Category Archives: decluttering

Seven Quick Takes Friday

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Welcome all Company Girls!
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–1–
The last couple of days have been rather nerve-wracking, health-wise.  The night before last, I woke up at 3 am with stomach pains that wouldn’t go away.  They continued all day yesterday and pretty much prevented me from doing anything….I only managed to take Wilson around the block, and I drove to the library to drop off and pick up books.  My blood pressure was also up. Quite a bit.

I kept reading these websites about how heart attacks in women can mimic indigestion, etc, and was getting a bit freaked out. We didn’t have anything in the house for stomach ailments, and I didn’t really feel like eating.  I forced down some plain yogurt and a couple of bananas over the day (and a cookie)  and basically lay on the sofa with a book.

My stomach was still bothering me last night when I went to bed, but it’s all better this morning.  I have a headache, and my bp is still up, but hopefully it will subside as I start to feel better.  At least I’m up for errands and housework today.  And dinner out with friends tonight.

–2–
One of the “benefits” of being under the weather is getting some reading done.  Yesterday, I read the Philip Roth novella The Humbling

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.  Very dark and intense story of a successful, aging actor who can no longer work.

–3–
I also got NutureShock: New Thinking About Children:

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by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman from the library (again).  This is the third time I’ve checked it out but I’ve never been able to get it read before having to return it.  I”m halfway through and it’s a book that I wish I’d had when my kids were young.  So many important insights, but mainly it’s a debunking of many of the prevailing child-rearing tenets.  Like praise.  Like talking about race.  Like gifted testing in the early years. Like TV makes you fat.   Highly recommended reading for all parents of all ages.

–4–
I have a couple of resolutions from the book above regarding Michael.  First, it is imperative that he gets more sleep every night.  To that end, the laptop, iPod, and phone will be turned off at 10 and  left outside his room at night.  Second, he needs to understand that his brain is like a muscle, and the more he uses it, the more it grows.  He needs to start doing more work at school, more than is required by his teachers, if he is to keep it growing.   He has decided to drop Japanese for the rest of the year….he was quite far behind and unable to catch up, so we have let him stop going.  In it’s place, we’ve registered him in the Saturday Science and Engineering Academy at University of Toronto.  Their spring program is ten weeks, starting next month, and he’ll be taking the Math and Physics for Engineering program for students in Grade 9 and 10.

–5–
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There are a couple of new TV shows that we’re enjoying.  The Republic of Doyle is a charming hour-long detective show set in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  The main characters are a father and son, who share a house with the father’s lady-friend and the son’s daughter.  The son is going through a divorce and his soon-to-be-ex-wife is also featured prominently.  The dialogue is fast and funny, and the scenery is gorgeous. The show has a retro buzz about it and is thoroughly engaging.

We also watched the first episode of the HBO production of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, an adaptation of the Giller award winning book

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of the same name by Vincent Lam.  The show really pulled us in, and is complex with flashbacks, fantasy scenes, and unanswered questions about why certain things are happening.  Another one for the PVR.

–6–
This Saturday, Z, Michael and I are heading to Koerner Hall to see Quartetto Gelato and Ethel.  Should be a high energy evening!  Check them out:

Ethel

–7–
The online Declutter Group I’ve joined starts on Monday!  I”m looking forward to having a focussed approach to getting the house in order as well as the accountability of doing it in a group.  There are still spots, if anyone’s interested in joining me!

That’s all for today!  I”m off to get my house in order and run some errands.

Obligatory Post about New Years Resolutions

Yes, I’m making some.  But I’m easing in and taking it slowly.  My theme for the year is “Peace”.  Peace in all it’s forms:  peace with myself, with those around me, with the world, with God.  Bringing peace to others and building a peaceful sanctuary in our home.

But that’s kind of the overarching goal.  To get there, I need some feet-on-the-ground strategies around the many day-to-day struggles that I face as I move into the next calendar decade, as well as a personal milestone:  turning 50 in July!

My main source of inspiration over the past week has been Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.  In particular, I like how she focuses on one area of her life each month in an effort to establish some positive habits and I”m going to copy her themes, at least for the first few months.

In January, she chose to focus on Boosting Energy.  Rightly, she argues that boosting her vitality level would help her with future months in her happiness projects, and that makes sense to me.  Like Gretchen, I hope to develop some habits around both physical and mental energy.

