A Haven for Vee

Thursday, May 3, 2012

One Toe In and Barely

Barely, get it? Hahahahahahaha...sometimes I crack myself up.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. ~Thomas Edison

John really likes this quote. A lot. Me? Not so much. Both John and I are up to our elbows in culling projects. He is working at his place; I am working at mine. He's hauled lots and lots of "stuff" to the Transfer Station (a.k.a. the town dump) and I have hauled lots and lots of stuff myself.

I recently read that, when ideas for blogging topics feel stale, a blogger can create a list. Create a list? How stale lame is that?! But, in an effort to lay some words down, I'll list my accomplishments doings since the last time I mentioned I had to be doing. Here goes...

1. Stair clearing 
Massive mounds of stuff lined them. I don't worry about this too much because no one ever sees the stairs except for John and me and a little grand who has no hesitation about declaring truth and loudly: "Nonni, this is a big mess!"

2. Paper shredding
This was the most challenging. I just wanted someone to hold my hand and say
that everything was going to be all right. I was ruthless. I saved nothing. No old bills from 1982. No manuals for vacuum cleaners that no longer exist. No old insurance papers. All gone. (And, yes, a lot of old letters, too. I read them for the last time. I made the decision to let it go. There's no going back after things have been shredded.)

3. Books 
Every book has been touched and every book has either been given the boot or a reprieve. Each book had to be justified. I was almost ready to purchase another bookcase when I came to my senses. Another bookcase is not the answer...fewer books is the answer.

4. Crafts 
This was tough as well because I could think of a project for every stretch of lace, every snippet of fabric, every extra shirt. In the end, I asked myself how much time on this earth I have left. Even if I had a hundred years, it wouldn't be enough time to use all that I had accumulated. Out, out, out. Someone else may be blessed and if I need something, I know that it will come to me again.

5. Jewelry 
I passed some along; I took some for myself; I am getting rid of the rest. Period. Case closed. My family can bite me. I don't care. Where are they? Not here, that's where.

This photo is a gift from Donna at Cottage Days and Journeys who thought "A Ride on the Byte Me Boat" would be just the right touch for # 5. =D  It's a little less offensive than "bite me." I love it! Thanks, Donna!

6. Sheets and blankets 
Save my favorites, boot the rest to Goodwill. Enough of this. If I ever have a houseful of people again, we'll double up. ☺

7. Dishes 
Cabinet and cupboard space is at a premium around here. If I don't use the dish or like it, out it goes. That includes all those plastic containers from the convenience store. Going, going, gone.

8. Sheet music
Someone may have to hold my hand for this one, too. I am not quite ready for this.

9. Old clothes, shoes, purses
Two gigantic bags full are gone with more waiting in the wings. I can't justify keeping a pair of high heels I only wore once a minute longer. 

10. Old makeup, cosmetics, lotions, medications
When we cleared my grandmother's home a decade ago, we found the morphine used during my grandfather's final illness sixty years before. I don't want that happening around here.

And so, the tip of the proverbial iceberg has just begun to fight. Now there's a terrific mixed metaphor! Next up...old pictures. I think this one ought to go. (Where did our eyes go?)

~Sister, Nan, Moi in 1987~

If anyone is still reading this, you deserve a medal. How shall I inscribe it? 

Hope that all is well with you... 


  1. You are not the only one cleaning out stuff. I promise, if I ever get through the mountain of paper that I have accumulated, I will NEVER keep this much again.

  2. Sounds like you're on a roll with the purging. Isn't it liberating?


  3. Wow! I'm working on this too, but not as ruthlessly. I keep trying to find a good home for things, but that's the slow way. It would feel good to have an organized, neat & tidy place at last!


    I know this is hard, for you to do. Harder than on many. You did not get the "Eliminate Stuff" gene... (Just like I did not get the "Crafting" gene. Or the "Thrifting" Gene.)

    So...... For you to do all of this, is amazing! Stupendous! Gratifying! Pat-Yourself-On-The-Back-ing!

    Oh and don't both of you, feel soooooooooooooo proud of yourselves?!? Hu? Hu? Hu? Of course you do!

    AND-YOU-HAVE-EVERY-RIGHT-TO-DO-SO!!! Don't you *dare* let me hear anything about "grace helped you do it," or such!!!!!

    NOOOOOOO, ding-dang-it! You did it all, yourself!!!!

