Treasure Lost and Found

Treasure Lost and Found

Sometimes we lose a treasured item. Sometimes the lost item is found in a relatively short period of time. Then there are those items that suddenly show up after a long, long, time.

I’m talking years here. And the sad part is, the item usually is found in a place we never would have looked for it.

This happened to me not too long ago. It made me realize that when we have so much stuff that is stored and rarely, if ever used, we create some crazy hiding places for things. These are not logical places to put the items.  Therefore they are lost until we look in that particular place, usually while looking for something else. And how many years will that take?

A Little Background Info

What I lost, or misplaced as it happen to be, was one place setting of red handled silverware. A fork, knife, and spoon. It’s not something of monetary value but the sentimental value is priceless.

Growing up we kept a Kosher home. That was the Jewish laws of not eating meat and dairy products at the same meal. We also kept separate sets of dishes for this purpose. During Passover we had two entirely different sets of dishes, silverware, etc. for the full week of the holiday. That’s where the red handled silverware comes in.

After my father passed away, my mother stopped keeping the separate dishes for Passover. She had already stopped keeping Kosher a few years before that.  She asked my sisters and me if we wanted any of the Passover dishes or cookware before she got rid of it. I took one place setting each of the silverware and green dishes. Every year I would bring them out at Passover to eat my fried matzo. This was my special moment that transported me back to a time where the holiday food and family had so many happy memories.

Treasure Lost

I kept this tradition up until two years ago. That’s when the silverware went missing. I looked all over for that fork, knife, and spoon. Every kitchen drawer and cabinet was searched, twice and sometimes three times. All the boxes in the storage room were searched, especially the ones I store holiday dishes and decorations in. I even looked in the Halloween box!

Not a sign of them.

The first year they went missing I looked everywhere I could think of. The second year they were missing I looked in all the same places again plus a few other places. Still no sign of them. Anytime I looked for something in a box, drawer, or closet throughout the year, the red handled silverware set was on my mind. I didn’t give up hope but reality told me that most likely they were accidentally thrown away or given away in a box for charity.

New Decluttering Mindset

In January of 2018 I decided to start downsizing all my belongings. My husband planned to retire in about a year from that date. Our plans were to move to the West coast to be closer to a beach and one of our sons. We knew it would be a much smaller home so I had a lot to get rid of.

I swore I would not have another garage sale but last summer my next door neighbor said she was planning one for mid September. I guess I couldn’t resist! A garage sale is a good tool to help let go of things especially if you think you can get some money for them.

With the upcoming sale I went through my house with a little urgency and a new attitude. If something wasn’t used in the past year (or longer) it was time to let it go!

In my basement storage room were some pots and cookware that hadn’t been used in years. Some were from my mother’s house when we sold it after she moved to a nursing home.  I had every intention of using these items but never did. They just don’t fit my style of cooking anymore.

My mother passed away four years ago. It was time to cut the emotional ties to these unused items.

Treasure Found

So I started pulling pots and pans off the shelves to get them ready for the garage sale. I promised myself that any unsold items would go to Goodwill that same weekend.

On the top shelf of the storage room was a brown ceramic bean pot. At least that is what I call it. I can’t remember when I last used it.

So I got on the step stool to pull the pot off the shelf. It was grimy with caked on dirt. I knew I hadn’t use the pot for several years and that was the proof. When I pulled it down I heard something rattle inside. I was totally surprised when I lifted the lid to see what was making that noise.

There was the long lost place setting of red handled silverware!

I have no memory of putting them in there. So obviously my brain was not thinking logically at the time I put the silverware inside the bean pot.

The silverware now has a permanent spot in my kitchen drawer. Why wait for Passover to go down memory lane. I make fried matzo year round. I will enjoy eating it with the red handled silverware on the green glass plate as it transports me to those happy childhood memories. Now that is a real treasure!

Lesson Learned

Every day life gives us lessons to learn if we only pay attention. What I learned was when I don’t put something away where it belongs it might end up in a place that makes no logical sense.

Another lesson I learned is to not store items away for so long that I don’t even know what I have. I need to go through all stored items periodically. Of course, if I have less to begin with it won’t be such a big job to do on a regular basis.

What treasures have you lost then found in unexpected places? Let me know your stories in the comment section.

