Archive for the ‘treasures’ Tag

Attic Treasure Hunting

The value of any treasure discovered is always dependent on the quality, uniqueness, and scarcity of the particular items. Attics have always been the source of great treasure hunts for years, as well as the source of great agony.

For families who have to clear out and dispose of their valued treasures, it is difficult. Time and patience is a valuable commodity when sorting and clearing attic treasures. Care and concern should be given with all items as there may be items that have both monetary and sentimental value, or NOT. If you are fortunate enough to find one or two pieces in that category, then you need to decide what to do with them. Even finding a piece or two with sentimental value only – something you had long forgotten about it — will be a wonderful discovery.

Once the Treasure Hunt is complete and the “stuff” has been categorized what happens now?  For the items you have decided to keep, it depends on the situation you and the family are in; you might be moving so will these items move to new location or will you be taking them to your home? Or you may be staying for a while longer so that will require repacking and labeling the contents of the carton or bin. Be sure to put a date on the bin so you know how long ago you last viewed the contents. Put these repacked and organized containers neatly in a designated space for future access.

Now, you need to take away the items designated as trash, donation, give to family, or sell.

  • Move the trash, if possible, directly out to the curb, a dumpster or at least to the garage to wait for trash day.
  • If you have not already scheduled a donation pick up; do it now.   Move the donation items down to the garage clearly marking them as donations – not to be mistaken for trash.   Resist the temptation of second guessing your decisions.
  • Items marked ‘give to family’, bring them down to an area that can be designated staging area; put all items in here clearly marked with the designated family member’s name. Make a call and schedule a time for      things to be picked up. You may need to make several calls, and then  finally say; “If you don’t come by Sunday, I will be putting them in the trash on Monday.”
  • Put all items for sale in one spot (either leave them in the attic or garage marked sale items). Then determine what type of sale to have.  Arrange for  an appraisal, if necessary. Set a date, even if it is weeks or months away, it will help motivate you to complete the project.

For items that you truly feel have monetary value but you don’t know what it is, I recommend strongly that you pay for an appraisal from a qualified independent appraiser, who knows furniture or artwork. By having an appraisal of the pieces in question, you will be able to make an educated and informed decision on what you want to do with the pieces in question. You won’t walk into a store someday and see your piece (or something very similar) for sale for hundreds of dollars and you sold it for $5 at a moving sale!

Patience, persistence, and many helping hands are the basic elements needed to complete this project. It could take days, weeks, or even months, depending on the level of all available elements at any point in time.

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I Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

I would like to start a movement where ice cream becomes a daily food requirement.  Okay, it could be frozen yogurt, lactose free ice cream, sorbet, sherbet, or any other form of frozen delight yoImageu can find.

My sister told me today, Sunday July 15th 2012 is designated National Ice Cream Day.   I plan on celebrating later today.  I will take a leisurely drive to our favorite ice cream stand.  This ice cream stand set on a corner of a working dairy farm.   There are cows, yes cows, still in the pasture and the children can walk up to the fence and see a real live cow up close and personal.   That includes all the flies, odors, and country ambiance you can take.   It also lets the kids really know where their milk and other dairy products come from originally, not the local grocery store.

It is fun to;

  • go for a simple short Sunday drive on a beautiful summer afternoon
  • stop for an ice cream cone
  • see that there are still live cows and working farms
  • know that ice cream has its own special day.

Thank goodness we don’t have to wait for a special day to have ice cream, and there are still ice cream stands in the country where children and adults alike can actually see real live cows!

What’s On Your Bucket List?

Saturday evening and I am home writing this blog!   What’s that tell you about my social life or life in general.   Actually, my life in a small town is not all that bad.   This evening, our regular group of ladies adjourned to the local pub after the 4 o’clock mass.   We do this most every Saturday evening, but we do vary our destinations among a few favorite hot spots in town.

Tonight’s conversation was about items we have on our bucket list, which I always find fascinating.  It always amazes me that some people don’t have that much on their list, while others would need to live two lifetimes to finish their list.   Pondering this topic I have added 4 new items to my bucket list, why? –I want to!

I added:

  • Take the summer off and drive cross country – stopping when and where I want until I do and see everything I want.    No planned itinerary just meander the back roads of America.
  • I want to go up to Canada and France to do some in depth, hands on research into my families ancestry on my Father’s side; and then to England and Ireland to do the same thing on my Mother’s side of the family.   I can only do just so much on the computer, I really need to get up close and personal to really understand the stories we were never told.
  • I want to write a book and have it published.  It would be my legacy to tell the world that I lived and I don’t want to be forgotten.   It will be my leave behind for the next generations to read and learn about their long forgotten ancestor.  I know when I find snippets of information on an unknown ancestor I find it fascinating.  So I hope that they will also.
  • I want to learn a foreign language that I never did when I was in school.  I think it would be French.  To be able to read and speak French when traveling would be helpful.

