Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Baby is Seven Today

Here's my big 7 year old, this morning.

So glad we celebrated last night.  He's home sick today.
No treats for him; only the bad trick of a tummy bug on beggar's night.

It was fun, in a cozy way, having him home all day.
In many ways I still think of him like this.

My little punkin.

Day 31: Recap

Day 31: Recap Time.  Well, thanks for hanging in there and sorry for the 
letdowns of the last week.  It is very hard to blog every day!
I am so glad you joined me and a lot of people have let me know
that they were inspired by this.  Righteous!

Also hard when your baby gets sick, on his birthday no less!

A quick look at giveaway/sell pile, yay!
I also donated a whole trash bag of clothing.
And I counted an extra eight large trash bags
over the course of the month. Rockin!

I still have messes, everywhere.
I will say this: nearly every space I've worked on 
is still pretty clean and tidy.
The pantry being the glaring exception.
But what can you do?

What I learned over the course of this month:

Picking a small space a day works for me.

If I can't do one every day, no biggie. Just tackle it when you can.

To do lists don't work for me: I'm never honest about how
long a project will take, and I set myself up to fail.

Getting these small spaces purged and organized greatly
improves the quality of my days.

Teaching my kids to break a large project into small tasks
is a skill that will serve them well their whole lives.

Clutter attracts more clutter.  Order attracts order.

I have too much stuff, still.

In all things, you've got to take care of what's really
important first: kids come before any of this!

That pretty much sums it up!
Thanks again for reading!  Like I said I still have tons of spaces to clean
and purge, so I will post those as often as I can.  I'll probably return to the usual
things I post: household stuff, kid stuff, craft stuff, garden stuff,
thrift and frugal living stuff,  outdoor stuff.  Prettier pictures than what's 
in my closets!  I hope you'll keep reading!

Till next time: happy cleaning!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 29: Virtual Spaces

Day 29, and here come the excuses.  I'm tired!  After a morning of 
working out, making chili and lasagna for our busy week, baking bread
and banana bread, and pushing through the laundry, I don't have
the energy for a big physically challenging task today.  So I tacked the photo
library, and holy heck, that is something.

I have 31,313 photos.


Now, why this matters is it's hogging tons of space on my computer.
Husband is always wanting to attach more memory to my computer,
and that's money out the door.  It makes better sense to me to delete photos
that I don't need.  Like pictures of the space under my sink, for example. ;-)

My main reason for getting the photo library in order is that now that my
office/studio looks fantastic, I have deemed November scrapbooking every day 
month! I know about digital scrapbooking, but for me doing paper
crafts is very satisfying. The boys like to look at the books I make, and
that will be a great thing for around the holidays.  
We will, as in all things, see how it goes. 

The second part I hope to work on is getting all kinds of stuff
deleted off my desktop.  Like everyone else, I'm constantly saving and 
clipping things, and after a while you can get virtual clutter.  Just like
physical clutter, often it represents unfinished tasks or things
I am postponing decisions on. Don't
get me started on my email, I'm working on that too!

So are you a hoarder of things on your computer?  Or do 
you delete items as soon as you are done with them?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 27: The Laundry Room

Day 27: The Laundry Room.  It's Saturday and I'd really hoped to sit under a blanket with my favorite book.  But with both boys home for our first Saturday in two months without anything planned, that was not to be.  They were, as we sometimes say, "a handful."  So I did what we always do: sent them to clean their rooms.  And I guess I felt being a good example was the best I could do.

As you can see, this was not a short task.  Took about and hour and a half, but was badly needed.

First thing to conquer: lots and lots of things in the wrong place.  Everything you can think of: shoes and boots, grocery bags, deck stain, camping gear, clothing, batteries to be recycled.  Just a lot of stuff that was placed in this room out of habit and convenience.

My little stockpile of laundry detergent.  This will come in handy, as we are going to do a no-spend month in January.

Purposing the space was again key: this room is for laundry and cleaning supply storage, but we also keep our swimming gear there too. I stored the less-used items in the green bins, and made sure I had essentials in my swim bag for when I go to the Y.  Also on the right you can see a sentimental item: it's a clothespin keeper that my mom made in high school home ec.  I use it for odds and ends.

 Trash and stuff.

How many bags do you really need?  I released a lot of these today!

