The Countdown Has Begun

Have you ever had those days (weeks) when life is a whirlwind that leaves you dizzy and unable to recall exactly what you’ve done?

Last week I shared what I’ve been up to. Aside from admitting my lack of cake decorating skills for the Han Solo cake,  it was all about the office space.

I have a confession to make. Well, two actually.

  1. Next time we are having ‘stormtroopers in a snow storm cake ‘ aka chocolate cake with white frosting.  It tasted good but black frosting  stains teeth and everything else.
  2. I have to shift my efforts for the office space to clearing my stuff out of my daughter’s room.


The ZenDen  is still  going to happen,  unfortunately  though I have hit a snag.  A snag in the form of a time crunch. My plan was to get everything completed downstairs and then move stuff. After several days of clearing, moving, bagging, tossing, head shaking, fighting off the overwhelmed panic, my back  said that  it had enough. I’ve scheduled a visit to the chiropractor out of my normal sequence,  but it isn’t for another few days.

So, . . . we move our daughter back Thursday night. This Thursday night. Like . . . 2 days from now. The ZenDen still looks like this:


Wait,  I did move a couple of those boxes out of the area. The one in the foreground,  the ones on the little rocking chair, and  the box in the wire frame cart. Also,


all of those books have been moved, as well as the stuff on top of the shelf.

That’s the point when my back said, Whoa Nelly! This was about the same time that the hubs and I had a discussion about the area.   You see, I get these ideas, I get excited, and I’ m off and running. I worked up my color scheme,  decided on the flooring that I wanted,  had my little floor plan designed. It was all good!


It doesn’t show up well on this photo, but the main color  is this Bermuda Bay  (It says Big Surf on the photo, but I found the exact color I want and it’s called Bermuda Bay – a different brand) on the left. The sand color on the bottom will be the wall where the  map of the Caribbean is currently. The navy blue and red in the sails will be accent colors as will the black and of course, sail white.   He looked at me with  an expression that said,  Have you lost your mind?  

Look, I know  not everyone will get my color scheme. I know not everyone would choose this.  It’s my space – my office/craft room/private retreat. I selected my flooring choice, a plank vinyl that will go down right over the concrete floor. It looks like gray weathered wood, kind of a cross between the weathered pier and driftwood. I thought it was perfect.

My husband? Not so much.

Then there were the light fixtures. I found one that was perfect. It looked like something that would be on the Nautilus. Then I looked at the price.  Ummmmm, no.  I will need 4 lights after evaluating the area. I thought we could do two but I think 4 would be better.

Then we had a disagreement about  the dimensions of the space I was carving out.  He had  in mind something along a 5′ x 5′ space.  I don’t think so. I was livid.

After several minutes of discussing function and space issues, he  realized that I was including my craft stuff which is currently located on the other end of the basement.  We came to some semblance of an agreement. My dimensions are more along the lines of 14′ x 8′.  By then I was  tired and we needed to address our daughter’s room.

Most of my notebooks, pens, files, and all office related items were in her room on the writing desk that I was planning to use. My  belongings are now in a box . . . in the basement . . .   along with the rest of the  stuff down there. This evening  vacuuming, stripping the bed, and cleaning out the closet are the  items on my checklist.

I need to take some more items to our resale booth, but  getting her room in a welcoming state has to come first. If you want  to check out my previous posts on this, read –

Once we get this addressed, my attention will return to my office. Then I can begin organizing and clearing out the years of accumulated stuff. I have to admit, at this point minimalism looks pretty appealing.

Sometimes it takes a spark of inspiration to ignite the fires. We’ve been stagnated, overwhelmed with the years of accumulated stuff.  His Grandmother passed away, we got stuff. His uncle passed away, we got more stuff. His great-aunt passed away, we got even more stuff. My father and mother passed away and we got still more stuff. I have to admit, I’ve been stagnated with this inundation of stuff. As if it wasn’t enough to have to deal with our own stuff, we have stuff given to us to add to the mountain of stuff.

