Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A quick declutter...

This week was a new approach to decluttering/downsizing - whatever one wants to call it. 
Motivated by a rummage sale (this weekend) to benefit a little boy named Riley who has leukemia, I took a different kind of pass through the house.  Rather than focus on one area, or room, or category of items, I just took a sweep through the house and going through cupboards and drawers I found several box fulls of stuff to donate:

Kitchen stuff:

Some Christmas tins and stuff:

A few decor items:

Some crafty stuff:

And I repackaged the dishcloths I showed on Sunday.  I actually love these fun little jelly rolls and I was able to use the same labels (just trimmed down a bit):

There are some odds and ends (and some books) that didn't get photographed.  Also not pictured is an area rug I've had rolled up and stored in my closet.  I used to put it down in the living room on the hardwood floor during the winter months, but I haven't done that in at least five years.  It's in good condition, but it's a bit old fashioned - which is probably why it didn't sell when we put in into a garage sale of our own a few years ago.  I came across a tutorial online yesterday about overdyeing  rugs, and it might just be a great candidate.  If I end up having to go back and pick it up after the rummage sale, maybe I'll try that come spring.  Or maybe I'll just donate it to the salvage store...  Or let AmVets come and get it - that's what's happening to anything left over after the sale that people don't take back home.    

Oh, and we decided to take over a twin-size headboard.  None of our sons wanted it, and I'm not sure it's what I'd want to use if we ever got another twin size bed here for guests, so maybe it can help Riley out in some small way.

So...  while my rummage sale inspired decluttering this week didn't produce a huge amount of stuff, I feel pretty good about it - both in removing more items from my house, and thinking the items are decent contributions to the sale. 

Another thing I feel good about is that this last pass through the house resulted in some clarity about what to do next.  

And that may be fodder for an upcoming post.  

Stay tuned.  :)

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Small things...

Other than knitting a little on dishcloths, I haven't been crafting for a couple of weeks.  Somehow I hurt both my shoulders and since they seem to be getting better, I assume I just strained them somehow and rest and Ibuprofen is probably what will serve me best right now.  And shoulder massages.  I'm not big on massages normally, but those seem to be helping to break up some really sore spots.

Some of you have been following along on my downsizing efforts (and I'm enjoying following some of yours).  Well, something came to my attention late last week, and I realized I have something to fit both a Year Of Projects post and a downsizing post today. 

I just got word this past week that a rummage sale is scheduled for next weekend to help raise funds for a little 8 year-old boy who has been fighting Leukemia since just before turning 2.   While I don't know the child or his family personally, he has been on our radar for years now, and other than pray for him and his family, nothing has come across my path that I could put legs (or hands) to to help.  But when I heard about the upcoming rummage sale, I immediate recognized that instead of taking things I'm getting rid of to a thrift shop, I can donate them to the sale.  The sale is next Saturday, so I don't have very long to come up with much, but this motivates me to concentrate on clearing out more stuff this week.  

The reason I'm sharing this information here on my YOP update, is that it dawned on me I could donate some hand-crafted items along with household items we're going through.  Now, if you've been reading here for any length of time, you probably know I have dozens of knitted dish/wash cloths at the ready, right?  So I pulled some together in sets of three and put (what I hope are fun) labels on them and will box them up for the sale with other donate-able items.

It's a win-win.  I enjoyed making these simple cloths.  I get to move them out - and for a worthy cause, no less.  And hopefully they'll bring a few dollars to the sale, and maybe they'll even make gifts for others.

I don't have much time, but this week I'm going through closets and cupboards to see what I can unearth to donate.  What better motivation to "de-junque" than when hoping it can benefit someone else.  I'll plan to post about my efforts in a downsizing post later in the week.

To see what other YOPers are up to, 
visit their blogs in my sidebar.  👉

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

From a child I was fond of reading...

The title of this post is part of a line in Benjamin Franklin's autobiography.  I suspect this is true for most readers - that we became fond of books in childhood.  When I was old enough, I was allowed to walk what was probably close to a mile from my house to the public library and I would always haul home an armload of books.  

We didn't have backpacks in those days, but maybe I carried a bag of some sort.  I don't remember that part clearly.  But I remember the walk. And the busy road I walked along. It was a 3-lane road.  First I had to cross the road; then I walked with my back to the traffic.  Thinking back on that, I know I wouldn't have let my young kids make that walk.  But it was a different time when I did it.   Isn't that the way it always is...

I don't know that I intentionally set out to collect books as an adult, but collect them I did.  It's easy to collect things.  Much harder to let things go.

Yesterday's de-booking was a success in that I pulled over 50 books off our shelves, but I didn't exceed that number by as much as I kind of hoped.  Yep.  It was harder than I thought.

I managed to make a decision about 62 books, and tomorrow the majority of those are leaving the house - most going to the Friends of the Library booksale, with a few being posted to Amazon or PaperBackSwap.  Selling books on Amazon is a mixed bag with their fees, but sometimes I can get enough money for a book to make it worthwhile.  Sometimes it's really worthwhile - like... a few weeks ago I sold a used textbook of youngest son's and today have $26.00 in the bank for it. 

Anyway, none of these books are going back on the shelves, and one way or another they're going to soon make their way out of the house.

A few were duplicates.  Some duplicates were intentional (as they may have been used in learning situations - with just our family or for co-op classes), but most were complete accidents.  Duplicates happen.  And they happen more, the more books one has - and the more scattered the books are around the house. 

I'm thinking right about now is a good time to go ahead and tell you a story...

