I Shouldn’t Have Touched the Front Porch

I knew I shouldn’t have tried to work on the front porch tonight.  My plan of working on it Saturday night hadn’t worked out so I should have left it for next weekend.  Instead, I decided to go ahead and start on it.  I only got a little bit done and now my entire living room is full of porch clutter.

Here’s what the porch looks like now.  The first picture is after I moved everything into my living room.  The second picture is the before pic.  It’s hard to tell that it’s the same corner but you can tell that it is if you look at the red bridle bag hanging by the window.  And yes, those saddles were under all that stuff.  You can see the horn on the western saddle sticking out a little bit. The porch is stacked almost 4 feet high with everything under the sun like that sledding tube, a hose, a cereal holder and lots more.

I think these are some of the most embarrassing pictures that I’ve posted so far. You can really see the hoarding in these pictures.  It’s just piles of STUFF.  Why is there never any organization?  It’s going to take a few more months before this porch really gets cleared out but the more that I get rid of, the easier it gets.

Here’s a few pics of the other corner on that side of the front porch.  You can see the glider chair now!!  There’s still a lot of things on it but at least you can see it.  Before it was completely buried.  If there were shelves or a cabinet or something like that in there, things could finally get organized.

The stuff on the chair is all ready to be gotten rid of. I just can’t get myself to take it to St. Vinny’s or Goodwill.  There’s a lot of brand new stuff in there.  Selling it is a huge hassle too so I think I want to go with the free table method of giving it away.  Unfortunately, it’ll have to wait until the weekend.  It will just have to stay piled up until then.

This is only one side of the front porch and there’s still a lot of stuff that I haven’t cleaned up yet.  The other side is stacked at least 3 or 4 feet high too.  I’ll do a little bit everyday.  I can’t wait to see the end result.  I’m hoping to make some nice improvements by Sunday.

Update:  It’s been a few months and the front porch is still a disaster.  I still haven’t found a way to organize anything and it’s still the catch all place for everything that comes in or out of the house.

Procrastinating on the Front Porch

I planned to spend the day working on my front porch.  I have some plans for it but it’s loaded with a random selection of clutter that needs to be dealt with.

Certain things always go out there, like all the horse tack, but there’s some stuff that I just don’t know what to do with so I put it out there.  It’s also the place where all the stuff that I want to get rid of goes before making it’s way to the car.

clutter filled front porch

The stuff has been piling up for a few months now.  It’s way too cold out there during the winter to do anything besides open the door and throw more out there.  Now that it’s a little warmer, it’s time to clean it up.  It’s getting hard to get into the house.  The pathway is down to about 2 feet wide so when you’re carrying things, it’s hard to navigate your way through.

I procrastinated all day long because a lot came up that I wasn’t expecting.  I took a little nap this evening so now it’s time to start working on it.  I started on the left side and brought it all into the house.  Probably not the best idea but since it’s so late and getting cold outside, I thought it would be better this way.

cleaning the front porch

Now I have a huge pile in my living room.

cleaning up the front porch

I see lots of things that I can get rid of already.  I’m debating about the Little Tikes School Bus.  I want to get rid of it.  I”m just not sure if it’s something to give away or something to sell. I think I’m going to decide in the morning. The purple ting was supposed to be for in the horse trailer but we’ve never used it and don’t plan on it.  There’s also a driving harness for a bigger pony than the one we have. I was going to sell it but one of the pieces need a repair.

I could use the money from selling a few things but I think the need to get rid of some things quickly might outweigh that.  I’m hoping that I can finish this tomorrow.  Even if I only get half of the porch done tomorrow, it will be better than none of it! I’ll get started in the morning.

House Damage From Clutter

I have the TV on while working on a few things on my laptop.  The show that’s on is Fixer Upper.  Featured on this episode is a young couple who inherited a house that hasn’t been lived in for 10 years.  It has a lot of damage from just sitting.  There’s a lot of critters inside the house but other things have happened to the house from time, outside and inside.  Big things like the foundation cracking.

