It’s the big one, Elizabeth

This is probably going to be brief because I am exhausted. In a few minutes you will understand why.

But first, several people emailed me yesterday and asked about Holly and her decorating services. So I just wanted to let y’all know that she does online consultations. In fact, that’s how we originally started brainstorming about my house. I emailed her four or sixty-two pictures of all my rooms at different angles so she could begin to formulate a plan.

You can also read her version of our day together on her blog if you’re interested.

Or you can go watch Joshua Ledet’s performance last night on American Idol because MY WORD at the talent.

Or you can stay right here and read about how I’ve spent the last few days.

Covered in dust.

What? Covered in dust? Have I undertaken some elaborate home renovation project?

Not really. I’ve just been cleaning out all the stuff that has been under various beds in my house for approximately an embarrassing number of years.

Because after Holly left and I began to think about painting and fresh new stuff, I was seized with the need to get rid of a bunch of old junk. This was actually on my to-do list in August as a goal I’d like to accomplish once Caroline was back in school.

So it makes total sense that we’re down to three weeks left in the school year and I’m finally getting it done.

Procrastination, you complete me.

Anyway, I came home from church on Sunday and was struck with the urge to begin the clean out process. And so I sat and ate some Black Bean and Roasted Garlic Tostitos, hoping this urge would pass. But then I got on the phone with Gulley and we finally committed to schedule the joint garage sale we’ve been threatening to do for the last few months.

(By joint garage sale I mean that we are doing it together. There will be no illegal drugs sold out of Gulley’s garage.)

We set the date for Saturday, May 19th and that was all the motivation I needed to start cleaning. I began with the china cabinet in the dining room. I’m happy to report that it still holds craft supplies, my wedding photo album, our mortgage paperwork and my wedding stationary, but it all looks a lot neater. Plus I managed to throw out an entire trash bag worth of stuff.

I still had some energy after that was completed, so I moved into our bedroom and decided to clean out our nightstands. P’s was easy because all he keeps in it is the latest hard back Cabela’s catalog and a giant blue flashlight.

Mine? A totally different story.

I don’t know how long it had been since I’d cleaned it out from top to bottom, but I will confess that there was a People magazine dated the week Caroline was born. August 2003. Angelina Jolie is on the cover holding baby Maddox and the headline reads “My Baby Saved My Life!”

I guess that explains why she went on to have forty-six more children.

Ironically, there was also a photo of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston together on the inside which reminded me how much more innocent we all were back in 2003 when we thought the gift of matching, perfectly highlighted hair was enough to keep a marriage together.

Here’s a picture to show you the rest since words fail me.


The place where ponytail holders go to die.

In an odd way, I feel that this random assortment of ponytail holders, bullets, foam rollers, a neon green banana clip, an arrowhead, a Bible, Halls cough drops and Caroline’s little night cap pretty much sums up my life.

Oh, and those bright green little cases? Those hold the wax that I put on my braces every night back in 2006 when I still had braces.

(Have I ever told y’all that my mother-in-law is so organized that she’s been known to bring over a labeled file folder that holds ONE piece of paper? Yet it’s labeled. And in a folder. She could give The Container Store lessons in home organization.)

(This drawer would make her cry.)

I also found a receipt from a lunch I bought in 2006 for a big group of doctors when I was still a pharmaceutical rep. Why was it still in my nightstand in the Year of Our Lord 2012? I don’t know but P is concerned that I was never reimbursed for the lunch expense since I clearly never mailed in the receipt.

And I found a gift certificate to Alamo Cafe that Honey and Big brought me in the hospital the day after Caroline was born. It was hidden under the chart that I made to keep track of Caroline’s eating and pooping. Apparently she had a significant poop on August 8th at 4 p.m. and I decided I didn’t need to keep the chart anymore.


But don’t think I’m not going to go into Alamo Cafe and see if they’ll still honor it. They totally should. I’ve been busy. I had a baby EIGHT AND A HALF years ago.

The last few days I’ve found pictures that have made me smile, dust bunnies that would frighten a grown man, and a sparkly blue flip-flop that’s been missing for two years.

I have thrown out at least six large trash bags full of stuff and have started forming a pile of things to sell in the garage sale in the corner of our bedroom. It looks like the set of Sanford and San. I swear I walked in there yesterday and heard the sounds of a bass harmonica begin to play.

I worked on Caroline’s room last because I knew it would kill my spirit. And it almost won. When the head of a stuffed bunny came off thereby spilling guts all over the place, I nearly walked away. But I persevered.

Every room in my house is totally cleaned out. Purged. Set free.

Except for the kitchen.

But I’ll think about that tomorrow.

