My Old House: Closet Fix-Day 1

For 20 years I’ve struggled with my closets. My old home only has 800 sq ft, and it’s got tiny closets to go with it. It wasn’t unusual for me to finish my laundry and have to hang some of my shirts on the door frame of the closet because there wasn’t any more room.

Not only is the closet small and poorly organized, but it still has a remnant of the nasty old carpet the house had when we moved in. I desperately needed a fresh coat of paint as well.

First thing to do on the list is get the closet empty. As I disgorged the entire contents of my closet onto the bed, The Flirt looked on in awe. He couldn’t believe I could have that much packed into that little closet. Not only is this an opportunity to refresh and reorganize my closet, but it’s also an opportunity to downsize the contents. There are so many things I keep shoving way over to the side and never wear. Time for those things to get donated and quit clogging up my space.

Now time to get rid of that crappy carpet. Your best tools for this are a good blade, a flat head screwdriver, pliers, and a hammer. Taking the staples out was easy, but it took longer to get the tack strips off from around the edges.

After getting all of that removed from the floor, I swept it up and got ready to paint. I got a stain and odor blocking paint/primer in as bright a white as I could get. A small brush and mini roller were all I needed to this job done.

It’s astonishing how quickly a little white paint can make such a big difference. It only took me a little over an hour to get the first coat on, and it was clear from the get-go that it would need two coats. I gave it two hours to dry, and then put on the 2nd coat.

By the time I got done putting on the last coat of paint it was bed time, so I cleaned up, took a shower and hit the sheets. Then I needed to move the giant pile of clothes to the spare bed. It took three trips!

Unfortunately, the paint I used was kind of smelly, so The Flirt ended up sleeping on the couch. I was so tired I didn’t notice he was gone. Tomorrow it will be time to put in the new shelves and put my clothes back onto the closet!

Tune in tomorrow for Day 2!

Marie Kondo has become a verb at my house

As you, Faithful Readers, are aware from previous posts, I’m trying to thin out my stuff.

It’s been made clear to me that I keep so many things that are never looked at or used. These things are generally all kept packed up, and take up space in all kinds of nooks and crannies. They were most likely inherited, or given to me by someone close, and I keep these things not because they are useful but because I feel obligated to keep them.

Keeping things out of obligation is a terrible way to live. Getting rid of things I have been keeping out of obligation has been very difficult, until I ran into Marie Kondo. Follow the link to see a snippet of her Netflix show on You Tube. If you have Netflix, go give the show a good look.

If you have a hard time watching it, like I did, stick with it. She is a little out there with some of her methods, but there are so many kernels of truth in what she has to say about what to keep and how to organize things, that it is worth paying attention to.

One of the big thing things I took away from her show is to ask yourself if an item “sparks joy” when you pick it up. If not, it’s probably time to donate it. Make space only for the things you really want or need.

For me, that morphed into asking myself why I’m still holding onto something if I haven’t been using it. The answer generally seems to be that I have felt obligated to keep it.

Hmmm. It seems I’m drowning in stuff I feel obligated to keep. When I look around my house, there is so much I don’t use, and little that I need very often.

So, last week I culled books out of my shelf, and only kept the things that I felt were useful. Today, I was making myself some coffee, and spied my recipe box sitting on my counter. It’s full of recipes that I have either never used, or ones I will not use again. So, I Marie Kondo’d my recipe box this morning. That’s right… Marie Kondo has become a verb at my house. I culled fully half of my recipes, and now have a whole lot of spare room in my recipe box. Next step is to do the same to my grandmother’s recipe box, and combine the two together. That’s for another day, though.

Baby steps, Faithful Readers, are ok. For those of us who are easily overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, just do one small thing at a time, and do not feel obligated to do a whole room at a time, just because other people have that capacity.

I know lots of folks who can dive in and are driven to spend a whole day or weekend on one room and get the whole thing done. I just can’t. It’s too much, and I’m learning to be just fine with that.

Today it is a recipe box, and a few things I’m taking out of my closet, but not the whole closet.

