The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Well my sweet friends, life is beginning to get back to normal here at the farmhouse in the woods. We’re 2 weeks into summer vacation and I think the kids and I are finally feeling rested up from the madness that is our school year. The pace is slowed down and we’ve moved on from watching cartoons in our jammies all day to pursuing summertime hobbies. As usual, Angus is out tinkering on the John Deere or the Jeep and Petunia has spent her time painting rocks, reading and earning vacation money. Good times.

But the reason this is my favorite time of the year is my spring garden. It’s looking amazing! I have no idea how large it is; maybe 50’X100′ give or take but it is packed full of beautiful plants! Care for a look?

The Brussels sprouts look amazing this year! No bugs, no bunnies nibbling at them, and a thick layer of grass clippings is keeping the weeds to a bare minimum.

These are my week-old Cherokee Greasy beans. These are an Appalachian-region variety that my Papaw always talked about and I was fortunate enough to seed stock for.  It’s an unfortunate name for a delicious bean!

Beautiful, beautiful collard greens just waiting to be cooked down with a chunk of smoked pork.  Collard greens freeze and can well and the big sturdy leaves make great low carb “tortillas” for lunch wraps.

Love freebies from the compost bin!!  I have no idea what kind of tomato this will grow into, but we’ll find out in about 6 weeks!

I wish I could say this is the last flat of herbs and veggies for the year…but that’s unlikely!

 

This year, we’re experimenting with spaghetti squash and from the looks of it, they’re doing well.  They’re covered in blossoms and nary a squash bug to be seen!

Later this week, I’ll be posting about non-toxic options for deterring bugs, bunnies and Bambi who like to gnaw your green beans right down to the ground.  But I’m not bitter!  Also, I’ll have an update for you on our beekeeping endeavors as we anticipate 2 nucs arriving any moment now!  Till then, my friends!

The Post With No Catchy Title But Very Important Nonetheless

Ladies and gentlemen, I couldn’t think up a catchy title or fun intro for this post, so I’m just going to jump right in.

We were burglarized this week.  Middle of the day, broad daylight in a “safe” area.  The rotten so-and-so kicked in our back door, stole property and was gone in 5 minutes, according to the Sheriff.  Praises to God that our pets are safe, most of what was stolen is easily replaceable and the kids and I didn’t walk in on him when we came home.

What I want to share with you is a link to an inexpensive safe the knuckle-dragging animal couldn’t get into.  Our biometric safe took a beating, but worked as intended!  This safe is small enough to keep in a closet, cabinet or large drawer, but roomy enough to hold vital papers, jewelry, small weapons, cameras, cash or electronics.  The best part, in my opinion, is the biometric lock that is programmable with up to 32 fingerprints.  In a pinch, when your heart is racing and your adrenaline is pumping, you won’t have to try to remember codes; you simply scan your finger and the safe gives you access.  Of course there’s also a traditional keyed and PIN entry, but a fingerprint entry is the berries.

 The hardest part of this whole thing is that our sense of security has been shattered.  Some big, hairy sub-human violated the sanctity of our home and that’s a hard thing to move past.  Thank God that unease isn’t being compounded with worry over stolen IDs, Social Security information, passports, shot records or precious heirlooms that are truly irreplaceable.

I have no answers “why” people do the things they do.  He may have been hopped up drugs, he may have owed a debt, maybe his mama didn’t hug him enough or he’s just plain evil.  Who knows?  Unfortunately bad things happen to hard-working people everyday and it’s just a fact of life.  What I ask of you is that you attempt to look at your home the way a wicked person would and do what you can to protect your family and possessions.

As of this date (5-25-18), this safe is on sale for under $100 with free shipping, a small price that may pay dividends many times over in the event of a burglary.

Moving forward—

And So It Begins!

In true Ohio fashion, winter skipped spring entirely and went directly into summer and have we ever been blessed with some amazing weather!! Tonight we were finally able to get started in the garden and I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about it!

Typically we begin planting in late March or early April and have successive plantings of peas, greens, beans, root veggies and brassica right up till the first frost in October, but Mother Nature had something else in mind for us this year, it would seem! So, in an attempt to get the biggest harvest in the shortest amount of time, we had to do some serious reconfiguration.

What can we live without or buy at the local farm market?

What will give us the biggest bang for our buck?

What will provide the most variety and nutrition for our winter diet?

