Friday, June 10, 2022

Letting go of the clutter


WOW --- each day at my house brings something new. No two days are alike, as I'm sure is the case at your house. But when the totally unexpected happens, and it's a good thing, the world needs to know about it. 

Like most new quilters (or even the more experienced), you buy fabric because you like it and it's precious. So precious that you can't even cut into it, but then you get to a point when you realize that it's OK to cut into that precious stuff. And how many of you have said you CAN get it all used up before you die. 

The next stage in all this is when you say enough is enough. How much of my life do I want to spend dealing with this excess stuff? I will never forget the "horror" of seeing a quilter go through her stash and get rid of fabric she would never use. I thought -- I will NEVER be able to do that as I like all the fabrics I own, and I CAN use it all up.  

Now I've seen the light. As you know, Diane has made many quilt tops (and backing and bindings) from fabric I've acquired. The result of that has been some scraps, or I've obtained scraps through various sources. And I was slowly plugging my way through them. 

This was the designated scrap area with scraps intended to make quilts for community projects. 

Storage area for scraps

Then Cathy came to pick up the fabric set aside for Comfy Cases. I'm being realistic and know that I can't do it all, and I have so many UFOs and quilts to quilt, so when Cathy offered to take it off my hands, I didn't hesitate. Well, maybe I did -- just a smidgen. But let's get REALISTIC here -- I can't do it all. 

We chatted when she stopped by (and no, I did not make her jump up my front step). It turns out that Cathy is EXACTLY the person I've wanted to find. I wanted someone who had time (she's now retired), likes to putter and sew, and makes quilts for Project Linus and other groups. Well, did I have a deal for her!

I think she was barely at the end of the street when I went to that storage room, and this happened. 

Let's deal with the scraps

Yep--- I decided that I did NOT need or want any of that stuff, so it all came out of the storage room. OH MY!!!! I am on a roll to get rid of the clutter in my house. While this wasn't necessarily visual clutter since it was behind a door, it needed to be dealt with. 

WOW -- look at all that empty room

So I got to work as I wanted to make it easier for Cathy to manage. I took all the flannel scraps, which were sorted by color, put them in bags, and put them into one laundry basket. 

The flannel scraps

Then I took all the scraps destined for string quilts, which were already sorted by color, and relegated them to two laundry baskets. HEY -- I have lots of laundry baskets, so I'm happy to part with a few here and there. 

Scraps for string quilts

Then I was able to fill THREE boxes with the rest. There were some larger pieces, small pieces, and leftovers from various collections, and I hesitated a moment or two over a couple of the pieces, and then EVERYTHING went into those boxes. I even unearthed a box of scraps in Studio U that someone gave me years ago. I know there were some big pieces in that box, and I had never looked at the contents, and I didn't look at it yesterday either. Just put it in a cardboard box, and it was done!

Transferring from cardboard to plastic

In the process, I got rid of the last box sitting in the hallway. See -- all this works out for a reason. And even better, I gained TWO plastic tubs, which I promptly switched with the cardboard boxes under the long arm. There are only three more cardboard boxes, and I WILL get more empty tubs to swap them out. All in due time!

So this is what is waiting for Cathy to pick up. Three boxes of fabric and three laundry baskets of scraps. I have offered to provide batting, backing, and quilt any tops she makes from this. I should be careful what I wish for! 

Pick-up for Cathy

If I have to take a month off at some point to quilt everything -- or just schedule those quilts in more frequently, then I'll do it. Together we are going to get this mess cleared up!

So a HUGE thank you to Diane, who has been piecing quilt tops for several years, and a HUGE thank you to Cathy, who will also be piecing quilt tops. If she wants to quilt them on her own, I'm also good with that!

In the meantime, the space now looks like this. 

A much cleaner storage area

The two bags on the empty shelf are the next batch of fabric that goes to Diane. There are three rolls of batting to be used for these community project quilts, but I also have tons of batting offcuts in the closet in Studio U that can be used. The tubs and the rest of that shelf are filled with fabric that can be used for backings. All I need now is the time to get them quilted. 

I may need someone willing to put bindings on by machine, and we'll have a little production company going! The quilts don't take long to bind, so I may just do that myself.

