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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Friday, July 8, 2016

Flypaper thoughts decluttering edition

  • My daughter is amazing
  • She loves her job
  • It involves giving little kids chemo and calling mothers later to say what the bloodwork looks like this week
  • My baby does this and feels called to do it
  • Her favourite line is "they are still kids"
  • She tells us more funny than sad stories
  • She is amazing
  • She has a sideline however
  • It's called getting me shaped up
  • Right now it's decluttering
  • Who needs 18 family pictures in the living room? she said
  • Doesn't it feel better to have just a candle and a clean surface?
  • Actually no
  • Listen I know it's very big right now
  • Apparently there are folks who have the time to hold every item in the house in their hand
  • And ask "do you give me joy?"
  • If it doesn't say the right thing 
  • It's off to Value Village's in-box
  • Where it will stay, until next week
  • When someone asks you to make a jelly salad in a jelly mold for a retro party
  • Or in organizing you decide to file papers in the paper trays you gave up at the same time
  • They actually tell you right now to keep only one memento from each child
  • Ha
  • You want the rock you painted the happy face on in 1991?
  • Got it
  • You want the pillow you sewed buttons on for mother's day 1992?
  • On it
  • More to the point this does not work for sewers
  • No matter what button came off I can find a match
  • Whatever I need I have just the thing right here
  • Purse stiffening for the purse I meant to make ten years ago
  • Invisible zippers from before they made a comeback
  • Enough shirt buttons to button up Wall Street
  • Purple sequinned chiffon for when the American Girl has an event
  • Stuff so the bottom of never knitted slippers won't slip
  • Your house looks like you have lived in it for 30 years she says
  • Well I should hope so
  • If I wanted clear surfaces I would book myself into the Holiday Inn
  • Right now my kitchen counter holds this:
  • The only dog food that doesn't make Daisy have diarehha
  • A kerchief my dad wore around his neck when camping
  • Spices a one year-old unloaded just for fun
  • A picture that says To Babs fr. SJM I love you
  • Stink weeds in a jar
  • A box of disinfectant wipes we split
  • One burnt oven mitt
  • A photo of Mr. Rascal standing in the dishwasher I want to frame
  • The frame
  • An iPhone with a shattered screen
  • Speaking of which
  • I have a req for an X ray to see if I have another sewing needle imbedded in my foot
  • Last one was a Schmetdz 70 jeans
  • It says drop-in these are the hours
  • I also have a 5:10 appointment at the Apple store with a genius
  • And an email of nine things to do before I get there
  • Another email saying to get there ten minutes early before the genius sees me
  • All to fix a screen that broke because no one thought ahead that this might happen if you give someone something thin and slippery
  • Listen
  • A genius is someone who invented penicillin
  • Or the zig zag stitch
  • And you kiddo have the face of someone who passed because you were in a good group
  • Maybe what we are cluttering our lives with isn't on the counters
  • However I do have one word of wisdom
  • If the B12 says it expired in 2008
  • You might want to throw that out


Kathie said...

D@mn! I LOVE your posts! Please do not every stop. Ever.

theresa said...

Hoo, boy, you had me laughing before the third bullet! I've tried to declutter three times and always end up with more.

Theresa in Tucson

Anonymous said...

There are hoarders in the world and there are chuckers. Without hoarders, there are no button boxes for kids to sort through, no box of toilet paper tubes, wrapping paper tubes and what-not that are born again as lightsabers, super hero cuffs or papier mache napkin rings. Without hoarders there aren't the long-lost family photos that the chuckers long got rid of in favour of scanning them (before good scanning was around). Without the stray sewing supplies in my house that I have carefully hoarded against the chuckers, there wouldn't have been last-minute costume supplies to brighten up a rainy day, or extra heavy cardboard to soak up the easter egg dye before it got all over the table. Giving stuff that much power to spark or starve joy is silly: people spark joy, life sparks joy. I like a clean counter so I can make the next meal but the fridge covered with old drawings, faded photos and other reminders of joyful days? Those are staying.

becky said...