    Lots and lots of hugs,

  5. Oh I am so proud of you! I am a ruthless "get rid of it" type, but my hubby holds on to EVERYTHING....I have to walk him through it, and it is time again, haha...Thanks for the inspiration..Hope you have a good day!

  6. Oh Vee, how I need you here! I am another who holds onto every. piece. of. paper./document. that has been brought into this house....and others that we've moved from long ago! What is it with purging that stops me? Tell me your secrets for getting past it all, please!

  7. Oh, I am inspired this morning!! I am a semi-pack rat...some things I can easily let go; some things I hold on to forever (school work, kids's books, photographs). But I definitely need to get things organized...toss out the unloved, and organize the loved! Summer (when homeschool is on "formal" break) is the best time for me to tackle home organization, but I have let the past two summers slip by without doing the in-depth purging and organizing that I need, so I am going to concentrate on doing it this year. No excuses! It really is freeing.

    (Glad to have you back! I told you I'd be here to chat. ~smile~)

  8. Do you rent out? On my list of things: - do what Vee is doing. ...... !!! :D :D :D

  9. I loved this. Oh Vee...you need someone to hold your hand and I wish it could be me. It is so fun helping someone else sort. It is like being the unbiased one in the room. I know when I had my daughterbylove help me the last time I did a major sort...she sure saw things differently than I did and I have not missed one thing she put in the leave pile.
    I did sigh though...knowing that I need to go through our filing cabinet.

  10. I am giving you a standing ovation! Cleaning out the clutter is one of my main missions now, and you have taken it to a whole new level! I haven't embarked on ruthlessness yet, but I have been faithfully pitching something every day.

    Hey, I have a photo of a boat called "bite me!" I saw it last fall in eastern Canada. Would you like a copy, LOL?

  11. You've been one busy girl! Wow - where do you get the determination to do it? I have so many little decluttering projects to get done, and I can't make myself follow through. Not because I'm sentimental and hate to part with things, but because of the size of the jobs.

  12. That's the most industrious spring cleaning ever! All of a sudden I'm feeling lazy. We've been telling each other for two years that we need to organize our storage unit. Maybe if I read this post a few more times, it will be the motivator I need.


  14. OH BROTHER... please read the above comment in lower case!!! :)

  15. It always amazes me to find someone just like me thru blogging! When we downsized one year ago, I did much the same. Older siblings were no where to be found, so I made the decision to find "good homes" for many sentimental things I no longer had room for. I donated a lot to the humane society, left some for the family who bought our old house, etc. The hardest thing was letting go of my old sheet music and oodles of cross stitch books and thread! I think you are doing great, Vee!

  16. I have just gotten a shredder. Maybe one of these days I will show you all the junk I need to shred -- hidden in plastic bags and stuffed in closets! You are doing what I need to be doing.

  17. Inscribe my medal "Sister" - 'cuz I think we must be related. Books, music and craft items are the hardest for me to get rid of. Jewelry I'm justifying hanging onto because of future dress-up boxes for little girls.

    Do you feel lighter? Less tied to stuff? Relieved? Or just plain exhausted? Inquiring minds want to know.

  18. Oh my you have been busy! Inscribe mine...In Denial!

  19. ROFL! You're welcome! Glad to help out with a little visual aid!

  20. You are missed out here in blogland, Vee. However, when one is involved in a major sorting project it is best to continue on until it is done. It sounds like you are making wonderful progress.
    I'd rather dust or vacuum than sort
    through stuff. It requires too many decisions. It sure does feel good when it's done!
    Carry on :)

  21. So that's what you have been up to! Oh boy. I think I'll leave the big purge for awhile. Maybe next spring! I'll do the fridge though...I know it can't wait until next spring.

    Enjoy all your new, wide-open spaces!

  22. Wow you have been busy. It seems there are so many of us now trying to get rid of stuff.
    I have done a lot but still need to do more too.

  23. You're doing what I should be doing. I'm going to take a couple weeks off pretty soon to get some things done on my long list.

  24. Brava! Congratulations, Vee! I know what hard work this must have been and how liberating it is to have gotten rid of so much that would otherwise eventually weigh you down.

