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DECLUTTER *hoards *bad habits *toxic stuff - 2024

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
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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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