Shredding my way to a happier space


As discussed yesterday, I have a very long “to-do” list. There is so much to do that it’s difficult to know even where to start.

This weekend was supposed to be about getting my ceilings painted with a nice fresh coat of bright white paint. I also need to get a start on painting my basement floor in preparation to re-engineer what used to be the Man Cave, into my personal craft/project space.

I’m starting to understand that my “to-do” list needs to be more like my bucket list.

My bucket list is populated by some long term ideas, but also has plenty of space for things which appear in the moment. It’s very flexible, though for the moment somewhat dormant.

Yesterday, I began to move some things around in the basement, and discovered I have quite a lot of old paperwork stored, some of it going back to 2001. Good grief… there’s at least two large totes full, plus some other smaller containers. This is in the basement, on top of the tote I have stored in my living room.

<sigh>

So. I guess it’s time to shred. Not only does it free up space, but it frees up totes I can use to store other things.

I also found that in order to move things around to paint, I need to downsize. “Less is more” will be my mantra going forward. Getting rid of anything that doesn’t serve me comes first, and I feel like it will make the difference for all that comes later.

I so badly wanted to get the painting done, but decided to be flexible and put dealing with these needs before everything else. I cleared out a bunch of books and craft supplies, which I will donate to a local charity tomorrow. When Older Son was here yesterday, I was happy to gift him with several items I don’t use that he will find handy in his new apartment. He also helped me move some cupboards from the kitchen to the basement. Better storage downstairs, more room upstairs.

I’m not just making more room for things to be rearranged. I’m eliminating a whole lot of what I call pots of poison… old paperwork with my ex’s name on it. Just a lot of dusty old stuff from sadder days that no one needs anymore.

I’m making more room for me. I want to remake myself and expand into my newly rejuvenated space, at whatever pace I feel like.

As for the shredding, no time like the present. Last night I shredded until one tote was completely empty. One down, several more to go. It’s agonizingly slow, as I need to go through everything in case there might be something I need to keep. I’ve run into a few things, and thankfully they are just a few.

Baby steps… I’ll get there eventually, but it’s so hard to be patient.

Here’s hoping you all find ways to reorganize, and expand into your space, in whatever time you choose. It’s very cathartic, and highly recommended. Blessings all!

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Thinking about shacking up


I’m sitting in my living room sipping coffee, as per usual on a Sunday morning, and I am so grateful for the peace and quiet. I know it will be short lived… I can hear my Flirt waking up down the hall in my bedroom.

He generally doesn’t stay over, but last night he and his Giant Dog crashed at my place and it was nice not to sleep alone. I have been an empty nester for about 6 months now and I can’t say that I hate it, even though I miss my kids. There’s potential for my Flirt to move in some time down the road, and we are taking some trial runs at it. I like having him around, and the dog too.

We will see. It’s tough integrating two adults with vastly different ideas about how things should work into one functioning household. When people don’t talk things through, and then just expect things to go right anyway, it’s really a pretty big silent disaster. I had 17 years of that as a married woman, and it’s something I don’t ever want to experience again.

For right now, playing house once in a while is good enough. Proper integration takes time and good planning. We will see how that goes.

Here’s hoping you are happy and content with wherever you live, and whoever you live with.

Finding myself in my junk


Today I am finally making time to unpack some things that have been put away for so long that I have forgotten what all I have. It just an hour I was able to clean off  and reorganize a large metal shelf, and go through a few totes. I was lucky enough to find many things that just need washing up and donating, and bunch of derelict things that just needed to be thrown away. Good thing tomorrow is garbage day.

I also found a few things that took me down a strange memory lane. These are things I have hung on to solely for sentimental reasons. I have always said that I will find something to do with these objects, but I never really do. Now that I am really cleaning out, I really do need to find a place for these things in my home that is worthy of them.

First is a group of really old, really soft pillow cases, which have been embroidered on. I am not sure who did the embroidery, but I know that it was by my Grandmother, her sister (the famous Aunty B.), or their mother, Great Grandma L. img_3434.jpgI have always thought that to use them would be the best thing to do, but I can’t bring myself to do so them for fear that they will wear away and the stitching  will come out, causing these beautiful pieces of antique handwork to be destroyed.

