Category Archives: purging

I didn’t plan this…but


Almost overnight it seems I’ve become a minimalist and a DIY person.

I didn’t set out to become that person, it really wasn’t on my radar at all when I finished out the school year. Well maybe I planned on some purging…but I had no idea to what extent I would take that.

I’m now changing my house one area at a time in large sweeping ways. This month was my porch, last month my basement. I actually like my basement now. That is remarkable in itself! I have five drying racks down there that I use for all of my laundry now. It’s very rare I ever use the dryer anymore. I can easily find whatever I might need down there, camping stuff is actually together, holiday stuff easily organized, tools, painting stuff, etc. For me this is really quite exciting 🙂

I’ve started using my porch again since I’ve redone it. It had honestly just become a storage room before I redid it. But yesterday I sat down on the swing with the fan on me behind my billowing curtains which made me feel like I was near an ocean and found myself laying down and falling asleep on my wooden swing. Swaying in the breeze. It was lovely. And this morning I was out on the swing again going over my sermon for this next Sunday. It’s become a place of peace.

And as far as the DIY part goes…I’ve now made laundry detergent, toothpaste and am making dish soap and hand soap this week…might even try ketchup and mustard eventually. Part of the desire is to make things more frugally and part of it is the good feeling of knowing what goes into something that you’re eating or using on your body. I’ve never considered myself to be overally worried about chemicals and organic but…I am finding that this whole DIY thing is something I enjoy.

So much so that I looked up the information on the Alton Farmers Market today and wondered if there might be something that I might start making and selling in a booth there. It’s only $5 to rent for Wed. night and $10 for Saturday. I need to give that some more thought. I love the idea of getting to know more people in the town where I live and also some extra income. I love the idea of doing something I enjoy…making something that’s good for everybody and selling it a price that makes it where some people who don’t have time or desire can enjoy it too. I’m not sure what I’ll do if anything…but I’m considering it.

I guess my first step would be to go check out the farmer’s market on Wednesday night and see what is being sold right now. Then decide on a couple of recipes of stuff and go for it. My sister in law up in Michigan already does this type of thing with her baked goods. She makes umpteen loaves of all types of bread and cookies and monkey bread and other lovely delicious baked goods. Secretly, everybody at home hopes some of it doesn’t sell so they can eat some when she comes home 🙂 (Yes mom and dad…I’m telling your secret 🙂

It just feels like a fun, natural, down to earth kind of thing to do.

So…any tips from those of you who do Farmers Markets? What do you think would be worth making and selling? I’m open to suggestions. I’m thinking more likely soaps or cleaning supplies or that direction over food. But open to any ideas.

While I was doing yoga this morning I had a bit of a spiritual epiphany. I realized as I was told several times to listen to my body and only do what my body was telling me to do, when it came to the yoga poses, that I haven’t been very good in the past at listening to my soul. I’ve often lived in an expected way. Predictable. Chronological. I’ve seen open doors and assumed that if the door was open it meant that I should walk through. If the door was closed that I wasn’t to go there. I’ve been dissatisfied with my life and had a general feeling of dread because I was living my life in a way where I did a good job…but not in a way where I felt alive.

For the first time…I’m listening to my soul. I’m noticing what brings me joy. I’m being aware of when I feel rested and at peace. I’m learning when to stop and when to go. I’m trying to develop more waiting in my life. I’m in tune with me. In tune with the Spirit.

I was tempted to regret and think of the previous twenty years as a whole heap of mistakes. I tend to go down those pathways in my mind, but every day before this one has brought me exactly to this place where I am now. And I like where I am today. I must make peace with the days before this one. Learn what I can. Accept what I need to. Change what I can. Embrace the good, let go of the bad.

Just because a door opens these days does not mean I need to walk through it.

Just because a door is shut doesn’t mean that I might not still find a different way to go in the same direction.

It’s a trite way of looking at things when we look at them that way and yet in Christian circles that’s often how it is. Doors opening and doors closing and us guessing at where we think God wants us to be. This morning during yoga when I was just listening to myself breathe and using muscles I’ve never used before…I was reminded again that all I need to do is listen and then just move in that general direction. I must know who I am. I must know who God is. If I know those two things…than I have the wisdom I need to move forward. No more just living life the way it’s expected of me. No more just doing the next natural step that everybody else does. I will be in tune with my mind, body, soul and spirit from here on.

