Don’t Wait Until You Move

Don’t wait until it’s time to move to look at your stuff and weed it out. Trust me on this. I knew I had too much stuff but had no idea how much stuff I actually had until it was time to move. This always happens, but I’m moving out of a big house instead of a small apartment, and there is just so.much.stuff! We’ve taken several car loads of boxes to Hangers for Hope, and given boxes and piles of things to the Veterans. And at least 20 bags of trash. Movers come today to pack up what’s left and I move tomorrow.

Look in the bathroom. How many half-used bottles of shampoo or lotions do you have? Get rid of what you don’t actually use now. How many towels are there? Maybe you changed color schemes and kept the old towels. Time to bag them up and take to an animal shelter. They LOVE old towels. Old makeup? Dump it.

Look in the closet. This one you already know. We all have too many clothes. Body sizes change, life activities change. Do you like it? Do you wear it? Take things you no longer want to a consignment shop or thrift store and relish the space in the closet. You don’t need or use all those shoes and purses either.

Look in the kitchen. Are there pots, pans, speciality gadgets that you no longer use? Why are you keeping them? How many plastic storage containers do you have squirreled away deep in the cabinets? Recycle at least half – you’ll never miss them.

Look at cleaning supplies. Honestly, how many different things do you actually USE? It’s time to throw out products that don’t work quite as well as you’d like. And if you have a housekeeper, you only need to keep what she uses, not an assortment of specialty products that no one ever uses. Tho you do need sponges, but perhaps not as many as I apparently collected.

Look in the garage. Are you really using all of those tools that you used to use? If you pay someone to maintain your yard, you don’t need them all. Weed out.

We all do this weeding when we move, but don’t wait that long!

Everything is moving fast

My house is so empty now. Oh, there’s furniture, but there’s just a lot of … space with so much already sold or donated. The Veterans were here yesterday for a pick up and I have a car full of boxes for Hangers of Hope in Tyler. The kitties are anxious and I’m not sure if they’ve noticed that porch furniture is gone, too.

It’s been a whirlwind week of almost frenzied weeding, sorting, and packing. My sister-in-law was here last weekend, and I wouldn’t be this far along without her! She also helped me with my move here from Connecticut and I am so grateful for her love, support, and hard work. And my friends here in Emerald Bay liberated furniture, stuff, and even plants, giving them new homes and new life.

I have just so much stuff even after letting go of so much already. Next priorities are pantry and fridge clean-out, and going through boxes of holiday decorations. Anyone want vintage Byers Choice carolers?

I have too much stuff

One thing librarians learn is that collections of books, of anything, need to be curated or they just become hoards. Something that had great value at one time may no longer hold the same value years later. Whether they spark joy or not, it’s worth reviewing your stuff before you find yourself forced to downsize quickly or, heaven forbid, leaving your stuff for someone else to have to sort through and wonder why on earth you were keeping it all.

So we weed things out. That’s a librarian term, though I thought everyone used it. Hmmm. I’ll share it with you if you’d like. Because weeding gets rid of unwanted or damaged things to make room for the things you choose to keep.

This week I went through my collection of genealogy research books again, because I’ve done this before. But I’m not using things I expected to use, so why not share them with someone who can use them? I searched all the titles in the Tyler Public Library online catalog (yayyyy! they have Encore, the system I used for years when I was working) and put together a list that I sent to the reference librarian responsible for the Genealogy/Local History collection. Only three titles were already held by the library, and two of those are missing, so she was delighted to get the offer. They’re boxed up now and waiting for me to figure out a way to haul them down to the library.

My jewelry is also out of hand for someone who doesn’t wear much except earrings. I was considering getting a jewelry armoire when, really, the issue is that I simply have too much of it. So it’s time to weed. Why keep so many of those necklaces dangling from the organizing hanger thingie in the closet? I still have some pendants that were my Mom’s that I don’t think I’ve ever worn. Why keep them? And the earrings … well, really, I’m an earring addict because, let’s face it, earrings fit no matter what size you are. I used to wear tiny ones and they’ve gotten much bigger. But I haven’t spread them all out in at least 2 years and know I’ve added a ton of them since then. This weekend I will weed out at least half of the necklaces and earrings. I have a plan.