I find it appalling that I have left them in a tote, or some other such container, for so many years. Having dug through Pinterest, I think I have found a solution. It seems I am not alone in my wish to find a use for these without harming them. Many people are hanging them up as artwork, and I think I will so the same. My spare room will be the perfect place to hang them up until I have access to my Older Son’s room. He is looking to move in with friends, and I’ll miss him but it’s long past time for him to move on with his life.

Speaking of Older Son, I found pieces of a baby blanket I was making when I was pregnant with him. It was the first time I attempted a corner granny square pattern, and IMG_3436didn’t do a very good job at it. Those pieces have been in a zippered plastic bag for longer than he has been alive, and he is now 24. After he was born,  I just all of a sudden hated the colors, and so it went into the bag unfinished.

Now I look at it and wonder if these can be salvaged. It occurs to me that perhaps I could make a shawl out of them just to wear around the house. Or, I could finish the actual blanket and keep it for when Older Son may have his own kids.  I’ll need to block the pieces so they aren’t so misshapen, and hopefully I can make something usable out of them. It should make a quick winter project. I may just have to say goodbye to these crooked little shapes, and move on. More to come on that.

I wonder what else I will find in the next hour of rummaging through my very voluminous pile of dust collecting things stashed in my basement? It will be an adventure for sure. I know I am guaranteed to find more of what I call “pots of poison”, which are things that belonged to my ex husband, but I will just gather those up and send them to his house when Older Son goes to visit. Easy enough to get rid of, and so I should stop referring to them as poison, which mostly will kill a person.

Here’s hoping you find treasures in your homes that make you smile, and feel nostalgia for times and people who are no longer around, and not so much stuff that brings back bad memories. Either way, it’s just stuff and stuff that brings bad memories can be disposed of in many ways. Blessings all!

 

The peace of home


Sunday mornings have become one of those times in the week where I get to have a little peace and quiet. I think the most important part of that is that I get to spend time in my house. I’m not home a lot, but that’s slowly changing, as I have been on the run with life for so long, it’s become apparent that I just really need to spend more time keeping the place up.

Line dried towelsThis morning, I managed to get two loads of laundry washed and on the line. In between, I sealed my front porch, which was so very, VERY dry. I even managed to get the bills paid. All in all, it was a very productive morning.

While waiting for my last load of wash to get finished so I could get it on the line to dry, I sat in my living room for a few minutes, sipping a fresh cup of coffee. Those few moments of peace and quiet were so awesome. It’s rare that there isn’t a radio, or Ipod playing, or sometimes the tv is running. Even the traffic was quiet. Just about the only thing I could hear was the laundry sloshing around in the washer, and the clock ticking.

Quiet, steady ticking sounds, like a clock, are so comforting to me. That, and traffic out in front of the house, is something I strongly associate with my childhood. My grandparents’ house is not too far from where I live now, and you could say I grew up there. No matter where we lived, their house was always a constant in my life. They had a cuckoo clock my dad got them before I was born, and it had the requisite little bird that would pop out on the hour. I always loved to watch my Grandpa wind up the clock with the long, delicate chains that hung down from the bottom. They lived on a very busy street, and traffic sounds were a constant.

Sometimes, if I close my eyes and just sit still and listen, it’s almost like I am sitting in their living room again.

So now it’s night-time, and I am lying in bed with my laptop, and the radio is running because I just don’t sleep well without talk radio. I have it turned down really soft, and all I can hear besides that is the sound of the computer and whatever random traffic out front. The irony is not lost on me that it drove me nuts when Grandma listened to talk radio at night, and it kept me up. Now I can’t sleep without it!

Something that is missing in my home is the solid feeling of my grandparents’ house. They had this really solidly build home, with heavy oak doorways that were darkly stained. The front door was so big and heavy that I couldn’t open it by myself when I was small. It always had this big heavy feeling like laying under layers of warm blankets on a cold night. It was a comfortable, homey, safe place, and I miss it every single day.