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  1. says

    OMG I’m dying of laughter right now…only because I could have written this exact same post…even down to the husband keeping (only) his Cabalas catalog and a flashlight in his night stand. In fact, we are planning a garage sale (as of today) on the same weekend you are having yours!

  2. says

    My dad has a favorite Cabela’s shirt and buys them in every color. Even when the elbows blow out, he keeps them “just in case” and buys a replacement. He clearly needs an intervention, but I think Mom lets it go so he’ll leave her piles alone! :)

  3. Iris says

    I used to be a drug rep. too, and that lunch receipt you were probably just hanging on to for that 3 yr. period in case you were ever audited! 😉

  4. heidig says

    I was concerned when I saw what I thought were bullets…and then I remembered who you’re married to. Can you come to my house next?

  5. says

    Just think! You’ll still be able to contact D. Dan C. Penvy WHENEVER YOU NEED TO!! 😉 I read Holly’s post and you look so great in those yellow skinny jeans. I could never pull that off!

  6. Cheryl says

    The bullets made this Canadian girl laugh… I’m sure we are required to register each one and write a report its whereabouts to hand in to the government quarterly… Certainly not leave in our bedside table!

  7. says

    I think you should submit that lunch receipt just for fun to see If they will pay you. :p. Your blog is the first blog I read every morning, it starts my day with a smile. Can you MIL be hired to come organize my life?

  8. says

    Here’s to blasting the clutter! I’ve been doing the same thing in our house. It takes forever, b/c I seem to have Cleaning ADD, but it does feel good to rid of the junk. Two thumbs up for you! :)

  9. Julie says

    OMG- I am laughing out loud. I did the same thing and had a garage sale last weekend… Thought you should know an interesting fact about stuffed animals sold at garage sales! IMPORTANT: Never, Never let your kids play the claw game! We had a gentleman who came up and purchased all of our ratty stuffed animals and then proceeded to tell us that he owed a roller rink and that these were for his claw machine. In horror I remember all the times my kids played and won those stinking things. Oh the diseases they could have contracted…. YIPES… Anyway thought you would be interested to know where the stuffed animal graveyard goes!

  10. says

    In the year of our Lord 2012. For some reason that is the line that got me chuckling.

    I so often read your blog and think that we are married to long lost brothers. My husband’s nightstand has only Cabela type reading material and a flashlight as well. And I can’t tell you how many times I have cleaned out a drawer or a cupboard and found bullets. It is so normal to me that reading your post did not phase me one bit to see that you found bullets in your nightstand drawer.

    I clean out my drawers somewhat regularly and I still find things in there that I wonder about.

  11. Ashli says

    Love the joint joke. Ha!
    Have you started watching Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis and Jenny? Pure TV gold, and they did this “Life Coach’s” house that would make you feel SOOOO much better about your minor junk. I am a little (lot) OCD, so I was astounded.
    I love to go to the dump and get rid of stuff. Our neighborhood garage sale is Saturday, cue the harmonica…

  12. says

    first things, first: BANANA CLIPS…reminds me of big perm days with White Rain as my best friend:)

    ahhhh…i don’t know what resonates more…

    the pharmaceutical receipts for all the lunchpalooza’s I use to throw or the organized chaos. Being organized and/or crafty have NEVER been my gift….whenever I think I might need to be on an addition of “Hoarder’s”….I repeat out loud until I start to buy it, “The cleaniest home is NOT the HAPPIEST home…” Right??

  13. says

    Sponge rollers and bullets … hahahaha ….and wait, is that a banana clip?? I’m no carbon dater, but I’m thinking this drawer dates back farther than ’03…

  14. says

    Oh MY GOSH!!!
    The bullets!

    I find them everywhere in my house! My hubby/son tease me when I question… “WHY DO I KEEP FINDING THESE EVERYWHERE?”

    I guess you never know when you’re going to need a quick reload (in the kitchen, bathroom, hallway, bedroom & living room). I’ve even found them in all of our cars!

    Dudes! I’ll never understand them.

    Maybe this is “their” equivalent to all our ponytail holders?!!! They are everywhere too!

  15. Miss B says

    Thank you for not removing the hair from the drawer contacts before photographing. I am glad I am not the only one who has a nice stash of hair mixed in with their belongings. Not that I’m proud of it (and in fact, I’ve always been a little ashamed of it), but let’s admit it, hair happens.

  16. Melissa says

    I just cleaned out our garage and found receipts dated back to 2 days before I had my last daughter which would be in April of 2001! Coupons dated back to 2002 and an US magazine from the summer of 2002.

  17. says

    It just warms my heart to know that you also receive the hardback Cabela’s catalog. We’re a special group, the wives/moms of these people. “These people” being the ones who order enough crap stuff that Cabela’s feels we need the commemorative edition of the catalog. They’re so thoughtful that way. It’s possible we should form a support group.

