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DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024

Stilly River Sage 31 Dec 23 - 03:52 PM
Stilly River Sage 31 Dec 23 - 08:37 PM
Stilly River Sage 01 Jan 24 - 12:51 PM
Sandra in Sydney 01 Jan 24 - 05:13 PM
Stilly River Sage 02 Jan 24 - 12:27 PM
Dorothy Parshall 02 Jan 24 - 08:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 02 Jan 24 - 09:11 PM
Sandra in Sydney 03 Jan 24 - 02:57 AM
Stilly River Sage 03 Jan 24 - 11:55 AM
Stilly River Sage 03 Jan 24 - 06:24 PM
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Mrrzy 04 Jan 24 - 05:53 PM
Sandra in Sydney 05 Jan 24 - 01:07 AM
Stilly River Sage 05 Jan 24 - 11:14 AM
Sandra in Sydney 05 Jan 24 - 04:33 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Jan 24 - 11:54 AM
Charmion 06 Jan 24 - 02:22 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Jan 24 - 11:55 AM
Stilly River Sage 07 Jan 24 - 06:05 PM
Stilly River Sage 09 Jan 24 - 11:39 PM
keberoxu 10 Jan 24 - 06:47 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jan 24 - 10:40 PM
Sandra in Sydney 11 Jan 24 - 06:40 AM
Charmion 11 Jan 24 - 10:02 AM
Stilly River Sage 11 Jan 24 - 11:42 AM
Charmion 11 Jan 24 - 02:36 PM
Sandra in Sydney 11 Jan 24 - 04:11 PM
Stilly River Sage 12 Jan 24 - 12:19 AM
JennieG 12 Jan 24 - 01:03 AM
Sandra in Sydney 12 Jan 24 - 05:40 AM
Stilly River Sage 12 Jan 24 - 09:17 AM
keberoxu 13 Jan 24 - 06:36 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Jan 24 - 10:17 PM
Stilly River Sage 14 Jan 24 - 12:01 PM
Stilly River Sage 15 Jan 24 - 11:52 AM
Charmion 15 Jan 24 - 05:53 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Jan 24 - 03:39 PM
Charmion 16 Jan 24 - 04:58 PM
Sandra in Sydney 16 Jan 24 - 08:11 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Jan 24 - 09:51 PM
Dorothy Parshall 17 Jan 24 - 10:39 PM
harpgirl 17 Jan 24 - 11:13 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jan 24 - 01:45 AM
Sandra in Sydney 18 Jan 24 - 02:32 AM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jan 24 - 11:15 AM
Dorothy Parshall 18 Jan 24 - 01:16 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Jan 24 - 02:38 PM
Charmion 19 Jan 24 - 10:19 AM
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Charmion 19 Jan 24 - 02:40 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Jan 24 - 08:05 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Jan 24 - 10:33 AM
Charmion 21 Jan 24 - 02:23 PM
Mrrzy 21 Jan 24 - 04:33 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Jan 24 - 11:47 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Jan 24 - 03:59 PM
Charmion 23 Jan 24 - 10:51 AM
keberoxu 23 Jan 24 - 07:05 PM
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keberoxu 24 Jan 24 - 08:00 PM
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Donuel 26 Jan 24 - 10:16 PM
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Mrrzy 27 Jan 24 - 11:40 AM
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Sandra in Sydney 27 Jan 24 - 02:36 PM
Mrrzy 27 Jan 24 - 10:26 PM
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Mrrzy 29 Jan 24 - 02:26 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Jan 24 - 10:34 PM
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Charmion 30 Jan 24 - 04:54 PM
Donuel 30 Jan 24 - 06:49 PM
Stilly River Sage 30 Jan 24 - 11:56 PM
Charmion 31 Jan 24 - 02:08 PM
Stilly River Sage 31 Jan 24 - 04:04 PM
Charmion 01 Feb 24 - 11:20 AM
Stilly River Sage 01 Feb 24 - 11:54 AM
Donuel 01 Feb 24 - 01:01 PM
Stilly River Sage 01 Feb 24 - 03:01 PM
Charmion 01 Feb 24 - 05:28 PM
Dorothy Parshall 01 Feb 24 - 07:51 PM
Stilly River Sage 02 Feb 24 - 12:55 PM
pattyClink 02 Feb 24 - 11:26 PM
Stilly River Sage 03 Feb 24 - 12:14 PM
keberoxu 03 Feb 24 - 08:33 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Feb 24 - 10:40 AM
keberoxu 04 Feb 24 - 07:18 PM
Stilly River Sage 05 Feb 24 - 03:12 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Feb 24 - 07:09 PM
Charmion 07 Feb 24 - 08:32 PM
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Charmion 08 Feb 24 - 09:09 AM
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Stilly River Sage 10 Feb 24 - 12:00 PM
keberoxu 10 Feb 24 - 07:43 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Feb 24 - 09:59 PM
Stilly River Sage 11 Feb 24 - 05:58 PM
Stilly River Sage 11 Feb 24 - 11:55 PM
Charmion 12 Feb 24 - 08:54 AM
Charmion 13 Feb 24 - 10:20 AM
Stilly River Sage 13 Feb 24 - 10:51 AM
Stilly River Sage 14 Feb 24 - 06:08 PM
Mrrzy 14 Feb 24 - 10:57 PM
Stilly River Sage 15 Feb 24 - 01:27 AM
Sandra in Sydney 15 Feb 24 - 07:56 AM
Stilly River Sage 15 Feb 24 - 01:22 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Feb 24 - 09:28 AM
Mrrzy 16 Feb 24 - 04:06 PM
Stilly River Sage 17 Feb 24 - 12:20 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Feb 24 - 11:37 AM
Sandra in Sydney 18 Feb 24 - 04:39 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Feb 24 - 12:18 AM
Donuel 19 Feb 24 - 06:08 AM
Donuel 19 Feb 24 - 08:01 AM
Donuel 19 Feb 24 - 08:12 AM
Charmion 19 Feb 24 - 10:19 AM
Charmion 19 Feb 24 - 10:32 AM
Stilly River Sage 19 Feb 24 - 12:22 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Feb 24 - 06:44 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Feb 24 - 06:49 PM
keberoxu 20 Feb 24 - 08:59 PM
Charmion 21 Feb 24 - 03:06 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Feb 24 - 08:58 PM
Charmion 22 Feb 24 - 11:35 AM
Donuel 22 Feb 24 - 04:29 PM
Charmion 22 Feb 24 - 05:05 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Feb 24 - 10:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Feb 24 - 12:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 Feb 24 - 10:58 AM
Sandra in Sydney 25 Feb 24 - 05:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Feb 24 - 12:15 AM
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Stilly River Sage 27 Feb 24 - 11:23 AM
Charmion 27 Feb 24 - 11:46 AM
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Stilly River Sage 28 Feb 24 - 12:24 PM
Charmion 28 Feb 24 - 01:36 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Feb 24 - 11:38 AM
Stilly River Sage 01 Mar 24 - 09:11 AM
Charmion 01 Mar 24 - 11:23 AM
Donuel 01 Mar 24 - 03:07 PM
Mrrzy 01 Mar 24 - 03:10 PM
Donuel 01 Mar 24 - 03:26 PM
Stilly River Sage 01 Mar 24 - 05:22 PM
Thompson 02 Mar 24 - 04:23 AM
Stilly River Sage 02 Mar 24 - 12:30 PM
Charmion 02 Mar 24 - 05:21 PM
keberoxu 02 Mar 24 - 07:30 PM
Stilly River Sage 02 Mar 24 - 08:43 PM
keberoxu 03 Mar 24 - 10:49 AM
Stilly River Sage 03 Mar 24 - 11:31 AM
pattyClink 03 Mar 24 - 02:28 PM
Charmion 03 Mar 24 - 02:38 PM
keberoxu 03 Mar 24 - 03:44 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Mar 24 - 12:21 AM
Sandra in Sydney 04 Mar 24 - 08:11 AM
Stilly River Sage 04 Mar 24 - 01:43 PM
Sandra in Sydney 04 Mar 24 - 05:36 PM
pattyClink 04 Mar 24 - 07:16 PM
JennieG 04 Mar 24 - 11:05 PM
Sandra in Sydney 05 Mar 24 - 02:50 AM
Charmion 05 Mar 24 - 08:47 AM
Stilly River Sage 05 Mar 24 - 01:32 PM
Mrrzy 06 Mar 24 - 04:20 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Mar 24 - 06:38 PM
Bat Goddess 07 Mar 24 - 09:58 AM
Stilly River Sage 07 Mar 24 - 11:15 AM
Charmion 07 Mar 24 - 11:18 AM
Bat Goddess 07 Mar 24 - 05:59 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Mar 24 - 08:48 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Mar 24 - 12:57 AM
pattyClink 08 Mar 24 - 10:30 AM
Charmion 08 Mar 24 - 12:40 PM
Bat Goddess 08 Mar 24 - 02:02 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Mar 24 - 04:34 PM
Charmion 09 Mar 24 - 10:24 AM
Stilly River Sage 09 Mar 24 - 11:25 AM
Stilly River Sage 10 Mar 24 - 10:33 PM
Stilly River Sage 11 Mar 24 - 01:12 PM
Charmion 12 Mar 24 - 10:20 AM
Stilly River Sage 12 Mar 24 - 01:07 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Mar 24 - 10:35 AM
Charmion 13 Mar 24 - 11:13 AM
Stilly River Sage 13 Mar 24 - 11:36 AM
Donuel 14 Mar 24 - 12:18 PM
Stilly River Sage 14 Mar 24 - 12:27 PM
Sandra in Sydney 14 Mar 24 - 03:55 PM
Charmion 14 Mar 24 - 04:56 PM
Stilly River Sage 14 Mar 24 - 05:42 PM
keberoxu 14 Mar 24 - 07:36 PM
Stilly River Sage 14 Mar 24 - 09:05 PM
JennieG 15 Mar 24 - 12:38 AM
Donuel 15 Mar 24 - 07:34 AM
Stilly River Sage 15 Mar 24 - 01:38 PM
Stilly River Sage 15 Mar 24 - 10:18 PM
Charmion 16 Mar 24 - 09:49 AM
Stilly River Sage 16 Mar 24 - 07:01 PM
keberoxu 17 Mar 24 - 05:03 PM
Stilly River Sage 17 Mar 24 - 06:56 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Mar 24 - 11:31 AM
Stilly River Sage 18 Mar 24 - 10:50 PM
Charmion 19 Mar 24 - 12:10 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Mar 24 - 09:38 PM
Bat Goddess 20 Mar 24 - 09:48 AM
Stilly River Sage 20 Mar 24 - 11:13 AM
Bat Goddess 20 Mar 24 - 01:11 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Mar 24 - 02:24 PM
Mrrzy 21 Mar 24 - 12:38 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Mar 24 - 01:32 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Mar 24 - 10:53 AM
Charmion 22 Mar 24 - 04:05 PM
keberoxu 22 Mar 24 - 06:43 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Mar 24 - 07:09 PM
Stilly River Sage 23 Mar 24 - 11:01 AM
Charmion 24 Mar 24 - 07:49 AM
pattyClink 24 Mar 24 - 06:19 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Mar 24 - 09:18 PM
Charmion 25 Mar 24 - 11:08 AM
Stilly River Sage 25 Mar 24 - 03:07 PM
Charmion's brother Andrew 25 Mar 24 - 07:14 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 Mar 24 - 08:35 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Mar 24 - 11:25 AM
Sandra in Sydney 26 Mar 24 - 05:29 PM
pattyClink 26 Mar 24 - 09:53 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Mar 24 - 11:44 PM
Charmion 27 Mar 24 - 09:46 AM
Stilly River Sage 27 Mar 24 - 11:35 AM
Charmion 27 Mar 24 - 03:02 PM
keberoxu 27 Mar 24 - 04:28 PM
Stilly River Sage 27 Mar 24 - 11:11 PM
Stilly River Sage 28 Mar 24 - 12:29 PM
Stilly River Sage 28 Mar 24 - 05:17 PM
Charmion 28 Mar 24 - 07:29 PM
Stilly River Sage 28 Mar 24 - 08:20 PM
Charmion 29 Mar 24 - 09:30 AM
Stilly River Sage 29 Mar 24 - 10:20 AM
Charmion 29 Mar 24 - 11:13 AM
Stilly River Sage 29 Mar 24 - 12:31 PM
Dorothy Parshall 30 Mar 24 - 11:50 AM
Charmion 30 Mar 24 - 12:25 PM
Stilly River Sage 30 Mar 24 - 01:07 PM
keberoxu 30 Mar 24 - 08:10 PM
keberoxu 31 Mar 24 - 06:48 PM
Stilly River Sage 31 Mar 24 - 08:09 PM
Charmion 01 Apr 24 - 10:16 AM
Stilly River Sage 01 Apr 24 - 04:04 PM
Charmion 01 Apr 24 - 04:46 PM
Stilly River Sage 03 Apr 24 - 12:01 AM
Stilly River Sage 03 Apr 24 - 12:57 PM
Mrrzy 03 Apr 24 - 03:09 PM
Stilly River Sage 03 Apr 24 - 10:30 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Apr 24 - 09:45 PM
Stilly River Sage 05 Apr 24 - 11:18 AM
Charmion 05 Apr 24 - 01:20 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Apr 24 - 05:07 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 Apr 24 - 10:38 AM
Dorothy Parshall 07 Apr 24 - 08:40 PM
Charmion 08 Apr 24 - 01:27 PM
Sandra in Sydney 08 Apr 24 - 07:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Apr 24 - 10:05 PM
Charmion 09 Apr 24 - 10:31 AM
Bat Goddess 09 Apr 24 - 02:36 PM
pattyClink 09 Apr 24 - 07:06 PM
Stilly River Sage 09 Apr 24 - 07:13 PM
Bat Goddess 09 Apr 24 - 08:02 PM
Stilly River Sage 09 Apr 24 - 10:37 PM
Bat Goddess 10 Apr 24 - 09:54 AM
Bat Goddess 10 Apr 24 - 06:47 PM
Bat Goddess 10 Apr 24 - 08:02 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Apr 24 - 11:53 PM
Mrrzy 11 Apr 24 - 09:30 AM
Charmion 11 Apr 24 - 03:35 PM
Stilly River Sage 11 Apr 24 - 04:33 PM
pattyClink 12 Apr 24 - 09:25 AM
Stilly River Sage 12 Apr 24 - 11:50 AM
Stilly River Sage 12 Apr 24 - 07:10 PM
Bat Goddess 13 Apr 24 - 05:35 AM
Sandra in Sydney 13 Apr 24 - 08:19 AM
pattyClink 13 Apr 24 - 09:20 AM
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Subject: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Dec 23 - 03:52 PM

Time to start a new one. Housekeeping in public, a little corner of Mudcat where those of us who got here via music are sorting out all of the stuff we have in our houses, apartments, condos, dwellings . . . including the overage of musical materials.

This is going to be a toxic year, because it is a political year like none other in recent history. Do what you need to keep your mental health in good order by consuming healthy amounts of news and social media. Play and sing music, view other forms of art, and by all means make art.

My front room (the eBay stuff room) was crammed full of things moved out of the rest of the house during the holidays and now I need to start unstuffing it. This will be a major project this year, I've been aware of that for a while. As the rest of the house gets more organized, this is is the equivalent of Dorian's portrait in the attic showing the strain of not decluttering as much as I could have (and buying more things for listing on eBay than I've actually gotten around to listing).

Here is the 2023 thread. As always, a nod to Katlaughing who loved these and kept them going for quite a while. We've been here since before Marie Kondo and Swedish Death Cleaning. A nod to Don Aslett's Clutter's Last Stand. Do what works and share your successes or plans. And travels and cat and family news, and some cooking - it is a benign domestic space for 2024.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Dec 23 - 08:37 PM

The other thread is closed to make the transition to this one tidier.

This evening a "ca-ching" noise on my phone was like a harbinger of things to come - an eBay listing sold. I'll mail it on Tuesday when the post office opens again. It is a tablet from Amazon (Fire) that I replaced during the year (Samsung is a regular Android device; anything from Amazon is kind-of Android-lite but difficult to use for non-Amazon purposes). I've trimmed down the number of devices I use by deploying things that are more versatile (the Samsung is more like a laptop and I have a bluetooth keyboard to use with it.)

There's a lot to clear out, so I'll be running the dishwasher to clean limestone from glasses I bought several years ago and other things stacked in that room. I have a lot of sewing projects to plan and deploy, and more. This will be a busy year.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Jan 24 - 12:51 PM

Starting the new year after having had friends and family here during the prior week means that while today is simply Monday following Sunday, it is also a fresh calendar on the wall and point in time handy for measuring current status and planning forward movement. Today day is overcast but not particularly uncomfortable so I can step outside and remove some of the holiday lights, maybe walk two of the dogs, and head over to the gym. Stores are open, only the federal government (post office) and banks are closed. I'll ship a couple of packages tomorrow and put my holiday letters, now New Years letters, in the mail as well.

I dislike the idea of resolutions, for me it is a classic setup for something I will then resist doing. Things I want to do in the new year I was already doing in the old one, and case in point I was at the gym yesterday. I had also reduced the days in a week when I have a glass of wine. "Dry January" has become a thing and I've done them before (plus other months) as a reset, it helps keep snacks and sugar out of the diet. On Dec. 26 last year the Washington Post ran an article about Damp January but I'd already begun such a strategy back in October or November.
Damp January works for many people because it’s not all or nothing. If your goal is to reduce your drinking by 30 percent and you fall a little short, that still counts as a success. If you find even small reductions in your drinking are impossible then that could signal the need for professional help.

A glass of wine has been part of dinner a few times a week because it goes well with food and for mood improvement. Sugar (snacking) also can serve that purpose. But walking and the gym also help with the mood, so it is a combination approach to getting through the shortest darkest days without the SAD effects that come calling. My damp autumn is a pattern to continue with, weather dry or damp with the outcome being less snacking in the evening.

Now if I could just get past the winter allergies ("Mountain cedar" are juniper trees that release pollen this time of year, resulting in "cedar fever" or watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, etc.) It's a low-grade headache and watery eyes for me. I should wear a facemask when I walk the dogs.

In the simple housekeeping category, I've opened a gift given my by my neighbor - she loves the Pyrex food containers that have a sturdy plastic snap on top, and has swapped out most of her all-plastic containers for these. I am glad to have these but need to figure out where they can fit so they're easy enough to stack and reach when needed. There is no place available now, all of my cupboards are well organized, so this requires moving things around.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 01 Jan 24 - 05:13 PM

recently we've had articles saying how bad it is to microwave anything in the containers take-away food comes in! I still need my plastic containers for the freezer.

A couple of days ago I sorted the archival stuff sitting in a large box next to my desk. I've already scanned some (sandra pats self on the back) but instead of one box of archives with other stuff on top, I now have less in the box & more on the floor & desk & - mainly floor (gloom & desolation) Some of the floor stuff is waiting to be scanned, other items are waiting for a proper home. Last week I had a friend visiting, perhaps I need to invite her again as I had to clean up so she had a seat! Not a good idea if stuff just lands on the bed & comes back again.

As my last downsizing left me with 2 empty shelves in my 1920s dresser, I could put some archival material there & walk comfortably on my floor!! Oooh, how revolutionary, putting stuff away ...


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Jan 24 - 12:27 PM

That's a great feeling, Sandra, finding a way to use recently cleared storage space. I'm looking at some heavy duty wire shelves where my bread pans and a few other things live; I might rearrange a couple of Pyrex bowls already on that shelf to make room for these. If they're in sight I'm more likely to use them and if they're at that level I'm less likely to drop anything when retrieving one of them.

That is also a good suggestion about the freezer for the plastic; there are some things I freeze that aren't suited to the FoodSaver plastic bags. The Rubbermaid boxes are translucent so I can see through to the contents.

Two boxes went out in today's mail, one an eBay sale and one a tardy gift to my son and his partner. (I see by Informed Delivery that he is sending two boxes my way today. Hopefully one will contain a commercial cover for my Little Chief smoker that has a crumbling box for now. I sent it to him a couple of years ago with a new smoker but at his new house they have an electronic one he's using instead.)

Cookie (the smallest of my three dogs) decided this morning to start raiding the compost pile (she jumped over the tall plastic side) since I recently emptied the kitchen waste bin out there without letting it rot in a big lidded bucket beside the kitchen door. There are two of those and they're full, so I was lazy and tossed old corn cobs that it seems Cookie loves. Last time I looked the old lab was out there eating one she pulled out. I've covered the compost pile container with chicken wire for now and must do something more durable soon.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 02 Jan 24 - 08:34 PM

Dupont:

Re-organized the hall closet, enabling the clearing of the hall!

Only use (mostly) the anchor-hocking glass containers with plastic lids - keeping an eye out for opps to purchase new lids which do not last forever - but do pretty well. They stack nicely in one pantry closet, with a few of the better recycled plastic containers for taking elsewhere. Only ever use ceramic or glass in microwave.

found a test for my fitness - balance and such - totally in very bad shape!! But I did manage to get back up off the floor this am after I had to get down to unplug modem which apparently needed a break. I was well pleased with myself when I regained a vertical position! Keeping that "test" to work on...

For me "toxic stuff" includes my lack of social life here. I have started going to R's "Saturday BF" and, today, visited cross the street neighbour - first time and at her invitation when she brought us a box of Christmas goodies. Have a couple of social items lined up for next week. Otherwise, other than groceries, I am alone 10-12 hours a day! No snow yet but dank days do not induce going for a walk.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Jan 24 - 09:11 PM

Good advice about the microwave - I try to never put plastic in (though I have a hard plastic lid that goes over plates to keep food on them from splashing when the microwave).

And good to meet the neighbors! I spoke with a woman a couple of weeks ago who hadn't met her next door neighbors and she had been there for several months! I sussed from seeing them working (and the pride flag at the front of the yard) that it is a gay couple. I'm planning to carry a loaf of my holiday bread and give them my card next time I'm out walking the dogs.

I took the 1927 White Rotary machine in today to the sewing center to have it converted from a knee lever operation to a foot operation. It weighs a ton (as far as shipping) but I'll probably sell it on eBay later. It's in clean condition and it came with some attachments.

I hope Charmion arrived home happy and healthy after her train trip and that the cats haven't mounted an insurrection in her absence.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 03 Jan 24 - 02:57 AM

late last century I had a friend who spent his annual holiday overseas (our annual holidays are 4 weeks)

When he was away his cat either lived in their house with the 2 people she loved best after him, or spent the time at their house. When he got home she turned her back & totally ignored him for a month ...

Of course she ate the food he provided, after he moved away.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Jan 24 - 11:55 AM

I've just noticed a couple of empty shelves on the small bookcase that now sits under the window in my office. I'll have to figure out what can live there.

For two days I've hunted for the box that holds the strings of C9 bulb holiday lights plus spare bulbs. These are pre-LED large bulbs that give off heat and are very bright. As I started to type that I remembered I took it out to the garage to pry the cover off of the fuse case on the plug of a string that stopped lighting. I got new fuses yesterday so I can fix that one then put the other strings in with it (after replacing burned out bulbs) then put them away for next year.

My house guest last week was talking about how well she likes using collagen and biotin to strengthen her nails. I nudged us onto another topic because it seems like she's never met a supplement she doesn't like. I tried Biotin a few years ago to little effect, and she says the two go together, but I am tired of adding pills to my daily routine. I have it down to a small number of supplements (multivitamin, fish oil, calcium) and a couple of things my doctor told me I should take. But gelatin works so I placed the jar of dry gelatin next to my tea setup to add to my morning tea.

Gelatin doesn't have a taste but it can be sticky and it needs to be moistened in cold water before dissolving in hot water. Meaning it can make my first cup of tea (I brew one cup at a time) a bit cool. I'll soften it in the tea cup with a small amount of water, then dissolve it with a little straight hot water, then I'll pour in some strong tea from a small pot so it can all mix. And my tea strainer that otherwise sits over the cup for a single brew won't get sticky from the gelatin. I used to put gelatin in smoothies, but I haven't had them as often lately.

This seems to be a good time to do some general cleaning and this week I'll change the batteries in the smoke detectors. And make a note somewhere so I can remember that I did it now. Maybe I should write it on one of the detectors themselves as a note to my future self.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Jan 24 - 06:24 PM

An aha! moment today, when I was contemplating how to move around furniture in my sewing studio (and to move out the space-hog bed). It dawned on me that if I exert myself to list and sell the stuff in the front room I'll have all of that space to use for whatever - sew in there, dining table in there, extra bed in there. Right now it's an unattractive tangle of stuff (and I can't reach the books on the far wall). I think I've just issued myself marching orders for that space to make other parts of the house flow better later.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 04 Jan 24 - 04:48 PM

Stilly, I write the dates I replaced bulbs on the box, it's always interesting to see how long they lasted. I also write the date on the plant fertiliser container & kept seeing 4th NOVEMBER, & finally gave my poor plants their spring feed in mid-summer, on New Years Day.

All fire alarm batteries in our building are replaced under contract, residents are no longer responsible for their own batteries.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 04 Jan 24 - 05:53 PM

Actually got my tank tops/shorts/bathing suits piles into the closet with the summer hats, so I have room in the seasonal drawer for the winter leggings I was starting to amass too many of. Now they fit. In the drawer, I mean. Woot.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 05 Jan 24 - 01:07 AM

Some of my other season clothes live in my old suitcase under my dressing table - thermal tops & pants live in my wardrobe but many of my skirts & tops are worn all year. Sydney does not get as cold as the northern hemisphere!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Jan 24 - 11:14 AM

A good interview this week with Chip Colwell on the problems of buying too much. An interesting point early in the program about hoarders: those who collect stuff that they can never seem to get rid of allow us to see the amount of stuff people can buy or collect, but they're not alone. It's just that most people throw out stuff they bought or collected and no longer want—if they kept everything they brought into the house they would also live in rooms with narrow paths through the piles. A fraction of what "normal" consumers buy then get rid of makes it to donation sites and thrift stores. People with clear houses but a big shopping habit are equally problematic as far as (in this example) the clothing ending up in dumps and increasingly in poor countries in Africa or Asia or South America. He also talked about a dump in Denver, CO, where an amazing array of things are visible. Sofas, mattresses, lots of furniture and other household items (there for future archaeologists to examine, once the methane problem has passed.)

You might’ve heard of the “slow food” movement – maybe it’s time to try the “slow buy” movement, too? Chip Colwell, lecturer in anthropology at the University of Colorado, Denver, joins host Krys Boyd to discuss the pact he made with his family that they buy no more than five items in a year and what it taught him about consumption in this country. His book is So Much Stuff: How Humans Discovered Tools, Invented Meaning, and Made More of Everything.


The gift of buying less (podcast from KERA in Dallas).


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 05 Jan 24 - 04:33 PM

The Land of Oz has had a lot of wild weather in recent years (see verse 2 of Dorothea McKeller's "My country" - droughts & flooding rain )

It was horrible to see huge piles outside flooded houses - everything was ruined, nothing could be saved - but the company taking them to the tip said they managed to dry out/repair 60%, so not everything went to landfill.

But far too much goes to landfill, I'm no longer amazed at what some of my neighbours put in our recycling bins cos they are too bloody lazy (or Very Important People) to take it to charity shops. Yesterday I gave a charity shop a bag full of fancy paper/cardboard bags from fancy shops that I rescued from the bins They might be paper but all of them had braid or twine handles that were not recyclable. One came from Chanel!! & I like to imagine someone down on their luck (or maybe just a wise shopper) carrying their bargain around the streets looking like they have spent zillions.

I'm always rescuing saleable stuff & we have large posters on the wall giving details of the council's collection services. We also have 4 charity shops within a short stroll.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Jan 24 - 11:54 AM

Sandra, it seems that a good way to recycle furniture would be to disassemble it and send metal to recycling, filling to reuse or recycling, cloth to reuse of some sort (paper is made from "linen" which simply means fiber of many types) and wood to reuse, burn, chip, and do something mulch-like with it. Etc. Disassembling furniture would take a lot less time than building it. That said, there is probably no profit from it so an altruistic approach is my recommendation.

I picked up two chandeliers in the neighbor's trash a few years ago. Shiny brass, made in Spain probably in the late 1960s. Most of the prisms were intact. I got replacement prisms (perfect match) and sold the two on eBay, made $250 between them. People really are careless about what goes to the dump.

Declutter of a different sort: yesterday got a call about a cancellation on the calendar at the Gastro's office, so I'm scrambling to prepare for the once-every-five-years colonoscopy next week. It bugs me that they insist you stop eating the things that keep you regular so the prep "works better." All that low-fiber diet does is make the prep worse when it happens. At least it will be over with and I don't have too long to dwell on it.

Meanwhile, I've decided to take a new approach (for me) to cleaning: Dust before it gets so bad that the duster fills quickly and required many trips out. I started this in November before the holidays and have now been dusting every couple of weeks (instead of much longer intervals). Seems to be working. Housekeeping is not my long suit - the thing I do most often around here is sweep up dog hair several times a week.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 06 Jan 24 - 02:22 PM

I'm back from Ottawa and more or less on top of the stuff I feel obligated to do. Note that does not include vacuuming the stairs, where cat hair is accumulating like desert sand in a ghost town. Cue the tumbleweeds!

It was a pleasantly low-key visit, free of drama and strife. The only thing I would have liked to change was the weather: truly dreadful, with constant rain and the sky so dark with cloud that I felt like an extra in Ridley Scott's "Bladerunner". I don't think I've ever seen the city look worse.

On the other hand, I got to ride the new light rail system (Tunney's Pasture to the By Ward Market in five minutes) and spend a day at the National Gallery.

