Random 5 for December 1 – Declutter, life stages, cats, family, weather

Out, out, out – We’ve been decluttering for a while. Last year at Christmas we put aside decorations to donate this year. As we are setting up for Christmas we are donating anything we no longer use. There are a few oddballs things that I’m saving in case they work in the new house (no, we didn’t find it yet) but as the beloved husband wisely said, “We’ll probably want something new rather than ratty old decorations.” There were some nice things that went and I have a few more to go.

Stages of life – The decorations define stages in my life. I had hand painted wooden ornaments (donated) and several very nice Santa figurines (donated). Last year we got rid of all the old tangled lights that we don’t use (too old to climb trees outside) and the older fatter artificial trees that we had over the years. Our trees got progressively thinner and smaller. Many of my friends no longer put up a tree but the beloved husband insists on it. We compromise by using a small one, leaving the decorations on permanently and storing in a bag. It looks very festive.

Hazel testing out the tree skirt. She rated it comfy. We still miss her!

One last thing – We decorated the mantle but haven’t put the tree up yet. Maybe today. This will be new cat Sasha’s first Christmas here. I wonder if she will un-decorate the bottom like all the other cats did when they were young. The velvet tree skirt is prime real estate too. Missing Hazel. That was her favorite spot.

Family time – We had family here for Thanksgiving. Much as I loved it, I was exhausted. Maybe it was a food coma! I spent the better part of Friday afternoon napping. So good!

Will it snow? – There is a huge storm coming across the US dumping snow all over. First predictions were 4 to 8 inches for us from today (Sunday) through tomorrow. It’s still dry out (at 8 a.m.) and current predictions have changed to rain for today with snow tomorrow and it’s more like 1 to 3 inches. We are straddling the rain/snow line. North of us is definite snow. South of us is rain. What we get will be a surprise.

So how was your week?

 

70 thoughts on “Random 5 for December 1 – Declutter, life stages, cats, family, weather

  1. We once saw a house while hunting that had a huge closet – they simply rolled the Christmas tree on wheels in and out as needed. Sigh. Such luxury. We have a lovely elegant huge tree that hasn’t been out of storage for a while – an old one you have to put the lights on yourself..6-8 strings. Recently we/I haven’t had time or energy and the 2/3 sized lighted one we bought at closeout at Target one year has been the prom queen. It is as tall as the older one if standing on a sturdy little table – plus the ornaments are up away from small creatures of 2-4 feet.
    Love the “Hazel approves this tree skirt” picture. This summer I managed to remove sequined figures/decorations and attach to new “skirt”. Mom made the original – the dogs and cats loved it so it was a bit stained. I guess I hesitated for years as Ole Tiger would survey the world from under the branches during Dec….nested hair souvenirs.
    Your mantle is gorgeous – your cats must be better trained or lack the odd idea she is the interior decorator of the house.
    Enjoyed your post!

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  2. I relate to so much of what you share, Kate. We are definitely in a different stage of our lives related to Christmas decorating. We have always had a live tree, and this year opted for a very nice artificial at the request of my daughter. One of my granddaughters is really, truly allergic, and so it wasn’t a question for me. But what I said to my daughter was absolutely true…I really didn’t care about the tree at all. I let them make all the choices and do most of the decorating. I care a lot about the family getting together, and that’s about where it stops. And the decluttering? I can’t believe what I’m no longer attached to. I told someone recently that I’m doing the opposite of nesting. I’m divesting! LOL!

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    • For me too, the holidays are more about the people than the decorating. We used to have parties but don’t do much entertaining at the holidays these days. We save that for summers on the porch. Just for us and the cats, we don’t need much!

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  3. I have been decluttering all year. Taking the last of it to Goodwill this week.Third pickup truckload! I had two boxes of stuff that I never opened when I moved here to my condo. That was 23 years ago! I did open them “just in case there was something “important”. There wasn’t…just closed the boxes up and off they went.

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    • I’m doing that too. A few things I’ve been keeping in case they work for the “new house” which isn’t even in the works yet but I’ve found out that mostly styles change as does taste so I’ve been letting go of most of those too.

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  4. Good for you for getting rid of decorations you don’t use. Husband and I got rid of all of ours a few years ago along with our last smaller tree. Sometimes I miss a tree but I don’t miss having a cat pull it over or pull down half the ornaments. Your mantle looks great – happy holidays, Kate!

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  5. Hi Kate. I didn’t know you were looking to move. I wish you lots of luck. When we bought 3 years ago, we only looked at ranches. It’s so nice not having stairs. I recommend it.

    Some years we put up the small tree, some years we put up the regular size tree, and some years we get a real one. We go by our moods and how many things we have to do that year. I do think eventually we will go with just our small tree every year.