I have two computer desks, which is one too many. One was my mom’s, built for desktop computers with big towers and keyboard drawers. I’m using it to hold my printer and a lamp, having already sold the scanner that was also there. But the cubbies and drawers are full of papers that need to be reviewed, sorted, and filed or shredded so I can empty it out and try to give it away if I can find someone to take it. So today I organized, sorted, and 3-hole-punched a big pile of retirement paperwork and got that into a binder and out of the desk. I have a big pile of other stuff to file but it needs to be sorted first. Also a project for the weekend – because I really want to get rid of the desk. More weeding, this time of furniture.

And in the kitchen, we have cookie jars. Way too many cookie jars. How many do I need when I don’t even eat cookies? I’ll be going through those and the wine glasses (how many does one person need? not as many as I have!) and other kitchen things. That’s a project for later in the month. And I have my eye on a few Christmas things that, on reflection, didn’t spark as much joy as I expected.

If you live in Emerald Bay, watch for posts on Community Interest when I’m ready to share some of these treasures with someone else. That computer desk would be a great crafting or project table even if you don’t need it for a computer 🙂

Baby steps

Yesterday I weeded out the pantry of a whole boatload of things that I had no idea were there – and it didn’t look that crowded! But there were plenty of outdated canned veggies, enchilada sauce (why did I have that?), chopped olives, packets of oatmeal from boxes tried once but that I’d hoped would taste better another time, and too-old cartons of chicken stock. I think I’d planned to use them back when I started Noom back in January and then forgot they were there.

I pruned 30 cans of cat food left behind when the cats moved on to another kind of fishy food and turned their noses up at the old stuff, and hauled it today to Petco to be donated to a shelter. Then I consolidated half empty boxes of Ziplock bags and reorganized the shelves. It looks beautiful.

Then today I went grocery shopping, but not much went into the pantry. I bought broccoli and apples, sweet potatoes and meat, milk and lemonade, protein drinks and carb-balanced spinach tortillas, and of course, cat toys. The pantry still looks beautiful but now the fridge is super-crowded until I get organized on what to next with stuff in there.

I have plans. Tonight I’m cooking pork tenderloin and sweet potatoes, serving with steamed broccoli. Adding 1/4 C. of unsweetened applesauce to the potatoes, I will be 100 calories under my calorie budget without feeling hungry or deprived. It will be Day One to be strung together with other days to come to get myself back on track. Today I listened to my body and ate differently, and I feel better about myself and my choices.

Tomorrow I’ll do chicken teriyaki in the crockpot, with added onions and peppers, pineapple and water chestnuts. It’s one of my favorite meals served over a small portion of rice. I’m throwing out that frozen riced cauliflower; I’d rather have a smaller bit of something I actually enjoy.

After running around all day and spending money like water, it feels good to be still for an hour. Time to write, time to read, time to rest. I have Noom articles to read but I also have a book that’s almost finished. I think that’s up next.

Where did this stuff come from?

When it’s time to pack up the kitchen before countertop demo in the coming weeks, I decided to go through everything in the cabinets to see what I no longer (or never) use. Packing is laborious enough – why include things that I don’t need?

First I weeded pots and pans. Casserole dishes. The dutch oven my mom used for pot roast but hasn’t moved in at least 8 years. A juicer. Melamine dishes. Loaf pans. Mom’s old cookie sheets. All now boxed up to deliver to charity.

Next up were plastic containers. Dear Lord, where did they all come from? Were they making little baby containers in the back of the cabinet? Why don’t the tops fit the bottoms? Honestly, I was stunned by the debris but think the collection really got started when my dad died and when I was post-op and people brought food. I sorted and weeded, trying on tops and then just giving up and dumping a whole lotta plastic. Kept about 1/8 of what you see on the counter. Now I know what I have and everything can go in the freezer, which is important.

Still need to go through what’s on the top shelves of the cabinets. I never use them because I can’t reach, being shorter than everyone else in my family. What’s the point of putting something on a top shelf if I can’t get it down?

By the time I actually need to pack things up, it should be super easy – she said optimistically.