More and more, I'm getting the feeling that I should start getting ready to move, most likely back to Ottawa (despite the winters) and into smaller, more manageable digs such as a condo apartment or townhouse. None of us is getting any younger, and I know -- as I know that the sun rises in the east -- that I want to get this done while I'm fit and capable. I shall not wait until something bad happens and I'm pushed.

Looking around the house, I see that more decluttering is called for. I spent Thursday rummaging around the dining room and the kitchen for items I don't use and can bear to part with -- i.e., not the early Victorian teacups that were my granny's favourites, but definitely the Bing & Grondahl coffee set that I acquired in a complex swap with an antique dealer who lusted for a certain occasional table with elephant legs. Rather a lot of the china that should leave is highly collectible Royal Doulton, so I'll be joining Stilly among the vendors on EBay.

The accumulation of CDs must be weeded again, to the benefit of Goodwill or, possibly, the church rummage sale this Spring. I'd like to cut the library back by another bookcase, and that seems the simplest way to do it -- and, besides, nowadays I listen most to satellite radio or Apple Music. Every one of those CDs was ripped to iTunes years ago, so I would be losing only the storage media.

The same goes for DVDs, except I'm morally certain that I'll never part with the complete Rumpole or "Jeeves and Wooster".

More daunting is the challenge of disposing of a perfectly good conventional queen-sized bed and a three-seater futon sofa that unfolds into another queen-sized bed. I cannot disassemble or move either of them by myself, and I don't know anybody who wants or needs them. Time for the freebie sites on Facebook, I guess.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Jan 24 - 11:55 AM

The process of finding another place to settle in crosses my mind also, but there's a big asterisk - the cost of living in the place I'd like to move to is way above the costs where I am now. It requires lining up a whole bunch of ducks; though I'm herding the barnyard fowl I'm not to the point of looking for that new home yet. The wildcard stream of income is eBay and it's also one way to declutter (especially if I don't bring in new stuff for eBay for the time being.)

In this post-pandemic world it occurs to me to test prior to the prep for the gastro visit. No point in torturing myself only to postpone things if I have a silent case. I doubt I have it, but best to be certain.

Some of the holiday lights are down and the last of them will be rounded up today. That lets me pick up a sturdy outdoor power cord on the lawn, giving safe access to the front with the mower. Yes. I'll be mowing the lawn and mulching in leaves in January. Some of this will be caught in the mower bag so I can drop it into the compost bin (on top of the contents of the two kitchen waste bins that are full.) I'll top that enclosure with a piece of chicken wire to keep Cookie out. She raided it last week for some corn cobs, so dog-proofing is back in use.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Jan 24 - 06:05 PM

I use the library's digital materials most often these days, audiobooks and eBooks via Libby, and I do all of my shopping in that city so they get my sales tax, but I don't live in the boundaries so I used my PO Box for years to qualify. Now that is gone so I suspect the next renewal will involve paying a fee to keep using it. I'm ok with that, I looked it up, the cost isn't a deal breaker (in the past the fee was much higher). But I hunted around and have joined the Houston Public Library with an e-card and have added that to my Libby app. This concludes a research project that I started at the end of last year.

Another change from last year is my gym routine, expanding it to add another couple of devices in my gym visits, focusing more on weight-bearing exercise. The recumbent bike is great for my knees but doesn't strengthen my bones. I started using the treadmill, but am looking to stagger it with something else. A search brought up this NIH/National Library of Medicine Surgeon General Report article table with a simple list of gym weight-bearing exercises for adults. I don't need to fool with barbells, I'll add the step machine and go back to dancing. And this brings me back to the library card - the nearest recreation center and the library are in the same city, tied together with a common logon system, and I will have to actually use regular ID at the rec center to start up the dance classes I was taking at a private studio. She lost it during COVID and now teaches at the Rec Center. The change in information at the one place might flag info at the other, but I now have a backup library (and I will be a donor there, as I should be at the local one).   

The last of the outside xmas lights are down but I didn't mow. The grass is still wet from rain yesterday, making for a gloppy job (leaving wheel ruts and it looks like a bad comb-over as the grass lies down instead of getting cut). I will rake and move the leaves from the curb in the street onto the turf, then it looks like Wednesday or Thursday will be dry enough for mulching them into the lawn. This evening I'll pack up the decorations on the mantle and be finished with the holidays.

I have a date with eBay tonight, to start up listings. If I get far enough in the front room I can move the photo cube back in there and clear the dining table for laying out sewing patterns, or possibly using it to eat on.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Jan 24 - 11:39 PM

I've already used my new library card. I'm working my way through the Louise Penny Inspector Gamache novels and there is one novella (6.5) that the local library doesn't have as an audio book, but Houston does. So I've put a hold on that (two weeks - and it is only an hour or so, very short) and then it looks like a three week wait for book #7 from the local library.

Clean bill of health today and thank goodness I can put that behind me. A-hem.

Time to sew a new cover for the small dog bed that was stashed in the front room after the stuffing was ripped out (I replaced and mended it). The extra cover is to try to keep Cookie from tearing it up (the covers on those things are easily shredded). Really cold weather coming this weekend and it will be one more spot for a small dog to hunker down and stay warm. I have an old bedspread from my dad's house (probably mentioned last year) that is essentially a nap-less chenille that is pretty tough.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 10 Jan 24 - 06:47 PM

Congratulations, Stilly, on the happy outcome of that uncomfortable health procedure.

A rainstorm came through last night, and decluttered the area of most of the recent snow that fell less than a week earlier. Now it looks like "mud season" although it is months too early for it. Not to worry, there are more storms in the west-to-east pipeline, I'm sure, and some of them may have snow in them.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jan 24 - 10:40 PM

Rather a lot of the china that should leave is highly collectible Royal Doulton, so I'll be joining Stilly among the vendors on EBay.

Charmion - do a lot of poking around in the eBay listings before you start. As you search on specific pieces, always look at the left side and click on "sold" for true prices of what things actually go for. The general listing prices are wildly unrepresentational. Sometimes selling individual pieces is fine, other times selling parts of a set or an entire set is the best way to get it out all at once. But before you start all of that, look at Replacements.com. It can serve as a benchmark to consider (if you undercut them a little on your eBay listings you'll sell more) but you can also offer the set to them. They'll offer a wholesale price, but you can pack them all up in boxes inside boxes and get rid of it all at once.

Keberoxu, there is a storm headed your way, after bouncing around the country like a ball in a pinball machine. The outflow boundary wind caused a power outage today (just a couple of hours) that gave me a chance to pull out things I have in place since the 2021 outage, and be sure they work as planned. I tested the propane stove (works great!) and the Stanley battery pack thing. I need to make one more purchase as far as the compact power supplies for in the house. This Stanley one with USB and a cigarette lighter type charger is meant mostly for a car and can jump the auto battery, so it needs to stay in the car for the cold months. I can use it in the house, but not to plug in a radio or lamp, etc. Luckily I have great neighbors with a huge generator on their back porch and they always run a line across the fence so I can do a few things with the microwave, TV, laptop, etc. I also am better situated now with a regular sleeping bag and better bedding setup (I used mummy bags during the 2021 outage for 4 days and they're difficult to get in and out of). If you have to stay indoors but without power, do you have a way to sleep warm and stay connected? A down or low-temp-rated flannel sleeping bag and a smartphone with a battery backup as a bare minimum. Stay safe, friend!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 11 Jan 24 - 06:40 AM

Tomorrow a trolley load of vintage Christmas decorations heads out. A friend who has a very large collection of Christmas decorations could have had them before christmas if members of her family hadn't had health problems. The collection is held in 2 shoe boxes (sneaker boxes not wimpy little fashion shoe boxes!) with extra stuff that probably could have fitted in 2 or 3 more boxes if I had them! They had been sitting on my camping chair (I haven't camped for at least 10 years) but I kept the chair when I sold my gear & kept stuff on it. Don't need to keep stuff on it anymore, so I'll ask around - we're heading to a festival late next week, & someone might like it! It's a very comfortable chair.

Several shoe boxes of small & miniature decorations went to a charity shop a few years ago, & now all I have left is a small box of cross stitch decorations I made yearly from early 90s to a few years back, plus two 6" trees & a new 2 or 3" tree given to me at christmas. Well done me! The trees live permanently on my bookcase. The small box is a piece of nostalgia - the seniors among us might just remember PUNCH CARDS! When I started in the Federal public service in 1973 we had punch card operators & they sent their cards off to "The Computer" in Head Office in these boxes. Of course I long ago covered the box in Christmas paper, & I no longer display them, but it's not easy giving craft stuff away.

I recently went thru a very large box that holds my collection of vintage fancywork & pulled out about a dozen or so pieces I want to keep, the others will slowly go back to the charity shops I bought them from!

For a couple of years I've been working on vintage embroideries, all the "useless" domestic embroideries our mothers & grandmothers decorated their lives with. No surface was undecorated - one of my favourite items are sandwich tray mats - can't put sandwiches on bare china! & I've embroidered lots of doilies & other items like pretty little pockets to put match boxes in, or dainty little handtowels, & I'll be using them to make a summer bed cover, not a quilt. I can only find pics of quilts blocks made from damaged pieces, I want to use my complete embroideries.

sandra


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 11 Jan 24 - 10:02 AM

The pile of garments and household items ready for Goodwill has taken over the box room. It's obviously time to pack it up and move it out. In particular, I'm targeting the my collection of aspirational and relic garments: stuff I bought thinking it would fit in a few months but never has, and stuff I used to wear but doesn't fit well now. Non-clothing items are mostly kitchen duplicates. Why did I have three sets of measuring cups? Five pudding basins of various sizes?

It's finally snowing again in Stratford, though only God knows how long it will last. The news media tell me (and tell me and tell me) that large swaths of eastern Canada and the United States are struggling with the aftereffects of major storm systems, but for once Perth County seems to be exempt. Snow is normal in January. We like normal.

Stilly, I do check eBay prices religiously, and Replacements. I also follow a Facebook group for Doulton collectors that so far seems dominated by figurines and character jugs. I hadn't considered selling to Replacements because of the border thing, but I can at least enquire.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Jan 24 - 11:42 AM

Charmion, at one time I was rounding out my collection of Russel Wright Melamine residential Northern plates and cups (a blue confetti pattern) and had searches set up on eBay for some of the pieces. I'll be reversing that routine one of these days because I ended up with more than I needed of somethings and some that weren't quite the right color.

I think Dorothy has driven to the border to mail things on occasion - I remember her mention of that a couple of years ago. I don't know how practical that would be if you ever find yourself headed that way anyway (and if you have a box packed and customs wants to take a look - oy!). Maybe not such a great plan.

Good work, Sandra! You're finishing crocheting those things? I have a bunch that my great grandmother and great aunts must have worked on, but they're so old fashioned and I'd never find the yarn or thread they used. I learned this week that my son's partner is trying cross-stitch and I pointed my phone at the bin of skeins of 6-strand embroidery thread that if she develops a real habit I can send her way. I'm not ready to part with it yet, I still use them for some things, but I can keep a few and send the rest.

I am considering getting the new tires sooner rather than later, with possible ice coming up. Everyone may have the same idea, but I'll check what's available today. Will declutter one thing off the list that the recent inspection said was coming up soon.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 11 Jan 24 - 02:36 PM

I have crossed the border with a parcel packed and wrapped for mailing only once, in 2008 when Edmund was deployed in Afghanistan with an American formation. Fortunately for me, the border guard I encountered that day was an Army Reservist who had returned from Iraq only a few months before. If he had not accepted my recitation of the contents — coffee, marmalade, evaporated milk, socks, peanut butter and a fruitcake — the parcel would have been confiscated and destroyed. I don’t think I would get such consideration today — not that I have any inclination to drive to Buffalo any time soon. That’s a three-hour trip from Stratford.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 11 Jan 24 - 04:11 PM

Maggie, for me doilies are embroidered items,I was surprised to see wikipedia etc. considered them only crocheted pieces. But lots of people on Etsy etc. know they are (also) embroidered. Amongst my family treasures is an unfinished mat made by my mother. She had run out of tan stranded cotton & did a very small section in a colour that did not quite match - I had a similar problem so didn't finish it off, picky, aren't we? I don't have any of her finished items.

I don't crochet, but I can put a 2 row, 5-chain edging on a small piece of embroidery!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Jan 24 - 12:19 AM

Charmion, encountering sympathetic border personnel is a great experience. I had the SUV loaded with camping gear when I wanted to take my small children to meet a friend in Mexico. The border patrol in Mexico were going to make me unload the Explorer until I told them that I wanted to take my kids to meet Benny at the import store in town (Sonoyta, a border town in Sonora, just south of Arizona). They knew who I was talking about and let us through. Whew! (And the visit with Benny was wonderful!)

Sandra, I should photograph some of the pieces here and see if they appeal to you to embroider. :) From Ireland to Connecticut to Texas to Oz.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: JennieG
Date: 12 Jan 24 - 01:03 AM

Sandra et al, I have some embroidered/crocheted edge doilies made by women in my family over the years, including me.....and some crocheted doilies beautifully made by Himself's maternal grandmother....and some tatting made by my mother's Aunt Laura, including an exquisite tablecloth with a linen centre and a wide tatting border. I do enjoy using some of the pieces, and when I am no more I hope they go to an op shop (thrift store, charity shop, depending where you are in the world) to be bought by someone else who loves them for the women's work they represent.

I recall those embroideries being called "fancy work".


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 12 Jan 24 - 05:40 AM

fancywork it is Jennie.

One of the vintage pieces I'm keeping is the last piece I bought.
It's a willow pattern in fine blue backstitch, I'd never seen anything like it so I had to have it. It wasn't till I scanned it to send the pic to a friend that I noticed every stitch was precisely over one thread. It wasn't handkerchief linen, but it isn't a coarse weave. My friends praise my fine stitching, but only a few of my stitches are over 1 thread, most are bigger, & they are very uneven!   

Maggie I love to get pics of some of your embroideries, & could send you some of mine


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Jan 24 - 09:17 AM

Sandra, I'll put a note to remind myself - much of that is in a trunk in the front room with the eBay stuff. That room is simply a place to store the trunk (I think the family brought it from Ireland in 1855, it's a huge wooden thing with a wrought iron hasp on the front). I have no plans to sell it; it is something I want to keep in the family, so I need to remind my kids what it is. And Jennie will be able to see these also if I put them on FB. We can compare notes on colors and styles.

Yesterday my daughter and I had lunch across the street from the rug shop where my large Persian carpet was cleaned in 2022. The man who runs it is from Iran and has what looks like a hoarder's paradise of rugs in there (piled deep with narrow paths) but he does a lot of business out of that store and knows what he has and where it is. I took her in to introduce them (my ex is friends with this guy and that's how I learned about getting my rug cleaned there). When we walked in he was repairing the edge of an antique tapestry and she noticed - the fact that her museum's next big show is to do with antique tapestries has wheels turning and connections being made. I love it when people meet and there are complex layers to their common interests. But also it means I'm going to take over a Navajo rug that the great aunt who gave it to me said was on the floor in the family house for years, and looks it. I finally remembered to ask him about it and he will see if there is any way to restore it.

I got the new tires - time and money well spent. The old ones were a problem especially when starting through intersections after a full stop at a light or stop sign - I always had to have a very light foot to avoid slithering, a classic sign the tires were at the end of their life. And I didn't reward the Nissan dealer by asking them to match the price of Discount Tire - they've done too much bait and switch lately. They're also a lot farther from the house. And contemplating some of the running I do, I realize I don't mind the idea of driving so far to the gym and such, I really was restricting my own movements because of the tires, so this is way past time.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 13 Jan 24 - 06:36 PM

WHere I am staying, the storm that just passed through
was a rain event with the last warm air we will have for some time.
The rain finished decluttering the snow we got earlier in the week.

Now for a cold snap -- days below freezing . . .


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Jan 24 - 10:17 PM

There has been a rattle for a few days in the SUV engine compartment, coming on suddenly but not triggering any warning lights. Driving back and forth to the cat-sitting gig the last two days had me wondering if I should run by Nissan, but I decided not, to just keep to a few trips until Monday. Then this evening I turned off the A/C (it runs heat and cold) and the noise stopped. It's the fan in that unit and it will need attention, but the vehicle is roadworthy, nothing is going to fall off and leave us at a standstill somewhere in the cold.

Whew.

Heavy weather arriving overnight and lasting through Wednesday, and with sub-freezing overnights through next week on Saturday. I've done as much to set up ahead of it as I can think of, and we'll see how the old Lab does this week. Arthritis and really cold weather don't go together well.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Jan 24 - 12:01 PM

The cat-sitting house is now set up for the cold - water dripping in bathroom and kitchen sinks, under-sink cupboards propped to let air in but knobs with sturdy rubber bands to keep cats from exploring those spaces. She flies back Wednesday from a diving trip in the Caribbean - home will be a stark contrast to that!

I have a stack of hats, scarves, and layers on the barstool at my kitchen bar/counter next to the tall seat where I always stash my handbag, so I can assemble the layers according to the trip. Normally I would leave this stuff in the hall, but that is a narrow passage right now since I haven't moved the extra bench out of the way. Not a problem for walking through, but sometimes the dogs lie down down in that hall and are tripping hazards.

The little dog Cookie is now zipped into her jacket and once in it she's happy (putting it on is a struggle). The other two have heavy coats and are fine on the various dog beds around the living room and one in the closet of my office. That closet is pretty much the year-round sleeping spot for my Blue Heeler.

I'm betting that heading to the museum for a 2pm tour will be a wasted trip; I can't imagine anyone voluntarily museum-hopping this afternoon, but I'm on the calendar so I'll go over. It won't be wasted for me, I can do some Archives scanning while I'm there.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Jan 24 - 11:52 AM

One person arrived for the tour yesterday and it was a pleasant walk-through conversation that hit all of the high points I usually aim for. With groups sometimes they steer things in different directions and you can't stay totally on topic. After that I spent a couple of hours scanning since I don't think I'll be driving over there tomorrow. It isn't supposed to warm until late Wednesday and there may be more snow to deal with. The museum is a lot farther than the cat house.

Snow on the ground today, probably an inch at the most. Effing cold out there, it was 11o when I returned from feeding cats. And as I sat for a few minutes waiting for them to finish eating the smallest guy hopped into my lap for a cuddle. Whether due to affection or a warm lap is anyone's guess.

To avoid icy bridges I drove around the block to avoid the trestle that crosses the federal depot just north of my house, only to encounter the railroad crossing bars stuck down across the road as I got near the cat house. I had to go around, meaning I drove across the huge (several times higher and longer than the federal trestle) old bridge that goes across some switching tracks near the grain silos. That bridge is off the beaten path but near a hospital so it was salted. Another "whew." I stayed long enough to take care of the medication for two visits so don't have to drive back till dinner.

This feels like a good day to bake some bread and make a pot roast or beef stew. Chicken soup. Cold weather comfort food.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 15 Jan 24 - 05:53 PM

Today I made a major clearance in the box room, including garments of Edmund’s that I could not let go before. When I get some packing paper, I can make a similar dent in the basement clutter.

I’m striking for empty shelves.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Jan 24 - 03:39 PM

The sunroom is set up for cleaning of some eBay items and I'll be using my new battery hand-vac. Part of that involved finding the label maker and filling it with a spare cartridge I located (in a logical place but one that had eluded me for a while. The label maker will go into the same place now.) I wanted two small labels with the year two new Ryobi batteries go into service for my various devices. The two old ones still work but don't hold a charge as long. So as you can see, I have been working backwards once I decided I wanted to use the vacuum in there.

Still in the teens temperature-wise today, but it ends after tomorrow. Cat sitting also ends tomorrow. This morning all of the cats dashed out of the bedroom where they usually lurk so I closed the door behind them. They'll stay in the rest of the house today (with water and boxes) because I retrieved a mattress cover draped over the bed pillows and put it into the wash. (There's another one over the mattress and bedding itself, a plastic and cloth combo.) The door will remain closed until it dries and is put back over the pillows, and this is a 3-visit operation. I'll let my friend know that it was washed today and if they spray it tomorrow during the day it's hers to wash. Those boy cats are incorrigible. They started this the day after she left but there was no way I was going to wash this every day. Each time they hit it I spritzed on the enzyme stuff that does a good job of cutting the stain and smell. #FirstWorldProblems

It's a bright cold day today and the two younger dogs are using their heat-seaking instinct: though it's about 20o out, when they lie in front of the greenhouse (a windbreak) they can soak in the rays and nap. Me, I'm staying in the house, and when I do go out, thank dog for remote start on the Nissan so it's warm when I get there.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 16 Jan 24 - 04:58 PM

Today’s run to Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity is completed, and another carload of clag has left the building.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 16 Jan 24 - 08:11 PM

applause, well done -


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Jan 24 - 09:51 PM

Indeed!

After tomorrow I will have more time to address the buildup in the front room, so in addition to pulling a few things to list will again organize boxes saved for shipping. They take up so much less room once they're flattened.

I haven't delivered many things to Goodwill lately, instead offering things through Freecycle and the Buy Nothing page on Facebook, but small things have accumulated in the donation bin that will be dropped off soon.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 17 Jan 24 - 10:39 PM

Dupont:

I have been doing the absolute minimum for ... No sense of time!
3X Saturday BF which have been fun. A couple trips down to see Geri and give support as someone hit her car broadside and we needed to determine whether an 18 year old car is worth repairing. No! but she can still drive it after R got a window closed - permanently! So the rain could not enter! We found a car she could have bought but I backed off and left it for her to do, or not. It was only about 3 blocks away. Also had a short visit with Rita and the bonus of her daughter and grandson arriving before I left.

All the house stuff is just fine - not terrific but fine! I read a couple terrific books. HAd a second visit with the neighbour. Today was too cold to bother going out the door.

Early this aft I was wondering why I felt lousy and kind of sick in a sort of way - and realized this malaise - about a week now - seems to have started with the new green tea from the Japanese market. I reverted to the previous and started feeling better. ????

Almost 11PM and no sign of R! I am hoping for a trip to Beaver this weekend - both of us so short!
Pick up mail! and attend a community social gathering. I can take a bunch of stuff for the "take what you want Table".

Check with Steve re plowing of Driveway - lots of snow up there! And maybe ask Larry to put a fire in stove.

Have to go down to the Little Green Library tomorrow to return books! And a visit with Geri; Rita if she is not busy.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: harpgirl
Date: 17 Jan 24 - 11:13 PM

well SRS and meself still interact quite a bit on Facebuns but here’s today’s story. I found some girls interested in my kayaks so I offered three of them free. I’ve accumulated five over the years. They took a red, a yellow, and a green kayak. The green fishing kayak had a terrible smell. While strapping it to the trailer, they looked into the bow hatch only to find a dead and very smelly squirrel. The yaks had been up against my fence in the backyard for several years. I was very embarrassed but hey, three free kayaks? Just squirt it out! I swear I didn’t know about it!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jan 24 - 01:45 AM

Decluttering kayaks! That's one I haven't heard before! I've considered getting a kayak so I can putter around the pond in the creek in my backyard to grab the plastic trash lodged in roots and branches. It washes downstream every time there is a heavy rain. Why haven't I bought one? Because if I had to roll it over back there I'd hate to end up a body in my own backyard. I'll probably find a portable canoe instead, I grew up with those on the lake where we had a cabin when I was a kid. Anyway - if I'm remembering our FB names correctly, harpgirl does a lot of magnet fishing - and that would also be a great activity for my creek. Seriously. I've picked up some interesting things that have washed downstream on the small beach, but who knows what is under water? I know there are freshwater oysters, I keep finding the shells, but there is probably a lot of metal also.

Dorothy, I'm testing/tasting a half-dozen types of herbal teas (tisanes) sent at xmas by my son. Two of them so far are on my "get more" list, and as I try each I put them in a glass jar (he mailed them in ziplock bags with the name written in Sharpie). Have you ever bought tea from the folks in Seattle at Market Spice? It's one of the first shops you run into if you walk into the Pike Place Market from Pine Street (they are to the left of the big fish market, if things haven't moved in the last 10 years).

Dorothy also mentioned the green library - probably unrelated to the Little Free Library movement over the last 20 years, but I have more books to take to the little library my neighbor keeps in her yard. I just looked at the map - she has her library listed on the site. Maybe I should build one of my own. Related to this, I'm feeling quite rich with the doubling of the online libraries I have access to now. I could add a couple of QR codes to the case to share links to Libby (there are Reddit groups that actually have people sharing their library cards to get books across systems).

This evening has been a bit of a standstill - I visited gnu's Facebook account and did some wallowing, and grabbed a few of the photos he posted. So many times I was tagged in his posts, and now that has come to an end. He died Monday, according to his nephew. Since he was posting last week it looks like whatever killed him was fast. He was in palliative care for such a short time that I hope it was also peaceful. He was two years younger than me, which adds another perspective to his passing.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 18 Jan 24 - 02:32 AM

today I bought an 800 metre reel of Guterman ecru sewing cotton, bloke asked if I wanted the 250M reel. I said I hoped I'd live long enough to use it up, dunno how long I took using up the last reel, tho I do know I run out of the black reel during lockdown but was able to do a click & collect sale as the craft shop was nearby. What is left of these reels will go to the craft charity shop along with all my other stuff!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jan 24 - 11:15 AM

Sandra, my daughter learned lots of sewing tricks in her years of studying costume design and construction. I showed her the tons of old colorful thread from my mother's house, but she unrolled bits of thread from the wooden spools and gave it a quick yank - when they broke easily it meant they were too brittle for sewing. That said, I listed all of those old attractive spools on eBay with the note that they were too old for sewing and someone still bought them. I went through my old thread then and discarded a number of less-charismatic styrofoam and plastic spools.

Yesterday I picked up a bottle of my favorite Scotch and toasted our late friend gnu, but since alcohol was a significant contributor to his health problems, I will acknowledge that by resuming a dry January. I also need to work on a clean January - the house is suffering from too much dog hair and sticks dragged in through the dog door and chewed to pieces. And my own problem of things on most horizontal surfaces.

This morning while searching a couple of my usual storage places for Costco bulk OTC medications (cupboard for small things, pantry for big things) I came across a few really old Rx bottles. I was certain I'd finally tossed the old stuff last year, but nope. These are from when the kids lived here (they're in their 30s now). Those will go in the Rx disposal bin next time I'm at the pharmacy.

The anniversary of moving into this house is Valentines Day, it will be 22 years. Last week we passed Zeke's "gotcha" date (when my friend was injured he moved in with us and never left.) The friend has made a substantial recovery (head injury) over those last 12 years and we've loved having the dog (he was too strong for her so this is a win/win situation). I should get things cleaned up and have her over to celebrate.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 18 Jan 24 - 01:16 PM

dupont:

SRS: a little free library seems a great idea for you. Rarely went to Pikes Market. Green tea is specific to helping me deal with the barometer dropping which used to involve raging headaches. The Little Green Library (LGL), funded by the adjacent municipalities and run by volunteers has a great selection of books (FR/ENG), movies, a children's program and a large room of books for sale. Top notch!

Today: So far I have managed to get out of bed and have porridge for BF, wrote a fairly long "spirit guided" message/poem? to a friend; trying to heal from meltdown resulting from birthday 87 when I was blindsided by the last 60 years of my life - not what I wanted! The Grief group on Monday got the full effect. How do we heal?

So I am in recovery. Which is not much different from the last months of doing nothing.I pat myself on the back each time I do a little something. And cancel that which will not help me feel better. A Louise Penny book would be helpful but I have read them all. MAybe I'll go to the local library. MAybe try St. John's Wort - it usually helps - I just have to think of these things! Too cold and windy for a walk.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Jan 24 - 02:38 PM

Dorothy, have you read any of Laura Lippman's mysteries? She is known for the Tess Monaghan series, about a Baltimore private detective (who was a journalist first). The link is to information about her and it does help to read them in sequence. She herself was a journalist for 20 years before changing careers to write mysteries, and it's a family thing—her husband is David Simon who is famous for detective programs like The Wire. (I only saw a bit of that - it seemed to be really hard boiled and violent.)

Puttering so far has resulted in steamed vegetables for the dogs, a batch of Egyptian style lentil soup and much of the paper clutter in the kitchen shredded, recycled, or filed.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 19 Jan 24 - 10:19 AM

Three 1-cu boxes of CDs and DVDs are in the boot of the car, on their way to Goodwill.

While clearing those sections of basement shelf, I found the lace-up Merrell boots that I thought accidentally-maybe-on-purpose donated to Goodwill last winter. I felt a pang of buyer's remorse for the new boots I bought this winter, but recovered quickly when I remembered how chilly the rubber feet of the Merrell boots are. All those Maine hunting shoe clones have the same fault: the leather uppers are great, but the rubber bottoms conduct cold in a way that makes them unsuitable for wear in temperatures below minus 10 Celsius.

My new winter boots (purchased in Ottawa) are leather all the way to the soles, and fully lined with sheepskin. In Stratford's wussy winter I don't need them often, but nothing else will do in that one week, maybe two, when the thermometer takes a deep dive even here in the peach belt.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Jan 24 - 11:12 AM

That's always interesting, when you get to review your past decisions like that. Are they headed to the Goodwill again?

I have a pair of my father's neoprene Wellington boots that aren't a bruised or cold-feet problem because they're so large I can literally step into them wearing some of my own lightweight sneakers. I rarely wear them, but when I do they are absolutely the right boot for the job. The next few days are supposed to be cold and sloppy so this is their kind of weather.

More kitchen puttering and now the peninsula counter has only things on it that are supposed to be there; 2 large Sam Scott ceramic bowls for holding fruit, onions, potatoes, etc., and the cutting board. The tray with tea stuff is tucked beside the toaster oven, and a vase holding two bunches of roses ($5 at my discount grocery) is smack in the middle cheering the whole the room.