    Having just spent three months of day and night purging on my Mom's house to empty it, I am determined to do the same at my house after my daughter's wedding when I have free time again. I went through such an emotioanl roller coaster with my Mom's stuff that it made me realize that things are just things, and memories last without them. I was able to donate quite a bit of my Mom's things to charity or friends who needed them, and I'm going to do the same with much of the excess I've accumulated through the years.
    I'm glad you were able to accomplish all of what you hoped to do!

  25. I'm jealous ... of what you've done and your ability to do it. We purged when we got the new carpet and it felt good. I would love to purge books but someone else in the house has to agree. The bibliomaniac. The plan is for us to read a lot when we retire. Congratulations on all you have done! It felt good just to read about it!

    The good thing for me is we live two blocks from GW so it's so easy to keep stuff moving. But still never e a s y.

  26. You are doing what I've said I'm going to do for how long now? Much too long. I really need to tackle the mountain of paper I've accumulated but it's just so hard to make myself sit down and do it. I keep finding other more fun things to do to keep from it. It's a cloudy day and looking like rain...again...and a perfect day for sorting through stuff. But what am I doing? Playing on the computer! There's no hope...send help.

  27. Have been doing this for the last 6 months and feel wonderful about it!! Such freedom from stuff allows our creative juices to flow and our minds to relax...love it!

    I want a ride on that boat and thanks to Donna for posting it!! LOL

    Keep trudging along...it's like eating an elephant one bite at a time!

  28. Good going! I'm pretty ruthless about getting rid of stuff. I always have to fight my daughter and husband about that. They like to hold on to everything. I can't think when there's too much stuff hanging around. Although, I do find it hard to get rid of fabric and craft stuff. Everybody has a weakness! :)

  29. VEE,

    I really enjoyed your post - I needed it, actually.

    I need to do exactly that.

    BUT don't get rid of your sheet music. Sell it.

    Or let me pay you and send it to me and I will craft with it or sell it for you.

    Years ago I THREW AWAY an entire cabinet full of my mother's old sheet music in a haste to clear out the family house to be sold....and I swear to you not a week goes by and I regret it.

    It was before peeps were making neat crafts from it. And it was really old.

    I hate myself some days.


  30. Ahhh....how freeing that must be. I moved some things from upstairs to downstairs the other day.............I know I need to do better than that. Well, Mom wants to have a yard sale to help raise money for Chelsea's special camp this summer. She is going to The Guild. Sounds cool, doesn't it. Learning about writing, music and drama. So....all of that said to say that I will be dragging all kinds of things out of this house for the sale.

  31. I went crazy a few months ago and went through all the books. Since I refuse to throw them away, that's a bit too Hitlerish to me, I found somebody who is making their garage into a library. So he came over and I picked out about 200 books he could have. Now I've started using the library more.

  32. I totally understand every desire to be rid of the mess and the emotions that go with it. We've had to do a lot of that in the last 6 months between our move and moving Audley's grandmother in with his parents. That woman had moonshine from WWII in her basement!! I am not kidding. As for us, there were six boxes that have never been unpacked since 2002. They went to the Goodwill and the dump.

    Packing up, throwing away, giving away, shredding .... all very emotional. You want to keep it, then ask why in the world?? When it is all said and done, I do hope you feel better about the purging. =)

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  33. oh no! not the books and the music!!
    i couldn't do it. take my jewelry, take
    my makeup, take my dishes . . . but
    not my books. :)

    good luck.

  34. Vee,
    Once you get started, there is no stopping with the purging. At least for me, that is how it goes.
    I cleaned out lots of paper this week. It made an enormous pile. I took pictures. Now I have about half of it shredded, and burned a little bit. Maybe the pile is half gone.
    That's only about a year of papers.

  35. Wonderful list, my friend!

    I need that inspiration as this weekend I must work on my closet! :(


  36. The quote is my son...who just ask me to take him to the scrap yard, where he could buy scrap metal by the pound for his project....oh my!

    Love your list...oh the books, that is a hard one, dishes and pictures also...I am learning to downsize more and more each day - I downsized my crafts and now I am having to go back and buy...that wasn't wise

    You go girl!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. It can just read..to my friend! I took a BIG load of stuff to Goodwill today...lightened my load and made me feel great! I went inside and looked around the store and didn't buy anything...I need another pat of the back! heehee! Great tips! Enjoy your week my friend!

  38. Ya know how twisted I am when it comes to cleanin' but I went through everything a couple years ago and got rid of many unnecessary items 'cause I don't want my kiddos to have to do it.

