Just needed a little imagination

My January purge has continued into February.  Every time I get rid of something I find I want to get rid of more.   Last night I sat up late going through music, today I had a use for some of the fabric scraps.  Here’s where I am now.

Two years ago, I bought 4 CD boxes from Ikea (2/$4.98).  At the time all 4 were filled with something.   My DVD collection has dwindled to just a handful leaving its box less than half full.  With an index card to separate them I added my CD collection to the box.

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This change cost me $4 in paper sleeves (I know I bought paper).  As a result this is what I have to get rid of.

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Two folders and a stack of movies, work out DVDs I am unable to use, and some music.  In deciding what to keep from my music collection I played each CD I hadn’t listened to in a while.  Rather I should say I tried.  A few of them were so not me that I couldn’t even get through a single track on the disc, one such was Tusk by Fleetwood Mac. This has to have been their worst album ever. I was left with just over 80 CDs which may sound like a lot, but I love music and used to have a much larger collection.  I also remind myself that music replaces a television.  With music I am not a zombie staring at a screen, but find myself motivated to do something.

As for storage, I stacked two of my Ikea CD storage boxes and set them in the lower opening of the nightstand.

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I know the picture is a little dark, I couldn’t get enough light in this spot.  The stripped box is the one that holds all my sewing supplies (minus the fabric which is slowly disappearing).  Next to the boxes is where I keep unread books. This is such an improvement from a 5 foot by 7 foot bookcase, plus books everywhere else in the house as well and then storage for sewing supplies, movies and music. Total storage space is now 15 inches!

The other two storage boxes have much different uses. One now stores all my Christmas ornaments and fabric wraps I made for gifts. The other box holds tools under my kitchen sink.  Yes, with all the work I do on furniture my necessary tools fit in a small box.

Fabric on the way out

Today, the grand children stopped by with new library books they wanted to share with me.  My grand-daughter brought a Barbie I can be book with her. This one was about being a Pastry Chef.  She began talking about how she likes cooking and especially making desserts because “desserts are my favorite”.  The conversation continued with her telling me she couldn’t be a pastry chef because she didn’t have the coat.

A light bulb went off, a coat is beyond my abilities but an apron would be easy.  I pulled out a remnant piece of fabric, and found some bias tape.  Using her body as my guide I cut the fabric, then because I was lazy I simply sewed the bias tape over the raw edges rather than hemming and a little while later I was able to make her day.  A note here, brother wasn’t about to be left out I had to  make a similar apron for him with leftover red fabric and more bias tape, unfortunately he fell asleep before his was finished so I have no picture to share.

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Can you see the missing cushions? They were the basis of her garden at that moment.

While no cooking or baking took place today the apron stayed on.  When mom came to pick her up winter clothes were put back on under and over the apron.  I hear she was finally convinced to take it off for bed. :-)

Children enjoy the simplest of things.  Toys are rarely played with here, the loveseat cushions become a wall around a “house”, a bed, a maze or like tonight with added blankets they can become a garden filled with all the things they love to eat.  We snacked on pretend sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes and finally the sweetest apples ever grown.

The longer I live here the more I realize I could cut my space in half and still be content. What about you, do you find your home feeling too large,or possibly too small for your current needs?

52 thoughts on “Just needed a little imagination

    • Glad to have been of some help. They were so easy, and quick and the kids love them so much I’m thinking about making more to see if I can sell them. My scrap pile is dwindling and there is nothing large enough to be able to make another one, so I guess that means a trip to the fabric store.

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  1. The longer I live here the more I realize I could cut my space in half and still be content. What an interesting thought. I can tell you that my current living space of 2200 square feet is way to big for me and my husband but right now we have my son and daughter-in-law living with us so the space is used well for 4 people. But when they are gone, I am sure the space will be once again too big. I think about 1000 square feet would give me and my husband the space we need to co-exsist comfortably. If it was just me – less would work as well.

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    • I hope you get to enjoy having your son and daughter-in-law with you for now. Are you considering moving to a smaller home when it becomes just you and your husband again? It’s strange but for me I had much more attachment to the home I grew up in than any home I lived in as an adult. I’m not sure how I would have felt if my childhood home had been sold and new one bought. As it was my grandparents (who raised me) had done their downsizing when I was 4, so it was their smaller home I became attached to.