Vintage colorful Libbey glassware is making a couple of trips through the dishwasher (to remove any limestone scale) before listing on eBay.

It's time to plant potatoes, and I have a bag of the remainder of my last crop in the fridge. It looks like after next week's rain will be the time to work the soil and plant these. It's too damned cold right now. I'll plop the asparagus roots into a bed at the same time (they've lived in my wheelbarrow for several weeks since I dug them out of the front bed, they need to move now or they'll dry up too much to use.)


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 19 Jan 24 - 02:40 PM

No, the Merrell boots can stay for a while yet. Besides, I wear orthotic insoles in them and their original insoles are long gone.

But I am determined to continue the clearance of stuff that I don't use, an accumulation that includes rather a lot of CDs. True child of the aspiring artistic middle class, I grew up with the assumption that all the best people maintain large libraries of both books and recorded music But the fact is that my reading and listening tastes and habits have changed radically over the last 15 years, and that's okay. Cutting back the bookcases won't cost me my intellectual credentials -- and just might help me fit myself into a two-bedroom condo when I have to.

Recorded music is a particular case in point. I see no virtue in retaining CDs as objects on shelves when I have the entire collection stored on iTunes on my computer and backed up in the cloud. If Apple goes away someday and takes my music library with it, I imagine the world will be sufficiently screwed up that I will have more urgent problems to worry about.

Preparing to decamp from this house is an "eat the elephant" project: I have to do it one bite (or carload) at a time. Today it was three cubic feet of CDs I haven't listened to since the iPod came into my life.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, my wicker armchair is back from furniture rehab with beautiful new cushions custom-made for it by the upholsterer next door to the vet. That reminds me -- gotta book the cats' needle parade.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Jan 24 - 08:05 PM

The books I buy these days are usually discussed on podcasts or radio shows, and sometimes purchases are simply in solidarity with the authors. Occasionally I buy on paper to read, but it takes me a while. I get most books via the library Libby app, and while I occasionally borrow their eBooks to read on a tablet, I most often listen to unabridged audio versions. I've thinned out my bookcases a lot in the last few years. (The ceiling fell in the office back before the pandemic and I moved so many books around before the repairs that I managed to sort and discard a lot.)

I reread your discussion of three cubic feet of CDs. That's a HUGE number of CDs! I bought a 33-gallon bin of CDs a dozen years ago (a story told several times on Mudcat) that might have been about half that amount - it was over 300 discs and took two people to lift into my SUV. (An estate sale bargain - all classical - purchased for $20 for the lot. A true windfall, and I still have most of those.) You bought a lot of music over the years!

Congrats on return of your chair - I have a Mission Oak rocker that needs a reupholstered seat and the back panel; last time I asked was told it would be about $750, so it will wait till another day.

Dorothy, stay warm and comfortable and I hope you find a good book!

Another cold blast is on the way so I made a batch of chicken soup tonight.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Jan 24 - 10:33 AM

An afterthought: three 1' cubes of CDs isn't the same volume as a 3' by 3' by 3' cube. Exponentially the 3' cube is 9X the amount of three 1' cubes.

The dogs have got the hang of these mornings with the dog flap closed until 5am. No impatient barking in the den today and I woke a couple of minutes before the alarm (so I'm also growing accustomed to this early morning date at the fence for a dog treat).

Tons to do today, I have a list, but I'm happy to report one small chronic issue had a simple solution. My desktop computer hums along and the side panel of the case started an annoying vibration last summer. I reach out to touch it and it stops for a while. This week I finally put a 2" piece of Scotch tape across the seam at the top edge of that panel and it stopped. Now it all issues around the house were so easily solved. The rest of my list will take a bit more time and effort.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 21 Jan 24 - 02:23 PM

Indeed, Stilly. Those three one-cubes fit neatly into the car boot with the cargo lid down, leaving room for a load of groceries.

In fact, I have nearly nine shelf-metres of CDs still to cull, in the hope of cutting back to no more than 2.4 shelf-metres (arbitrarily selected quantity). This level of precision is possible because I keep them in two 60-cm IKEA Billy bookcases with inserts on the shelves to double their CD storage capacity.

Yesterday, I also parted with eight chardonnay glasses and six bottles of wine, soon to feature as lots in a silent auction fund-raiser for the concert choir. This week, I will compose another lot with four Danish porcelain demitasses and a Bialetti moka pot.

I’ve had a nibble for Edmund’s enormous futon sofa that has been in the basement since 2017. With any luck, I’ll be rid of that soon.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Jan 24 - 04:33 PM

Cleaning guy skipped this week so so did I...

Luckily I have a mah jongg game. THAT room is clean. Now.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Jan 24 - 11:47 PM

About 10 years ago I got rid of a futon that was well built and had a great full-size mattress - in hindsight, though it was large and in the way, I wish I'd kept it. I could cover it with a tarp and then rough blankets and use it for the dogs. That said, I was tired of stubbing my toes on it.

More eBay glassware is going through the dishwasher; I'll leave it in the top rack and run it a couple of more times to clear up any limestone that might have settled on them in their previous home. Then to list these. I'd used some of my canning jar cases to store them and ended up with no place for some of my canning jars, just in regular flats in the pantry. Perhaps I can streamline those now. Moving these cases from the front room clears the space beside the small table and I may soon be able to set up the photo cube and do some of that listing work in there again. Tomorrow: selecting boxes large enough to safely pack these glasses for shipping. There will probably be a half-dozen listings (I won't sell glasses individually, only in lots.)

I washed small area rugs and mats that have been in the dog crate today; tomorrow will be the covers of dog mats and gently washing the foam orthopedic fillers in the tub. When you have a couple of old dogs, this is a frequent activity.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Jan 24 - 03:59 PM

Today's advance research shows no sales with large numbers of glasses going at once, they tend to be sold in lots of 2, 3, or 4; very few sold individually. The good news is that smaller boxes are easier to pack and ship. eBay gets a discount for sellers regardless of the shipper, and I usually ship USPS, but will keep similar sized un-branded boxes handy in case someone wants to ship UPS. (I offer both on my sales.)

I mentioned buying a bag of flour at the dollar store on xmas eve because I was almost out and would have no other time to shop before my family event; that flour was a help but I didn't use much. Since then baking with it reveals that it's pretty awful. Rolls don't rise as well, it's hard to mix into batter (lumpy) even after sifting. The final straw was a deflated batch of dinner rolls on Saturday—I tossed the rolls then tossed the rest of the flour and have Costco organic flour to make more rolls today. Such a disappointment (but the dogs got lucky and each ate a couple of rolls.)


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 23 Jan 24 - 10:51 AM

Snowing again — or still? — in Stratford. All the snow that should have fallen between Remembrance Day and New Year’s has arrived late and brought friends.

Another bag of Goodwill-bound clag will leave the house this afternoon, after the nice lad from Nick’s Snow Removal has cleared my driveway.

I swear that’s the best $650.00 I spend in any given year.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Jan 24 - 07:05 PM

Snow has arrived in southwestern New England as well,
and may turn to freezing rain (ugh)
as the temperatures rise in the next day or two.
At least we have temperatures above freezing now,
for a week or so it had been bitterly cold here.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Jan 24 - 09:48 PM

No snow down here, only rain, so no need for anyone to bail water out of my driveway. Has your cough cleared up completely, Keb?

On Thursday I'm going to restart dance class. The studio I went to before I retired closed during COVID, and I had knee issues so didn't try to find a new place. Last year the instructor moved to the nearby rec center two evenings a week. I've learned that my Silver Sneakers account gets me into the center free (no penalty for living out of the city limits and the class cost is modest). Thursday is when there are a back-to-back classes and I'll choose to either re-do Beginners or get back into the Intermediate group. Since I won't have an annual fee to join the center I put that money into some gear for the class. This center also has fitness rooms so I'll also start going there for the treadmill and recumbent bike. I'll still go to the other gym; it has the pool and a lot of other stuff, plus much longer hours, but I won't go as often.

There was good luck today with eBay research, the discovery that a $5 Goodwill find is a Sheffield silver plate tureen. Those stamped hallmarks are difficult to figure out and I had been looking at it upside down, but I found the exact maker. There is silver plate, and then there is Sheffield silverplate.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 24 Jan 24 - 08:00 PM

I have yet to declutter myself of the cough.
It has subsided to be a mild annoyance.

I am hoping for the best over the next months;
I have spoken to so many people, a few of them physicians,
who testify to a cough that persists months after the rest of the symptoms clear.
But eventually the cough clears up as well, it just takes a long time.

So I am staying away from inhalers for now,
and nursing the cough with medicated cough drops.
It's worst in the evening,
and best in the morning.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Jan 24 - 10:28 PM

This evening I signed up for a weekly class starting tomorrow evening. This rec center is an easy mile away and I may add a couple of other classes later. After I had signed up I stepped into the back room where a stretching class was going tonight, same instructor, and it was old home week - three friends from the old studio. This is going to be good socially as well as for exercise. (Interestingly, everyone has lost weight since we were last together - we all seem to have been working on our health and fitness despite the setbacks of COVID in recent years.)

The items now on eBay are packed for shipping and stacked on the sideboard in the den; tomorrow I'll get a few more boxes and add listings.

In dog world these days I'm walking out into the backyard two or three times a day, luring them out with peanuts or other treats, though usually they just follow me because that's what they do. The dog door is there but by the time the old guy realizes he needs to head out he doesn't always get outside in time. Yet another accommodation for a really old dog.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Jan 24 - 02:27 PM

Class was . . . interesting. A community recreation center is a well-used space and trying to hold an evening dance class in a room with a clean floor is a challenge. Using the restrooms for changing is a no-go, so dressing for class at home and walking through the parking lot in dance gear is the best bet. And it seems this will only happen for another month or so, then will move to the next town over (where I used to work). The new location is a few miles closer than the university, but it is something to take under consideration (there is a lot of road construction making a detour necessary). It has been several years since I took the classes so I need to do a lot of review. The first class was a nice workout. And even if the classes move out of that facility, the fitness rooms are still there to be used.

Seeing movement on eBay; an item sold and ships today. It's one I revised a little and that was enough to attract interest. More listings going up later today.

Meanwhile, I've been watching the PBS sewing and quilting programs and one program offered an interesting technique for making the quilting part of a project look good, especially for beginners. Calling it "sloppy woppy" they use a backing fabric with an interesting pattern that can be followed (around the edges) using free motion quilting. The result is the bobbin thread ends up on the top and an attractive pattern appears in the quilting. To remember this technique I picked up a couple of yards of fabric that would work for this, and I'll add my note and the episode information. Something to follow up on.

Next door to the fabric shop is the liquor store, and I stepped in to ask about low or non-sulfite wines. They used to have a section of them, but had only one bottle now that has the claim that sulfites are removed. A very helpful staff member reminded me that in the US they add sulfites to wine as a preservative. All wines have some sulfites, but European wines aren't supposed to be adulterated; none are added. I used to know this. I'll look into the comparable levels and see if switching to European wines would solve the allergic reaction I think sulfites are causing. Stopping wine for now seems to help, so if the lower levels are still too much, wine will be infrequent on my menu.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Donuel
Date: 26 Jan 24 - 10:16 PM

Sulfites can cause one to try to breathe but can't. A high dose will kill but low doses resemble mild asthma. Some preservative huh?

I won't be practicing every other day until a finger heals but it may take a long time. The first day of an injury doesn't tell me much except ow.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Jan 24 - 01:22 AM

Aw. Practicing what? What instrument do you play? (I play piano, and hate to try to remember the last time I sat down at the keyboard.) This account of sulfites is another dermatitis reaction; breathing isn't an issue. I'll have to backtrack to see why I was looking into it before, but it may turn out that I was not yet sure that coconut was my primary allergy problem. Sulfites are a sub problem.

NetFlix finally caught up with our family sharing plan today. Because of this I added a family member for $8, and now I can't see his named profile and he can't see mine, but he doesn't lose years worth of lists and viewing history on his profile. (Through high school he streamed various programs as he did his homework in his bedroom, then kept the account through college three states away - I asked NetFlix if this was ok and they said yes - and just for pure stubbornness we kept it up. He is almost 31 and still on my NetFlix account.)

We're nearing the end of January. What are our lurkers doing? Jon, we haven't heard from you in a while - how is your health, how are your parents, and what are you working on? Patty, where are you these days? In Arizona for the winter or some other southern state? Jennie and Maryanne and others - what's up?


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Jan 24 - 11:40 AM

Things are actually pretty organized around here, so of course I spent a loooooong time today and yesterday looking for things.

Today I wanted a particular vest (I have many), and while I haven't been hanging them back in the closet while recovering from that neck surgery, they were almost all missing. Eventually remembered the (neat) pile of vests I'd collected from around the house, but not yet hung up, sitting in the clean laundry basket under other clean laundry folded but not yet put away...

Yesterday, could not find my phone. It had been RIGHT HERE before my shower, after, was nowhere. This is why I have a landline, but my ringer was off from work, earlier, so picture nekkidity in long wet hair (no hat) calling, then running over to sit on the couch, or the bed, or... to see if I could feel them vibrate. Eventually located in the pocket of my bathrobe. Sigh.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Jan 24 - 01:22 PM

Mrrzy, that sounds like a classic senior moment (glad to read you're healing well). Too bad you didn't put on your robe while you made the search, you'd have saved a few steps! When I got rid of the house phone I ported it to a cell phone and then ported it to Google Voice (you can't go directly from landline to Google, they only port from cellular phone companies). I use the desktop or tablet's Chrome browser where Voice turns phone numbers on web pages into links it will call, forwarding it to my cell phone. As long as it is ringing on my phone the call hasn't gone through, so I find it, answer, then hang up immediately before it connects.

Despite it still being January it is time to declutter my bedding of the down comforter. It's too cumbersome, and now that it isn't quite as cold out, I overheat any time the furnace comes on during the night. Back to layers of blankets and the quilt.

It's time to do some planting. Potatoes can go in, and if I get an area cleared near the kitchen door, onion sets. (I usually put onions in the same general area as herbs and garlic. Garlic was planted last fall and there is year-round oregano and thyme in the ground).


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 27 Jan 24 - 02:36 PM

senior moment?? - I had 2 recently - gloom, desolation

I turned up 24 hours early for the first Craft group of the year, & a few days before rushed out for noon lunch - no time to get to the Post Office to post an urgent letter & of course no stamps in my wallet - & arrived 30 mins early. So I went to the Post Office the next day - no letter in my bag!! Finally posted it the following day ...

Sandra - closing in on Three Score & Twelve


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Jan 24 - 10:26 PM

I just noticed my class schedule was a week off from the catalog... going with the catalog.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Jan 24 - 01:04 PM

Income taxes have been calculated, and once again I'm glad my past self went in and increased the withholding on the pension from the ex. The tax refund will be small, but most importantly, I'm not having to pay more out of pocket. I don't always calculate them this early, but with the pension finally landing in the bank in a lump sum I figured I'd better see what the tax damage was.

Today's goal is to clear the various colored drinking glass sets off of my kitchen counter. They need to be photographed. Where I have multiple boxes of identical glassware I'm color-coding the sets with some small plastic keychain things set in the background. Since my photos are part of the description on eBay this helps avoid a box mixup when I ship.

Great night's sleep last night in a bed with just blankets - and I am going to declutter my closet of the down comforter. It's too bulky, and the duvet magnifies the difficulties. I'll offer the comforter to my son in the colder climate, but if he doesn't want it, I'll look at my other options. The duvet is coming off and possibly taken apart (it is two large top sheets stitched around the outside edges.) I have another smaller down comforter in the guest room closet for really cold weather (but I also have down sleeping bags, so perhaps all down comforters should just go away.) Does anyone know how old is too old for down to still be up to the job? I've had these sleeping bags and comforters for decades (they've been cleaned properly on occasion).

I'm noticing pronounced improvement in the dermatitis after eliminating wine from the diet for a few weeks. A thought occurs - I had picked up boxes of wine lately, but I wonder if that storage method has more preservative than bottled? More research ahead.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Jan 24 - 11:38 AM

Mrrzy, what is your class schedule? Taking or teaching? What is your subject?

Decluttered my schedule of a meeting this morning that was going to involve complicated parking and access to the building. This after I realized it was a follow-up lecture to an event that already happened. That opens up the morning for stuff in the sunny yard.

Time to test the new battery-operated rotating scrub brush. After a wet week the floor is caked with muddy footprints by the dog door.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Jan 24 - 02:26 PM

In this case, teaching, developmental psych, pitched to grandparents. I am glad I didn't book my trip to Europe as originally planned, I'd've missed my own last class!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Jan 24 - 10:34 PM

I keep getting the same error message when I tweak and resubmit my taxes through the IRS Free Fillable Forms site. It is asking me to place numbers where the form won't let me put them. I'll look at it again in the morning then may simply print and mail it. Effing nonsense. There are free versions of TurboTax, but I don't want to use or support those companies that keep things difficult (lobbying the House and Senate and contributing to campaigns to keep the difficulty factor high so people use those services). I only get $60 back, I just want to be finished with this early.

The den floor is a thatch of chewed up sticks. I'm having friends over on the weekend, so I need to tackle dog world in a way to remove the sticks and keep up with washing bedding and rugs so it doesn't start smelling like dog world.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Jan 24 - 12:00 PM

Yesterday may have been a lesson for future tax filings - I have multiple modest revenue streams and all four issue 1099s; this number of documents doesn't align with what the free fillable forms software knows how to work with. I also realized that the social security worksheet in the 1040 book is a bunch of hooey. Instead, look at the 1099 doc that SS mailed out - it has a simple formula - if your other income is less than X, half of your SS is taxable. If you make more than X, then 85% is taxable (thank you Ronald Reagan for that gift. We were already taxed on our earnings once, and here we are again.) Trump supposedly "simplified" tax forms, but all they did was remove deductions for charitable donations, meaning charitable organization incomes went way down. Just what he wanted. And as I mentioned before, the commercial tax preparation companies want taxes to stay complicated so people will turn to them. It's a billion dollar business.

Yesterday's little list had six items on it and only one got done. I'll work today to do stuff on my own behalf, with one small thing already - carrying pruners into the backyard to trim low branches off of the Mexican plum near the porch. The lower twigs tangle in my hair when I walk the dogs out at night. Not ordinarily a problem except that these plums have long sharp thorns.

Still working on switching to a high protein breakfast; it does seem to help control the urge to snack during the day. I don't want to go full keto, but rearranging what I eat when helps. A bowl of cereal for dinner is a better time to get that fiber and carbs.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 30 Jan 24 - 04:54 PM

The weather continues gloomy and damp in Stratford; we’ve had less than five hours of actual sunlight in the last ten days.

I did the laundry — including bed linen and towels — and put it all away. The dishes are done and the groceries bought and stowed. Having achieved that much, however, I have come to a grinding halt despite the continuing presence of cat-hair-enhanced cobwebs garlanding the dining-room curtain rod. I also have choir board meeting minutes to write. But my get-up-and-go has got up and gone.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Donuel
Date: 30 Jan 24 - 06:49 PM

My get-up-and-go hasn't even gotten up.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Jan 24 - 11:56 PM

My get up and go fluctuates, but this evening my dander is up. For the second time in six months someone at my doctor's office called in the wrong prescription formula to my compounding pharmacy. After many years I switched the format from capsule to a topical cream, but whoever picked up my folder to renew it called in capsules. A 90-day supply will again be destroyed by the pharmacy and they'll compound the cream.

I dug out the doctor's fax number to send a letter with a photo of the label from the current (empty) tube. This way there is no possibility of misunderstood words or numbers in a message or phone call. The refill was ordered 12 days ago. I love these folks, but this is unacceptable.

Two boxes of glasses were listed on eBay this afternoon and another one is packed and ready to list once the photos are processed (download from camera and resize). There are three more sets to photograph and pack of that size glass. Dishes done, a batch of chicken and rice finished for the rest of the week, and the stovetop cleaned (chicken thighs sauteed before adding to the rice cooker splattered).


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 31 Jan 24 - 02:08 PM

I am trying to disembarrass myself of an excess Amazon account. It's not going well.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Jan 24 - 04:04 PM

Grrrr. Twice in a week now I've seen friends or their relatives' obituaries in the hometown newspaper, and both times the estranged sibling has posted remarks in the comments that have nothing to do with the deceased. Most recently was a teacher I really liked in middle school; he piped up to say he knew her daughter in high school. I'd have liked to post and share a photo. A few days ago he was rhapsodic about the long-dead neighbor we all knew who was the aunt of the dearly departed (who none of us ever met.) I wouldn't post there but I was going to share it as a really interesting and detailed obit. Trying to prevent readers there, or in my online places, from making the family connection means I'm biting my tongue. He's toxic.

Gambling is an ugly addiction. A lot of family furnishings and heirlooms went to the pawn shop and last time I checked he lost two houses and a condo because of gambling debts. Again . . . grrrr.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 01 Feb 24 - 11:20 AM

Amazon agony continues.

Yesterday, I tried to have my Audible account "migrated" (as they say) from the US Amazon system to its Canadian analogue. I initiated the process with the American side, not knowing any better, and the agent at the other end of an absolutely terrible connection seemed to have achieved the objective after what felt like hours of twiddling but was actually about 20 minutes.

Today, I have no Canadian Audible account, no credits, and no library. Over more than 15 years of dealing with Audible, Edmund and I accumulated more than 1,000 audiobooks, and they all seem to have vanished into the ether.

The Canadian customer service agent has a magnificent Jamaican accent. His American colleague is a mush-mouthed individual whose accent I can't place, and can barely understand unless he speaks very, very slowly.

I'm very tired of Audible's hold music, about 16 bars of a complicated piano concerto that requires at least another 16 bars to come to some kind of resolution.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, my bank has stopped communicating with Quicken, the money-tracking software I use.

I am very tired of the 21st century. I would like to go back to, say, 1981 for a nice rest.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Feb 24 - 11:54 AM

I've resisted Audible but I wish you good luck in restoring the account. (Why was the shift needed? Did the company offer or compel the move?) I have a few books on the site I read on Kindle, so I'm not free of those accounts, though I only read my own eBooks on the app or read their free stuff. My library also shares eBooks via Kindle that go away once they are due. I have the idea that I'd like my kids to poke through the physical copies of my books when I'm gone and maybe decide to read a few. The rest will go to Half Price Books. eBooks aren't transferable, but the only ones I have on my tablet are current topical books that will be out of date (hopefully) by the time they would look at them.

The Quicken problem is completely understood. I used Microsoft Money and preferred it, but the death knell came when they stopped supporting it. I get the cheapest Quicken Classic Starter edition every year - it talks to my bank (except when it doesn't - I feel your pain.) My local credit union is usually the one that crashes, and Quicken updates itself all of the time. Between the two I sometimes have to go in and add stuff manually until one or the other gets its mind back.

Here in the world of a credit card expiring in three months comes the first of the nags about updating it. This card is from a credit union that doesn't send it out way early, so I'll be watching the nags for the next probably 2.5 months before I get the next card. Back at the time of knee surgery I decided to set up most of my accounts to autopay, and so far they haven't gone crazy and racked up inappropriate bills. But they do need tending.

Lovely weather this week, meaning it is time to get into the garden. Meanwhile, a friend has sent his recipe for Cranberry Bread and it looks like a good one try this week. It's a small loaf with just 2 cups of flour at the base. Easily doubled to make in a larger pan or two small ones (I like to make a small loaf for now and put one in the freezer.)


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Donuel
Date: 01 Feb 24 - 01:01 PM

In my private practice I only had two gambling addiction clients and both failed to improve. Today I would replace the dopamine high with Adderal and disincentivize gambling with PHS at trigger points. It has a biochemical component that is tough to break.

I'm cranberry crazy whether it's scones cupcakes or whole soft dried cranberries trail mix. Some like it at Thanksgiving but I like it year round. Since they grow in bogs so they make sodium benzoate to stay fresh.

My finger can already make a fist so I didn't tear ligaments like I thought. It isn't Bach-worthy yet but slow jazz like Natureboy is OK


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Feb 24 - 03:01 PM

Makes sense about the brain chemistry. And sociopath stuff doesn't help. That doesn't seem to be fixable.

The recipe is essentially the same as the one in the New York Times. Cranberry Nut Bread


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 01 Feb 24 - 05:28 PM

Doing business with Amazon and its subsidiaries is easier if you keep it all in one country. When Audible first reached into Canada, one just used the American website and lived with the hassles of doing business internationally. That was back about 2008. When Audible.ca came along, a few years ago, I was too preoccupied with other things to concern myself -- and besides, despite their promises, I was fairly sure the transfer process would not be simple or easy.

But maintaining two Amazon personas became problematic with the advent of two-factor verification -- I have only one telephone number! So I decided to consolidate all my Amazon business on the Canadian side of the border.

And then one thing led to another.

The Amazon experience is designed for Americans. The rest of us may take part, but we have to accept that everything we do is an exception to a system built for the United States.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 01 Feb 24 - 07:51 PM

Dupont:

Ok: So! we did go to Beaver - Left here about 8:30 am on Saturday and I drove. Stopped in Madoc and R begged to go to a thrift shop "I've never been to..." - "Only a few minutes!" Almost an hour, then we took time to stop for a "lunch" at a newish resto in the middle of nowhere. That was OK and I do try to make these quick trips a bit of an adventure for him.

He drove the last hour or so and we got home to a 4C house, thanks to neighbour who got the fire going!We perked it up, turned on the electric blanket!!!! YAY!! And went on to LAke St. Peter for the event which was well worth the trip - conversations, info, connections, chess... R had to be dragged away from the chess so everyone could go home! 8 pm - children and dark night and older folks - from almost newborn to my age or more.

Home was warmer and I popped into warm bed - happy to have seen a bunch of good folks! Quiet Sunday, mostly reading, I cleared part of path to wood and let R bring in enough to fill the bays for next time. BF was some bread bought at lunch stop - apple/cinnamon. "Lupper" at Curry House. R went to grocery for - something to do? and came home with some off-beat veggies and V-8 juice. We left without the veggies but neighbour Sue responded to texts and re-homed the fresh veggies. She was helping with the wood share program and asked someone, "Is there anything else you need?" "YES!- Food!" Community at its best!

R drove first part of trip home - his preferred route which I detest. Then I drove the second part - that he detests. We even managed to pick up some business related items. And got home in good time to a home meal.

HAve done very little since. A trip to bakery, library (LGL) and groceries - and sitting with computer - between emails/news based and FB - also lots of news. Apparently we had a minor earthquake about 9:30 this morning - We didn't notice. I see we are in the middle of the solar eclipse in April. I remember experiencing one in Cape May NJ in my teens. I think we used old negatives to protect our eyes.

The house could be vacuumed - if I felt like it. Otherwise things are OK. Or maybe I have just gotten used to - for example - piles of books everywhere. When I beg the right way, boxes full go to the basement, replaced almost immediately by more!

I am still suffering the travesties of Apple - my phone and computer seem to be different each day. Everytime I go to make a call, it is VERY carefully as things are never the way they were and I really have to struggle not to put my finger in the wrong place and "call" someone I don't even know. Today's fantasy is suing Apple for all the trauma and hours of time it is taking me to find what I really want - Siri be $%^&. I want my life back but that is not going to happen so I just muddle along. I even have to re-find the instructions that I was working my way through until they disappeared. ARGHHHHHH!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Feb 24 - 12:55 PM

Sounds like the drive worked out well, Dorothy, each driving your favorite stretch of road.

I switched over to the beginner class last night, it gives more exercise value because she's going through all of the steps in the repertoire; the intermediate class is meant to use a few of the steps to learn a particular dance. I realized over the course of the week in reviewing our work last Thursday that she was going to have to re-teach me every step. I'd taken that class because I had done the beginner class several times a few years ago and the dance that all of the beginners used to perform is a bit of an earworm. It turns out it is no longer part of the summer Hafla so I don't need to worry about that tune in my head for the next few months. My arms and shoulders are feeling the workout today.

Now is the beginning of clearing and cleaning for another of our university retiree group lunches soon. The horizontal surfaces are my first challenge. I need to move all of the eBay-destined glassware off of the kitchen peninsula.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: pattyClink
Date: 02 Feb 24 - 11:26 PM

Lurker check-in: Doing well this winter. Just concluded a little loop to San Diego County, California, to a mineral conference. Lovely weather (well except for the hurricane winds up on a mountainy mineral hunt), got to drive through some shards of remaining Old California at orange harvest time. Spent time swimming in mineral waters at Agua Caliente county park. Acquired yet another couple of boxes of specimens, and I have just got to get a home base, if only to stop rolling with 200 pounds of rocks.   

Quartzsite was the usual craziness, good to see old friends around campfires. This weekend I'll head east across the Tohono O'odham saguaro country, and on to Deming, New Mexico. Where the home base hunt resumes. I've found a few people I can sing and play with in real life who are living there, and real estate prices are not nuts. So we'll see. Probably in the next three days some corporate landlord will have snapped up what's available.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Feb 24 - 12:14 PM

I understand about the rocks, Patty! When I was in college I worked for the Forest Service and the job took us to interesting areas via logging roads with roadcuts and creek beds that revealed minerals and crystals and formations worthy of taking samples. At one point there were two of us interested in geology and I remember a day when a boss walked up to our crew carrier in the office parking lot, opened the door, and made some disgusted remark about all of the rocks on the floor of the truck. We always took them home at the end of each shift, so it had apparently been a good haul that day. :)

Thunderstorms overnight had the blue heeler drooling and cowering around the house. I mopped up a couple of puddles, and at one point had to go out to the breaker box and restore the switch for my office. I have to get an electrician out to replace that ground fault switch (from when this used to be part of the garage) to a regular breaker. Often times storms have this affect on it. The list of wiring things needing doing is almost long enough to make an appointment.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Feb 24 - 08:33 PM

Yesterday I finally got a COVID-19 booster shot.
After having COVID about six weeks ago,
better to avoid catching it again soon.