On the bodily energy side, I need to work on getting more sleep and more exercise.  I aim to get to bed by 10 pm each night, at least Sunday to Thursday.  With my recent blood pressure incident, I need to bump up my exercise level to a minimum of 30 minutes per day.  I have started with doubling Wilson’s daily walks from 15 to 30 minutes and keeping to a brisk pace.  My 70s music mix keeps me engaged and moving.  Today’s playlist included Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke“, Captain and Tenille “Love Will Keep Us Together“, and Ian Thomas “Painted Ladies”.   I’m also going to go back to Oprah’s advice (actually, Bob Greene’s advice I think) about not eating two hours before bedtime.  Now, I’ve been known to do a lot of mindless eating in the evenings, and so this is a good one for me.  So, no eating after 8 pm.

On mental energy:  I need to create a calm and organized home.  If I see order around me, my stress level goes down and I’m able to relax and enjoy my family much more.  I have a number of great resources on this front, but for the purposes of setting a resolution, I want to spend some time each day following suggestions made by one or more of The Clutter Diet, Home Sanctuary, or My Simpler Life.  I also pledge to keep a running To-Do list, or bucket, per Getting Things Done‘s “Collect” phase..  I think of this as a brain dump, a way to manage stress by getting all the free-floating to-dos out of my head and onto a list so that I don’t forget them, and spend my precious mental energy trying to remember stuff.

Finally, I commit to blogging every day.  I did it in November, and the first part of December, and loved it.

I’m using an iPhone app called Touch Goal to manage my goals, and am currently using the built-in iPhone To Do list (which isn’t very good).  It doesn’t let me assign a start date or due date to items, so it’s a bit lame.  But there are lots of apps for that.  I just need to sort through them.

It seems like a lot, as I write it all out, but many of these habits are already (or have already been) part of my life at one point or another.  To summarize:

Body:  no food after 8 pm, in bed by 10 pm, and exercise 30+ minutes per day.
Mind:  one declutter task per day, running to-do list, blog every day.

Obligatory Post about New Years Resolutions

Yes, I’m making some.  But I’m easing in and taking it slowly.  My theme for the year is “Peace”.  Peace in all it’s forms:  peace with myself, with those around me, with the world, with God.  Bringing peace to others and building a peaceful sanctuary in our home.

But that’s kind of the overarching goal.  To get there, I need some feet-on-the-ground strategies around the many day-to-day struggles that I face as I move into the next calendar decade, as well as a personal milestone:  turning 50 in July!

My main source of inspiration over the past week has been Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project

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.  In particular, I like how she focuses on one area of her life each month in an effort to establish some positive habits and I”m going to copy her themes, at least for the first few months.

In January, she chose to focus on Boosting Energy.  Rightly, she argues that boosting her vitality level would help her with future months in her happiness projects, and that makes sense to me.  Like Gretchen, I hope to develop some habits around both physical and mental energy.

On the bodily energy side, I need to work on getting more sleep and more exercise.  I aim to get to bed by 10 pm each night, at least Sunday to Thursday.  With my recent blood pressure incident, I need to bump up my exercise level to a minimum of 30 minutes per day.  I have started with doubling Wilson’s daily walks from 15 to 30 minutes and keeping to a brisk pace.  My 70s music mix keeps me engaged and moving.  Today’s playlist included Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke

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“, Captain and Tenille “Love Will Keep Us Together

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“, and Ian Thomas “Painted Ladies”.   I’m also going to go back to Oprah’s advice (actually, Bob Greene’s advice I think) about not eating two hours before bedtime.  Now, I’ve been known to do a lot of mindless eating in the evenings, and so this is a good one for me.  So, no eating after 8 pm.

On mental energy:  I need to create a calm and organized home.  If I see order around me, my stress level goes down and I’m able to relax and enjoy my family much more.  I have a number of great resources on this front, but for the purposes of setting a resolution, I want to spend some time each day following suggestions made by one or more of The Clutter Diet, Home Sanctuary, or My Simpler Life.  I also pledge to keep a running To-Do list, or bucket, per Getting Things Done‘s “Collect” phase..  I think of this as a brain dump, a way to manage stress by getting all the free-floating to-dos out of my head and onto a list so that I don’t forget them, and spend my precious mental energy trying to remember stuff.

Finally, I commit to blogging every day.  I did it in November, and the first part of December, and loved it.

I’m using an iPhone app called Touch Goal to manage my goals, and am currently using the built-in iPhone To Do list (which isn’t very good).  It doesn’t let me assign a start date or due date to items, so it’s a bit lame.  But there are lots of apps for that.  I just need to sort through them.