Thank you for explaining why I flunked one more "organizing made easy" book. Yep I too flunked but now I'm not guilty about it :)

garnet128 said...

Your flypaper thoughts are decluttering your mind. There you go...done for the day!

Tracy King said...

I'm glad you think your daughter is amazing. I think mine are too. I am also glad that I read your flypaper thoughts. Somehow you managed to make my clutter ok. It's an ongoing struggle in this world where people seem to decorate to please others but forget to please their families. I have been heard to say more than once that my house is dressed for my families comfort not for the person knocking on the door to oooh and ahhhh over. Some people never come back but I figure they probably weren't meant to be in my life anyhow. Have a super weekend and thanks for being you.

Sally King said...

Your daughter IS amazing. Not many have the sensitive heart to handle what she does. And as far as clutter.....I am very much anti-clutter however my husband just threw out a jar of spices we bought at a warehouse store in the 90's. We know this because it still had the pencil price on it. ( It was much cheaper then.)

me said...

Loved this post - I'm a clutter bug from waaaay back. I bought "the book" - even read - that system is not for me. I'm happy with my things, that's why I have them!

I so enjoy reading your posts although I very rarely comment.

sewingkm said...

As always your flypaper thoughts lighten my heart and make me giggle. I try to de-clutter but cherish those items my kids made for me as well as the items given me by my grandmother. Karen

bbarna said...

I used to try and organize friends and family, but it made them nervous, and sometimes embarrassed when I came around, so now I let them decide on their own what to do with their stuff and just play around with my own things. Not to say that I don't have lots of stuff, I do, but I have it in labeled boxes, or filing cabinets and all my clothes fit in my dresser and closet. Now my fabric is a whole other story, and I need to get some kind of handle on that because I swear it is multiplying in the night. Great post and hugs to your daughter...
Barb from BC

Dixie said...

You have made my day. What a treat you are!

Anonymous said...

You leave me speechless, smiling in my heart and on my face!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this. I have a daughter in law who could give lessons on decluttering. Except she would never have to declutter because it never gets that way.

I like the kids pictures on the fridge and pictures throughout the house. They make me happy.

I am,however, worried about what if something happens to me then there is all this stuff!
Thanks for the great post.

Margaret Delong said...

I always love reading your posts!
This is so timely, I'm decluttering by holding all my items haha. I've taken two truckloads to the Salvation Army (keeping track ok Instagram- Made_by_Marg ) and I'm thanking my old socks for their service! Hahaha I sound like a nutter but I feel amazing.
ALL my clothes-making fabric and notions are joyfully staying, but I let go of two boxes of two boxes of quilting fabric. Another girl from NS came by and got them and it brought her so much cheer!! I also have a friend who lost her home in the fires who I'm giving a stack of books, and sharing all the joy feels pretty amazing!
If the fabric stash makes you happy, keep it! If you won't miss it, someone else may love it!

Marianne said...

Haha, great post. I have a decluttering adult child too! Where do they come from? The last time she was here we cleared a few shelves in the storage room. I love the empty space but regretted getting rid of one of the items. Oh well, it is not a significant regret.

You may not have read the book, but you seem to be following the principles. Keep the things that bring you joy. That includes the 18 family pictures on your walls.

My problem is that so many things bring me joy, but too much stuff makes me cranky and distracts me from doing the things I want to do in my life. Like, hanging on to the past prevents me from moving into my future. It is a never-ending struggle. I remember one Clean Sweep episode that made a big impact on me, where Peter asked some poor soul living in a house with way too much junk: "Can you keep the memory and let the (broken down) chair go?" Good question! Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it is no. I'm trying for more "yes". Maybe it is something to do with being visually oriented that we need to keep the thing, preferably in plain sight, to spark the joyful memory. Anyway, we should only declutter if we decide we need to, not to satisfy the minimalist preferences of others (unless they live with us).

Thanks for giving me my laugh for the day.

