Posts Tagged ‘decluttering’

The Corner Purge


Dear Mom,

I decided to sort through some of my sewing stuff. Well, it didn’t start that way: originally, I decided to pare down all my beading stuff, and store it in smaller containers because, well, I don’t really do much with beads that could be called ‘beading’ and I wanted tyo be able to see what I had on hand at a glance so I don’t go out and buy more. That led to the discovery of all the sequins in different containers – and I didn’t purchase those sequins. They came to me via you. I also uncovered the box of Styrofoam egg shapes that I was going to decorate for Easter some day. And with the egg shapes was a wreath form which reminded me that I recently purchased a heart-shaped wreath form with the idea of hanging a Valentine wreath outside after the Christmas decorations were down.

I went in search of ribbons and discovered what a mess my little sewing corner is. I have some of yours and some of mine, all knick-knacks and supplies hoarded over the years. Yes, you hoarded things long before I did, and I brought some of your hoard home with me after Dad died.

I spent a rough couple of days getting up and down, staring near-sighted at sequins, beads, and messes of ribbons, lace, and – this will crack you up – my assortment of screws, nails, pins, push-pins, thumbtacks, hasps, and the little tins I use to store those items in.

At the end of the day, I don’t think I made much progress, but I did darn a pair of socks that have been waiting on my sewing machine. I threw a lot of stuff into the “thrift store donation” box. I made the decision to toss the bits of ric rac ribbon you saved (really, Mom? four inches of silver ric rac and six inches of gold and two inches of red?). Oh, and I decided to donate about ten packages of unopened bias tape. I’ll never use it.

I hauled out the red-yellow-green plastic drawer set I bought years ago for Chrystal to store her toys in. I was using it to store fabric in, and mending jobs, but I really hated it and it took up so much room. I taped a “FREE” sign on it and set it out on the edge of the lawn, by the stop sign. It was gone within the hour. The fabric is tossed in a corner on the floor for tonight, but I have a plan on how to store it.

Finally, I got out my (new) hot glue gun, the basket of old laces, and the last of the silk flowers. I wrapped the heart-shaped wreath form, glued, and wired it to hang. Simple, and now that Christmas has been officially retired for the season (on Epiphany, not the day after like Dad always insisted we do), the wreath is a timely asset to the front door. I think you’d love it.

That’s enough for today –

Love always.

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013I am on a “de-clutter, deep-clean, get control of my life” kick. So far, I’ve powered through the laundry room, the bathroom, the kitchen and dining rooms. I purchased a shelf for our antique bottles, but I have not yet installed it. I got side-tracked with the upstairs.

I need to get the upstairs whipped into shape before warm weather comes, because we don’t have air conditioning and it can get a mite bit stuffy up there, despite the window fans.

My first attack was the area where the majority of our books are stored – some of which have not been touched in the 12 years that we have lived here, except for a cursory dusting. The books were on the shelves in the same order they were placed when we moved in, which may or may not have been entirely logical.

I decided that I needed to consult the Dewey Decimal System and get some sort of organization done, as well as moving the shelves out a bit and lining both sides of the area with book shelves (vintage crates, for the most part). That way, I could also get the antique pump out of the way of the shelving and on display as it rightly should be.

024The pump weighs a couple hundred pounds or so. It used to sit in the alley behind one of our first rentals, an old dredge pump that someone once offered us money for, but we decided we wanted to use it as a (very heavy) coffee table. Don added the stand and the table top. It no longer matched our living room area (which is tiny, like the rest of this house), so it was relegated to a corner in the loft, in front of the books.

This project has taken me just over a week. I pulled out books and book shelves, dusted, swept, mopped. I found no silverfish, which surprised me because I know we have them, and I thought if they would hide anywhere, it would be in the books. I found some spider evidence, but not really much of that, either. But to be safe, I dusted the edge of the walls where they meet the softwoods with a light powdering of diatomaceous earth.

Then I printed off an abbreviated Dewey Decimal System, because the majority of our books are not fiction, but are within .099 and 970.0 in the library catalog.



I piled the books in loose piles according to their category. I didn’t move the fiction or the vintage books (although I confess some of Don’s vintage books got filed in with their modern counterparts. My vintage collection stayed together). Yes, we have a his and hers vintage book collection. The fiction is entirely mine.

Then I began shelving, pausing often to retrace my steps and add books where I missed them (where does taxidermy fit in? Oh, after dinosaurs. How odd that we have only one book on dinosaurs). The majority of our books fall into:

598 – birds

635 – gardening, indoor & outdoor

900 – history


I’m not entirely happy with it as I had to move my vintage books around a bit to fit. (see the pump in the corner back there?)


The vintage and a mix of fiction complete these crates. History, biographies, and Native American culture round it out.


The majority of my fiction is here, in the narrow space by the studio door. I really don’t know what to do with the vintage Pepsi crates (at this point in time).

My hands hurt (arthritis). Surprisingly, I didn’t tweak my back. Surprisingly, I’m done. Well, mostly. There’s a whole other side of the loft to do & a question of where to put the file cabinet blocking the shelves at one end of the loft. But I didn’t take a photo of that.

I won’t label the shelves with the Dewey Decimal System, either. I still need to go back and file alphabetically by last name of the author, but – hey, we’ve lived without it being that organized for more than a couple decades. As long as we know the general area to find a book, we’re good.



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