Visual Clutter

I’m not exactly sure when I made the connection between how I was coping with things and the visual clutter around me but my guess is in 2012 although it may have been shortly after I relapsed in 2010 from my STC transplant and was on Revlimid. Revlimid is oral chemotherapy extraordinarily expensive as most of the Tier 5 drugs are. Fortunately, B had excellent health insurance and I believe our co-pay was @ $60 for a 12,000 a month drug. Now it is even more.

I think I felt more stressed and of course, there was the dreaded Dexamethasome weekly as well. Maybe I had just reached a turning point, Who knows? and really I don’t care about the Why just that it started to make my life flow better.

But I had started the Flylady system and was going thru each room in the house and something just snapped. I couldn’t stand to look at all the stuff everywhere. It was all too much. I was working, happily, at the library at the job I LOVED, and I started asking my co-worker if she wanted anything I was giving away. She like Bric a Brac so she became the recipient of many things. At the time, I must have done a hundred trips to the Salvation Army( that was still in Auburn) and Goodwill which had only recently opened. I think it was only Salvation Army at that time that was in Auburn if I’m remembering correctly.

Some of the collections I gave away:

vintage Pyrex

a vintage button collection in 4 jars

Vintage Fans

Navaho Rugs

Excessive furniture( antique trunks, futon, ???

some antique Sterling silver ( some sold on eBay and some given to the Cancer Thrift store

SO. MUCH. MORE.

I’m quite sure that the term minimalism was not in my vocabulary then but decluttering was and Flylady’s system. What struck me about her system was the less you had, the less you had to clean or deal with and that’s what hit the mark for me. Also, she starts with keeping your sink clean, free of dishes, and doing it every day. From there with the 15-minute rule, I followed her zone cleaning and decluttering. Now, I don’t do most of her stuff daily as it’s been done but I do the weekly zone cleaning.

Plus, I make sure daily to keep my counters clear and do a bathroom swish and swipe. On Mondays I do a whole house reset and dust, wash mirrors and the glass on the Heywood, and little things that add up.

I also set Monday as towel day. We each only have one towel and that’s it. Plus I do sheets on Sunday and we only have one set of linen sheets for our bed.

I certainly still have books in the bookcase and other visual decorations but it all has a place and is loved, beautiful or useful.

Probably our most minimal area without any visual clutter is the bedroom. We have our bed, a vintage Heywood dresser, and a Heywood bedside table that holds my nighttime medications. That’s it.

Journeying into minimalism has been one of the best things I have ever done. It has simplified my home and allowed me a different perspective. I am more intentional about what I do and what I bring into my home. I don’t think the journey really ends. It just evolves. There are still things I’d like to change up and make different but for the present it’s fine.

Simple Sunday

Well, the clocks went back an hour so it’s now only 7am and we’ve walked and I’ve done some banking and now I’m eating a bagel.

I’m planning on starting the kitchen zone in a few minutes and getting that done. Then I plan to get a bag ready for the food bank and drop it off in one of the Food for Families bins.

Yesterday, I shopped at the new Trader Joe’s and it’s a lovely store. The layout is different so I had to kind of zig-zag to get stuff but it was fine. I picked up some Thanksgiving things like cornbread stuffing and some premade turkey gravy. Since we will be arriving home the day before Thanksgiving I need things to be as easy as possible. Of course, my son and daughter will be here to keep things running smoothly like letting the chickens out in the morning and in in the evening. They’re both working all the time we’re gone so they can keep up on the chores. It’s a big help really.

I’ve been reorganizing a few drawers of things like tools and will finish that up today too. B is taking a load to Goodwill so a few more misc things out the door.

The week ahead isn’t too busy. I have an annual visit with my PCP which is annoying to me since I see Dr. L every 8 weeks but I guess it’s their policy. Still a PITA. One is Sutter and my oncology is Dignity so I guess they don’t really communicate.

