Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Stitch & Purge

Meditative Stitching

You can see the middle stitching is done, I think, unless I add to the blue block in the lower right corner. I'm undecided yet. The border is slower going as it's working the edge, and I am enjoying it immensely. There is no rush. This is the work that helps me unwind, and release the cloudy energy from the day's work. You may know I have been purging our home these past many weeks, and clearing stirs up our emotions and thoughts. 

Does This Serve Me/Us?

Passing along items our family no longer needs has always been routine for us. If I would say, "Do we need this?", my husband would reply with, "If you have to ask, Goodwill it!" (Goodwill is a verb and a noun in this house.) So when I actually thought it was time to do a Big Purge, I wasn't starting at the beginning. But even with all the practice I had along the years, I was totally unprepared to clear out things with emotional attachment. I have been doing this with greater awareness, and cannot believe how much resistance I've encountered--much of it from me, and I want it out!

We have lived in our home more than 30 years, and 5 children grew up here. We actively home schooled 17 of those years, and supported a lot of diverse interests and hobbies. Needless to say, our lives have all moved on, but our house was still stuck with the remains of who we were. While I held on to things I thought were special to many of the kids, I found they didn't want them. I might have a memory imprinted of them loving a certain game, but they had forgotten all about it. In essence, the item no longer served them or me. 

Move the Excess Out

My car and Suburban both have been loaded time and time again, and delivered to Connections Thrift Store (MCC), Goodwill, the recycling station, and the trash. Yes, a few things were thrown away. Paper records that contained personal information were burned. (Think bonfire.) Food items are in the compost. A few times I got lucky enough to find just the right person or family, and delivered to their door. Helen from Midget Gem Quilts asked if there was anything left. Hah! She has no idea. We still have stuff, but most of these things have a purpose. They serve someone.

That Yucky Feeling and Screaming Monkeys

The Emerald Ash bore came through Ohio a few years ago, and took several of our trees. We lost more last year from another blight, and a mildewy something has targeted the pines. This group of three was planted years ago when they were very small, and we watched them grow with the kids. 
The pines on either end had lost half their needles, and we discovered the center was badly damaged when we took a close look. They had to be taken down.

Why Do I Feel So Bad?

The morning of the tree removal was one I had anticipated for nearly a year. Oh, how I wanted them out! My husband was bringing in the saw and chipper, and we'd do it together. (One son also joined us later on, and we were both grateful as we were running out of steam.) I stood at the top of the hill looking down at the equipment, and was so torn. Logically they were dying, but I was really angry as I stomped around! Oh, my gosh! These were the screaming monkeys referred to in the book, "A Year to Clear." Those voices that go off in your head when you're trying to get rid of or clean things up, and confuse you. Pair the monkeys with all the times I've felt nauseous while doing this, and it makes me understand even more why we keep useless things. This was mental warfare!

Recognizing the anger, the nauseousness, and the monkeys is good. I know those are all ways I'm resisting change in my life, and I can address them. They're not there all the time, but I see them pop up more than I'd like. Clearing the house is exhausting physically, mentally, emotionally, and also spiritually. I find myself needing breaks for both water and little naps. Who knew?


Before fabric, I got my color fix with paint. There are at least 10 colors on the walls of 5 rooms in the basement. Add a recent remodel, a tree house, latex and oil based, and we had a lot of paint that had been sitting on the shelf too long. Some dated back to 2001!

Paint needs to be dried out to dispose of it safely. Open the can, and stir every day until it's hard. I lined several boxes with trash bags, and poured paint into those to dry it out faster. It will take a few weeks.

Purging without a List

A friend asked me how long this project was going to take. I said until it was done. I would like it to be done before the first significant snow. My daughter's car has been parked outside at night, and it's not pleasant to dig a car out of the snow. I told her I was working on the garage so she could share it. She asked, "We have a two car garage? Where?" Evidently it's been a while since it's been that clean. 

