Archives for May 2012

Regifting, and the Downside to Having a Perfect Mother

Plumbing issues can be the worst. We were having issues with our one and only shower in the house and with another family moving in we thought it wise to upgrade to get ready for heavy usage.

It wasn’t long after the demolition started that the plumbing contractor noticed some signs of little extra damage we were not expecting. What would have normally taken a few days was going to take several more.

We had multiple offers from friends and family to move in with them or at least come over to use their showers. One of those offers was from my mom.

In reading these posts you will learn a lot about my mom. She is very organized and a pro at decluttering which makes her a hard act to follow. If it is in her house she uses it or likes it.


My sister and I both have benefited over the years by receiving nice hand-me-downs from our mom.

Last week I went over to her house to shower and put a few outfits in her closet. It made good sense because I was going to be there everyday for a week to get ready for work. The problem was I forgot to mention to her that I put those clothes in her closet.

When she opened her closet and saw her old clothes she wasn’t wearing, she put in her goodwill sack. A full sack for the goodwill doesn’t last long in her house and she put in her car.

It’s mothers day today and I called to wish her a happy Mothers day and to let her know I would be coming over to shower. She let me know that she somehow ended up with the type of hanger I use and I could take them back. When I asked where the clothes were that were on those hangers she informed me they were at the Goodwill. What?! The Goodwill?!

So my clothes for the week are now at the goodwill!

We both had a good laugh. She then convinced me that they weren’t that great anyways and since she, my sister and I were going on a 4 day trip together that I would have time to shop. (I hate shopping)

In that pile of clothes was a very pretty ice yellow linen blazer with peach cuffs. She bought it a few years back and only wore it occasionally because it always needed ironing. That is why she passed it onto me. I too wore it only once every few months because I didn’t want to have to iron it. So it’s at the Goodwill and someone else will get a very pretty blazer that will always need ironing.

A couple of my mothers favorite sayings:

  • A place for everything and everything in it’s place.
  • No more wire hangers.

My mother is wonderful and this morning all of us kids received an email from her with a bible verse.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth;
meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to
do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and
successful. – Joshua 1:8

Morale of the story, listen and live like your mom… because Mom knows best. Happy Mothers Day!

What To Do With Outdated Window Treatments

Decorating isn’t my thing. So when it is time to decorate I call on family members who have the knack. Once the decoration is done it stays. And it stays for a long time.

A Different Point of View

One way to see your house in a different light is to invite people over. Walk around your house and ask yourself,  if a stranger walked in, what would be their first impression? I had some people over recently and before they got here I did that very thing.  As I walked around the house (with my glasses on), I was shocked to see the amount of dust that had collected not just on the curtains but the decorations that framed those curtains.

So in the last few days I have been taking them down and washing them and now I’m making a decision if those decorations might be a little outdated. Most of the curtains went back up with a slightly different twist in them and the fake flowers and vines are now in the garden.

I’ve been told that fake flowers are not in style anymore, but I can’t help myself and they are now lining the white arbor in the backyard. It feels so good to get rid of that dust and the reality is I need to clean those drapes and curtains more often.

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Giving Away My Marbles

One day my mom was getting rid of some decorations and in the pile was a bunch of colorful marbles.  I thought they would look great in my rock garden so she gave them to me. After putting them in my garden, I admit, they did look good and added some extra color that was needed during our “freezing winter” here in Southern California.

When I say freezing I mean a bone chilling 60 degrees and sunny. I realize the rest of the country at times makes fun of us when we complain about the cold winter weather. Especially our winter storm watch, which is usually nothing more than a drizzle. However even our gardens at times do need an extra boost of color and what better way than to add marbles to the garden, right?

It worked for a few years but when my grandson was going to come visit I realized how dangerous it was so I gathered up all of the marbles and put them in 2 wall vases where they looked very pretty.

But leave it to a 2 year old to locate those dangerous marbles within the first 30 minutes he was here. He couldn’t reach the glass vases so I knew it was ok to have them there until I saw him dragging  a chair towards the wall where they were hanging. I knew exactly what he had in mind.

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Making Room for Mr. Monkey

Life can be defined by seasons. What season are you in right now?

If you enter a house with a baby swing you can assume a baby lives there or at least visits often.

As the toddler stage approaches you buy and borrow toys and are soon tripping over legos, followed by grammar school with dioramas and other irritating school projects. (Projects that are actually done by the parents and not the students).

The teenage years are filled with musical instruments, surf boards, video games and cell phones.  Before you know it along comes the college years (hopefully)  filled with books, laptops and more electronic gadgets that they can’t live without.

Fast forward a few years and then there are grand kids that are coming to visit or possibly even living with you for awhile. That is my season right now, and it was time to get a few toys around here.

One Baby’s Trash is Another Baby’s Treasure

On one of my recent trips to the goodwill I not only dropped off but went into the store to look for some toddler toys. There was a lot available and the price was right. I walked out with a bag of toys that looked nearly brand new. I found a very soft stuffed toy monkey that still had the original tag on it. We named him Mr Monkey. Finding room for Mr Monkey wasn’t hard and he has come in quite handy along with the new fire trucks that play music.

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Jury Duty, Clutter and Fire Hazards

Getting jury duty twice a year just never did seem fair. I now know why it was happening to me. They pull from two databases, the DMV and the Voter Registration. If your name is not exactly the same they think you are two different people.