Needless to say, I'm thrilled, and I'm now ready to purge my stash. NO --- it doesn't go to just anyone. It's going to be used to make community project quilts. And it'll go a little bit at a time. When they are ready for more -- then I'll give them more. It's all neatly stored at my house -- no need to clutter up their places. I NEVER thought I would say that!

If you are retired and want to sew, but do NOT need more quilts, think about making quilts for community projects. If you have fabric or know of someone who is destashing and needs to get rid of fabric, let me know. Cathy is always on the hunt for fabric to make quilts for Project Linus and other groups and pillowcases for Comfy Cases. I can put you in touch with her. Although with what I've given her, she'll be busy for a while. 

Wow --- it was my lucky day yesterday, but there is so much else going on that I couldn't even celebrate. 

I didn't quite finish sorting the orange box of paper. Mentally, I was wiped, and I can get it done today along with another box. Today's box has many odds and ends that have been sitting on the table for eons. I suspect deciding between keep, toss, or donate will be a challenge. However, I suspect it might not be that hard after my progress this week. When in doubt -- throw it out! 

OH -- so here are the tubs under the long arm. FOUR of those are filled with fabric to be donated, and the rest belongs to me and includes supplies for machine embroidery or the serger. 

Plastic tubs neatly organized

And when you do one thing -- other things arise. I pulled out a container with large plastic bags, which I've hung onto if I need one to pack a quilt. Well, one of the bags was those disintegrating bags, so I had to clean up that mess. 

A decomposed plastic bag

Then as I was using the cordless vac, it died, so the battery needed to be recharged. I feel like I'm on autopilot because, in the past, that would have stopped me cold. But NO -- everything is charged up, cleaned up, and I'm determined to keep this place looking better. 

Plus, one more customer quilt got finished well before bedtime. It was done before dinner!

Customer quilt - DONE

There is one more that I'd like to get done today, and then I'll call it quits until after I get back. 

What's the status of the renovations? Well, we knew it would get worse before it got better. This is where the planter used to be. Now the tree stump and some of the brick along the step are gone. There's a story there, and I'll share it another day. 

Where the planter used to be

There's a small earth mover on the front lawn. Yep, it looks like we are living in a major construction zone. I took a picture this morning on my way from the gym -- I'll share that tomorrow. 

Removing tree stumps

And, of course, there's the side of the house where they are prepping to pour concrete for the new sidewalk. I'm trying to keep the girls in the house, but I let them out from time to time. And Miss Lexi escaped! She knows that the gate is missing and slipped past the guys. They caught her on the neighbor's lawn. Instead of bolting, she lay down until I rescued her with a leash. She is as slippery as a goose, that one! 

Then when I let them out after the guys were gone, she immediately checked out the side. 

Can I escape again?

If that wasn't enough, she had to wander down to the temporary gate. Now I'm betting that if she wanted, she could scale that piece of board. But I think she'll be OK. 

Checking out the temporary gate

Once she got bored with that, she returned and proceeded to go under the deck, which is easy since the stairs are gone. 

Hey -- who is under the deck?

Not to be outdone, Murphy had to check it all out herself. 

Mom -- where's the gate?

And why not check under the deck. Just do NOT get stuck under there, Murphy. The screws have not been put back into the decking boards, so it would be easy to get her out!

Whoa -- we're allowed to go under the deck!

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one day, I decided it was time to get all those photos in one spot. 
I was watching an hour-long presentation on visible mending, and so I did both at the same time. This is where a dual monitor would be great; however, my monitor is large enough -- it wasn't necessary. I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the speaker. While she was passionate and knew her stuff, she was all over the place and obviously had NOT done an online seminar before. She had a few technical glitches

Transferring files and watching a video

Look at the size of that hard disk! That is 1 TB of storage, and it's super tiny and inexpensive. It'll work with the MacBook Air and my PC, which is a bonus. 

My new MINI hard disk

And what did I transfer? All of this is my phone downloads from the last couple of years. 

That's a LOT of files to transfer

Good grief -- that's 54,000 photos! When I start going through them, I'm sure most can be deleted. Bad photos, duplicates, or just taken for the blog. So that will be something to keep me entertained next week on the plane. 