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  2. I too find that just when I think I am done, there is always something more to get rid of. Like you I almost experiment with how little I can get by on and still be happy. I continue to get rid of more and more and more and am beginning to realize that once you are unattached to things, it is very easy. I think I could live in a very small space with very few things and probably be the happiest I have ever been! We are a family of three and live in 700 sqft. which to us honestly feels too big. We spend all of our time in one room together painting, drawing, learning, playing games, and cooking or outside. We are thinking that our next move will be into a small one bedroom apartment or maybe something more creative like a small open loft. The apron is adorable by the way :)

    MarieG LifeSimplyBalanced.com

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    • Thanks Marie, I love hearing about families that can share a small space happily. My boys were content with the small house they grew up in too. I found a home with a larger kitchen/living room and smaller bedrooms since I felt we only needed those to sleep in and I never regretted that decision. While homeschooling my boys our kitchen table which was supposed to be a work bench was perfect. I added tongue and groove wood around the sides to hide the storage and did a decorative painting job to the top. Science experiments and the like werre stored underneath, but puzzles usually stayed where they were and were covered with a table cloth when it was time to eat. I love the idea of an open loft and have always wanted one myself.

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  3. For me, purging is an ongoing process because stuff just seems to sneak in. :-) We found an iPod on Freecycle that works just great … the screen is cracked so it’s hard to see everything but other than that it works well. For my birthday, my hubz got me a docking station … a gizmo which allows us to charge the ipod as well as listen to it (without earphones). This long story does have a point … stick with me … lol! I had a bazillion CDs in a box. We love music but digging through them got to be a hassle … and, in my “remove stuff” campaign, I decided that I just didn’t want the box there. So I’ve been uploading my CDs to iTunes and subsequently to the iPod. It’s great because I can shuffle the songs and get a great variety. And the best part … the CDs are finding their way to other homes (it’s amazing how much space a box takes up).

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    • I have been considering an MP3 player, cheaper than an iPod. My eldest son has one and loves it. While I would like to digitize all of it on the computer I don’t want a computer running all day using so much electricity just to play music, which is why I still use a clock radio/CD player combo when I want to listen to music. When I get rid of movies or music they always get passed on, never tossed in the trash. It is great to know our things will live on!

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  4. I did a mini CD purge a while back, selling some on Amazon. I have a feeling that making myself listen to each CD I have, though, would lead to quite a bit more purging. Unfortunately, my CD collection is back home in Connecticut, so I can’t do that now, but it’s going on the list!

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    • I only listened to Cds I hadn’t listened to in a while, listening to all of them would have taken more than a few hours of my time. Funny thing was looking at the titles of everything I had it was the movies which were pulled out to donate. A few were favorites and have been watched quite a bit, loaned out to many people and are still very good movies, but I no longer find myself wanting to zone away the hours with a movie.

      As for your collection, out of sight would work for me :-) It would give me time to purge what I had around me first making the entire job feel smaller.

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  5. You have nudge me yet again into my thought of I need to de-clutter .. I said to myself last week I was going to start and yet its still waiting in the wings.. but It will be done with the onset of Spring! when it arrives lol..

    In the meantime I seem to have caught your sewing bug… Sewing used to be my ‘Thing’ for almost 30 yrs .. another story.. But with the cold weather and winds we have had recently here along with the snow.. It uncovered one or two drafts under our doors in our home..
    So on Monday I set about creating two draft excluder’s, and took an old pair of brown fabric trousers that were destined for the recycle charity bag,.. I made two cute little sausage dogs with ears and tail and button eyes and round button noses..
    Much to the delight of my two yr old granddaughter who I look after on a Tuesday… We named them Bill and Ben.. and she played half the day with them… :-) today Bill and Ben are doing their job and guarding the door from drafts!

    Loved what you have done with your CD’s and Books… Imagination is all it takes… :-) as our children and Grandchildren will always remind us in their imaginary worlds of creation!..

    Thank you so much for this share…….. Sue

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    • Thanks Sue, I need to tackle the door draft project myself. While my exterior door is well insulated this year I feel a major draft coming from the hallway door. I never gave this much thought as the hallway is a heated space, but this winter is colder than last and the drafts which enter the hallway from the various exterior entrances are causing a great deal of cold to enter. I didn’t think I had enough fabric to make one at this time, but you just reminded me that I have my son’s old work pants. He had wore out the inner thighs beyond my ability to repair them any longer. Rather than toss them out I added them to the scrap pile. At least some of it will now have a purpose!

      Sewing was never my thing, but I did teach myself to mend things and make simple curtains when I became a single mother. Since then I have been asked to hem and repair all sorts of clothing items and make several sets of curtains for family. Not sure where they got the idea I could actually sew, but each project makes me just a little bit better.

