365 Possessions: Sheets to the Wind — Day 53

I love bed sheets.  In the winter, I can’t wait to put my thick and soft flannel sheets. Every spring, I anticipate using my T-shirt/bamboo pink and orange sheets. And summer means my playful Parisian print Pottery Barn 400-count percale (or whatever it is–am I just falling for some hype?)

The problem is that I have so many sheets that I have to store them in a big yard-size Rubbermaid tote in my attic.  So rather than continuing to cram more sheets into the tote, I decided to sort them … and (GASP!) throw some out.

It was very hard to decide to actually trash sheets, but really, it’s the only solution for some of them.  The flannel one I found at the bottom of the barrel–literally–had pilled and become scratchy.  Who would want them?  And please, I am not going to cut them up for rags since I have enough microfiber cloths to carpet my kitchen!  Even a charity doesn’t want one scratchy sheet.

While I was at it, I also decided to toss my quilted mattress pad.  I don’t even remember buying it and the corner elastic had loosened to the point where the pad became a lump in the bed and I worried that maybe one of the pups was hiding in there.  Now my mother might have cut up the mattress pad for pot holder fillings, but… no.  I have batting designed for quilting projects.

So I felt bad about throwing all this out, but I remembered a comment that FlyLady, a noted decluttering resource, made:  don’t let your fear of throwing out stuff turn your home into your personal landfill.  Then I saw an article that said charities end up throwing out 85% of their donations because people use charities to avoid paying trash bills, willfully or ignorantly.  I just wasn’t going to do that.  So, goodbye sheets.  You had a nice life.

Oh, and the matching pillowcases?  Those I could save!  They make a perfect washable cover for the dog bed in my crate!



365 Possessions: Giving Up My Olga and Nadia Dreams–Day 52

So back in the day when I was young, I was mesmerized by Olympic gymnastics.  I watched Olga Korbut become the star of the 1972 Olympics and watched her thrill of victory and agony of defeat.  Then there was Nadia and the Perfect 10s.

I SO wanted to be a gymnast!  I even bought the leotard.  I was the right height (5’0 tall) and maybe not QUITE the right weight (hey, I was thinner then and thought I was fat when I weighed 105 pounds).  But I had the desire.   The only problem was … there were no gymnastics classes. Even the gymnastics community was unprepared for the exploding popularity of the Korbut flip and Nadia’s record-breaking routines.

Of course, today … I coulda been a contenda … gymnastics training centers are all over.  Gymnastics teams are part of high school and college sports and many little girls (and a few boys) can be seen earnestly doing their somersaults and twists.

Back then, I didn’t have any options.  But by the time I got to college, there was an intramural gym complete with gymnastics equipment.  So I jumped on the balance beam and instantly found out that if you can’t do the split on the floor, you can’t do it on a 4-inch wide beam. But I could do the little hand flicks and point my toes as I walked across the beam oh-so-cautiously. Then I could jump off the beam, snap my head back with a big smile and wait for my 10.  Of course, my friends up in the bleachers were laughing their heads off, but I didn’t care … I was a gymnast!  In my own mind, of course.

My fledgling career came to mind while I was decluttering the chest of drawers in my attic, where I store my out-of-season clothes. There it was … a carefully rolled gymnastics leotard!  Basic black.  Definitely a scratchy nylon–sort of like my first pair of pantyhose.  It’s nothing like the brightly blunged-out shiny leotards the girls wear today. I probably kept it for my niece, who, to my delight, was actually enrolled in gymnastics.  Unfortunately, she broke her arm and her future Olympic career braked to a halt faster than if she did a dive roll landing on a twisting vault. It also didn’t help that she was grew a head taller than me.

So the leotard has gone into the charity bag. I guess I have to admit my Olympic dreams are over… Although, I just saw a preview of a reality talent competition and there was a 91-year-old woman performing handstands and swinging on the parallel bars.

Hmmmm …. maybe I could get out my glue gun and then, if I added a few spangles…. IMG_3395

365 Possessions: Tic, Toc … Dock–Day 51

So after three years of agonizing over what to do with a metal 25′ portable dock at my cottage, I finally let it go.  Or rather, I got rid of it.  And trust me, it’s not easy to do.

The dock was useful years ago when we had a jet ski that needed a place to be docked.  At that time, my sister had a RAV-4 with a V-6 engine whose higher power was necessary to pull the dock out of the water and over a three-foot hill each fall.  I remember the days when visiting family members and I would line up around the dock in the water while the dock was being chained to the car.  Then we’d PUSH it over some boulders in the water while mom shouted at us from shore to keep our feet out of the way.  Then there would be the big sigh of relief when the dock ended up in the yard and the RAV-4 still had its transmission.

The RAV-4 is now gone and the jet ski has been sold, so the dock has just languished in the yard, taking up lawn space and creating an annoyance for lawn mowing. It was only popular with the bees, who loved using the stainless steel dock for building nests.

Don’t think selling it was easy.  The neighbors didn’t really want it enough to pay for it.  For anyone else, the challenge would be to drive it away.  The company that manufactured the dock has gone out of business so replacement parts to snap into the dock’s metal frame are impossible to buy.