Since we’re having a no-gift/minimalist Christmas it has been very interesting to go into Target and look at all the stuff and realize, I don’t need to buy anything!!! ( well, a candle but that’s all the time). I’m determined to see how this plays out and if I like it or not. We have never had a Christmas with no gifts so this will be a new experience. Besides, we all get what we need/want anyway all year long. I will send my sister something( usually Harry and David’s pears) and my brother I just give cash to. Since we have no other relatives to exchange with I guess it does make it easy.

Simple Sunday

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

A nice homemaking day.

I have an Instant pot of Potato leek soup cooking, and I made a pork roast in my Staub. I added potatoes and carrots and onions from the farm. I don’t usually do this with pork and usually just do pulled pork but I wanted to use the Staub so I looked for recipes online. It looks good. I guess the test will be later on how tasty is it.

Then I did my morning reset around the house. The Flylady zone this week is the entryways and my office. I don’t need to do much in either area, but I’ll wash the windows and tidy up some.

I went into Micheals to get some worsted yarn to make socks with my new little sock loom. I bought 2 different types of wool and can’t quite tell which is the right one to use. I plan on using the thinner wool first. This is a little wood contraption( loom) that you knit on. My hands can’t do the repetitive knitting action or they cramp up so this is what this loom is for. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

It’s all clouded over now whereas this morning we could see stars and Orion’s belt clearly. Rain is forecast for tomorrow.

This week I have my mammogram and my appointment with Dr. L on Wednesday in Sacramento. I plan on swimming Tuesday and Saturday if I can. The new Trader Joe’s just opened in Rocklin so I want to stop and check it out. I’m excited that it’s that much closer to us and the exit is where Target and Walmart are. ( well, Walmart is on the opposite side of the freeway). Everyone has wanted TJ’s to come into Auburn but I think the demographics weren’t there.

We’ve been having nice evening fires on the patio. The weather has been perfect for sitting out for just a bit after sunset.

Simple Sunday

Our skies are still smokey and the sun is a red orb in the sky. It did clear up yesterday afternoon but it’s back in this morning. We had a good walk though although ‘he who shall not be named was there’. My God!, He is always there. I don’t think he’s taken a day off in the last year. Even I, OCD that I am, try and take a rest day.Oh well, he doesn’t bother us(right??after all that)… and does stay out of the way.

I went to Safeway to get the rest of the camping food for B and Sachi. One night spaghetti with garlic bread, the next night tofu burgers. It should be easy for them to handle. Then we went to Starbucks to get a pound of coffee ground for the press. It’s easier than trying to grind a large jars worth of coffee. We shared a tall Italian Roast coffee.

I finished the bathroom zone. I had bought new shower curtains last week so I put them up. With a claw foot tub, our shower needs 2 curtains to go around the ring at the top. I replace them about 3x a year due to mold issues. This time of year with everything so dry there isn’t much of a problem but in the winter it is more so. Still I cut the bottom off @3 X as well and wash in bleach.

I ordered the new Rosamunde Pilcher’s book.

She is one of my favorite authors. Will see if I like it. I have no qualms about returning a book if I don’t like it. I’m sure Amazon doesn’t want you doing this often but I have when I’m not happy with a book or a purchase.

This coming week will include swimming 2x, my labs on Friday , and taking Buggie in to check this wiring issue. The running lights on the left are not working and even after changing the fuses and bulbs it’s still not working. So we need to get it fixed as we drive out in the near dark at 5:45 am and the lights are not on. The brake lights work fine though. B needs to try and reschedule his IGIV for sooner as he is really feeling the fatigue. The anti-rejection drug he is on is causing his immunoglobulins to drop too low. Unfortunately, he will need to be on this drug a while so this is the treatment. At least it works. The cost is shocking at $41,000. Really?? I guess you’d just die if you didn’t have insurance.

I’m thinking seriously of painting our floors in the front room and bedroom white. I’ve always wanted white floors, very Scandish. But it would require some logistics as we would need to do half or a third at a time so we can access the bathroom and my daughter can get out of her room. Plus what I read is that it takes at least 2 coats maybe 3. We’ll see how it goes when the weather is cooler. It’s too hot now to do anything.

I think what I’ll do first is go to the Benjamin Moore paint store and find out about paints that can be put on a floor. Is it just regular paint and then a coat of varathane over it?? I’ll check.