Of course, I still have plenty on the list that I am working on but these additions only add some incentive to keep on eliminating and enjoying the bucket list adventures.   Also, there is no bucket list police to say you have to do them in a particular order!   So relax, I am, and enjoy your bucket list items; the large ones and the small ones.   I think I deserve a Hot Fudge Sundae for writing my blog!

Preparing to Downsize When it Triple HHH Outside

Summer is here and so are the triple HHH’s — Hot, Hazy and Humid, and you are in the middle of preparing to downsize, declutter, and move.   You need to keep moving along with this project so when your home is sold you are on target to finish everything and move without going into total panic and melt down mode.   So what can you do and not become too hot and sticky?

Okay, crank the A/C and put on the ceiling fan in your bedroom.   Pull up a comfortable chair, and pull out and empty a dresser drawer onto your bed.    All you need for supplies are;

  • Trash bags,
  • Dust cloth, and
  • Various size baggies.

One drawer at a time, sort through all the items in the drawer.   Throw out everything that you don’t need or have not used in past 6 months.  Especially the old cosmetics that have been opened and starting to dry out, as well as the gardenia scented talcum powder, and the bobby pins.   For the smaller items that you want and need to keep, use the baggies for the cuff links, the costume jewelry, and other smaller easy to misplace items.  As you empty the drawer, take your dust cloth and clean the drawer.  If you have tissue paper and want to, reline the drawer.  Then you can put back the items you plan on keeping.

If you do this for 60-90 minutes at a time, you will probably be able to cleanout and organize 2 drawers a day.   It’s a great way to sort through all the ‘unmentionables’ that are worn out and should be tossed. However, you keep on wearing them just because!   Only keep the good items that you will use and toss the others.   Donate only good serviceable items, it’s  not a donation if the charity spends money to throw them away.

Again this is a job that you can do in the heat of the summer, sitting comfortably on a chair, and never really become hot and sticky.   Take advantage of this time, and don’t lose your momentum.   Turn the hot, hazy, and humid days of summer to your advantage!

It Is A Mirage – A Clean Garage!

Okay, this month is the time to make a confession. If you think that my house is neat as a pin, with nothing out of place you are wrong! Don’t get me wrong I am organized and stuff like that, but I live to enjoy my home and, like everyone else who provides a service for other people; I am tired when I get home so my house is the last to get any attention. This goes for all parts of the home, especially the Garage.

Garages are suppose to be for your car, or if you are from Massachusetts ‘cah’! Personally my ‘cah’ has never been in the garage. It is always ‘pahked’ in the ‘yahd’ (or driveway), because there isn’t enough room in the garage. There is always enough room for other things, like shelving units, storage boxes, bikes, tools, my work supplies, and anything else you can think of BUT not the ‘cah’.

So this month we need to concentrate on the garage. It should be a fairly simple and quick process now that the weather is warm and you can leave the door (or doors) open.  If you really look around, there really are not a lot of useless or unneeded items.  The real problem is that we don’t put the items back where they belong. When we finish with the item we put it in an empty space, and there is stays, that space becomes its home. Slowly, but swiftly, these items start to encroach into the next available space and then everything just looks so cluttered and unwieldy it becomes too much trouble to spend the little extra time to make things right.

Now let’s get started! Put the ‘cah’ on the street (out of the driveway), and pull everything out of the garage and put it out in the driveway or the ‘yahd’. Don’t forget to gather all the help you can for this project, because it can become tiresome and hard work as the day progresses. It should only take a few hours with help.

Once all the ‘stuff’ is out of the garage take the broom and give the garage (floor, walls and ceiling) a good sweep. You will be amazed at the amount of dirt and dust you will pick up. You may want to sprinkle a little water (not too much or you will have mud) to hold down the dust. When you finish sweeping, let the dust settle for a bit, and start sorting through the ‘stuff’ out in the ‘yahd’.

Trash whatever can be trashed. All those grocery bags and other plastic bags that you have accumulated, consolidate partial packages of items, put like items together. Decide whether or not you need to install wall hooks or purchase another shelving unit.

Remember the goal is to clean the floor so you have room for your ‘cah’.  With a plan in mind and the dust settled, it is time to start putting things back where they belong. Tools are in the tool box, the bikes are in a rack or hung on wall hooks, and the trash barrels are off to the side but convenient to the door. Everything is in place now step back and take a picture!  Remember how it looks, this is what you want all the time.

