Archive for January, 2012

Cardboard Castle

An abundance of cardboard = Cardboard Castle

In spite of trying to clean my house, I somehow accumulated several large cardboard boxes. Our two-year-old outgrew her second car seat, and the new one came in a big box. We bought a new kitchen sink…big box. And hubby purchased some large items from Amazon. A few random leftover boxes from Christmas and other various things and what do you have?

With a little *ahem* out-of-the-box thinking, you have the makings of a cardboard castle.



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Round table with chair

Over 30 years old, this table will now go on to serve meals to someone who really needs something solid right now.

It was not my intent that my old dining room table be my first Object Lesson. It was not a table I treasured, nor did I photograph it with the quality I’m intending for future posts. However, it was a table with over 30 years of history in the family, and it has a new home as of today, a home where it will likely be more appreciated than it has been in a long, long time.

There was a horrible fire in town last weekend. A mother, two children and a baby were in the house. Rumor has it the mother got the two older children out of the house, ran back for the baby and became trapped. The fire department made it in, but not before both had suffered severely, and it sounds like the baby didn’t make it, and Mom is in the hospital.

Today, some folks in town are setting up an apartment for the family, and filling it with donations from people in the community. Our dining room table and chairs will be placed in their new home.


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Sometimes decluttering is as simple as getting rid of obsolete items. Yesterday, I took a box of VHS tapes to the secondhand store, along with another box of clothes that didn’t fit right and items I didn’t use.

That’s the easy part. The hard part is getting rid of the things you’re attached to for some reason. For me, this tends to fall into three categories:

1) stuff I think I can use for something someday, whether a craft project, or some other good use.
2) stuff I just hate to see end up in a landfill, in spite of the fact that they are broken and unusable for their intended purpose
3) stuff I have some kind of emotional attachment to, but don’t really like, use, and/or honor.

This blog is mostly about the last type, but sometimes I think I’ll end up venting here about all of them.

What are your decluttering stumbling blocks?

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Blue Butterfly

Just before Christmas, my husband and I took a treasured, relaxed few days to ourselves. Given that it was December, our daughter was at Grandma’s in NW Iowa, we didn’t want to go too far. The weather is not predictable that time of year, and we didn’t want to get stuck in a snow storm hundreds of miles from our families. So, we took a short jaunt to Sioux Falls, SD.

At the Sertoma Butterfly House my husband and I walked slowly (so as to avoid stepping on the residents) and quietly, as hundreds of gorgeous butterflies flitted about. I LOVE blue butterflies, and there were dozens of them here. One even landed on my husband’s back! Interestingly, their beautiful blue is only visible when they open their wings.

I even got to witness one butterfly in the struggle from the chrysalis.

Tell me readers – if I have any yet – what small moments do you treasure? How are you living in those moments?

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Start something for you!

Falls Park

Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD, at night

I really need to be writing this blog like I need an extra 100-pound weight tied to my shoulders while I swim away from the edge of a waterfall. I’m plenty busy as it is being a full-time employee, a mom to a two-year-old and a half-time graduate student. But yet, I feel like I need this blog. Why?

Because Stories, Not Stuff to me is about more than getting rid of stuff. It is about a passion for life, and in particular for life’s stories. For the “stuff” that memories are made of. It is too easy to get caught up in the in the mundane, in the negative, and in the “stuff” that drags you down.

Today, I received a link to a post in Marc & Angel Hack Life. In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, they’ve written a post about 30 things to start doing for yourself.  A few examples:

  • Start spending time with the right people.
  • Start enjoying the things you already have.
  • Start creating your own happiness.
  • Start listening to your own inner voice.
  • Start noticing the beauty of small moments.
  • Start being more open about how you feel.
  • Start actively nurturing your most important relationships.
  • Start concentrating on the things you can control.
  • Start noticing how wealthy you are right now.

So here I am, listening to my inner voice by creating a blog I probably don’t have time for…so I’m making time. And the point of my blog? Enjoying what I have, creating memories by spending time with the right people, noticing beauty in the small moments, and nurturing my love of photography in the process.

What are you starting… for yourself?

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