Saturday, June 4, 2022

Overwhelmed with stuff!

I am a Virgo, and we are neat and tidy creatures by nature. OH MY --- while I don't seriously believe in the horoscope thing, this description of a Virgo is uncannily me. I wouldn't bother reading it unless you are a Virgo, but it explains a lot. Maybe I should believe in astrology a little bit more. 

It doesn't really talk about neat and tidy, but I used to be. 

Here's a story from the past about magazines. I remember the day when I became obsessed with magazines and how they got out of control. I lived by myself in Montreal, worked in Old Montreal, and I was so shy it was painful. So during my lunch hours, I would walk. See, that walking thing is NOT new. But instead of going for long walks, I'd walk to the drugstore that had a newsstand, and I'd browse the magazines. 

I think I bought a Woman's Day, or it could have been a Family Circle. Does anyone remember those? Then I bought the next one, and then I got hooked on PC Computing once I acquired a computer, which I remember saying at the time, was a total waste of money. I'm sure there were others, but those were the three main ones. 

This was back in the 1980s. Of course, the speed of my acquisitions outstripped my ability to read them. I had them stacked up nicely on the shelf of my coffee table, and "oh -- didn't that look so pretty and artsy?" Well, that stack turned into two and three and so on. 

Then I discovered quilting and cycling, and well --- I have a few. It's a hoarding tendency, no question about it. Thankfully, I'm cured -- well, somewhat cured. But isn't it funny how one remembers some minor little detail? I can still picture that first stack of magazines on the shelf of that coffee table and me admiring it. Little did I know what the future brought for me. 

I dare not even think of the amount of money I've spent on magazines that were thrown out and never read. Not even going there. 

Somewhere along the line, and I suspect it started when M was born, my brain could NOT cope with paper stuff. And it's taken me a long time to surface from that mess. 

All that to say that I was searching for a book the other night and I suspect it's in the office somewhere, but where? 

I know I have to start cleaning up this stuff, and I rifled through every box here. As I mentioned yesterday, the fact that I could rifle through all the boxes in about one hour means that the mess is NOT horrible. 

The start of the great purge

What I found is shocking, and I'm disgusted with myself. Don't tell me that I'm too hard on myself as I'm over that. But I now have the overwhelming feeling of getting rid of almost everything I own and keeping the necessities. Think how much extra time I would have by not having to worry and manage this junk. And YES -- that goes for fabric as well! GASP!!!

Here are a few things that I found. A pizza delivery slip with the date of November 28, 2015. Why didn't it go in the recycling? 

A DRAWER filled with old receipts. I think the date was 2013. I will go through that to see if anything is important (likely not), and it will go in the shredding box. I'm done with keeping receipts, but I must have missed this draw when I did that purge a while back. 

A drawer of receipts

A box for a camera that I no longer own. 

Camera box

A mini vacuum that works on USB. That might come in handy on my keyboard, or it might be so weak it does nothing. I'll try it on my computer later. 

Mini vacuum

Paint chips and many brochures on choosing paint colors for your house. I've realized that I don't need someone else's opinion on that -- I'll do what I want. 

Paint brochures

A food and drink magazine from the LCBO (liquor store) dated Holiday 2009. I do NOT need that. 

Recipe magazine

A book about Long Arm Quilting, and why isn't that with the rest of the books? 

Quilting book

A plastic tote, which I could use downstairs, was filled with bits of stuff. I'll have to deal with this bit by bit. It's just too overwhelming to do it all at once. But now I"m motivated to empty that container!

A container of junk

Then I took one of the boxes about 3 inches thick that was full of paper and decided that I could deal with a box that size every day. So I started going through it, and after the first pass, this is what was left. 

My daily box of stuff to sort

My goal is to completely deal with everything in the box, and I didn't quite do that last night, but the box is now repacked and ready to be gone through today. I will get this room in order ONE box at a time. And if for whatever reason, I lose my steam, I'll be happy knowing that I've made some progress. But as I said, I now have visions of emptying the closets and the stash room, which makes me very happy. 

Don't even bother to ask for anything. I have my plans of how to deal with it. It's all about slow and steady, and I want to enjoy the process, and I also do NOT want to get rid of everything. I still have many years of sewing ahead of me, and I need something to sew!

I had to laugh because I came across paperwork for the Chunk of the Month during the creation process. 

One version of the Chunk of the Month

And here's another iteration of it. Both are in the recycling box. 

Another version of the Chunk of the Month

I found many handwritten notes or TO-DO lists. Thankfully, those are all in the recycling. Hopefully, everything got done, or it wasn't important enough to be on the list. 

Handwritten notes

I found a list of potential projects for a sew-along at a store, and I kept the list for the moment, although I think there is only ONE quilt on that list that I would entertain for a future project. 