We opted to skip pumpkins and winter squash and use the space for several varieties of short-season beans (green, lima, greasy and black-eyed peas), cut back on tomatoes slightly and plant full rows of collards, kale and Brussel sprouts that will produce abundantly till the first freeze. We also put off the carrot, beet and turnip patches for later in the season as they don’t mind the cool fall weather. Later this week, we’ll plant the sweet taters on the lower end of the garden so they can vine into an unused portion of the property.

What I’m most excited about for this season is that much of what we planted came from our own seed stock. Last year’s green beans, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, okra, greasy beans and runt potatoes were carefully harvested and preserved for this year’s crops. Those one-time seed investments may pay dividends for a generation into the future!

This year, I’m also expanding the herb garden located just off the kitchen door. The mint, sage, chives and oregano are well established and there’s just enough room to add parsley, lemon balm and thyme.

So that’s the scoop here at the old farmhouse. What are your outdoor plans looking like?

Early Spring Update

Hello friends~ How are you???  It’s been forever!  I hope 2018 is treating you well!  I’m not going to lie to you—it’s been a rough season for my little family!  We’ve dealt with horribly bitter cold in our region along with a winter season that just won’t seem to die!  My thyroid tanked due to the extreme weather taxing my system, so I looked and felt more like the walking dead than my normal, loving self LOL.  And to top it all off, my husband was in an accident with a tractor-trailer in March resulting in a totaled vehicle and a wicked case of whiplash……BUT……Things are looking up!  Somehow just seeing the sun shining this morning and listening to the birds chirping and knowing that real springtime temperatures are right around the corner…….it seems that nothing lifts burdens like those blue skies and fresh air.

To get you caught up, here’s what’s going on around the homestead!  In the “Unfortunate Turn Of Events” column, we lost our bees this winter to the crazy cold temps.  Ohio bees just couldn’t survive the extended periods of -15 degrees!  We’re hearing similar stories from several local beekeepers, so if you live in our region, buy your honey now because it’ll very likely be at a premium later this summer.    Likewise, if you love REAL maple syrup, find some quickly because it will likely go sky-high in the Midwest this year.  As I discussed in my post on maple sugaring, you must have fairly exacting conditions for sap to flow and that just didn’t happen in our region!  Consider this your financial/nutritional heads-up for the day!!

But the past few months haven’t been ALL bad.  We were able to tackle a HUGE renovation project this winter.  We had the walls of our old farmhouse foam-insulated in February and wow! what a difference that’s made!  I expected a difference in heat retention and drafts, but I never anticipated the difference in sound.  We live down long drive, surrounded by several hundred acres of farmland, so noise was never a huge issue.  Once in a while, we could hear the dull, low roar of the highway 5 miles away or air traffic headed toward the military base.  Now, it’s nearly silent.  Awesome!  We also took advantage of being trapped inside to replace the old water heater, run some wiring for new ceiling fans and a few other small projects.  My sweet Petunia and I also took up rock painting over the winter….it’s fun to paint and hide them knowing they’ll perk up someone’s day when they’re discovered!

So here’s what’s coming up in the very near future.  Typically, by late April, 1/4-1/3 of the garden has been planted in cold-hardy crops:  onions, greens, peas, potatoes, beets, radishes.  Not so this year!   In the next week or so, assuming no more crazy weather (–would you believe we’ve had record highs, record lows, hail, flooding, tornadoes and snow in the same week!?), I plan on plowing up the west end of the garden and getting a small spring garden planted.  Then I’ll show you how to plant those spring crops and how to get your seedlings started if you haven’t already (it’s not too late).   Also on the agenda, some yummy wild edibles to look for, perhaps some info on gardening by the “signs” and a few of our favorite springtime recipes.

Now that you know what my family has been up to, tell me how did you fare over winter 2018?

 

 

 

Maple Syrup Season!

After some strange, strange winter weather, temperatures have begun to moderate a bit here in the heartland and it appears maple syrup season has arrived! I’m so excited, y’all! It’s been a few years since we put much time and effort into syrup, so that just makes the prospect of fresh, warm maple syrup even more enthralling! Though I try to avoid the sweet stuff, homemade maple syrup tastes amazing, especially on a stack of Scottish oatcakes, swirled into some cocoa or drizzled on a sweet tater. Beyond tasting amazing, it’s a simple way of producing your own, all-natural sweetener with little to no investment and no specialized knowledge required! If you can drill a hole and boil water, you can make your own maple syrup!