When I was looking through the pictures in the link in yesterday's post (to an old post here), I saw a book that wasn't on the shelf anymore.  As I looked at that picture, I instantly had a feeling of regret that I had gotten rid of that book.  I was so regretful I went right then to Amazon to see about ordering another one.  There was only one available and the price was better than I thought it would be, so I put it in my cart.  At that point though, I decided to sleep on it and see how I felt about it in the morning.

It was a book I had used some (actually probably very little) when homeschooling my young children, but the regret I felt was that I imagined it would be a fun book to share with grandchildren someday.  The book is called Parables from Nature.  Nevermind that I have other similar books, this one always stood out as a unique one.  A classic of a sort. 

Anyway, I didn't order the book last night and this morning I decided I could wait and order it at some later date.  

Well, just a bit ago I started to walk around with my camera to take some shots of books left on the shelves and by now you can probably guess what I found...

Last autumn I had created a little vignette with this cross stitch picture I'd made, and I pulled a few nature books from the section on the shelves where they normally are kept, added a little pumpkin and that took me to Thanksgiving.  I didn't do any decorating this year for Christmas, so after Thanksgiving I put the autumn things away, but just left these books and picture sitting where they were.  It's January and it's still a sweet little arrangement.  And knowing me, it will probably stay like this until next autumn.

The real point I want to make is, this is a perfect example of why consolidation is an important tool in decluttering.  Had I been super serious about downsizing books, I would have gathered books together into categories so I could see what I had.  And this isn't the only example.  Yesterday I found (to my surprise) duplicate copies of at least five books - three of them separated from their twins, either on different shelves or in separate rooms.   I'm happy to say the duplicates of all of those books made it onto the discard pile. Edited to add:  After publishing this post and looking through the pictures again, I found a 6th duplicate!  

Anyway, the de-booking has concluded, and if you're interested, feel free to scroll through the pics below to see most of the books that are left on our shelves.  I'll be honest...  now that I've created this post, I'm torn between thinking this was a really weird thing to do and thinking it was an insane thing to do.  Yes, I do realize those are two points on the same end of the continuum.  

If you like to browse books, be my guest in perusing mine.  If you don't, well...  don't say I didn't warn you.  It's not too late to turn back.

If you choose to continue, and if you click on the pictures, they should enlarge significantly - even larger than if I make them the largest size I can in this post.  That's how it's worked for other posts of mine, anyway.  And if you click on a picture, you can just scroll through them all without bothering with my commentary below. 

Okay!  Here we go...

This bookcase doesn't have a clear purpose, so it's a collection of various genres and where most of the children's books ended up:

In the built-in bookshelves in the family room I keep inspirational,  and religious & cultural commentaries:

Bible Study books:

Nature books (most of these are keepers from homeschooling years).  I like to imagine someone will think they're cool books again someday:

If you turn around from here, on the opposite wall I have a bookshelf filled with mostly fiction.  

And now I ask you...  do you see something funny in the picture below?
I completely missed it until I was looking through the lens of the camera.  I found another duplicate - two copies of Calico Palace!     I do know there are two copies of The Witch of Blackbird Pond above, but that is intentional.  Other than those two I thought I had removed all the duplicates.  Do me a favor and let me know if you spot any others.  😄

Okay, now moving over to an alcove just off the family room, there are more shelves holding books that don't seem to have anything in common:

In the dining room is a corner shelf that's held these books for approximately forever:

And yes, we do actually use both Scrabble Dictionaries. Sometimes both at the same time.  It was a accident when we discovered we had two.  And we've never once considered getting rid of one of them.      

Alrighty, then moving into the living room we have more inspiration, spiritual, biography, history...  okay, another hodgepodge collection of books:

The books above are normally pushed to the back of these deep bookshelves and our Bibles are stacked in front like this:

In the living room is also a desk/bookcase where I keep music -related books and cookbooks:

I'm not going to any heroic efforts to show you every cookbook title, but you can see I have more than I need:

In our bedroom is a shelf dedicated to my books (I say that like I don't have complete control of most of the other bookshelves in the house)

The books below that are turned on their sides are Christmas books (several Spirit of Christmas's and others):

And between the bedroom and my craft room, these are most of the craft books I have (they're all skinny so I turned the pictures sideways to make the spines easier to read):

Hubs does have a nice collection of WWII books in a glass front bookshelf, but he has a number of models in front of the books and I'm just not interested in moving them to take pictures.

And I just realized I forgot to take pictures of the books in hubs' new den.  I think I counted a little over a hundred in there the other day.

And that's about it. While every single book isn't pictured, this gives you a pretty good idea of what kinds of books we collect (or have in our collection at this point).  Truth be told, we've had a lot of various books over the years.  I have no interest in reading anything violent or graphic that will give me nightmares, but I do like reading perspectives that are different from mine, and enjoy biographies and nonfiction more than my bookshelves at the moment might indicate. 


So, did anyone else count their books yesterday or today?  It really doesn't take long to just touch the spine of every book and count them quickly.  More importantly, I'm curious if you've looked through your books and found some gems you'd forgotten you had.  

This exercise has interested me in some books I hadn't paid attention to for years, so hopefully I'll get them read and move some more out that way.

I'm not sure what I've done, but my shoulder has been very sore for a week so I'm not knitting or crocheting much.  Or even doing cross stitch.  I'm thinking it might be a perfect time to get reading all these books!  

“From a child I was fond of reading, 
and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books.”

― Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin*

*Author image and quote sourced from