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Archive for the 'Toss-It' Category

Maintenance Monday: Mystery

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Today’s Maintenance Monday is brought to you by mysterious items in the freezer.

It is also brought to you by crockpot soup! Sweet potato, crowder peas, 1.5 cups of broth and some greens/ sauteed onion.

Most of the ingredients came from the freezer and were taking up more space than their contents deserved. All of them will taste better together tonight when Brian and I sit down to eat them.

(The items shown actually were two jars of homemade pumpkin butter, and one jar of unsweetened cranberry juice. Those did not go in the soup. Thank goodness for that!)

What is This?
I started naming my days, at least some of them, a few years ago. The more I use the concepts, the more I actually get done when I’m alone and in charge of “what do I do next?”

Maintenance Mondays can be about balancing a checkbook, confirming my schedule for the next 10 days or so, handling backed up laundry or handwash, finally hanging that poster on the wall after months of intending to do it.

Today besides my freezer adventure, I did some computer work and made a few appointments.

What do you think of this idea? Could it help you, too?

Use that Good China!

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

I clipped this quote somewhere on the internet, and now I’ve done a Google search and a search of Facebook and can’t find it. May the writer forgive me for sharing these wise comments (which clearly were intended to be shared) without attribution.

” When I was studying nursing, I worked in a nursing home. There were so many residents that had sentimental and special things that were given away, in pristine condition and never used. It just seems like such a waste!

Tomorrow may never come, so don’t leave your beautiful, sparkly things sitting in boxes and in the cupboard. Use and enjoy them!”

I also found a column by Regina Brett, Columnist Regina Brett45 life lessons. It’s being circulated on Facebook as written by a 90-year old. They have her name right, but her age is 53 (I found this information on the urban-legend-busting website Snopes.com). I particularly want to share this goodie that relates to the one above:

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

–Regina Brett

For the record, I’m showing Ms. Brett’s photo here… and then showing the photo that has been accompanying the post on Facebook. Iris Apfel, Fashion DesignerI happened to recognize the incorrect photo. It’s Iris Apfel, a New York fashion icon and designer. I love her style!!! Click here for more photos and information on Iris.

My Own Challenge

I’m in a group on Facebook full of entrepreneurs working solo. One week there was a challenge to find things in our homes that we had not used, that we were essentially “saving for good.” I did well in the kitchen area, there was one jar of golden syrup that I deem so yummy I was saving it for a special occasion. I’d used my long-saved saffron and a vanilla bean, before the challenge.

Hawaiian dressBut in my closet? Oh, the beautiful clothing I wasn’t wearing. I have a 1960’s Hawaiian dress, in like-new condition. I sort of think of it as a museum piece and so I leave it for later, which never comes. I have a hand-woven/hand-embroidered dress from 1970’s Egypt which I’ve never worn and now doesn’t fit me anymore.

I do have some textiles I deem collectible which I never intended to wear (hand-embroidered with hand-dyed threads, from Uzbekistan and Turkey… and hand-knitted Turkish socks and Andean hats). I also have an amazing wool double-knit top from the 70’s (back when polyester double-knit was king… with op art patterns).

But really? Why not wear a dress until it doesn’t fit my 50-something body… when it did fit when I got it as a gift from a woman who bought it in Egypt?

And I have some amazing yarn I’ve collected as souvenirs on my travels. The problem with this is that I typically buy yarns I can’t get at my local shop. And I make a living helping shops help their customers, by pairing their yarns with my designs. So it’s hard to justify knitting with a specialty one-off yarn.

Isn’t life funny? I think I don’t hoard. I don’t hoard food or household supplies. I don’t hoard money, goodness knows. But I hoard textiles, which are my most precious things.

I am now eager for a hot day. It’s time to wear that dress.

How about you?

The Imperfection Club

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

I run a group on Facebook called Toss-It Tuesdays. It’s more of a catchy title than what we really do. It’s more like a support spot for folks working on getting out from under this American dilemma… too much stuff and not enough room to put it in.

A Club of Confusion
Of course, this combination creates a secondary problem which is clutter and disarray. If you experience even a small bit of this, you are not alone. If you are there, and you feel shame and/or try to keep people from seeing your living space, you are in excellent company.

There is no need for shame. YOU are lovely. The space is perhaps a problem, but you are not.


A friend on the Toss-It group asked how I got my kitchen counter cleared off. (Astoundingly, it seems to be cleared more than not these days.) That’s a big question and it took years.

The real answer? Keep coming back. You’ll go backward every day. Let’s face it, especially with a kitchen we use the space so often it is guaranteed to need work just about as soon as any work gets done. This is as it should be.

SO… start over. AND and and and… don’t wait to start until it can be perfect. It can NEVER be perfect. Just keep plugging. Don’t give up. YOU can do it.

A Tiny Hint with Big Results
Anytime you find something you can get rid of and not miss it? Any time you have an inkling you could let go of it? If you give it away/toss it/recycle it/somehow let it out of your home, then you will NEVER have to decide what to do with it again.

One of the members of the Toss-It group said it this way (paraphrased): “The shame went out in the trash with our junk.” I find this deeply moving, and it has been true in my case as well.

Imperfection: An Unlikely Ally
Do it over and over, Give yourself days where you do the minimum, and even when you put more effort in, practice doing it imperfectly. I was raised to believe that washing dishes was not finished until the whole counter top had been wiped down. However, in order to make progress in my own life, I must say that I can do 4 of the 10 dishes and not wipe the counter, and that’s still worth doing.

Start over again every time, and FORGIVE YOURSELF when it feels like it’s not good enough. It takes a long time to learn new stuff. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth plugging at it.

If you want to join us on Toss-It Tuesdays, it ‘s a public group on Facebook (you do need a Facebook account). Click and I’ll approve you as soon as possible. You can belong !

Photo: my countertop first thing this morning. Imperfect… Not wiped down, but also no stacks of dirty dishes or bottles waiting to be recycled. No extra food items belong stored out here,either. Score!!! (Yes, some days it is much worse… But I’m super excited that it can happen in my current life, any day.)

Getting Un-Stuck

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

sweaterstart.jpgI have been thinking about how at this time of year I tend to get very focused on finishing things that have been sitting and waiting for a long time. I think it is because my work slows down and I have brain-space to approach things that had a little hiccup or place where I needed to make a decision.

So for some reason this year, I’m casting on new projects rather than fixing the old ones. I am not feeling bad about it at all.

I cast on for the sweater Altu and I will knit together. She wants to learn new things, which I so respect in anyone. I think right now it’s her way of reclaiming her former passion (for knitting) at a time when her kids mostly do not need her anymore. At life transition times, we have more opportunity for change and growth.

But for me… casting on, or diving in to old projects, both represent a moment where I got un-stuck. I tend to have trouble with transitions… whatever I’m doing, I keep focusing on that even when I need to change gears. This can make me late to meet a friend, and it can mean that projects for my work do not happen as fast as I might like. It’s about focus, in a sense. Focus that doesn’t change gears when necessary. Stuck-ness.

In the past, the one thing that would get me unstuck if I was really without direction, was to clean off my desk. It’s often a de-cluttering process that gets me moving, whether finishing projects, doing dishes or cleaning the desk. I have been doing a lot of house-cleaning in the last few weeks.

What do you do for yourself to get un-stuck? (I will be asking this question on my Ravelry ColorJoy Group as well, sorry if it’s redundant for some of you.) I think we can really learn from one another by sharing our own experience on this question.

Photo? It’s a sweater, can’t you tell? It’s all faith here for a while, I think…