    Funny the way we think when we get older.

    Ya can inscribe my metal...Super Nezzy! Heeehehe! :o)

    Have a bountifully blessed day sweetie!!! :o)

  39. Good grief woman!!! You have struck a chord here now haven't you!!! And I laughed out loud at the "my family can bite me"!! I LOVE IT! We all struggle with the same exact things girl...what to keep, what to part with. I need to purge so much but it takes time and I'm just too busy trying to make a little money to help out to worry with it all. One solution is to SELL some of my collected wares in my Etsy...most are old or vintage ~ it's just prying it out of tight little fists!!! love your posts sweet Vee, you really are a hoot you know!! hugs and love, Dawn

  40. I don't know if I'll ever get through culling. It takes so much energy and strong will. Exhausting!

    Sorry about the confusion with the recipe! The lemon curd was microwaved in the first recipe. I mentioned in in the last paragraph before the recipe but left the instructions original. I think during that time I was too worried to think altering a recipe was acceptable :)

  41. I read the whole thing, and thought of printing it out and saving it...then thought again.
    A medal? Thank you, but please don't give me one. I'd have to save it.

  42. Mercy! I have to thank bj for posting about you! You are someone I NEEDED desperately to meet. I am going to print your list and get busy..because no matter what the kids say, I HAVE to start getting rid of stuff. I have clothing I bought for a cruise 14 years ago..cancelled the cruise and the clothing is still hanging in the closet, never worn! Yep. A lot of that going on around here. Two sheds..full. Overhead in the garage..chairs, STUFF and it all has to go. I began shredding yesterday and paniced..and then I found you and my courage has returned..at least it's on it's way back! THANK YOU!

    I am paying to have headers made and it is driving me crazy. Other people make them and after two or three years of blogging I never have. It's time I learned..I am hoping through you and poking around on your wonderful blog..I'll learn something!!
    (I hope!) :)

  43. Stuff, stuff and more stuff. I think we all hang on to it, and I am as guilty as anyone about thinking there will always be a use for something, at some point down the road.
    I applaud your determination to stop the stuff from taking over your life!

  44. Hi Vee,
    For a moment I thought you were describing what was taking up space in my home, and that you had come by to purge , but as I look around it is all still here.Ho hum, wishful thinking.

    I am hoping to get some motivation from you, but first I must finish all the outside project, and that may take until fall, am crossing my fingers that no unexpected company comes.
    Loved the photo,!
    With all that work of yours completed, you and John should take the weekend off., when I awoke this morning I was tempted to do just that but after looking outside I opted for one more day of work, instead I decided to do some visting ~smile~ BTW Was John as productive as you were? When dh cleans he gets his work done faster than I do, because he throws everything away.
    And if you are still reading this comment, You deserve a medal. LOL

  45. I read it to the very end and really enjoyed hearing of your culling experience. Wow. You have been busy but you must feel sooooo good. I have been thinking of culling too. I have too much stuff. Don't we all? And you're right in saying if we need it we can find it somewhere else. Pam

  46. I read it all the way through. You can deliver my medal.
    Inscribe it with 'byte me". I could wear it around my neck especially to family functions.LOL!

    I need to do some culling. Mabye soon.
    Hugs, Ginger

  47. My much loved mil has never purged a thing and has lived in the same house 54 years. I am so not looking forward to the final purge after she passes.
    Btw...I have a hard time saying no when relatives give their junk to me. I finally mostly am over it...I say thank you and donate asap.

  48. Bring that list to my house, I'll show you where to start!

  49. Waiting for my medal!
    As my stairs can be seen from the front door I do try to curb this urge to place stuff there to take upstairs but there is usually at least a couple of steps with stuff on.
    I clear at the beginning of every year but had a late start this year but I know I am doing well when a couple of dozen books have gone. That's the hardest! If we were walking on grass we would have a path worn to our charity shop!

  50. Youngest daughter helped me purge several months ago before she moved in--now she and her little boy have moved to an apartment! I miss them--especially the little guy! This summer I hope to finish going through my grandmother's boxes of papers and she has been gone since 1977! There are utility bills in those boxes from the 1940's! There is also a treasure trove of old letters she left me--from my vagabond, grandfather who left before my dad was born and her college boyfriend, Allen who she said she should have married! I think I will use some of them in posts! Be careful of disposing of letters--they are a lost art!


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