No negative reaction to the shot, either.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Feb 24 - 10:40 AM

Good for you, Keb! Are you all caught up on the vaccinations? RSV and pneumonia - I think we are many of us "of an age" when those all can be issues. Stay healthy!

It is early February and I have concluded it is time to mow the weedy grass on both front and back lawns. It's too wet today, but if no rain for a while then later this week. Before that I need to change the mower spark plug, change the oil, and clean the air filter. I promised myself I would do the tuneup before I started mowing again. (I need to figure out if the gap on the spark plug is set properly - I don't want to buy the whole gap tool just for this one. I bought it in the lawn mower section at Home Depot, so I hope so.)

I'm feeding cats for a few days, with two of them needing more medical attention this week. They need a probiotic (to prevent the trots) given without other meds within an hour before or after. I swing by to give it then head over to the gym and 90 minutes later return to feed dinner. It gets me to the gym more often.

Friends are coming over for lunch on the 11th - since none of us watches football it doesn't matter that the stuporbowl is sometime during the day with all of the festivities around it. A week to finish cleaning house.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 04 Feb 24 - 07:18 PM

As to vaccinations:
I'm caught up on pneumonia.
I still have not had the RSV vaccine,
and I need to take the second dose
of the shingrix vaccine against the shingles.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Feb 24 - 03:12 PM

The Shingrix vaccination is the only one that had a noticeable side effect for me - I was achy for a couple of days.

My next door neighbor mowed his lawn this morning. I've already decided I need to mow soon but it was cold and clammy today. He got it out of the way and set it so everyone else will have to mow or look like slackers. ;-) Not a problem is much of the US this time of year.

On my way back from feeding cats I finally picked up a plank that I'll treat with wood preservative and cut a piece to fit on the front of a bay window that needs the siding repaired. I've put this off way too long. The store had the same material as what is falling off now, but too narrow. For this repair I'm better with one piece treated with preservative and glued and screwed into place than putting two pieces that might have a gap between them. (They could be put on with an overlap like shakes, but that would be the only place on the house with materials like that). I'll caulk the new piece edges then paint.

Have a good Monday, everyone!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Feb 24 - 07:09 PM

This is a busy week with running and calling and mailing and picking up, enough so that it is all down on the calendar to keep track of everything. I'm still planning lunch on Sunday so have to attack the clutter on the table and counter, for starters. Clean the hall bathroom, vacuum dog hair everywhere.

harpgirl, have you found new homes for any other camping equipment? Dorothy, have you found a new home for the extra kiln? The stuff from the mill? Charmion, how is the china redistribution coming along?

I'm still working on clearing glasses this week (for eBay), with an added push to have things photographed and in boxes to clear the counter in time for Sunday lunch.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 07 Feb 24 - 08:32 PM

Edmund’s futon sofa has left the building.

It was heavy and very awkward to move, but long enough for serious napping and remarkably comfy. It has gone to a new family that needs it far more than I do.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Feb 24 - 11:17 PM

It's sad to see a good nap surface leave, I still kind of miss my old futon. But good move finding a family that needs it.

I have the setup in the garage for treating the plank (with wood preservative) for the bay window repair; if I get it started tomorrow I should be able to finish over the weekend.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 08 Feb 24 - 09:09 AM

That futon radiated guilt at me for the last three years. It became excess to requirements as soon as I had moved the television and the books out of the basement after Edmund died, and I should have rehomed it that summer. But there was so much else to do.

When I nap, I tend to do it in the comfy chair.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Feb 24 - 11:39 AM

Ah! The chair is enough to accommodate you and any cat cuddlers. The futon worked if I chose to take a nap in a room where there were dogs - because dogs liked to join me. When I try to nap in the recliner and Cookie joins me it is always a struggle for space and balance - her weight is enough that it tips the chair upright if she's not arranged correctly. If I'm in a mood to let Cookie join me I have to clear the flattened boxes off of the sofa and stretch out there.

Grass is still soggy this morning, maybe I can mow this afternoon.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Feb 24 - 08:56 PM

Success finally in getting a compounded Rx filled and picking it up.

On a The Best of Sewing With Nancy today on PBS they illustrated how people with fancy embroidery sewing machines are using them for quilting - it was fascinating to watch, though I don't want to run out and get one. But what I do want to run out and find are the spools of embroidery thread; I have many skeins of thread for hand sewing but there isn't a good way to spool it for the machine and bobbin.

Wednesday I was in the town where I worked for 20+ years for some shopping. My daughter needed spices so when comparing brands in the Halal market I asked a young woman on the aisle if she was familiar with the brands I was looking at. She said she was shopping for her mother, and she pointed at the brand that is her mother's favorite. There were similar interesting conversations with a Kurdish stocking clerk from Turkey and the checkout clerk from Afghanistan. Incidental conversations such as speaking to strangers in the grocery store are apparently quite healthy for us.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Feb 24 - 12:00 PM

I spent 30 minutes yesterday before it got dark sweeping and scooping leaves out of the street and curb area (the post office vehicle runs over that strip every day so leaves are mashed and mulched and stuck in the spot). Some were hauled to a garden bed, the rest spread around on the lawn where they will be mulched in with the mower. I was going to do that today, but awoke to rain. (Time to leave a couple of the old towels next to the back door for periodic drying of wet dogs.)

The smoker had an ancient cardboard box cover that had been left in place as insulation (a traditional approach for owners of this type of smoker), but I replaced it with a new insulated cover made for the brand. The first test was to smoke a piece of beef sirloin steak, then making a batch of fajitas. The house now smells incredibly smoky from cooking with that meat.

Lunch with friends tomorrow, and chickpeas are simmering for a fresh batch of hummus. It freezes well so I'm making a double batch.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 10 Feb 24 - 07:43 PM

One day after the shingrix vaccine I find I am very tired:
taking a nap this afternoon felt really really good.
My arm is still sore.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Feb 24 - 09:59 PM

A good nap is a great side effect then!

On a local Buy Nothing group there was a request for a large stock pot. I have an extra one (picked up for soaking linens and I didn't want any possibility of food from one I use for cooking). I decided not to do the soaking so set it aside. Now the person who asked needs to return to the page and see the offer. I guess if she doesn't, I'll list it for everyone. That's another spot on the floor in the front room freed up.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Feb 24 - 05:58 PM

The stock pot will be leaving the porch soon, and it turns out she has the same use I did - to soak fabric in a large non-reactive pot. Sounds just about perfect!

Friends were over for lunch, comfort food today with a big batch of macaroni and cheese with steamed cauliflower as our veggie and banana bread for dessert. I was going to make hummus also but it was taking too long (once you start it's quick, but it was either make everyone wait 20 more minutes or just get on with the mac and cheese.) I'll do hummus tomorrow and then freeze most of it.

We enjoyed looking through old cookbooks from my mother's collection; this is about the only time they ever get looked at, and it is interesting. Recipes from the 1940s and 50s, suggested menus, and some of the frugal cooking of the war years are all there to examine. One friend also searched on a few and found them on eBay. I've already sold quite a few of them, figuring getting them into the hands of collectors who really want them is a good move (less fuss for the kids in the future.)

Laundry this evening will include towels used to dry dogs and several damp mats. This has been a soggy couple of days and the dog door area is covered with muddy prints.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Feb 24 - 11:55 PM

For women who never watch football or championship games, Taylor Swift won the Super Bowl. (My regular show ended so I switched over to CBS and saw the overtime play). I never watch football or the Super Bowl, but I will enjoy seeing the fallout.

More trips to the gym this week because of a week-long cat-sitting gig that puts me halfway to the gym several times a day.

It's about time for another trip to Goodwill. I'll check the donation bin and see if I can fill it up first. With Charmion moving out something as large as a futon that's a lot of square footage to aspire to.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 12 Feb 24 - 08:54 AM

For my next trick: a queen-sized bed. Whoever takes it will have to bring tools as well as a truck and a good buddy.

I also have the six-foot folding table full of pots, pans, pudding basins and other kitchen clobber I will never use again. It’s time to rehome the huge granite-ware preserving kettle and the small canner, as well as the extra-large Instant Pot and all its accessories. Oh, and Edmund’s much-loved 14-inch cast-iron skillet that I need two hands to lift.

I now have one empty shelf in the basement storage area. Going for at least two more by Easter.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 13 Feb 24 - 10:20 AM

Two basement shelves cleared. I can haul another load to Goodwill as soon as I have acquired some fairly large boxes.

Come to think of it, the granite-ware and other light steel items could make the trip in a contractor-grade garbage bag.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Feb 24 - 10:51 AM

Since my dogfood arrives in gigantic boxes (relatively speaking - they aren't for moving a wardrobe but they do well for 20-35 pounds of dry kibble) I periodically offer them up, and I can also use them for Goodwill stuff, though usually the bin contents fit into grocery bags for handing over. I deploy reusable cloth bags when shopping but there is still a backlog of plastic.

When I eventually empty the front room I could move the bed from the sewing studio into there and put up draperies across the upper open area (this room has what my contractor called a "pony wall" along the hallway to the front door). It's the only room in the house with wall-to-wall carpeting, so I keep the dogs out. #FutureProjects.

Bright sunshine today but soggy turf still. Maybe by this afternoon it will dry enough to mow? It's a race to beat the code enforcement guy to the punch.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Feb 24 - 06:08 PM

The front yard is looking green and trim now that I mowed all of the weeds. This time of year the Bermuda and St. Augustine mix are dormant and covered by cool season weed grasses, galium (bedstraw), dandelions, and lots of henbit. Daffodils are opening in beds and there are lots of leaves for later shows of color by iris, spider lilies, daylilies, and other stuff put there intentionally.

Before mowing I replaced the mower spark plug, checked the air filter, and cleared a bunch of dried grass from under the mower deck (I carry a putty knife in my gardening apron for this task) that I should have scraped out after the last mow (probably in December, it hasn't been a very long "winter" period of no mowing here.) I put two cheap spark plug wrenches into the donation bin after realizing those are crap with such a short bar for turning. I used the spark plug socket and handle from my socket tool set (much better leverage). Righty tighty lefty loosey was the mantra before starting that task (and then looking at the threads on the new spark plug, just to be safe).

The backyard will get mowed tomorrow and I'll bag some of that to drop into the location of the 2024 compost pile. Wet grass trimmings are the best way to kickstart new compost.

A long-unused expanding shoe rack has left the front porch, offered via the local FB Buy-Nothing group and claimed in under an hour. I'm still waiting on another note from the woman who wants the stock pot.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 14 Feb 24 - 10:57 PM

Either my OCD is getting better or my mood is getting worse... I can haz mess again. Luckily (craftily?) people come Weds and Sun so I clean up for them...


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Feb 24 - 01:27 AM

You mean people come to clean and you clean up so they can clean? I know a number of people who do that. :-)


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 15 Feb 24 - 07:56 AM

when we were young a neighbour was deserted by her husband, so cleaned for a few other neighbours to get some income. We learnt to put stuff away before she arrived or we'd never find it again! Or find it in some random cupboard.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Feb 24 - 01:22 PM

I experienced that years ago when I had someone come in every other week for half a day. It was a huge help to have someone vacuum, mop, and dust so I could do more of the rest (while in graduate school). We realized that things left out might be put in what seemed logical places to the cleaner but that didn't occur to us.

The rest of this week is busy enough that there won't be much in the way of transporting stuff out of the house, and this morning, a backslide. I drove past a garage sale on my way back from cat feeding and there were antique chairs in the yard, each $5. I picked up a sturdy small one with interesting features and a pretty little inlay on the top of the backrest. There are a couple of places in the house where a small chair would be useful, and once this is surface cleaned and the seat upholstery examined, I'll put it to use. More space will be occupied by the antique sewing machine (wired for a foot controller) that will go on eBay - the shop called, it's ready to pick up. Must list that soon (and will use one of those great big boxes for shipping).


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Feb 24 - 09:28 AM

Two tours coming up today at the museum so I've researched a new installation I didn't know much about. Most of the museum is closed off for renovations this spring so we have about 1/5 the normal amount of material to cover, hence including this. I would have listened to the artist's video describing the assembly of this collection of pieces except the route I typically follow doesn't pass through this area. He calls it "a conversation between the pieces." (This could certainly apply to the assembly of items around my house, though cacophony is more accurate than "conversation"). He named the Nevelson Chapel as a particular influence. I could do this with the leftover materials out in my garage (move things to the walls instead of boxes and piles!)

Next week finally quiets down and I can get to my to-do list, projects where I can play an audiobook as I work and not have to stop and go back for parts I missed.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 16 Feb 24 - 04:06 PM

The guy who cleans is supposed to do floors, toilet, tub. I don't want him wasting time putting dishes away or folding laundry, so that stuff I do, if not regularly, at least before he appears.

Thu Sunday night mah jongg game requires only an uncluttered kitchen table. They don't roam farther into the house...


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Feb 24 - 12:20 PM

In the "no good deed goes unpunished" department, an acquaintance is moving between subsidized apartments. She barters and buys used, and I'd offered to help her move a washer and dryer when she found a new place; turns out the new apartment comes with them. She found a bed in the next county, and has asked to transfer the offer to the bed, if my friend could help move that instead. Bigger job. We've got it set for next weekend.

The official last day of this cat sitting gig is today, but my friend is driving from Colorado in a snowstorm. I won't be surprised if she stops the night on the way and I do an extra morning run. No snow here, but it is too cold to comfortably mow the lawn or walk the dogs, both I had hoped to do today.

eBay listings it is then, with laundry on the side.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Feb 24 - 11:37 AM

The wait is over - the drain behind the washer overflowed last night, indicating that the roots in the lower end of the sewer line again need to be hit with the roto rooter blade to clear the line. It isn't a total stoppage, water drains through slowly, but there is no point in waiting longer. I've rootered out the line myself the last couple of times (the rental equipment is very heavy but I save a lot of $$). This time I have a home warranty that will participate in the process and a plumber will do the job Monday (no need for a weekend surcharge).

I'm looking forward to not going anywhere today, just puttering here. It's still too cold to enjoy mowing but I've mowed down dust in the bedroom (so far) with the duster and vacuum. The den is in full forest floor mode so sweeping is up first, and the yard is dry so I can scrub the muddy footprints with the new battery-powered scrub brush. Winter mud is the worst because the lawn is dormant and they track in really viscous mud. During the growing season the soil isn't exposed and their feet are cleaner. During the highest heat they track in dead grass and dirt but that can be swept up. It's all the same soil, there are different treatments depending on time of year.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 18 Feb 24 - 04:39 PM

ah! the joys of being owned by dogs!!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Feb 24 - 12:18 AM

Sandra, with dogs we're roomies! With cats we're the staff. :)

Monday is a holiday in the US (Presidents Day); the main effect is no mail, no banks open, and everything else as normal, plus lots of sales of bedding and mattresses. I may finally mow my back lawn (the plumber has to come roto rooter the sewer line, but that won't take long so I can work around his service call).


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Donuel
Date: 19 Feb 24 - 06:08 AM

Mowing in Feb. seems alien to me. I get up at 5AM not because of will power but my staff job for the cats. They trained me by making the maximum amount of noise in ever more creative ways.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Donuel
Date: 19 Feb 24 - 08:01 AM

What is most toxic to seniors are falls. That is because of muscle loss due to low protein intake and a lack of resistance exercise.
Seniors' need for protein goes up every year! Women are slightly more prone to falls than men because muscle mass may be lower to begin with. 9NPR)

So more important than cardio training is resistance exercise. More plant or meat proteins are needed with the increase in age.
Muscles- 'use it or lose it'. We have seen the last incident of catters have been falls or at least more frequent falls.
A simple solution is a 10 minute stair climb program. Impact with the floor is also good for bone density.

It sounds like this post can be ignored by Stilly. The protein thing surprised me.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Donuel
Date: 19 Feb 24 - 08:12 AM

A warning sign- is one leg weaker than the other?
Tighten and release while sitting and do leg lifts in bed.
It takes a month to see a difference. Of course, long walks in the Spring is more fun.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 19 Feb 24 - 10:19 AM

I finally told the concert choir president that I'm leaving Stratford in the near future, and I need to get off the Board of Directors at the end of this season. That's one down.

Today I'm fussing over the sale of a piece of rather nice furniture, a small walnut settee in the Danish Modern style. I posted it on Kijiji and immediately got a bite, but the potential buyer failed to show up at the appointed hour yesterday, and now has emailed me with a proposal for an essentially anonymous transaction by PayPal, with pick-up by a "personal freight" service. In his email, he mentioned a medical crisis with his wife and a doctor's appointment that could only have taken place on a Sunday ... Colour me skeptical.

I wrote back asking for a phone call and more information about him. I said I would do the deal by phone and Interac e-transfer, but not without that personal contact.

I wonder if I'm getting paranoid in my old age.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 19 Feb 24 - 10:32 AM

Donuel, aging women lose muscle mass faster than men because we lack both estrogen and testosterone. The best preventives are resistance and weight-bearing exercise and, yes, a high-ptotein diet, but there is no magic bullet. Sarcopoenia is in everyone's future if we're lucky enough to live that long.

That said, the greater frequency of falls among old women is due mostly to weakness in the core muscles, which are critical to balance -- when you slip, it's your back and belly muscles that do the most to jerk you upright again.

Getting old ain't for sissies.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Feb 24 - 12:22 PM

Charmion, I once had a classic response to a futon sale on Craigslist - an email saying "please take down your ad, I'll send you a check. Would you send me the change" crap. Just to waste his time I pointed out he was emailing from a UK account and he wrote with a different one. I told him to get lost. There has been a delay in my BuyNothing transaction from last week, where the woman who wants my stock pot still hasn't been by. That isn't a problem - no cash is exchanging hands, she seems to have caught a virus, but thinks she'll pick up the pot (still on my porch) this evening, if the bug doesn't kill her. Shit happens, but when there is money involved, trust your gut.

Don, I do eat meat but I usually use it as part of a dish. If I bake a chicken breast I'll use part of it to put on salad, I'll cut some cubes and add them to a bowl of spaghetti or ravioli with sauce, etc. This morning I had scrambled eggs and I have a rotisserie chicken in the fridge so I'll probably use some of it for lunch and dinner. I need to make protein more of each meal if I'm going to use it in smaller amounts. I use a compounded HRT with E2, E3, and methyltestosterone for the reasons Charmion enumerated. Since a hysterectomy (adenocarcinoma) in my mid-40s caused early "surgical menopause" my doctor put me on HRT. I tried a number of commercial versions and was unhappy (they had too much testosterone and not enough estrogen) until we compounded one. That's the Rx I was fussing about for the last few weeks. E1 is most closely linked to breast cancer, hence the choice of the other two.

The gym has a stair climbing thing that I tried recently, mostly I use the recumbent bike (for cardio and get my knees a range of motion) and the treadmill (weight bearing and cardio). I'll add the stairs more often, thanks for that reminder. I'll be mowing the backyard this afternoon, so that counts for weight bearing exercise today.

I pulled up the home warranty plan, it covers stoppages only within the confines of the building. Darn. I know it's tree roots. I just called the plumber, and it seems the service call is less expensive when I can tell them it's the sewer line. No detective work, no ladders, no camera down the line, no digging to find a leak, and easy access to the cleanout.   

Last night I thawed several containers of mashed pumpkin and sweet potato and made a quadruple batch of my favorite pumpkin bread recipe (one time I was short on pumpkin and made up the difference with sweet potato - it was so much better I always make it that way now). One loaf is on the counter, several are in the freezer, and I delivered one next door earlier. She was waiting for her husband to return from blood work and physical before fixing breakfast - and he arrived as we talked. They are having coffee and slices of that bread this morning. Nice!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Feb 24 - 06:44 PM

It turns out the plumbing problem was both inside and out, but mostly within the house, so I called the warranty folks before the job was finished, he told them what the problem was, and they'll pay above the co-pay amount. The plumber didn't write that he also ran the line outside to the street so they wouldn't quibble (since I have to scan the invoice and send it in). Nice of him!

Now to mop the laundry room floor (I ran the washer as he ran the snake and it flooded again before the job was finished). A pro tip for future maintenance - he said run hot water in the kitchen sink for a few minutes then put a big squeeze (~ an ounce) of Dawn dish detergent in and let it run a little longer before turning off and letting it stand in the pipes for a while. The heat and the soap will keep a grease buildup out of the line. (Repeat a few times a year.)

The dogs were in the backyard for this service call, so as the work moved to the side of the house they could see us through the back gate and set up a ruckus. I explained to Randy the plumber that if we said hello they would settle down, otherwise they'd bark the entire time. They were thrilled to meet someone new, he likes dogs so gave a couple of pats through the gate, and they quieted. It's their job to watch the house and yard, so the courtesy of an introduction acknowledges their work and they know I'm safe.

Now I have some laundry to take care of.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Feb 24 - 06:49 PM

The weather is glorious today, in the mid-70s. What my fitness tracker interprets as a whole bunch of steps this afternoon was actually me chopping my way through a raised bed with a mattock clearing weeds to transplant some big gobs of asparagus roots that have languished in the wheelbarrow for about three months. A few of them are sprouting. I've put several large sets in that bed and have a few smaller ones that I'll plant in smart pots. It's a test to see if they can do well in that environment (pots tend to get quite warm and dry out in the summer, but these have handles and can be moved pretty easily).

Last month the tire store mechanic said I should have the wheels aligned, and recommended a place and has a $20 off coupon for the work. I pulled up the shop website and find they do a lot of other work and are a mile from my house. I'll ask what they think about the noisy fan in my air conditioning unit (a repair for another day). It's nice to find a place that isn't the bloated dealership for some of this work.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Feb 24 - 08:59 PM

Mid-70s?!
We were lucky, up here, to get up to freezing today, brrrr.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 21 Feb 24 - 03:06 PM

In Stratford, we're having Fool's Spring Mk II, with sunny skies and balmy breezes. Any day now we're due for the massive dump of snow that means this is Ontario, dammit, and winter's not over, and we should not even think about changing our tires or taking the snow brush out of the boot of the car.

But I just spotted Ma and Pa Cardinal, residents of my back hedge, hopping around the yard apparently picking up twigs. And the sun is definitely yellower and higher and altogether more springy with every passing day.

Yesterday I told the concert choir president that I want to get off the Executive Committee -- no more board minutes or drafting contracts for this little black duck. I will continue to take care of the music library because, well, because it's a mess and I haven't finished tidying it up yet.

I seem to have spent the better part of the winter in a funk of anxiety over decluttering and moving house. This is not coincidence: whenever light levels get low, I will find something to fret about, and I'm capable of making myself really miserable. This week, I feel markedly better and -- amazing! -- suddenly the house issue is much less pressing and I can even think about something else.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Feb 24 - 08:58 PM

It'll feel good to hand over some of those jobs - you helped them a lot while you were there, and finishing the music organizing sounds like a great final act with the group.

My arms and shoulders are achy after chopping and digging. I did a little work today, refilling the 1 gallon gas can from the 5 gallon can I use to get the non-ethanol gasoline for the gas engines. The big can is too heavy to use directly filling the mower. I started the mowing in the back and have the wheelbarrow and shovel parked beside the compost pile I'll dig out tomorrow. Once there's room in that bin I'll set the mower on Bag and get some green gooshy goodness to put in the bottom of the pile. I don't need a whole backyard's worth of clippings, just a couple of bags full.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 22 Feb 24 - 11:35 AM

My weight-related challenge this week (so far) was refilling the water softener. In these parts, salt comes in 20-kg bags. Twenty kilos is just about the outside edge of my deadlift capabilities in less than ideal conditions such as my laundry room, where I lack the space required to align myself and a bag of salt correctly for a heave in good form.

Nevertheless, I managed to pour 40 kg of salt into the device without doing myself a mischief. Next time, I'll wear my padded leather gloves to reduce the strain on my hands -- always my weakest spot.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Donuel
Date: 22 Feb 24 - 04:29 PM

'it ain't for sissies' is the second time you've posted that. The first time was 10 years ago. I prefer 'nobody dies healthy'.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 22 Feb 24 - 05:05 PM

My opinion on aging has not changed, Donuel. And victims of murder, warfare and accident often die healthy, but broken.

I finally got around to vacuuming the parlour rug and washing all the floors at ground level, leaving the upstairs for another day. I also dusted the walls and changed the furnace filter. I’m not sure what got into me.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Feb 24 - 10:34 PM

I was going to mow but ended up spending the afternoon writing and coding on a tangled part of a website I work on; the mowing will happen tomorrow since nice weather is forecast all week.

The dance class this month is a one-off as far as my participation in that program; the instructor is moving the class 20 miles from here and it would involve a rush hour drive, so I'm not continuing with it. Darn.

Dog beds need washing again, and I suspect dog hair contributed to the clog the plumber cleared out. I usually take rugs and beds outside to shake before washing, and now I'll be sure to.

We haven't heard from Dorothy for a while. I hope the arrival of spring (or faux-spring) isn't complicating projects at her various properties.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Feb 24 - 12:34 PM

Dog beds in the wash, set on ultra hand-wash to not beat up the zipper cover that goes over a big orthopedic foam mattress.

All parties are in touch and arrangements are set for tomorrow's bed retrieval.

Several projects await in the garage in addition to garden work.

It's glorious outside today and this weekend; Monday is forecast to hit 93o. For any day in February that is startlingly high and unwelcome. I'm getting my wheels aligned on Wednesday and at that time I'll get a quote on the fan repair in my SUV cooling system. I'm going to need it sooner than I expected.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Feb 24 - 10:58 AM

Dorothy has spoken over on Facebook.

We followed LilyFestre's pain, lethargy, fear, diagnosis, surgery, follow-up treatments, adoption of Jeremiah, and triumphant return to life and work and everything else as seen in a thread started for her by the late great Katlaughing. This is Dorothy's choice, so I'll only share this link to the first set of remarks she posted yesterday on Facebook. She isn't shy about sharing struggles and progress and the first post makes it clear she's speaking for women her age who are too often rendered invisible or ignored in the health care world.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 25 Feb 24 - 05:24 PM

rendered invisible - Here in the Land of Oz we have a huge housing problem as most are too expensive for poorer tenants, plus many rental properties are now AirB&B + many others are unoccupied. Older women are a substantial part of the people without secure accomodation. Some have cars & live in them - some car sleepers get woken by nasty locals telling them to park elsewhere.

State & Federal Governments are trying to encourage more housing, but lack of tradesmen, & NIMBYism & lack of proper planning (the recent plan to add 13,000 homes to a county town of around 1000 homes not far from Sydney without any infrastructure plans is not a sensible plan)

In 1981 I bought my apartment, I could have travelled overseas like my siblings & friends ...


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Feb 24 - 12:15 AM

More and different dog beds in the washer tonight. Rinse, repeat.

A friend drove by with a pickup and trailer and I rode with him to pick up and deliver a bed for a friend who moved (she bought this through the Facebook Marketplace); I may have mentioned this several days ago, I don't remember. It took a couple of hours because the bed was in the next county, but it was a nice setup with all of the linens and covers she needs. A sad task coming up this week, she can only have two pets but has four cats and has to send two of them to the city shelter. The Humane Society will do more to try to get them adopted, but there is a surrender fee. My dogs are not good citizens around cats even I wanted any; to them cats are just squirrels. I've sent a note to a friend to ask if he's ready for another cat, his died last summer.

This evening I did something I haven't in ages - I ran the dishwasher and the clothes washer simultaneously. No overflow. Exciting times here in North Texas!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Feb 24 - 04:07 PM

I've moved several wheelbarrow loads of compost from an old bin in the backyard to one end of a bed in the front where potatoes will be planted soon. I have to finish chopping out the Bermuda grass roots then spread the compost and run the tiller through the beds. This afternoon the thermometer says 91o so I'll wait till evening to do more, it cools quickly this time of year.

Charmion, did you ever resolve the communication and pickup problem over that walnut settee you were selling? I'm still envious that Canada has use of Kijiji (used to be part of eBay.) I hope it worked out. I've been reading about a furniture transfer problem as a friend tries to extricate family heirlooms from the hospice facility where his mother passed away last week. They were moved there with her when she left a skilled-care part of a facility that she originally moved into when she only needed assisted living. It seems the early-American furniture may be grabbed by staff instead of returned to the son, who lives 1000 miles away and arranged a for company to ship it to him. His townhouse is already quite full, so the arrival of more pieces will make it officially stuffed to the gills.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Feb 24 - 11:23 AM

It's February 27 but just like that! the heavy terry cloth long bathrobe is too warm for wearing even in the morning (after yesterday's high it was 68o this morning). Today's forecast high is 89o. I'm drinking my tea after breakfast then headed into the yard before it gets too warm to work. The robe is going into the laundry and then back into the closet and a lighter flannel robe will move to the foot of the bed. Wednesday and Thursday may be a little cooler (highs ~ 50) then the rest of the week in the 70s and 80s.

A few small items have been dropped into the donation bin, but I need to do more. I rearranged a table and chair in the den and repositioned the dog kennel; many of the items on the tabletop just collect dust so may be candidates (and if the dogs bang the kennel into the table they'll knock things off and break them). I usually offer collectible objects like these to the kids before selling or donating, but it means more clutter in their houses. I should break that cycle.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 27 Feb 24 - 11:46 AM

The first Perth County Particular rainstorm of the year, complete with chain lightning and ferocious thunderclaps, has just rolled out of town. It arrived as I was driving home (due west) from the allergist’s office in Kitchener, so I watched it develop on the horizon — quite the sight, like the “Night on Bald Mountain” segment in Disney’s “Fantasia”.