Here’s hoping you all find just the right pace for you to do what you need to do, without letting others influence your speed, or reasoning of purpose. Anyone who tries to pressure you into thinking their way of doing things is better can go jump in a lake. You can tell them Sparrow said so. 😉 Blessings all.

Football season again…there goes the schedule.

Younger's Jersey this year

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year again. Football season has begun.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with football. The love part has to do with the fact that Younger Son loves to play, and I love to see him play, even though I don’t understand much of what I’m seeing. But more about that in a later post.

The hate part comes in when it comes to scheduling and supplies. The supplies part of it isn’t that terrible…it’s just another expense along with school supplies, registration etc. The scheduling is what really gets my goat.

As many of you parents know, we live and die by our kids’ schedules. Our lives revolve around what they are doing, whether it’s school activities, sports or work…or all three at once.  Parents need a Plan, not just for themselves for their jobs and activities, but the for the kids as well, so everyone is on the same page. Everyone has The Plan in their heads for the week and knows what to expect. Everyone who needs a ride will get one. All activities will be accounted for and attended. By the end of the week, everything will have gotten done that needed to be done.

Apparently, that doesn’t even enter into the minds of The Powers That Be who administrate the scheduling of Football for the season. Today is a good example. I’ve seen on the schedule we do have that there is a scrimmage today. Younger Son’s team is playing against the team of another city for a preseason practice.  I’ve been asking Younger every day this week, “What did you hear about the scrimmage? What time is it? Where is it? When do I need to drop you off and pick you up?”  Poor kid…of course these come out in rapid fire sequence in my zeal to solidify The Plan for the weekend.

Unfortunately the coaches refused to tell the kids anything until Friday afternoon. The kids have to be at the school before 8am so they can be dressed to play and get on a bus to go across town. Scrimmage will start sometime between 9 and 10am. Time to pick the kids up afterward is undetermined. It’s unknown how many games will even be played.

What the heck?!

So, I breath deeply, and evenly…this too shall pass. It will be worth it to watch Younger Son have such a good time. Additionally, he’s learning discipline and good sportsmanship. And, it’s only for two months more and then we have a nice long break until he joins track in the Spring.

I never thought I would look so forward to a nice long Winter!

So much going on…aaaahhhh!


Yes, it’s been one of those weeks where everything is happening, but nothing of any importance is getting done. Between family being in town, being in the middle of changing jobs, still cleaning up after the bathroom remodel and now trying to get the house ready for company, I’m just about cooked!

The boys are out at the State Fair for the 2nd night in a row, I’m finally getting down to brass tacks and getting some cleaning done. It’s so much easier when there’s nobody here but me. As I was rearranging some furniture in the living room, out popped the printer I bought two months ago and just never did get installed. I keep telling Older Son that I’d get to it, but just couldn’t make the time. So, tonight, I made a command decision to just stop procrastinating and just do it. So, now it’s finally hooked up and ready to go. He’ll be pleasantly surprised when he gets home tonight.

I mentioned that I’m having company this weekend. An old friend of mine is coming to stay with me Friday and Saturday nights, and we’re going to the Sugarland concert Saturday night. It will be the last night of the State Fair, and it will be a good weekend. I’m kicking it off with a pizza party, and perhaps some margaritas…hmm…margaritas!! It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good homemade margarita….hmmm!

My to-do list is so daunting, I need a Vincent Price voice over

After getting home at 1am last night, and didn’t fall asleep until about 3:30, I was surprised that I was up and at ’em by 8am today.  It’s ok, though. It’s going to be a big day, and I needed to get up and cracking if I’m going to even get half of it accomplished. Today Older Son is going to Nana’s to help her finish taking stuff downstairs that’s left over from last night’s organization orgy, so it will just be me and Younger Son getting stuff done today at home.

As discussed in a previous post, the carpenter who is supposed to be doing the remodel on my bathroom delayed until tomorrow. I haven’t heard from him yet that he isn’t coming tomorrow, so I will assume that his sister’s surgery went well and that all is a go for Wednesday. Uh…hmm. Hope I didn’t just jinx it by saying that out loud.

Nobody does menacing like Vincent Price!

