Fall Pink and Fall Prevention

Clump #252:  Deliver walker to friend; day ten of National Blog Posting Month.


Today I faced a Clump A Day dilemma.  For those wonderful followers who have been reading here for a long time, you know that I went through a sad de-clumping of a lot of my parents’ stuff when my father passed away.  One thing I had been meaning to give to charity was the walker my father had used.  If the test of what to keep and what to give away is whether the item is useful to you and/or brings a smile to your face, this walker would fail both, spectacularly.  My dad embodied the opposite of everything this walker symbolized.  He was powerful, fit, and independent almost until the end.  The darn thing was a big clunky, sadness-evoking clump of metal.  You know what I’m talking about; you don’t need a picture.  Instead, I’ll brighten the vibe with photos of pink out in the autumnal landscape, a color more associated with Spring, but there you go.


So why in the world was this walker still in our basement?  I had been avoiding it for the reasons above: too painful.  But today I was conferring with a friend about helping out another friend who had been in an accident and needed a walker.  “Uhh, I think I still have the one that belonged to my father.”  And off it went.  No searching around for one, or renting … boom.  Done.


So what is the moral of the story?  It pays to procrastinate?  Save all your clutter for the day someone might need it?  This experience makes a real argument for that approach.  I have to give credit to my older daughter, who, when I posed the question, “What is the counter-argument?” said, “The counter-argument is: do you keep everything in case someone might need it one day?”  Right!  We are not running a store.

I took this (blurry) photo in a big, rambling hardware store this summer. A store that sells everything. Even when the express purpose of your enterprise is to outfit someone else’s needs, organizing all the stuff is a big challenge.


I’m telling myself that I will still have the wonderful moment of giving someone just what they need,


but not because I have held onto it beyond its welcome to me.

Two Ways to Deal with Clutter

Clump #251:  Clear out storage containers from car; day nine of National Blog Posting Month.


I finally got the darned clanging containers out of the back of my car today and returned them to our Quaker Meeting.   It’s about time! We had brought them home from the Fall Festival a few weeks ago so my husband could tally money and tickets. Note the metal cash boxes within.


This evening we got to go to our dear friends’ place for a bonfire.  They have permission to light their burn piles on non-windy days.  How I wish I could do the same with much of the clutter in our house.  Very efficient … poof!

My first sight of the fire was its reflection in the window of a springhouse on their property.


A mesmerizing inferno.  If you look at this photo for a while you see an angel, or fire goddess, with the last burning bright fall leaves in the distance.


Natural fireworks …


from the ground up,


and from the sky down.

Big Clumps and Tiny Bubbles

Clump #250:  Do some Christmas shopping and move three big clumps from our bedroom; day eight of National Blog Posting Month.


Last season I found candles that seemed like the all-purpose perfect gift … and I didn’t have enough. With three sets at the ready, and wrapped (for free) so nicely, I’m way ahead of the game this year.  For those interested, they are Et Al Designs beeswax candles. I’ve discovered they’re also sold at The Grommet, a very cool place to shop online.

So, keeping the pace going in our bedroom: it became the repository for stuff belonging to our younger daughter studying this year in Russia when clearing her floor during the recent carpet-cleaning frenzy.


I have a feeling the bean bag chair will ultimately get the heave-ho, but for now I put it back where it lived when she was much younger.  When we finished the basement, she requested a little hide-out under the stairway, just like Harry Potter’s “cupboard under the stairs”:


My husband was away at the Fall Festival Committee wrap-up meeting and dinner, so I was home alone.  Don’t feel badly for me.  I flipped on the T.V. and found a Lawrence Welk show on PBS from 1973.  What a time capsule!  I’m sorry that this is the second post in a row with photos taken from our television screen.  I promise to get a life tomorrow.

It brought back so many memories: first, being encouraged by our doting great aunts that my three sisters and I were going to be the next Lennon Sisters when we sang for them.  They were very serious, believe you me.   I just read the Wikipedia entry for The Lennon Sisters.  Apparently they still perform but, like us, they are now a trio.  Certainly by the time this 1973 show was aired we were way too cool (in our minds) to watch Lawrence Welk.  Our grandfather loved to turn it on when he was living with us.  It’s a wonder we can see straight with all the eye rolling that went on (behind his back, of course) during those times.


Remember Bobby and Cissy?


This particular show was a tribute to the music of Irving Berlin.  Lawrence, himself, danced a waltz with Cissy to “Always”… which just happened to be the “first dance” at my husband’s and my wedding.


So much big hair and hairspray …


on everyone!


Watching the audience dancing during instrumental numbers was like looking back through a family photo album.


The singing number below was just the kind of thing Saturday Night Live parodied so effectively with Kristen Wiig and the tiny hands singer (look it up).  I guess the women were supposed to be British governesses?  Kind of creepy.


After the recording ended, there was an interview with dancer Cissy of Bobby and Cissy.  Here’s what she looks like now (?)


