Archives for July 2013

What To Do With Toothpicks

Does anyone out there not have toothpicks in the spice cupboard? I will tell you how old mine are if you tell me how old yours are. Mine….decades old, I’m sure. Many of you know that my mom is the queen declutterer. She must of had 2 boxes of these toothpicks because that is her writing on the box… reads;

I have another box so keep this Toothpicks

This morning I got up with a great idea. I would paint some rocks with the old florescent paint that has been in the shed for a couple of years. The artist in me is always looking for ways to make the garden bright and interesting and what could better light up the path to my chicken coop (with no chickens, yet) but florescent green rocks?

rocksFirst I headed to the recycle trash can to pull out an old blue plastic box, put the rocks in, then went to the shed for the paint. Ready, set, go… and nothing. The thing was clogged. What now? I know, I will boil water, put the tip in and get a toothpick to get out old paint.paint cap and toothpick

It has been months, maybe years since grabbing a toothpick. The message on the box caught my eye. The box was old and falling apart, it even had old tape holding all sides together.

This project is ongoing and you will get an update.

The question for today is;

How many toothpicks do you need? I suppose if you make lots of hors d’oeuvres (had to look up proper spelling) then you would have need for a box but I don’t routinely make them so they sit in my cupboard for just in case.

Time to declutter old toothpicks!


What To Do With Old Costumes

One was easy to get rid of, the other one wasn’t.      

I love costumes!  Dressing up, whether it is for Halloween or for a theme party, is fun! The laughter, the food, the pictures, the talk….it’s all fun.

But what do you do after 3 decades of fun, with closets and boxes full of those costumes? I had lots of them that had not been worn in years. The time had come. I felt compelled one morning to dig in and do it.

They came out of closets and from boxes under the bed. I kept only a few, including my “Snow White Dress”.  The more I get rid of stuff I don’t use, need or enjoy, the easier it gets.

The whole process didn’t take long. Quickly made costumes were easier to put in my goodwill bag or even the trash.

If you have kids around then you know how much they like to play dress up and pretend. With a little bit of imagination you can create with things around the house.

creative custumesUsing boxes, my grandson and I made ROBOTS. For a whole week we were ROBOTS. Playing PRETEND is what most kids at one time like to do. This week we are pretending to be different animals…RUFF RUFF.

If you are looking for costumes check out the second hand stores in your area. The goodwill store usually has lots to choose from too.


The Artichoke Flower and Butternut Squash

Purple Artichoke

Every gardener out there can tell you of successes and failures. Here are mine for the season.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Butternut Squash

When my youngest son was in kindergarden he discovered that he liked artichokes. As it turned out, my mother in law had a very big artichoke plant and I was able to take from that plant and start my own. I didn’t know much about growing artichokes and was surprised that if you let it grow and don’t pick they turn into big purple flowers.

Last season I thought I could do it again but it just didn’t work out like it did many years ago. Only one little purple flower survived. Although it is pretty, it was my failure.

My success was the butternut squash growing up through the trees. Last October I bought some for decoration. When the season was over, I tossed them into a plantar. Seven months later, they are growing.

The garden is the one area that is constantly changing. You have to get rid of stuff even if it’s the weeds. Change is fun in the garden. It is the gardeners pallet, forever changing.

Spending time outside is good for the soul. Go outside today!


Dave Dangerfield said it…cash it, stash it or trash it.

Most people get it. It is the being motivated part, that is the problem.

Pain motivates.

This week on an episode of Hoarders was a women in California that was a trust fund baby. She had exhausted most of the money and had an enormous amount of stuff. She kept it in 2 apartments and storage places. It was good, expensive stuff but with money running out she was having a hard time paying rent.

If you don’t pay rent, you face eviction. This means all of your stuff out in the street or in a dumpster or repossessed. She was clearly in pain.

One of her best friends was an Adult film star. He said before entering her apartment for the first time, that nothing could shock him after 31 years in the porn business but he was wrong. He was shocked. It’s actually a funny moment on the show.

She had no children or pets. Her love were her possessions. She was fortunate to have friends that would go to the trouble to help her. The most painful thing about this episode is if she had planned accordingly she would have had money through out her life but she instead spent on stuff that she couldn’t even enjoy because there was so much of it. This was expensive stuff too!

These shows often highlight people that have a serious disorder. At the same time many of us can see ourselves to a certain extent in this situation. It’s relative.

Have I bought things I didn’t need? Of course, who hasn’t?

Think before buying. In a few years the very thing you buy today will be in front of you, and you will be asking;


How To Organize The Closet

closetOver the years I’ve read hundreds of articles, blogs and books dealing with organizing closets.

The one unending piece of advise and constant thread throughout is: decluttering is a must.

How easy it would be if our closets were like fridges. If blue and green mildew fuzz were to grow on our clothes not being used, our job would be easier.

We face our closets everyday and sometimes it isn’t pretty. They are crammed with clothes that are not being worn. Do these reasons sound familiar? Doesn’t fit, wrong color, itchy material or wrong style for your figure.