It seems like a lot, as I write it all out, but many of these habits are already (or have already been) part of my life at one point or another.  To summarize:

Body:  no food after 8 pm, in bed by 10 pm, and exercise 30+ minutes per day.
Mind:  one declutter task per day, running to-do list, blog every day.

2010 Declutter Calendar

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Beth Dargis over at My Simpler Life creates a Declutter Calendar each year to help you tackle one small decluttering chore each day.  Her 2010 Declutter Calendar is ready and free!  Pop over to her site and download yours.

Beth is running an online Declutter Group starting mid-January and I am planning to participate in that.  Should be a great way to start the New Year!

Clutter Diet – Week 2

As I mentioned last week, I have joined the Clutter Diet for some online coaching in getting problem areas of my house in order.

This weeks task were partially completed, but I did two large unscheduled tasks to make up for it!

The easy ones were buying Hallowe’en candy (I had to do this twice, LOL) and getting a snapshot of my computer in the event of disaster.  The two I didn’t do were getting rid of old computers (I located it, but it needs to go to the special waste depot), and getting my credit report (this is easy…it’s on my list).

The main task was working on my home office and I got this partially done. The two areas I worked on were the kitchen ledge and the filing cabinet.

Kitchen ledge before: mail, papers, craft supplies, some moon cakes, and all manner of junk gets deposited here.

Kitchen ledge after:  Ahhhhh…

Filing cabinet before:  Note bottle of Chinese rice liquor is sitting just three feet from where it belongs in the liquor cabinet.  There is also a stack of financial and other paperwork, most of which is filed in binders in another room and doesn’t belong there.



Filing cabinet after: Ahhh…nice and clear, with just a piece of artwork

But the other two big unscheduled tasks this week were the fridge and the master closet.

The fridge was LONG overdue to be cleaned and we got rid of half a garbage bag of take-out boxes, old rotting sauces and condiments, and moldy leftovers (which we don’t normally have, with a teen boy eating them at 10 pm most nights).  The fridge itself was also rather filthy, so it’s now gorgeously white, decluttered, and sparkly.

I was able to get Z to focus on the master closet this weekend, as he has been setting up his new office in our recently departed-for-university son’s bedroom (sorry, Alex!).  We got rid of 2 bags of clothing that will be donated at the monthly St. Vincent-de-Paul Bundle Sunday coming up next weekend at our parish.  Everything is dusted, spacious, and tidy, with nothing on the floor except for some shoes and the laundry basket.  It’s quite a small closet for two people, so tidying it up really makes a difference.

So while I didn’t get all my proscribed tasks done, I believe that the decluttering mindset is rippling through the household, and we’re getting some other long overdue projects out of the way.

Thanks to the Clutter Diet people for spurring me on to accomplish these large tasks.  It’s great to have a resource like that to give you a list and make you accountable.  They have message boards where you can compare notes with other declutterers and get advice from the pros.  I hadn’t been able to motivate myself on my own, so the small subscription fee is definitely worth it to me.

Clutter Diet – Week 2

As I mentioned last week, I have joined the Clutter Diet for some online coaching in getting problem areas of my house in order.

This weeks task were partially completed, but I did two large unscheduled tasks to make up for it!

The easy ones were buying Hallowe’en candy (I had to do this twice, LOL) and getting a snapshot of my computer in the event of disaster.  The two I didn’t do were getting rid of old computers (I located it, but it needs to go to the special waste depot), and getting my credit report (this is easy…it’s on my list).

The main task was working on my home office and I got this partially done. The two areas I worked on were the kitchen ledge and the filing cabinet.

Kitchen ledge before: mail, papers, craft supplies, some moon cakes, and all manner of junk gets deposited here.

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Kitchen ledge after:  Ahhhhh…

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Filing cabinet before:  Note bottle of Chinese rice liquor is sitting just three feet from where it belongs in the liquor cabinet.  There is also a stack of financial and other paperwork, most of which is filed in binders in another room and doesn’t belong there.

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Filing cabinet after: Ahhh…nice and clear, with just a piece of artwork

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But the other two big unscheduled tasks this week were the fridge and the master closet.

The fridge was LONG overdue to be cleaned and we got rid of half a garbage bag of take-out boxes, old rotting sauces and condiments, and moldy leftovers (which we don’t normally have, with a teen boy eating them at 10 pm most nights).  The fridge itself was also rather filthy, so it’s now gorgeously white, decluttered, and sparkly.