But the last week of February is at least a month too early for this kind of weather.

Next week, the cats will go to the vet for their annual check-up. Lately, Isobel has been coughing almost as much as I do, and yesterday she was wheezing … These are not good signs in an aging pussycat. Watson seems to be in rude health, if a bit portly.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Feb 24 - 10:54 AM

"Rude health" describes the girls and actually is pretty much the state of the deaf old lab who staggers and bounces more than lopes around the yard (he moves his back legs at once, not one leg in front of the other any more, due to the arthritis).

Getting the wheels aligned today so I'll do a cursory cleanup of the inside of the car since I have to point out the buttons to press to get the fan to make it's broken noise. That diagnosis will be for a near-future repair (hot weather is almost here, the AC needs to be working.) Must take a book along to read while I wait, or maybe listen to my audiobook that I've been trying to finish for ages.

The back yard is looking good, the compost bin was emptied of the old finished compost and is now full of the bagged grass from that first mow of really tall weeds and grass (it will soon shrink down to nothing but it's a great kick start to the process of breaking down the year's weeds and clippings.) The yard always looks lovely when the weeds are still green and they are mowed. Front yard mow is this afternoon.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Feb 24 - 12:24 PM

Wheels aligned; next up, AC fan and brakes, probably next week. It's always something!

Last night I pulled one of the blankets off of the bed because it was too warm after the high temperatures this week. So this morning it was down to 41. Ugg. I needed a jacket this morning and I might as well change into clean jeans because these grass-stained ones from yesterday won't be getting more grass stains today.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 28 Feb 24 - 01:36 PM

The thermometer has dropped some 13 degrees Celsius since supper-time yesterday, and now it's snowing sideways, driven by a truly ferocious wind. Just in case anyone got the idea that spring might be at hand.

The snow brush is still in the car, which is still wearing its winter tires. This is Ontario, dammit, and winter has another month to run.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Feb 24 - 11:38 AM

Bills. They come up every month, and sometimes every six months or year. I happened to glance at the statement for the auto insurance and realized the cost of paying monthly has climbed precipitously. If I pay monthly for five months on a six month policy, the total is $110 more than paying in a lump sum. It used to add $3 a month to pay over time, clearly that changed! Paying it in a lump sum basically saves the amount that I paid for the wheel alignment.

I also went in and cancelled the auto-renewal of a genealogy site that I joined last year (by mistake, I meant to try a month or two, but the fine print I missed meant I was stuck with a year). I'm not closing it so I can still look at the materials. They just offered a 60% off year that I may accept, but it's still steep. I need to finish gathering the information and move onto another hobby. It was my mother who was really engrossed in this, I just wanted to see if the Internet age could update her findings (instead, it seems a lot of people carelessly enter their information and I get several emails a week telling me of discrepancies, mine or someone else's.)

Rainy today and cold, so more indoor work. Recent eBay listings have had some looks but no sales so far; I'll switch to other items that tend to sell quickly. It's a hobby to post listings, but for real motivation they need to bring in cash.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Mar 24 - 09:11 AM

Rainfall yesterday wasn't measureable, but it was enough to generate more muddy footprints in the den. There was some snow and more rain than we got in the Texas Panhandle (400 miles northwest of here) that may have slowed the wildfires but the weather is supposed to warm and get windier through the weekend.

Dog food containers were both needing refilling this week so the large bags are no longer reclining on the couch (for lack of a better place to stack them this time.) Knock wood they leave the bags alone instead of chewing a hole (I seem to remember the cats doing that) but I still don't put them on the floor where it is an open invitation for mischief.

The new month in the Bullet Journal shows a robust list of things to do, starting with mowing this afternoon once the grass dries.

I hope we hear from Dorothy soon, and fingers crossed the health outlook is good. Same with Jon, and any other lurkers out there.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 01 Mar 24 - 11:23 AM

The cats have gone off their very expensive canned meat. Dammit. And Isobel (small, intelligent, suspicious and unscrupulous) has a vet appointment this afternoon at three o'clock, which means that every door in the house is closed to ensure that she doesn't take refuge in an inconvenient spot such as under the cellar stairs. Watson's date with the vet is next week, but he is no trouble -- putting him into the carrier is a matter of scoop and drop.

Tuesday's blast of winter has ended, leaving a layer of new snow that is rapidly vanishing in bright sunshine. On the whole, a sheepish entry to the month of March.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Donuel
Date: 01 Mar 24 - 03:07 PM

Our big cat started meowing constantly yesterday.
Today the CO alarm went off. A giant lint clog fell down the chimney and opened a joint in the furnace flu.
We dodged a fatal bullet with our CO alarm which continued to go off 2 hours after all windows and doors were opened.
The gas company came within 15 minutes but the furnace people are not here yet after 2 hours. Yeah, I felt a definite brain fog.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 01 Mar 24 - 03:10 PM

Yikes!

I have a day off. Am planning on -not actually doing, mind you, yet- putting all my clean laundry away. It's been weeks. There are multiple piles.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Donuel
Date: 01 Mar 24 - 03:26 PM

Reminder: carbon monoxide is toxic, dirty laundry is fetid but not fatal.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Mar 24 - 05:22 PM

Clean laundry is good, even if you dress straight from the dryer, but best if it is back in the closet and dresser.

I dodged a laundry issue today. I showered when I got home this morning to wash the sticky oily goo and washable marker ink off of my scalp and hair. I was away overnight for a sleep study and they get you up at 5am - right when you're finally getting your best sleep. Duh. Anyway, after the sensors are removed one touch revealed the sticky stuff and there's no way I want that on my own pillow so I didn't go back to bed, I fed the dogs, drank decaf tea, then got into the shower. (You'd think that a medical person who spends their evenings measuring and marking heads before attaching sensors would know exactly what I was talking about when I asked her about her modern phrenology work. I had to explain about the early 1800s pseudo-science.)

This week I've made progress on the current jigsaw puzzle, promised to friends after I finish it, and I'd like to hand it over while they still remember the offer!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Thompson
Date: 02 Mar 24 - 04:23 AM

Yikes, glad you're ok, Donuel.

Stilly, I used to have a method, and am creeping back to it, where I made a table of all inevitable weekly and monthly and annual expenses, worked out how much each was per week, and transferred all direct debits into a separate bank account, with money automatically transferred into that account every week. It means that if a sudden €500 bill comes up, there'll be money there to cover it.
And the great beauty of the method is that if the money to cover these expenses is gone out of your main account, you don't really consider it yours any more. It's incredibly calming to do this. Even if you can't manage to put the whole amount aside every week, you can put in a basic amount, then throw in a bit extra when you have a "win" - an extra payment for something you do. It takes away that sub-panic of trying to have the money in your main account when a payment is due to trigger, and worrying that it'll accidentally spend itself!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Mar 24 - 12:30 PM

Thompson, my Mom had a rule for herself that she instilled in us: to have a base amount in the checking account that you simply didn't go below. You teach yourself to unsee that amount. College years were hard on my checking account but once I was working regularly I've made it my policy. (Credit unions have a base amount in Savings accounts you're not supposed to go below - a puny $5 - but when using programs like Quicken I notice the difference between what Quicken shows and what the CU shows on that balance.) At one time the commercial bank I used had an arrangement so you could have a second checking account to use in the way you describe (I think the plan was to protect your main checking and savings account from being hit by hackers or fraudulent checks). But commercial banks charge fees for everything and it was annoying to watch them nickel and dime my accounts monthly. Once the kids were grown and on their own (they used to have accounts linked to mine so I could move money for or to them if needed) I cut ties and moved to the credit union. Another thing that needs periodic examination is the way bills are paid, which is why I noticed the gouging going on.

My electric company merged with another company early this year and the bills have shot up, but I have a contract for a relatively low rate, so I have to pull up records and see what is going on. It's always something.

Lovely weather today so there will be yard work.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 02 Mar 24 - 05:21 PM

Two huge boxes of excess cookware have left the building, gone to Goodwill. This lot included Edmund’s enormous cast-iron skillet that I need two hands to lift, an enormous preserving pan, a small canner (the size of a normal stock pot), and Edmund’s stack of spring-form cake pans. What’s left on the basement work table is more attractive stuff destined for the spring rummage sale at church.

Upstairs, I have started purging music and video that doesn’t need to take up physical space, and pruned the books again — novels that can also go to the church.

I’m not sure what end-state I’m heading for, but it will come with visible baseboards in every room.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 02 Mar 24 - 07:30 PM

Declutter is one of the activities required of me now.

For four years I have put off decluttering my apartment (2Bd, 1Ba).
Now I'm getting started.
There is a lot of trash in the form of papers and old files,
so that is getting removed a little at a time.
The unneeded clothing is going to places like St Vincent de Paul,
Goodwill, or whatever drop-in box is convenient (other organizations).

The unneeded books are going to a place called More Than Words.
It combines the sorting and selling of second-hand books with
a mission for assisting disadvantaged high-school students.
I love driving a back-seat-load of boxes of books to More Than Words.
The students there are always ready to help unload the boxes and
to carry the books away to their own storage room.

The apartment still looks cluttered at the moment,
but I know what has been cleared out
and I can see the clear spaces that used to have piles or boxes stacked in them.
Eventually, though, I will have to clear out the file cabinets that have files I have not looked at, or needed, in years.
For now the cabinets can sit there while I get rid of the stuff outside of the cabinets.
I'll probably get rid of the cabinets themselves anyway, when the time comes.

Most likely I will have to downsize to a smaller space and so
eventually some of the furniture will have to go as well.
Then there is what is left of a cheap bookcase.
The bookshelves were made of particle board.
I loaded the shelves up with books, and one day they came apart
and the books spilled all over the wall-to-wall carpet.
Now the pieces of the shelves are waiting for me to
get someone to remove them as "junk".


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Mar 24 - 08:43 PM

Keb, is where you are living now the apartment you describe, or is the apartment near the facility you have been a part of?

Two of the dogs and I took a quick walk this evening before dinner and enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the way back to the house. Much of this lovely day languished as I worked on computer stuff I need to finish. Yard work pushed to tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Mar 24 - 10:49 AM

Stilly, I"m still living at the "facility" in question;
the apartment I describe is a little over two hours away,
and it is functioning as a very expensive storage unit at the moment.
I have been renting the apartment during my entire treatment.

A dental appointment had been scheduled for me last week, and so
I took advantage of the appointment to set aside some time
in order to start clearing out the apartment.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Mar 24 - 11:31 AM

Starting on the apartment without a plan can set you back, moodwise. I hope you have a list to work from. It sounds like a nice-sized apartment, is it not someplace you want to live again? If the community has all of those thrift stores you name it sounds like a good sized community. One method that has come into vogue (and probably what I would use in my next move, if I make one) is to load up PODS containers and then have them moved to the next place you want to move into. Easier than living with the stress of a moving company (and all of the loss from casual workers lifting prime items or boxes with labels that suggest the contents are fungible (to pawn cash). If it can be dropped in a parking space near the apartment fill it and overnight put a padlock on it. When you finish filling it lock it and have the company pick it up to store and get the next POD to fill. Rinse and repeat until you have everything.

The breaker to the office popped again overnight, and there was no storm to cause it. I need the electrician out here to change that to a standard breaker so that chore goes higher up on my list of things to do this spring.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: pattyClink
Date: 03 Mar 24 - 02:28 PM

Best wishes on the project, keb. I like your approach of pulling out things for specific destinations and taking them there posthaste. I got a lot of good mileage out of that approach. So many tackle things as a giant sort-out that gets bogged down.

Stilly, I used a POD for 30 days, it did help me clear out rooms to paint and also help with the keep/purge process. But, cost was high and rising, I hope it's affordable.

Also, was shocked to find some clothing damaged. I had hung a lot of stuff high up in the unit, which had a translucent (fiberglass?) roof, some things got severely faded. Anything subject to heat/cold/light damage, be careful.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 03 Mar 24 - 02:38 PM

Patty is right -- whatever you select for disposal, get it out of the house as fast as you can. Otherwise you end up with what my mother called the "mobile muddle", an accumulation of stuff that never gets put away or rehomed, but just sits in one place or another in the house until everyone stops seeing it. This is Bad. Mobile muddles tend to grow and spawn, which is Worse.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Mar 24 - 03:44 PM

I know what you mean by mobile muddles, Charmion!! I've got 'em!
And I am making dents in them as best I can.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Mar 24 - 12:21 AM

Mobile muddles. I've never seen those words combined before but understand them perfectly and I have illustrations of the concept in many rooms in the house.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 04 Mar 24 - 08:11 AM

I'm looking at my mobile muddles - official archival stuff with unofficial hobby suff on top. Originally 2 piles, then combined & parked on the scanner to get them off the floor, then I needed to scan ...


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Mar 24 - 01:43 PM

Heading down the GoodReads rabbit hole this morning had me sorting some of my recent virtual and physical book purchases and I've updated my list for the annual reading challenge. Keb and Charmion toting books off to the used book stores reminds me that I have quite a "want to read" stack.

When my calendar pinged an appointment notification yesterday I realized there was a funeral for a former coworker so I scrambled into more suitable clothes (no skirts or dresses, but the gabardine slacks looked good and there was no slogan on the front of my t-shirt worn under a linen 3/4 sleeve jacket). I sat with three former coworker friends and we had a good visit. Caught up on important stuff until the next funeral or university retiree dinner.

One of those friends has adopted the dog that belonged to a retired colleague who died last year. We discussed old dogs and I followed up by shopping for large dog pads to put on the bed in the crate in particular since the dog who most often sleeps in there is more likely to not wake when he needs to go out. This morning he got a good going-over with the furminator tool and his ears squirted with the cleaning fluid. There will be a bath one of these days; for now he gets an occasional spritz with the enzyme spray that breaks down the proteins in pee.

I tackled one mobile muddle today and filed bills and papers going back about three months (the stack kept moving from the top of my printer/scanner to the bookshelves behind my office chair. They're now filed in the office closet).


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 04 Mar 24 - 05:36 PM

I tackled one mobile muddle today and filed bills and papers going back about three months (the stack kept moving from the top of my printer/scanner to the bookshelves behind my office chair. They're now filed in the office closet). - you are talking about me! apart from the mention of stuff being filed.

I just moved the 3 or 4 bits of hobby stuff off the archival stuff & found the 2 envelopes of info about the upcoming festival & folklore conference & moved it aside. Well done, me!!!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: pattyClink
Date: 04 Mar 24 - 07:16 PM

I love that 'mobile muddle' phrase too. And this mobile home has got some mobile muddles!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: JennieG
Date: 04 Mar 24 - 11:05 PM

I have a lot of music which I want to organise, so my brilliant idea is to acquire a two - or three would be better - drawer filing cabinet and file the music in hanging folders. In alphabetical order, of course.

All I need is the cabinet....I have my name down at one of the op shops in case one is donated, I'm not going to pay full price......

When my heirs are going through my Stuff they can chuck the lot, cabinet and all, should they so wish.

At quilt group earlier today I managed to sew a round (can it be round when the quilt is square?) of diamonds to the central leafy block. It is looking gorgeously autumn-y. That could probably be looked upon as decluttering all those cut fabrics, they aren't clutter when they become a finished quilt, do they?


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 05 Mar 24 - 02:50 AM

well done, Jennie, downsizing fabrics is Good!

Now that you have a little bit of space, I have some new fabrics for you - a friend who used to teach & is now in a much smaller home is downsizing & the craft group went thru her fabrics. I didn't see anything I needed, but thought of you ...


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 05 Mar 24 - 08:47 AM

A flare-up of diverticulosis (-itis) has me grounded today. While one’s lower gut is engaged in prolonged misery, one would prefer to remain within easy dashing distance of one’s personal WC.

Meanwhile, Stratford is having another bout of nearly summer weather — yesterday’s high was 20° Celsius — so I shall cut back my stupid weeping mulberry. When I’ve done that, I can finish the minutes from the last choir board meeting. (Only three more and the AGM to go.) Also, my Trillium mandolin busted an E string last week and really needs a complete suit of new ones.

That’ll be plenty of thrilling activity. Whee.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Mar 24 - 01:32 PM

JennieG said That could probably be looked upon as decluttering all those cut fabrics, they aren't clutter when they become a finished quilt, do they?

I'm operating on the same wavelength - I've sorted fabrics and notions and batting and such and am going to learn to do some of the quilted projects, starting with scraps since I have so many. Having such a plan did involve getting a new sewing machine and doing a lot of rearranging - part of the long-range outlook for this hobby. And all I can say about Sandra's kind offer is that it's better she lives closer to JennieG than to me - receiving stuff from someone's stash is magical and yet it's also something to store and figure out if you can use. Good luck to the two of you in that handoff!

Charmion, that's such a misery, get well soon. I have neighbors who have ended up with surgery for that disease. I learned of their condition over the years when sharing garden produce, so try to offer things I know they can eat (if they love okra but only eat it fried, and that's a trigger, I don't offer okra, etc.)

I finally finished a jigsaw puzzle that has been set up way too long; since I promised it to friends I used that as the reason to make me finally finish it. The handoff will come soon, and another one I finished last year will be donated back to the thrift store where I occasionally buy puzzles. I find having a mix of small (300 piece) ones to work between the 500 and 1000 piece ones is a good way to pace myself (not just doing the big gazillion piece ones all of the time.) I need to find a couple of 300-piece puzzles to balance out all of the bigger ones people have given me.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 Mar 24 - 04:20 PM

I just noticed that the room I've been sticking stuff into that doesn't go anywhere else is filling up. Hmmm. If things don't fit places, other things will have to go. But not today, Zurg!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Mar 24 - 06:38 PM

Mrrzy, we're all trying to stay well below the clutter threshold that makes us eligible for the many hoarder programs one finds on basic cable. Don't be the first!

I've processed images all afternoon, and it's amazing how you can't see the mistakes until you view the finished product. I can work on the original pieces and stick it back together again (I labeled it "proof1" for a reason). And automate the last step. Sitting in my chair all afternoon on another beautiful day blew my general plans for the yard, but I can recoup with a quick mow. I should have explained to the guy I work for just how big this particular project was, but it was kind of like one of those huge volumes Charmion edited a while back - you have to tackle it before you have an idea of how long it will take. This payday will cover a good chunk of the brake job I need to do on the SUV.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 07 Mar 24 - 09:58 AM

It's time I start spending more time again at Mudcat and contributing to this thread.

I'm still decluttering...I try to do a bit every day. I've got more glassware to take to Goodwill.(Don't argue with me; it's the most convenient place for me to unload cubic footage quickly.)

My comment for today is on my difference in energy level between yesterday and today.

Yesterday I just couldn't get going. Didn't actually get out of bed until 1:30. Didn't even go downstairs to boot the computer and brew coffee. Eventually got dressed and went downstairs to get together something for lunch. But while I was doing that, I sautéed some more greens to add to the stirfry I'd made the day before. (And, after it was done, I put it in the fridge — major physical accomplishment for the day.) I was probably depressed, but there was no trigger I could discern. It wasn't like what I call a "grief day", either. I felt like screaming...I felt like crying. Mostly I felt like either taking a nap or finishing The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. Maybe both. (I just finished the book and then went to sleep early.) I had to force myself to do absolutely everything.

Today, I feel fine...with my normal energy level. I've already medicated Rufus's ears, washed a sinkful of dishes, cataloged a couple new additions to my thanatolithogy library, brewed coffee...and posted several things here at Mudcat. Later I hope to finish a copyediting sample so I can return it to the publisher. Maybe I'll get the SIM installed in my new cell phone and set up the inexpensive light annual plan with US Mobile (where I also have a voice-only monthly plan for my flip phone — that's less expensive than one of those emergency buttons). Oh, and I'll do my daily exercises, too which I just could not force myself to do yesterday.

I DO feel like I'm juggling a lot lately. And I don't multi-task as well as I used to. And the weather hasn't really been cooperating (despite snowdrops blooming in the rockery and the daffs up about 3").

And the figurative logjam in the universe for so many of my friends seems to be loosening up...that's a good thing, too.

Anyway, I hope to be spending more time here again. Now...off to take coffee upstairs and do "morning" things on my iPad and Kindle.

Linn


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Mar 24 - 11:15 AM

Linn, no argument about the glassware from me. I have several beautiful pieces (picked up at Goodwill) that are relisting each month on eBay, but so far not moving. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Your energy level analysis is something I've subjected myself to for months; some days fine, other days I can't make myself leave the house. That "figurative logjam in the universe" is exactly what it feels like, where I don't discern a situational reason for low-grade depression (unless, of course, it is US politics. . . ).

Rain today but I have an appointment taking me onto the slick streets. While I'm out I'll get other things taken care of.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 07 Mar 24 - 11:18 AM

Good to see you back on this board, Linn. I've been wondering how you're doing.

Is the reputation of Goodwill Industries different in the States from what it is here? I take stuff to Goodwill all the time; they seem to have ways to absorb even large quantities of books, which nobody else around here does, and I've never heard anything *bad* or even iffy about them.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 07 Mar 24 - 05:59 PM

Charmion, it seems as if every time I post at Facebook about donating stuff to Goodwill, I get arguments from the peanut gallery about how they're not a true charity, that the profits don't get to the people who need it, how the CEO makes too much money, etcet etcet.

Charity Navigator gives most Goodwill Industries (maybe all) a four-star rating, but I still get a lot of negativity on Facebook.

I donate a lot to Goodwill because they are more convenient for me than Savers or Salvation Army. And I have objections to Salvation Army LGBTQ policy so tend to avoid them.

Linn


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Mar 24 - 08:48 PM

Goodwill isn't a charity, but that doesn't mean they aren't doing good works, and they do manage the churn of donated items that people can't use in their homes (and leftovers from garage sales and estate sales). There is a big training program for individuals with disabilities, veterans, formerly incarcerated, etc., associated with them (at least here in the states) and they hire and train a lot of people who have had trouble getting jobs otherwise. They sell high-end donations in a store in this area they named "GW Boutique" and it doesn't come up on the regular list of stores if you're looking for it. A friend took me to the one in Keller, TX, it's interesting.

The Salvation Army is more akin to a charity, but I find the religiosity of the group off-putting.

I've wondered about how Goodwill manages all of that stuff - perhaps I don't want to know - but mostly I do. If they have to send a lot to the dump it means some of us aren't doing a very good job of determining what is truly useable and what is trash.

I have a local thrift store that I like for shopping clothes (they are the recipient of items donated to several local charities - the thrift store buys them possibly by the pound or piece, and though the amount is small, it adds up for those charities that then don't need to run their own shops.) I mostly go to Goodwill for housewares, furniture, craft stuff, and lucky finds. Their clothes are more expensive than the other thrift store.

It is pouring cats and dogs here tonight; this provides the moisture I needed for garden work over the next couple of weeks but also makes more urgent a repair on the bay window where the plastic cover blew off and it is exposed to moisture. It needs to dry then be covered and sealed.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Mar 24 - 12:57 AM

You can also shop at Goodwill Online and some of the finds there are high-end jewelry and such. I regularly end up buying books from Goodwill through Bookfinder.com.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: pattyClink
Date: 08 Mar 24 - 10:30 AM

Linn, I think maybe fall-apart days can wind up being rest days that the body and mind both need. Perhaps it is in these unstructured hours that the mind purges and reorganizes. Often the best thing to do is nothing!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 08 Mar 24 - 12:40 PM

When I have a fall-apart day, I usually find that there’s a task I’m avoiding or an issue anxious about, and everything else stalls until I identify the problem and deal with it.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 08 Mar 24 - 02:02 PM

In my waging declutter battle — especially of the books that inundate me — I've "lost" this morning. And I blame Irene Saletan (one of the Kissoy Sisters). I'd posted a quote last night at Facebook from the Donna Leon Commissario Brunetti novel I'm currently reading and that incited a lively discussion in the Comments. Irene was the person who mentioned the new Donna Leon memoir Wandering Through Life so I HAD to check it out at Bookfinder.com and ended up ordering a copy. Alas, at the same time I spotted A Taste of Venice the Brunetti-themed Italian cookbook with recipes by Roberta Pianaro and culinary stories by Donna Leon. And Brunetti's Venice by Toni Sepeda. Yeah. Ordered.

It's a losing battle, I'm afraid. No matter how many books are in the pile at the foot of the stairs mostly earmarked for the Nottingham library sale in May, but some being handed off to friends. In the past couple years I've donated several duplicate gravestone books to be used as door prizes at Maine Old Cemeteries Association meetings.

No. Don't suggest I read books from the library. I usually want to OWN the book. Always have, from childhood on. And don't suggest ebooks — that's not as enjoyable reading experience for me as holding a real book in my hands. I need to see words on a page and be able to turn back or peek forward at will. I have a kindle and I have books on my iPad, but that's for traveling or if I'm somehow stuck somewhere without a real book. (When I habitually carried a purse that was small but large enough to hold a book, I had a paperback with me at all times. Now, because my preferred minimal purse is too small for a book, I still have one in the car in the pocket on the door.)

I also don't particularly care for audio books. Tom and I used to use audio books to fall asleep to and they were fine for that. But if I'm doing something else while listening to an audio book, I miss too much especially of the use of language, not just things that keep the plot going. I usually listen to music in the car — or NPR.


It used to be I "won" if, when I went to the library sale, I purchased fewer than I'd donated. (Most of the time I either "lost" or broke even.) I stopped actually going to the library sale a few years ago.

I doubt I'll have time for any actual decluttering today. I've got to review a copyediting sample I need to email back to the publisher and then I'm meeting a friend across the river in Maine to go first to a show opening reception at the Kittery Art Association and then on to the York Library for a performance by Jeff Snow.

But... This morning I had the brilliant idea of donating a machine that burns multiple CDs at a time (brought back, still in the box, from my sister's) to the silent auction at the Circle of Friends festival/gathering in May. That will make room for the digitizing turntable another friend is giving me (also still in the box).

It's hell to be literate...

Linn


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Mar 24 - 04:34 PM

You're in good company, Linn! I have all of the digitizing and media-processing stuff for working on my father's collection - and with the death of Bob Nelson I'm reminded all the more of tempus fugit. He set a good example of what to process. (As did Art Thieme with his collection - Bob's went to the Pacific NW collect at the U of Washington; Art's to the Smithsonian. I'll talk to the UW because Dad went to undergrad and graduate school there and they already have some of his stuff via Bob.)

I think I accidentally bought a second copy of a book I wanted because I didn't realize it was this small (truly a "pocket guide"). If I did get it already it's out of sight with a couple of other things ordered at the same time. Ever done that before?

I love audiobooks, but they get used for mindless things like an hour at the gym and long road trips. If I listen to them when I'm sewing it is on something so routine that I don't have to pause the book to think about what I'm doing (or go back for what I missed.) There are some books I have to read on paper because I end up having to go back and revisit things earlier in the text, almost impossible with audiobooks.

The house has the inside-of-the-goat's-stomach look so I have to spend time picking up.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 09 Mar 24 - 10:24 AM

My 50-year accumulation of photos and negatives is the last stash of stuff in the house that remains so far untouched. Whenever I consider getting started on it, my heart sinks and I close the study closet for another stretch of months. I’m making real inroads on the basement storage areas — who knows, maybe this summer I will be able to get rid of an entire three-bay shelving unit— but the contents of the study closet feel inviolable for a while yet.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Mar 24 - 11:25 AM

Good luck with those photos, Charmion. That is another of my big chores for the near future.

I detest the switch to daylight saving time. I've already started changing clocks as I go through rooms, save myself the scramble this evening. My watch and my phone make the change on their own, those are the two that matter the most.

The weather forecast shifted from "nice weekend" to "cool and overcast weekend." I'm back in my heavy terry cloth bathrobe and last week the bed started the spring phase, looking like a sandwich cut on the diagonal. There is a green wool blanket over the top of the quilt that some nights is tossed back so when I rise I see the quilt diagonal half I slept under and the green wool half over the rest of the bed but still anchored at my side foot. Spring is official when the wool blanket is aired and packed away in the zipper storage under the bed. (It is summer when the quilt is stored on the closet shelf and I use a light cotton cover to stay comfortable when the AC is on.)

Running around again today, and quiet tomorrow - alas, I was to be at the beck and call of three tiny kitties for a few days but one has become ill with a furball that seems unwilling to pass. When the last of my cats passed away I put in a flap for the dogs. Living next to the woods my cats were totally indoor creatures, but they would be able exit a dog door the way it is now. Too many coyotes, bobcats, and hawks for cats outside, so I get my dose of cat cuddles with those three.

The extra rain we had pushed tilling the garden back several days, but I can still do some decluttering in the greenhouse and set up pots and start some seeds that I would have planted directly in the soil. And there is plenty of decluttering to do in the garage and the sun room.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Mar 24 - 10:33 PM

Knocked off a few small chores today and managed to stuff some clutter into the trash for tomorrow's pickup. Recycling was also dropped off (including some my daughter brought me that she hasn't found a way to recycle in her rural area.)

I've set up a new bed in the kennel and am trying an arrangement of large dog training pad tucked around it to see if I can figure out how much the Labrador retriever is leaking, and where. It isn't all of the time, but it's enough that I'm washing that bedding regularly. Perhaps the pads will reduce the amount of laundry. The first one was put down and soon torn up by Cookie; so the next one was sprayed with a bitter apple spray that didn't work well when she was a pup but seems to have the desired effect now. (I spritzed on my fingers and let her lick to see her reaction - even after washing it's durable and I've gotten it in my mouth also. Yuck!)


