Lego Land

She's NEAT logoWhile preparing for a presentation to a South Portland “Think Local” meet-up group about my personal organization business She’s NEAT, a factoid appeared on a morning television show which seemed tailor-made for my upcoming talk.

In the context of Earth Day and discussing the small ways by which we all can positively impact the health of our planet, it was pointed out that enough Legos have been manufactured so that 62 pieces are available for every man, woman, and child on the planet.

This is great news for someone with a fledgling de-cluttering service; not so good news for the planet.

Americans are, for the most part, blessed with the problem of TOO MUCH STUFF. We have so much stuff that we’ve become Heavy2inured to all the stuff that is around us. And even if you recognize that you have too much stuff and so are not accumulating MORE stuff, reducing the amount of stuff you already have is another matter.

Our stuff is like those extra 10-15 pounds many of us carry around. We’ve become accustomed to the additional weight and although it would be nice to be trimmer and more fit, it’s way too much work to get that job done.

So we continue to carry the extra stuff, sometimes moving it right along with us as we change houses or apartments, only marginally aware of how it might be holding us back, or at the very least how it may be making things more difficult than need be.

This is where She’s NEAT comes in, with strategies, guidance, motivation, and focus to help live a less-cluttered life of lightness and ease. Just think for a moment how life could be improved with less stuff around you.

Seriously: Give yourself a moment to imagine the space you are sitting in having more space, less junk, and more clarity.

It’s nice, huh?

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.com Jeanne Fiorini enjoys the space and aesthetics which orderly environments provide. She’s NEAT can help bring this clarity to your home or office. Visit the She’s NEAT site FMI.

 

New Blog Topic: She’s NEAT

In addition to musings and ramblings about the world of Tarot, comedy clubs, and yard sales, you’re apt to be seeing some posts here about a new business I’ve got going called She’s NEAT.

I’ve come to understand that not everyone desires — or is able to — be neat … be organized … know where to find things in the house … provide compartments for various types of screwdrivers .. make sure their spices are lined up in alphabetical order.

OK, I don’t do those last two things, but I wish I had a dollar for every time someone remarked on my tidy home and/or my organizational skills. I’ve decided to put this surely-genetic trait to some good use and am offering it up as She’s NEAT: a personal organization service offering practical esthetics for home and office.

The business will provide de-cluttering services, space clearing, furniture placement and rearrangement, closet overhauls,  functionalization of work spaces, and in essence, find ways to create a functional and harmonious environment in which you can go about your business.

It might not be readily apparent, but this new business has a great many similarities to the Tarot work.

A Tarot reading de-clutters the mind. A Tarot reading clears the air of misconceptions; it rearranges and compartmentalizes thoughts, feelings, and plans. A good Tarot reading paves the way for more intentional action and decision-making, and creates space for a more functional and harmonious life.

What I’ve been doing for chakras 3-7 will now also take place in the first and second.

An essential principle of feng shui is that a neat house is a lucky house. In the same way that we can’t  make a good decision when our heart and head is spinning with confusing and sometimes conflicting agendas, we can’t get out of the house in the morning if we can’t find our car keys. Turns out, neatness counts.

I work in the Southern Maine area, but even those of you who live “away” can send along your 2-minute videos! Send me the pics of your chaotic or inefficient spaces and we’ll cook up ways to get your everyday environment working more effectively for you.

Jeanne Fiorini is congenitally neat and organized, as is evident by the She’s NEAT Facebook page and the TarotWorks web site. So much to organize, so little time.

2012 Yard Sale Documentation Project: Final Accounting

And so we say goodbye to another yard sale season. Although it is a sad aspect of the turning of the seasons, 2012’s yard sale scene was one of the best in recent memory!

The sale-ing season was stellar in part because it was an abundant and fruitful affair, but also due to the fact that this weekly report added a real measure of pleasure to the whole thing. THANK YOU for paying attention to these weekly escapades!

As promised  the beginning, here’s the final tally: a record of the kinds of items that were purchased, and the not-so-grand total expenditure. To tell you the truth, I was surprised at how little money was spent during a season that spans three-quarters of the calendar year.

