CHANGES AROUND THE HOUSE

Things are changing. I don’t mean this allegorically. I mean it very literally. Physical things are moving around, moving out, moving in, and being replaced by other things.

The big dracaena in the dining room has left, replaced (in spirit) by a nice Philodendron hanging over the sink and in front of the windows. The little hutch in the dining room has been replaced by a lovely, Victorian secretary with a glass display top. And the big sectional downstairs has gone to a new home, as has my oak roll-top desk.

Philodendron in the kitchen window

Philodendron in the kitchen window

Less is definitely more. The house feels better with less stuff in it. Like there’s finally room to breathe.

Moving things around inevitably results in a lot more work than anyone expects. The new secretary has three shelves, but none of them are as tall as the two shelves on the previous  hutch. That meant that tall things needed to be  moved to different shelves, but small things moved “indoors” … behind glass. In the process I rediscovered music boxes, pottery, little brass boxes and one big porcelain unicorn.

music boxes

A child came to visit and went home with five dolls — a 14″ Tony with auburn hair and two Mme. Alexander “Cinderellas” — poor Cinderella and Cinderella at the ball — and two giant rag dolls, Raggedy Ann and Andy. I was made inordinately happy to find a home for a few dolls where hopefully, they will be played with and enjoyed.

Toni by Revlon, 1953

Toni by Revlon, 1953

I spent hours last night cleaning a music box and kaleidoscope (it’s the same item with two pieces) using q-tips and that cleaning stuff you use for electronic gear and cameras. The q-tips weren’t small enough and no brush was soft enough. Very old things are so hard to clean. Everything that can break, will … even when you are being as careful and delicate as you can.

I’m not done yet. There’s so much stuff. But I made a dent in it. A pretty big dent. That’s something, right?

26 thoughts on “CHANGES AROUND THE HOUSE

    • it is fun, like getting a whole pile of gifts … all of which need cleaning. The two nights I’ve spent cleaning antique music boxes wasn’t nearly as much fun as I had hoped. They don’t make q-tips like they used to. Where are those wooden sticks when we really NEED them ? 🙂

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  1. I love how you share instead of finding the easy way: throwing it out or selling it. Fantastic!

    We are about to move and that too is a good time for cleaning up 😉 Good luck with the rest of it!

    Cheers,
    Tieme

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  2. There comes a time in life, it seems to me, when you suddenly see things with other eyes and realise that you really cannot take it with you. I once had advice from someone to live as if you were going to move house once a month (perhaps even a week). I started about a year ago and today it is done. My eyes are everywhere for anything that begins to collect again in empty spaces. Everything has its place now – more or less.

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    • I keep trying, but there’s SO much. Collecting was the final nail in the coffin. And the books, OH the books. We gave away thousands of them, but there are still so many remaining. At least we aren’t acquiring anything new. Just seeking homes for the old 🙂

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  3. Simply reading about you clearing out stuff, gave ME a sense of relief. We should definitely do more of it. My problem is I do clearing out, but then allow new stuff to flow right into the space. And it has to stop. And you’ve given me a big incentive – I might just discover a unicorn 🙂

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    • My problem is finding homes for a lot of stuff … ESPECIALLY book and dolls which are the biggest two clutter factors. We’ve filled the shelves of three libraries. I’ve sold hundred of dolls and given away a couple of hundred more … and still have another 200 or so. The books are the most recalcitrant. We were both avid readers and the house has that look that bookish people houses have. EVERY place they fit, there’s a bookcase. And every flat surface has … dolls. Many dolls 🙂 But dumping the junk (there was some stuff that I looked at and said “why did I keep this? good grief” and it went directly to the trash. Old small appliances … you know, the ones that sort of work and you hate to just throw them away because they aren’t really dead? I sent to to the land fill. If they aren’t good enough for ME to use? They probably aren’t good enough for anyone else, either. I attacked the linen closet with vigor less than a year ago, yet somehow, it’s full again and I swear, I didn’t do it. I didn’t. It’ those fairies and pixies and brownies …

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  4. It is always refreshing to move things and discard or give away- we see the things we have kept with a new eye and rediscover them. Sometimes all it takes is that shuffling of things around to feel like a renovation and redecoration has taken place. Enjoy your new less cluttered home!

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  5. Wow! The same is happening in my little cottage! At my age, it is time to clean out spaces and rid my life of stuff! How did we collect all these things!? Trouble is most of them hold sentimental value…: a gift from a piano student, my son’s trophies, a valuable coin collection left by my father and on and on…not to mention the photographs and hardback poetry! I will let you know how it goes…
    Myra Dingle..:)
    You are doing a great job! 🙂

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    • Sell the coin collection and get it properly appraised. HE collected coins, not you and you don’t want them to wind up part of an estate and going into the trash … which really does happen. Photographs and books. Sigh. If you have a library or two locally, hard-backed books are usually welcome and you can feel good about that. Paperbacks, unless they are rare or I’m going to read them again (not likely because I don’t read as much as I did in earlier years), well … Salvation Army will sell them for a few cents each and poor people who like to read will get them. Our grocery store in town has a “free” bin into which you can put books, CDs, and other stuff that has no resale value, but might be worth something to someone else.

      Otherwise, you know … nature abhors a vacuum. You get rid of stuff and from some hole in the universe, more stuff flows in and fills the gap.

      I’m nibbling at the volume, but I have a lot of stuff I’m not willing to just throw away. It’s too valuable. The dolls are the biggest problem because they do have value, but selling them is more effort than I can muster up. When a girl child wander into my world, she always leaves with arms full of dolls. If I can offload another dozen or two, my job will be done.

      We gave so many books to the local library, the high school, and the senior center that we have free library rights for life and “please, don’t bring more books.” At least the shelves are no longer exploding! That’s as good as it’s probably going to get unless someone who wants them comes to visit. We have all my husbands trophies, by the way. He loves having them around and after a long career, he deserves a few mementos of the glory days 🙂

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  6. I admire you for getting down to doing that. I really must do more myself. We also happen to be storing a lot of other people’s (children’s) stuff. We dare not touch that.
    Leslie

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