I still have some folders from another hard disk to add, but I seem to be having trouble making that happen. I need to investigate that today. 

OH --- I had to laugh when I was sorting through the box and came across this piece of paper. You see -- some years ago, I hired a professional organizer to help me with the office. And while she helped me get rid of stuff, we did a bunch of things that well --- they were a waste of time. Setting up a filing system for days of the month and making a calendar or whatever. 

Rules to cope with paper

A professional organizer is good for getting rid of the main stuff (if you can't), but they can't change your mindset, and well, I wasn't ready to get this mess cleaned up, so it became the dumping ground for everything and then got messy again because stuff didn't have a home. That's what the organizers need to do. Drill it into your head that it will become clutter without a home for everything. 

I think I know the rules by now, but I'll hang onto that paper for the moment. 

I sure wish someone had told me about the HOME for everything years ago, and I guess I knew? Anyway -- that's history, and we are moving onwards and upwards. It's all downhill from here!

The neighbor gave me some veggies last night, and I placed them on the table outside as there were a few ants in there. 

A thief!

Then I heard a noise and ran out to see this! Yes -- that would be MURPHY, who stole from the table, and she NEVER does that but loves her veggies. 

Murphy chowing down on the veggies

She lay down in the garden and chomped on the veggies. Did you notice that I got more weeding done last night? Yep --- there's still more to remove in that area, and I did some of the gaps in the flagstone. 

That's a good girl Murphy -- eat your veggies

The lilies are growing like mad, and there were five blooms yesterday. 

Lilies went mad

The peony is about to explode. 

The peony is almost in full bloom

And the moss in the forest is amazingly green. 

Moss in the forest

I'm really reining in my footprint. I decided to try the local hair salon to get my hair cut. So I walked over and got it cut yesterday. I HATE pictures of myself and god -- I look OLD, but it's only how old you feel in your heart! I really like the color of my hair. It's definitely turning grey! I'll call it silver-tipped! 

My new haircut

And I did one more thing. I know -- I was exhausted as well. My chair in the office has been missing a felt pad for a couple of days. I went to the closet, and along with the picture hanging supplies, I stored the felt pads. Now the chair has a new felt pad, and life is good. 

A new felt pad

I made a list of all the things that need to be done, repaired, or dealt with. So now, my brain no longer has to store that information. The list is long, and I hope to complete half of it before I leave on Monday. Wish me luck! 

I still have presentations to prepare, but most are up to date, and as soon as someone sends me a picture, I insert it. 

I'm happy with my progress, to say the least, but I'm even more satisfied with my ability to let go. That has been a struggle for years, and I suspect that is what stops other people as well. I wish I could give you an answer about how I figured that out. I think the biggest thing for me is seeing other people downsize or pass and leave these huge messes for their families to deal with. 

And the more you do, the easier it becomes. And there is NOTHING more exciting than walking into a room and actually being able to reach anything without climbing over something, stumbling on something, or digging deep to find something. It truly is freeing, and the more you get rid of, the more you want to get rid of. I know where I want to get, and I'll get there. My priority right now is the visible clutter in this room. Then I get to start the process all over again. I hope it won't take eight years like the first time. 

Imagine that -- if it took me eight years (More or less since I stopped buying and started purging), what would it be like to walk into someone's house and have to purge their stuff when they are gone? It would be sheer agony, and I don't want anyone to have to deal with that in my case. The office will definitely take several rounds of decluttering before it's almost all gone, but baby steps. I am determined to make this happen. 

PHEW --- can you believe that day? Well, I'm out of here to do the same thing again! Well, different stuff today. 

Have a super day!!!!



  1. OMG it is so awesome you have someone to sew up all that scrap. What a great burden lifted :-) And the office progress....fantastic!

    You've got this! Happy Friday :-) It is 13 degrees warmer already than the same time yesterday. I'm headed out to do my walking and hope to be home before it hits 80F.

  2. Hi Elaine,
    To move files instead of copying them, press the right side key on your mouse instead of the left side key while moving. When you're at the designated folder, let go the key and the system will ask 'do you want to move the file?' And yes, you want to!