March 14, 2010

How Old is Old?

I was searching through the (cluttered) mass of plastic bags of frozen food in our refrigerator freezer today, in hopes of finding some ground turkey for dinner tonight. I knew it was in there, I just couldn’t find it within easy reach. Digging further (I had my special freezer gloves on for that), to my surprise and embarrassment (there goes that word again), I did find the ground turkey, but it was dried up and funny colored in bags marked 8-30-08 and 6-09. Wonderful…

So, remembering my friend FlyLady and the advice of SHE, I attempted at least one hour of decluttering (of all things) my refrigerator. It took way less than an hour. And how old is old? I think I won the prize for this one. I found a juice can marked 4-02-04. No kidding! And it was in the front!

Friends, my pantry is next. In it is a mix of boxed food, pasta packages, bottles of this and that, Tupperware and miscellaneous plastic containers and lids. I’m sure it will take me not one hour or two but the entire day to clean, declutter and rearrange. And I’m going to do it! Maybe one shelf at a time. God help me…

Love ya all,


(not MaryLynn, no more alias, I’m coming out of the ‘clutter closet’ – ha!)

February 21, 2010

Some Progress, Some Setbacks

The week following the post about cleaning up my house, I did manage to actually clean off half my kitchen table, even though I wasn't feeling well at all. On the table was an old, large tuner and an even larger, old turntable that we removed from our old entertainment center so that it could be hauled out by the Salvation Army. Our new TV furniture holds less equipment, so those pieces had to go. They sat on our table for over a month. We ate on trays or on the other half of the table. I was sick of it. Like I said before, our garage is full, so I knew I would have to create an area to place those pieces and guess what, I actually did find a space they would fit in perfectly! Will wonders ever cease...? !

I felt such a sense of accomplishment that I started cleaning out a drawer and a cupboard and filled up a couple bags and boxes. My next projects were already brewing in my head and I was making mental to-do lists while hunting for more boxes and bags to fill up. I was on a mission!

Then, last Wednesday, my husband had to be admitted to the hospital and it has been crazy ever since, with me driving back and forth and nothing getting done at home. You see, my husband, who has kidney failure from diabetes, is on dialysis and contracted an infection from the procedure. He's still in the hospital, but finally getting better. One evening I was too uptight to sleep after coming home from the hospital, so watched a TV show called, "Hoarders" that my daughter had recorded. Although the people featured were extreme cases, I recognized and empathized with the feelings of the people that hoarded stuff and lived with clutter and messes.

So I had an idea. While my hubby is in the hospital, I want to attack the corner of the livingroom where he lives in his easy chair, and keeps his blankets, pillows and other stuff. He doesn't walk much due to neuropathy in his legs and feet, so he spends his days watching TV, using his laptop, reading, talking on the phone, or just sleeping. He keeps his cane, walker and booster pillow for his legs within reach. He also has a stash of sugarless candy and gum in an old box on the table, magazines, old mail and other papers scattered all over. That corner of the room looks more like a hospital room, so it is a challenge to keep it looking nice and clean.

I pray God grants me the energy and know-how to make that corner look nice, while also being helpful to my hubby. I need strength because I'm so wiped out emotionally and physically from driving and being at the hospital so much. But I would like it to surprise him when he comes home to find it neat, tidy and organized for him.

Mary Lynn xo

February 5, 2010

Declutter or Bust

They say confession is good for the soul. So, today, after tripping over my grandchild's toys and losing my slippers in the mess on the floor, I took pictures of the inside of my house. BEFORE pictures. Cuz I'm going to clean and purge the guts out of this place & I want you all to see the difference when I'm done. This place is downright depressing and overwhelming. This could take me 6 months, but I hope it will take less once I get the hang of it. (Where's Oprah when I need her?) My house is small and we have a lot of stuff. The garage has two paths, one to the washer & dryer, the other to the freezer. So, guess what. There's no room left to put anything from the house. Time for a couple of garage sales for sure. And the pictures don't even include the messes in our bedrooms. Yikes, the closets alone...