Now in late fall, I gave you a complete tutorial on making maple syrup, so consider this post a gentle reminder to watch your weather. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, it’s about that time! Remember you’re watching for stretches of weather with daytime temperatures above 32 degrees and nighttime temperatures that drop into the 20s. Sunny days are an absolute plus, but the sap will flow even if it’s overcast or rainy.

For best results, you should tap your trees on the south/southeast face to take advantage of the sunshine. The quicker the trunk warms, the quicker the sap will run. At least that’s what I’ve been told by those who claim to know! Drill the hole at a slight incline, tap the spile into place and then hang your bucket or attach your dropline. If you have gnarly, multi-trunked monsters like this old maple, you can tap each trunk (with a minimum 12 inch diameter) at least once. If it’s a real giant, you can place a spile at 1 ft. intervals around the tree.

The amount of sap collected each day will vary according to the temperatures and the amount of sunlight, but on a very good day, you can collect a couple gallons of sap per spile. Remember it takes 40-50 gallons of sap to make a gallon of finished syrup, so don’t get impatient. Let the sap flow. As sap is a natural product, it can and will spoil, so keep your collected sap in a cold, dark place or if the weather cooperates, a snow bank is ideal. (If you’re wondering, spoiled sap turns cloudy and sometimes has an off smell or slimy appearance.)

Once you’ve collected a goodly amount of sap, you begin the cooking down process. You HAVE to do this step outdoors because of the amount of moisture you have to evaporate; it WILL steam the wallpaper or border right off your walls! A crockpot in a garage or a propane turkey fryer are both good options, though you have to keep a close eye on the sap as it burns easily. This year, we’re trying something a little different with a homemade-ugly evaporator made out of an old fuel oil tank. Shallow, stainless steel chaffing pans will sit across a ledge on the top of the tank and in theory, we should have a functional evaporator. Many thanks to my darling husband and his wicked awesome welding skills.

I’ll have more pictures for you later this week as we begin the boiling down process. There are a few tricks that I’ve learned along the way that prospective maple sugarers may find helpful! Till then, my sweet, sweet friends!

Seed Starting 101

As we talked about Monday, cold weather gardening season is fast approaching and it’s nearly time to start those semi-hardy seeds indoors.  It’s not a difficult task really; I dove into seed starting when Petunia was a toddler and with few exceptions, have had great success.  I have learned a few lessons the hard way, though, and I want to share them with you to save YOU the frustrations!

My Sweet Petunia, age 3, watering the seedlings!

Necessary Equipment

If you’ve shopped the seed catalogs, you’ll quickly notice that you can spend a boatload of money on equipment before you sprout the first seed….but that is totally unnecessary!  People have been starting seeds for thousands of years without the advantages of elaborate equipment.   It honestly doesn’t take much to start seedlings; at minimum you need a good loamy potting mixture, a container with some sort of drainage and heat/light.  That’s it.  How you go about it is entirely up to you and over the years, I’ve tried some pretty unique ideas to save money on starting seedlings.

  • Containers can be anything that will hold soil and allow the excess water to drain.  Egg cartons work great, provided they’re the foamy variety.  (The cardboard cartons dissolve into mush after a couple of waterings.)   Poke holes in the bottom of each cup and set the egg carton onto a cookie sheet to allow drainage.
  • Warming the soil can be achieved in many different ways.  You can set your sown seeds over a heating vent, on top of the fridge, near a woodstove or, what I found effective, was to sit them on top of the trunklines in the furnace room.  It provided consistent, gentle warmth to help the seeds sprout quickly.   Last year, however, I took the plunge and purchased a grow mat and had great success with it.
  • Light, especially warm light, is crucial.  A shop light with grow bulbs work just fine, as will a south/southwest-facing window.
  • Quality potting mix is a must.  You need a light, loamy mix of peat, compost and perlite to allow the delicate seedlings to sprout.  Don’t go dig up some garden dirt; you’ll end up with rotten, moldy seeds.

Planting Tips

Now that you’ve collected your necessary items, let me share a few tips to help ensure your experience is a success!

  • Be sure to read the seed packaging carefully.  Different seeds have different requirements.  Some need a bit of light to sprout, some prefer to be covered and exclude light.  Familiarize yourself with your varieties before you begin dropping seeds willy-nilly!