    Did you get much snow? We were in the same line of snow/or rain/or rain-snow and ended up getting about a half-inch.

    Your fireplace mantel looks pretty. I put our nativity on mine, because I have nowhere else to display it. My grandma bought it for me when I got married, so I still put it out these 34 years later.

    Good luck with your house search.

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    • We’ve been looking to downsize for at least 5 years. A ranch or cape with a first floor master BR is a must. Not really interested in stairs. It’s snowing now but not much. We are expecting around 5″ today but it hasn’t started in earnest yet. My husband is big on having a tree. Otherwise I’d do different things each year. Once you put a tree up, that’s a lot of clutter so I don’t bother with other things.

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    • After I moved to this house (16 years ago) I finally let go of most of my mother’s stuff (she died in 1986). Some of those were hard decisions. I gave the good stuff to other relatives and was delighted to see a grand niece enjoying her wine glasses. Much of what she had was worn or really old and not the valuable kind of old. I have a few things that I kept — her coffee cup, mixing spoon, cake plate and a very few other things. Our tastes were different so I only have one or two jewelry pieces from her. I have a blue velvet dress that I could never wear (wrong size.) That was the hardest. After that everything else is a piece of cake although I have found that I am good and ruthless for about 2 hours. Then I start to soften so I have to stop.

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  6. My wife was born Christian but then married a Muslim and stayed away from her Christian heritage for the length of that long marriage. Then she married me, a Jew, and I have encouraged her to celebrate her heritage and mine to the full extent that she wishes. But we’ve still not had a Christmas tree. We’ve lit the menorah and eaten her homemade latkes till our stomaches are ready to explode, but nary a garland nor any mistletoe have graced our living room. In the end, it turned out to be someone encouraging vs. discouraging, and I suppose, at least for the moment, that’s all that matters to her. One of these Decembers, however, I do expect a Christmas tree to sit in our home. I haven’t had one since a college apartment I shared with three other roommates!

    For once, we lucked out down here weather-wise. It was sunny and in the mid-seventies all holiday weekend. My sister up in Michigan said the storms and fronts pretty much passed by thankfully.

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    • I worked in design for 10 years and then I was crazy about decorating. Now it’s just work. I even confine myself to one poinsettia. I used to have them all over. Even the food traditions (which die harder in our family) have been cut back. I have found a local source for wonderful nut strudel so I haven’t made that in years.

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  7. We are decluttering our stuff too. It really does make more sense to have a bit less Christmas stuff, especially since we don’t decorate in a big way. We have a little pre-lit tree too and just set it up somewhere. I also do have some other little mini trees that I set up here and there around the house. Where are you thinking of moving to?

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  8. Your mantel is lovely!
    It’s so sensible to find things to donate when you’re decorating so you can identify things to give away.

    We’re having Christmas at my daughter’s house in Indiana this year, so I’m not decorating at all. Thanksgiving was at my sister’s house. All I had to do was bring a couple of side dishes–brussel sprouts with a grape sauce and a mixture of berries with a berry sauce for dessert. This is a lazy year for me.

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  9. It looks very festive Kate and I see Sasha trying out the red beads in record time! I feel badly since my mom and I collected many displays through the years, alot of it country to go with the house which is a combo of country/Early American. All downstairs in Rubbermaid tubs. It used to take an entire day to decorate since our house is small, so everything has to be tucked away, and not all of it fits into the tubs. I have my tree and glass ornaments from work and we had a Hallmark miniature and two ceramic trees. One ceramic trees is all Boyds bears, bought for me by my mom as I collected teddy bears for years. Next year I’ll put it up and not be so lazy.

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      • Same here Kate- at least one other person was looking at the decorations, even though my mom told me for years not to bother with putting out every single Christmas decoration and not to put out so many annuals either so I was not constantly dealing with them – I was stubborn. I’m going to put out a few ornaments on hangers and that’s it for this year.

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  10. I spent the greater part of today decorating. I am satisfied with the decorations…however new furniture would be terrific. No tree. My cat already informed me last year, she does not want me to have one. But, even without a tree the house is festive. Your mantel looks wonderful and inviting.
    🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

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  11. Awww, Hazel… I miss her! The wreath is on the garage, my Mom’s foot and a half lighted ceramic tree is out, candles in the windows since November 1 and a wreath on the front door. That’s it for us… just enough! Your mantle is beautiful! That’s all I’m missing… a fire in a fireplace. But it’s 79 degrees here and sunny… I’ll take it!