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Mar 24 - 01:12 PM

Well, that didn't work. The old lab slept on a different bed and left a large puddle in the middle of it. Decluttering the house of dog pee this morning, the bed and rugs are in the dryer now and I'll mop next. At this point I plan to split the difference. The dogs are in the yard today with the dog door flap covered and I've ordered disposable male XL wraps (he has a 28" waist) for nighttime. The diaper wrap will go on for overnight and nothing during the day when they'll stay in the yard, to avoid getting a rash from constantly wearing the wrap. Part of his problem is a fat mass in his belly putting pressure on his bladder when he is recumbent. A 15-year-old Lab doesn't survive any kind of surgery and despite the deafness and difficulty walking he is a happy dog. Inconvenience (the word I did intend to use) is not a good reason to euthanize an animal. We'll be there soon enough, appetite loss will signal that it's time.

On the upside a couple of eBay items sold over the weekend. More are ready to list today. The mail carrier picked up a box and asked if I had a bottle of water, he had forgotten his today (I keep a couple on a shelf by the door.) Glad to help! I find that small things can help my mood - the water today; yesterday in Lowe's I was pushing a cart but only had an empty bucket in it so asked a young man struggling with a 5-gallon bucket of paint if he'd like it. He and his father were pleased to accept. It's not like you can go looking for goodie-two-shoes things to do during the day, but small gestures of consideration that arise benefit both parties. It's part of why going out regularly is good for retirees who live alone.

In the muddling-along part of my routine it works for me to eat a high protein breakfast to reduce the impulse to snack later in the day, so I've flipped the meal plan and have dinner-type foods for breakfast and carbs in the evening. Charmion once speculated that whole milk might also have that effect, but it didn't work when I tried it (and the MyFitnessPal app kept scolding about the amount of fat). Lean lamb this morning with a cara cara orange on the side was a nice meal.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 12 Mar 24 - 10:20 AM

When I go to the supermarket, I sometimes see a frail and/or heavily laden person waiting in the entrance area, presumably for a ride. If that person is still waiting when I have checked out and I’m headed to the parking lot, I will usually ask if I can help — nothing in Stratford is more than 10 minutes away. Old folks waiting for the bus (this town has lousy public transit) or an AWOL taxi will usually accept; I’m female and obviously not young myself, so I’m safe. My plan, of course, is to reap karma points when it’s my turn to dodder.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Mar 24 - 01:07 PM

That is nice! I rescued a woman at Costco a while ago, with the unfortunate "forgot my phone in my son's car and he was supposed to pick me up when I called" story. Like you say, it's easier in small towns to offer rides to strangers, but makes for good conversations when it happens.

Today I am solving the puzzle of diapering an escape artist Labrador retriever. He needs a band to collect pee when he's in the house, but two attempts of diapering him so far haven't worked. Last night he seems to have crawled out of it; I have mopped the spot on the tile where he slept. Reading Amazon reviews is helpful - I've decided to put a shoulder leash harness on him and will use a bungee or a band or something I make out of velcro to run from that to the top side of the band, and I've ordered a cloth diaper that I'll use as a cover over a disposable band. It seems the suspenders they sell for dogs are easily defeated by dogs. The dogs are spending another day in the yard and I got the sliding door track cleaned and moving smoothly since I have to be quick slipping through to leave them out there.

Amazon and Google aren't very discreet about shopping searches - my Instagram feed is already pushing out ads for doggie diapers and I only started looking yesterday.

Heading out soon, but forms came in from the sleep study place that must be completed first; it seems the wait is weeks to see the doctor in person so I'll do a telemedicine visit this week. These folks had me measuring my neck and head circumference a couple of times; the tape measure is out from measuring the Lab for his gear, so I'm set to also measure me if they ask. I've given it a quick rinse to remove any residual dog urine.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Mar 24 - 10:35 AM

It is 3:0 so far - three nights trying to put the band on the Lab and three nights he managed to walk out of it. Today's Amazon delivery should provide some assistance. I've realized that the new chest harness won't just help with stabilizing the band, it will make it easier to help him up and down, because pulling on his collar can put a lot of pressure on his throat so will be better even if I never keep another diaper on him. This is that expensive end stage in a beloved pet's life, when you can accommodate problems but they get more complicated quickly. (I fear this is the same stage for my friend with the three cats in my cat sitting side gig. The littlest guy is struggling.)

Heavy weather headed this way so I took the new heavy duty stapler out and attached a contractor-size trash bag onto the side of the house where the repair needs to happen. Why didn't I think of this before? I forgot the new stapler was here.

This week there has been a lot of racket from a guy clearing deadwood on the lot across the road from me. It turns out he's hauling those trees in pieces and chipping them on this side of the road on another wooded lot, and I can take my wheelbarrow around and fill it with mulch. The fastest way to get it into my yard is to follow the fenceline to the back gate and dump it in the compost pile area. If I piled it behind the fence it might wash away should the creek rise. The fence here and next door were put in about 20 feet above the creek bank to avoid washing out, but now it looks like we may need to move them closer to our houses. If I do that I may install a low concrete wall like the neighbor on the other side put in.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 13 Mar 24 - 11:13 AM

It's a beautiful spring day in Stratford, but more snow is coming next week -- our usual equinoctial lake-effect storm. My daffodils will be in bloom by then, but they won't care. Daffs are tough.

Watson (cat) had his annual date with the vet last week. She prodded and poked him, remarked on his fine condition, winning personality and general air of confidence, but pointed out the nubbles on his lower spine that indicate encroaching arthritis -- "Is he jumping less?" Of course, the answer is yes. He still levitates with apparent ease to the kitchen counter, but not as often as he did in his younger days, and I can't remember the last time he flung himself straight up from the floor and into my arms.

Like many domestic cats, both Watson and Isobel have lost teeth to resorption disease, though they still have the full set of four fangs each. They are littermates nearly 11 years old, but Watson is showing more signs of age than Isobel does.

I have choir stuff to do -- the weekly email newsletter -- and the refrigerator is empty again. Heigh-ho, life goes on.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Mar 24 - 11:36 AM

Counter surfing was always a problem with my old cats though they usually didn't flaunt it in front of me. The Lab retriever was a classic sneaky counter surfer in his prime; turn your back and the roll you intended to eat went missing and he was back in the exact same position across the room looking innocent when you turned around again.

My friend with the cats gives them glucosamine in their food every day to slow arthritis, she gets it in capsules as Cosequin. Cats won't eat capsules but pulling them apart and emptying the dry contents onto the food and mixing it well works. My two older dogs get tablets of glucosamine that is beef flavored and they scarf it down with the rest of the food in their bowls. I don't know if it works, though a lot of people also use it. My mother was taking one of the forms of it and thought it was helpful.

I should mow today before the rains arrive overnight. The tree shredding guy is back at work this morning so I'll wait till after he leaves to go get mulch.

Allergies are making themselves felt.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Donuel
Date: 14 Mar 24 - 12:18 PM

A Bose soundbar has replaced my stereo, giant speakers, and obsolete F connector plugs. I will only retain the tuner and turn table elsewhere just in case I ever play a record again.
The sound controls are now done with my phone.
I won't miss the earthquake deep subwoofers.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Mar 24 - 12:27 PM

I realized this morning before dawn when I had to get up to help Zeke off of the floor (he was doing his unhappy bark) to go outside that he wasn't his old happy self, and hasn't been for a while, so I made the call and took him to the vet this morning to euthanize. I let the next door neighbors know and they came over to say goodbye.

The universe spoke, in a way: as we drove off Beethoven's Ninth was just starting and was our accompaniment for the drive. I stayed with him till the end but wasn't there long, and when I left the Ode to Joy was just starting. Joy defined his life for almost the entirety of it.

Now to wash beds and rugs and floors and put the den into order. I can put furniture back where it used to go before I had a dark dog struggling through narrow passages (or sleeping in them - a tripping hazard of the first order). That harness I put on him yesterday was a huge help, we were able to move him through the clinic with some dignity and more comfortable for him. The rest of the recent purchases can be donated, and his senior dog food as well (the other dogs don't like it as well as their own.)


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 14 Mar 24 - 03:55 PM

I'm remembering a friend's story of taking her deaf/blind/incontintent cat to the vet with her 16-year old twins when it no longer wanted to be cuddled ... I had tears in my eyes then & do now.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 14 Mar 24 - 04:56 PM

So sorry about Zeke, Stilly. Hard day for you.

Today, I have been preoccupied with an ailing furnace. I got up to a chilly house this morning, and by the time the nice technician arrived the thermometer was down to 16°C — too cold for typing, so the choir newsletter is still to do. The furnace is suffering from a common design problem that will eventually prove fatal, the only question is when. Oh, well.

True sign of Spring in Stratford: the Dairy Queen has opened.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Mar 24 - 05:42 PM

Thanks, all. The vet bill is eye-watering also, but so much better for the dog there than at the low-cost Humane Society, and it was with people he knew.

My Ryobi scrubber brush is making quick work of the den tiles, as I do a section at a time then dump water. When that's dry I move to the next spot. Two batches of dog beds and floor mats have gone through the laundry so far.

Here we have the opposite of Charmion's cold weather, the humidity is 76% and the temperature is 76o. Uncomfortable, with storms tonight. But didn't you get a new furnace in this house? Or am I remembering either your last house or someone else's furnace replacement?

Bummer of a day and I'm stalled on the New York Times Connections puzzle. I've solved the yellow and green colors and am clueless about the rest. I suspect clues from modern movies or television programs I have never watched. (At least Wordle was only 4 guesses).


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 14 Mar 24 - 07:36 PM

Condolences to you over the loss of Zeke, Stilly,
and thinking also of the two "girls",
especially when you have said that Cookie adored Zeke.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Mar 24 - 09:05 PM

Thanks, Keb. It was odd at dinner - I always shook hands with Zeke before putting down his bowl, then I get a kiss from Pepper and set her bowl, and get a kiss from Cookie. Then they eat. Tonight they looked around, like "how do we do this now?" Decluttering a dog is a sad episode in the household, but now that the source of the lion's share of mess has departed, we can settle into a simpler routine, one that will start with more walks with the girls. That kind of activity will reknit our little pack.

Thunderstorms are passing through tonight, so my clean den will soon be muddy, but I'll be able to get it up easier now that underlying grime from the last few weeks was removed.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: JennieG
Date: 15 Mar 24 - 12:38 AM

Sorry to hear about Zeke, Stilly. Even when you know it's the right thing to do, you can't help having a pang or two.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Donuel
Date: 15 Mar 24 - 07:34 AM

I think of Zeke as top senior dog during the closet heat emergency.

My parents had a saying during below zero nights, "throw another dog on".
'



'


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Mar 24 - 01:38 PM

You're correct about that, Donuel! He was a great thermal source that week! It's going to take a while for the mental map of the house to shift - I'd swear I saw him walking down a dark hall this morning, but Pepper emerged into the light. I've moved my tea cart back to its original position next to the kitchen peninsula and now have to return some things to it that moved to the peninsula for ease of use. Next decision: leave the wire crate out or not. I bought it to keep Cookie out of trouble overnight as a puppy but Zeke gradually moved in and spent most nights sleeping in there. The door is rarely closed. Also, there are too many dog beds here, but those that were repaired aren't very attractive. I should offer a few the cleaned ones (sent through the wash) on Freecycle. That would free up space on the floor in the front room where the eBay stuff lives and give me easier access to the piano (I haven't played in a long time and I miss it.)

More thunderstorms this afternoon, so this might be a good time to do something not dependent upon the Internet or electricity. Perhaps time to visit the piano.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Mar 24 - 10:18 PM

When I packed the wire kennel flat and set it aside the girls seemed disturbed that it wasn't there, so after sweeping the whole area I put it back up. The newest beds have been put out again after the covers were washed and I'll stack surplus beds in one place and decide what to do with them. Some of them are stored now, others live in places where the dogs like to hang out around the house.

I have a small stack of finished jigsaw puzzles to donate back to the thrift store where I usually buy them. A new one was emptied onto the sunroom table this evening (1000 pieces) that is going to take at least a few weeks to assemble. The one I finished today was a 300-piece colorful view of a garden at the edge of a forest and was a good quick palate cleanser between larger puzzles.

Tomorrow is forecast to be another rainy day so I'll continue working in the house, but I need to get a lot of stuff ready to plant soon. My neighbor always prescribes to wait and plant tomatoes after Easter; that's two weeks away. I can keep putting seeds into pots for now. My squash Tatume seeds arrive this week.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 16 Mar 24 - 09:49 AM

I see that Donuel has made the leap to 21st-century audio with a Bose sound bar.

We bought a spectacularly expensive Bose “sound touch” wifi-equipped music player seven years ago, when we moved from Ottawa. I would never have considered such an expense if we had not been flush with cash from the sale of our previous house. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to retool (as it were), replacing our dust-collecting space hog of a 1980s-vintage stereo with a much smaller device that combines a CD player with conventional and internet radio, streaming services, and Bluetooth capability.

My aging ears do not perceive any loss of sound quality, and the machine sits neatly on a corner of the sideboard — a huge declutter in itself. I strongly recommend Bose equipment to anyone who has their recorded music collection stored in iTunes (Apple Music), and a not-insignificant lump of available money.

Right now, I’m listening to a Vivaldi mandolin concerto on SiriusXM. Aaaaahhh … delightful.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Mar 24 - 07:01 PM

I've looked at Bose - I could never persuade myself to spend that much for the various devices I've shopped. And it is remarkable the stuff that turns up at Goodwill - I have a high-end JVC receiver from the time when all of the surround speakers were popular and DVD at its height (it also has buttons for VHS and stereo turntable) - for about $25. I still have my father's really good speakers and a couple of others connected for TV viewing. I added a Bluetooth adapter so the Echo dot lives on top of the receiver and communicates audio content via the adapter. It sounds great to my ears.

Two days after losing the Lab and someone has already asked if I'm looking to expand the pack to three again and they have a friend with a dog that needs a new home. Nope. She apparently tripped on a dog toy and broke her wrist. (The answer may be as simple as to get rid of the dog toys, they don't need them.) No point in setting up her hopes; no more dogs for a while, at the very least, and if one is adopted, we make a connection on our own (even if it is at the shelter.) Right now we need to examine the hole left in our household and live with it for a while.

For spring I'm working on a list of projects that need to be finished. That'll keep me busy (the list and the projects) because there seem to be quite a few things around here lately that require the last step or two before I can put away the materials.

Dorothy, if you're reading along, I hope you're feeling better and R is still being a great help. And if Susan (WYSIWYG) still checks in have someone update us on your progress.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 17 Mar 24 - 05:03 PM

Good on you, Stilly:
your two dogs will still do the job you trained them to do,
and now they get to be closer to you at the same time.
Thinking of you as all of you grieve your loss.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Mar 24 - 06:56 PM

There is a sense of relief also when the thing you dread finally happens and you can move on. That old dog was a lot of work; the routine has suddenly simplified. I was shopping for fruit and veggies for three dogs (on top of their dry food), but with the big one gone I need half as much food because proportate to dog size, he got as much as the other two combined. When I tell them to eat I can step aside and sit on the arm of the sofa again; for months I've been propping up the back end of the old Lab so he didn't topple and knock over the contents of his bowl. (Oh my aching back!)

A goodbye lunch with a former colleague today; he's moving to Indiana to be near family and admittedly as a climate change escapee. He figures the summers in Texas aren't getting any cooler so he's moving while he can. After giving a tour at the museum I ran into another old coworker from the university who now works at a local public library. So much catching up with him and his partner; I hope to soon hear from a mutual friend of ours who I lost track of. So many stories from all of us. And the recommendation of a good auto repair shop and a couple of good restaurants.

I feel inspired to get moving with the eBay listings - my lunch friend did a lot of sales during COVID to clear out many useful but unneeded items. We concur that antiques aren't the valuable property now that they were when we were growing up or as younger adults doing our own collecting. Family heirlooms are harder to hand down to the kids.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Mar 24 - 11:31 AM

I'm revising my little list routine; it's something I mentioned reading about last fall, a list of up to six items for the day, numbered in order of importance, crossed off when completed, transfer uncompleted items to the next day. When I remember to make the list it has been helpful, but some tasks need more discipline than just being noted and numbered. I've replaced the battery in a timer to leave in my office for some of the things that often take way longer than they should.

One of the dog items out in the Monday trash is a 4' scrap square of carpet. It was under a large dog bed, but as Zeke grew leakier it was hit many times and was never going to be truly clean even with the steam clean machine. (I sprayed it often with an enzyme solution meant to break down pet smells.) It was a surface that offered traction so he could roll over and stand.

It's gorgeous today, but the ground is too wet to work yet. It might be dry enough to mow the front this afternoon. After 2+ inches of rain we're verging on weeds tall enough for the code enforcement guy to get out his warning tags, so it's a race to beat him to it.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Mar 24 - 10:50 PM

Last week my pharmacy sent a text saying CDC is recommending another booter for COVID; I asked today when I was there and they said anyone over 65 can get another vaccination if it's more than four months since the last one. So I got it.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 19 Mar 24 - 12:10 PM

I haven't heard anything about new COVID boosters in Ontario. Time to look at the Ministry of Health website, I guess.

Today is Edmund's birthday, so I'm feeling a bit strange. I should be making a bang-up dinner to go with prezzies, but the fridge is empty (it's just another Tuesday) and my agenda is full of choir-related problems. It's also snowing -- perfectly normal for the March equinox but not cheery; the sky is leaden grey and the street is messy with slush. Roll on Spring.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Mar 24 - 09:38 PM

This evening I made a dinner for myself that represents one of my son's favorite dishes (homemade chicken breast strips, breaded and fried in oil and butter). Since he is half a country away, I can't fix a birthday dinner for him but making it for myself is a nice reminder of his birthday (two weeks ago). I've made it three times this month (it is also a favorite of mine!)

After 22 years in this house with increasing mortgage payments every year, I had the pleasant surprise of reviewing the annual mortgage documents and seeing a decrease in the required escrow amount. Last year the state legislature passed laws to lower taxes for homeowners and it seems to have worked. The monthly payment will stay the same for the next year. (I could put the refund toward the payment and lower the bill each month, but at this point I'm not trying to hurry along the final payment, I have to get my ducks lined up for that first.)

My day has been achy, with a slight flu-like feeling after yesterday's vaccination. I took it easy, only pulling some large weeds and dropping them in place; tomorrow they'll be mulched in when I mow. Past side-effects were brief, so I expect tomorrow to be back to normal. I've also moved some of clutter in the front room and there's almost enough space in there to set up the photo cube and lights for eBay listings, letting me clear eBay stuff off the dining table in the den. Then I'll have that tabletop to put out my cloth cutting board for projects that can't be cut in the sewing studio.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 20 Mar 24 - 09:48 AM

Hit the ground running this morning after a tightly choreographed weekend and Monday and yesterday’s R&R with a friend (and her Cairn terrier MacTavish) in Brunswick, Maine. (Multitasked on the way home by dropping off two books — decluttered!) with Ranger1 in Freeport.)

Medicated Rufus’s ears (and gave him treats) and then went downstairs to organize coffee and boot the computer. (And throw a sheet in the dryer — it’s been lingering in the washer too long.) Also got a good start on the dishes in the sink while waiting for both the computer and the coffee.

Started to take said coffee upstairs but decided to traipse out to the car in my nightshirt (it’s a few degrees above freezing but going above 50°F by afternoon) to retrieve my Monday’s purchases from Big Lots — two new pillows and miscellaneous snackage.

I don’t have anything that HAS to be done today, but a whole bunch o’ stuff I’d like to get checked off the list. One of the first is to email my mechanic — my “Check Engine” light came on right after I backed out of my friend’s driveway. Another friend gave me a code reader last summer — now all I have to do is suss out where I put it.

Everything needs to be renewed this year — my passport, my handicapped placard, my driver’s license… Today I’m going to get a care package/housewarming box of treats to a friend in Louisville into the mail and, while I’m at the post office, find out if I can make an appointment there for a new passport photo.

Post office is first stop before heading to Market Basket to pick up some necessities of life — the list has been at hand for a couple weeks. Then home to maybe accomplish a few more things, including a lot of emails — broadcast thank you to the musicians and singers who helped make the St. Patrick’s Day session-style performance at Mr. Sippy’s BBQ a delightful success, and longer catch up and lunch date-making emails.

I read some really good advice on writing a couple weeks ago and desperately need to put it into action on the memoir of the Press Room sessions and the musical community that Tom (Mudcat’s Curmudgeon) congregated. In the interview with the author in the back of the novel The Dictionary of Lost Words Pip Williams was asked about her writing routine. She said she’d tried many variations on a regular routine, but the daily demand for her that worked best was to write one word a day. To only demand of herself one word a day. It’s much too insignificant to engender procrastination. But…if that one word gets written, well, look at this — a sentence is likely to result, or maybe even a whole paragraph or chapter.

I’m gonna try it!

Linn


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Mar 24 - 11:13 AM

Linn, I'm experimenting with the sonnet form (there are several renderings, such as abab cdcd efef gg or abba abba efefgg, but the result is 14 lines generally in iambic pentameter). I need to choose targeted keywords to weave in establishing the premise.

What are you planning to move out of the house? I remember you selling DVDs from your shop (do you have any left?) and you had some antiques (do you use eBay?) A lot of what we describe of our puttering seems to maintain the status quo, something we all do. Replacing existing stuff with newer working items keeps our households efficient, and keeping ourselves healthy is essential and is a feature of these threads.

What every one of us has realized is that while we were doing such a good job collecting valuable antiques, their cache was slipping away and they now need to be redistributed to people who want them but who aren't going to pay what we thought they were worth. Antiques are no longer an investment. My goal now is to declutter the things I bought at thrift stores to sell on eBay - if I can actually list and move out this stuff I will give myself a lot of room. It takes time to do it right (to stay in the 100% seller ranking). After that I need to clear out the estate items from my great aunts (stored in trunks under the eBay stuff) that is never going to get used by me or my family, but has novelty value, especially for people who focus on certain period pieces or art activities. I keep in mind how Charmion has a good system of attacking parts of rooms at a time, selling or giving large pieces and the rest loaded in her car and hauled off to a thrift store or donating to her church tag sales. (Is the china being listed now on eBay?) To make a system like that work the front room needs my focus first. I think your basement has a lot of good stuff like that?

Spring cleaning - a good time for each of us to make a declutter list that has a reasonable goal.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 20 Mar 24 - 01:11 PM

Never sold DVDs, Stilly. Cinematheque was pre-DVD — VHS only. I've still got a bunch of those — lots of foreign films and classic Is there a market anyplace for those?

Sold a lot of my vinyl (NOT Tom's wonderful English-Scots-Irish-Maritime collection), but it's time for me to cull some more and the person who pays top dollar is right up the road.

If I get some stuff consolidated (and the stuff for Goodwill out of here) I'll call Bjorn to see if he wants to buy an accumulation of smaller antique-ish stuff — none of it individually worth serious bucks, but I don't want to take to Goodwill; I'd like to get SOMETHING for it.

I got four books (to two people) deaccessioned over the past couple days. And there's a huge pile of books that go at the bottom of the stairs. Some are earmarked for a couple friends (I need to schedule getting together with them, one local and one who will soon be making her migration back to the Seacoast for summer.) The rest go to the Nottingham library sale.

Linn


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Mar 24 - 02:24 PM

You can sell them individually on eBay; for example, I searched for one that for a long time was not available as DVD and it's still out there as VHS: Tampopo. What I have always thought worth consideration is making a digital copy (a DVD) and offering it free with the VHS for sale, never offered by itself. There's a gray area, but if you look at the ads for many of the older films they will say "digital copy" suggesting that it's an old film in a digital form (put out by the studio or copied by a reseller?) You're allowed to make personal copies of films you buy, to put them on a device to play. If you offered that copy at the same time they receive the VHS tape - you'd be ripping VHS tapes to the computer and offering them as a pair, but selling only the tape. For some of the really in demand films people will make their own personal copies, they just want to get their hands on the VHS, but the work already done will broaden the possible buyer pool. (At the U Library we had to explore the legal aspects of ripping files for streaming on campus when the new online teaching formats such as Blackboard and Canvas. English, film, history, various classes had films in their syllabi.) Or you could just sell the high-dollar cassettes alone and package the rest to sell in lots.

Take a look at the SOLD stats for VHS films, they talk about digital copies. Figure out how to make that work for you. I have old VHS players here and a Canopus device for digitizing the files that load on the computer, then I use Nero to burn the files. Ripping the tapes happens in real time so it's something you would have to set up and be able to walk away from for a while, but even doing one a day or one a week, you could have a number of these listed at a time. It is work, but for the treasures you have in your collection there, I think you'll find buyers. You could start out offering just the tapes, and if there aren't nibbles at the price you want, try adding a digital file.

Unrelated, back to Zeke for a moment - it seems that he was our main meal timekeeper. The girls used to come in to get me but it was once he indicated that it was time. Several times lately I've realized it's late and they didn't fuss at me. They're going to have to develop their own sense of time (I need to ask if they're on time at the back fence with Cecil - Zeke often was the leader in that activity also.)


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Mar 24 - 12:38 PM

I am not doing things I oughta so am enjoying reading your progress reports...


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Mar 24 - 01:32 PM

Mrrzy, what do you think you ought to be doing? And how are you feeling these days?

This morning I retrieved a steel pot from the greenhouse; it was my favorite pan for steaming until I accidentally put it on the stove with no water and warped it. With the three dogs I had a large steel bucket on the floor in the kitchen (3-4 gallons) but it was heavy to pick up full so it didn't get changed more than a couple of times a week. That is gone and a pot that used to sit outside is cleaned and on the floor (a Dutch oven I found in the creek bed during a visit by Mudcatter Marion - she laughed and said "you're not going to use that to cook in!") - no, but it has been used for dog water and is where the toads always take a soak each summer. With that old creek pan indoors I put the smaller steaming one on the porch. Since it is a little shallower the toads will still have easy access for their summertime spa.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Mar 24 - 10:53 AM

It seems that the grown children don't always appreciate suggestions from parental units, but they will accept gifts. So after a photo tip was ignored in a post where one of the partners expressed frustration on making a photo look the way they wanted, I'm making a small diffusion light (an LED in a translucent plastic gallon jug with a big cutout for the light) to hand over at lunch today. And that's an extra light out of the house. Setting the bright light to the side and turning off all other sources will make the gold ink shine the way she wants. And it only took one day to find that extra light (logically tucked into the bottom of the bag that holds all of my photo cube gear.) win/win

I have friends with old dogs so have started asking around and am sharing the extra meds (no sales - that isn't kosher). So far one of the two bottles has a new home. This is more of a share-the-wealth situation than declutter. The training pads that I tried using can go to my friend whose cats I sit - she uses them in spots where the male cats are likely to spray to reduce the amount of washing or laundry that needs doing. The size doesn't matter. Dog diapers will find a home one of these days to a friend or via Freecycle (that site is set up in many countries, not just the US, if anyone is interested).


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 22 Mar 24 - 04:05 PM

I have been coughing all winter, hacking like a cat with a hairball, and it is now obvious that I have bronchitis. So I’m back on Zenhaile, the combination steroid and bronchodilator, and as usual I feel crappy while I get used to it again.

Unfortunately, I have a dress rehearsal tonight and a concert tomorrow, and Holy Week beginning Sunday and heading for a four-day musical marathon from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday. I can sing okay, but I can’t stop the loud, disgusting cough once it starts.

For the concert, I’ll try to put myself on the end of the alto line so I can duck off-stage when I start to cough. Dunno about church; I’m cantor on Maundy Thursday and at the Easter vigil service. Maybe I’ll be coughing less by then.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 22 Mar 24 - 06:43 PM

Oh, Charmion! What a drag, and just in time for the Holy Week marathon. What a shame.

Meanwhile, I hope Senoufou/Eliza won't have to suffer with her gall bladder troubles much longer.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Mar 24 - 07:09 PM

I know several people who like the way their voice sounds as they're on the end of the recovery from a cold (my Dad was one of those), but having had a cold or bronchitis probably means the stamina is less (and the strain is more?) Good luck working your way through that schedule!

Last night I set up the kitchen radio so the alarm goes off at 4:45am and will play the radio (no buzzer to swat). That way I won't hear it on my side of the house but the dogs might develop their own sense of what time it is (as mentioned before, Zeke seems to have been our chief "watch" dog for things to do with food). The next door neighbor tells me that both dogs were at the fence this morning. He's usually up and listening for them by about 4:30.

I wrote the other day about selling Linn's VHS tapes on eBay, but I haven't spelled out my system for listing things. It starts with photos, and I have the photo cube in the den on the dining table, and a LED light on each side that are intended to shine through the cloth to diffuse the light. This removes the need for a flash on the camera, because the flash usually reflects on the surface of whatever is being photographed and makes it harder to see. Some things get the side lights and the flash if I need to illustrate different aspects. I choose the packaging for what I'm selling, the padding if needed, and put it together to weigh and measure. That is noted on a small slip of paper I keep next to the photo cube. Once I drop those photos into Photoshop and crop then choose a few I have a notepad (text) file for composing the listing. I have boilerplate stuff about it being sold as-is, not returnable unless the wrong thing is sent, etc. and though this may sound like a lot of work it's not so bad. I reuse old listings, changing the description at the top and reusing the boilerplate. I have an old version of Frontpage (2003!) that works as an html editor and I copy the code. For your code to look the way you want in the eBay form you have to use a <div> tag to start and a </div> tag to close it (I made those with html so they show here). I prefer to have it all worked out on my computer so I can copy and paste into the eBay listing, I don't want to sit there composing in the eBay site itself.