To a lighter load along the way.

Janice

Posted in Decluttering, Downsizing, Gratitude, Kitchen Clutter, Simplicity | 2 Comments

8 Quotes to Find Gratitude and Perspective

In light of another mass shooting this pass week, it seems like it’s time for a gratitude check-up.  At times like these I find quotes help provide some comfort and perspective for me. Below are a few that I’ve put on some of my own photos. I hope you enjoy them.

 

 

 

 

To a lighter load along the way.

Janice

Posted in Gratitude, Quotes, Simplicity | Leave a comment

5 Simple Tools To Cut Clutter

I’m always looking for simple ways to cut clutter from my home. It doesn’t come naturally for me. Even routines and habits don’t seem to stick if I’m not constantly focusing on them.

So over the years I’ve come up with tools and systems that help me stay on top of the clutter so it doesn’t get a chance to build up too much. When you use these 5 simple tools as part of your decluttering system, they help change your mindset about letting go of things.

  1. Donation Box
  2. Re-sell it Box
  3. Recycling Box
  4. Curbside Recycling Box(s)
  5. Trash Container

These five boxes, containers, and/or designated shelf space (as described below) have helped me keep most of the rooms in my home fairly clutter free. When I decide I don’t need an item anymore I put it in one of the five boxes/containers. If I didn’t have a designated place to put the item I would probably just put it back where it was “for now” and deal with it “later”.  I’m sure you know how that turns out!

Below I describe each tool in more detail.

1. Donation Box 

There should be at least one donation box in your home.  This box is for items in usable condition such as clothes, small household or personal items, and kitchen items that can be donated to a charity. You may have one box in your closet for clothes and another box in a storage room or garage for the household items.

The benefit of always having a donation box is it eliminates the excuse of what to do with the items before you have the chance to take them to a charity.

This box does not have to be an ugly cardboard one sitting in your closet.  You can buy a cute laundry hamper or basket.  That make’s it more fun to use.  A cute donation box/hamper can even be part of the laundry room, bathroom, or bedroom decor.

When the donation box becomes full or if you are running errands near the charity you donate to, all you need to do is empty the items into a bag or cardboard box and take it to the drop off location.

2. Re-sell it Box (optional)

This is where you’ll put all the items you plan on selling at a garage sale, Ebay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. If you’re planning a garage sale you obviously will need more than one box. The same if you sell a lot of items on the online sales markets.

If you’re not sure if you want to have a garage sale or not, check out this article. It can help you decide if it’s worth it. “Do You Really Want To Have A Garage Sale?” 

If you plan to sell items online you also need a storage area. This area needs to be treated like a business if you plan on selling items on a regular basis. You’ll need a place to store supplies for packing and shipping. This is where you’ll want some shelf space in a closet, bookshelf, or storage room that is easy to access when an item is sold.

If you plan to sell locally you can keep the items in a box or basic storage place until they are placed for sale, sold, and delivered or picked-up.

3.  Recycling Box

We all know that recycling is important for the future of our planet. You probably know there are a lot of items that can and should be recycled but curbside recycling (see number 4. below) doesn’t pick up many of those items.  So what do you do with them. That’s where this box comes in. It’s for all those other recyclables that require special places to recycle.  These include items such as:

  • Broken and/or old electronics such as computers, printers, TV’s.
  • Old cables, cords, surge protectors, etc.
  • CFL and florescent bulbs.
  • Rechargeable batteries, and tools with them built in.
  • Old worn out athletic shoes.
  • Old worn out clothes and other textiles.

When you replace some of these things don’t just shove the old one into a closet “for now”. Put it in the desinated recycling box.

To make this box work you’ll first have to do a little research to find out where these items can be recycled.  Once you’ve found out what company/store will take what item, create a list.  Whenever you run errands check to see if you can drop off a few items from this box.

Here is a list of some stores that recycle some of the above items.  Be sure to call your local store to find out what they may accept. Also ask if there is a fee for any of the items.

  • Best Buy (electronics, old cables, cords, CD’s, software, etc.)
  • Lowes (CFL and florescent bulbs, plastic pots from garden plants,)
  • Home Depot (CFL and florescent bulbs, plastic pots from garden plants)
  • Batteries Plus (rechargeable batteries, tools with batteries built in, CFL and florescent bulbs)

Also check out your local city or county for recycling events during the year.