But at a recent lunch with friends with a camp in the Thousand Islands, I mentioned the dock and they were interested.  They came up to the cottage and with some tools, were able to partially dismantle the dock.  They came up another day and took the rest.

My friend’s husband is a master woodworker and in return for the dock, I will soon be getting a new handmade cherry dining table and a carved cherry end table for my cottage.

All in all, a good deal.  And I have visitation rights.

A piece of the dock leaving the cottage … 



365 Possessions: Read It and Don’t Keep It–Day 50


Possession:  Used book bought for 50 cents at a sale

Destination:  A cousin who will enjoy it!

Whenever I complain that I don’t have anything to read, I remember the dozens of books I have bought at garage sales and book sales and haven’t read yet.  My INTENTIONS are good–I WILL read Pride and Prejudice one day or those Oprah books–but I never seem to get around to them.  Part of the problem is that I know they’re always there.

So now I’ve decided to whittle down that pile and actually read them. And the first of this year was The Faraday Girls by Australian author Monica McInerney.  Unlike her Aussie counterpart Liane Moriarty (“The Husband’s Secret”), Mcinnerney’s books have never achieved the popularity of Moriarty’s.  Her most recent book–Hello from the Gillespies–may change that.  Hello is about an Australian wife and mother who, at the end of a frustrating day, decides to write an electronic Christmas letter that actually tells the truth about her family’s lives.  Then it is accidentally sent…

I really liked the book it to the point where I looked for her other works, which aren’t that easy to find at our local libraries.  But I did spot the Faraday Girls (about 5 teenage girls being raised by their widowed father) at a book sale last fall.  And now I’ve finally read–and enjoyed–it.  But I am getting much better at discarding books that I know I won’t read again.

So now, I have donated it to a cousin who, on my recommendation, also enjoyed Hello.  And then I told her to go ahead and donate it to her local library book sale so someone else gets to appreciate it!



365 Possessions: Snuffing Out the Candlesticks–Day 49

When I first graduated from college, I spent 6 weeks in Poland on a student exchange program.  While there, I eagerly bought all sorts of souvenirs–beautiful carved boxes, intricately designed dolls, a chess set and a set of wooden candlesticks.

Some of the boxes are still here along with a couple of the dolls but now, I have finally decided to let go of the candlesticks.  They are a sturdy carved wood, but gee, they don’t go along with my decor. And never really have for the past decade.

But maybe they will be perfect for someone else’s home, so I have donated them to my mother’s church for the big spring sale.  Do widzenia.



365 Possessions: Keep the Memory, Let Go of the Souvenir — Day 48


I’ve had this humble charming wall hanging with its yarn hanger ever since I went to Poland in 1977. Or was it Finland in 1982?  I forget now.

Wherever I got it, I have had it hanging around for decades. I remember seeing it on the  walls of my apartments in Canandaigua and Syracuse and then in my house.  Somehow it migrated up to my attic only to be uncovered this spring when I discovered long-forgotten  boxes while cleaning up during a new roofing project. There it was–neatly rolled up in some tissue paper in an old Apple computer box.  (Clutterbugs love those kind of boxes — very sturdy ones WITH A HANDLE.  It could be very useful when moving, you know!  Well, it’s probably been in my attic for 10 years. That will be addressed another day).

Anyhow, I remember my vacations fondly but my memories don’t rely on the souvenirs. I can’t think of anyone in my circle who would want this hanging.  It IS kind of dated … definitely it has that 70s-80s look.

So, when it didn’t get a dollar at my garage sale … it went right to my neighbor who runs a charity thrift shop at Monroe Community Hospital. No regrets.  It’s OK to let go of the things that lose their connection to the original event.  I have photos and anecdotes and memories of my vacations. I don’t need the wall hanging. Besides, more trips are planned!


365 Possessions: Giving Santa the Heave Ho — Day 47


It’s always difficult to let go of gifts–ESPECIALLY Christmas gifts since every house always seems to have room for one more Santa …

This Santa Claus is a nice guy — sturdy, handsome, quiet.  Yet, I find that he no longer brings me joy as he should, at least according to that Japanese decluttering author.  Not as much, for example, as a lot of other gifts I have received in the past from the same person. When I look at him now, I think, “Ok, where I can I store all 24 inches of him? (LOL!)”

The first year I got Santa, he had a place of honor in front of my Christmas fireplace.  Then a couple of years ago, he ended up in the dining room until last year when poor Santa didn’t make it out of the attic at all.  So I thought that maybe he deserves to be in a home where he can once again have a place of honor.  And I still have more than enough Christmas decorations!

I put Santa out at my recent garage sale, but he just didn’t attract buyers.  Maybe in November, it would have been a different story.

But whenever I have a garage sale, I always promise that anything that has left the house … never returns.  Even Santa.

So luckily, a neighbor volunteers at the Monroe Community Hospital thrift shop and was happy to take Santa.  So it’s a win-win:  money Santa brings in, goes to support hospital programs.  And now he can make someone else happy at Christmas!