Yes, we really do suffer from stuffitis. It can be paralyzing. It is also stifling. There is a psychology to clutter, and it’s not pretty.

If you want  to check out my previous posts on this, read – Space Revisions and Personal Space,  about creating my own zen den, my home office/craft studio/retreat/paradise.





By the way, the kitty litter thing is working. The musty smell has diminished in the basement. We’ve also increased the intervals at which the dehumidifier runs. The decor theme and reveal will be postponed, sorry.

My oldest daughter announced to the world that she is not planning to return to college after her junior year by posting a picture of her first tattoo, a compass to signify the new direction of her life. I have misgivings about this new direction. But, she’s 21 and has to make her own decisions. (This is the one that is moving back home.)





These were her words: “As a symbol of my changing courses in life, I got my first tattoo today. It’s a compass that will be a constant reminder of where I’ve been, and where I’m going. Even if I’m not sure where that may be.”

I still have a ton of work to do before we  make the drive to  get her on Thursday. 2 days. 47.23 hours from now.  25 of those hours are already scheduled. I suppose if I forfeit sleep I could get it all done. If I did, then I would  be in a foul mood akin to a badger. Bear would be too kind.  It is what it is.

On the bright side, I have  8 topics on which I can blog about – all briefly mentioned in this post. Those should serve for inspirational fodder for a while. You know,  just in case my well runs dry sometime in the year 2024.

Write on my friends, write on!



The True Cost of Clutter


Getting rid of stuff is difficult for many of us. It takes time to sort through our accumulated stuff.  It can be very overwhelming to the point of not even knowing where to start, so we close the door, let our pulse return to normal and postpone it for yet another day.

Most Americans suffer from ‘stuffitis’ in various degrees.  The people who show up on that show Hoarders take it to absolute extremes.  I don’t want to find myself there, the overstuffed closet is enough for me.  But wait, I have stuff overflowing out of my basement, and in my garage, and it’s taking over my house as well!  EEK!

Shame keeps us from calling in reinforcements to tackle the growing pile of stuff, while anxiety keeps us from tacking it.  It’s a conundrum: we own stuff, when did it shift that the stuff owns us?

There are many reasons why people hold onto their stuff.  It takes courage to let go, but if we don’t let go you limit what new things can come in. What are your reasons?  Here are a few:

  • Emotional attachment: parting with an item doesn’t mean parting with the memories.
  • Status and security: Feng Shui principle here – your thoughts create your future.  If you get rid of an item thinking that as soon as you do you will need it, inevitably you will.
  • The advertisement said I needed it – whether you were suckered into buying, pressured by the salesman, victim of the propaganda or it seemed like a logical solution at the time – if it didn’t work or doesn’t serve any purpose now get rid of it.
  • It’s how I was raised – Trust me I got the handle on this one.  My parents were children during the depression.  The great depression of the twenties not the recent one.  When my mother passed away and I had to clean out her house; the house they lived in over 50 years; There was a metal cabinet filled with plastic containers. Every butter tub, every cottage cheese container, every piece of Tupperware ever purchased – it was all stuffed in that cabinet.  That was only one 6 ft  by 2 ft by 4 ft cabinet, can you imagine the rest of the 2500 square foot home? They kept everything.  She reused aluminum foil.  I”m not one for wasting things and creating more trash but there’s a point.  How many butter dishes does one woman need?
  • It’s a distraction – well of course it is but some people use it as a distraction to not deal with other aspects of their lives. Stuff is never going to fix emotional issues but a good counselor, a  box of tissues, and getting them out in the open will.
  • You want your money’s worth – owning an object is not the same as getting a good return on an investment.  You have to actually use it in order to get value out of it, and if it’s got a 1/2 inch layer of dust covering it in your basement I’d be willing to lay odds you aren’t using it.

Getting rid of clutter is freeing.  If we lose the emotional attachment to stuff, and the other reasons why we have let it accumulate, it’s liberating to let it go and pass it on.  There are consignment shops, eBay, Craig’s List, flea markets, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and a variety of other places that  you can either sell or donate your stuff.  It doesn’t have to go in the trash to leave your house.  Repurposed items can find a good home with someone else that will actually use them.