Seems like she still lives by the Lawrence Welk advice: “Keep a Song in Your Heart.”  Not to mention a rainbow around your neck.  (Feel free to roll your eyes, it’s only fair.)

The Weight of The World in our Arms

Clump #234:  Clear out bedrooms in advance of carpet cleaner; day 29 of 30-day challenge … one more day!


The clump for today was a tremendous achievement, but not in terms of getting stuff out of the house.  Our son and I had to clear the bedrooms and basement floors of every bit of clutter before a carpet cleaner arrived. Our older daughter’s room had been serving as a holding zone for clumps that our younger daughter had mined from the basement … it was especially grueling. Too late to do the necessary sorting and decision making.

In summary, scheduling a carpet cleaner felt like the best and worst thing I could have done.  Wow.  Up close and personal with our excess belongings.  The previously cleared-out basement storage area is now re-clogged.  Nooo!


I had taken the photo below of an old Parade magazine during the big paper purge.  This is exactly the way I felt today. We were working against the clock, and at one point, I said to our son, “What would I do without you?”  With a strained expression and pleading tone of voice he answered, “Start earlier?”  From the mouth of babes (or dudes, or gents …).  The truth hurts, as do my sore muscles and back.


I guess people pay good money to do step aerobics with weights. That’s essentially what the job felt like.  The complete works of Charles Dickens, below, weigh about a gazillion pounds.  I have hauled them from my parent’s bookshelves to our home, to at least two used book sellers (who were not interested in buying them); our younger daughter hauled them upstairs, and I lugged them back down to the basement. Somehow this description doesn’t seem to include enough hauling steps, but you’ll just have to trust me.  Talk about an albatross.  Enough is enough!  I’ll donate them to whoever will have them.  This will be the first clump out of the basement.  I promise.


I’ve got the motivation, I’m in the Tow Away Zone,


soon the wheels will be on and the junk will be moving.

Baby Steps

Clump #231:  Start clearing out younger daughter’s room; day 27 of the 30-day challenge.


I’m coming down to the finish of the get-ready-for-compay challenge.  Yikes.  It’s time to start cleaning out the rooms where my sisters-in-law will be staying.  This will have to suffice as a “before” photo for our younger daughter’s room.  I don’t want to embarrass her.  She spent a lot of time doing a miraculous job of clearing out the basement.  She also put a bunch of old photos in albums, and this is the corner where she kept the supplies.  I can’t fault her too much for leaving her room in less than optimal condition, given how much she helped out.


A dear reader of this blog sent me the following quote, which really sums up the essence of Clump A Day:

A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.     –Anthony Trollope


Right now, even a spasmodic Hercules sounds good to me … but I continue to clump step by step by step …


Not Going To Pot

Clump #229:  Clean out terra cotta pots and donate to Fall Festival sale; day 25 of the 30-day challenge.


Today’s clump was cumbersome, but easily dispatched.  Old, dirty plant pots saved for possible reuse that, let’s be real, just ain’t gonna happen. How many years have they been sitting in the basement?  Who can remember?

I stuck them in the sink with a few glug-glugs of white vinegar, and … presto … the next morning they looked good enough to donate to the flea market at our Quaker Meeting’s Fall Festival.


I took the photo below during yesterday’s mega-mailing and couldn’t let it go today.  I had used up the last of the “Cherry Blossom Centennial” stamps I’d bought this spring.  I just love the little poem written by someone who lived in the triple-digit years.


Soon the leaves will be falling in haste …


but right now we are in a delicious state of suspended animation.

Birds of a Feather, Stored Together

Clump #224: Clear out catch-all box; day 20 of the 30-day challenge.


At first look, this box below seemed like a container with a certain logic: mostly office supplies.


But … No.  It was clearly a soldier pressed into service during a company’s-coming-clutter-attack.  A mishmash of all sorts of junk:


Since our younger daughter’s summer project to create logical areas of storage in the basement, I find it is satisfying to place office supplies with office supplies; Easter grass with the Easter baskets, etc., in their places down there.  Even a tiny button is now with its compatriots in the vintage 1991 (our son’s infancy) baby food jar.

I considered giving away the Monday through Friday calendar note pad (unopened, unable to help me get organized), but I decided to actually give it a whirl, and placed it on my desk.  Here goes!


And then came a tough one.  A very old card I had found in a five and dime when I was a college student.  The courtly language and pictures still charm me today, but do I need it?


It’s not in great shape, so I don’t even think it would be valued by a collector.


I can’t be so organized and streamlined that I omit things in my world that give me joy, like the one folder I’m keeping from yesterday’s file purge.  It was put together by our older daughter when her hero was Jane Goodall.


The folder opened to another folder:


And then opened to reveal a dozen animal fact cards that, I’m sure, were sent to us to entice us to buy more.   We didn’t bite.


One of the Honest Tea bottle cap quotes I unearthed gives me pause: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”  –Charles Darwin.


I’m responding to change as best I can, while holding on to a few cherished things.