Bring out yer dead…..

Okay, not quite our dead but we are in the midst of a great purge of unessential extras.  A family of five can rack up a lot of extra “stuff” in a very short period of time.  My son can actually accumulate a roomful of items in a matter of minutes.  It’s a gift.  And not a good one.

Purging the worldly goods is cleansing for both house and soul.  For ourselves it is easier to function, work, and create when the clutter is no longer taking up both time and attention.  For our home, it is easier to upkeep when there are not mountains of things to move in order to clean, repair, and maintain.

This year we are doubling our purging efforts due to the combined annual spring cleaning coupled with an upcoming move.  The more we get rid of, the less I have to pack and carry.   It’s simple mathematics really.   Cleaning – accumulated riff raff * stuff + charity =  happy + me

This year we asked ourselves a new clean out question.  How many ways are there to get rid of your stuff while still maintaining sanity and being ecofriendly?  Turns out quite a few.

GARAGE SALE:  Well this one was first for us and I can now tell you it is a great way to meet people, get rid of stuff, make some money, and hang with the neighbors all at one time.   We partnered with a couple of neighbors and held the sale between two driveways.  Garage salers are early birds so we held our sale from 8 to noon and we still had a few people show up by 7:45.  Yes, in the morning.  It’s a lifestyle choice.

Apparently “multi-family sale” is a hot ticket on the garage sale circuit so if you can join forces I highly recommend this approach.  This is recycling at it’s best.  Our sold items are now “new to you” items for our customers and we get to know that things like the baby stroller and toddler toys are going to receive more love.

If you want to make a party of it, along with bringing in some extra coin, I would recommend having the kids set up a coffee/lemonade/muffin stand to address your customers potential snack needs.  And definitely a pitcher of mimosa for you and the neighbors.

DONATION CENTERS:     Super ecofriendly and charitable way to rotate goods.  There are oodles of organizations that would love to take your unwanted items off your hands.   Our extra clothes, toys, household items, and furniture made their way to the Salvation Army via the back of my truck but if you don’t have the means to get your stuff up and out many places will come and get it for you.   Make sure that the things you are donating are in fair to excellent condition.  Some things really do need to go in the garbage.

Along with feeling good about giving our items to a good cause comes the added bonus of a tax write off.   If you donate don’t forget to get a receipt!   Here is a quick tip-of-the-iceberg list of places you can contact to donate your own household items:

  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of America
  • American Legion
  • Local churches and religious organizations.

You can do an online search or check the phonebook (yes, some people still use them) for local branches and other non-profit organizations.   FYI – you can also donate cars, boats, and even houses if you are in a really big purge mode!

FREE:  We had a couple of big items that we didn’t want to keep, didn’t want to pack, and didn’t want to donate.   Right…..so what did we do with them?  We opted for a “if you can move it you can have it” approach with friends and neighbors.   Everyone wins and we can still “visit” our stuff.

RECYCLE CENTER:  Some items have been used to death, literally, so we had no choice but to throw them out.   Instead of tossing them in the trash can we separated by plastic, paper, etc. for disposal at the local recycling center.  Less waste for everyone. Plus who knows?  Maybe in the not too distant future we will be driving a car made from my old planters.

SWAP PARTY:  While we didn’t go this route it is definitely something I want to try in the future.   Get a group of friends and their stuff together and everyone can switch out their old items for “new” toys, clothes, and gadgets.   When we try this it will be a potluck and swap.   Hmmmm, maybe a nice way to get some new serving dishes….

So, now we have cleared our stuff to let creativity flow and floor space appear.  Take a look around your own place and see what’s needed and what’s holding back your happy.  Then find a fun, easy way to get it out of your home!

p.s. – If you don’t recognize the quote from the post heading you need to download Monty Python’s Holy Grail immediately.  Your life has been missing something. Go.  Do it.  Now.

Links and bonds

Below is a “reblog” from the DailyOM.  Madisyn Taylor wrote this great piece about making connections within your community and as a gypsy soul with lots of experience in landing in new neighborhoods I can attest to the truth in her article.   Her words can be applied to any community we belong too – clubs, writing groups, business groups, – really anyplace that people come together.   Step outside of your comfort zone and reach out to those who surround you.  Create those bonds that nourish the need we all have to connect.

Links that Last: Creating Community            

 by Madisyn Taylor
               

  “Creating community is an important part of receiving the support we all need to navigate through life.”


