Category Archives: organizing

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

Media_httpwwwassocama_gfgld

.  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

Media_httpwwwassocama_ffjbm
Media_httpwwwassocama_ffjbm

“, 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.

Media_http3bpblogspot_zomfq

Kitchen ledge after:  Ahhhhh…

Media_http2bpblogspot_ietkl

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.

Media_http1bpblogspot_pjfhd



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.

Media_httpwwwclutterd_bkxbx

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.

August Declutter Challenge: Week 2


Here are the results for Week 2:

Item 1: two bottles of Barbeque sauce. We don’t use bottled barbeque sauce. Plus, they had expired. Not sure how we got them in the first place. Dumped sauce and recycled bottles.
Item 2: Candle from master bath. Haven’t used it in the past year and it’s gathering dust. Outta here! (Goodwill)
Item 3: Cleaning products from master bath. First two require you to remember to use them EVERY DAY. We are not that on-the-ball. Third was empty bottle. Fourth is moisturizer that I never use and is just taking up space on vanity. Into recycling bin.
Item 4: Sort of spooky foot-high candle holder (space for tealight at bottom). Bought it years ago at a craft fair and kinda liked it. Not so much anymore. On to Goodwill.
Items 5 & 6: The big linen clear-out. I’m counting two items for these: a twin duvet that has lost some stuffing but is still serviceable, and some twin sheets and pillowcases (cotton) that are in primary/child colours and are no longer interesting to our sons. Plus a couple of lacy Euro shams that have yellowed. Into Goodwill bag.

Item 7: Stuffed monkey with magnetic feet. Promo item from Zs work but is in danger of becoming a dog toy leading to large vet bills when dog rips toy apart and swallows magnets. Goodwill.

August Declutter Challenge: Week 2

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Here are the results for Week 2:

Item 1: two bottles of Barbeque sauce. We don’t use bottled barbeque sauce. Plus, they had expired. Not sure how we got them in the first place. Dumped sauce and recycled bottles.

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Item 2: Candle from master bath. Haven’t used it in the past year and it’s gathering dust. Outta here! (Goodwill)

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Item 3: Cleaning products from master bath. First two require you to remember to use them EVERY DAY. We are not that on-the-ball. Third was empty bottle. Fourth is moisturizer that I never use and is just taking up space on vanity. Into recycling bin.

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Item 4: Sort of spooky foot-high candle holder (space for tealight at bottom). Bought it years ago at a craft fair and kinda liked it. Not so much anymore. On to Goodwill.

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Items 5 & 6: The big linen clear-out. I’m counting two items for these: a twin duvet that has lost some stuffing but is still serviceable, and some twin sheets and pillowcases (cotton) that are in primary/child colours and are no longer interesting to our sons. Plus a couple of lacy Euro shams that have yellowed. Into Goodwill bag.

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Item 7: Stuffed monkey with magnetic feet. Promo item from Zs work but is in danger of becoming a dog toy leading to large vet bills when dog rips toy apart and swallows magnets. Goodwill.

Media_http3bpblogspot_hliel

August Declutter Challenge: Week 1

The folks over at Organizing Queen are hosting a month-long declutter challange and awarding some interesting prizes. Every Friday, we need to post our weekly progress on decluttering one item per day.

Here’s mine!

Friday: Some too-small clothing from boys’ closets to take to Goodwill

Saturday: Bags for Goodwill that had been in my car for a number of weeks were dropped off.
Sunday: We were on holidays, but I managed to declutter (i.e. throw out) two old windshield wipers from the back of the car.
Monday: A pile of webbed stuff that you put under carpets. In a trash bag on the porch, waiting for garbage day.
Tuesday: A game that our kids have outgrown. Off to Goodwill.
Wednesday: Baby food that my brother forgot to take home with him when he and his family were visiting this summer. Left at a food bank box at my local grocery store.
Thursday: Cans of cream of mushroom soup that I bought at Costco for some casserole I was making in large quantity. I only used three of them, and will likely never use the rest. Also left at food bank box.

August Declutter Challenge: Week 1

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The folks over at Organizing Queen are hosting a month-long declutter challange and awarding some interesting prizes. Every Friday, we need to post our weekly progress on decluttering one item per day.

Here’s mine!

Friday: Some too-small clothing from boys’ closets to take to Goodwill

Media_http3bpblogspot_glype

Saturday: Bags for Goodwill that had been in my car for a number of weeks were dropped off.

Media_http4bpblogspot_hwqxj

Sunday: We were on holidays, but I managed to declutter (i.e. throw out) two old windshield wipers from the back of the car.

Media_http4bpblogspot_esujy

Monday: A pile of webbed stuff that you put under carpets. In a trash bag on the porch, waiting for garbage day.

Media_http4bpblogspot_fdifa

Tuesday: A game that our kids have outgrown. Off to Goodwill.

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Wednesday: Baby food that my brother forgot to take home with him when he and his family were visiting this summer. Left at a food bank box at my local grocery store.

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Thursday: Cans of cream of mushroom soup that I bought at Costco for some casserole I was making in large quantity. I only used three of them, and will likely never use the rest. Also left at food bank box.

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It’s been a while…

Lots of milestones since I last blogged:

  1. Became godmother to William Joseph. Spent 5 days in Berkeley CA where my brother and his family live and enjoyed very much the ceremony (which took place DURING mass, and was great) and the party aferwards.
  2. The boys finished their first year of school here in Toronto. Alex has one more year before he heads off to university.
  3. Alex got his first job, as a grocery clerk at our local No Frills. It’s four blocks from home which is great, but he hasn’t been scheduled for many hours yet. He’s enjoying the paycheque though. He bought an iPod shuffle to run with and is suddenly hyper-aware of how much everything costs.
  4. Alex is taking Driver’s Ed this week. Yikes! How did that happen?
  5. Michael got contact lenses yesterday.
  6. We replaced five feet of our kitchen counter (a peninsula) that was damaged, and installed a new sink and faucet, and….wait for it….a new dishwasher. Our old one sounded like a jet plane and prevented conversation pretty much anywhere on the main floor of the house. The new baby is flush with features, and you pretty much have to put your hand on it to figure out if it is running. Yesterday, I ran the “Top Only” cycle after breakfast which saves water and frees up space to get the rest of the days dishes in by the evening.
  7. I have started listening to a very inspiring audio book on decluttering (It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh). I gave away all my scrapbooking supplies to a (very grateful) cousin, and a pile of art stuff to Michael’s art teacher. I listed a bunch of books to sell on Amazon.ca and give away on Book Mooch. I’ve got a long way to go, but it feels good so far.

Blogging may be light over the summer. Have a good one!