I was able to get Z to focus on the master closet this weekend, as he has been setting up his new office in our recently departed-for-university son’s bedroom (sorry, Alex!).  We got rid of 2 bags of clothing that will be donated at the monthly St. Vincent-de-Paul Bundle Sunday coming up next weekend at our parish.  Everything is dusted, spacious, and tidy, with nothing on the floor except for some shoes and the laundry basket.  It’s quite a small closet for two people, so tidying it up really makes a difference.

So while I didn’t get all my proscribed tasks done, I believe that the decluttering mindset is rippling through the household, and we’re getting some other long overdue projects out of the way.

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Thanks to the Clutter Diet people for spurring me on to accomplish these large tasks.  It’s great to have a resource like that to give you a list and make you accountable.  They have message boards where you can compare notes with other declutterers and get advice from the pros.  I hadn’t been able to motivate myself on my own, so the small subscription fee is definitely worth it to me.

The list for today

Yesterday was a bit of a write-off.  I awoke feeling like I’d been hit by a truck, and worried that I was getting the flu that Michael just got over.  I couldn’t even get dressed until I absolutely HAD to take Wilson out for a walk.  I didn’t blow dry my hair, so it’s a fuzz ball today.  It wasn’t until just before Michael got home from school that the kitchen got tidied from breakfast (and to be honest, from the half of dinner that didn’t fit into the dishwasher the night before).  I forgot to go to the library.  My decluttering projects didn’t go anywhere.  By late afternoon, I was feeling much better, but I forgot the loads of laundry, one in the dryer and the other in the washer.

So I’m gonna write my big list for today here and cross things off as they get done.  Sort of a public accountability thing.  I’m not committed to getting the entire list done, but at least a respectable amount.

  • Finish laundry and get two additional loads done.
  • Clean kitchen
  • Wash kitchen floor
  • Return library books
  • Pick up prescriptions
  • Declutter filing cabinet
  • Declutter kitchen counter
  • Declutter bookshelf beside desk
  • Organize kitchen drawer
  • Remind Michael to finish moving his stuff out of Z’s office
  • Vacuum living room
  • Vacuum stairs and upper hall
  • Do sewing repairs (jeans, shirt, mattress cover)
  • Make chicken pot pie for supper

The list for today

Yesterday was a bit of a write-off.  I awoke feeling like I’d been hit by a truck, and worried that I was getting the flu that Michael just got over.  I couldn’t even get dressed until I absolutely HAD to take Wilson out for a walk.  I didn’t blow dry my hair, so it’s a fuzz ball today.  It wasn’t until just before Michael got home from school that the kitchen got tidied from breakfast (and to be honest, from the half of dinner that didn’t fit into the dishwasher the night before).  I forgot to go to the library.  My decluttering projects didn’t go anywhere.  By late afternoon, I was feeling much better, but I forgot the loads of laundry, one in the dryer and the other in the washer.

So I’m gonna write my big list for today here and cross things off as they get done.  Sort of a public accountability thing.  I’m not committed to getting the entire list done, but at least a respectable amount.

  • Finish laundry and get two additional loads done.
  • Clean kitchen
  • Wash kitchen floor
  • Return library books
  • Pick up prescriptions
  • Declutter filing cabinet
  • Declutter kitchen counter
  • Declutter bookshelf beside desk
  • Organize kitchen drawer
  • Remind Michael to finish moving his stuff out of Z’s office
  • Vacuum living room
  • Vacuum stairs and upper hall
  • Do sewing repairs (jeans, shirt, mattress cover)
  • Make chicken pot pie for supper

Cancelled!

The Declutter Class that was to start tonight has been cancelled by the coach for lack of enrollment.  Phooey!  I was all geared up for the inaugural online chat tonight.  She’s planning to run in starting in January so I”m in for sure at that point.

It’s not that I don’t know HOW to declutter…it’s the motivation and accountability that I need at this point.  I’ve done so much over the past two years, but there is a lot left to do and I need that group feedback to keep me motivated as it’s quite a draining process.

I will focus on getting my housework routines in order over the next few months, and I look forward to meeting some other people in my boat in January!

Cancelled!

The Declutter Class that was to start tonight has been cancelled by the coach for lack of enrollment.  Phooey!  I was all geared up for the inaugural online chat tonight.  She’s planning to run in starting in January so I”m in for sure at that point.

It’s not that I don’t know HOW to declutter…it’s the motivation and accountability that I need at this point.  I’ve done so much over the past two years, but there is a lot left to do and I need that group feedback to keep me motivated as it’s quite a draining process.

I will focus on getting my housework routines in order over the next few months, and I look forward to meeting some other people in my boat in January!