the plugging-the-receipts-and-totals-into-the-CPA-book-project and see if I can get it wrapped up. THEN it will be a matter of waiting for some paperwork from Schwab and dumping it all on our wonderful CPA.

I hope that you’re making more steps forward than back today.

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Your Home is…

Francine Jay via Lisa Bearnes Richey

I think these nice folks were looking at ME when they wrote this reminder….

I AM making progress in my efforts to tackle one area at a time, take everything out, look through it, decide what to keep, what to donate, what to throw away, and THEN how to reorganize what is left after a thorough cleaning. I figure I should go through things this way at least once each 30 years or so – just to keep up to date…

My husband is getting me a computer. He HATES my MAC. He’s a retired computer analyst, used to knowing everything about computers. Lately he is realizing that the field is growing faster than he can keep up. He hasn’t given up, and he wants to be able to fix any problems I have when my computer is getting wonky. It really makes him angry – feeling inadequate – when he can’t begin to solve any problems on the MAC, so he finally convinced me to let him build a new computer for me – a PC with Windows 10.

He has promised me that he’ll build it on the counter beside me, taking all the time he wants to bend Windows 10 to his will, making sure all is good before we CAREFULLY move my stuff from the MAC to the PC. When we’ve tested everything and we’re sure we have everything we need from the computer I’m using now, we’ll make the switch. We’ll wipe the MAC and sell it, since it’s a good computer and fairly up to date on what is being sold now.

To this end, we decided to move the printer over beside one of our file cabinets. The printer is wider than the file cabinet, so he built an extender for the counter top and we put the printer on it. Now I have a lot more usable space for working.

I also discovered, to my horror, a truly contest-winning amount of dust and grime that was living under and behind the printer and my MAC screen, among the rivers of wiring that string along the counter. This will be my project of the day – to move stuff from one side to the other, thoroughly clean the counter top, and then figure out the best way to arrange things so I can reach them easily and the area can be cleaned again in another 30 years or so…

In the past we’ve always moved often enough that we were forced to go through things, being ruthless about what we would pay to move and what needed to be purged. We’ve lived in our home on the top of the ridge line for over 30 years.  Internalizing the quote above, that ‘Your Home in LIVING SPACE, not Storage Space” hits me right between the eyes. The two nice ladies took one look at me and said, “Linda Lewis, this means YOU!”

At least I can look to various places in our home and see that progress has been made. I’ll just keep tackling one area at a time, healing things as I go. :0)

 

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No Ice!

It has been really cold for Arkansas already this winter. Our ‘worst’ month is usually February, and it has snowed on my birthday in March. Usually, though, we have a cold snap and then Indian Summer type weather through January. I think I mentioned before that last year I was still harvesting lettuce in January…

We have had no ice, though, and I’m very grateful. That’s the only thing that truly paralyzes us. We live on top of a ridge line. Our driveway is steep, 650 feet or so down to the road that runs in front of the house. It becomes a ski slope in the winter. We can navigate it down and up again if it snows because of the snow tires on the truck. Ice is another story. Not only does the ice make it impossible for us to go out, it breaks the branches of the trees. We still haven’t fully recovered from the damage from an ice storm in 2000!

That said, our 90 pound,  10-month-old lab puppy, Amber, LOVES this weather. She finally isn’t panting from being too hot. Her coat is very thick and she seems to grin all the time she’s outside. When it’s seriously cold, we don’t let her stay out long because she’s a huge dog with very little brain at this point, but we try to let her out often. When it warms up to our high of 36 today, I’ll take her out for her no-pull collar training session on the leash for the day – Day Three.

The fact that it’s too cold to be comfortable outside has helped in my efforts to declutter our house. Religiously every 30 years or so I go through the stuff in our house, taking everything out of an area, cleaning, donating what we think someone else might be able to use, throwing out what should have been thrown out years ago, and then reorganizing what goes back in. Yesterday it was our “coat, hat, muffler, and glove area” in the utility room and back bathroom. Today it will be the front hall closet.

So far, I’ve kept my promise of filling an EXTRA big trash bag to put out for the trash people each week. I’m piling things up for donations to our local library and the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith before the end of this month. My goal is to have donations each month, but if I don’t make it, the goal still stands and will remind me that I have much more to do. I’m trying not to be overwhelmed by how MANY areas in our house are crying out for my attention!

