Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reflections on Monday

It was one of those nasty, frustrating, difficult days.

After we have breakfast and I get my daughter out the door to school (which will happen Thursday) my morning routine is:

Swish and swipe the bathrooms (5 minutes)
Wash breakfast dishes, put them away once dry. (10 minutes)
Sweep through the house and pick up and put away for 15 minutes.
Pick up master bedroom and put things away. (5 minutes)
Laundry: fold a load, transfer one, start one. (10 minutes)
Review my calendar and to-do list. (10 minutes)
Then, I allow myself some computer time as a "carrot."

Today, the goal was to implement it. But, it took all day to do this hour-long routine. All day! Every step I took was backwards.

As a result, it looks as though a couple of teenaged theives ransacked the place.

I think I expect myself to do too much on Mondays, though.

Hub's Work Food Prep:
Prepare for husband's work week:
1) make muffins
2) make granola bars. (This should shift to Sunday, as my daughter should take one in her lunch, too.)
3) make either a large pot of soup or a huge bean salad.

I got the muffins baked.

The MM list schedules the vacuuming of the main floor of the house on Mondays (among other things). It makes for a very heavy day. I think I'll just make an executive decision to transfer all those items to Tuesday's list. It's what I do anyway--though I feel "behind."

I didn't get any of the items done on Monday's list. I didn't even look at it!

But we did get our homeschooling done. I did a bit of puttering in the yard, and ironed three summer shirts (while watching the pilot episode of the British show Touching Evil. My husband picked it up from the library yesterday.)

Sorry for the downer of an entry. Some days just don't go well.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Reflections on Sunday

Have you ever noticed that when you clean up one area of your home other areas start to look shabby and in need of attention? That those spaces, which before you cleaned up were perfectly quiet (though messy) and didn't bother you at all? But now that you've cleaned up--even just a little bit--you can't stand the messy parts anymore? Something must be done! Now!

That happened in my yard, yesterday.

We decided to (finally) get rid of the junk by the fence.

Once that was gone, I started noticing there was junk everywhere!

by the back door:

under the kitchen window:

and underneath the lilac tree.

Once I'd finished preparing our homeschool week, I went out and started tidying around the yard and pruning up the lilac tree. I didn't really get too far by the time they returned, though. I think I'll make it an area to focus on this week.

In order to make this the "perfect" week, Sunday is designated "Prep and Errand Day."

Mark son's schoolwork.
Make up homeschool schedule for the week.
Any other homeschool preparation, as needed.

Plan lunches.
Make up shopping list.

Make up focused project list for the week:
1) taxes.
2) slipcover for couch
3) yardwork

as needed.

(Today we bought the last of my daughter's school supplies, printer ink, a new phone and a laundry hamper. We left at 2:30, we got home after 6.)

I do not like this schedule, really. We are a one car family: that's a decision we have made for very good reasons. But it means that Sunday is really the only day I have for running errands like this. As well, though, Sunday is the only day we have available for the four of us to be together. Today, all we had time for together was dinner.

Maybe tomorrow after supper we can do something.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reflections on Saturday

Saturday is an odd day for us.

My husband works Saturdays, so it's not really the "weekend." On the other hand, I'm not teaching my son and both kids are underfoot.

So, yesterday, I decided it was "catch up on laundry day" and "clean the basement day." I also went through my closet and got rid of a few clothes I know I won't wear whether I shrink into them or not.

Everything on the couch will go.

As I did that, my daughter cleaned her room across the hall. (Yay!)

I also planned some school work for next week which took quite a few hours and totally destroyed any sense of "break" I might have had. However, I am glad it is done!

Then, I ventured into the basement. Most of it was just stuff that simply needed to be put away. But as I stood in the middle of it, I wondered how on earth to begin. Where one thing needed to go, there was something there already. I couldn't move that thing until something else was dealt with--and on it goes.