We’ll start with the types of items that came home with me, and the number of “pieces” in each category:

Furniture: Chairs, tables, rugs …..  6
Holiday Items:
String lights, candles, décor …..  8
Prints and Paintings:
Real art!   …..   7
Things for Vera:
Books, toys, puzzles ….. 11
Utilitarian Goods:
Stationary, office supplies,  kitchen utensils, baskets, plates, vacuum cleaners, smoke alarms, and a Hamilton Beach food processor  …..  27
Decorative Goods:
Frames, mirrors, pottery, pillows, etc. …..   26
Clothing:
Jackets, scarves, sweaters, purses, shoes ….. 7
Lawn and Garden:
a mixed bag of garden ornaments, a barrel of straw,
and a free beach umbrella ….. 11
Jewelry:
necklaces, bracelets, earrings  ….. 11
Books:
including cook books …..  5

Total number of different items: 119. Where in this house did I put all this stuff?!

A few observations: I’m proud of the fact that Utilitarian purchases edged out my penchant for pretty things. That Hamilton Beach processor might be the single best buy of the season, especially if none of my paintings or pottery turn out to be valuable.

Clearly I’m not a book hound, with those items ranking last on the list. But my dear Ms. Vera did score pretty well from grammie’s little addiction. And that free beach umbrella, used on the back porch as well as the beach, was greatly appreciated for its form and function.

Now for the cash outlay for the entire season…..drum roll, please!

Care to make a stab at it? It might be fun to offer up a quiet personal guess before the big reveal….. scroll down a bit to see the final amount.

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$158.75. Total. For the whole season. For all that stuff. I am amazed and I lived through it!

Now who thinks I’m a crazy B with too much time on her hands?

Jeanne Fiorini is a crazy B, but not because she lives for yard sales. She’s just started a new local business in South Portland Maine called “She’s NEAT,” a personal organizing service creating orderly and efficient environments. With all this stuff she got at yard sales you have to be organized! Find us on Facebook: ShesNeatCreatingOrder

Yard Sale Documentation Project: 11-10- 2012

Let’s see, where did we leave off?

October 20th

Rained out. Just as well, I was feeling uninspired i.e. lazy.

October 27th

We’re at the point in the season where the “just wander around and look for signs” approach is no longer effective. This is now a targeted effort. And while the number of sales in the classifieds for this Saturday is down to a mere 22, there are some tempting listings.

Although there was quite a bit of stuff out there today, I didn’t come home with much, and for two very good reasons:

1.  The “I really don’t need that even though it’s totally cute” mantra that still is cycling through my head.
2.  Severe price delusions by young’un’s who think granny’s stuff is valuable just because it’s old. They’ll get the message when the end of the day comes and they’re faced with a mountain of old pine and rusty tools and outdated junk.

But I did score a new stick vac (I don’t need a sincere vacuum since I only have throw rugs at my house) and a set of “Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf” finger puppets for little Ms. Vera.

Total outlay: $6, plus I was home in time to ready the house for hurricane Sandy who is supposed to show up on Monday. We had an earthquake here in Maine a few weeks ago; what gives, Mother Nature?


November 3rd
I worked this day, co-facilitating a Jung and Tarot workshop. A great group of inspiring and enthusiastic participants made it so that I only thought a couple of times about what I might be missing in YardSale Land on this sunny Saturday.

November 10th

The Portland Press Herald’s classified section declared on Friday that the yard sale season has ended.

I beg to differ. Despite clumps of snow and chilly temps, people were selling and people were buying on this second weekend in November. And, by some sort of fortuitous yard sale telepathy, several decent sales were clustered around a well-to-do area in neighboring Scarborough.

This “well-to-do” aspect can work in your favor and sometimes it bites you in the butt. Sometimes it means there’s high quality bargains in them thar hills; sometimes it’s a pre-cognition of the relativity of money and that the realization that the word “bargain” means different things to different people.

Kate and I operate under “the 10% rule.” If the yard sale price is 10% (or less) of what the item would cost new, a purchase is worth considering. Much more over that constitutes price delusion and we’re apt to be headed toward the car mumbling and grumbling.

