Not All Clutter Is Clump

Clump #265: Order Christmas cards; day twenty-three of National Blog Posting Month.

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The photo above is of our younger daughter who is studying in Russia. She follows this blog, dear girl, and wrote about the post of a few days ago: “Just read your Little Star post, and I have to say I’m really glad you decided to keep (and even mend) the necklace.  A lot of fond memories with that.  I guess not all clutter is clump.”

As promised, I got my head back in the holiday game (is it a game?) and struggled to order our Christmas cards online.  Even with help from the computer gurus in the house, it was, as my husband said, “a clump fail.” Undeterred, I went out to Target.  All seemed to be going swimmingly, until the clerk informed me that their machine was down … come back tomorrow.  So close.  Oh well, at least the order is in.

I recently found last year’s cards, holiday newsletters, and various clippings in a de-clumping pile:

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I do want to keep a few cards and letters for posterity. And I can’t throw out good envelopes.  The clippings are another matter.

My parents were very good at throwing things out, but I wish they had saved one thing.  When I was in early grade school, we were supposed write a story to go along with a cartoon picture of  “Bella the Ballerina,” a hippo in a tutu, along the lines of Disney’s Fantasia.  I remember my teacher laughing at my paper until she cried, and then I brought it home, showed it to my parents, and they also laughed until they cried. Obviously I was too young to know what was so funny.  I really wish I could read it again as an adult, but, alas, I can’t.

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The article below is one thing I did keep and was able to find for this post!  Proof that a major clutter shift has truly taken place in our house.

Long, long ago, our son and younger daughter were left at home by their older sister who was going to school.  Such sour moods that morning!  I thought I had a great idea to break the funk, and said, “Hey, there’s a new grocery store opening.  Let’s go shopping there and check out the festivities!”  Well, I’m sure the store managers were hoping to get an upbeat photo of the ribbon-cutting, or some other such good PR photo-op.  Instead, the photo that was put on the front page of the Daily Local was of self-conscious me in mom-jeans and my two still-sour-faced kids above the caption, “All Shopped Out.”  No amount of balloons could lift their spirits.

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At the time, I remember thinking, ‘Well, here is my fifteen minutes of fame: pushing a shopping cart with cranky kids in it.’  But then I looked up at the story I shared the page with, about John Du Pont (the subject of the movie Foxcatcher, which opened this weekend), and thought, ‘You know what, there are a lot worse fifteen minutes of fame.  I’ll take it.’ Is it a coincidence that the grocery store is now closed?

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So not all clutter is clump.  This paper will be kept as a family heirloom. The trick is using discernment in de-clumping.

Now to the rest of my holiday to-do list, and getting myself All shopped out.

Sea-sonal Denial

Clump #264:  Bring in items to be framed and drop off magazines; day twenty-two of National Blog Posting Month.

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Oh boy, I have had a terrible time writing this up today.  I did get some clumps dumped, but I have snuck away, mentally, from the things I really should be working on. I’ve been clearing legitimate clumps as a way to avoid the higher priority ones (like Thanksgiving cleaning, or tasks on the Christmas list).

In the spirit of denial, I collected some beach photos from various trips to the sea.  One might call it burying one’s head in the sand … or water.

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The fact is, I did bring a beautiful picture in to the frame shop that was a wonderful gift from my sisters in-law; something I’ve been meaning to do since September.  It captures perfectly our beach holiday.  I cropped out (awkwardly) another item that will require further hunting for the best framing technique … a clump for another day.

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And here’s proof that I dropped off the lovely tea magazines of yesterday’s post to the good people at the Goodwill.  Good tidings!

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But tomorrow I promise to get back to reality; the calendar is imploring me to wake up,

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open my eyes,

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and put my best foot forward.

A Stitch In Time

Clump #262: Mend Little Star necklace; day twenty of National Blog Posting Month.

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This is a very small clump in size.  But, oh, the weight in mom-guilt.  One of our younger daughter’s favorite books growing up was Little Star, by Mary Packard, illustrated by Carolyn Croll.  The book came with a beaded necklace, just like the necklace featured in the story.  It was so loved that it broke … a few times and in a few places.  So our daughter put it in an envelope for me to mend.  How many years ago was this?  I shudder to think.  The picture she drew on the envelope is a clue:

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This is one of the many sticky items that I couldn’t dispense with quickly the other day.  Do I send up the white flag and throw it out?  Every cell in my body resisted that option.  Give it to the Goodwill?  Possibly, if I could mend it.  I opened the envelope, imagining a pile of loose beads, and realized I had been working on it, and I had only needed a few more stitches to make it whole.  Why couldn’t I have spared that time when she was little?  Ouch!

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I wondered whether we still had the book.  Lo and behold, it was in our daughter’s room with books she had brought to read to her young charges at her childcare job this summer.  From the book:

“One day Grandmother Gray Feather presented the child with a beaded necklace that she had made herself.  In its center was a little star.  ‘Keep this with you always, Little Star,’ she said, ‘and your fondest wish will come true.  Just remember to make your wish wisely,’ added Grandmother.  ‘Do not waste it, for there may come a day when you will need it.'”

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Sincere apologies to my little star.  I know just where to put the necklace now.  It’s resting snug in the book,

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waiting to make a fond wish come true.

