Archive for the ‘Recycling’ Category

More “stuff!” This time it was the stack of notes and syllabus materials from all of the conferences I have attended. As most of the material went into our recycle bin, I made a spreadsheet of the conferences, dates, topics, and primary speakers. Interesting! I have attended conferences regularly since 1999: most Iowa Genealogical Society (IGS) fall conferences, IGS spring conferences, five national conferences, some regional conferences and two national institutes. In all, the list includes 35 educational events in 17 years.

Not only did I learn from the speakers, I developed many contacts through networking with other attendees. I always paid for the expensive conference meals so I could sit at tables with other serious genealogists and ask my questions. When vendors lugged books to the conferences, I overspent my budget to purchase abundantly! Once home, I studied many of them cover to cover. I also purchased tapes from the national conferences and have listened to many over and over.

My parents always encouraged me to “take advantage of opportunities!” Today I am a much better genealogist for having attended, listened, talked, and studied.


Read Full Post »

Over the past few weeks, besides organizing my library, I’ve been sorting through more boxes. In fact, I have emptied twenty boxes!

What did I find? What did I do with all of it?

Well… One box was filled with Jack and Jill magazines from the 1950s. I looked through some of the issues, then I checked the Internet and found that the magazine is still published and that old issues have very little value. In addition, the issues in my collection were filthy! They felt so grungy that I hated to touch them. I remember they were stored in my parents’ attic for years. Then, when they moved from the farm into town, Mom gave the magazines to me and I have had them in various storage places for more than 25 years. They went into our recycle bin.

Another couple boxes had my old workbooks from elementary school. They were just as dirty and yucky to touch as the magazines. Into the recycle bin they went.

The scrapbooks that I made in elementary school were in the similar condition. Nothing creative here, just mimeographed seasonal designs on construction paper that we cut out, perhaps colored or added some paper fasteners to in order to make moving arms/legs, or paper doilies for a lace effect. Our creations were displayed around the classroom for a week, then we pasted into the scrapbook. Recycle bin.

I had to make decisions, and I just could not keep something that no one would want to touch.

Some boxes included papers from a charter member of our local genealogy society; her daughter gave the items to me after her mother passed away. Where possible I incorporated these items into my collection. I was able to give a few things to the Iowa Genealogical Society. But, still other papers went into the recycle bin. I knew the daughter had given as much as possible to the local historical society before she gave things to me. Some genealogy reference items dating from the 1970s and 1980s were simply out-of-date. I also found a box of items from my great aunt, also a charter member. Those items were treated much the same as those from the other charter member.

The sorting, however, also had some bright sides. I found some family genealogy papers. Many of these papers were in good shape and I was able to file them. My work earlier this fall, to create hanging files, paid off! Now, I could just file papers where appropriate!

As I work through this sorting process, I’m finding it easier to sort through printed material and other papers than to sort through artifacts or photographs.

While twenty paper/file boxes might seem like a lot; this was just a drop-in-the-bucket. Remember, I’ve said before, this project is huge… overwhelming. I’ve been tackling it one piece at a time. I’m definitely making progress, wonder what I’ll work on next…

Read Full Post »

Layer #1

Remember the Alka-Seltzer ad slogan, “Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is!”? Well, this post is not about stomach relief; it is about mental and emotional relief for both my husband and me as well as for our sons and their families!

When I started this blog, one of the things I wanted to write about was “making sense out of chaos.” Dave and I have inherited a lot of stuff. It has filled nearly every nook and cranny of our house and garage, including a large storage room on the second floor of the garage and two rooms in the lower level of our house. We have known that we needed to divest ourselves of some junk, so a couple months ago we started our Layer #1 project. Even though I was severely challenged with my broken arm, we started the sorting process.

Our goal was to have a garage sale and to donate the leftovers to our church’s garage sale later this summer. To locate items for our sale, we primarily sifted and sorted through the storage areas in the garage. If the items were in the garage they probably weren’t high-priority keepers. However, some other sale items were also identified in the house.