Whatever the reason we are still left with the problem of making the decision to keep or not to keep.

One of the many different methods for decluttering and cleaning out the closets consists of taking everything out and going through each piece. This one should come with a warning if you have never done this before. It can be discouraging and I know many of you who have done this, only to give up half way through, with very little progress.

Our goal is to keep what we wear and give away or sell what we don’t. Sounds pretty simple, but it can be traumatic.

Listed below are many ways and ideas that have been suggested by experts

  1. Color coordinate first and then begin to weed through with clothes on the hanger while in the closet. Asking yourself when was the last time I wore this and did I feel good wearing it?
  2. Separate according to size. If your weight changes even if it is by 5 or 10 pounds this could change your size enough that many of your clothes won’t fit right now. Start by having the clothes that fit you now in front of you on the hangers and start asking your questions. Color? Style? Is it comfortable? Did I wear this year?
  3. Hang according to the type of clothes you wear the most. Uniforms? Work clothes? Play clothes? Church clothes? Once you get your section that you chose from the most go through and take out the clothes you are not picking to wear.
  4. Take everything out including belts, purses, scarves, and shoes. Be ruthless! If you haven’t used or worn it in the last year. Throw it out!
  5. Start with new hangers that all match. Get rid of wire hangers.
  6. A trip to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy the latest organizing things for closets (sometimes this can work against you, and in a year you’ll be decluttering your organizing stuff).
  7. If you have a summer and winter wardrobe then store the season not in use. Buy the space shrink bags and stick under a bed.
  8. The most recommended method is to take it all out and have piles of keep, discard, clean, and repair (repair is code word for discard).
  9. If number 8 is too overwhelming, then keep on hangers but seperate into pants, blouses, dresses, and do one group at a time. This is easier for many than doing all at once.


No matter which method or supplies you choose it will only work if you get rid of what you don’t wear.

The painful reality is you bought things you didn’t need, or may have been pressured into buying. Even worse you bought those things using a credit card that you have not paid off.

If this is your situation, here are some options;

  1. If the tags are still on, see if you can take it back to the store for a refund.
  2. Take it to a consignment shop to try and get some money back to pay off the credit card.
  3. Do a garage sale. If you can’t do by yourself, find others that you can hook up with.
  4. Donate what you want to get rid of for the tax write off.

Chances are you won’t make back what you spent on it but it might lessen the pain a little. Live and learn. If you can’t pay off your credit card every month then don’t use it to buy clothes. Take it a step beyond that and simply don’t use your credit card until that thing is paid off.

Another painful situation is you may have clothes that have been gifted to you by your husband, wife or other friends and family. This could be awkward, especially if there is a chance that they would ask about that outfit that you never wear. It happens. They will get over it.

Live in the here and now

Another road block in organizing our closets, is the difficulty in living in the here and now. Get rid of clothes from other decades. Let the Goodwill store them for you and when you need that outfit from the 80’s, they will probably have it and it won’t cost much.

Buying clothes that don’t fit and are too tight usually doesn’t work as a motivator. It’s just depressing.

Doing this alone works better for some and not so great for others. You know your personality and you also know the people who might be helpful in your life.

You have not because you ask not

Pick up the telephone and call someone. You may have a friend that would love getting that phone call. A cup of tea or coffee, and a chance to encourage you to declutter and organize just might be the very thing that they too need.

Several months ago in “O magazine” there were several articles on organizing. One article was written about Gale. She had someone come in and help her organize her purses. You may not have the means to pay for a professional and get it published in O magazine but remember you can call a friend or get help from this blog along with many other resources out there.

Pretty closets are nice

There are amazing new gadgets all of the time at Bed Bath & Beyond to help you organize anything in the house. But again, a word of warning. Don’t organize things you don’t need, use or wear.

Do we have the power to change?

The above websites might not be for you. On a bell curve of hoarding, you might be very normal and average. On a bell curve of organizing you might actually be pretty good and only occasionally need to declutter.

The first step in these 12 step programs that have been so helpful world wide is the concept that we are powerless over (whatever the issue) Alcohol, Drug, Food, People, Places, Things, and yes, even Clutter.

We admitted we were powerless over clutter, that our lives had become unmanageable.

As I write this post there are groups all over the world discussing, debating and trying to make sense of this very first step. It might be worth reading through some of those websites.

I’m not a psychologist, or a psychiatrist or any type of therapist but I’ve studied enough to know that the average person has to deal with stuff. Whether it is stuff you use or don’t use, you own it and it needs a place. Either in your home, garage, storage unit, trash, charity shop or in someone else’s home. (SEP)

If it is out of control then the websites above will be helpful, maybe even life changing. Some of you are actually quite good at organizing and knowledgeable about things like recycling and enjoy the blogging world. Then there is everything in between. Either way I invite you to participate. Take this year to declutter and organize your stuff.