It was amusing to me, but not surprising, to see again those same young’un’s referred to on October 27th, still tied to their imagined value of grannie’s junk. I picked up a pair of dessert dishes, marked $2, and asked the girl if she’d take $1 for them.

“Yes, $1 each,” with a glare she replied.

I could have done without the attitude. Back on the shelf they went, and I hope she enjoyed packing them up at the end of the day.

At a different sale, I observed a man drop $100 cash on two different piles of art prints. Both the seller and the buyer were thrilled with the transaction, and I have no doubt that the buyer got a good deal there; the prints were authentic and lovely.

As I said, money means different things to different people.

When it was all said and done, and it was done fairly quickly today, an eclectic and useful mix of things did come home with me. Here’s the tally:

1. Two funky cookbooks (I love that title, Lode of Vittles!) for my brother Bill who owns a B&B in the Adirondack Mountains, white Pfaltzgraff bowl, and two small notepads …. from the “Free” pile
2. Fisherman’s cross-stitch for my other brother Mike    …..$2
3. Five pieces of arty-crafty materials, always useful for my New Year’s Intention Map Workshop and the upcoming “Make your Own Holiday Ornament” event …..$1
4. Tall glass vase and Waverly Garden mug ……$1
5. Garden Scissors and heavy brass pine cone (from a coo-coo clock?) ….. $1
6. Three yards of burlap… any gardener knows you can always use burlap. …..   $1
7. Biographical fiction about the life of the Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, dated 1914 …..$1

Total expenses for the day: $7

Stay tuned for the final installment of the 2012 Yard Sale Documentation Project coming soon, where the full season’s accounting will be posted!

How much did she spend? What did she buy? Was it worth the time and effort? Does this woman need a new hobby? Does she need an intervention?

See you next time when you can decide for yourself.

 

Jeanne Fiorini is a Tarot professional and a yard sale addict who can stop any time she wants. Visit the TarotWorks website to see what Jeanne does when she’s not rummaging through other people’s stuff.

Yard Sale Documentation Project: October Update

I was going to wait and post all of October’s adventures at the end of the month, but so much for that idea! Today (October 13th) was such an enjoyable day in yard sale world that I had to create a post to honor the event. Here goes, beginning at last week’s entry:

Saturday October 6th

The day opens with bright sunshine: a good sign. The wind is warm and the air is moist; you can tell it’s going to rain later in the day, but for these early morning hours it’s a perfect fall day.

The Maine Today classified section listed 77 yard sales happening this weekend. Granted, some of those are in the Augusta area 30 miles away from here, but that’s still a respectable showing for an October Saturday.

Sometimes when you head out in the morning, you have a focus for the day, a goal to accomplish, an item you hope to acquire, a thing that you need to buy eventually or in the moment but don’t want to pay full retail price for. Today I was in search of costume jewelry to give to Vera for her second birthday.

We haven’t tried to turn Vera into a girlie-girl, in fact both Kate and I shun that sort of programming. And the girl is not what you’d call “delicate” in stature. But she does love “peenk” and she loves wearing Grammie’s jewelry, all of it at the same time, mostly.

I hit the mother lode on this one today, as evidenced by the photo.

  • Two pairs of clip-on earrings          $1
  • Beaded bracelet                       50 cents
  • 25-carat blue cocktail ring       50 cents
  • Turquoise beaded necklace             $1

Those items will become part of Vera’s birthday present. The black/gold beads ($1) are for me. They’re especially lovely and probably have some age, check out that fancy clasp.)

The sale next door to this one was truly fabulous: lots of wonderful pottery, kitchen ware, kids clothes and furniture, but I really didn’t need any of it. I also found, at another sale down the road, a DIVINE 1960’s low coffee table, well-crafted solid wood, about 6’ long…$10. I pondered long and hard as to where I might be able to fit that thing into a niche or corner somewhere my house, it was so cool.

With heavy heart and empty hands I left both these sales.

