The organizing struggle continues

I’ve written three posts detailing my mission to help my mother organize (Helping a collector organize, A collector chooses organization, Organizing payoff). While she’s more willing to let go of things than when we started 16 months ago, she’s still extremely sentimental and somewhat unrealistic about craft projects she plans to start and/or finish. She also continues to shop and add to her collections. (BIG SIGH!)

We continued working in her garage going through boxes. Some of those boxes were packed two moves ago! It’s reasonable to think that if she hasn’t needed anything in those boxes since 2003 she doesn’t need any of it now. I really don’t mind her sifting through the paper to see if there might be a photo or money, but I get a little cranky when she wants to read cards or articles from long ago. However, I’ve learned this is what she needs to do to let go of things, so I summon all the *finesse I can muster and remain silent.

I’ve also learned that she doesn’t keep or buy things because she was raised in the depression-era. She keeps and buys things to give away to others. She’s not content to give these things to a Goodwill or Salvation Army unless it’s really something no one would want. If there’s the slightest possibility she can personally find a new owner for her stuff, she will hold onto it with clenched fist.

Progress is slow, but we did manage to fill three boxes which are sitting in the back of my Acura MDX awaiting drop off at the local thrift store, fill her recycle can half way, and fill her garbage can to the top. We also brought in a shelving unit to get some of the containers off the floor. I have to focus on what we accomplished rather than what is left to do. I’ll go crazy otherwise.

I need to schedule one day a month to help her through this process. She tries to go through things on her own, but is easily distracted by the memories brought to mind. I could just let things be, but mom turns 81 this month and at some point we will have to deal with the clutter. I’d rather spend time doing it with her, than without her.


My organizing finesse level:
Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

What’s your organizing finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Creating a beautiful water feature

Dirt pile 001

I posted about our DIY water feature project gone wrong a few weeks ago. I confess that I was completely convinced that the husband and I could spend our four-day weekend turning a pile of dirt into a fabulous water feature. It looks so easy on HGTV and the pages of Better Homes and Gardens. With a little hard work and *finesse, anything seems achievable! Uh, not true. Some projects are better left to professionals.

After two days of frustration, I let the husband off the hook and called Mike, a water feature expert.  Mike had assisted my sister and brother-in-law with their water feature and it’s quite impressive. I met with Mike and fortunately he didn’t give me a hard time about the mess I’d created. He gave me a few ideas and agreed to fit our project into his schedule. YEA!

Over the next two weeks, we saw our water feature come to life.


A little more digging…

Waterfall box and rocks are added.

Waterfall box and rocks are added.


Rocks (most excavated from our acreage) are added and skimmer is set.

More rocks (most excavated from our acreage) are added and skimmer is set.

It wasn’t exactly what we’d envisioned – it was better! Yes, we had to pay for someone else to do the labor, but we got more than a strong (and younger) back. We also got a great design that provided more views of the water feature from various areas of our patio.


Double waterfall boxes was Mike’s idea!




We can change the splash on the second fall by moving rocks.

We can change the splash on the second fall by moving rocks.

The pond.

The pond.


We have a few things we need to do to finish the project, but we are so happy with the look AND sound of our water feature. Let me know what you think!

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)