Though I don’t enjoy going through things and cleaning, I DO enjoy each area when it’s finished. I like the feeling of accomplishment, the cleaner, more organized area, the feel that I’m getting better control of our ‘stuff,’ and the happy feeling that I’m sharing things that we have enjoyed with others.

I hope you’re having a happy Saturday. Stay warm and enjoy your day!

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Tuesday’s Project

As with the file cabinets, I’m good about putting things IN, but not so good about taking things OUT. Our buffet has gotten to the point that we cannot get anything more IN.     TIME TO PURGE!  My husband hoards pill bottles. He’s not sure why. I’m going to solve this problem today. I love place mats, tablecloths, cloth napkins…..

 

Here you get an idea of what came out of the drawers of the buffet. Some I packed nicely in plastic, but most were just stacked and slid into the drawers. Then, when I changed place mats, I pulled out two of the four and put the ones I was not now using in the drawer, on top of the pile.

 

Time has passed and we’ve changed our daily pottery – a nice combination of aqua and brown.  I’m going to go through what we have with that in mind, trying to keep only the things that look good with the pottery, my china, or other things I have, donating the rest.

This is another project that has been a long time coming. I’ll feel better when I have things in more control, where I can remove something from a drawer without half of the contents trying to come out, and actually be able to put something back IN to the drawer with the other place mats, for example, where they belong.

Waste basket and donation bag are ready!

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Out With the Old….

curatti.com

I’ve been working in my dining area and kitchen for parts of 3 days now, trying to purge/reorganize/clean. I have now done

  • the window sill
  • the top of the buffet
  • the dining table
  • the divider top between the kitchen and the dining area
  • the kitchen counter tops

It’s amazing how much ‘stuff’ accumulates around here. I swear to you that there is some hanky-panky and things are reproducing when we’re not watching. What is helping me on the counter tops is picturing my husband with too many plastic bags in each hands fighting with the dog when he’s trying to bring in a load from the car and plopping the whole bunch down on a part of the counter top. I’m trying to make sure that there is nothing breakable, “spillable,” or “dumpable” on a good part of each area, having learned the hard way that no thought will be given as the bags come plopping down. In this effort I’ve relocated a lot of things and gotten rid of the rest.

I’m enjoying a rest now and then I’ll tackle what we call the ‘go-out’ table (holding things we want to take with us the next time we go to town) which unfortunately also acts as a dumping table.

The remaining project for today will be trying to make sense of my hats and scarves in the utility room. This is more complicated than it sounds because nothing can be down low, due to the cats. Nothing can be high, because then I can’t reach them, and hard decisions will have to be made on which things should be given away…

As I move through the house, though, I’m feeling better about being in better control of my space. I’m getting rid of a BUNCH of ‘stuff,’ relocating some things that should live elsewhere, gathering things that I’ll donate to the library or the Veterans Thrift Store, and things being easier to clean when there are fewer THINGS.

I’m hoping that this urge to get my things in better order will continue. It’s quite unusual for this old broad, so I’m doing a bunch of it as quickly as I can…

 

 

 

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Pat, Pat, Pat….

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Me again. Patting myself on the head. Sorry if this is aggravating, but it’s such a NEW THING for me to be actually getting ahead of some things, rather than always having to run the bulldozer and wear a dust mask.

My husband is already getting tired of my saying, “Let’s talk about my desk again!”  After at least 20 years of stuffing and ignoring the problem, my desk is as clean as if we just set it up, moving in to a new house. \

I love my desk. As you can see in this picture, there is a roll top with a key that I close, if needed or desired, though I usually leave it up. There are 6 small drawers – 3 on each side, with a larger drawer underneath. In the center are  7 slots and two pencil/pen holders in the opening between.

This is a closeup of the roll top part with the key.

On the right you can see one of the guides for the roll top to come down. There are 7 drawers under the flat part of the desk – two filing cabinet type drawers and two smaller ones above, plus the center drawer.

This shows you the pull outs on each side that give you more writing space, or a place to hold stuff to the side while you’re working in the middle.