It reminded me of when I first started clearing out my living room a few months ago.  There were so many things that needed to be fixed from the damage that wasn’t dealt  with over the years.  It was damage that I couldn’t see because it was underneath the clutter. Some of the things that I found were actually quite embarrassing.  They were things that should have been taken care of right away because they were minor and would have only taken a few minutes to fix but because they were hidden, they were neglected and took a lot longer and a lot more money to fix.

I always wonder, why is it so easy to ignore this stuff?  Why is it so easy to walk past the things that are sitting on the floor?  For example, a glove sitting on the floor in the middle of June.  Why does everyone walk past it 20 times a day but no one picks it up?  I’m thinking about picking it up and throwing it away.  But why haven’t I yet?  I don’t really know.  I’m always busy and preoccupied with other things but it would only take a second to pick it up.  I think that once I figure that out, it will be a great breakthrough.  I think it’s a habit that I never picked up but I would like to and I would like to teach my kids.

Decluttering the Storage Room

I spent the weekend working on decluttering the “storage room” in my house.  It’s not really a storage room, that’s just what we call it because when a holiday comes along, we shove all of the clutter in there.  It’s actually the biggest bedroom upstairs and I want to kick myself every time I think about this cluttered room.  Organized storage would be much better.

My 6’1″ son is sleeping in a twin size bed right now.  It’s too small for him but the room he’s in is too small for a bigger bed.  If I could get the “storage room” cleaned out, I could move him into that room and then get him a bigger bed.  I can’t get through it all fast enough.  I’m struggling.  I could only get through so much before I had to give it up for the weekend.  I was doing too much standing there and not enough getting rid of.

I have 4 big buckets of stuff ready to get rid of (I made a little progress).  I’m kind of waiting until I have a few more because it gives me that sense of accomplishment when I see it all together as one big pile.  I also like the feeling of seeing no room to walk around and then when it’s gone, empty space.  That’s a great feeling too!

We might have some friends coming over on Saturday night.  I’m a little worried about it and I still might have to cancel.  The kids are looking forward to it so they’ve been helping all weekend but it might not be enough.  I will be really sad if I have to cancel this because we have too much of a mess here.  It’s a pretty common thing to happen here though.  There’s a lot of times that we can’t have people over.  It’s one of the biggest reasons that I want this house cleaned out.

Snowy Day Today

snow

I woke up to snow this morning.  It really wasn’t a lot of snow but it was enough that I was happy to see it.  Not because I like snow but because I was supposed to take my mom to a Christmas Tea (craft fair at someone’s house) for the entire day and all I really wanted to do was stay home today.   She won’t go anywhere if it’s snowing, even if I offer to pick her up.  She’s had a few bad experiences driving in the snow so there was no way that she would go especially since the news people didn’t have anything better to report on and were making a huge deal out of it.  I have a truck so if I had wanted to go, I would have.

It was great being able to stay home all day.  I got a lot done and I didn’t have to rush to get anywhere.  I was able to finish my plans for the entry way.  I have a little more to think about yet but I think we’ll be ready to build it by next weekend if I can find time to finish painting.  I was able to spend a little time on an online class that I’m taking.  It’s not hard but I never have time to sit and work on it.

I even spent some time updating some of my hubs on Hubpages.  They’ve been badly neglected.  I was a Squidoo’er and this move to Hubpages has been awful.  I loved Squidoo.  I loved the little monsters, the cute themes and the fun groups.  Most people were nice on the forums.  I made sales on Amazon and was rewarded with useless but fun points for it.  At Hubpages, the people in the forums are not nice.  The themes are non existent so the whole site is drab and boring.  There’s constant changes that don’t make sense.  And worst of all, if you make a sale on Amazon, they unfeature your hub so you can’t make anymore.  I’m sure other people have better experiences with the site but that’s how it’s been for me.