That home was sold in ’96 after Grandma died, and the folks who bought it take really good care of it. It got wet during the Flood of 2011, but they restored it and it looks wonderful. It broke my heart to see it under water, but I am so grateful they have taken pride in it and have made it their home for so long.

So, I wonder how it is that I can create that same feeling when I walk into the home I live in now? That’s a mystery. Perhaps it is just my perception because it’s a different house, or perhaps it’s because I have never really liked this house. I respect it because it has kept my family dry and warm all these years. It was my world during my divorce because I only left it to go to work, or shuttle the boys around, for a good two years. This crappy little fixer-upper has its charms, but it won’t hurt my feelings to leave it. I wonder how I will feel when the day comes to move? I’ve lived here 16 years, and there are a lot of memories here, good and bad.

Maybe the answer is to just spend more time at home, and stop being on the run so much? I guess I will just keep inching along, making repairs and upgrades as I go, until it feels like home. It never really has, even though I’ve lived here a long time. I’m betting that I can overcome that feeling if I try hard enough.

Here’s hoping you find peace in your home, and that it makes you feel safe and comforted in that space. Blessings all 🙂

 

Taking over my little Universe, one room at a time!


So much to talk about, and I don’t know where to start!

Well, I promised pictures from my bedroom makeover, so I will start there.

My beginning inspiration was the new bedspread and curtains:

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After I had those picked out, I chose a nice light gray paint, so light it’s almost white, and a super bright white for the trim.

I started out with a room that was painted two crappy colors of brown, and here are the before pictures. You can see where I started cutting in the new paint, and the contrast of the two tones of the brown. I think my room had been like that for 10 years or so. How freaking depressing !

You can see the new bed spread and curtains don’t look like much with the brown paint.

After a few coats of paint and a bunch of elbow grease, I was able to take this after picture. I still need to get a matching curtain for my closet door.

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Now add the new night stand and head board:

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This last picture is a little dark, but trust me, it’s like waking up in a cloud. My new room makes me so happy, and it took very little to make it happen. Sure, I had to spend some money, and there were some late nights spent trying to get it done, but it was so worth it!

So what else is new in my neck of the woods?

My new job continues to be awesome, and I have a lot of job satisfaction. I know it won’t always be this way, because life doesn’t ever stay static, so I am enjoying it while it lasts. Hopefully it will last a good long while.

Younger Son is coming home after being out at sea for 8 months. I got to talk to him on the phone for the first time since November, and it was so good to hear his voice. Just that simple act of speaking with him on the phone let off a lot of steam I didn’t realize had been building up. It appears that I was kind of holding my breath all of this time. Even with email, mail, and Facebook, it was so little contact. I don’t know how loved ones did it in the days before social/electronic media, when their kids joined the service and were gone for long stretches of time. He comes home soon, and it will be so awesome to have all of my chicks back in the nest again.

Older Son has been having a stretch of good luck in that he was able to replace an old car with a newer, cheaper-to-run vehicle. He even got a break on his insurance. Fabulous!!

The city is gearing up for the State Fair which begins next week. This year, I think we will just go for one day. Usually we go for multiple days, but it gets expensive, and doesn’t change much from year to year. I still get excited when it starts up, though. Older Son will be in the Parade this year, so I may just go watch it. This will be the first Parade Saturday that I haven’t had a prior commitment for a long time.

Well, I’m working on my 2nd cup of coffee, and I think I will finish that up and get to work on my house. The laundry needs to get going, and everything else needs picking up and scrubbing. After chores are done, I think I will go shop for a new BBQ, and plot my next home improvement project: Kitchen Part 2 – paint & floor! I feel like I am finally taking over my own little universe, one room at a time!

Here’s wishing you all a lovely, relaxing Saturday, with which you can plot how you will take over your universe! Blessings all!

Finding light in dark corners


You’ve heard me talk about procrastination quite a bit over the years in the blog. I’m a pro…just saying.

Yesterday, I had the whole day to really dig through some things and get rid of the stuff that I don’t need or want. Instead, I puttered around my house, just going from here to there, and back again, doing little things. I did manage to get the underside of my TV stand cleaned out, as well as the middle of my china cupboard. What I also should have done yesterday was clean out the bottom of the china cupboard.