But I did come home with a classic Moosewood cookbook ($1) and Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight, purchased for the rock-bottom price of one quarter. If you follow the other postings on this blog you’re sure to be hearing more about that book in the near future.

This was a good day, and considering that October is upon us, it was stellar. Could be best of the season still be ahead?

Saturday October 13th

That “best of the season” comment might have been prophetic. I did come home with some great things today, but the hallmark of this Saturday’s excursion was the classic kitch that was out there today.

Even though, as the James Taylor song goes, “the frost is on the pumpkin and the hay is in the barn,” … and the yard salers wore hats and gloves this morning ….  sales were abundant and the throngs were thronging. Let me not waste any time in sharing the joy of the funky junk that was there for the picking.

First we have this fine item: a handmade wooden cross, about 20″ high, fully electrified and bulbed-up, for what we can only guess. Those red lights are the round bulbs from the 60’s, and I shudder to think what the thing looks like when lit. Praise the lord.

Then there were these two chairs, now in poor shape but one can imagine the artful dignity they carried when new or only slightly broken in. These are more like broken down, but they still have more character that much of what I see selling in stores today.

And come on, who doesn’t want a fountain light hanging in the corner of their living room? Certain to add ambiance beyond compare to any decor. I can remember the day when seeing this in a restaurant was the guarantee of a fine dinner, no joke.

Finally, we have a plastic surfing baby monkey.

Nothing left to say on that one.

It’s only 8:30am and I’m already SO glad I dragged myself out of bed.

More seriously useful and lovely bargains were yet to cross my path on this chilly fall morning. Once the LL Bean wool/silk blend sweater coat was purchased (for $1) I was tempted to wear it on the spot, but it does need a little airing-out.

I also picked up some audio cassette tapes (useful for recording Tarot readings for those folks who still have the technology to play them back), some fancy-schmantzy body lotion (I know, that looks like a lady’s “pleasure tool” but it’s not), a 6-pack of artist’s note cards, and a bouquet of fresh flowers from a farm stand.

Total expenditure to carry home the things in the photo: $7.75.

The find of the day, however, is certainly the painting at the top of this article. Done in the 60’s by a Massachusetts artist named Ernest Perry, a quick trips across the internet shows his work to sell for around $275.

I don’t expect to sell it since I love it and it has already found a home in the stairwell gallery, but if I ever do I’m sure to make some money on it, since the woman who sold it had it priced at $1.

Praise the lord.

Jeanne Fiorini is an avid yard saler, a professional Tarot reader, a pro football fan, and a lover of dogs. Visit the TarotWorks website to learn more about Jeanne and the Tarot work!

Around The Bean Pole

Here’s a photo of the bean plant that grew in my garden this year. When posted on Facebook back in August, the caption was something like, “I get it now about Jack and that bean stalk.” Nine feet tall is a modest estimate, and you can see the tendrils attempting to reach even higher.

There are baggies of beans in the freezer and the thing is still producing fruit even though we’re now into the second week of October. Along with providing the daily requirements of Vitamins A, C, K, iron, and fiber, picking beans from this plant taught me something that I already knew but about which I apparently needed a reminder: It’s all about perspective.

From the kitchen window I see the beans hanging from the vines and think, “Oh, better go out and get those before they get too big and become tough and woody.” Out I go with a bowl to cull what might be ripe for the picking.

Round the pole we go, gathering beans up and down as we spin around the circumference of the beast. Retracing steps in the other direction, it’s amazing to find fat and ready beans that were missed first time around. What was under a leaf coming from the northwest corner is in full view from the southeast vantage point. What was “too far down and out of sight” is at eye level once you scootch yourself closer to the dirt.

Back around we go for a third time, invariably discovering more and more fruit that went unnoticed in previous passes. How did these go undetected? How could I have missed this one? Why didn’t I think to look at the very bottom of the plant, almost into the soil, where the vines are doing exactly what they’re doing at the top of the plant: stretching, reaching, sprouting, growing.

This is great news for the dinner table and the pantry, but for the reflective person I can’t help being, it brings up concerns about what else I may be missing, what else I am not seeing: work opportunities, potential friends and lovers, essential information regarding health and wellbeing, not to mention useful blog ideas and bargains at the grocery store.