So There I Was…

So there I was, sitting with 500 other people that did not want to be there. Humor is such a good tension and stress reducer and those county employees at Jury Services have figured it out. The women giving the talk was humorous and everyone started to lighten up. The judges take turns talking to the prospective jurors and did a good job of making us feel guilty for not wanting to be there as well as giving a mini lecture on the history of our justice system.

We were told that most of the cases would settle, but you still have to hang out there until 5pm just in case. To make it more interesting they have the Red Cross and the Fire Department come in and give presentations.

Since I didn’t have anything better to do I sat and listened along with the rest of the them. The Public Relations Officer from the Fire Department gave a presentation on their program called,

The Ready Set Go Program – Fire Preparedness.

Ready, Set, Go

I’ve only known of one family that lost everything in a house fire. They survived. Their stiff did not.

This presentation was a great reminder as fire season is starting. I learned about the 6 P’s

  1. People and Pets
  2. Papers, phone numbers and important documents
  3. Prescription drugs and eyeglasses
  4. Pictures and irreplaceable items like paintings
  5. Personal Computers
  6. Plastics  – Credit cards and cash

Highest priority are people and pets.

There were several tips given that day. Check out

One thing that was said that I knew I had to deal with was the hanging dead palm tree branches around my house. I have 13 palm trees. Some small and some big but there is clutter in my garden. If those dry palm tree branches catch on fire they become blow torches and are not good to have near any structures.

Time to declutter my garden and check around the house for other fire hazards.

The day ended and no more jury duty for now.

Lessons learned today. Make sure your name is the same on DMV and voter registrations.

Be prepared for emergencies.

What if……

Your Toilet is Not a Bathroom Magazine Rack

It was such a pretty day today I could not pass up the opportunity to spend some time relaxing in the backyard. I could hear the faint sound of traffic and wind chimes, being surrounded by what we call the “Garden of Eden.” The dogs were lying in the sun and at peace now that the squirrels had all been chased away.

What a perfect day to weed through that pile of magazines from the bathroom.

That pile had grown into a stack that was leaning over and secretly I was hoping I could throw away all of them. There were such a variety of magazines including lawyer, medical, and University magazines as well as the latest on all of the celebrities that we buy for airline trips so I thought it was important to at least skim through them.

I filled up a little foot bath with epsom salt for my aching feet, grabbed the magazines, my reading sunglasses and headed for the backyard.  Things were calm and good, until I heard the loudest crash ever. It was the sound of glass and metal. I thought that the termites have finally done their job and half of the house had caved in. The dogs took cover and I ran into the house thinking to myself I might be calling 911.

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My Husband’s Plaid Flannel Shirt Had To Go!

I could not take another day of seeing him in that shirt. That shirt along with his favorite black slippers and old jeans had become his uniform around the house. Not that I don’t have my favorite polyester track suit, but at least I have a few to add some spice.

That’s My Favorite Shirt…

This is tricky when trying to get rid of other peoples stuff especially someone you live with. In fact, I would not be surprised if someone out there actually ended up in divorce court over this kind of situation.

Dennis Prager is a radio personality that my husband and I both enjoy listening to. There have been a couple of things he has said over the years that have really stuck in my mind. One of them is,

Having a bad attitude is like having bad breath, keep it to yourself.

That may not be exactly how he said it but you get idea. The other thing that really stuck in my mind is when you are having a disagreement or a fight with your spouse ask yourself,

Who is it more important to?

And I can tell you in this situation this shirt was making me crazy. I don’t think the shirt itself meant a lot to my husband, but it was handy in the closet so he kept wearing it. I should probably have asked for his permission, but for now it’s in the donate bag.

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Simple A-line Beige Skirt

My mom and I can confirm there is nothing more exhilarating than a trip to the Goodwill drop off center.

In fact we love it so much that we are willing to help friends go through their own closets just for that one extra trip.

One of my mom’s story stands out, and I love telling this story because I believe it can be quite common.

You Don’t Know What You Have, Until You Don’t Have It Anymore… But You Actually Still Have It, You Just Don’t Realize It

Her friend Gladys was in desperate need of an A-line beige skirt. If she just had that beige skirt she could put together several new outfits but first she thought is would be wise to go through her closet and get organized.

In the process of holding up each item and ask asking a series of questions to help decide if it was going into the donate pile or the keep pile they discovered an A-line Beige skirt.

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A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

If you could spend an hour with your grandson or an hour looking for a tape measure, which would you choose? Last month, I chose poorly.

My son was visiting and he wanted to measure the square footage of all the computers and cords I was giving away and he needed a tape measure. It’s usually in the kitchen catch all drawer with the batteries but not this time.

So I started looking. And kept looking. And looked some more. I remembered putting it in the car to take to Home Depot to measure a piece of wood in the leftover section. We eventually found it but the whole time I was looking for it my moms words were haunting me.

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Why Did The Shoemakers Kids Never Have Shoes?

What is the origin of the phrase, the cobbler’s children have no shoes?


Origin unknown; however the essence of this phrase is used to describe the phenomenon where certain ‘professionals’ in any given area are so busy with work for their clients and their teams that they neglect using their professional skills to help themselves or those closest to them. For example – the painter & decorator who never decorates his own house, the web designer that hasn’t finished their website, or the accountant who is late in submitting his own tax return!

The reason I took this year to get organized is because I’ve been very busy over the years organizing other homes and businesses. If you were to drive by my house and the garage door was open, you would assume a hoarder lived there.

It reminded me of that saying that the shoemakers kids never had shoes…..

This is why I am taking a year to get organized. Before I even start I know the answer.


So here we go……..