When the listing goes up I know the dimensions and weight of the package so set up a couple of shipping methods in eBay, and always note that eBay calculates the shipping. There are still some sellers out there who gouge on the shipping to compensate for what looks like a lower price on the thing they're selling.

Before I post I look through eBay listings to see if I've missed any important feature on my listing, and I look at the SOLD listings to be sure the price I choose is right for my item (I use "Buy it now," rarely ever auction, though eBay by default wants you to do an auction and wants you to accept offers. I don't do that either.) And it's much easier to get started by finding the item that best matches yours and how you want to sell and choose the "sell an item like this" button somewhere on the page. You have to remove their details, and check the boxes they may have filled it, but you don't have to choose a category and go through the early settings that way.

Make sure you have as many keywords in the title as possible (up to 80 characters) and you can avoid some obvious ones - if I'm listing a LG G8 ThinQ phone, I don't need to say "smartphone" in the header; better to have the amount of memory or "unlocked" in the title, etc. With selling china, Charmion will have lots of things like exact measurements, photos front and back, is there crazing or are there chips, etc. Always do new photos for every listing and make clear that they are part of the description. And if something is returned use those photos to compare the item to be sure someone hasn't switched it out or damaged it. That is fraud, and you can make the case so eBay won't penalize you. eBay still forces sellers to accept returns, and they will issue a refund whether you like it or not, but you can make it less likely by charging shipping, having the buyer pay return shipping, etc. and making it clear a refund is minus the shipping costs.

If something turns out not to be described accurately, it's a judgement call. I sold a handbag one time, leather, and it looked in good shape, but I hadn't moved it around a lot to see the cracking on some of the tags and realized when the buyer complained that it did have issues (I could see them in my photo when I enlarged them). In that instance, since I don't want it back because I'm not going to sell it again, I offer to split the difference - give a partial refund so I don't lose money on the shipping to them, and tell them to keep the item so they don't have to pay to ship to me to get the rest of the refund, when we both lose. And chances are they might still use the thing they bought because the problem is slight and is cosmetic, I don't sell stuff that isn't in good shape. (Antiques are different - they can be expected to show signs of age, but you need full disclosure.)

eBay 101.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Mar 24 - 11:01 AM

Oak tassels will be littering the ground for a while and the pollen from lots of other stuff seems to be settling in my nose. The seasonal allergy constant tickle of an almost-sneeze is here and will get the full treatment - daily allergy stuff (Zyrtec), overnight Benadryl to boost the daytime medication, and the neti pot as needed. I have another tour today so will do the neti pot before I head out to reduce throat clearing (I got clobbered by it on last week's tour) and I'll have a cough drop in my pocket for last resort. This isn't as drastic as the situation Charmion is looking ahead to, but in a public performance space, having control of one's voice is essential.

We had drizzle for a couple of days but today is sunny so later this afternoon I'll be able to attack the weeds and start planting things that would have benefitted from planting last month, but will be ok now. In fact, I had a better potato crop than usual last year when they were planted late. I'll wear a face mask to filter pollen that will have settled on some of the taller weeds. Apparently not all pollen is created equal and some particles are larger than can be absorbed or whatever, but it must all be treated with caution.

Did anyone else see Dante: Inferno to Paradise last week? It was fascinating. I liked part 1 better than 2, but I plan to rewatch the whole thing (I stumbled upon it a few minutes into the part 1 so want to watch it all in one sitting from the very beginning.)


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 24 Mar 24 - 07:49 AM

The nasty cough has developed into bronchitis. I haven’t been so sick since COVID, and even that was less problematic — bronchitis calls for medical intervention.

Last night’s concert unfolded without me, and Palm Sunday at church will go likewise. I have my regular monthly date with the allergy doc on Tuesday, so maybe I’ll be able to sing by Thursday — or not.

Hack, kaff. Drat.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: pattyClink
Date: 24 Mar 24 - 06:19 PM

Got an error message when posting, is there a word limit on posts going through properly?


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Mar 24 - 09:18 PM

No, (I really want to know what you were going to share!) but sometimes you have to refresh (F5 on my Windows machine) the screen. Always select and copy what you've written before hitting "submit message" so it doesn't get lost. (We haven't had the missing messages problems like we did in the past for quite a while, but I did get an error when I first logged on tonight - F5 fixed it.)

Today saw a quiet morning but this afternoon I got to the gym for an hour spread between the recumbent bike, the stair climber thing, and the treadmill. This is a pattern I need to continue, because the climbing and walking are weight bearing exercise while the bike is flexibility and cardio.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 25 Mar 24 - 11:08 AM

Still sick. Choir issues continue. Would very much like to run away to sea, or perhaps with the circus.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Mar 24 - 03:07 PM

The SUV needs work on the fan, needs a brake job (now, while it is simple to just replace pads), and the state inspection. I've had a new place recommended so will compare their answers (can they do any or all of this work?) with the other new repair place (they have a diagnostic charge that hits the pocketbook before any work begins). I'm getting a recording when I call so I'll stop by later because the cat sitting gig is nearby.

The process of setting a timer seems to be helping my mood and productivity in the office. Instead of a task expanding to fill the available time, I'm finishing and moving on. It means the items on my little list are more likely to be all completed.

Heavy rain overnight, so gardening and mowing is deferred until mid-week.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion's brother Andrew
Date: 25 Mar 24 - 07:14 PM

Go with the sea. There are fewer allergens out there.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Mar 24 - 08:35 PM

Andrew, a good recommendation, but she should be home in time for the doctor's appointment tomorrow.

The newly recommended auto repair shop has been visited and an appointment made for a brake job next week. While it's in the shop the mechanic will take a look at the AC and tell me what repairs are needed on the fan. I can book that repair later (I try to schedule so I can wait and not have to be picked up and dropped off - both jobs at once would take too long). The close-by shop that does alignments and repairs would charge me $189 just to diagnose the problem (and not take that fee off of the repair, as one might expect). It's worth driving 10 minutes up the road for the savings. The close place can do the cheap simple stuff.

So much stuff around here to pick up and put away. I did some dusting this morning and realized I'll have to combine putting away with dusting this week. This is the beginning of spring cleaning.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Mar 24 - 11:25 AM

Since Zeke departed I have been sharing his food with the girls, but am rethinking that decision: Cookie is sitting on the floor behind me at this very moment and has just delivered two loud farts. The specialized food the girls get helps with gas; the senior food they've had a share of generates more gastric churn. There will always be some, but with the wrong food they are more frequent and stinkier. I could go to some of the other flavors of food now that my no-wheat and no-chicken dog is gone, but the gas would return with the change.

There was something I planned to share this morning, an organizational shift here, but I've forgotten what it was. The ADHD brain moves on once something has been solved, then just TRY to remember what you were going to say. [sigh] It will come around again and maybe I'll grab hold and make note of the idea then.

I finished a jigsaw puzzle last night and happily all of the pieces were present. This was one I bought full-price; so often I pick them up at thrift stores or in the clearance section of places like Tuesday Morning (the late lamented store where I bought sheets and good pans and nice area rugs over the years). This puzzle was a venture into a new product by the artist and promoted during COVID and I bought two of his works. I'll search for what else he has out there, they were well-designed and nuanced. (I have a couple given me by friends and family that are about 30% black sky in outer space or bright blue sky behind a bright Japanese temple; those will be killers if and when I start them.)

Charmion, I hope your visit goes well today. And Dorothy, I hope you're doing will with your treatments and will drop in with an update on your travels and organizing activities soon. I visualize you staying away from any public places with germs that could make things more difficult (viruses), but I can't imagine you sitting quietly and reading a book all day long; have you been working with your pots lately?

Linn, do you have power and have you made progress in sorting or donating?


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 26 Mar 24 - 05:29 PM

Maggie, way back in the 70s I has 2 jigsaws - one was a tiny little earth in the blackness of space, the other showed the Saturn rocket starting to launch against deep blue, the gases were cropped out, but I can't find the image. Each had more background than colour, & I only made them once - it took forever to fit in each black piece (they were all the same shape) as the black was a lot more than 30%, however the rocket was "only" a third of that puzzle!!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: pattyClink
Date: 26 Mar 24 - 09:53 PM

Thanks, SRS. Nothing earth-shaking to post, but let's try it again and see what happens.

Spent a rare weekend working hard on clutter, endeavoring to get my stored stuff organized for transport. Miraculously, there was a vacant storage unit 2 doors away from mine, so for a couple of months and not much money, I have obtained elbow room to work in the main unit. Mental room too, I can see what I'm up against and what I'm doing, can start to see solutions. Literally sit in my one remaining chair, stare at the stuff, and start to see what to do. A lot to be said for just sitting and pondering.

Then, began purging and shredding some old paper files. Haven't wiped them all out, some are going to need more thoughtful treatment and scanning before purging. But still, condensed 3 R-Kive boxes to 2, and the empty one will be handy to donate books in. A good start on wrestling the monster to the ground.

Melancholy, yep, hard to look at the paper debris of a life and not get yanked down memory lanes too much.

Today, stocked up at a local wine shop, and requested a box or two. Was shown where the hidden stash of boxes were. Got some and was told to slip back in whenever I need to. Yay! Nothing like the smaller liquor boxes for books, rocks, etc.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Mar 24 - 11:44 PM

Patty, you've discovered what my mom always suggested to friends and family who were moving - liquor boxes are heavy duty, made to protect glass, but in order to be something people can lift they can't be too large. That pretty much assures that even if you pack them full you can still lift them. (Back in the day, the Washington State liquor store employees always used box cutters to slice open the tops of boxes on three sides, letting the fourth side be the hinge. It made them easy to pack and to close.) Like all members of our family, Mom had lots of books, and her interest in those boxes was that when filled with books they could still be carried easily. I could say the same thing for my brother and my rocks picked up in the field. You could still carry one of those boxes full of rocks (assuming they had some packaging, etc.)

I have a couple of friends with stories of literally living in their storage units for at least weeks. It usually had to do with the poverty of graduate school and having units where they would pull in their cars, but then sleeping in the car (and this was years ago - who knows how many of them have people in them now?) Good luck with sorting your stuff and contracting back down to one unit.

Two more days left on my cat-sitting gig. The cash is nice, but it's also nice to finish and have more time to myself.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 27 Mar 24 - 09:46 AM

Yesterday’s visit to the doc in Kitchener led to a chest x-ray and two more drugs: Prednisone and a heavy-duty antibiotic. The x-ray and prescriptions required two hours of driving around Stratford after the round trip to Kitchener. I was done for the day at noon.

It’s the same old asthma-related bronchitis I’ve had so often over the last 50 years, but only twice since 2013, when I started on the new drug Xolair. Even COVID didn’t trigger it. I have no idea what set it off this time.

I am bored, so I’m getting better. Always look on the bright side of life!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Mar 24 - 11:35 AM

Charmion, modern medicine is a thing of beauty when it works for us (which is most of the time, except I stand by Dorothy in her current sense of frustration)! How is your sense of smell and taste with the bronchitis? Do you have chicken soup or chicken and rice or something else that serves as comfort food when you're not feeling well? Cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich? I really love the decaf teas like Throat Coat and Bronchial Blues.

The dog food is spoken for and she'll pick it up late tomorrow afternoon; I asked for a specific time so it won't be on the porch long enough to attract ants. The new batch of regular food for the girls is ordered and I'll be able to tip the full bag into the big bin that until recently held Zeke's food. (Dog food containers and toys and meds are stored in an antique trunk it the den; it didn't have room for two large restaurant storage containers so one held half as much. At one time all of the dogs ate the same food and this wasn't an issue, having to tape up a half-full bag until the smaller bin was drawn down.) The use of space in the den and kitchen is still shifting as the accouterments of the third dog are gradually recognized and dispatched. I hadn't realized how much more time he needed at the end; he was a good boy and got the love and attention he needed, but the girls are a lot less fussy and they come to me when they want something while he would lie there and bark until I went to check on him. Hopefully winding down on the dog stories. I hadn't intended to post much, but the declutter effect of losing him has been remarkable.

Today is chilly with a 50% chance of rain in the afternoon. If the dew dries enough I'll be able to mow the back before the storms. I'm paying more attention to the new compost pile now and emptying kitchen waste into it more frequently (Cookie can't get into this one - so far) so I'll probably empty a bucket there and bag enough grass to drop over the top of it. I usually let the bucket contents break down a lot more so it's less interesting to the dogs, but that means moving a much heavier and more full bucket. Just like now putting down smaller water bowls, I can now move the kitchen waste when it isn't as bulky.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 27 Mar 24 - 03:02 PM

My friend Alden arrived with a care package: two kinds of soup, a loaf of sourdough bread, a small cheese, some fruit-flavoured yoghourt, two lemons (for toddy), and a large bunch of yellow tulips.

The main difference (so far) between this illness and COVID is that my olfactory senses have not failed — oh, and of course I tested negative.

For 40 years I have had two Victorian flower frogs sculling around in the china cabinet. With so many tulips and only one vase of suitable size, I put a frog in the bottom of an old Doulton bowl and made a faux-Japanese arrangement for the dining-room table. I could easily have decluttered the frogs at any time, and I really wonder why I haven’t — probably because they came from my paternal grandparents’ house, and they are small enough to fit neatly in a back corner behind the cassoulet pot.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 27 Mar 24 - 04:28 PM

THis is the first I have ever heard of "flower frogs";
I had to Google it to find out what these are.

A friend like Alden is a friend in need, indeed.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Mar 24 - 11:11 PM

Friend Alden is a keeper!

Flower frogs come in all sorts of types and sizes. I have antiques from my great aunts and a few I bought in shops. Most are glass (some clear, some green) with holes throughout so they can hold the stems. Growing up my mother had brass spiky frogs that the flowers are impaled upon. Either one has to fit in the bottom of the vase, which makes me wonder about the large ones I inherited. Perhaps they are for bowls and flowers with really short stems? Here's a page with information and photos. The photo right under the header "What are Flower Frogs?" shows two glass ones in the middle and I have several like those, both green and flat and green and more of a lump, along with the clear glass, similarly formed. Also the little brass one to the lower left of the glass. Under the heading "Why Should You Consider Collecting Vintage Flower Frogs?" is another photo and I also have at least one ceramic frog. I didn't realize I was collecting them until I put most of them in one place. I have some around the house that I use for putting pens and pencils in (those with holes large enough.)

I mowed in back today but it was late and I didn't finish. Tomorrow morning I'll get to the last swath of tall grass between the pine tree and the compost bins. I bagged a bit more grass to drop over the kitchen waste in the new compost pile. The bucket was light because I didn't wait until it was full to empty it. The next contributions to the compost will be weeds dug out of the beds beside the driveway. They're actually quite beautiful now in variety and sizes, but they need to move aside for potatoes.

I forgot to share a wonderful little mood booster yesterday: there are a gazillion taquerias on the drive between the cat gig and my house, quite a few of them gas stations with convenience stores and food, and I stop at one every so often to buy my favorite dark Mexican beer (not everyone carries it.) Yesterday when I walked in I caught a whiff of some really well-seasoned meat and it was much more appealing than past visits when it smelled more like grease or who knows what. I picked up my beer, and as I walked past the food counter I leaned in and told her that it smelled really wonderful in there this evening. A bright smile and a thank you, and I stepped over to the register to buy my beer. A moment later a tap on the arm and she said "for you! A taco!" I was so surprised, but ate it at home and it was wonderful. I'll go by there again and pick up a couple for dinner. Good sales move, but also such a nice gesture.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Mar 24 - 12:29 PM

There is a mystery to solve in the den; the largest of Zeke's dog beds usually has a couple of thick bathmats on top of it (the bed has a waterproof cover that is kind of slick). I used to keep the bed on top of a 4x6 wall-to-wall carpet scrap, but tossed that (too much pee and hair). The big bed slides around now so I stabilized it on a rubber-based doormat and the two bathmats back on top. Yesterday morning one of those mats had vanished. Not in the yard, not in any other room of the house, and not in the garage where there are a couple of dog houses in the stall. I am pretty sure Cookie dragged it somewhere. The search continues. It may well be in plain sight masquerading as something else.

Must set a timer for myself to put the spare senior dog food on the porch this afternoon in time for pickup. That'll clear three bulky bags from the kitchen table.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Mar 24 - 05:17 PM

And the answer is: it was under a piece of furniture, a library table with a shelf between the legs so it was out of sight.

Dog food is on the porch, awaiting pickup. Current cat gig is done, nothing more until 10 days from now when another trip is scheduled. My local special projects fund is very happy these days.

The home sleep study is scheduled for next week; the folks at this place are a bit difficult. They won't proceed with making an appointment until they have your credit card on file, despite insurance covering everything. Expensive equipment is the reason. I will pick it up, but it seems if they charge me $20 and mail it I can keep it. I asked if it is useful for anything else once the study is finished, and the answer is that it is good for 10 more sleep studies. So, a gadget I'd probably never use again. If I require another sleep study after this, then is the time to consider keeping the device. I suppose they would want to do a follow-up if a treatment is recommended, but I'll cross the pillow when I come to it.

Out to mow the rest of the lawn.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 28 Mar 24 - 07:29 PM

Fifty milligrams of Prednisone is enough to make me wobbly and stupid, but my cough is improving.

Hurrah.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Mar 24 - 08:20 PM

How long it is going to take to taper off of that dose?

While eating dinner I realized I should spend the evening putting away all of the stuff sitting on various surfaces in that part of the kitchen, then work outward from there.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 09:30 AM

Apparently, tapering off Prednisone is not the doctrinal thing it used to be, Stilly, at least not for problems like my wheezy lungs. The course I’m on now is 50 mg per day for a week, followed by 25 mg per day for another week. Then done, and shift to an inhaled steroid — fluticasone, in my case.

I like my kitchen counters clear of everything but the toaster oven, the cats’ water fountain, and a pump bottle of hand soap beside the faucet. No “décor” or abandoned mail, no dirty dishes or food sculling about. It’s a small galley, so clutter makes it non-functional as a work space. I don’t do much complex cooking these days, but I like to believe that I could launch a four-course meal without experiencing a crisis.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 10:20 AM

That makes sense - I was on a low dose (10mg) but for a few months as the PMR retreated, and then had to taper by a mg a month. That was as much to keep the PMR from returning as to taper. Total I was on that very low dose for about 18 months. That's why all of the bone density follow-up now.

My kitchen has things out that 1) I use all of the time (the toaster oven, the electric kettle, the cutting boards, the kitchen waste bin) and 2) things I would forget I had and never use (the FoodSaver) and big things that don't really store well anywhere else (the bowls for things like potatoes and fresh fruit that don't belong in the fridge, and the Kitchenaid stand mixer). The gadgets in cupboards are out of sight so I forget to use them in meal prep (and forget to fix the kinds of meals they are meant for). I suspect I have more counter space to start with. But it was the table and the Hoosier Kitchen that needed clearing for that area to look better. They're both in great shape today, and I do need to boot the old mail off of the peninsula.

A sad note this morning; LilyFestre's mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer. They have a Caring Bridge account set up for more information.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 11:13 AM

Ah, I get it. I have a dining room and a pantry, and therefore have places to put large things out of the way but still handy. Also, my compulsive mind doesn't let go of details like the existence of the Food-Saver and the lemon reamer. The blender and the kettle live in a cabinet, the food processor and the stand mixer have spots in the pantry, and if I could find a niche to accommodate the toaster oven, it too would get off the counter.

Over the last three years, I emptied the kitchen and dining room of a great deal of stuff that had accumulated over the previous four decades. Once all the duplicates were gone, and the gadgets that never worked out, along with Edmund's extensive collection of baking tackle that I never used and never will, suddenly I had acres of space in the cabinets and drawers and everything had a place to be. Relative serenity ensued.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Mar 24 - 12:31 PM

This is where I'm learning about the ADHD brain and why, if the FoodSaver is not in view, when I need to use it I'll be pulling out other things and typically do three other chores before I ever get back to sealing the steaks or chicken or whatever - often times not actually getting to that first task until much later. Since the storing of meat is meant to save money and preserve quality I leave it out to be extremely convenient to use. Several years ago when I cleared and organized the kitchen cupboards I left them loosely packed (versus stuffed) so I can easily see what is there. I also built a tiny pantry in the hall for the big things like the roaster oven, baking sheets, muffin pans, canning jars, and large storage pieces. A few tools on the counters removes some of the circular aspect of tasks - moving from one to another to another and finally back to the first.

Lawns are being mowed in the neighborhood this morning. I feel the pull to go into the yard and start digging and planting. I can go in circles in the yard also, but it adds up to progress.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 11:50 AM

Dupont:

TIRED but I shall add a bit to what SRS posted. That was on a Friday, and on Sunday, I brought in the groceries, fell into a stuffed chair, and kept on doing the chores. On Monday it hurt to sit, on Weds, I got a call about - I'm not sure what; I was screaming in pain, told to go to ER. Fractured vertebrae. Morphine is not great! Finally went home with morphine pills and have had the worst March of my life. R has been taking good care of me. As of yesterday, I have been almost comfortable walking and almost no pain as long as I move carefully.

When is washing your hair a major success? YAY!

R has been taking good care of me and enjoying cooking, cleaning up K and more! Stuff I have not had the energy for in weeks or months. Realizing that I have been in increasingly poor health long before the preliminary diagnosis last month. several trips to the hospital in various departments for various tests; R understands but my brain has been fried. Petscan on 6th may give some answers.

Having someone come to clean house before my #2 son arrives around 18th April. (Happy 61 Birthday to my dear son on 1 April! And he first found out on FB! I am, indeed a crappy mother! On the 31 March 1963, as I paced the floor (in labour) of my beloved house we had designed and built, I seemed to think the worst thing that could happen would be for this wee mite to have April Fools Day as a birthday.

R and I took a break yesterday and he drove us along the edge of the St.Lawrence, a sunny, windy day with two wind surfers enjoying it. This residential road, about 50 feet away from the river and totally parallel for a fair distance, a great view across to the north shore.

This situation is exhausting.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 12:25 PM

Hi, Dorothy! I'm glad to see you back on the board, though sorry that you're in the wars.

Having someone in to clean is such a good idea.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 01:07 PM

Dorothy I'm glad to read that you're getting good attention and help at the house. It was obvious in earlier posts that you were progressively feeling worse. We're all getting older, but staying healthy and active relative to our age is the goal. Fingers crossed for the upcoming scan.

When I got up today I resolved to start spring cleaning in ernest. Bed linens changed, all towels and bathmats into the laundry, vacuuming rugs and then mopping floors. Work in the garden soon. I should flatten some of the cardboard boxes that have recently arrived for recycling. I can't use every single one for eBay shipping, some have to go, but they also can be placed under mulch in the garden, so they won't go to recycling until I've mulched paths around the raised beds. FedEx just texted about two large boxes of dog food delivered to the porch—except I checked and Tractor Supply shrink wrapped the dog food bags in plastic for shipping. The cardboard at least has other uses, the plastic goes into the trash.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 30 Mar 24 - 08:10 PM

Good to hear from Dorothy and especially happy to know that her significant other is so solicitous and caring. That's good news.

Charmion, I hope Easter Sunday goes well for you, especially in church.

Eliza/Senoufou, Don't let that gall bladder get you down!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: keberoxu
Date: 31 Mar 24 - 06:48 PM

Happy Eastertide, everyone.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Mar 24 - 08:09 PM

I am reminded to thaw a piece of the frozen leg of lamb for dinner, which will be served with hummus and pita on the side. I hope everyone is breathing well and can smell the delicious dinners they are cooking or being served, if you're doing something special.

Today was part two of cleaning the SUV (I washed it yesterday), in which I used the brush on the end of the vacuum hose on carpets and seats, then washed windows inside and out. This after I looked up detailing businesses. The costs aren't bad but these services seem to involve stay-on treatments on the hard surfaces, rug detergents with fragrances, and who knows what else that I don't want to read all of the labels of or smell for the next six months. Telling someone not to do a regular part of the job almost guarantees they'll do it anyway, and the last time someone cleaned my vehicle the steering wheel was greasy from a vinyl-cleaning product.

The blue bearded iris are starting to open; I feared none would show up this year. I still haven't seen a hint of the white ones. There is a blue plant that always comes up in the midst of a bunch of dusky yellow, and even if I try to dig it out, a blue one still comes back there. Of course that is the first one that bloomed.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 01 Apr 24 - 10:16 AM

I love having my car detailed. As some folks adore the spa experience, with varnish on their toes and fingers and expensive stuff slathered on their faces, I enjoy handing my car over for the full scrub from bumper to bumper and roof to wheels. Not being particularly sensitive to chemical whiffs -- Mother Nature is more of a problem -- I am not distressed by the aroma of Armor-All. The slickness of freshly washed Gorilla Mats under my feet, the gleam of buffed body-work ... Of course, it only lasts until the next time I drive on a dirt road or past a ploughed field, but how long is a hair-do good for?

I made it to church on Easter Sunday, but not to the choir stalls -- too weak. This lung thing has kicked my ass to the extent that I wonder if it was/is more pneumonia than bronchitis (no word from the doc on the chest x-ray). I slept through the night and did not cough convulsively on rising today, which is huge progress. But cooking a simple meat-and-two-veg dinner for two (Alden came to help me eat it) was almost more than I could manage yesterday, and today I'm saving all my energy for choir practice. I probably won't be able to sing much, but I have to recover the Haydn scores that we borrowed from a choir in Regina.

Today I take the last 50-mg dose of Prednisone; starting tomorrow, the dose drops to 25 mg for another week. It really is a miracle drug -- and cheap! -- but I feel weird all the time when I'm on it. No benefits without costs in this life ... !


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Apr 24 - 04:04 PM

I like your analogy to a spa day for the car! Armor-All - that's the name I couldn't think of. Ok on the tires, not in the vehicle itself. Someone pointed out that there are folks who will travel to you to do detailing so I'll make inquiries.

I blew off a meeting today - one of the self-care things you can do if the preparations and travel to the activity are liable to not be worth the social reward of the event itself.

There is heavy weather headed this way tonight so I'll get a walk with the dogs in early and do some garden work (spread the dry fertilizer) so it can get watered in with this round of rain. I don't put it where it will wash away, I want it to soak in (this is an organic dry granular product) that generally goes around trees, shrubs, the garden and flower beds.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 01 Apr 24 - 04:46 PM

The blue-eyed grass and Lenten roses (hellebores) are blooming in my garden, and the daffodils that survived the last snowstorm are making the big effort to get their petals out. It's a really beautiful day in Perth County.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Apr 24 - 12:01 AM

Today's trip to the new repair shop was an eye-opener. I expected to wait a few hours and leave with new brakes, paying about $600, and with a diagnosis for the next repair (the noisy fan.)

These folks are smart - before they take the wheels off they examine the vehicle (with a flashlight and a mirror) and determined that I have about 10,000 miles left on the front brakes, and even more on the rear. So, no brake job needed. They took a look at the blower on the fan to see if they could tell what was wrong, and couldn't reproduce the noise, so I drove around the neighborhood while Edgar rode and we listened. I pushed the buttons that usually caused it, turned corners in the way that set it off - nothing. It seems that by simply examining the blower, when it was put back it was secured and it had been loose, so that was the problem. No more rattling. Again, no repair. But I heard someone say something about an inspection - "do you do inspections here? Mine is due." So after two checks and the inspection, I left 2.5 hours later after paying $25.50 for the state inspection.

Nissan and Jewell (the shop near my house) both said the brakes needed new pads, but the mechanics who actually do the work said they didn't. It's about "two oil changes from now" they said (5,000 per oil change). If they'd been able to identify a repair that needed to be made on the fan, the charge is $78, but if they do the repair, they just charge for the repair. Jewell was going to charge $189 to diagnose before any repair, and it isn't reduced if you do the repair there. You can guess where I'll be going for any future work. And perhaps all I'll need to do is pull up and have Edgar lay his hands on the vehicle. :-)


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Apr 24 - 12:57 PM

I have a growing mental list of things that I can possibly return to their default states now that I don't have a Labrador retriever in the house.

  • In the shower the other day it dawned on me that the soap is in the rack hanging from the shower because if soap was left anywhere low he would eat it. I lost quite a few bars of good olive oil soap that way.

  • The trash in the kitchen is on top of the dryer. It may stay there, as too tempting with food waste.

  • All other rooms' trash containers are on counters or shelves. Why? He ate used facial tissues when he could find them.

  • The dog food is stored inside an antique trunk because he could nudge the top off of the canister.

  • The toilet seat lid is left down, because he would drink from it. That will stay down; even the lid doesn't stop Pepper, she can nudge it up if she really wants. (I sometimes leave a tissue box on top of the closed lid just to see if it is moved or knocked off. That is enough to dissuade her.)

  • The large brass "toy bin" that I set up when Zeke came to live here. A friend with a long history with Labs said they thrive when they have routines like a place to find the toys when they want to chew or fetch, etc. And it meant I could pick up toys around the house and he still knew where they were.

  • Changing the dog leash setup. I use a woven nylon webbing type, and had knots tied in them at the positions where I held them walking the dogs positioned directly beside me, not out in front. Cookie now has the longer leash and I have to retie the knots since she is shorter than Zeke by several inches.


Other changes will occur to me as I continue to unwind our version of Dog World 3.0; the 2.0 environment is simpler, smaller, and much tidier.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Apr 24 - 03:09 PM

It's like the opposite of oh, dear, the kid has learned to locomote!

I can't decide if eating some carbs for a while helps my OCD or makes my messiness worse...