  •  Light, loamy potting mix is initially resistant to absorbing water, so fill up your containers with pottin mix and water it well, allowing the soil to become saturated BEFORE you sow your seeds.  If you don’t, you can easily wash out your seed.
  • Plant more seeds than you think you’ll need because life happens.  Occasionally you’ll purchase seed stock with poor germination rates.  Sometimes you forget to water.  Sometimes your children are a little TOO eager and overwater.  I try to plant at least 50% more than I anticipate needing.  You can always find someone to share extra seedlings with!
  • Label each container with popsicle sticks, masking tape or whatever you have laying around!  Don’t trust your memory on this one!

  • Cover your containers to form a “greenhouse” to encourage germination.  A simple piece of plastic wrap can make all the difference!
  • Keep the potting mix slightly damp while you anxiously wait for those first seeds to sprout.  A few spritzes from a spray bottle each day will provide enough moisture initially, especially if you use plastic to create a “greenhouse”.
  • After the seedlings have developed their first set of “true leaves” (see picture!) and have a bit of height and size on them, you can allow the soil to dry out between waterings.  I don’t mean parched and cracked, just dry.  Many species of veggies can’t stand to have their feet wet 24/7, so watch the soil carefully and water accordingly.

  • Thin them out.  This is painful, I know, but for the biggest, most productive plants, you have to thin out the competition.  As the seedlings grow larger and develop 2 sets of true leaves, pull out the smaller, less hardy plants.  Your garden will thank you.

So that’s about the long and short of seed starting.  Remember you need quality potting mix, something to contain the mix and a source of heat/light.  If you can come up with some combination of those 3-4 things, you can easily and successfully start your own seedlings year after year and save a boatload of money!

Have you ever tried starting your own seeds before?

 

5 Tips For Planning Your Cool Season Garden

 

 

I know it’s only mid-January, but I’m already thinking about my garden!  And believe it or not, it’s not too early to begin purchasing seed and starting seedlings for those early, cold weather crops.  Personally, I love cold weather crops.  In our region, you can often begin planting as early as mid-March and have a mature crop by mid-to-late April.  After a long cold winter of canned or store-bought veggies, nothing tastes as amazing as those first harvests of leafy greens or radishes.

Cold season gardening DOES have it’s own set of rules though.  Unlike warm season gardening, when you can plunk any variety of corn or tomato into the ground and get an easy harvest, cold season gardening needs just a little more legwork.

Here are a few steps to get you started on a cold season garden!

  1. Know your zone.  One of your first steps, before you even begin to buy seeds, is to figure out your zone.  There are certain varieties of crops that will thrive anywhere…but you have to know which variety is suited to your particular region!  You can ask around or go to this USDA zone map to establish your zone.  When you shop seed catalogs, you’ll be able to confidently purchase seed that will thrive in your area instead of guessing and hoping!
  2. Know your frost dates.  The frost dates are approximate dates of the first and last killing frosts in your area.  My goal, when I plant cold season crops each year, is to plant a variety that can mature and be pulled up before the spring frost date.  That allows for successive plantings from March through October and an overall larger harvest.  The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a great online calculator to help you determine your frost date.
  3. Know your crops. Root crops and leafy greens are perfect for most any cold weather garden.  Radishes, green onions, loose leaf lettuce, carrots, beets, spinach and broccoli all thrive in the cooler temperatures and some, kale for instance, taste sweeter after a light frost.
  4. Know your planting requirements.  While all the aforementioned crops thrive in cool temperatures, they may have different planting requirements.  Beets, radishes and loose leaf lettuce can be direct-sown straight into the cool, plowed earth and sprout in just days.  Crops such as broccoli, kale and cauliflower need to be started indoors several weeks in advance in order to thrive.    A basic heating mat will give your seedlings the jumpstart they need to move out to the garden in early spring.
  5. Know when to pull them.  This is a hard step for me!  I hate to pull up beautiful thriving plants….but….as the days grow longer and the temperatures warmer, those lovely plants are going to turn bitter and tough quick.  The crop may look gorgeous and healthy, but will lose its flavor and go to seed mighty quickly.  Be ruthless.  Leave a few plants to collect the seed and compost the remnants.

Not sure what to plant?