For me right now that means I’m starting a boy today on piano lessons and I’m learning more about DIY recipes and thinking I might make a trip to scope out the situation to the Farmer’s Market on Wednesday night. Why not 🙂

Any tips you have for those of you who have experience selling or purchasing at Farmer’s markets would be appreciated.

Today’s thoughts


Today I’m working hard on the next area of my house in my efforts to clear clutter and clean. So far my basement and shed are in pretty good shape. I’m hoping that those were probably the least fun areas and now it will be a little more manageable doing the living areas. Today I’m out in the great outdoors…redoing our front porch.

I already emptied it entirely last night. Which is always kind of shocking to remove everything and see how much dirt we were really living in. Well it is a porch so I guess that’s to be expected…but it’s an enclosed porch hooked to our house.

It had a swing, two chairs, camping stuff out the wazoo, shoes…seriously, every shoe we own which is a whole lot, a variety of yard tools, my hope chest (I know that makes no sense but it’s one of those things where it didn’t fit into the rest of the house so it ended on up on the porch.), holiday decorations, lawn chairs, balls and racquets, rain gear, snow sleds and stuff related with cars and winter…a crazy amount of stuff for one porch.

Our porch runs along the front of our house, so it’s a good sized enclosed porch, but still…too much.

So…I started by taking all of the yard stuff out to the shed. That helped. I then took all of the random tools and snow sleds down to the basement. I also took the holiday stuff down to the basement and was able to easily put it away since I had already organized that space. I’m giving away a chair to a friend so that will clear out some space. I’m getting rid of a big piece of wood today, hopefully…I’m putting a free sign on it out at the road and probably making a trip to a dumpster to throw away the old blinds which had long sense lost any color. I’m also throwing away a rug that was on the floor.

I have a stack of stuff sitting in my front room right now that I will go through before putting my porch back together. I definitely want to get rid of more. I’m hoping that when I’m done my porch will be really open and breezy, have one chair and our swing and a few other things…but very few. The space right now feels wonderful.

Today I’m cleaning it up and scraping the old paint. I’ve never painted parts of the porch before so I have no idea how old the paint is…but it’s peeling in places and will need to have some attention before I can just apply a new coat of paint. I purchased exterior paint for the walls and floor paint that’s supposed to be really resilient for the floors (Hope it works) The girls helped me pick out some colors, nothing bold. In fact the colors are very understated. Just slight hints of color, mostly just light and breezy. We’re going for a more beachy feel around here. Lightening things up.

I hope to get the ceiling and trim done either today or tomorrow and then the walls and floor on another day. Once I get going I know it won’t take long. Probably longer to scrape and clean it up to get ready to paint.

It’s a little inconvenient having to live with the mess right now in our front room but I’m trying to keep perspective that this is how it always is when you try and improve things. You have to sit with the mess for a little while to see improvement.

Our front porch is our first impression…I have to admit, I’m glad we’re redoing it…it wasn’t the greatest first impression.

I’m reorganizing some stuff, trashing some stuff, giving away some stuff and keeping some. This decluttering is a continual process.

I’m always amazed at the stuff I spent money on thinking we would use it more often…yesterday when I threw away some pool floaty things I realized we probably only used them a couple of times. It challenges me to think more before any further purchasing. Honestly…unless I’m going to use something fairly regularly it just isn’t worth the purchase.

Yesterday I also looked over my budget again as I approach very quickly my last teacher pay check for a year or more. I’ve tightened everything down as much as I possibly can. We should be ok. There are always unexpected things that come up…but we should be alright. I’m hoping to eventually have 20 students in my private voice and piano business. I have no idea if that will happen or not…but hope so. Thankfully right now we are not dependent on that goal. Although it would definitely make life a little easier.

The good news is…while I see people commenting and lamenting about summer being almost over…I feel no dread. I enjoyed my summer and am still enjoying it and absolutely am ok with this fall season coming on. I am in no hurry. I am not counting down to anything. I am enjoying each day as it comes for probably the first time in my life. I am at peace. Content. Not living in the lap of luxury by any means…but perfectly content and grateful.