Further minimizing…

So, as you know I’ve been going thru more things and getting rid of more things. Sometimes hidden or just in a box or vintage suitcase in my case. I’ve also sold some Waldorf toys.

First off, a few miscellaneous.

So random things in the Heywood, nobody has used. The two candle holders are Hearth and Home and they were cute but they take a small candle and I generally never have them. The glass is probably my son’s but it hasn’t been used so it’s going. ( update, B said it was his from some trip to LOng beach and he didnt care).The hurricane top was because I bought 2 for when power went out and then I bought a spare top. Who knows when I’ll need that so it’s going. The pyrex is going because I have too many.

The Waldorf things include:

Goose girl, oak tree and pond with bridge.

That kangaroo and baby retail for $40.

Both of these sets I sold for $100. Ostheimer toys are all out of stock everywhere and very desirable. But they only took up room in my Heywood drawer so I’m glad that they are going to a good home with young children.

So what have I discovered? Getting rid of things and clearing any space feels great and opens up that space. Even if it’s only one or two things. I love space more than things.

Minimalism is certainly a journey as is decluttering. I think there is a point where it feels just right but I still have things to get rid of. It’s really layers of things and when I get to the next layer, things I didn’t see before, are more visible and I don’t care about them anymore.

Case in point. I bought an Instant Pot airfryer about 2 years ago, maybe 18 months. We had lots of fun with it the first 6 months and then slowly nobody wanted to get it out and use it. If we had a choice we used our toaster oven, which we love. ( Breville). So I decided to donate it and now it’s in the pile to get dropped off at Goodwill. That opens up that whole area under the Heywood. I don’t have anything in there at the moment and plan to only put something there if it fits and the space works.

The thing about decluttering is just start and then just keep going. Little by little, inch by inch, row by row….

How to do a morning home reset.

The concept of a house re-set is from the Youtube vlogger minimom. She just recently stopped doing her youtube channel and she is missed. A honest, forthright person who is a minimalist and has 2 young children. She talked about a morning reset and an evening one. So I’ve adopted the idea as a house reset in the morning.

Basically, you go thru each room and pick up whatever doesn’t belong there and put it away and tidy each room. You’re not really cleaning as such, just being sure things are where they belong and the room is ‘set’ for the day. I don’t do an evening reset myself as by that time everything is done except maybe emptying the dishwasher which B does.

I usually start in the bedroom. I make the bed, tidy any books I’ve been reading and take out the laundry basket from the closet.

This is looking out to the north side of the house where the iceberg roses are blooming.

I keep one orchid in this room on the crate that was mounted on the wall. I put B’s collection of Dylan books inside the crate.

Next, I do the bathroom reset. Empty trash can, swipe the sink and swish the toilet bowl. That’s usually all I do. We only each have a towel and those are on hooks.

I use two of my pinecone ware mugs for Q tips.

The front room usually only needs a pickup of anything that might have been put on the table. This doesn’t happen too often unless there’s a project going on.

My office area can get messy with papers but i put them in a crate that I really love that has a hinge. So I can open and close it.

This is my “office” box.

The kitchen also is just reset so everything is off the counters, breakfast dishes done and in the dishwasher. If I’ve been making bread or cooking , all that gets cleaned up and things put away.

Overall, the reset may take me 10 minutes, maybe 15 depending how the kitchen is.

Having become more minimal is definitely a key to a simple clean house that doesn’t require lots of hours of work to maintain.

Right now I have my VW loaded with another load for the thrift store. Stuff just adds up and how I look at what I need changes so things get decluttered.

Ideas for 2021

Actually, I never set goals.

What I do is have a running list of things that are of interest to me and then consider setting them as priorities. Goal setting or resolutions, like losing weight or exercising more, just doesn’t work for me. I do better with an idea like ‘walk in the park most days’. Since I’m pretty structured I don’t have a problem accomplishing that because it’s just part of who I am. Or losing weight. I just eat healthily and even though I could easily afford to lose 20 lbs, I honestly don’t give a flying fig. We eat healthy and always have. We eat very little sugary stuff and a good basic vegetarian diet with meat on the side so to speak. So, my idea would be maybe adding new recipes into my rotation at least 2x a month. If I do great if I don’t’ meh.

