Fixing, repairing, maintaining: De-Stuff My Life, Day 2

Day 1 of the 40-day decluttering challenge:

GOAL: Take photos, upload, and plan de-cluttering

Took roughly 42 photos of various areas in my home. Intentionally took photos of small areas to reduce anxiety/fear at not being able to finish.

Uploaded photos to a Google Drive folder for sharing.

Looked at the photos to get ideas where to start.

Worked at little messes throughout the day, a few minutes at a time. Kept taking pictures of the progress and ended up with 12 pictures of neatly organized areas (some weren’t original photos, but the “clean” photos motivated me to keep trying).

Filled the sink twice with dirty dishes and washed them. Filled the sink again with not-dirty dishes that were dusty from sitting out too long.

Collected an entire large garbage bag’s worth of trash plus a small basket of items to give away.

Looking forward to Day 2.

A funny thing happened on the way to de-stuffing my life yesterday. In the midst of sorting trash and give-away items, I took a few hours to to visit my local music shop.

You see, a friend (now former friend) sent my violin to me. In the mail. The regular mail. In a box with a few packing peanuts. In the dead heat of summer.

Not express shipping with the box marked “extremely fragile,” and not even in a box with plenty of packing material.

I’ve been heartsick about this for months, and I couldn’t face the loss of my most treasured possession. Back when I did hospice training last summer, we had to write down our three most valued things (material, non-material, etc.). I chose my violin for one. Then we were to imagine we had lost it..

I burst into tears.

I never was a Leila from Simple Gifts. I never was that good (and hope I wasn’t that much of a diva.) But I was a dedicated violinist for most of my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Had tendonitis been kinder to me (realistically, if I’d been able to play without getting stressed), I might have become an orchestra teacher. Sometimes, I miss the life I could have had.

Over Christmas and New Year’s break, I finally researched repair shops. One posted repair prices that sounded too good to be true. Skeptical, I did more research and asked musicians I know in the area. The shop did seem as good as it first appeared, so I took my precious violin yesterday.

And got it fixed.


I almost cried on the way home. I dug through boxes to find my cheap metal folding stand, purchased when I was ten. (With my own money!) My name written in masking tape fastened around each half of the stand and the side of the carrying case. Time hadn’t been kind, though, and the carrying case had degraded to the point of leaving thick, sticky residue all over the stand.

I found a bit of my sheet music, also covered with the residue. I’ve been wanting to play for church for ages (no one is kinder to an out-of-practice former musician than a church congregation), and an old book of piano-and-violin songs was perfect. I’d lost the accompaniment part long ago, though.

So I went to SHAR Music and browsed, and they had a sale for the holidays. I picked out the accompaniment part. For free shipping, I could spend a few dollars more–so I got a replacement stand that came with its own case. (In my day, we had to buy the case separately. Kids these days have it good! 😛 )


Decluttering is about getting rid of unnecessary stuff, sure. But it’s also about turning our STUFF back into the possessions we love, use, and need.

I’ll keep working on tidying my STUFF today, but I’m also planning to tackle the various maintenance jobs I’ve left undone for…oh, longer than I care to admit. Scraping off melted plastic and replacing a burner on my stove. Changing dirty drip pan liners (they’re so bad that I can’t cook). I’m down to one good stove burner. I put things off thinking, “I don’t have time,” but it wastes time because I have to cook each item separately.

I have a Wii that hasn’t worked in years. Maybe it’s time to get it fixed or find it a better home. I wish I could get it to work!

Elderly air filters, wobbly table legs, tilting shelves…

Today I’m de-stuffing my life by fixing what’s worth keeping. Throwing out what’s not.


Newly tidied medicine cabinet (okay, this was an easy one!) I don’t have a “before” photo, but this never gets too bad. Still, this was small enough for my first step. Well worth it!


Spic-n-span hallway (okay, another easy one!). Surprising how much it helps to have a photo, pick up a few things, snap another photo, and pat myself on the back. Great motivation to continue, and it only took a minute!


We have REAL messes here. Not a couple of mugs on the counter. This was a bit more time-intensive, but it’s not books. Not papers. Not clothes. No thinking or painful deciding, just cleaning and washing. I can do it!


Nothing that a little determination can’t fix! The entire countertop on the other side is scrubbed clean, too. Also the stovetop. Little victories, right? Now I just need to find permanent storage solutions for all of my water bottles.


Dish soap dispenser cleaned, refilled, recapped, and ready to use. I’m embarrassed to say how long this has taken! Getting everything back in working order will decrease the clutter a lot.


And a bit of light bondage for teddy bears. Uh…oops. Move along, people. Nothing to see here. 😀
How about you? How will you de-stuff your life today? Do you have any items that can be restored to working order?

7 thoughts on “Fixing, repairing, maintaining: De-Stuff My Life, Day 2

  1. rozharrison says:

    Hi Ana, what wonderful progress you are making with the challenge. It’s such a great feeling seeing the final product isn’t it 🙂 I have just about cleaned the house from top to bottom but need to sort through and throw away some stuff, mainly old clothes.

    I’m so glad and happy for you that you have your violin back in working order again. An awesome outcome 🙂



  2. pieclown says:

    Hi Ana. I love the story about your violin. Some years ago my friend and I were joined by a violin player and some times two. His daughter was one. She now lives out of state but makes it back every so often and plays at some events.

    I tried to set up the Google drive, but no luck.

    I did get some done. I dropped off 2 bags of clothes at a shelter. I also did other clean ing. I got a pile of clean clothes sorted and folded.

    Pie pie 4 now


  3. Monica Wiant says:

    It makes my heart happy to know that your violin is back in working order and in your care. I hope you’re able to play it again with joy, without pain or stress. There’s something liberating about a picking up a musical instrument, not as a student musician. When I finally got a piano for my house, 15 years after my last lesson, I realized what it meant to play for the pleasure of it. I’m glad I spent those years practicing and learning, but I’m not eager to go back.


    • Anastasia Vitsky says:

      I don’t think I’d want to go back to student musician days, either. What a lot of stress and drama! Much nicer to play for the pleasure of it now. 😀 And I bet it’s fun for you to watch your children learn as well.


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