Here are some great hardy/semi-hardy plants that will survive in cold/cool weather:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Collards
  • English peas
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Mustard greens
  • Parsley
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Turnip
  • Beets
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Endive
  • Irish potatoes
  • Lettuce and gourmet salad greens
  • Radicchio
  • Rutabaga
  • Salsify
  • Swiss chard

If you’ve never planted a cool season garden, let me encourage you to try one.    As a rule, the plants are easy to grow,  weeding is typically minimal, there are few (to no!) bugs and you won’t be out there sweating your heiney off like you will in July and August!  Win!  If you HAVE tried your hand at cool season crops, what are your perennial favorites?

 

 

Creating A Landing Zone

Well, we’re 3 weeks into the new year and while many New Year’s resolutions have already fallen to the wayside, we’re moving forward in our resolve to minimize, declutter and organize the home.   Over Christmas break (and the following 2 weeks of inclement weather), we were able to clear 2 areas that have become real “hot spots” in our house:  an odd-shaped area behind the rear staircase that became a dumping ground and a chair that collected all the lunch totes, coats, gloves, mittens and purses at the end of the day.

I wish I had a “before” picture that shows the odd space behind the stairs, but I was just too embarrassed to show it!  When I say hot mess, I mean HOT MESS.  Tools, boots, baskets, outdoor lawn cushions, empty boxes…anything that didn’t have a permanent home ended up in that space.  It was the first thing you saw when you come in at the end of the day and the last thing in the morning, which was a downer to say the least!  At 30 inches wide and 8 feet long, it was too narrow for a closet, shelves or bench.  It was just 20 sf of wasted space…till last week when we created a much-needed and long overdue landing zone.

We purchased about 12 feet of pine 1X6 and put our Sweet Petunia to work painting it in an antique white to match the wood work.  My darling husband and son mounted the boards at the 6 foot mark and then hung these awesome coat hooks that we found on Amazon.  We really like these because the wide, blunt hooks won’t poke holes or stretch out sweaters or nylon jackets.  Plus they’re crisp and clean looking and made in America.  Win!

After the woodwork and hooks were hung, we used the 30 inch wide rear of the space for a bit of storage.  A slightly-altered wire shoe rack with a waterproof mat underneath catches all the muck from snowy boots and the top shelf allows a spot for lunchboxes and purses.  A hanging basket for keys and one for gloves finished the area.

Nearly finished with the landing zone!!

We’ve still got some work to do before it’s finished, but it’s progress.  I’d like to add some pretty trim at the top of the boards that resemble the surrounding woodwork and possibly hang a few interesting farmhouse items overtop.  Maybe some of the old tools we found in the barn or a handmade sign?

I cannot tell you the difference it’s made at the rear of the house having a landing zone!  No more coats thrown on random furniture.  No more lunchboxes left on the kitchen counter or mucky boots puddling in the floor!  And my very, very favorite part:  no more “MOM!!!  I CAN’T FIND MY GLOVES!” every single morning as we get ready for school!  Be still my heart, that’s the best part!!  In addition to having everything in its spot, reducing the visual clutter in the surrounding rooms has done so much for my mood!  There’s nothing as disheartening as visual clutter in my mind!

If you’re struggling with the same mess we struggled with, there are a million different options on Pinterest for creating a landing zone in any kind of space:  custom built-ins for deep spaces, clever, corner zones using upcycled cabinets,  narrow, child-height zones for backpacks.   There’s an idea for any kind of space once you identify the area and the goal for the area!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know we can’t be the only family who struggles with the everyday stuff!  Tell me how you’ve manage to beat the coat/boot/purse clutter!

 

 

The Necessity of Close Community – Revisited

We had a tragedy in our community last week.  A vibrant, lively 7-year old-died in a shocking accident and our little village is reeling.  Parents aren’t supposed to bury their babies and when it happens, there are simply no words.

This morning, the local elementary held a crisis intervention and the one thing that I took away was the comment that someone has to be in place to “heal the healers”.   The speaker told of the blessing upon our village, that ours is such a tight-knit community there will always be someone there to support those who are  hurting.

But not everyone is blessed in that way.

In November, we talked about the importance of being engaged with your community; of being the familiar face and hands willing to serve in times of need.  This tragedy is a clarion call for me and I once again urge you to get plugged in with your village/township/city.  Life is so short and fragile, and at some point in that life, we’re all going to be beggars desperate for bread.  Be the person who shows the beggar where to find it.  Be the one who “heals the healer”.