Marianne said...

I kind of skipped over the painful part of your post...an x-ray to see IF you have a needle in your heel? Oh, that does not sound good. Whatever it is, I hope it gets better quickly.

/anne... said...

My rescue dog (who is sadly gone now) got diarrhoea - the vet said some dogs get it from the sulphur in tinned food. So we swapped to dried food, saved money, saved space in the recycling bin, and she was fine after that!

My daughter despairs of my clutter, but when she needs a small piece of velcro, or the right thread to fix something, or... - the complaints disappear. Funny, that.

I think it's every second generation. My grandfather adored clutter - he'd come home from the auction house with a box of half-empty tins of paint, and feel he'd got a bargain when he found a few cents in the bottom of the box. My mother would throw out anything not nailed down, and even then she'd get out the claw hammer if no one was looking. My daughter is trying for a balance between the two.

Anonymous said...

Interesting(as always) post and very current. I like to label myself ( and luckily my husband) " Pantry People". The kitchen has basic pantry supplies with the tools to use them, the sewing room has basic notions , three generations of collected buttons, books, patterns, fabric yarn and enough machinery to run a good sized sweat shop. The workshop, and he's the first to say he's not handy, contains tool boxes full of bits for plumbing, electrical , dry walling, carpentry small engine repair etc etc. Then there are the books. I don't know if it all gives me pleasure but does provide comfort in a way. If something like "Juan " comes through, we will eat food cooked on the BBQ( extra propane tank full). If the daughters Airedale is a bit chunky for his safety vest in November, I have the perfect elastic and can fix him up in an instant. If something springs a leak at 3am ( and doesn't it always) we are good to go. If the power is out I can sew on my Grandmothers treadle machine, OK I'm not really good at that but maybe I would be if....it was out a really really long time. I cannot even begin to imagine a life without reading material or a project around , be it knitting, hand sewing or a picture to put in a frame.
I have a relative who is quite the opposite, she does not like time or money tied up in things, she would much rather buy food, as needed on a daily bases. Their books are read and donated, she is perfectly happy to sit with nothing in her hands, she doesn't do things that make a mess or require gagetts. If her plumbing fails at 3am she has that money she didn't spend on stuff to call an emergency plumber and the peace of mind of knowing this.
I don't know if my stuff brings "joy" that may be reserved the living things in my life, but it gets me through today and as many uncertainties of life I can prepare for. Maybe I am here today in part because an ancestor stashed some extra nuts to get through a drought or some lacing to repair torn clothing in winter. Maybe more importantly he/she had enough projects on hand as insurance against banishment for being annoying. Maybe she had an ancestor who hid away currency and did just fine also.

Leigh Wheeler said...

I love your post. I too would rather have 18 photos of family and a comfy house than a Holiday Inn room any day. In fact, if the house is bare, with a candle on the table, I kindof feel sorry that those people have nothing to interest them. It seems sad.

I have found it enjoyable to share favorite novels with friends, and not care if the book comes back or not. But I also have the luxury of a VERY good library, and I read fast, so the piles of "already been read, not good enough to read again" have shrunk considerably. So I have more room in my bookshelves now. Or different books, anyway.

Plus, I can't tell you how many times I wanted to make something and all the supplies were at hand. Some given to me, some purchased on a closeout sale, nothing paid full price. I just go out to the studio and make something. At 8:30 on a Saturday night. I can fix the elastic, have plenty of buttons, patch something. It's great.

Hope your foot gets better soon!

LinB said...

Agree with all of the above "hoarders." It is to us that the declutter crowd turns when they need something that they have thrown out of their own place. I do not have to keep everything, but some things cannot be replaced.

A friend, when faced with the choice of spending $500 for a set of reference books or for the same reference set in digital form (for his decidedly esoteric profession) chose the printed pages. "Paper lasts for thousands of years. Who's to say when that digital data will begin to corrupt, or when the playing device will no longer be manufactured?" He is a wise old bird.