Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cleaning Out, Packing Up

Yep, we decided to build on to our house,

that’s just one of many reasons why we had a yard sale back in May,

to start the process of cleaning out before 
we started packing up.

A few weeks ago we cleaned out the garage so that we could load it up with boxes from the den/office that was getting ready to be torn right off the house.

We found all kinds of things stored in the garage that we had not seen in a loooooong time.

Tae Bo VHS tape
Hello, VHS Tae Bo tape.

 There was this gem:

70s family picture
Monte and his siblings Bryson, Bradley and Gretchen. I didn’t realize
there were split-rail fences in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Or the need to ever wear so many layers.
Or  large lapels.

 If you want to know the effects of storing pictures 
in a non-temperature controlled garage, 
just check out Monte’s orange eye. 

I wasn’t excluded in the treasure finds:

80s cheerleading picture

I was 15 and this was my cheerleading picture.

Seriously, who puts a 15-year-old on her belly on a picnic table?! 

Can’t you tell by my forced smile that I wasn’t digging it? 

Or maybe it was the strain on my neck having to hold up 
my enormous Dora the Explorer hair.


We found this poster that was made by our friend, Chris, who displayed it at our engagement party.

Waffle House Waffle Chatter poster

Monte and I met while working at the corporate headquarters of Waffle House in Atlanta. I was in corporate communications and Monte was in risk management.

I wrote a company newsletter called “Waffle Chatter”.

I didn’t name it. 

I had a column called, “Dear Karmen” like “Dear Abbey” except way more contrived with me answering questions about employee issues and the appropriate temperature in which to cook grits.

I started another column called “Safety Man” with Monte (before I knew him) and he’d offer facts about safety issues in the restaurants and how to deal with disability claims.

Both of those pictures in the above poster came from an actual “Waffle Chatter” issue.

I think I remember telling Monte not to touch his face like that in the photo shoot.

But he did it anyway.

Back to the garage.

We sorted.

We tossed.

We donated.

We sold.

We reorganized.

It took two days.

And it was a hot and steamy two days.

Good thing we had a canopy tent still set up from a birthday dinner.

Cleaning out garage

I got so heat-fatigued at one point that I found myself staring inside a hunter green and navy floral frame trying to figure out who the girl in the high-waisted acid washed jeans and big 80s hair was.

Then I realized

it was the picture that came WITH the frame.

I swear, she looked familiar!

I have always wanted all our seasonal decorations to be organized BY SEASON in an easy to retrieve kind of way.

But I’ve always voiced that desire in December when we couldn’t find all the Christmas boxes 
and IT WAS FREEZING outside.

So we got McDaniel to paint chalkboard paint on the edge of our loft and FINALLY organized all things holiday!!!

This is very exciting to me!!

Organized holiday decorations in garage

We can see the floor of our garage!!

There’s an enormous crack in it, 
but hey, 
we can see it!!

Clean garage

With the garage finished, I was able to move on to the den/office. 

I just stalled out for some reason. 

I’m usually a roll up my sleeves, 
let’s get this done, 
kind of worker 
but I could not. get. motivated.

Packing up den

I kept finding things to distract me.

Basketball game

This basketball game kept me sufficiently away from packing until I realized my high score of 17 consecutive shots paled in comparison to Ellie’s 30.

So I had Carisa come over to entertain me while I cleaned. 

She told me no one needed as many pine cones as I had 
stored in Ziploc bags in the cabinets of the den.

I will have you know I kept every single bag of them.

Den clean up

Even Monte commented that I was dragging my feet and that’s usually my comment for him.

But I persevered.

And sorted.

And tossed.

And donated.

And sold.

And organized.

And packed.

And got some pretty serious cramps in my back and legs.

I took down the maps that I hung on the back of the shelves a few years ago. 

I kept some (that I didn't rip, and threw away the ones that I did).

Taking down maps from shelves

I found a lipstick kiss on the border of California and Nevada and remembered that it came from a video broadcast project Ellie and McDaniel did a few years ago.

Ellie did a news broadcast explaining volcanoes and wanted to break away to a weather report, McDaniel being the meteorologist.

I let them each wear lipstick that we later realized was actually stain and it didn’t come off for HOURS! 

Which required an explanation when Ellie 
went to dinner with her friend’s family.

I can’t remember why McDaniel decided it was necessary to kiss the map during her weather report but she did.

Lipstick kiss print on map

I made this desk out of a door and two wooden snack tables and several rulers tacked to the edges. It served us well for a few years but we weren’t sure where to put it.

Door desk

So we put it on our curb with a FREE sign on it.

Door desk on the curb on trash tray with a FREE sign

The next morning it was still there and I was struck with a plan. 

With the adrenaline of a new idea, I was able to get the desk into the garage ALL BY MYSELF.

I know, it was like I became the Incredible Hulk.
But without the anger.
Or the green.
Image of Incredible Hulk, Lou Feragno

I put it in the basement in my craft room. 

Now Ellie can sew while someone does their homework.

If that ever is a situation that needs to happen.

Door desk in craft room

In fact, all the packing and moving inspired a lot more packing and moving.

On top of just trying to get that den/office cleaned out, I decided to completely reorganize my craft room.

And move an armoire from our bedroom to the craft room.

And a little farm table from the craft room to the bedroom.

Because, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…

Image of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie book

I think you get the picture.

Monte and I decided the best way to move the armoire down the stairs 
would involve a quilt, him in front of the armoire, me behind it 
and Ellie with the telephone, her fingers poised to dial 9-1-1.

We all lived. 
But we decided that may go on the list 
as one of the dumber things we’ve done.

But we finally finished!!!

Empty den

Empty den
Yucky dirty carpet.

Empty den


  1. Wow, you have been busy! We recently moved some couches using a tarp to slide the heavy couches. I think your quilt trick is a great idea. Hugs and thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop.

  2. Wow - that was fun to read! You inspired me to get some things organized around here!

  3. Cleaning out things brings up so many memories! That is why it always takes me so long : ) I love the poster and the fact that you had a Waffle House newsletter - love it.

  4. Still laughing at the basketball game!! And "If you give a mouse a cookie"... lololol

    You must be SO excited and SO proud of all your hard work in organizing and cleaning OUT all the stuff!!! Isn't it such a great accomplishment? It's like you live in a new house, right? WOOT!


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