My daughter watched a TV show the other day about hoarders and ended up crying because it was about US. I'm not a hoarder so much as I am unable to decide what to do with something or where it should go. If I don't want it, do I just throw it away, sell it or give it away? That means I'll have to make a decision, which is hard too because I'm very indecisive about many things. Here is a sampling of my 'before' house. Whew... it's hot in here. Oh wait, that's my face turning red from embarrassment:

I'm thinking about using a card system that my sister uses. Or doing the systematic approach, working my way around the room. The only problem is where to put stuff once I throw it in a box to be taken out. I'll probably have to pick a wall & just start piling boxes there as if we're moving. Which could be just around the corner anyway considering I still haven't found a job and we'll have to sell. But that's another story.

Wish me luck! Pray! I really need it. Send suggestions, advice, comments. And if any of you out there have done the 'before and after' decluttering in your home, let me know how you did it. I'll keep you all posted on my progress.

MaryLynn xo

January 23, 2010

Use Your Spoon!

I must have said it 25 times, "Use your spoon!" I was getting exasperated. My adorable granddaughter, who will be 2 in a few weeks, likes to scoop her cereal and milk out of the bowl with her hand instead of her spoon. She will also use her spoon and does a pretty good job, but constantly uses her hands to assist with using the spoon, interchangeably. Then it dawned on my pea brain that for months we had taught her to use her little fingers to pick up food. I remember how delighted we all were when she was able to pick up food using two fingers instead of her hand in a fist, and place food gingerly and expertly in her mouth. What a triumph and we would all clap and praise her for it. Now, instead of praise, she gets my demanding "Use a spoon!" response. Doesn't seem fair, does it? And she must be a little confused. Where's all the praise for using her hands, even with liquid now? Hmm...

Just like a child, you and I are constantly being pushed to go another step in our maturity, our thinking, our doing of this life. At first we think it may be unfair, or not doable, or we just are too lazy to be stretched and matured. But it all makes sense, doesn't it?

A new driver starts learning behind the wheel with an instructor maybe in a parking lot or side street where they won't be in the way of other drivers. But that new driver will never learn how to make a safe left hand turn if he doesn't get into the intersection - of life. It takes experience and a willingness to grow smarter and stronger.

Thoughts for my day... Marylynn xo

January 17, 2010


I have two brothers. HA is single, in his 50’s, intelligent, funny and creative. His big, 6’2”frame is, however, carrying close to 350 lbs. This weight is causing problems such as back pain, fatigue, no energy, a constant worry to him. He is an alcoholic and drinks beer, which keeps the weight on and his stomach huge. I feel for him, because for most of his life, he was the smallest kid of all four of us, and always thin until the past 10 yrs. or so. But the beer….

He recently emailed me that he went 14 days without a beer, went on a strict diet and lost over 20 lbs! I was humbled and surprised by his comment, ‘Imagine what I would have lost trapped under rubble.’ So the beer money is going to Haiti. I’m very proud of him! And I admire his thoughtful perspective.

My mother, 90, lives in assisted living and has dementia, which she refers to as a total annoyance and disruption in her life. She knows she is forgetful and gets confused about many things, but it is not 24/7, so much of the time she can take care of herself and some of the small, simple details of her life. Lately, however, she is having a harder time just getting up in the mornings. Once she is up, had her coffee and toast, she is good to go the rest of the day. The hard part is deciding if she needs someone to come in early in the mornings to help her get going. That could be expensive, plus, Mom is against it, as she is still a bit stubborn about her privacy and lifestyle.

So my older brother, JC, who takes good care of Mom’s bills and bank accounts, suggested that he pay me (from Mom’s account) to give her the extra attention she needs more often now. I was struck by the thought that while I am unemployed and really need an income, I just wouldn’t feel as loving or caring if I was going over to Mom’s to care for her for the money. Should I pay myself to do what I would otherwise do out of a love for her? I also have to consider my hubby, who is disabled and unable to drive. I do many other things for him on a daily basis. I have to plan times to go to my Mom’s when I don’t have to do stuff for hubby. It is usually last minute, but I’m trying more and more to show up to help her regularly. I never thought about being paid for what I do for her. I am suddenly in a quandary.

I will seek God’s wisdom concerning this and make a decision this week. Everyone, take care, love God, be considerate and flexible.

Love, MaryLynn :)