A list of projects for a sew-along

I found tons of business cards -- these ones were from the One of a Kind show of artists' work I admired and then never went to their website. What a waste! And WHY did I NEED all that paper? Yep--- I'm a paper hoarding and NOT proud of the fact. BUT I am making progress, and that's all that counts. I'm a recovering paper hoarding -- that sounds better.

Artists business cards

I found unopened mail from 2013 or thereabouts. It's in the recycling. 

Unopened mail

OH -- I know you want to know what was in the envelope. Renewal for my CAA membership. 

I found patterns. 

An embroidery pattern

I found fabric. 


Both of those last items are in their proper place. But why didn't they go there years ago? My brain had some resistance to keeping everything neat and tidy. But I hope to conquer that "fear" and stop this insanity. If I have to use my mom as a visual incentive, like I've done for my eating habits, so be it. And I know some of you are cheering me on, and I'm going to keep you all in mind, just like you keep me in your head when you are quilting. 

The last thing I'll share with you today is this paper. It's square, and one side is very shiny, the other is backed with this. I have no idea what the paper is to be used for. I thought I could peel it away, but that doesn't work. It is for laminating? I don't think. 

Mystery paper

There were a couple of rectangles the size of business cards cut in one corner or two pieces. I've no idea, and I guess it's going in the garbage as I need to finish that stack and EVERYTHING has to have a home. 

What I regret (well, it's not really a regret) - perhaps resentment at myself? I'm not sure, but lately, I've been wondering why I did this to myself. I have no one to blame for it, and it's totally my own mess. Was I too lazy? Too overwhelmed? Not enough time? Other priorities? It's probably a combination of all of that. But what I'm realizing is that I do NOT want to leave this mess to anyone else. And I do NOT want to deal with it when I need to move in 20 years. 

My neighbor moved yesterday -- I didn't get a chance to say goodbye, but we did have a chat the other day when I scooped some puzzles from her. I hope she will be happy in her new place -- her house was way too huge for one person, and she sold at the right time. Her house is the all-time highest-priced house in our neighborhood, where houses were selling in two days. A house around the corner has been on the market for almost two weeks. Still for sale!

I promise not to bore you with all the bizarre things I find in my archeological dig of The Office. But I will post anything very odd, and if I find that darn book -- I'll let you know. 

This is NOT something that you can tell someone to do. In the same way, you can't tell someone to lose weight or get more active. It has to come from within! I can only hope that I'm getting more people to think about their current situations, and it's up to them to decide if they need or want to do anything about it. 

It's a HUGE struggle. Like I said, I feel overwhelmed, and there are tons of memories that I'll have to deal with and lots of decisions. But let's hope the feeling lasts for a while so I can actually make a dent here. 

I've tons more to say, but no more time today. 

Don't forget the Hamilton Quilt Show is today. We went yesterday and had a great time -- more later. 

Have a super day!!!



  1. You've got this! (as today's generation likes to say). Even if the motivation comes from thinking of your Mom's home! I have faith you will complete this journey. The best thing about "the big cleanup", is that along the way you have not added to it but managed the things as they arrive. You've come a long way since "the big shutdown" put your entire work life in your home. So much 'found time' that used to be in your car.

    Happy Saturday!!!!

    1. Elle --- you are so right about the "found time". The pandemic has made me much more aware of how I spend my time and how I want my living space to be. It's still overwhelming, including all the little tasks that need to be done, but one step at a time. We will get this done!!

  2. OMG, did you invade my brain??? I have been doing the exact same thing. One area at a time. I recently discovered our regional recycle site, checked it out and will drive in tomorrow with y car filled. Oh the fabrics and tools I am donating. Did I ever think I would use it all?
    **Anyway, that small vacuum, I keep in my sewing supplies, just a small tote bag and take it with me to quilting. Comes in handy for a quick clean up of my machine when changing out after 2-3 bobbins. I have the biggie at home near my larger machine. Good luck on the clearing out, and know I amright there with you.

    1. Peg --- yes -- I did invade your brain! And why or why did we buy so much stuff and think we WOULD be able to do it all. I've no idea, but thankfully I've nipped that notion in the bud. Thanks for the tip on the mini-vac. I need to wind new bobbins this week so I'll use it to clean out the machine and that's likely where it'll stay. Good luck with your clearing out and I'll be thinking of you as I continue my journey!!

  3. I am trying to go through this whole process as well. However, my dear hubby (DH) is not making it easy. Any space I clear is covered with his stuff within 24 hours. I have been holding off on complaining about his stuff until I get my own things under some sort of control; but now it just looks like nothing has been done.

    1. OH -- that is so discouraging! I'm guessing he is NOT wanting to get rid of his stuff. Can you pack his stuff in boxes and put it in "his" space in the house? Perhaps a chat is in order so that you can work together, not against each other. I knw that I want to fill those empty spaces but my goal is to clear the table and then at least bask in that glory for a day or two. Good luck!