      I love that you named your creations and let your grand-daughter play with them. I love watching the imagination of a young child who isn’t self conscious yet to fully enjoy the gift of playing, dancing etc with complete abandon.

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  6. Recently, I checked a Fleetwood Mac album out of the library because I remembered how much I liked them. While listening to it, I turned to my husband and said that they weren’t very good, were they? All of their songs sounded the same.
    I guess my tastes have changed.

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    • I had bought the Tusk CD for the title song. I thought it was so different and unique using a marching band. But listening to it again the other night I couldn’t enjoy it. The marching band was good, but the song was so lame, as if there were no thought given to the lyrics. Some bands stand the test of time, they don’t in my opinion.

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    • I don’t envy you, I hate paper clutter. I don’t buy paper as a general rule, yet it seems to grow on it’s own. Paper is the one thing I have to tackle on a regular basis or it will drive me nuts. Good luck with your mountain today.

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  7. Love the apron and how happy it made your granddaughter – you are fostering great creativity in your children
    As for me, I want some big spaces that are not full to the brim like my house – I kick things a lot and have perpetual broken toes (lol)

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    • I had to laugh at your broken toes, I know it’s not funny, but the bones I’ve broken more than any other are my toes because I go everywhere barefooted. I’m sorry you too have to deal with broken toes, they are the worst! My grand-daughter does have a very creative streak in her. I have a small shelf I no longer need after my January purge and had secretly talked to her mother about prettying it up for her. We decided to use the theme of the Princess and the Frog, one of her favorites. She never heard us discuss it yet one day walked in here and studied the shelf, turned to me and informed me I could make it really pretty with green paint and pictures of Tiana and Naveen. Exactly what I planned to do! One day I’m going to make her a full-fledged partner-in-crime. :-)

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  8. I can’t believe that under the nightstand now holds things for so many functions! I am also chipping away at “stuff” and paring down gradually. Had you thought of uploading your CDs to iTunes and playing them on your computer, or do you have a good stereo that you prefer?

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    • I have considered digitizing all my music and movies, but I keep putting it off because I know I want to switch to a laptop soon and don’t want to have to deal with the hassles of having even more stuff to copy over to the new computer. One day soon hopefully. For now I have a clock radio with a CD player on it that works well. I don’t like to see a lot of electronic stuff around, I want my home to feel like a vacation home/getaway so the radio sits on the window sill unplugged,hidden by a curtain when not in use.

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      • Sorry for butting in Lois, but just a little suggestion for digitising music. I always worried about the thought of moving all my music to a new computer should I get one. I found my solution! Online storage. Save your music to something like Dropbox as well as your computer and you can just download it again onto a new computer. I do it with iTunes and it gives me great peace of mind since I have about 2000 songs. Makes my life so much easier, and then I don’t need to find space to store my physical cds. Problem solved! For me at least :)

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        • Eimear, you didn’t butt in! I love the ideas I get from my readers and that is a great idea. I was going to ask my youngest son (the computer geek) what he uses as he informed me all his photos and music is protected from loss, you saved me the trouble.

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          • Oh yay I love helping out! Another idea I just had (and don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner!) is if you had an external harddrive or usb key. You could put all your music onto your computer, save a copy of everything on the key or drive, and then with a new computer, it’s only a matter of saving a copy of that copy to the new computer! I make it sound more complicated than it is, I promise. :)

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  9. I have great intentions to do a big throw-out, but I just chip away, mostly donating clothing. I try to give these items to friends who would get some wear out of it first, then it goes in the charity bag.

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    • I did my great purge two years ago. I was depressed and lonely being too far out from town for guests I spent months working each day on some new spot. Today, it’s a more manageable task and I tackle the spots that begin to bug me. As for clothes, any thing still worth wearing gets donated, but I tend to wear my clothes until they begin to fall apart, then they become painting clothes and rags. At least I never have to buy paper towels:-)

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  10. Not too small for us but I just wish I had a room just for me, that could be my studio, that I could arrange the way I want it. At the moment I paint and sew on the dining table and sometimes spread out further too until the rest of the family gets justifiably annoyed and I pack it all up!

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    • I can’t believe you can be so creative without a dedicated work space. I am truly impressed. Luckily for me I live alone because I like to spread things out and work on my bed no that I can no longer get up/down from the floor which was my favorite place to sit most of my life.

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