 

Canning Some Cookbooks

Clump #261:  Clear pile of old cookbooks from bedroom; day nineteen of National Blog Posting Month.

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The theme for today is food.  I yanked a pile of old cookbooks out of our bedroom.  Oh dear, the frantic sweeps and nonsensical pile placements I have made.  Here’s what I found, below.  My husband wanted to keep the bread machine cookbook.  Fair enough. Anything to tempt him to make more of his delectable bread should definitely stay.

I didn’t have the strength to toss the Corny Casserole recipe written in my younger daughter’s younger scrawl.  The homemade cookbook from our babysitting coop is also a sweet relic from the past.

The two piles on the left are cooking magazines to toss in the recycling, and two cookbooks for the Goodwill pile.  Out!

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All this attention on food made me look back at photos from the Idea Garden at Longwood Gardens from our visit in September.  Up above, some kind of funky, pink-tie-dye bean.  And below, purple tomatoes,

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which, while ripening, looked like apples.

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Speaking of purple, have you ever seen the flower of the artichoke?  I’m wondering whether it’s in the same general family as the thistle, pictured a few days ago.

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The wild, wonderful colors of nature.

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Mouth-wateringly gorgeous.  Bon appetit!

Clutter Cleans and Castle Dreams

Clump #259: Bring bags to Goodwill; day seventeen of National Blog Posting Month.

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I have to confess that yesterday’s clump was a rough one, not only to do, but also to write about in a way that wasn’t a total bummer.  I felt like the pumpkin above.  But prying off such long-neglected clumps has given me a new confidence and toughness. How much worse can it get?  If I can dispense with ancient girl scout relics, I can handle pretty much anything, including a cute toy crane, below, doing its own heavy lifting. This was part of a donation to Goodwill.

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Keeping the endless paper flow under control is relatively easy, even with the holiday catalog blizzard, compared to those bedroom clumps.

I had a funny moment today when looking through this week’s The Week magazine.  One of my favorite sections of the magazine is “Best properties on the market.”  Every week a different category of real estate is featured, such as properties with ponds, or properties in the desert, etc.  This week it was “Castles in Europe.”  Ooh la la!  After perusing the castles and dreaming dreams, I turned the page and thought, ‘No, I’m not interested in any of these.’  Ha!  Like Darcy (who actually lived in a European castle) in Pride and Prejudice, “…not handsome enough to tempt me.”  

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Just think of all the clutter I could fit in one of those things … there would be no end to it.

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De-Clump Where You Live

Clump # 258: Thirty minutes worth of bedroom de-clumping; day sixteen of National Blog Posting Month.

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Above, the thistle, thorny bane of most gardeners’ existence.  Pull it up and it roars back tenfold.  Good symbol for today’s job: the clumps I have never been able to eradicate from so many sweeping-ups of other areas in the house.  Somehow they always land in our bedroom, where guests won’t see.  But what does it do to our psyches that the place where my husband and I live and sleep is our dumping ground?

It changes today.  I set the timer for a half an hour.  Believe it or not, the piles below have a certain logic.

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Most appallingly old?  Girl Scout paraphernalia from when I was scout leader for my older daughter’s troop.  I always imagined myself donating it all back to the place where I purchased it, but today I stuffed it in a Goodwill donation bag. Phew.  I hope some other mom or girl will appreciate it.

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I want to say … “See?  All gone!”  but I still have pesky remnants to contend with for another–long–day.  But at least this area looks better:

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These three remotes have been waiting to go to the recycling place at Best Buy for way too long, caught in the stuck energy of all this stuff.  Well, they’re out of here now.

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This clipped Cryptoquote solution came fluttering out at one point.

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A nod to imperfection that tamed, somewhat, my bubbling self-recrimination and gave me hope for imperfectly cleared space beyond.

No More Wire Hangers!

Clump #254:  Return wire hangers to the dry cleaner; day twelve of National Blog Posting Month.

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I was on a lucky streak today.  Not only was the sun shining in lovely Lancaster County, PA (my shadow joining the tree’s), but my mom and I, between us, won three games of BINGO.  I blew through my winnings pretty quickly:

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And if that wasn’t enough, big news for loyal Clump A Day followers: I got to meet the Strasburg goose owner … clothier … costumer!  This picture was overexposed, and does not do her justice.  She was just the nicest person in the world.

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She and her husband were outside doing yard work when I stopped to snap a photo of the goose in its fox stole.  This is either the third (she said) or fifth (he said) goose they have owned.  The others were stolen (!!), thus the chain around her feet.

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She apologized for the hat covering the goose’s eyes, but said it would blow off otherwise.  I was so happy to be able to tell her how much I have enjoyed driving by and seeing what the goose might be wearing each week.

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And, oh yes, the clump.  I returned a load of wire hangers to the dry cleaner.  It looks like a modern art installation: hangers descending the back seat.

I feel a little guilty because this was such an easy clump.  But it has obviously needed doing for quite a while.  I have to tell myself that it’s not the size of the clump, but the consistency that matters.  Just Keep On Clumping.  Every. Day.

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Meanwhile, my heart went out to flowers I saw today that were refusing to give up, despite frost and impending winter.

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A brave gerbera daisy sending out rays of red to the drab world:

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And the leaves of that red, red, red Japanese maple:

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going out in fiery glory.