This is what is at the foot of the stairs--and has been since mid-July when we got home from camping--and I had to re-pack the kids and send them out on their own camping trips.

These are the shelves where we store out camping gear and suitcases.

The kids were a big help (until they decided to blow up balloons, pin them to the dart board and pop them with darts!)

Actually, they were great and I was happy for the company.

In the evening, while hubby and I watched an episode of a British Crime series drama (Wire in the Blood) I folded, and folded and folded.

Today is errand day. Lots of those, unfortunately!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Perfect Week

I wonder if it is even possible.

What do I mean by a "perfect week?"

1) All housekeeping chores are done in a timely manner:
Soooo the dishes kept up, hotspots cleared, cleaning done according to the daily list provided by Motivated Moms.

a little cleaning and organization I did this week

2) My son's schoolwork for the day (and the marking!) completed by dinner-time.

3) His schedule for the week planned out and ready for Monday morning.

4) Dinners cooked and eaten together, lunches and snacks pre-prepared.

fridge cleared out day before garbage pick-up.

5) The laundry done everyday--with none left to do (no putting away, no folding, no drying, and not enough sitting in the hampers to justify a load) by Saturday evening. (So Sunday would be the day of rest for laundry!)

6) The house picked up and clean--all week.

7) And on a personal note: I want to plan my food every evening for the next day and do some sort of exercise everyday.


I think I am going to try it, starting tomorrow. I've been working really hard on the decluttering thing and I think I am finally in a position to "keep up" with the surfaces I've already cleared and organized.

If I try it for a week, I will know what systems I need to implement to help things along.

I like my jars.

As a reward, I will take pictures on Saturday of the whole house and give us a house tour. Maybe. Let's see how it goes.

Cross your fingers for me.

(P.S. I have not forgotten about the Gallery wall. I decided to take apart my store bought slip cover and re-sew it into a custom cover for the couch. I've taken the pieces apart. I just need the courage to cut it down.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It Takes Time to Build a Gallery Wall

I had one many years ago.

This is from 2001, back when I took photos with people in them!

(Such cuties, my boys.)

I was so proud of that wall!

But what a hodge podge. And everything is crooked, too. As they tended to get --and stay-- with a three year old underfoot and a baby in my arms.

Jump ahead 10 years. To now. I'd been considering a gallery wall for about a year. Finally, inspiration came from a collection of prints and frames I found at Walmart.

Yes. Walmart. That mecca of fine art.

I had turned my nose up at Ikea's offerrings. Large canvases and Home Sense weren't good enough for me either.

But, I saw these while shopping for socks, and I realised that I'd buy each and every single piece if I'd found them at Value Village. So, I decided to just skip the middle man (or woman!) and buy them first.

(I thought I had a picture of the pieces in their original layout in their box. I don't. It would go here if I did. Trust me, though. It was hip.)

I had a direction, a colour scheme and a theme: black frames, silver and aqua, and anything related to the garden.

I kept shopping, of course, and the Internet hunting escalated in the pursuit of inexpensive art prints.

I snooped around at The Graphics Fairy. There's simply an outrageous amount of material there. I spent days looking at things, saving things.

I continued to scour the internet for more images.

I found this (and others) courtesy of the blog A Thoughtful Place. It's a botanical print from an old German book. I cleaned up the image a bit and played about with the colours until I had it the way I wanted.

I created a layout of the wall on the living room floor.

Here was the first option:

I needed to change a few things, though, so I worked on the individual pieces. You may remember, getting two pictures ready was a massive undertaking.

Once I had things more or less the way I wanted them, I did a few more layouts on the floor.

This felt stiff, though. Formal. Lined up. I wanted more of a flow. So, I tried another one.

I loved this one.

A few days before our vacation, I started putting stuff up. I thought it would be great to come home from vacation and have it done.

It would have been.

Instead, in the middle of July, I cam home to this.

On Friday, this is where things stood.

It stayed like this until this weekend.