But I didn’t. I found some very creative ways to avoid it.

Why, you ask? What could be so terrible in the bottom of the china cupboard that you can’t clean it out?

Probably a bunch of things. You see, I have many nooks and crannies where I stuffed things away just to put them somewhere. Also, I have a tendency to put things away to keep them safe, and then I never find them again. Oh, they are very safe, indeed…even from me!

I have a sneaking suspicion that there are a bunch of pre-divorce items lurking in the bottom of that cupboard, and I don’t want to deal with them. I have finally had a little bit of peace and it’s upsetting every time I have to deal with those things again. For instance, while cleaning out the middle of the china cupboard, I found several pictures of my ex husband, with the boys. I quickly stuffed those away in another pile of pictures so I don’t have to see them again for a while.

However, in my cleaning out of nooks and crannies yesterday, I was reminded of something. This thing, which is something I need to remind myself of, constantly, is that there is light even in the darkest of corners.

I found some interesting things that I hadn’t seen in years, and was glad to find. Pictures, without my ex husband in them, of my kids, and of other family members and friends. Batteries, which I sorely needed, and now don’t have to go buy. Paperwork that I thought was lost, but only put away. So many things that I needed to see.

The reality is that I found very little nasty dark little things in those dark, dusty corners, and found quite a bit that I needed or enjoyed. It wasn’t as painful as I always think it’s going to be. There were more blessings than not.

The bottom of the china cupboard is next, tonight, and I’ll be throwing a whole bunch of nasty little dark things away, and keeping the treasures that I find. Hopefully it will be a short expedition!

Here’s hoping that you find much unexpected light in the darkest corners of your space, and that you find many treasures to make your day. Blessings all!

 

New steps, and the basement remodel moves forward!


All has been quiet in the last while regarding home improvement projects here at Sparrow’s Nest, until this last couple of weeks. I’ve had trouble with my basement steps, as they were constructed poorly when they were put in.  My Dad was kind enough to come over, take them apart and put them back together correctly with new treads.  He also pounded out the drywall that line the steps, as it was on the wrong side of the wall, and put in a new light where my pantry will go. He’s got plans about how to put a wall in on the steps side of the wall, and is helping me think about how to construct a pantry on the other side and underneath the stairs. My Dad’s amazing…he can pretty much build or fix anything, and I am so grateful that he’s put his considerable skills to work in my house. He’s definitely helping me make my house more of a home. The best part is that Older and Younger Sons have both helped, which gives them a sense of accomplishment, as well as a stake in how their home is fixed.

Here’s what it looked like to start with:

  As you can see the risers were installed incorrectly by overlapping the treads of the steps. This caused uneven wear and splinters to form. You can see where there was drywall on the wrong side of the stair wall, causing several Black Holes of Doom between the studs where things would fall down from above and get lost under the stairs.

Dad came over to make all the measurements and then we went shopping for new 2×10 boards for the new treads. Since the risers aren’t so visible, we didn’t buy new plywood, but reused what was there. Not having done this before, Dad was a little afraid of how much time it would take and so he came over on Saturday around 11:30 so that we’d have Sunday too, if need be.  Younger helped with this part of the project and it took them a little bit to get started, but once they did it seemed to go really smoothly, and only took about three hours to get finished. They started from the bottom, and did one step at a time. Younger Son has been talking to me about putting a finish on the steps, which I think we will do, but it will have to wait until the Spring when we can keep the windows open all day.

Later on that week, Dad came back and Older Son helped him pound out and haul out the drywall, and then he installed a light in the back of what will be my new pantry.

Here are pictures of the results:

This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a huge step forward…if you’ll forgive the pun. By Spring I’m hoping to have  my new pantry ready to go and on the way to being filled up. I’d like to have a year’s worth of supplies banked away eventually, and this little project has gotten me that much closer to making that plan into reality. I have some other thoughts on pantry building, and being prepared, but I’ll leave those for another post.

Hopefully soon I’ll have some more pictures to show you regarding the progress on my basement remodel!