Nearly all of the items held memories… memories of people and times past. We set up a photo area, with a dark background and good lighting and took lots of pictures. We couldn’t keep all of the items, but we can hold onto the pictures and memories. Remember this was only Layer #1; we still have many items left with more memories of the same people.

Items deemed not worth selling were discarded. We also had one son with 26 boxes in our store room and he was invited to either take all of the boxes to his house or to sort through them and take the most valuable/memorable items to his house, he did the latter.

Most of the time we priced items as we photographed them, which saved considerable time later.

Eventually, I figured out to organize a pricing box. This consisted of ultra fine point Sharpies, wider markers, pricing stickers, wide and narrow masking tape, cellophane tape, scissors, 3×5 cards, string, and dust cloths.

We picked the date based on when the local newspaper was sponsoring a city-wide garage sale, which attracts many potential buyers. Our sale was one of 22 sales last weekend.

We received several compliments on our ad; interested people got a good idea of what we had:

Sat, 8-1. Unique garage sale. Lots of vintage & modern misc for home, yard, repurpose, woodworker repair, or photo props: pans, chairs, milk cans, iron beds, school desks, chests, AE bottles, harness, wagon wheels, sausage press, lots of cast iron, spinning wheel, butter churn, lamps, picture frames, window frames & much more; must see! No early birds/no checks.

One son and his wife helped us in several ways. In addition to our newspaper ad, she posted our sale on two websites: Indianola garage sales and Craig’s list; they included some items in the sale, and they ran the check-out station. They heard comments like, “Now, this is really a garage sale.” “This is the best garage sale in town today.” An app on their phones allows them to take credit/debit cards and they used it for a three or four customers. Otherwise, everyone paid cash. Using counterfeit marking pens made sure no one was handing out bad money; rumors indicate people may be using counterfeit money, even five-dollar bills, at garage sales.

Our sale items were all organized by group. Our garage was full as well as a large part of the concrete parking area behind our house. We set up two canopies to protect our merchandise from inclement weather if necessary, though our stuff extended far beyond the edges of the canopies. We lucked out with a chilly, but sunny, no wind, day.

In essence, we tried to make the sale as “professional” as possible, considering it was a “garage sale.”

Net result: we had 10-cent, 25-cent, 50-cent, $1, $5, etc. items. I think the highest priced item that sold was $40. The spinning wheel did not sell, nor did one of the school desks, and a few of the chairs. But we got rid of a lot of stuff and made a very surprising amount of money, enough to pay for some motel rooms and meals when we go on vacation later this year! We only have a few boxes of small items left to take to the church, and we have a few larger items to give them as those organizers get closer to sale date.

Prior to the sale, one of our daughters-in-law said, “your sons should thank you for this!”, knowing that if something happens to us, they will have to deal with our stuff.

While this was only Layer #1 and it was a lot of work, “Oh, what a relief it is!” The amount of junk in our storage room had been overwhelming. Now we have room to spare and feel a huge sense of emotional and mental relief! It was time!

I’m already thinking about potential items in Layer #2 and how we’ll divest them, maybe another garage sale, maybe not; we’ll see.

Read Full Post »

Eight years ago we purchased several large terra cotta colored plastic flower pots to decorate our backyard for Randall and Megann’s wedding gift opening brunch. Since then I’ve used some pots nearly every year; some have seriously faded, some have cracked. This year I decided to attempt new life for ones in relatively good shape.

At first I thought I’d spray paint them, but for some reason the paint I purchased wouldn’t spray correctly. We returned that paint to the store. Then, we decided that I would try to brush paint them. I purchased one quart of high gloss exterior paint, the same color as the trim on our garage, for less than $15. I painted as many pots as one quart would cover. That turned out to be 5 large pots and 3 smaller ones.

These pots should last at least a couple more years! Less than $15.

flower pots 3

flower pots 2

flower pots 1

Read Full Post »