The bean pole teaches me that the best I can do is to keep my eyes open and try to look at things from as many perspectives as possible. “Bend your neck, move your head, shift your posture, use your eyeballs to really see what is there, and not just perceive what you expect to see.”

That last one is the hardest of all. When I catch myself being guilt of this sin, of not seeing what is there because of what I expected to see instead, I say to myself, “Silly human.”

I doubt other animals do this to themselves; they don’t have the luxury of being able to misperceive reality.

Yard Sale Documentation Project: September Round-Up

Thought you’d heard the last of this, right? Not quite yet.

Yes, the season is waning, but that’s more a result of September’s wet weather than of limited sale-ing ops. I’ve compressed the experiences of the past several weeks into one post, and will likely do the same for October unless something fantabulously amazing happens out there in the meantime.  

Enjoy!

Saturday September 15th

This was an uneventful outing. Although revved up to make the scene due to one supremely up-scale neighborhood having their annual sale, I was home by 10:00am. Today’s was more a case of “I don’t really need that” rather than the less-attractive whine “there’s nothing out here today.” At this point in the game that’s OK.

For the record, here are my purchases:

  • Versatile Crate and Barrel divided dinnerware holder thingee  $2
  • Full box of Metropolitan Museum of Art “Sunflowers” note cards  $2

 

Saturday September 22nd

A rainy and therefore late start to the day. I’m sure many of “my people” were out at the usual hour, but sale-ing in the rain is where I draw the line. I am enthusiastic about the yard scene but I’m not desperate.

You’d be surprised at the number of folks still hosting sales, but not surprised (if you’ve been paying attention at all ) to know that the throngs are still thronging. Ran into Jack, about whom I was beginning to worry since we’d not seen him in weeks. He’s well, and was quick to alert me to several unadvertised sales happening nearby.

It was another “I really don’t need that” kind of day … maybe the exertion of having my own sale a few weeks ago really has altered my yard sale gene. A few things about which I’m really happy did come home with me today:

  • This ADORABLE kiddie shopping cart, complete with lift-able baskets and racks.
  • Vera will totally flip her lid.                                             50 cents
  •  Pair of 5” prints, wonderful colors, nicely framed         $2

I spent more than that on the morning’s coffee and bagel.


Saturday September
29th

Today’s event was totally rained out, which was a bummer since I received an email notice during the week about a fab sale to be hosted today. Having advance notice of a good sale is akin to having free pizza delivered to your door or seeing the CandyGram guy standing there with an armload of chocolates.

However, the lack of sale-ing activity today gives me a chance to share with you one more facet of The Yard Sale Experience: The Integration Process.

Sometimes this is the more time-consuming aspect of being a yard sale hound, the fact that to effectively and gracefully integrate all these new belongings into one’s living space requires thought, patience, ingenuity, and oftentimes more than one trip to the hardware store.

You may remember this frame on the left from a sale in July.

Here it is on the right, reformulated; now showing off a print formerly housed in a much less elegant holder but which is now at home in a complimentary style and mutually-enhancing arrangement. Lovely, eh?

This is where the 5′ X 8′ wool rug that came from perhaps the best sale of the season landed, now very much at home in my bedroom. It seems to go well with both the summer- and winter-toned decor in there and I love the soft feel of the wool on my tootsies.

Plus you should know that everything you see here (yes everything) came from yard sales along the line, except for the mattress itself.

And here are those two wooden painted frogs from June that I just had to have. They preside over all activity in the kitchen as they perch upon some baskets atop the refrigerator. Ostensibly I bought them thinking Vera would enjoy them, but the truth is they make me happy.

There you have it. Until next month, when things WILL seriously be coming to close, Happy Trails!

Yard Sale Documentation Project 9-1-12

I bet some of you just said to yourself, “Huh, she’s still doing this?”

Pathetic as it may sound, I’ll be out there until the snow flies or the sales dry up, whichever of those sad events occurs first.