My girls are too. They are ahead in their schooling and so yesterday we took a day off when my daughter got her driver’s license. We went out to lunch with a friend and enjoyed the day at home. No stress. Today they’re back at school…but we just had the freedom to eat a good chocolate chip pancake breakfast together and a cup of coffee. And they will still be done  most likely by early afternoon.  My youngest daughter is really enjoying her Latin class. I never dreamed that she would so get into it, but I’m glad she is. She even told me she’s enjoying reading The Scarlet Letter right now, which I consider a small miracle. My oldest daughter is doing well also.

I keep reminding myself…this is probably not the life for a lot of people, but it surely is for us. As a family it feels really good to be in sync with all of our needs at the same time.

I’ve been in more contact lately with friends and family…I’ve just had more time to realize that I want to contact them or get together. Usually, that would’ve just got pushed behind the duties of life. I’m even thinking that I might do Bible Study Fellowship this year (a ladies bible study done during the day). It’s always been something I’ve heard other ladies doing and wished that I could. I think I might.

This is a really good season in my life. I don’t share this to make you envious if you’re not in a good season. I share this because I’ve been the envious one…for years…and now that I’m here I just can’t help but be grateful. Seasons come and go. I have no idea what the future holds…but this season is rich in everything that matters to me. Time with God, time with my girls, making a home, contact with friends and family, writing, creating, healthy living, frugal living…and probably some other things that I haven’t thought of 🙂

Is this a good season in your life? If not…I can understand. I’ve been there. I know that life all to well. What is one or two things you might be able to do today to head in a direction that might make it a better season for you? I’m talking small stuff. Maybe a change of schedule or of healthy habit, maybe a change of your budget or change in time spent with God, maybe a change of diet or a change of career…maybe a change of where you live or what you drive…who knows, but I believe that small changes do add up to big change over time.

If you are in a good season…I celebrate with you. Share your gratitude…the world will be richer for it.

New way of doing a yard sale…


I’m so weary of dealing with stuff in my house. I’m on the tail end of clearing my basement and I mean clearing it! It’s been exhausting, gross at times and very physical, as in I haven’t ‘exercised’ lately…but holy cow I’m sore.

Right now our front porch is jammed with stuff to sell tomorrow or get rid of in any manner possible.

Nothing is highly precious really. A lot of small stuff, especially art stuff for kids. Lots of holiday stuff, just cutting back on my decorations. A person can only do so much and still enjoy it. And various other odds and ends.

I’m not pricing a single blessed thing. I know a lot of people make the time and effort to do so, but by the time I get all of it set up in my front yard that’s enough work for me. I feel good if I actually get it wiped down and looking somewhat presentable. Instead…honestly, I’m just going to tell people to make a donation of what they think it’s worth, and trust that people will contribute what they can and leave it at that. I don’t feel like bartering…I’m not in the mood. By this point in the game it all just looks like junk to me anyway so it’s hard for me to really barter in any kind of real way. It’s not junk…we’ve already thrown away the junk but that’s just how it feels.

Lauren and I had a lovely time today trying to get an air hockey table out of our basement. It didn’t fit. Does that surprise you? It did me, after we hauled it up our stairs. So I proceeded to try and figure out how to take the legs off to get it out, broke a board and now I have an air hockey table top that works great…if you’re sitting on the floor. Yes that treasure can be yours for a small donation!

I have a ton of school supplies. I cannot believe how many notebooks, folders, pencil containers, etc. we have going in our sale. That’s what happens when every year you get a school supply list and go to the store…you end up with 12 pairs of scissors, crayons, colored pencils (which honestly, they never even use), pens, etc. ridiculous.

On a side note. I can’t believe how much cheaper it is to buy school supplies for homeschooling. Incredible, all you really need is a couple of notebooks and a couple of pencils, maybe a few notecards, maybe a folder or two and wala, you’re good to go!

I’m so close to just putting the stuff in my front yard and just putting a big free sign and walking away from it all. The crazy thing is I know every single item would disappear. People would take it even if they had no use for it. So that it can go in their basement I guess.

Tomorrow’s sale will be a success regardless of the $$ we bring in, as long as the stuff is gone.

It’s like my house is on a biggest loser diet these days. Everything must go. Eventually, I hope that translates to some actual weight loss for me too 🙂