Now ‘pahk’ the ‘cah’ in the garage. There is plenty of room now!   You can actually open the door without knocking or hitting anything.  What a nice, satisfying experience and just think it didn’t take forever to accomplish.  Congratulations, you have a ‘wicked p**a’ clean garage that any Boston ‘cah’ is proud to ‘pahk’ in.  Now it is time for a Dunk!

Decluttering and Downsizing a Kitchen!

Kitchens are a very special place for many people.   They could be your domain, refuge, and gathering spot.  Or it may be just a necessary evil that you need, but do not enjoy.   However you feel about or use your kitchen, it might be either the first or the very last space in your home to declutter and downsize.  One reason for this is there are so many nooks and crannies to store, put, and hide things.

Oh, those nooks and crannies are wonderful until you try and find something.   How many times have you tried to find something, couldn’t find it, and purchased a new one?   Only to find the one you knew you had but it was shoved in the back of the drawer (or cabinet), hidden under a pile of other important items.  This month let’s just tackle kitchen drawers, how bad can that be?

The process will be the same or similar for all drawers, so just pick a drawer.    In my kitchen we only have four drawers, 2 for utensils and 2 for junk!   A Christmas presents started us to work on organizing one utensil drawer, however, once we got going one drawer lead to two; and we felt so good about the progress we ended up doing all four drawers.

Our Christmas present was a beautiful wooden drawer organizer, which adjusts to the width of the drawer you happen to be concentrating on.   We started with the cooking utensil drawer by;

  • Removing all the contents
  • Cleaning the drawer (wash and dry thoroughly)
  • While waiting for drawer to dry, go through the items in the drawer;
  • Throw out any broken items
  • Separate duplicates
  • Insert drawer organizer and adjust size to drawer.
  • Return items to drawer in the appropriate size space.
  • Segregate one of a kind items in their own space

Do not return duplicate items, unless they are different sizes of an item like spatulas or such.  Duplicate items that you do not need, can be donated or given to someone, but don’t hang on to them.

Like I said doing one drawer, was just the start of the project.  All the other drawers were the same basic process, but the junk drawers took a bit longer.   Junk drawers require looking through papers and things, so it is definitely something we put off as long as possible.

Once you put back all the items in there appropriate compartments and toss or give the rest away stand back and admire the great job you did and how beautiful they look.

Shoe Fetish or Just a Love Affair

It always amazes me when I am downsizing and decluttering closets how many shoes people have. Not just women, but men too! People seem to have a real issue throwing away or even donating, unused and older shoes.

Scattered on closet floors, hanging over doors in bags, and the real serious shoe people have them methodically stored in plastic boxes labeled by color and style.  If they get really carried away, or leaning toward obsessive compulsive behavior they will even make a note to what outfit and handbag it goes with!  Makes you want to ask; Is it a shoe fetish or just a love affair with shoes?

I freely admit that I love shoes!  Shoe shopping is really the only shopping I truly love.  There is something about the new shoe smell (something like a new care smell), trying on new shoes, and visualizing what outfit you will wear with them.  This is why I love to buy new shoes, BUT my question is; Why is it so difficult to part with shoes once they no longer meet our needs?

I have pondered this question for a while now.  I think there are a few possibilities why we procrastinate.  We cannot part with them because;

  1. I still liked them,
  2. They are still comfortable (unlike other pieces of clothing) and still look reasonably good.
  3. They make me feel good, beautiful, or whatever.
  4. I still like the style and have not been able to find another pair in that color or heel height.
  5. They just do not make shoes like these anymore.
  6.  I have an odd shoe size and they are hard to find.
  7. They are classic, never go out of style, and go with everything!

These are my excuses, I am sure you some of them or have your own perfectly valid and rational reasons for hanging on to shoes for longer than reasonably necessary.

So what are shoe lovers to do, when shoes tumble out of your closet, or worse yet you need a whole closet for only your shoes?   It is difficult, but tough decisions must be made.

  1. Separate shoes that you wear regularly and put them to one side.
  2. Take the shoes that you wear with particular outfits (some shoes in #1 may overlap),
  • Ask the question – How often have I worn these shoes and outfit in the past 12 months?  If the answer is zero to 2, seriously consider donating the shoes and the outfit.
  • Then take a look at the shoes that you cannot remember when you last wore them and toss or donate them.

Separate the regularly worn shoes from the ‘special’ shoes in your closet, then when you buy a new pair evaluate whether to retire a pair from either collection, and DO IT!

Just like Neil Sedaka’s song says, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,  when you have this love affair with shoes it is really hard.   However, I know we will all find another pair of ratty, old sneakers or comfortable boots to fill the void in our heart.

Time To Put Them Away!

Time to put you away!

I am so glad that this weekend I was able to pull my flip-flops out for one last time this year!