  18. Lisa says

    I have threatened to have a dumpster delivered to my house and one of those chute things from the window installed so as to not have to carry all of the things that need to go down the steps, just push them down the chute to the dumpster. I am so not kidding.

    Is your MIL available for a week in June? Send extra heart and blood pressure meds with her ’cause she will need them when she gets to my house.

    You make me laugh and smile every single day. Please share the garage sales stories because they are the best!

  19. Cara says

    Oh man I miss Alamo Cafe. I don’t think I’ve been since I visited San Antonio back in 2008 and I can still taste those fajitas. Mmmmmmmmm *Homer drool*

  20. Chelsea says

    Um, yes, Sallie is a wee bit organized.
    DO NOT THROW AWAY that Alamo Cafe GC. If there’s not an expiration listed, they will honor it. You wouldn’t turn your head at a bowl of queso, would you?

  21. Tisha Ward says

    Who doesn’t have bullets in their night stand?

    Thanks for your wonderful blog. You always put a smile on my face.

    Will you please come to my house for your next project? I am ashamed to say that I walked into my kitchen last night and looked up at the fake ivy on top of my cabinets. I really need to come up with a more updated substition for it. So is all fake greenery out?

  22. says

    You have had a productive week. I wish I could say the same. It’s funny how sometimes we feel the need to hang onto every single thing and then when we go back later we just toss it out. Oh, if only I had your MIL organization skills. Mine more closely resembles you.

  23. Marie M.C. says

    I need your mother-in-law to come to my house and help me find the white athletic right shoe that has been missing for YEARS. I know it has to be here. Unless it hopped off all by it’s lonely? p.s. I’m afraid to clean out my closets. When I die my relatives can do it — because I intend to win The All Time Procrastinator Queen Trophy.

  24. Alyson says

    As soon as I read the title for this blog, I busted out laughing. I can so see Redd Foxx clutching his chest. I always loved it when he did that.
    Unfortunately, again today I am unable to view your pics but I did go over to Holly’s blog and read her post and was able to view her pics. YAY!!!! Anywho, sounds like you have been very busy and very productive so it makes sense that you are tired. I need your motivation.

  25. Jenny F. says

    The first thing that caught my eye, in that special drawer of yours, and made me laugh was the lime green banana hair clip. I wore those all of the time in the late 80s early 90s.. I may even have one somewhere. Maybe I will check my nightstand drawer..

  26. Amy E. says

    You are hilarious! I’m gonna like this blog :) I had to look up what Cabela’s is….ok, now I gotcha. One of THOSE catalogs, all manly stuff with absolutely nothing I want to look at!

  27. says

    Hair. It gets into the derndest places. Your way with words is so funny. “The year of our LORD…” Awesome. Finding pictures that make you smile with memories that have dustbunnies or their own are a gift. Definitely worth slogging through the “stuff”.

  28. Jeanie says

    Such energy! Such perseverance! You’re awesome. I finally cleaned out my bedroom just before Christmas. I took 19 huge lawn bags of clothing/shoes/purses to Goodwill and threw out about ten bags of stuff. It was a job way overdue. When my daughter stayed her on previous Christmases, I’d literally have to clear a path so she could get to the other side of my bed. But here’s where I get it: My mom died six years ago, and when my sister and I cleaned out her house, we discovered things I had made in kindergarten. I turned 68 last Sunday.

  29. JennyJoT says

    Well, now you’ve gone and done it. You’ve INSPIRED me and now I’m gonna have to clean out all MY crap. Thanks a LOT! :)

  30. says

    I am so jealous! Every room purged? Really? That is so awesome! Maybe I will be able to post such a lovely sentence some time in the near future. :)

  31. says

    The place where ponytail holders go to die. I love it!

    I was just talking about the fact that I am NOT organized, I am a piler, but every once in a while I get the urge and energy to go on a purging spree for 8 hours. I always feel so much better afterwards. A clean slate, a fresh start…and then the piling begins again :)

  32. says

    Wow! I really, really need to do this too… Perhaps I too should set a date… Oh wait, I am planning a wedding that is in 44 days… Nevermind… I kinda lost it for a minute there… I remember now, I’m suer busy!

  33. Ali says

    I NEED to do this same thing! I need to purge and clean! I’m disorganized and a “keeper” of random things that most people don’t keep! :)

    Where oh where did you find the motivation to purge and sort through your entire house!

    I too had a baby 8 1/2 years ago! I’ve been in a state of behind ever since! Cole will turn 9 in November that will be my “new” deadline!

    Can you give us more insight on where you found all that motivation? I need a great big dose of motivation!

    ~ Ali