Friday, January 5, 2018

Post-Holiday Post

Image result for bags of stuff

As noted a few weeks ago, as a Christmas gift to myself, I hired a professional organizer to help me get rid of the overflow of stuff around the house. (here) So while most people have been dashing about malls and department stores in a shopping frenzy, I have been busy getting rid of things. 

Lori the Organizer and I have had four sessions of two hours each. That's about all I can deal with at one time. We have attacked the clothes closet, the pantry/laundry space, and the kitchen cabinets and drawers. Yesterday, we dealt with what the dust bunnies had been guarding under the bed, and we sorted through a few shelves of notebooks, gift bags, tissue paper, and canvas tote bags. 

Whew. In all, she has carried away two bins of clothes and shoes, five large tote bags of kitchen and pantry stuff, and yesterday, two bags of linens and the other miscellaneous items that had been hiding behind closed doors.

Add to that a trash bag or two and the house does seem to be a bit lighter. 

I decided early on into the process that I wasn't going to worry about sorting out books. They are not clutter. Well, most of them anyway. My one rule - made after I tearfully waved goodbye to a jean jacket from the '80s - was that if it made me cry to get rid of an item then that item stayed! 

I have also spent many hours on my own sorting, organizing, and tossing art and craft supplies. That in itself was a gargantuan task, but I do believe for the moment that area of my life is tidy.

I tell you all this because with the holidays and the clearing out project, I haven't had much time to read - or honestly to even think about reading - except at bedtime.

Image result for the house of unexpected sisters review

I did keep warm and cozy under the covers with Alexander McCall Smith's latest No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency mystery The House of Unexpected Sisters. In this adventure, Mma Ramostwe has an unsettling family mystery of her own to solve so she turns over the case of a woman who was allegedly fired from her job for an unjust reason to her agency partner Grace Makutsi. After many cups of tea and a slice or two of Mma Potokwani's delicious fruit cake, both mysteries are solved and all ends well.

Image result for a fool and his monet

Just last night I finished A Fool and His Monet by Sandra Orchard. Serena Jones is an FBI agent with the Art Crime Team. She joined the investigative agency in hopes of one day solving the murder of her grandfather by an art thief during a robbery. The action in the first of this promising series takes place in St. Louis. There are a few stereotypical characters - Serena's mother reminds her often how she would love to have grandchildren; her goofy Aunt Martha loves a good mystery and somehow entangles herself in this one; and, of course, there are two handsome men who could possibly provide romance. But, that said, I enjoyed the puzzle and quite liked Serena.


On a sad note, a favorite author and fellow Louisvillian Sue Grafton died over the holidays. I have read and enjoyed all of her Kinsey Millhone books up through V is for Vendetta. I once lived near Santa Barbara - her fictional Santa Teresa - and it was fun to read about and recognize those familiar coastal locales in her books. Her last mystery, published in August 2017, was Y is for Yesterday so I do have a few 'letters' left to read. 

As her family said after her death, for them, and many of Ms. Grafton's fans, the alphabet now ends in Y.

I snapped this (somewhat fuzzy) photo of Sue Grafton
in November 2013 at the Kentucky Book Fair.


  1. We've decluttered our house for the open house tomorrow. It looks better in some ways, but it doesn't look warm and lived in to me. I haven't thrown much away, just stashed things in boxes and cupboards. I feel discombobulated - I can't find anything!
    I was sorry to read that Sue Grafton died. I like Kinsey and will miss her. I've read them all through Y. I wish she had had the chance to finish the alphabet.

    1. Joan, I don't envy you your packing and moving and selling and discombobulation! It is hard enough to 'revisit' the contents of closets and cabinets much less having to think about discarding or moving the stuff. It can just stay where it is if need be.

      Yes, Sue Grafton's death was a stunner. I had no idea she was ill. There are plans for a memorial service for her here in Louisville in the spring. She had a home here and many friends. She will be missed...and so will Kinsey.

    2. PS. Good luck with the open house.

  2. I should declutter, especially the arts and crafts stuff - but I'm just not brave enough.

    1. Yeah, the arts and craft stuff is tricky, Katrina. I have watercolors and collage papers and colored pencils and stencils and stickers and many lovely things to buy! I mostly have just sorted like with like so I can at least find what I am looking for. I must say, the art supplies have taken over where the book collection leaves off...

      I am trying to start using up my hoard. Know that you are not alone! Just do a little at a time....

  3. Congrats on clearing out so much clutter! That's awesome. I like having space around me and room to grow.
    (And it's so sad about Sue Grafton! I hate when the good ones go.)

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Lark. It has been stressful but worth it...and still more to go. Down to sentimental things so going slowly.

      Yes. Ms. Grafton will be missed.

  4. It's hard to believe Sue Grafton is gone. I've only read a couple of the Kinsey Milhone stories, but I know they're very popular.

    Your decluttering efforts are inspiring. What a great gift to give yourself. I fully intend to get back to my plan of refreshing my house. I still have several rooms to go, and I definitely need to clean out my clothes closet.

    Just love the title "A Fool & His Monet"--might have to pick that one up for the title alone!

    1. It's amazing how much has left the house and yet I feel there is much more to go. I'm starting to run into 'sentimental' items - those family heirlooms that are difficult to part with. So the 'if it makes me cry' rule is in full effect!

      If you loved the title 'A Fool & His Monet' (which I did as well) you will enjoy her second: 'Another Day, Another Dali.' Ha!