Now that neither of us works at a job, we live a quiet life with the occasional camping trip(when we’re not in lockdown or dealing with a deadly virus).

I do plan on making some camping reservations so I guess we’ll see how that goes. We had really hoped to buy a newish closed in RV but honestly I’m not sure we feel like we have money to do that. So I guess that’s a goal or at least getting out camping is a priority.

other ideas may include:

Finding some new places to walk.

having coffee dates once we can

update: ha ha, half this blog didn’t post, and of course I can’t find the original so I’ll try and do a rewrite.

Modified edition:

I don’t do RESOLUTIONS as such like New Years resolutions.

I do set some goals such as Just Keep Walking! But putting down resolutions of lose 20 lbs or exercise more ,as I said, doesn’t work for me. Probably, because it doesn’t motivate me or interest me. But when I did the Just Keep Walking Project, I walked EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 5 YEARS. It was only when I ended up with a hairline fracture in my foot I had to stop 😦

I do set FINANCIAL GOALS such as NO CC DEBT which we have kept to in all 2020. Also, trying to add little amounts to our mortgage principal. We,unfortunately, still have a mortgage but such is life. I’d like to reduce the principal. That way when we’re gone the kids( we have everything in a trust) they would have more equity if they want to sell and move somewhere else. But since there’s not a lot of wiggle room in the budget it is small amounts to add to it but still every bit does help.

I read a lot so read more doesn’t make any sense. I would like to be more creative but cooking is my creative outlet so that’s good. I enjoy knitting but my arthritis in my hands kicks in and causes some cramping after a while so I don’t do that often.

Anyway, other goals or things to try and accomplish are:

Replacing the 2 bedroom windows. They were replaced 25 years ago but since redoing my daughter’s windows and seeing how much better they are at insulating I can see those 2 need doing.

Next, a modified kitchen redo. The window, and the sink and counter. That all depends on whether we want to take on ripping all that out. We couldn’t afford to have someone do it so it would be what can we accomplish ourselves. So that’s up in the air.

After weget vaccinations and can travel, I ‘d like to try and go up the Oregon coast again. Just slow and camping here and there. But it all depends on my Velcade shots and how soon I can go do those things. So again, kind of wait and see sort of thing.

Finish the fences in the front and out by the barn. That’s doable and we can budget that in.

So, it’s some goals mixed in with wants and a to do list.

simple Sunday

It’s much cooler today and some clouds rolling by.

We walked early and the only one there was dog walker. We name everyone who comes to the park. Oh, not to them, just between us. Some have been less than nice like clodhopper runner. but there’s Sprite who is a long-distance runner and seems very nice. We say hi as she goes by. There are now 5 sets of babies at the park. They are very protective so we stay out of their way.

I finished the kitchen zone.

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Here’s part of my kitchen pantry and some of my vintage Pyrex. I washed them all today which is something I don’t do every time.

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Here’s on the window sill. A vintage Ball jar. I love these and have quite a few. You used to be able to pick these up at Flea markets for about $1.00 , not anymore.

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This is looking back at what really is the front of the house but because of how are driveway is no one ever comes to this door. When I used to do Feng Shui it would drive me nuts. Now not so much.

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This is another shot and you can see the patio table where we eat most meals now that’s it nice out.  To the far right is the laundry room we added on. You have to come out to get to it. Not sure how that will be when we’re older but heck for now it’s fine.E26CC31D-0E8D-487B-858D-C240267711CD.jpeg

Here’s a comfrey plant. When I was doing herbs I would harvest this and make teas. Good for bones.

The rest of the day is open and I have brownies baking in the oven but other than that it’s open.

I may go look for an ebook since I feel like reading something mindless.

Simple Sunday or same old same old…

We walked as usual. Lovely, early and no one around in the park. My favorite time.

Then I came home and put on jeans( which barely fit now) ugh:(, zipped into Auburn to go to Safeway.  No traffic except a few semis on I -80.