“Since the modern Western lifestyle can isolate us from one another, it is often difficult to forge meaningful connections. Self-protection and mistrust prevent us from reaching out to neighbors and peers, and we consequently feel like we don’t truly belong anywhere. Yet creating community can be as simple as reaching out within our own neighborhoods. To form the bonds that eventually solidify into long-lasting friendships, we must first be willing to rise above the walls of suspicion and doubt dividing us from the individuals who inhabit our neighborhood, block, or our building. We are taught from childhood to fear those we do not know, but community is as much a part of survival as safety. When we take a proactive approach, we can harmoniously unite our neighbors and build a network of support that contributes to the well-being of all involved.
Your overtures of community needn’t be complicated. If you are new to your neighborhood, sending letters of introduction to your closest neighbors can ensure that their curiosity about you is partly satisfied. Consider telling them a bit about yourself and how you plan to positively contribute to your locale, even if it is something as straightforward as planting attractive flowers in your window boxes. Or if others have recently moved in nearby, schedule some time to welcome them to the area. By doing so, you can calm any misgivings they have while demonstrating that your neighborhood is a nice place to live. It is much easier to meet people while outdoors, so try to take frequent strolls or sit on your stoop or porch if you have one. Say hello to people who pass by, and you will likely get to know your neighbors speedily. And one of the easiest ways to build a sense of community is to organize neighborhood projects and events that bring people together in service or in fun! .
Even if you have little in common with your neighbors, your proximity to one another can offer a wonderful opportunity to pursue new friendships and working relationships. You may not see eye to eye on matters of spirituality, politics, or lifestyle issues, but each of you understands that community helps people feel connected. As you grow to know and then to like one another, the city or town where you reside will truly become your home.

Oh the things we will find….

Sun dappled water rippled in the pond.  Lilting laughter drifted over grassy fields while city dwellers took in the warmth, perched comfortably on blanket islands spread across the green slopes.  Camera in hand, a wandering we went…….

The purple puffs of Dr. Seuss dreams.

Can you hear Horton hearing a Who?

Long hop to nowhere….

Fish out of water.

In the little moments

Sometimes life can roar.  The noise of work, play, friends, family, and all the nitty-gritty in between can become so loud that the artist in us must step back and wait for the hubbub to subside.   Lurking behind the frenzy, soaking up all of the interactions, observing and learning.

Finally comes the quiet.  Those precious moments when there is nothing but the expression of art pouring out into the silence to fill the space with something new, something that has been growing behind the noise.

Often we find so much more than our creativeness during the in between times.   We find ourselves.  There is a peace and centering that comes with being hushed and finally hearing the thoughts that only speak to us in a whisper.

Take a moment today to find the quiet, to hear your inner artist, and to hear yourself.

Something Wicked has moved on…

This is the briefest of posts today because I will only be saying this:

Farewell Ray Bradbury, an incredible man whose mind took us, the readers, to the most amazing places.  Heaven’s gain is truly our loss.

Photo from the LATimes (6/6/12)   Below is a link to their article today.

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-ray-bradbury-20120607,0,5622415.story

Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you, thank you , thank you to Roberta Gordon, author of  “Gemini Witching: Elements 101“.   It is flattering beyond words when a fellow writer finds one’s work worthy of awarding recognition.   One of the great joys of blogging is the vast network of amazing creatives who inspire, encourage, and share the journey that is our craft.  I feel lucky to have found Roberta on this same path.  One click on Roberta’s name above and you will be magically transported to her realm for a visit with this debut author.

The rules of this round of recognitions are as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them.   Check.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself                                                    Check.
  3. Nominate 15 (or so) other bloggers you admire.                        Check.

Here are a few things about me:

  1. I have more notebooks than any one person should ever own.
  2. No matter where I move (and I move a lot), I end up with AWESOME neighbors.  It’s some sort of phenomenon for which I am very grateful.
  3. I cannot be part of a writing critique group because I will never stop editing my own first chapters.
  4. I am usually barefoot or in flip flops.
  5. I like the smell of mesquite.
  6. I throw a great party.
  7. When I’m outlining a story I only write with a black pen or a REALLY sharp pencil.  That’s right, I’m talking take an eye out sharp.

Part three of the blog award asks that I nominate some fellow bloggers that I admire.  It’s hard to pare it down to a handful as there are so many incredible bloggers and I am finding more each day.  To be honest, many days it is a struggle not to get lost in reading all of the other blogs instead of working on my own projects.   My read list is growing faster than Santa’s naughty vs. nice checklist.

Some of these bloggers are fellow writers, photographers, business bloggers, and cartoonists. A few are those brave souls who “diary blog”,  putting their innermost thoughts and dreams out there into the blogosphere.   All are great people who share some part of themselves with the rest of us.

And now for (a sampling of) the blogs that I admire:

I pay tribute to the following as each maintaining One Lovely Blog   

 Vanessa Grassi

Brian Gaynor Photography

The Blonde Coyote

Maze a Day

Lea and Jay**  I’ve road tested some of their recipes – OMG.  You…must…go….there….and….cook!!!!!!

The Laughing House Wife

40 is the new 30

MoonWynd Studio

BA Expat

Kerry Stanley

Kathy’s Thoughts

Moths to a flame

The 4am Writer

PhotoBotos