It was an awesome day but there was one thing that really made me smile.  It was a feeling that I haven’t had in a long time.  I was able to sit in my living room and look around and not feel overwhelmed or too miserable to be there.  I was content.  There’s still too much stuff in the room but it’s not too bad.  It might be overly cluttered by some people’s standards but compared to how it was, it looks beautiful.  I feel like all the work I’ve been doing on it is finally paying off.

Free Day Reward?

not hoarding cookbooks

I’ve been getting rid of things by putting them out on a table in front of my house with a big FREE sign.  I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff so far and I’m hoping to do it again this weekend.  Last weekend, I wasn’t even planning on having a free table but I started working on an area and had so much stuff that we set it up.  A few hours later, almost everything was gone.  It was my biggest and most successful free day yet!

Dinner at my house has been getting a bit routine.  We’ve been making the same things over and over for a few months now.  I was thinking that I really needed some new cookbooks but certainly couldn’t afford any new ones right now.  Besides, even if I could afford them, I still probably wouldn’t buy myself new cookbooks when there’s so many perfectly good used ones out there.

The night after my biggest and most successful free day, I was at a 4-H volunteer banquet.  Everyone got some raffle tickets.  We played a trivia game and the tables that got the trivia questions right won extra tickets.  My table didn’t win any extras.  There were different bags for different things that you could put your tickets in and one was a cookbook basket.  Some of the other things were a Keurig coffee maker, a Starbucks basket with coffee, some scissors, and a car wash basket.  I put a few of my tickets in the cookbook basket and a few in the other bags.  Surprisingly, I won the cookbook basket!

The cookbooks were all brand new Taste of Home cookbooks.  My favorite ones!!! And let me tell you, a brand new cookbook has a different feel to it than a used one!  It feels great!

The books included one for Christmas, one called Church Suppers, one with Best Loved Healthy recipes, and a diabetes family friendly cookbook.  The fifth book wasn’t a cookbook at all but a book that made me think that maybe these books were my reward for having these free days.  The title of the book is The Kindness Diaries.  I thought that was pretty cool!

Tough Decisions – Vintage 3M Games Oh-Wah-Ree and Facts in Five

Vintage games

I’m having a hard time letting go of a few things.  These two games are on the top of my list right now.  My head is saying to get rid of them.  I don’t need them.  I have no reason to be attached to them.  I picked them up about a month ago at a rummage sale.  It was a bag sale and my mom pointed them out.  They were marked $8.00 each but I fit them both in a bag along with a bunch of other stuff for $5.00.  I had never even heard of these games before I picked them up that day,  I put them on eBay last week and didn’t get any bids on them.

My heart on the other hand is saying hey, these are cool vintage games.  They’re both from the 1960’s and they look awesome.  We could really use some games around here that aren’t electronic and these are pretty neat.  It looks like all of the parts are here and they’re still in good condition.  They look fun!  Oh-Wah-Ree has a leather pouch of brightly colored marbles and a leather pouch of stones.

They are both the size of big books.  In fact, they are called Bookshelf games because you can put them on your book shelf along with the big encyclopedias that you probably don’t have anymore.  They are so big though that I would really like to get rid of them.  I have them sitting next to my TV right now and they’re driving me crazy.  I want that spot cleared off.  I could move them but do I really want to take up that much room somewhere else either?  I don’t think so.

Does anyone know anything about these antique games?  Should I feel bad getting rid of them or should I be keeping them?  What would you do with them?

Starting with Some Small Chores

list of chores for teensSince chores haven’t been a big part of my kid’s lives, I’ve decided that we need to start small. Like 5 minutes small.

For starters, I’ve made a list of chores that can all be completed within 5 minutes. Each day, in theory, we’re going to spend 5 minutes each doing any chore we want from the list.

  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Clean out a litter box
  • Clean the toilet
  • Wipe down the bathroom sink
  • Sweep the living room floor
  • Collect dishes from around the house
  • Vacuum the hallway
  • Clean the bathroom mirror
  • Take the garbage out
  • Pick up shoes and put them away
  • Go through the mailbox
  • Take the garbage out
  • Clean out the microwave
  • Wash a porch window
  • Empty the inside recycle bin
  • Hang up coats
  • Brush a cat

These are all simple things and most won’t even take 5 minutes but I want them to get in the habit of doing something every day.  Even if they do the same thing over and over every day, it will help.  Instead of taking me a half hour to do it myself, we’ll get it done in 5-10 minutes.