Blessings upon you and yours

Andrea

 

 

Don’t Organize. Minimalize.

 

 

 

Right now, I know you’re being inundated via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, Ebay and a hundred other entities with ideas and products for getting organized after the holidays.

Friends, I’m not going to be that voice.

I’m going to be the voice of reality and sanity and tell you that organizing doesn’t work.  If organizing worked, we’d all be organized, having all made the very same resolution back in 2013 to “get organized” and as a result, Hoarders wouldn’t exist as a reality TV program.

With few exceptions, organization isn’t the problem.  The problem is we have too much stuff.

One of the reasons our grandmothers always had neat and tidy homes, were always ready to receive visitors, and were rarely up to their eyeballs in debt:  they owned less stuff.  In my mind, I can walk through my great grandmother’s 4 room house on Rt 5 in Ashland, Kentucky and tell you where each of her things were located…because there were so few things.  Dusting wasn’t an issue.  Maintenance wasn’t an issue.  Clutter wasn’t an issue.  Compare and contrast that to today where we make more money, have more stuff, are far less content and far more overwhelmed than even a generation ago.  Crazy, isn’t it?

Last spring, I became tired of the stuff and began moving hard and fast toward minimalism.  The difference was immediate and amazing.  We had free time because there was less to do.  Personally, I was far less anxious, perhaps because my eyes had places to rest. Cleaning was far simpler.  And here’s the thing I didn’t expect: it greatly impacted our finances.  We tended to think twice about a purchase because we didn’t want to clutter up the house with something we’d turn around and throw away.  We still have a long way to go; books, clothing and sentimental items seem to be our collective nemeses here, but I’m finding we’re far more content to live with far less and it makes me quite anxious to live with far less still.

Let me dispel a few myths for you.

Minimalism is NOT:

  • Punishment.  There’s nothing punitive in getting rid of stuff we don’t need.
  • Misery.  There’s also nothing disheartening about it though admittedly, you may have to face up to a few emotions that perhaps you hadn’t dealt with.
  • Stark.  There is nothing barren, dreary, desolate or cheerless about getting rid of junk cluttering up your living space. It showcases the things you love!
  • Boring.  Minimalism doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life.  It means you won’t have clutter preventing you from enjoying life.

Here’s the funny thing:  once you begin to declutter your living space, the desire to minimalize will begin to extend to other areas of your life.  Your job.  Your relationships.  Your goals.  Your media life. I love this quote from Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life

Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s most important things–which actually aren’t things at all.

Doesn’t that just sum up what most of us really want out of life?  That’s why our grandparents were so content with so little.  And perhaps that’s why we are so stressed out with so much.

Baby Steps Toward Minimalism

Minimalism isn’t an all or nothing prospect.  It also doesn’t happen overnight.  It took us a lifetime to accumulate the clutter and develop the bad habits; it’s going to take a while to undo them, but here are a few steps to get you on the way.

  1. Remove duplicates.  You don’t need 15 winter hats or  4 “I Love Vegas” mugs.  If you have multiples, purge 1 (or 12).  Sell it, donate it, junk it, whatever.
  2. Throw away broken items.  That sounds like a gimme, but I’ll totally confess to hanging onto things I intended to mend and it just never happens.  Probably WON’T happen.  Junk it.
  3. Break it down into bite-size jobs.  Don’t tackle the entire office in one afternoon.  How about just the books?  Or just one cabinet?  Accomplish that single task, pat yourself on the back for a job well done and move on.
  4. If you’re like me and you like seeing a completed checklist on paper, go to Pinterest for a printable declutter checklist.  There are zone-based, monthly-based, number-based…I’m sure you’ll find a checklist that will help keep you motivated.
  5. Find a collector/dealer/website that will be glad to take your things.  I had a cedar chest full of mid-century items from my grandmother’s first husband who was killed in Korea.  His burial flag, for instance. I was thrilled beyond words to find a military museum who wanted to display it in their Korean War memorial.  The cedar chest was emptied and a 19 yo soldier was remembered again. Win.
  6. Don’t get hung up on perceived value.  The fact you paid $179 for an item back in 1967 means nothing in this economy and culture.  If it doesn’t bring you joy, be rid of it, regardless of how much you paid for it.

I hope those baby steps will get your started in the right direction, if you’re resolved to never organize again!  My simple decluttering goal for 2018 is to get rid of 2018 items; just 5 things a day.  Do you have goal?