My husband thought I would go for a more modern desk 35 years ago, such as the ones made for computers, printers, etc.  He gave me the option again when we moved here about 30 years ago, and again, when we changed the office around to face the desk in a different direction. I loved my choice then and still treasure my desk now. I’ve always loved lots of cubbies, nooks, crannies, and maybe a secret spot or two…

15 drawers gives you a LOT of space to stash things. It takes many years to finally get to the point you can no longer find things, and it seems like a treasure hunt when you finally go through everything, empty each drawer, and clean things.

I found some good things I can donate to others. I now have things organized so I can actually FIND things again, plus I’ll have a great bag of extra trash to put out the next time the wonderful trash people come and will whisk it away. :0)

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“Bit by a Dead Bee”

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I know that this title was one of the episodes of Breaking Bad on TV, but my parents were using the term when I was growing up in the dark ages, so I think the TV folks borrowed it. My parents used it to describe frenzied behavior of any type, and I use it here in the same way.

I have definitely been ‘bit by a dead bee,” in that I’ve done more cleaning out and re-organizing around my house than I’ve done in years. I don’t know WHICH dead bee bit me, but I’m thinking of marking this period of behavior totally unlike me on my calendar. it’s so rare.

It started before Thanksgiving, when I was running the bulldozer trying to get the house at least marginally presentable for our friend Nora to come share Thanksgiving dinner with us. I cleaned off the usual really piled up areas, and then I was ‘bit.’ I have been feeling the need to get rid of ‘stuff,’ either by donating it, throwing it away, or deciding where it should live. In each step MORE things that have been sorely neglected pop up to say, “And what have you done for ME lately?”

For the past day or two, the focus has been on my desk. I have a roll top wooden desk that we bought 35 years or so ago. Since having this house built in 1987,  I have put things INTO the drawers, but then they get lost in the shuffle, never to be seen again – until now.

I love my desk. It has a nice flat space for working with a tray type center drawer underneath and then three drawers on either side. Two of the drawers on the sides are small and two are file cabinet type drawers. At the top of each side, right under the flat part of the desk, are two pull-out pieces for extra writing space. Above the flat part of the desk there are two reasonable-sizes drawers, one on each side. Above each of these are three small drawers then between them, going across the desk are slots. Above that, is the roll top which I can pull down, if I’d like. (Usually, there is so much ‘stuff’, it isn’t possible to close it. I just love the roll top for its looks.)

So – 7 drawers under the flat part of the desk, 8 above the flat part, 2 shelves, and 7 slots. That’s a LOT of space for someone like me to squirrel away goodies and stuff for a long time, ignoring the buildup.

I have finished cleaning out the drawers now and am concentrating on the flat part of the desk which has received stuff I’d like to keep, but either put away in the now clean drawers, move somewhere else, or give away. I’ve filled a big trash can, too.

I think it was definitely due some attention. I’ll take pics when it’s finished.

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Brrrr!

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I know I’m going to show you what a weenie I am when it comes to cold weather, but the weather is really getting our attention this week. In Arkansas, last year, I was still growing lettuce outside in December and January.  It’s 24 degrees F. outside now. It’s supposed to get to 38 this afternoon. AND we’re having a cold front come through this weekend!  Lows in the single digits or teens usually comes to us in February…

The good part of this is that, other than gathering the sticks Amber has laboriously gathered for display in the front yard, and cleaning up the two empty planters in which she continues to dig, I’m not even thinking about spending much time outside.

The one thing I AM planning to do in the next few months is organize my greenhouse so I’ll be ready to start seeds around the 1st of March (depending on the temperature in there.) I’m reading every day and researching on the net ideas for how to get set up. I’m making plans of which seeds to start first. I’m even dreaming about where to put my first-ever home-grown transplants in my raised bed square foot garden this spring! And THIS from the lady who still wears the moniker, “Serial Seed Killer.”

 

While the weather is wet and cold, I’m concentrating on trying to go through our STUFF, room-by-room, closet-by-closet, shelf-by-shelf, drawer-by -drawer, in the hope I can do some serious damage by the start of spring. I’m trying to get into a ruthless frame of mind – using a ‘less-is-more’ mantra.

I hope that you’re able to stay warm and dry wherever you are, making this a fun day.

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