I was never taught how to clean and so it’s the one parenting skill that I really struggle with – teaching my kids how to clean.  I can clean but I’m not good at teaching them to do it.  None of us have ever gotten into the habit of doing any routine chores.  It’s more of a mad dash when it’s an emergency that it gets done or I have an hour or so to work on it.  I’m hoping that this will help when we are finally clutter free and can concentrate on normal every day cleaning.

I have one young adult who likes to pretend that she’s a teenager still and will spend an hour arguing with me about doing something that would literally take 5 minutes for her to do.  She’s done it her entire life which is probably why she still lives with me instead of on her own.  Maybe this technique will help her too.  I think she has some ADD and has a habit of turning really small tasks into big ones because every little thing distracts her. I’m hoping that setting a timer and telling her she’s done after 5 minutes will keep her on task.

Another Missed Moment

Remember the cool house?  The house where everyone always wanted to hang out at?  I always wanted my house to be that house but it’s a little hard when you can’t let anyone in because of the mess. Last night was my daughter’s homecoming dance.  Buying the ticket, finding a dress, and making plans with friends were all done at the last minute and we definitely didn’t have anyone over.

She looked great but because we weren’t prepared, she missed taking pictures with her friends.  They all met around 2:00 p.m. to put make up on and take pictures and then we met them at 5:30 for dinner. She had a great rest of the night but there’s so much that I wish we could have done differently.

The biggest thing for me is that we couldn’t have her friends over here beforehand.  She couldn’t even have one friend over let alone the whole group.  This one is so hard because there’s only a few years left before she’s out of high school and then there will never be that opportunity again – that chance to make happy fun memories with her friends.

I loaded up quite a bit of stuff into my back seat today.  It’s filling up with things that are hard for me to get rid of but will free up space in my house so we can live.  The more I get rid of, the harder it is to get rid of more.  I feel like I’ve been through buckets of stuff over and over.  I feel stuck but I’m going to keep struggling to get rid of more, a lot more.

Cleaning When Under Stress

I’ve been stuck for days unable to get any further on this disaster of a house.  Today, my oldest daughter almost had her purse snatched and then told me that her and her fiancé are moving almost 2 hours away.  I was pretty devastated over both things and since I didn’t know what to do about either one, I managed to get rid of more things!  For some reason, when I’m under a lot of stress, I start cleaning.  I can usually get a lot done.  I made a trip to St. Vinny’s and dropped off two big garbage bags full of miscellaneous items.

Here’s the pile of stuff that I was originally planning on keeping:

IMG_5944

That’s my new little kitty in the pic!  He took that ball maze out of the get rid of pile and it’s his now!  It was a second sort through of this pile of stuff.  I do this a lot.  I go through it kind of fast the first time.  Then a little slower the second time and then third time through it seems to do the trick.  By then, I’m so sick of looking at it all that it’s easier to let it go.

The other thing I did was picked up a few baskets and buckets.  I’m going to be putting in a bunch of shelves and I realized that the small things will need to be inside some sort of container.  I bought a few to get started. Here’s the pile after the second run through:

IMG_5951

The black basket on the right is one that I just bought.  It held a lot more than I was expecting!  I’m glad I got it.  Handles would be nice on it though.

Getting Rid of Clutter

This is the stuff that I took to St. Vinny’s.  It’s not a ton of stuff but every little bit helps.  I will try to go through it once more and hopefully I’ll be able to get rid of a few more things.

I’m not sure what makes me want to clean when I’m under stress. I get a lot more done than when I have unlimited amounts of time to clean a room.  Something about that stress feeling makes me want to get rid of everything.  It has a positive outcome but it’s not great to be under all that stress either.