That's when I decided to let go and let be.
Stay Tuned

PS. The original date of this post was June 17th.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What a Feeling!

It's beginning to pay off--already!

Today, I decided to implement parts of my old, beloved, Morning Routine.

I've decided that as I clear off surfaces (so far--the kitchen table and a cabinet and a dresser which are clutter magnets!) I will go around the house for 15 minutes and clear them off again. It actually doesn't take a whole 15 minutes to deal with these--if I keep up with them daily!

I decided to do this,

1) so that I get back in the habit of my morning de-cluttering routine. (I used to do the whole house in 15 minutes every morning!)


2) most importantly to me, so that I don't feel like I'm falling behind. When I put my nose down and get involved in a "project"-- even de-cluttering-- I tend to hyperfocus on whatever I am doing at the moment and let everything else fall by the wayside. It's quite counter-productive--and decidedly deranged when it comes to de-cluttering! But, if I de-clutter the areas I've already cleared out before I start the day's project--then I feel like I am making progress!

So, this morning, I did my 15 minute tidy--and washed the dishes directly after breakfast. Then, I set the timer and decluttered my desk for 15 minutes.

As I showed you yesterday:

and today:

Three days ago, the kitchen counter looked like this:

It's taken that long, but this morning, finally, I have the counter back in my clutter comfort zone.

A few minutes ago, I walked from the desk to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee and back to the desk to begin this post--and I felt lighter. I felt like someone had released a band around my forehead. I hadn't even realised I'd felt oppressed.

Now, I remember. I've had this feeling before, too. But I was taken by surprise. It made me happy.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Clutter Control Day 2

I didn't get done what I wanted to do.

I wanted to fix this mess:

Many moons ago, I disassembled this light fixture in order to re-wire the contraption. I never did get around to it and I decided that it was time to have some light back in this room.

(It is North facing--and it is astonishing how stuff just piles up inside the cave. Did I mention this is the ceiling fixture for the dining room/home office? Yes. Where I'm sitting now.)

(I'm cringing)

I can not find the little hardware bits I needed to put things back together. I found some--but not all. I thought I'd been so careful about it all, too. I'm quite disappointed in myself. sigh. I guess that's one of the tests of being a well-organized person.

If you can start a project with bits--and not manage to lose the bits for the project when it's time to reassemble--you pass!

So, instead--

I worked on putting together a bunch of school supplies with my daughter (and we cleared the floor beside her bed in the process, yay!).

I went through a drawer (looking for the bits) and found three cameras we no longer use (one broken). I found the disks that go with the cameras, put them together in a baggie, and two are now in the donation station.

I went through another drawer and made a list of the containers I need to put inside it to hold everything properly.

I cleaned out my purse.

Yesterday, my daughter and I went shopping--I told her to start without me. I told her the list was in my purse. When I returned, she was holding two lists in her hands--and neither was the right one. I couldn't find the one we needed until we were headed out of the store. Geesh.

Then, because I had to have something to show for today's efforts, I cleaned off two surfaces which constantly need it:

The front hallway (sorry, no before. It was good, too. You couldn't get the door shut for all the shoes and roller blades):

and the back:

ta da!

It's not your imagination. The second image is brighter as well as tidier. I finally got around to replacing all three burnt out bulbs in the overhead fixture.

This is good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Clutter Control

...as in getting it under.

I've enrolled myself in Simplify 101's Quick and Simple Clutter Control for the upteenth time. (Though for the first time in over six months.) It started today--and not a moment too soon! I have been drowning under all my clutter ever since we got back from camping. (Yes, those are tent poles and walking sticks by the back door, there.)

My approach today was to spend 15 minutes each on my routine tasks: dishes and laundry, and an extra 15 truly de-cluttering. You know, picking up and putting away the junk that has just piled up.

I have a very long list of those sorts of areas. Here is the first: the hooks by the back door and the kitchen table.

Ta Da!
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