Decluttering Projects

My dad spent summer afternoons working in my basement.  I’d bring him a snack with a glass of water, and he would shake his head and say, “Where’d you get all this sh*t?”  Still, he methodically broke down boxes, put the kids’ outgrown clothes in bins, and made things neat again.

When he died eight years ago, my world fell apart.  Yes, there was the deep sorrow of losing my beloved father…but now what?  Who would keep my junk in order?

My husband’s early attempts at throwing stuff out always played out like a scene from that show “Hoarders.”  I would start fidgeting then eventually screaming, “Don’t touch my stuff!”

I’ve found some useful sites that have kept me afloat.  By following the simple routines and missions of the Flylady, I was able to invite company to the house again.   I dabbled in Feng Shui, but it seemed too hokey and I never really knew if I charted the areas of my house right.

Last summer, the family did a “10 x 5 project,”  courtesy of the Happy Family Movement blog.  We gathered 10 things (per person) for 5 days and then donated or tossed the stuff we collected.   A painless project with great results.

I am currently trying this “40 Bags in 40 Days” project for Lent.   In theory, I work in one specific area each day and get rid of one bag of stuff per day for 40 days.  I started off strong–making a list of the 40 areas that I would cover, tying up stacks of saved Travel & Leisure and O magazines, throwing out old travel pamphlets from scrapbooks never started, and bagging outgrown clothes and shoes.  To be honest, I haven’t been working every day, but I’m trying.

I think my dad would be proud of the progress I’m making.

So tell me, how do you manage the clutter in your house?  What blogs or sites do you follow?  Help motivate me with your ideas.


Not found

NOT FOUND – It looks like nothing was found at this location. Maybe try a search?

That’s the error message I’ve been getting all morning.

Do I call my computer genius big brother to quickly bail me out?  I read somewhere that’s like asking a dentist friend to quickly give me a root canal.  My writer/director friend, Patrick, once posted on fb that he hated it when people asked him to quickly “read their scripts.”

So what now?  Do I deactivate this blog and call it a day?  Go finish the laundry?  Walk the dog?  Empty the dishwasher?  Find my pile of almost-due bills?  Cook dinner? These are all the things I’ve neglected today, while trying to solve this problem.

Did I check the FAQs on the WordPress sites?  Of course.  They lose me as soon as they start talking about FTPs and Permalinks and deleting and re-installing plugins.  Huh?

So bear with me as I figure this out…or help me come up with a way to sweet talk my brother…OR if by some blogging magic you see a “Tell me something good” box at the end of this post, then please tell me how to fix this thing!

**UPDATE:  Since I only had 6 posts written, I just decided to cut and paste them to new posts and magically, they’re fixed.  I don’t know how or why…but I found all the posts.  Yay Me!

My Workouts

I’d like to get healthy.

Surely I can’t finish this last half of my 40s in worse shape than I entered.   Can I still be carrying “baby” weight when my baby is almost 13?

I am motivated by my friend, Glenda, who is consistently training for these “mud runs” and “warrior dashes.”  But something about running through fire then climbing a wall scares me.

I think I was in shape once.  I ran a 10K and reached my goal to NOT come in last.   As I ran through the streets of Rockville Centre, praying to God that I not pass out, I vowed that would be my last race.  So what can I do to get some exercise?

I must make some real changes…and buying new bras that say, “Eliminates Back Fat” is not the way to go.

Any suggestions?  Please tell me, how do you stay in shape?


Spring starts tomorrow, but my car was covered in frost this morning.  It’s been a nasty winter.

I’d like to start a compost bin.  I’ve found so many “easy” ideas on Pinterest.  I wonder if it’s something I can actually do.

Will there be bugs…ewwww..or worse – rats?  Can I find a spot that in the yard where the sprinklers don’t hit?  Will Bojangles be able to leave it alone?

This is the summer that I’m going to try.  I’m not going to let fear or negative thoughts stop me.

Now if only I can learn how to use a drill…

Does anyone have a working compost bin?  How easy is this really?

**Here is the site for the easy composting project:

Let me know how it goes!

(Lack of) Time to read

I’d like to read more…let me rephrase that…I’d like to read something other than my Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest newsfeeds.  I can’t seem to finish a book…and my latest excuse is that my eyes get so tired.

So I’d like to write about some fabulous books that I am going to read…or maybe I’ll realize that I just can’t read as much as I used to.

I’m currently reading Amy Tan’s “The Hundred Secret Senses.”  I’m loving the dialogue and detail.

Have you ready any good books lately?  Where do you find time to read?  How do you fit reading into your schedule?


I’ve spent almost 16 years filling my house with stuff — gifts, the kids’ artwork, clothes on sale, gadgets, paperwork, appliance manuals, books, and junk.

I’ve tried Feng Shui, the FlyLady, and monthly donations to Big Brothers/Big Sisters…and yet the stuff always seems to come back.

Recently, I’ve subscribed to a few “Minimalist” blogs.  The theory is that the less stuff we have, the less stuff we are responsible for and, therefore, can live freer, happier lives.

Anyway, I’m going to see how much of the house — specifically the basement and garage — I can empty out.

Have you heard of minimalism?  How do you apply it to your lives?  Have you recently cleared space in your house?  Inspire us with your success stories.

For a much more detailed explanation, go here:

Where to?

I love to travel.  I wish we had done it more when the kids were younger because now travel competes with school, sports, music, etc.  In two years, Jackson will be going to college and then it’ll really be a challenge to make it happen.

So I am making a conscious effort this year to travel as a family.

The next trip I’m planning is a roadtrip to Louisville, KY, so Bojangles can meet his Aunt Joanie and Uncle Jimmy– planned stops include Pittsburgh, PA (home of the Steelers); Terre Haute, IN (Del’s old stomping grounds); Chicago, IL (to visit my niece Emily at DePaul University); and Cleveland, OH (not really sure why).  We’re saving money by using up some of Del’s Hilton Honors points and crashing at my brother’s house.   I’m looking forward to crossing some states off of Elena’s Bucket List.

I would love to know how others juggle family schedules with travel plans.  Have you recently planned a family trip?  Do you have any tips for traveling with a dog?  Please share with me.


This is Bojangles, my two-year-old Havanese.

Bojangles just turned 2 in this photo.
Bojangles just turned 2 in this photo.

Since he is my first dog, I tried to read all I could about raising a puppy.  Ian Dunbar,, suggested that a puppy needed to meet at least 100 people before it turned 12 weeks.  I fell short.

First,  Bojangles had Giardia when we got him and I didn’t want him to infect other dogs.  Next, I didn’t have 100 friends to introduce to him.  I think we got as close as 87 by the time he was 16 weeks.

Luckily, I found a wonderful, pawsitive and force-free trainer — Helen Del Bove of Smarty Paws.  After a few private training sessions, Bojangles learned to love his crate,  walk with a leash, and calmly sit by the front window.  Last Spring, he earned a certificate in “Basic Manners”.  This Spring, he is registered for puppy playgroup and an agility class.

If you’re in the NY area and interested in a positive dog trainer, I highly recommend Helen.  Here is her website:

Bojangles is still sort of shy and anti-social (sorta like his mama).  But we’re working on it.

Follow him on Instagram at

Do you have a shy dog?   Please share with us some ideas on how you got your dog to be less shy.