Anyway, as I am operating under the assumption that the bathroom project is getting under way tomorrow (please, oh please, oh please!), there are certain things that I need to get accomplished before that can happen. So, in the spirit of getting the ball rolling, here is today’s very special edition of (cue Vincent Price echo, crashing thunder and lightning)…  The To-Do List.

  • Scrub out fridge (there’s been a code-four pickle juice spill…Yummy)
  • Do final general pick up and cleaning of upstairs
  • Get Younger to mow and edge the lawn
  • Do more laundry until my washer and dryer beg for mercy
  • Shopping trip to Menards/Wally World to buy a new pedestal sink, bathroom fan, plastic big enough to cover the bedroom/living rooms doors and the kitchen (to keep demolition dust off), expanding spray foam for the crack in the basement wall, and new weed eater.
  • Call the plumber and make an appointment to get my external hose fixed.
  • Call sand and gravel company to put an order in for landscaping rock.
  • Bake Banana Bread…I’ve got some bananas that need to be used up.

If I get all of that done today, it will have been a hugely successful day. I can do it, but I guess I’m going to need to quit flappin’ my gums on the internet and get the show on the road!

To-do list successfully avoided!

So, it’s already Sunday evening and I put nary a dent in the ominous to-do list from Hell. Oh well. To-do lists are a bit like laundry and dishes in that they don’t run away, they just patiently wait for your return.

I did manage to make it to my Parent’s house today to help mom clean out one of her bedrooms. My mom’s been stowing things away in this bedroom for quite a while and now needs the space, so we did some organizing. Not everything got cleared away, but we put a good-sized dent in it.  Ah…there’s where my dents went!

I also took myself and Younger Son to get hair cuts. He hadn’t had a haircut in months and couldn’t take it any more. I have long hair and only ever get it cut once a year, and today was it. We had a nice lunch, and then I  bought the boys’ new prepaid phones (as their old ones had died).

Tomorrow, I’m hoping will be a more productive day, but at least it wasn’t a complete loss!

Yet another list of things to get done today

Ah…I survived yesterday! The house got cleaned (Younger Son’s room was successfully fumigated), and I managed to make some time to get some stuff together for the rummage sale. Now, what kind of trouble can I get in today? Quite a lot, I’m sure, if I don’t get on the stick and get another list made up for today. (Note to Hel’wyse…I loved your additions to yesterday’s list!)

So, without further ado, here is today’s damage:

1. Finish pricing items for the garage sale.

2. Take out garbage (I found lots of crap that’s just not even worth selling, and it’s got to go).

3. Take a shower (All the better to entice more people to buy my junk)

4. Get food ready to go (I’m cooking for all of us today: Pork roast with potatoes and carrots in a slow cooker. Can you say comfort food?!)

5. Load up the van and haul all my junk (hopefully other people’s treasure!) to Connie’s house, where the sale is located.

6. Don’t forget the crock pot!

7. Go to Mom and Dad’s to pick up some stuff to add to the sale; try to talk Mom into coming with me.

8. Take the camera! (I say I’m going to do that every year, and then forget…doofus!)

Well, it looks like it’s time for me to skip ahead to #3 and go get cleaned up. I’ll post pictures later…

TED Talks on You Tube

Today I’ve been trying to get some stuff done in the way of organizing my living room. I am a terrible clutterbug, but I come by it honestly. I’m genetically predisposed from birth, and I climb up that organizational mountain every day. If I’m honest with myself, though, most days I don’t even bother to climb the mountain at all. If I don’t get my lack of organization under control, I will end up like another member of my family, but I’ll go into that another day.

So, in trying to get going today I couldn’t decide what I wanted to listen to while I organize.  After a little while I settled on listening to Ted Talks on You Tube.  This explanation is from TED Talks home page (

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.

Ted Talks are fabulous, and have something for everyone. People from all walks of life and occupation give talks on their particular areas of understanding. There are visuals, and while they aren’t necessarily needed to digest the information given, I have to say that they are pretty cool. Fascinating stuff…In no time at all, I had finished one task and am happily off to another. I think having something good to listen to completely distracts me from whatever crappy task it is I have at hand.

Having said that, I guess I’ll quit procrastinating and get on with my next task!

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