What I Have Done
(Finally a Legal List)

Christmas decorations
bathroom cabinets
laundry room cabinets
cleaning supplies
exercise equipment
school materials
school records
kitchen cabinet
big items from garage
old sewing room cupboards
spare bedroom
kids' games
pottery studio
fish tanks and bird cages

I'm not done. You still can't safely walk into our pantry without fear of falling over things on the floor, and only one car fits in the garage. The actual goal is a better functioning house and life. Fewer things to sort through, and the things that do serve us easier to find. Fewer screaming monkeys, and more peace. More peace equals more sewing. Seeking balance.

Any thoughts on your own journey clearing?

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's make it easy to go sew.


Sarah Craig said...

FYI, around here you can stir cat litter into paint and then dispose of it. As long as it isn’t liquid, the dump will take it!

Tu-Na Quilts said...

I've been enjoying reading about your decluttering. I've lived in my house for over 30 years and have never really done a big purge. When we don't need something, I just give it to my husband and he puts it in the garage. Our solution, when the garage became too small to fit a car, was to build onto the garage with the idea that the kids would be able to park their cars in it, too. Well, that (kid's being able to park in it) didn't happen and the kids have now grown and moved away so now I'm faced with a 5 car garage full of stuff. But there's still room for 2 cars. I share your sentimental feelings about the stuff of our lives. Great hand quilting on the little quilt. That hand quilting adds a lot of interest and texture to the quilt.

Linda Swanekamp said...

My husband is just finishing having a new garage addition for a workshop. So, everything is in an uproar. I really want to purge the basement, but I don't have the physical strength to haul the stuff up the stairs. I just don't know where to start. My studio is in pretty good shape, but other areas (books, art supplies, etc) are stuffed tight. I would like it out. It is hard to be creative and purge at the same time.

audrey said...

Love, love, love your stitching. The human touch factor is so charming and real. Kudos to you for continuing the decluttering journey. That many years in one dwelling makes it extra tough.:)

Angie in SoCal said...

Twice a year, our city has a hazardous waste pick-up. We get rid of stuff like paint then - they deal with it. As to my purge - I do try everyday to throw out/get rid/gift something from the house. So far one can't see even a dent in the holdings, sigh. Yet, I don't think I"m ready for a purge. I have gotten rid of half a trash bag of scraps in making baby quilts - maybe that's my speed. You are doing good.

Kathy said...

When we had to move stuff out of our basement, I hired two high school kids to haul! All I did was point and they took it up the stairs. And they were fast and worked cheap!

Sandy Panagos said...

You can also buy paint hardener in the paint department of most hardware stores. Mix it in, it hardens, you throw it away. We downsized by half about 6 years ago. Some parts of it are difficult. Your quilt is looking great, but the way!

Barb Neiwert said...

You are making fantastic progress! That's a shame about your trees. Our forests in Idaho have been ravaged by various infestations. As well as domestic evergreens. So you live in Ohio? We made our first visit there in October to attend the reception for our daughter and son-in-law who grew up there. Lovely country!

PaulaB quilts said...

Is a garage for cars? I don't think we ever had one in there, for sure not two. You have survived this project. That's something to be grateful for. There are times in our lives when we have to clear out our minds as well, at least for a resting place here and there. Maybe we never unlock some of the rooms, but God doesn't give us more than we can handle, although we do get stretched to the limit in the process. Just a passing thought. God bless you.

Anja @ Anja Quilts said... have been busy. Well done. I hope to get to this point soon.

Rebecca Grace said...

Bless you both! I can only imagine how exhausting this undertaking is, both physically and emotionally. But in the end, it feels liberating to let go of the things that tether us to the past without serving us in the present. As any little Disney princess will tell you, "Let it go, let it go..." '-)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare said...

I love your quilt. The stitching is a really beautiful feature. And it sounds like you're doing a great job with clearing out old stuff. I think I need to make a list like yours :)

Annie said...

My two car garage has to also store holiday decorations (there is no attic storage), yard and garden equipment, and all the other tools a household needs, so only one car fits in. When it comes to purging, what I really need to do is go through each file cabinet drawer and clean it out! I don't need instructions for long-gone appliances or half of the other papers that reside there.