I love wearing my flip-flops and I wore them every place I could all summer – even to church.   I know people were looking at me as if I had no other shoes.  I do!  I love shoes and have a whole closet full of shoes, but there is something about these flip-flops that I love.
I believe that it is the freedom I feel when I am wearing my flip-flops.   They give me freedom to feel good about who I am and what I am all about.   I love to feel free to love, laugh and enjoy my life.
Even though I am putting the flip-flops for the winter, only means that the weather is turning too cold to continue to wear them.  I am not packing away the feeling of freedom.   Even though my feet are stuffed into shoes and boots all winter, my heart is free to love, laugh, and enjoy my life every day with out restrictions.
So until next spring, goodbye flip-flops enjoy wintering in my closet.  I will think of you often, just know I love how I feel when you are on my feet.

No Fireplace To Hang Our Christmas Stockings!

Even though we lived in a wonderful old home, we had no fireplace.   This was a problem only at Christmas, because you need to hang your stocking on the fireplace mantle!   Well Dad and my Aunt Alice fixed this problem! They made a fireplace with a mantel, painted it brick red with white lines (the lines were not quite straight or in the proper spot but no one mentioned that!) it looked as “real” as possible.   They even painted logs and flames to further the illusion.  Christmas cards and evergreens decorated the mantle, and there were hooks for everyone’s Christmas stocking; 4 children, Mom and Dad, Grandma, and Aunt Alice.  The stockings were filled with small trinkets, toys and games but that was beside the point, it was all about the fireplace and the stockings and less about the small gifts – IT WAS FUN!   

 Around the holidays as we get older, we often look back and remember the way things were when we grew up.  We keep wishing that all those happy times could be relived.   I have said this before, we should honor the past traditions, create new ones, and bringing back the ones that have fallen by the wayside.   I am doing it, this year we are bringing back the Christmas Stockings! 

Even though I am now down to four people in our immediate family and we are all adults, we picked a name and we are filling a Christmas stocking for the chosen person.   There are new stockings, although I still have the old and tattered ones from years ago, and the stockings this year will be hung on the mantel of our wonderfully convenient gas fireplace that will be turned on as we sit around and open our stockings after breakfast on Christmas morning!

Family Traditions!

I grew up in a very Irish/American household. Holidays were very important events for my family!  Even if there was no holiday in a particular month, my family found a way to celebrate something!

I have the only family that I know of, who celebrated a 4th of July by going to the beach for a picnic with our friends and instead of having hot dogs we had corned beef and cabbage!  It was fun, different, and everyone around us kept coming by asking what we were cooking!

When it came to the more traditional family holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, again the bigger the celebration the better but they were a little more traditional than our 4th of July celebration.   Family and friends gathering in love and friendship made these occasions memorable.  Food was the primary ingredients to a successful Thanksgiving, or any holiday!

Cooking took days!  I remember coming home from school to find my Mom and Grandma making cranberry/orange relish.  With a hand cranked grinder attached to the kitchen table, they would grind the cranberries and oranges together and add enough sugar to make it sweet but still tart enough to make your lips pucker!  It took hours taking turns working the grinder!  Now you can go to the store and buy a jar of this relish all prepared, but it may be too sweet.

Mom would make the pies; Grandma would make cookies and cakes.  This was done a day or so ahead so the oven was available on Thanksgiving for the honored guest of the day — Mr. Turkey!   We always had two different kinds of stuffing, too many veggies, and all the other specialty goodies of the season.   No one left our home on Thanksgiving, or any other day for that matter, hungry!

Sadly, Grandma and Mom are no longer with us, but the memories live on.  The tradition of preparing and cooking for days are also just fond memories.  Families move on, and life styles change.  We still have too much food and no one leaves hungry or without a take home bag, we just do things a little differently.

We don’t have every root veggie known to man, cooking 5 lbs of mashed potatoes is taboo! There is only one stuffing (TG for package stuffing mix), and the turkey has a pop-up to tell us it is done.  Now everyone is in the kitchen helping and cooking. There is no such thing as too many cooks on Thanksgiving!  We experiment with different recipes, reminisce about past Thanksgivings, laugh at our cooking disasters (soupy, lemon meringue pie), and sometimes we have a good cry remembering past times.

So if you have your family traditions continue to enjoy and pass them along to your children and grandchildren.  If it is time for your family to create new traditions do so with joy and happiness.  It will help the family grow, stay vibrant and happy.  Let your imaginations go wild, and think of some fun new activities and events that everyone will enjoy for many years to come.  You may also want recreate some old traditions that you may remember from your past, but have not shared them recently, give them a new twist.  They may become the new, but really old, tradition!

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