Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lightening Up

It all started when we painted our bedroom. I had an inexplicable urge to clean up, throw out and reorganize. Well, I suppose it could be spring cleaning, but I really hate to use that term. For years I was a devotee of a website that sent me emails telling me what to clean every day. (I still get the emails). The whole idea was that I'd never need to do a major cleaning job again because everything would stay clean and beautiful and organized. And it really did work fairly well (or well enough) when I was working at my career. But when I retired, a strange thing happened. I had time to clean things up, but no commitment. I wanted to do all the other things I had missed out on when I was working. Like quilting. And quilting. And quilting.

But this week, I have been purging and cleaning. I've only made a small dent in it all--my dresser drawers are neat, but that wasn't such a satisfying job because I'm the only one who looks in them anyway. BUT, here's something I can share with you. I'VE STARTED ON MY SEWING STUFF!!! I know, I know. Everyone else started that in January when they made their resolutions. (Have you followed through??) But I don't make resolutions. So here I am mid-March starting on a daunting task. And just so I have something to brag about when I'm done (and to keep me accountable to actually completing it) here is my sewing closet. 

And this is after I weeded out some paper mess yesterday. The closet is a mish-mash of reject bookcases and chests. The blue contact paper covered one was my brother's when he was little, then it was passed to me and was my "pantry" when I was in grad school and then it went to my son, whose room was red, white and blue, hence the blue contact paper. How do you like that sponge painted chest? That was my daughter's. We got it at a thrift store and brightened it up.  What you can't see is an ironing board to the left with a bunch of tote bags (full of fabric) and rulers wedged in. Yuck. All those totes to the right are filled with my old dolls and my daughter's dolls and stuffed animals. And up top are some containers of baby clothing I couldn't part with (but would never fly with modern babies). In the half that you can't see of the bookcase on the left are more bins with fabric scraps, and more books and magazines. (The bulk of my fabric is in dresser drawers in another part of the room.) But I digress. See how hard it is for me to stick to the job? I can't even talk about cleaning up without going down Memory Lane.

I have good intentions of getting rid of some things. I woke up in the middle of the night a few nights ago and decided that I didn't need to keep all of the quilting magazines I've kept for years. They are in all the binders you see at the bottom of the bookcase as well as the bookcase you can only partially see. My goal was to page through them and just keep the ones that had held inspiration for quilts I made or had articles about quilters I really admired. The next morning I sat down and started paging. And you know what? I just couldn't do it. I couldn't throw out any of the magazines. They are full of history and are still inspiring. I know a lot of this is available on CDs or online now, but it's so easy to just pull these off the shelf and page through. I'm holding on a bit longer. (My kids have permission to just pitch them when I'm gone.) I think what really bothers me is that they are in all sorts of mismatched binders, also rejects. You know--the ones you get at conferences and workshops. So they're not attractive. We'll see what I can do about that as I continue on my cleaning spree. 

There's another area of the room that needs help, too. Another bookcase. It holds old favorite books and a bunch of leftovers of my Birdhouse Period. More nostalgia. My daughter and I painted a lot of those. But it's time for something different or at least something less. I'm trying to look at the house with fresh eyes, as if I've been away for a very long time. So much stuff just becomes background noise, and I want to pay attention to what's actually on my shelves again. So, to keep myself accountable, here's that bookcase:

It looks extra mussy because I have my treadle set up in front of it right now. But that won't be for much longer, because (I need to shout this) THE BIG QUILT IS ALMOST DONE. Yes, you heard me. I'm on the last block Yippee!!  This is all that's left:

In the meantime, I'm going to pick away at pitching and reorganizing, and if it works out, maybe beautifying my closet. Then I'll be able to start anew with all the other projects that are renting space in my mind these days. 

I'm linking up this week (bravely, because it's hard to expose my mess) with Sew Fresh Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and My Quilt Infatuation because if you've read all the way to the end of this post, you will see it's a bit about quilting--and I know you can relate to the clean-up problem. Buttons are on the right. 

Have a beautiful weekend, and if you celebrate Easter, a lovely holiday.


  1. Okay I started this comment box as I was into your post a little bit because so much keeps popping into my head, the most important of which is WE NEED TO HAVE COFFEE!! So much in common, so much resonates here. Sponge-painting a shelf, hell yes, been there done that, with my daughters. Quilt magazines can't part with? Yup, was able to toss the cross-stitching ones, not the quilting ones, which I keep in mostly IKEA cardboard magazines holders and they are neat and I can label them on the front bottom section. Hard to stick to the job, oh yes, but moving across the country forced me. Yet I still have mild panic attacks at the baby stuff I made and DID give away, the sweaters I designed and knit and DID give away, the Barbie dolls the girls didn't want, my own included, so Goodwill again. Kudos to you for showing us your mussiness; trust me, it's nothing the vast majority of us do not have, me included, despite the big move 3 years ago. The big quilt! Cannot wait to see it. And you have a treadle machine. Janine. Coffee. We gotta. ;-)

  2. Buck it up Buttercup. I've been there myself and you've got to push your emotions aside and purge. Things to think about...someone else may have a good use for something you are just shuffling around...clutter occupies more than space, it causes stress...if it's really important, store it. I am very close to having my space completely under control and it has been a hard and at times emotional journey but I have no regrets and my clutter stress is minimal. I'm going for GONE and will keep up the occasional purges. Best of luck...I'm pulling for ya!

  3. Congrats on your decluttering success! Your quilting is gorgeous, I can't wait to see the finished quilt! And to think you did it on your treadle is just inspirational! Amazingly well done :)

  4. Yes, yes, I resonate with all, and especially the retirement thing. For months before I retired, I told everyone how I was planning to "deep clean" my house. NOT! But I have begun purging. Refrained from purchasing useless souvenirs on vacation because being home all the time makes me painfully aware of how much useless stuff I already have. I just want to sew! Keep at it, I will too!

  5. Hooray on your Big Quilt being almost finished Janine!
    We are trying to clean up and weed through things too and it is a daunting task to say the least. I'm laughing because our family had a "Birdhouse Period" Most of ours weathered away in the gardens though.

  6. Congrats on starting the decluttering journey. Just remember the middle is the messiest. Whenever I get stuck I revisit the areas I've already completed and remind myself of how wonderful it will be when I'm done.

  7. Good luck with the decluttering. 6 years ago I did this to a house I was going to sell: it looked so nice once I was done I wished I'd done it years ago.