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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cleaning Out and Starting Fresh by Sarah J. McNeal

My street a couple winters back

I know everyone is making a few resolutions, or maybe just thinking what they want to do to change things for a new year and a fresh start. We all know we can start fresh any time we want to whether it’s January, June, or September—just any time we take a notion. Well, I’ve decided the beginning of the year is a good time to clean out my closets, throw away, re-purpose, or donate stuff I’ve been hanging onto for years—like that sequined, long, chiffon skirt I never wore, and to free up my mind as well. Honestly, it's too cold outside now to do anything out there. It hasn't snowed here like it has for some of you, but it’s still winter now and I am not venturing out to do yard work, so I’ll have to settle for some indoor work.

You may not believe it, but I have an old VHS tape player and over a hundred videos to play on it. Now I’ll grant you, I cannot afford to replace all those videos with DVDs, but I am tired of hanging onto them thinking I might want to watch them one last time. Forget it. I’m donating the player and all those videos along with all those clothes I’ll never wear. Besides, I need the hangers anyway. Now that I have Netflix, I probably don’t need to hang on to all those DVDs, either, but let’s just say I’m taking baby steps here.
Toys and PEZ dispensers

I’ll confess I’m a collector of ridiculous things like PEZ dispensers and Minions—okay, toys actually. I say I’m gonna quit, but my nephew ends up getting me a new PEZ and, well, who can resist a new PEZ? Unlike some collectors, I don’t care if they’re going to be worth something someday. All I care about is they’re fun to look at today. I don’t think there’s a room in my house that doesn’t have a PEZ dispenser lurking somewhere. I even have some of the PEZ chewing gum dispensers like the monkey, whale, and pig.

Some of my teapots

I also collect whirligigs, teapots, and cookie cutters. I have some awesome ones that are very old and some new ones that are just so cool. I haven’t found a Big Foot one yet, but alert me if you ever come across one. I also am very fond of old kitchen utensils like ice picks and egg beaters. Since I still have the original pink wall oven from 1957, I’ve come to like the retro look. No granite countertops and stainless steel appliances for me—not until that oven dies anyway.

A few of my cookie cutters and retro kitchen utensils 

As for Minion toys, they just make me laugh. I’m certain my nephew has caught on to my new craze because he just sent me a picture of all the Minion items they have for sale at Target today. I like other toys, too, like dinosaurs, whistles, bubble blowing devices, and marbles.

I have collected other things like Netsuke, but mine were all ivory. Because I don’t want to promote killing elephants or any other creature, my conscience wouldn’t let me continue collecting them even though mine are antiques. A Netsuke, by the way, is a Japanese figure used to act as a slide knot on a pouch that holds things like pens and ink or some such items to use during the day.

I am a Pinterest addict, but I’ll confess right here and now that I have no intention what-so-ever of giving it up. That’s probably my biggest confession. Next thing you know I’ll be attending those 12 step meetings. “Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m a Pinterestaholic.” There is something about looking at neat pictures, beautiful scenes, interesting people and things I wish for that just brings me a quiet, peaceful, satisfied mind.

Well that’s it on confessions and cleaning out my mind and closets. What dark secrets or things are you holding onto?

Sarah J. McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER and Critical Care nurse who lives in North Carolina with her four-legged children, Lily, the Golden Retriever and Liberty, the cat. Besides her devotion to writing, she also has a great love of music and plays several instruments including violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica. Her books and short stories may be found at Prairie Rose Publications and its imprints Painted Pony Books, and Fire Star Press. She welcomes you to her website and social media:


  1. Love your post today, Sarah. I can certainly relate. Sometimes we have no choice but get rid and start over. It's very freeing, this turning loose of things we've been holding onto. Wishing you all the best, my friend.

    1. You completely understand, Linda. It's hard letting go of things, but it is also very freeing. One thing I can't bring myself to get rid of is pictures. I like new technology because it allows me to have gazillions of pictures on a tiny USB drive. Nice.
      Thank you for visiting my blog, Linda.

  2. Sarah, there are just some things that belong in a person's life, some are people, but others are the things that make your sould sing. It might be gardening, or singing or just looking at art. I believe we need to honor that.

    But...there comes a time when we have the need to clear out all that no longer serves us and let others enjoy what we've enjoyed. Clearing is a good thing. I enjoyed your 'confessions' and the things you shared. Thank you. Doris

    1. Hey Doris.
      When my dad died I kept everything he touched, every scrap of paper he wrote on and every single thing broken or not thing that were his. After a few years passed and I had moved on to another level of mourning his loss, I was able to let go of the things that were in excess. I did the same after my mother died earlier. It's a process getting to the part where I can let go because of the emotional ties. It's easier to let go of old clothes, especially when I never wore them and stuff that just clutters the house and my life. It's like a cleansing thing.
      Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Doris.

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  4. Oh, yes, it is that cleaning out time of year. I still have three boxes of papers and magazines in my living room I need to sort through from my "forced" clean-out last month so I could get a couch and loveseat in the house. It gets so what motivates me more than the time of year is the need to create space for new stuff. As for my collections, I think it is time to reacquaint myself with Etsy and eBay.