Although, after yesterday’s outing one might wonder why. There were lots of sales, and some nice things, just not a lot that I couldn’t live without. Looks like I’m taking my own advice from last weekend’s burn-out experience of hosting a sale.

That’s the primary feeling carried over from sale-ing yesterday: the profound gratitude of being the buyer rather than the seller.  A friend of mine, while recently considering having a sale of his own to clear the house of unused and outworn goods, was discussing the prospect to a neighbor who claimed he’d “rather have birds pull my eyes out.”

Yes I was tired for days afterward but it wasn’t all that bad. I guess that’s one more notation in the column entitled “Why men don’t have babies.”

Since there was so little to account for today, I included the vase of sunflowers from the garden to brighten the scene. The Hamilton Beach processor was a find at $2, and the sweet $1 penguin drawing (5/25 print signed) makes me happy. Kate and I had a nice drive, it was a lovely late-summer morning, and I came home feeling perfectly satisfied.

So much so that I set myself on the couch and had a 2-hour nap. That yard-sale hangover is tough to shake but at least I still have my eyeballs.

Yard Sale Documentation Project 8-20-12

Monday: Five Days Out
OK, the executive decision has been made to have a sale this coming Saturday. Since Kate starts a new teaching job in two weeks and doesn’t have the mental or physical energy to clear out the corners of her house, I’ll be the lone ranger on this one. The advanced weather report looks good, and while I’d much rather have a few partners in crime, I’m focused and ready to go.

With no clients on the books today and an open schedule, what started as a bit of house-puttering exploded into a   full-blown tear through the basement.

Items which I’d clung to retain a year ago are now easily jettisoned. I’d worried that without Kate’s cast-offs to add to the pile, mine might look like a runner-up for the “Worst Excuse for a Yard Sale” award; I needn’t have fretted.

My only problem at the moment is the sinus headache that’s been triggered by whatever has been growing in the basement during this hot and rainy summer.

The house is oozing unwanted items. Like when the aesthetician pulls the cleansing masque away from your face and you see what kind of gunk has been hiding in your pores … “Where did that come from? How long has that been there? Oh good lord I’m disgusting.”

This is what’s going on in the 1140 sq.ft. of my house.

Yard Sale Documentation Project 8-18-12

http://www.tarotworks.comAnother outing has been challenged by the weather!

Rain was coming down pretty good at 7:15am — no problem rolling back into bed. Same story at 8:15, but thanks to weather.com I could see it was all going to clear out in about an hour. It was nearly 10am — almost the wrap-up hour by usual standards — by the time I hit the road.

Between the early morning rain and the crazies who did go saleing in the pouring rain, the pickins were slim despite the fact that skies were clearing and there were quite a few sales still going on.

However, something noteworthy did occur, something that was bound to happen sooner or later.

Essentially, although I had the list of sales posted in the newspaper, I was undirected in my search today, just traveling to and fro following the signs. You can do this by mid-season: bypassing Friday night’s homework of mapping out a route based on the advertised sales, and just bumble along the streets of your town whilst keeping an eye out for any bright piece of cardboard alongside the road that might point you to the item that will secure your financial future, moving your bumper car around the road in ways that are jerky in more ways than one. (This is a carnival attraction, right?)

It was in the following of a sign that the inevitable happened. Quick turn to the left– and just as quickly on the right there were balloons on a front stoop, lots of cars parked in front, an open door, and people coming in and out of the house with things in hand.

Oooh, a moving sale, cool! Love it when they let you wander through the house looking at things in situ. Hurriedly I park the car, walk up the stoop to the open door, excitedly peering inside to see what treasures might be lurking within. Two steps into the house … yeah, it’s a kid’s birthday party.

One must be an intrepid warrior while on the yard saler path.

AND, one must know when it’s time to clear out one’s own house. Next week, weather permitting, Kate and I are hosting a sale of our own. You can’t keep bringing all this stuff into your home without needing a release on the other end of the pipeline.

So stay tuned for a blow-by-blow account of the back side of the Yard Sale Documentation Project. Some happy shoppers will be going home with treasures of their own that day, and the cycle of life in yard sale world continues.

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