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Apr 24 - 10:30 PM

Mrrzy, I just got a copy of the latest Dr. Amen book that goes with the lecture running these days on PBS. He's talking about food and brain types; this isn't new, but now that I am aware of the ADHD I'm learning that some changes might help. More protein, and earlier in the day, for example. I have a bookmark ready and a pencil and postit notes to use while reading. I don't often buy self-help books, but this one might confirm some things I've wondered about and may offer dietary guidance. My GP has told me a couple of times that I need to get more protein in my diet.

The day was spent running errands; after my haircut I took a friend to lunch and after, picked up a BBQ grill that he needed to rehome. It's about half the size of the one I use now and more advanced (steel plates instead of lava rocks radiating heat). When he told me he had baked bread in it I made a mental note to clean it up and look at the footprint; this is smaller and for one person, I might actually use it more. The older big one heats up so much more area that goes unused. And baking bread in it? In the summers here, any cooking in the house heats the kitchen; the more you can do outside, the better. The old one would then go on one of the Freecycle or Buy Nothing pages.

But wait! Picking up the grill wasn't the end of the running; my friend with the brain injury often needs help setting up electronic devices, and he needed to return a TV to other friends and buy his own. So I stopped by there to look at how the old one was set up then we headed to Target (after shopping online at various places). I need to return tomorrow with a plank that he can put across the top of the small cabinet where the old TV sat. That had a pedestal base, the new one is larger with two spread out legs wider than the cabinet. For now, the new TV is set up and gets the cable signal. It's on the floor and the door won't hit it. I loved that the first channel that came on was MSNBC - I told him he was a man after my own heart. :)

Here at home the grill is unloaded and tomorrow I'll clean it up. Sitting beside my old grill in the garage it is a lot more compact, but my friend assures me it is plenty large to grill a spatchcocked chicken. That's a good sign! My instinct to recycle and reuse is such that if I can't use this grill I'll find a good home for it.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Apr 24 - 09:45 PM

As is sometimes the case with grills left to languish in yards, the rehomed one is in need of parts and TLC. I can buy steel screws and secure the loose side table, but the cast iron grates are deplorable. The diffusers are adequate. A comparable grill new would cost four times the price of replacing emitters and grates. The smaller size is in its favor. I'll start with putting it together (screws are cheap) and then test it with my LP tank and decide from there if I want to do more. For now, it's on the list of things to work on with no special trips.

The lawn is growing crazy fast and I'll attack the front tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Apr 24 - 11:18 AM

Hopefully as we approach the weekend the (either one) carbs or no-carbs diet question will soon be answered by Mrrzy, and Charmion will step lightly off of the low-dose Prednisone and have her voice back; whether she has the will to do all of the choir paperwork is another matter. Here, a home sleep study has concluded and the gear is ready to be returned.

My museum scanning is pushed to next week after a skylight in the building broke overnight Thursday and I imagine the amount of the glass that rained down was substantial (they're very large pieces over the atrium). Closed to the public for several days as they continue cleaning and replace the now missing piece of glass. This frees up time for garden work before I run several errands.

My Mom would have turned 102 this week; she didn't make it past 76 after an adulthood spent smoking. By my age she had already had several major health crises, so here's hoping that 19 years of her second-hand smoke didn't have similar effects on me and the other sibs. She'd have loved seeing how my kids turned out, and since my son now lives in her area she would have enjoyed a growing relationship, as does my sister now.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 05 Apr 24 - 01:20 PM

Still at 25 mg of Prednisone per day — not a low dose, but not outré either. The most popular side effect — irritability — is fully engaged, so it’s good I don’t have any deadlines or responsibilities beyond keeping the cats fed. I’m very weak, however; able to do one thing at a time for a few minutes, and that’s it. I can drive to church or the supermarket but no farther, and my singing voice is accurate but wobbly.

I’ve finished the antibiotic and the last dose of Prednisone goes down the hatch on Monday.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Apr 24 - 05:07 PM

Typo earlier, meant to say "lower." That 25 is still higher than any I took during PMR. I don't know how that higher amount feels, and hope never to experience it!

It's a windy day today, and I'm not feeling terribly motivated to do much. That said, I'll head into the back and at least scoop and see if I can move myself to pull a few of the copious weeds and prepare another bed for planting. Or go pick up free mulch. Or walk the dogs. I am feeding cats tonight to start a week-long run, though this week may involve transporting one of them from the vet (where he is now) home during the week, once they're ready to release him. I hope this isn't the one who howls the whole way or evacuates his bowels on the trip. I'll have a large box handy to put the carrier into just in case.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Apr 24 - 10:38 AM

Work on the free grill has progressed; with a few stainless steel screws I was able to re-attach the side shelf, returning full work surface functionality. A retired baking sheet is now filled with soapy water soaking one of the grates. It appears to have a major encrustation of cooked meat and sauce that might be improved upon. Either the crust is cleared off of these grates or replacements will be purchased, but to test it once I'll use the old ones after they're cleaned. This is the current equivalent grill with the same features as the five-year-old one. The question always is how much time am I willing to dedicate to a project once it looks like it will pan out, versus buying a new one. The grate cleaning is the last part, so not too much work so far. (I had points with one of my credit cards so looked around and found a Dremel tool; I've needed one for ages so ordered it along with a wire brush attachment to clobber the grill.)

If I adopt this I'll have to clean the old one and offer it up, so I still have grill cleaning in the near future.

The kitchen got a cleaning last night and laundry goes in today. Still using the dryer because one clothesline support post is standing at a drunken angle after last fall's branch collapse from next door. I have to dig at the side of the concrete footer and reposition the post (adding more concrete for stability.) No need to dig an entirely new hole. There is still a large tree next door, but most of the threat from branches has gone now that the side came down.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 07 Apr 24 - 08:40 PM

Dupont:

Trip to hospital - much walking! wore me out and "you will get a call in five days" re findings was a bummer. I want to know the prognosis! R may get to the clinic tomorrow for info.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 08 Apr 24 - 01:27 PM

The last dose of Prednisone is now history, and I went to the Y for aquafit class this morning.

And that's my limit. I'm still weak and groggy, but a bit more capable every day.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 08 Apr 24 - 07:24 PM

YAH!!!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Apr 24 - 10:05 PM

Dorothy and Charmion, keep getting better!

I mowed about 25% of the back yard this evening, just to get started and to clear around the regular paths for the dogs but thunder tells me it might be too wet to mow the rest until later in the week.

The eclipse was wonderful, we saw the totality at the moment the moon moved completely over the sun - what a blast, seeing the rays radiating out from the edges! A cloud moved over for about a minute, then cleared again near the very end. My neighbors came over when I realized they didn't have any glasses. I had one pair and we passed them around. No one in their right mind needed to stand out there the whole time staring at the changing crescent. It was a nice visit, and though we hoped the neighbor's chickens might confirm that the light had disappeared, they didn't make a peep.

I wasted time this afternoon trying to retrieve some canning jars, but when I arrived at the place realized she was just piling trash at the curb and telling our Buy Nothing group that we could get what was left without making any provision for us to pick up what we asked for. She had no intention of isolating items and letting people speak for them, she just wanted people to come haul off her trash (clearing a parent's estate). She and her snotty sister are no longer in our Buy Nothing group (when I politely complained that this isn't how the group works, the woman who posted the listing was rude and was blocked, then her sister piled on and I blocked her.)

I often list things that I could sell on eBay, but due to the work involved, have decided instead to donate it via this group. When I list one of the BBQ grills once I've decided for sure the one to keep I'll clean the other, package the parts for transport, and understand that while this is an older model it works, and for someone on a budget, all they need to do for it to work is get the canister of LP gas. I wouldn't consider putting it at the curb and telling the group about it to see if they can beat a neighbor who might grab it first.

I do sometimes put things at the curb a day ahead of the trash, but not the way she did. I had a basketball backstop out there one time, the folks who got it were thrilled because they had kids, they were in the neighborhood, and they would do the work to put it back in the ground and set it up. They actually knocked to ask if it was ok to take it. That was a better item for someone to drive past, get a look at, and decide they could use. I don't know if the distinctions I'm attempting to make are clear, but I'm trying to be philosophical about the whole Reuse/Reuse part of recycling. If I have something at the curb for the trash that I know would be a rude surprise if someone carted it off to their house, I put a note on the front saying why it is in the trash. Like the rug that I tossed after Poppy died - "no, you don't want this rug - it's full of dog pee." The woman who set off my rant wasn't playing fair in our group according to the various informal ways that things are redistributed in this part of town.

The rain has started so Pepper will be underfoot. This is the edge of a bigger storm, I expect it to end in a few minutes, but it is enough rain that I won't mow tomorrow or worry about watering my friend's pots after I feed her cats. Time to wrap up the computer work and get a book to read.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 09 Apr 24 - 10:31 AM

The eclipse was a non-event on Glendon Road, Stratford. It was dusky for a while, then it wasn't, and the caravan moved on.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, I have decided to adopt a very low-carbohydrate diet, at least for a while. I believe I am sliding toward Type II diabetes, which would be zero surprise as both my brothers have it, and I am lugging around 12 kilos of excess weight that just won't shift. I have booked an appointment with my doctor to be tested in all the traditional invasive ways, but I see no reason not to change dietary gears now, while I'm thinking about it.

This morning, I went through the pantry and extracted everything that isn't on the "good for keto" list I found on the Internet. There's not much left.

According to Gary Taubes, author of "Rethinking Diabetes", "The Case for Keto", and a whole host of other books on managing diabetes, this diet will compel me to cook again -- but I can eat cheese with near abandon. This week I bought avocados for the first time in my life. Not very interesting as a foodstuff, but remarkably satisfying.

Does any of my fellow declutterers have experience with "keto" diets?


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 09 Apr 24 - 02:36 PM

I haven't had much time to post here in the past couple weeks. Been juggling more stuff than I care to think about, and being without power for four days and unconnected with the rest of the world except when I was using wifi at McDonald's hasn't helped.

Now I'm dancing as fast as I can to catch up on the things I couldn't do Thursday through Sunday because I had no electricity and no water. (And no wifi and very iffy cell service.) Couldn't get out of the driveway until Saturday. (Coffee! Hot meals! Wifi!)

But today I'm taking a box of glassware to Goodwill (every little bit helps) and getting some grocery shopping done. Prepping a package and taking it to the post office will have to wait until tomorrow. It's just one thing too many today. (Sending some books and "Designing Women" DVDs to a friend who was also my late sister's best friend.)

Got most of the laundry and most of the dishes taken care of yesterday.

Seems as if everything else is just taking a lot longer than anticipated. Called my optometrist's office this morning to find out when I can expect my new glasses (stopped wearing hard contacts about a year ago) and, because of computer problems and the power failure over most of New Hampshire, she said 5-6 weeks. I just hope I've got them before Mother's Day weekend when I've got an out of town commitment.

Later!
Linn


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: pattyClink
Date: 09 Apr 24 - 07:06 PM

Real keto diets are hard to pursue, but can be just the thing if you need to break away hard from sugar and carbohydrates. I have found it more do-able to pursue a looser low-carb plan and gotten good results. Our modern diet, and particularly the tasty, comforting, and cheaper foods can leave us taking in SO many more carbohydrates than the body can deal with.

The modern commercial slice of bread is so large and has added sugar, gives us a ridiculous amount of carbs in just a plain sandwich, never mind other baked goods. And the 'healthier' breads seem to be the worst. Checking labels for net carb grams on whatever breads you use can help you find one that is more modest; or some people just get bread and all baked goods out of their life while on their program.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Apr 24 - 07:13 PM

Charmion, the champ of the Keto lifestyle is our fellow member LilyFestre. She posts mostly on FB these days. She walks most mornings along with the Keto diet for the family, and has worked off lot of weight. Right now her mother is ill and she hasn't walked as much (I saw a post about walking yesterday) but I suspect they're sticking to the diet as a matter of habit.

I'm shifting my diet to more protein in the morning and the carbs later and it does seem to curb the sugar cravings. Snacks lately are savory: I made another batch of the smoky gouda and pecans spread I discovered recently. I pick from a couple of recipes - mine ends up with shredded gouda, sour cream, finely chopped pecans, a little Worcestershire sauce and some powdered onion. I use tortilla and flax seed chips to pile a spoonful of the spread on. Meat in my diet is usually an ingredient in dishes, but I'm changing that. I eat more fish and chicken than beef, and lately have added back lamb; I cut up a leg of lamb and freeze portions. The MyFitnessPal is set to track carbs, protein and fat.

The alternate day fasting worked for me to lose weight two years ago and is what I'm doing to lose a few pounds now. I recently listened to a lecture about the problem of some of the forms of fasting - those in which the calories are eaten within an 8 hour period seem to be flagged as possibly associated with some health risk factors. I keep to 500 calories on the "fasting" days but I've never restricted it to within a few hours. It's unscientific but I find on the days when I eat 1200 calories I get enough of the foods that are treats that I don't feel deprived for a day when I eat less.

Linn, I stopped going to the optometrist's office for making glasses because they were always so expensive. Having insurance only let them gouge both me and the insurance company. I use Zenni, and have been happy with the quality and price, and I daresay if you entered your details into an order at Zenni you'd have new glasses in a couple of weeks. There's a learning curve to fill in the information from the printout Rx from the optometrist (you should ask for a copy), but once you figure it out, returning for new updated orders is easy.

Heavy rain forecast overnight and tomorrow. I worked in the garage today to scour off some baked-on grease at the front of the grill hood. I used a tool (no idea the original intent - it was from my Dad's stash) with a razor blade at an angle and slowly peeled back some of the grease (baked on like enamel) and scrubbed the rest with steel wool. This work has me eyeing the huge lump of the older grill under it's nylon cover (held in place with a bungee cord) - can hardly wait to downsize if the new one works well.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 09 Apr 24 - 08:02 PM

Maggie, you forget that I worked as an optical technician at Sears Optical and JCPenney Optical for five years (we were licensed businesses within the stores). I stopped wearing my RGP hard contacts about a year ago. I just didn't wear them often enough. I'm currently wearing a pair of progressives that are about 20 or more years old. I just found out that I actually have vision insurance for the first time in my life. It paid for my exam and substantially towards a new pair of progressives. If I hadn't had insurance, I would have gone directly to JCPenney Optical when they had one of the sales that worked best for me. I ordered the pair of progressives through my optometrist because I wanted a better lens (the three different progressive lenses sold by US Vision are adequate, but not the best available) than would be available at JCP Optical. I would order single vision glasses online, but would never consider ordering progressives. For correct placement of the lens in front of the eye, it takes someone actually measuring segment height. (I know my PD — pupillary distance.) And an online optician couldn't phyiscally fit the glasses — progressives usually need a little tweaking. (And I know of no optometrist's office that would fit a person with the glasses they bought online.)

I'm going to take my Rx, though, when the sale is right and buy a second pair (for fashion reasons as much as to have a good spare pair; my old prescription is just enough out of whack that I have a headache after driving for any length of time) at JCPenney Optical.

And I have multiple pairs of single vision glasses for back ups as well.

Back when I got that 20+ year old pair of progressives (which my then optometrist was insisting on), I could never get used to them because I wore my contacts 99% of the time. (I'm nearsighted, so the contacts were for distance; I used cheap readers for closeup.) But a few months ago the pair of single vision distance glasses I was wearing to drive got misplaced. I rummaged in my nightstand drawer and for some reason the only pair I could find was the progressives. I needed to go somewhere, so put them on not expecting much, but, voila! I could see both distance and closeup and everywhere in between with absolutely no problem whatsoever.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Apr 24 - 10:37 PM

You're right, I completely forgot about your working at the optical place. And please don't read my criticism of the optical store at my (last) optometrist's office as my view of the entire world of opticians. You're also right about the progressive lenses - those are different. I wore them for a little while and switched back to regular lenses with bifocals because I was tired of bobbing my head around to find the focal part I needed in the lenses at any given time. I typically ended up spending about $400 on a new pair of glasses because the insurance didn't pay for polycarbonate lenses and the frames that had nicer features (titanium, springy hinges, etc.) always cost more than the budget plastic pairs to choose from to stay under the plan allowance. We're creatures of habit, so I bought glasses at the doctor's office long before the online sites came along and it took a while to get comfortable with the idea of ordering online and switching.

I made the optical tech work out what my glasses would cost if I walked in without insurance. I would have been offered a "50% off" rate, and they came out (for sake of illustration) around $400. She then worked it out with my insurance: with insurance you're not offered the discount discount on any of the frames, lenses, etc., and it came out $395. Which told me they were getting a lot more out of me because I paid as much as the uninsured and the insurance company also gave them something. The last pair I bought from Zenni with a titanium frame, polycarbonate lenses (with the option I never paid for at the optometrist's - photo responsive lenses) cost $88. I learned about this place from our group participant LilyFestre. She said her agency used them when they had families needing glasses but with no budget. For lower-end plastic frames and lenses you can probably get a good pair of glasses for under $40.

Patty nailed it as far as our high-carbohydrate diets. I aim to have fruits and vegetables as much of my diet, so eating protein instead of wheat-based carbs or sugar is a good choice. I have a combination of commercial raisin bran cereal and a homemade granola (low sugar, high in nuts) that makes my gut happy, but eating that for breakfast can set me up for wanting more carbs during the day. I've started thawing a piece of fish overnight and having a piece of sauteed tilapia or sockeye salmon and a side of pan fried potatoes or a vegetable, and having the granola for lunch or even part of dinner. Mostly I have to get off of sugar snacks.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 10 Apr 24 - 09:54 AM

So many customers couldn't understand why, if they used their insurance, the insurance company didn't get the sale price. I got into trouble, though, when I suggested to customers that, if their insurance was less than optimal, use the sale rather than their insurance.

I bought my RGP hard contact lenses online for DECADES. Better price than even the annual sale prices at the shops I worked at. Half the price of what an independent optometrist would charge me.

I'm still doing the daily version of intermittent fasting — I can eat from noon-1:00ish until 8:00 p.m. Then it's only water, black coffee or tea until noon-ish the next day. But, since the start of the pandemic, I cheat. Back in 2020-2021 it was compensation for so much else being taken away. Alas, I got into the habit of cheating and, while I've been trying to get back on track, it's still a struggle. If I get really pecking, though, late ate night while reading, I can "legally cheat" by snacking on something that is very very low on the glycemic scale, such as lettuce or greens, or (as I prefer) kimchee.

My use of intermittent fasting isn't so much to lose weight (although that's a nice benefit — I lost 40 pounds painlessly in seven months) — it's to avoid the diabetes that runs on my mother's side of the family.

My snack cravings go towards the salty and crunchy side rather than sweet. My favorite daytime snack is almonds — I mix "roasted with salt" and "roasted/no salt" to keep the sodium level down. I haven't eaten potato chips since 1992 when a friend and I had a consultation with "The Mad Russian" (Yefim G. Shubentsov) in Boston. (Tom had seen him for smoking cessation, but the Mad Russian also dealt in food issues.) I saw him to get rid of my urge to find the perfect food that would solve whatever problem or mood I was beset with. After explaining to me that my body shape is the preferred standard of beauty almost everywhere in the world, he asked that I give up one food. I chose potato chips because they weren't my favorite snack; I saw them mostly as a vehicle for dip.

Coffee's ready and I hope to have a postponed weekly phone conversation with a friend who winters in Florida.

Linn


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 10 Apr 24 - 06:47 PM

Just finished making the sauce for peanut butter-sesame noodles. I'm knackered, but I figured I could get that mixed up, the pasta cooked, and the scallions chopped.

After my postponed from Sunday weekly phone call with a musician/ librarian/ teacher friend who winters near Pensacola, I got the box I forgot yesterday into the car, and packaged up those DVDs and books so I could stop at the post office on my way to Goodwill.

Stopped, too, at RiteAid to get multi vitamins. I don't go into many stores other than the grocery store because concrete floors are very painful for me. (At the grocery store I use the cart as a "walker" of sorts.) When I came out of the drugstore, I figured it would be one thing too many to go to Market Basket to get a couple more six-packs of one of Polar's limited edition seltzers — Jalapeño Citrus Margarita. I seldom drink sodas because they're too sweet. I avoid ones with HFCS, but even the craft sodas with cane sugar are too sweet, but I occasionally like a flavored seltzer. This flavor is really nice so I better stock up.

Took the box to Goodwill, then went inside to see if there was anything I couldn't live without. Spent $32, but also got a rally nice pashmina or oversize scarf that will go smashingly with several outfits I've got.

This morning started out sunny, but it clouded over before noon and spit annoyance rain (turn the wipers on, turn the wipers off, ad nauseum).


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 10 Apr 24 - 08:02 PM

Forgot to mention my real score at Goodwill today — an Apple wireless keyboard for five bucks. Mine has been acting flakey lately, so tomorrow when I have more energy, I’ll put batteries in the new one and try it out.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Apr 24 - 11:53 PM

My cat-sitting gig will end earlier than planned, and has gone remarkably free of complications because the cat that needs the most attention has been at the vet this week. I suspect the next gig will be one for the record books with new steps for the sickest one and changes in food for all feline family members.

Canine drama here at 4am; I woke to frantic barking and sounds of a struggle in the yard. I pulled on clothes and shoes and headed out with a flashlight (after covering the dog door in case someone got skunked - they get treated outside before they are allowed indoors) but it had concluded. I found no bodies, no injured dogs or wild animals, but there were whiffs of skunk. Odd, but no one is talking about what happened.

Allergies are hitting hard with the layers of antihistamines (daily tablet, nasal spray, overnight Benadryl) fully deployed.

The Dremel tool I ordered would have been too small for the task I have in mind (the tiny wire brushes are cute) so I picked up an inexpensive pack of wire brushes to use with my regular drill. Tomorrow I'll put on safety glasses, drape a heavy plastic bag over pants and shoes and test the cleaning ability on the BBQ grill. This setup is also what I need to clean surfaces before I paint all of the decorative security bars on the house windows, though that requires a softer abrasive kind of brush to scour the bars. I can see a number of long-envisioned projects getting done this spring. And it will make the house look brighter (right now the bars are painted with the original ugly dark gray that used to be on other parts of the house).

Patty, are you still on the road or have you found a place to settle?

Dorothy, I'm so pleased to read about R's attention and help and being able to make a drive.

How is everyone else doing this spring?


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Apr 24 - 09:30 AM

Keto for 4+ years.

Finally put away my clean laundry. Found that one garment I'd forgotten I was looking for...


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Charmion
Date: 11 Apr 24 - 03:35 PM

I put away my laundry today, too.

Today I had lunch at the only restaurant I ever go to any more, where I shocked the cook by not ordering her (delicious) huevos rancheros. Instead, I had three scrambled eggs, four rashers, half an avocado, and black coffee. The world continues to revolve on its axis.

So far, going keto seems to be mostly about finding ways to add fat to the menu without resorting to ice cream.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Apr 24 - 04:33 PM

Don't lose sight of ample sources of good fiber. When the Atkins diet (akin to Keto) became all the rage the discussion of acute constipation arose.

I buy several avocados at a time and make guacamole then mound it into ice cube trays to freeze for portions. It's best to let defrost at room temperature or for ~ 20 seconds at a time in the microwave (so you don't cook it.)

Gorgeous day today. So much to do, but will I get anything done at all?


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: pattyClink
Date: 12 Apr 24 - 09:25 AM

Have had a remarkably tough and unproductive 11 days dealing with a bad head cold which apparently coincided with peak pollen-in-the-sinuses season. Thought I would never get over it.

Yesterday got stocked up on fresh foods, got frustrated trying to find someone who actually has someone available to pump propane, and called it a day. Today, the storage unit work resumes. With warmer weather hopefully the propane can wait til Monday.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Apr 24 - 11:50 AM

Patty, that kind of cold is the gift that keeps on giving isn't it? You get over the cold and then you have to get over getting over the cold. How far do you think you've gotten with clearing/organizing your storage locker at this point?

Propane is a topic I'm dealing with today; I transferred the tank from the old grill to the newer one, but to be prudent I'll take out a bowl of soapy water and a damp paper towel and do the "bubble" test - dab it on in the areas where a tank might leak and be sure it is still sound. Yesterday I used the wire brush drill attachment on the first cast iron grate and it looks much better, though it was getting dark as I finished and this morning I see I missed a few spots. The second grate has soaked in soapy water overnight before using the drill on it this morning. The cabinet wheels are kind of rough so I'll prop up the cart one end at a time and see if they need cleaning or replacement. I'm almost to the test fire point, and if it works I'll prepare the older grill for donation this weekend. I can't wait to clear out space in that part of the garage.

This morning the New York Times had a subscriber-only article about "Decuttering Sprints" to be done in 30 minutes or less. The first recommendation was to get rid of all of the old electronic power supplies, but mine are all in one place and are a handy resource to go with eBay sales, so nope, they stay.

Clear clutter from the car is the next, but I did that last week. She suggests wrangling all of the reusable shopping bags:
If you keep reusable shopping bags in your trunk, Pateras said, “the rule of thumb is to have as many as you use for your biggest grocery shopping trip.”

Ok, I do have an overflow of sizes and types of those. I wrangled the durable plastic heavy duty ones and some large cotton strong-handled ones and the rest are hanging in a bag on the closet door until I sort for donation. The crumbling basket on the SUV floor behind the front passenger seat that held Kleenex, vinyl gloves, a whisk broom, bottles of water, paper towels, etc. was emptied into a smaller cloth bin. The broken basket goes into the trash.

The third task in the article is digging stuff out from under the kitchen sink, but for some reason that area has never become the "shove-and-pile-zone" she suggests they can be. (Partly because I get mice in there sometimes and want to be able to set a trap.) I do intend to put in a new faucet one of these days and will have to move the current contents out briefly to crawl in to work, but it is organized.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Apr 24 - 07:10 PM

The initial test of the new-to-me BBQ was successful; I grilled a couple of chicken breasts. Now I need to start cleaning up the old grill and see if anyone wants it. It was sold in about 1998 and I can't find an online manual (I inherited this from the neighbors and rebuilt the insides). I'll clean it and hope to find someone who wants one they can drop off at a campsite or someone with no budget who wants a grill that works.

Good news this afternoon - the cat-sitting gig is over and she doesn't plan more trips for a while. She's participating in the neighborhood garage sale on the 20th and asked if I'd like to bring up stuff. Yes! I'll start looking around this evening. Whatever I can transport up there (and possibly have the friend with the truck make a run for me - I could offer an antique bed frame if he could take it there. But who wants antique bed frames?) Everyday I walk past stuff sitting out that has no use here—there's a lot of that. Ask low prices so it all goes.

I started some weeding this afternoon but the soil is still too wet from the rain on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tomorrow should start to be pretty good. My potatoes are sprouting in the one bed that has been planted. It is nice weather now and I'll take the dogs for a walk before I feed them.

More good news this afternoon - the mortgage bill/statement arrived today. Not only did they refund a lot of escrow last month for the coming year, they applied some of that overage to the account itself and the monthly payment has gone down by $150. (The skeptic in me feels the need to check to be sure someone didn't misplace a decimal and will come looking for it all back later . . . )


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 13 Apr 24 - 05:35 AM

Woke up from a recurring dream cycle at 4:30 this morning and my brain immediately snapped to attention, went into high gear, and refused to let me slip back into sleep. Sigh. But it’s just given me a few good decluttering ideas — what I optimistically call the guest room (well, there’s a bed in there someplace); the piles of photographs, books, and artwork in the living room; and the room I refer to as “The Room” (pronounced Thee Room”).

But first, an epiphany. If I refer to my bedroom as “my library”, I’ve immediately, for all practical purposes, decluttered it. There’s almost no floor space; it’s all taken up by piles of books, boxes of papers, stacks of magazines, letter files, the 60-odd plus 3-ring binders of The Archives, and tote bags and boxes of photographs, and the Bob Nilson drawings I’m cataloging…all more or less organized. It’s also got two walls of bookcases and several smaller bookcases. It’s majorly cluttered as a bedroom… But it’s more or less normal for a library.

So, as of right now, 5:34 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, 2024, I’m officially sleeping in my library.


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 13 Apr 24 - 08:19 AM

well done!

One wall of my bedroom is covered by 2 huge bookcases almost to the ceiling (10 foot) but as I downsized my historic costume library last year it is no longer a library as only one shelf of books remains from another interest, & they can be whittled away by a number of visits to charity shops. The lowest shelf is empty, but other stuff is stored on vintage tray tables in front of the bookcase...

The shelves have been packed with some of my craft material, a mess of crafty stuff is still in my living room tho most of it would fit, if I got off my bum & moved stuff!! The rest would likely fit in several empty shelves elsewhere ...

sandra

Once upon a time I visited a charity shop that displayed a nicely homemade unit with 3 or 4 shelves of small beer glasses, each one had a decal/sticker from a different venue/town/country? Staff had added a sign saying they had 2000 more!! out the back, so I've ever since suggested to friends trying to find a home for a large collection, to take pieces to more than one shop!


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Subject: RE: DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024
From: pattyClink
Date: 13 Apr 24 - 09:20 AM

The propane hunt took a while, wound up driving way too far to find the reliable people who actually have someone on hand to pump. On the way back, stopped and got a windshield ding tended to by good people with minimum fuss and cost.

In the waning hours of the day, started weighing and measuring some boxes in storage, so I can appportion them into cargo-trailer loads. So far they average 13 pounds, and the ones over 20 lbs definitely need to be wrangled with a handcart and hoisted as little as possible if my back and I am to survive this process.

For some of them, may have to repackage into smaller/cleaner/sounder liquor boxes, and may look for a sale on half-height bins that can be more easily managed both during the move and after. I have gotten lucky in the past at an Ollie's and a now-defunct Fred's, perhaps Big Lots is worth a trek, perhaps not. Finally feeling well, I shudder at the prospect of entering a walmart full of the germs of 10,000 people a day.


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Mudcat time: 13 April 11:10 AM EDT

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