After you’ve tackled the closet, or basement or even full house and parted with the dusty items, employ the greener way.

  • Reduce – don’t impulse shop, don’t buy those items that you really don’t need and even though they may be a clever invention you know you will never actually use it.
  • Reuse – instead of buying the latest  organizing containers in the cool fashionable colors, use what you already have.  Instead of buying specially made magazine holders use that basket that you have more stuff stuck in. ( I know, it forces you to tackle the stuff in the basket as well.)
  • Recycle – donate, use consignment shops, charitable donations, . . . That table-cloth that has a big rip right down the middle can be made into place mats, or if you’re not so handy they can be torn into cleaning rags that you can reuse  replacing about twelve rolls of paper towels.
  • Remove – remove the amount of stuff that comes into your house.  All that paper from junk mail – remove yourself from mailing lists that you can.
  • Rethink – rethink you r spending, your lifestyle, and your consumerism. don’t be a marketers dream that buys because of the shiny packaging.  Think – do you really need it?  It will help your budget as well.  Then you can afford that dream vacation in a tropical setting with Javier bringing you fruity drinks .  Oh wait, that’s my dream vacation – get your own.

So the true cost of clutter is not only the emotional drain that it wears on you day in and day out. It also costs your finances.  Just one example – a torn table-cloth provided me four place mats strategically cut and resewn; and ten cleaning cloths that are washed and reused saving me the expense of  – so far – twenty rolls of paper towels.  Every little bit saved is a step closer to having a dream vacation, or whatever savings or investment you are considering.

My biggest problem with clutter is paper accumulations.  I have reams of notebooks with notes, sketches, and ideas.  If they were all confined to one or two notebooks that would be good, but they are not.  this is a really bad part of my making notes in margins or at the bottom of a page or what not as it occurs to me.

I’m looking at a cleaner, leaner, clutter free existence in 2013. What changes do yu need to make?  What sorts of clutter are you dealing with?

Write on my friends, write on!

The Perfect Mess

If you devote all your time to organizing, you won’t get anything done.  If you don’t spend any time organizing, the resultant mess bogs you down completely.  When you find that sweet spot between mess and order then you have a perfect mess.  It’s that sweet spot that I strive for.

The current trend tends to be an obsession with the benefits of organizing and just forgetting about the costs. Creative types tend to be messy.  It may look like a mess to everyone else, but I know where everything is.

Organization can be limiting.  An orderly schedule can be limiting in that unexpected opportunities that “pop up” might be missed if you stick to a planned schedule.  We have to find our place of balance between chaos and rigid planning.

Albert Einstein once said “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what , then, is an empty desk?”

Creativity is sparked when things that we tend not to organize in the same category come together.  Moderate messiness is completely acceptable, and in fact probably superior in a number of instances to perfect organization.

Having said that, I will have to tell you I struggle to find the balance.  I like my home to be neat and orderly, I just don’t always have it there.  Cleanliness is a different matter.  When I’m finished posting this I will be cleaning the bathrooms.  Nothing is grosser than a disgusting bathroom and with two teens, well you can imagine.

Clutter seems to be a big problem.  After cleaning out a bunch of clutter, in a short matter of time it has replenished.  Books and papers seem to collect on their own.  I think the same laws of nature that determine the two socks enter the dryer and one sock leaves rule have also set in place the rule of multiplicity in paper products.  Books on a bookshelf attract other books.  I don’t know where they come from, but suddenly there will be a stack of books in front of the other books, and possibly a stack of books on top of the bookshelf.

While I’ll never win any awards for good housekeeper of the year, my workspace is comfortable and most of the time inspiring.  When it becomes too cluttered I have to deal with it, but I tend to go overboard and then have to reach the perfect state again.  It’s a constant fluid environment

The sweet spot that allows for creativity yet, provides an organzied work area is almost magical when achieved.  What about you?  Are you a neat-freak?  Or do you allow a certain amount of messiness into your area?

Write on my friends, write on!