4. Curbside Recycling Box 

If you have curbside recycling be sure to check out what they accept.  Mine is a single stream recycling program so I can put all kinds of plastic, cardboard boxes, papers, and magazines.  I have a trash can in the kitchen to catch these kinds of items. When it’s full I dump it into the curbside bin.  I also keep a small container under my desk to throw all the papers that are for recycling. That way they are contained. When it’s trash day I empty this container into the curbside bin.

Like I said above, I try to eliminate any excuses I may have to just put those papers in a pile on the desk or leave the plastic containers by the sink.

If you don’t have curbside recycling that doesn’t mean you can’t recycle these items. You will have to do a little research to find out where these items can be dropped off. You may want to purchase stacking recycling bins so you can keep it organized. When you run errands plan to drop off the different items.

5. Trash Container.

The trash container doesn’t need a lot of explanation. Whatever can’t be donated, sold, or recycled in some way goes in the trash.

 

You may want to set up all five or only a few of the boxes/containers above. If you don’t plan on having a garage sale or sell items online you don’t need that box. All your usable items will go in the donation box.

If you don’t have curbside recycling find out where and what you can recycle at local drop off centers/bins. Do the best you can but don’t use it as an excuse to store those kinds of items indefinitely. Your home is not a garage dump. If you can’t recycle, donate, or sell something then just put it in the trash container.

To a lighter load along the road.

Janice

Posted in Clutter, Decluttering, Garage sales, Organizing, Planning | Leave a comment

How to Let Go of Things That Hurt Us.

We all have things that hurt us. I’m not talking physical hurt, but emotional hurt. Especially the ones caused by items we surround ourselves with.

You know what I’m talking about. It’s those items that bring up bad memories each time we look at them. They may remind you of hateful words said by the person who gave you the item. Or remind you of an embarrassing event you’d rather forget. Continue reading

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Why is Decluttering So Hard?

Every year I come up with the same resolution. I want to declutter my home and simplify my life. I’ve had some successes over the years plus some failures – at least with that resolution. Continue reading

Posted in Clutter | 2 Comments

Decluttering With Mind Games

 

Mind Games – we all play them.  We use them to help motivate ourselves to take action on something.

But do they really work? And what works better, positive or negative mind games?

Negative or Positive – You Decide

Think about it for a minute. Continue reading

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Can One Word Make A Difference?

Can changing one word make a difference in how motivated we are to take action?

In the field of organizing and decluttering we read different words to describe what we need to do to make our lives better. Although all these words have similar meanings each person has their favorites.  Some words are used more in the home setting. Others tend to be used more in the business setting.

Simplifying, Minimalizing, Decluttering, Organizing, Consolidating. Continue reading

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New Traditions Can Relieve Holiday Stress

December is one of the most hectic, crazy, and hopefully fun months of the year.  It’s a month filled with activities, many based on traditions.

  • Shopping for gifts.
  • Special meals and other treats such as cookies, candy, etc.
  • Putting up all the decorations to create that festive mood in your home.
  • Sending out greeting cards to everyone you know.
  • And don’t forget all the parties you feel obligated to attend at your work place, schools, friend’s parties, and family gatherings.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or both there are a lot of preparations for the holidays. Continue reading

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Lessons Learned From An Open House

IMG_1045

A couple of weeks ago a house in my neighborhood went up for sale. It had an open house that day so I checked it out.  There are some lessons we can learn from going through an open house. Since most homes that are up for sale are decluttered, at least temporally, it can be inspirational to see how a clean, simplified home can look.

I’m also curious what other people have done when remodeling and decorating their homes. It’s especially helpful when the house is similar to mine. Continue reading

Posted in Clutter, Decluttering, Simplicity | Leave a comment

Why I Haven’t Been Blogging

Butterfly

Over the last couple of years I haven’t been blogging on a regular basis. I didn’t know what to write about anymore. I began to doubt that my words were being read by anyone much less helping anyone on their decluttering journey.

When those kind of doubts enter your head it’s hard to be creative.  It’s like being a butterfly looking for nectar but there aren’t any flowers blooming. Continue reading

Posted in Clutter, Gratitude, Organizing, Simplicity | 2 Comments