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  12. I’m a sucker for Christmas decorations and every year there are new and nicer ones in the stores, even the dollar stores, as I got some lovely Rachel Ray red china plates there last year, enough for eight even though we never have that many. I got rid of a lot of old decorations two years ago when I decluttered the whole house, but it needs to be done again. I don’t put up a tree but have so much other lighted stuff that no one notices.

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  13. I wish I could get Michelle to declutter. She is much like her Mom, wants to keep everything, just in case. We have so many things in storage that others could use. Things I haven’t seen in over 5 years. I mention donating, but then the yard sale thought kicks in and it just sits waiting for a yard sale, that never comes.

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    • I’ve given up on yard sales. They take work and at the end of it all, you don’t get all that much unless you are selling a lot. When our former neighbor moved to Florida he had a 3 day sale of a lot of stuff. He researched for pricing as he was selling some furniture pieces along with normal home goods. For his 3 days work, he netted $1,100. That was good but I know he was disappointed. Mostly because he couldn’t get the price he wanted for some of his Stickley furniture. I remember him moaning that he was getting “pennies on the dollar.” In contrast he included some of my junk which was mostly wreaths and wall hangings. He got me $60 for that.

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  14. We have our tree up but have problems to resolve……bought a pre-lit 7-1/2 footer a few years ago and the lights are a problem. What a pain. My husband insists on putting the tree up (artificial of course) NO MATTER WHAT. We have collected Christmas ornaments from all our worldly travels plus still have some of our childhood ornaments so we NEVER and I mean NEVER are able to put all our ornaments on the tree. I simply MUST clean/clear/donate – I think you have inspired me! Anyway, happy to see all the familiar in-house decorations when we unpack them…..definitely gets me in the holiday spirit. “Familiarity breeds happiness” for us I guess. Love your mantle – GORGEOUS.

    Hugs, Pam

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    • I’ve had those kinds of ‘hard to part with’ ornaments too. I was hard to part with the hand painted ones because I painted them with my mom. I haven’t used them in 30 years. We haven’t put the tree up yet so we are hoping the lights are good. We are only using the upper part of our 7-1/2′ narrow tree so I don’t need many ornaments.

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  15. It’s such a great feeling to declutter and donate! You know me, I decorate the first week of November, so we’ve been ready. I took my parent’s decorations over to their new place on Thanksgiving, since they don’t have the storage space. The mantle looks great! Here in Charlotte, it seems we are always straddling that rain/snow line. Be safe!

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  16. Your mantle photo looks straight out of Better Homes & Gardens! Beautiful. I just sold my slim pencil profile Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago. My house is too small to put up even a slim tree (the need to rearrange the furniture to accommodate it is too much anymore). I still need to figure out what to do with all the handmade ornaments. This year I’ll feel lucky if I get cards sent out!

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  17. Hi, Kate – I also put up our Christmas decorations yesterday. Although I tried to go with a simple look, the process literally took me all day! I decluttered and reorganized as I went and dropped off donations to our local thrift store when I was finished. We use a real Christmas tree, which has always meant that vacuuming and upkeep were a real drag — including loss of space in our front room. Our tree previously sat inside our large picture window. Two years ago, my husband had the idea to move the tree just a few feet so that it was outside of our picture window. Absolutely brilliant. It looks great, lasts longer and no extra vacuuming!
    Your mantle looks awesome!

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  18. I’m on a donating BLITZ (a la Marie Kondo) at the moment ~ office supplies, clothes, books, knick knacks, paddy whacks, cookery, etc. ~> GONE!

    We use a small tree too ~ left decorated year round. Every few years, I redecorate it.

    You miss Hazel. We miss Tigger. He was always a BIG help when I unpacked the Christmas stuff.

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    • Cats are very helpful. Sasha sniffed everything that come out yesterday but thankfully did not attempt a mantle jump like Morgan used to do. Every once in a while I do a blitz. Each time I cut deeper (and the stuff is older). I have these fantasies that I will try different things but I always do the same. I like it. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

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  19. Rain, freezing rain, ice pellets, snow – we are predicted to get all the weather where I live. I am staying home today and puttering away.
    I don’t know if I am going to put up a tree this year. Yesterday I bought a rosemary “tree”; also a lavender “tree” (couldn’t decide so bought both). These may suffice as my Christmas trees. I am moving more and more away from celebrating Christmas. More of a Yule/Winter Solstice gal these days…

    Deb

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    • I’ve always wanted to do a small Norfolk pine tree (very small) for Christmas. Since we do the 4′ artificial I would have a great place to display it. Maybe someday. I decorate less and less. When I first moved I did the staircase too. We did lights on the plantings outdoors. Nope. We don’t entertain a lot so there is no point. We drive around and enjoy the work of others.

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