  I got a lot out of there and it's so much better.  I had to show my cleaner caddy: this was one of the best things I ever bought.  I was always frustrated when the kids were babies and I was exhausted already, and I would get all the cleaning stuff upstairs to find I'd forgotten one more thing.  I got this caddy and now it's super easy to get the cleaning done faster.  I kind of thought about hotel housekeepers...they get things accomplished very fast because they have all their gear handy, and they have a routine.  

More organizing things. Husband put all this stuff up for me many years ago and again, having things stored vertically and off the floor makes you about a hundred times more likely to do the cleaning than trying to fight your way through a pile of mops and supplies.  I got this idea from the janitorial closet at an old job.  Sometimes my process is a little roundabout---things that are obvious to others don't always come easily to me.  Anyway, I figure anything you can do to help yourself is good.

Have a happy Saturday!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 26: hooks

Day 26 and I'm blogging from the phone. First a hearty thank you to everyone! Your comments fuel this little project.
Second, yesterday was a busy and rough day. From the start I knew it would be unlikely I'd actually write daily. Still I'm doing my best to keep the momentum going.
So today I just have a couple pics of hooks, which have greatly improved things around here. You'd be amazed at how much better life flows without sweaters flung over chairs and hats hung on every available space. I had my husband hang these for me because honestly when I do these kinds of projects I slop through and they fall down.
Sorry this is a little thin today; I'm hoping to do more tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 24: Micro Spaces

Day 24: A few Micro Spaces.  This by far was the most frustrating day
so far.  Mainly because I thought it would be easy.
Thank Goodness I had some Toto to listen to while I worked.

Space #1: Charging area. 

I keep all our charging things on a shelf next to an outlet.
This little thing improved my life. The whole issue of where 
to charge phones and cameras and gizmos always
made my blood pressure rise a bit.

But honestly, if the basket is this stuffed, the 
blood pressure starts up again.  Even just looking at it!

Found a few useful things. Now that I work out
I can take these babies to the gym.

My pile to consult with husband.  That will be a challenge.
He doesn't like to throw useful things away.
The question you have to ask yourself:
Is it useful to you?

Sometimes you have to give up and cut your losses.
Behold the graveyard of dead batteries 
and broken electronics.

Seriously?  This is what I ended with. That rocks!

Space #2: the "Landing Pad." You have to have
a place to land. But it's got to have a purpose. We all use this for 
sunglasses and keys mainly.

But wait? How did all that junk get in that tiny space?

The debris of my life.  This was the frustration.
What is all that stuff?  What is it for? Why am I hanging on to it?
And what do those keys even open?

Pitched most of it, and put the rest back.

Space #3: Dresser Top.  Infuriating, because I realize
much if this stuff was moved here from other days of the 
31 project!  I guess you could say kind of triumphant too.
I'm at least acknowledging that I tend to shuffle things
from space to space

Also did a small bin in the bedroom.  Guess what?
This bin was a bunch of stuff I picked up from downstairs 
three months ago.
It's just been sitting there.  In my room.  Waiting to be dealt with. 

It's obnoxious the stuff I hang onto.

Finished with a clear desk, a small bag of trash, 
and a large shoebox full of odds and ends to donate.

So why was this so hard?  Basically because each of those little items was something I was putting off.  The picks needed to be put into the guitar case.  The scout badge needed to be put onto the uniform.  I pulled out the uniform only to find that I didn't leave enough room, so then had to remove another badge, then wash the thing before I can even finish the task.  The bag of stuff that my husband has put off making decisions about. The realization that I'm just moving stuff from space to space.  The devil is in the details, they say.  The devil of this project is that the buck stops in these micro spaces.  It is always so easy to just blow off the bottom of the slush pile, but then you don't ever finish.  Well at least it's done!

Day 23: Sports Equipment Bin

Day 23: The Sports Bin you've been seeing as my logo every day.
I've been waiting for fall sports to be over before tackling this one.

General state of things: trying to stuff too much stuff
into too little space.

The bin, dumped. The basic thing here was to get things
back into their proper homes.
Water toys are over, so is soccer, so most of that stuff was stored.

Sigh.  Another unused item.

More things in the wrong place. The boys can't
seem to get that it's not big enough for the larger things.

Stuff that belongs.  Again, defining the purpose comes into play.
This bin is for stuff used in our back yard.  We don't have room 
for things like baseball (using hard balls) so that equipment 
is in its own bag for when we go to the ballpark.

Done.  More manageable and useful. I started putting
a bin right by the back door two years ago because I was
tired of balls and outdoor toys landing on the couch.

Do you have a landing place for frequently used items?
How do you deal with kids items?