    1. I come by this behavior naturally. My dad and his dad collected and saved things, too. My grandfather couldn't let go of paper bags, tin pie plates, and string. My dad filled every doorknob with rubber bands, saved news items which he pinned to lamp shades as if they were bulletin boards, and National Geographic and Scientific American Magazines.
      I love Etsy. It's fun browsing, but I seldom buy anything. I'm addicted to Pinterest--but of course, they don't take up any space or lay around collecting dust on the shelves reminding me I have trouble letting go. LOL
      Thank you for coming by and commenting, Robyn. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

  5. Sarah,
    I love pez dispensers! They're so fun. I collect postcards. Everywhere I go, that's what I buy. I justify it because they're relatively cheap. I have a couple boxes of them. Occasionally I go through them but I'm sure my kids will toss them when I'm gone. I also collect pins. I never wear them though. I need to clean out my closet too. The new year usually inspires me to do a deep clean. And my desk. And I have too many books. Argh, you've opened a can of worms for us all, Sarah LOL.

    1. Kristy, I think postcards are a great way to remember a place--and they can be displayed easily or stored in a small space.
      Back in the 1980's pins were very popular. I bought them every chance I got. Still have them stored in a hat box. I wear one occasionally.
      I gave away most of my romance books. Forget giving away reference books though or spiritual books, either. Ain't happenin'. I made a decision a few years back to only buy e-books for fiction because, like you, I'm out of shelf space. You'll have to let me know if you actually get rid of some of your books. That's a tough one. I gave away the entire set of Gabaldon's Outlander series and I kind of regret it now.
      Thank you for taking the time to come and read my blog. I appreciate it.

  6. Sarah I collect Christmas ornaments from where ever I travel to. Sadly in recent years I haven't done much traveling. My husband recently bought a VHS player...says now that he's retired he's going to watch all those old movies...He says I also collect kids and stray animals...Somehow both species always ended up at my house when my kids were growing up. Here's to cleaning out the closet and making room for more stuff.

    1. Your husband bought a VHS player--not a DVD player? Well, I get that. I have all these VHS videos and I tell myself I'm going to watch them. I'm really going to go through them and give as many as I can away. I also have a VHS player I'm giving away because I have an old TV with a tape player in it that works with less bother. Too bad I didn't know your husband was buying one.
      That's a wonderful idea about collecting Christmas ornaments from places you visited. What a magnificent tree you must have. Maybe you could begin a collection of a special ornament once a year. Of course, I'm talking about letting go of stuff and now encouraging you to get more stuff. See how hard it is to even let go of the idea of collecting more? LOL
      Have a wonderful new year, Barb, and thank you so much for coming by my blog.

  7. Well. Who knew? I have not heard of some of those things your collect, and excuse me, but I really hate those minions. Someone should do a study on those..why they are funny and cute and cool to some, but silly, and eeries, and useless to others. What an interesting contract. So, Sarah, on this one thing, we differ...sob.
    I loved your post--so refreshing as in opposition to so much that being put out there right now. We've cleaned out so much stuff from the house and the shop, you'd think we'd have empty spaces. Not so. We don't miss any of it. We wonder, what did we give to Goodwill? Hang in, and onward and upward to 2016.

    1. Celia, I had to grin at your response to the Minions. I'm not into animated cartoonish movies, and yet, I love those funny little guys. Funny, isn't it, what some people like and others don't. Try though I might to like Downton Abbey and Dr. Who, I just can't get interested in them. I am particularly fond of the time period in which Downton Abbey takes place, and I am a huge science fiction fan and yet...I just can't get into either of these shows. Don't know exactly why.
      It's been said Mother Nature does not like a void, so she fills a vacuum as soon as possible. That's my "scientific" explanation for new stuff taking the place of stuff I got rid of. The only person I know who can get rid of things and not get more is my sister. She is the queen of minimalism. I'm not a fan of minimal decoration. To me, it seems a bit cold and impersonal. But I also don't like clutter and crowding. I like a nice medium in there.
      With or without clutter, I hope you have a wonderful new year in 2016. I always look forward to your comments. You're pleasantly cerebral and sweetly thoughtful. I like that combination.

  8. My first time posting here, but love the Prairie Rose authors and books! I have been coming by and reading the blog and I laughed reading this post, because I thought it was about cleaning out/donating and then looking to add to your collection, smile. Sounds just like me before. I finally did donate lots, especially the card playing decks I collected! I finally donated them to a group that sent off packages to soldiers so they were thrilled with that donation, but beanie babies, I used to say I was collecting for my daughter but she never had an interest them so they were for me to admire :) so I donated them. So I did downsize lots over the few years but this year winter I'm working on the clothes that are collecting dust!

    You all here at Prairie Rose have a great new year and thanks for all you write for us readers!
    Cathie (Caffey)

    1. Cathie, we're all very happy to have you here at Prairie Rose. I remember beanie babies! I didn't collect them, maybe cause I didn't have a son or daughter I could say I collected them for. LOL That's very interesting about your collection of decks of cards. Now that's a new one for me. I do remember a guy I dated who did magic tricks with cards. He had a bunch of decks of cards, but they were "different" from regular cards. What a wonderful idea you had to donate those cards to service men and women to provide them some entertainment.
      I hope I can do as fine a job as you at cleaning out all the things I don't need or use. It's hard letting go of stuff.
      Thank you so much for coming by and commenting. I hope you'll continue to come by and share your thoughts with us, Cathie (Caffey). I see you have some very interesting things to share.
      All good things to your corner of Mother Earth.