Safeway was not busy but there were no veggies at all, no dairy like yogurt, etc. I got most of what I needed. Ramen, bread, butter, cookies, deli stuff, salad pack, milk, cream, and some other stuff. But I was planning on bananas, cabbage, avocados, broccoli, etc. So I may go down to Holiday  Market later in the week. For now, we can have salad and we do have chard in the garden.  So all in all a good trip.  Most everyone had masks and gloves on but a few old men did not…. maybe they think the order from Placer Co. chief Medical officer doesn’t pertain to them like the imbeciles that are Trumpers protesting the sheltering in place order.  Darwin anyone??

Last night I made a split pea soup from the Palouse split peas. It was delicious. Palouse is a small family-owned company and I was able to get 5lbs of lentils and split peas. If you need these try ordering from them. They arrived very quickly and the price was @ $15 for the 5 lbs. I think.

Tonight’s dinner is unknown. My son wants to cook something so we’ll see. He’s a great cook and enjoys doing more gourmet stuff than I do.

The chickies are getting big and eating a bunch. We’re taking them outside and they are in a fenced area so they can run around. They seem to like that. They still need a heat lamp but our weather is supposed to warm up so they will move out to the sunporch this week.

Barclay’s labs have come back way better. Platelets have gone up and so did his hemoglobin.  The took him completely one of his drugs, Dapsone, so this may be why his numbers were dropping. So good news there. Also, UCD med center did give us a grant on one set of bills from last August. At least we think they did as we haven’t gotten any official letter from them but the billing shows the $1300 that was going to be due is not showing. Now only the last $500 is on there. So that’s cool, I hope.  Hopefully, there’s no surprise. I would like to have a letter that states that though.

The Flylady zone is in the bedroom, which, I’m about to get up and go do.

This week I’m planning on washing all the outside windows with the Outdoor Windex. You attach it to a hose and spray. I’ve been using this method for a few years and it works great.

 

My doctor’s appt is at the end of the month and I’m planning on it being a video appt. I’ll have to wait till I get directions on how to do it though.  I did read another Myeloma patients take on ratios and I think he was referring to one of the major Myeloma treatment centers, where one of the criteria is a ratio of 100. That’s what my doctor keeps saying but when my ratio was up in the 70’s I was in treatment with Revlimid. Oh well, mine is still under 10 so, that’s something I suppose.

 

 

Five on Friday

I like to do five on Friday occasionally as opposed to Frugal Friday although this was mostly a frugal week.

  • We did get the Santa Fe serviced so that was not cheap but car maintenance is just part of annual bills. Our next big bill will be the spring property tax and our car insurance.
  • We haven’t eaten out at all since the end of January so maybe this weekend we’ll do a Panera date.  We spent quite a bit eating out in January. I think we got Round table twice and that’s not cheap even if it is just pizza. I’m using cash for groceries and trying to keep it with $100-$125 a week. I’ve actually used quite a bit from the freezer and dumped some stuff that was just too old.
  • I walked almost every day, except Monday. Since my foot fracture 2 years ago, I try not to be too compulsive about walking EVERY day.
  • I  started another minimalist declutter game. That’s the one where you do one item on day one and then 2 items on day two and so forth. I usually get thru to day 30 but sometimes it’s just little stuff. I went thru 4 drawers in my office area and did get rid of numerous pieces of junk.  I’m going to go thru the closet pantry and declutter any food I haven’t used or probably won’t. I don’t keep a large stockpile so that should be easy. I used to try the stockpiling for the apocalypse and decided it the apocalypse comes we’ll just have to die. ( haha).

I need to wash the sunroom windows soon too.  In memory of Kirk Douglas, we’re watching “Spartacus”. It’s really amazing what they did with sets in those days. No CGI!

The weather is a little warmer and it’s nice to get outside some. I think today we’re hitting 60 which is not too bad for February.

I want to get to the nursery soon too and get some potatoes to put in the garden. My daughter has planted the garlic and onions so hopefully, we’ll have a good crop of those. Potatoes do well in our soil so.  I’m hoping we get apples this year to make applesauce. Last year the tree was in it’s not producing year but the year before was a blockbuster year, so that makes this year a production year( I hope).