57 Page Journal Project

 

 

Page 1 of the fifty-seven page journal project is done…

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I also sorted through all the fabric, lace and trim  in the studio.

Stuff that I don’t love anymore has been bagged up to donate or thrown away depending on it’s potential.

And as a result of looking through and handling the pieces, a new project has been started with what remains.

Pictures will be posted when sufficient progress has been made or, in other words…when it actually starts to resemble the pictures in my head.

The stuff that made it through the “purge” is being neatly organized and stored in one area of the studio instead of all over the place. Two medium sized boxes of fabric and one shoe box of trim and lace are all there is.

End result of this decluttering project:  one box for the thrift store and a big bag of trash.

Less stuff to deal with and two creative projects undertaken!

A good day…

Peace.

 

And…another plan

Two blog posts in a row!

And…a new plan of action.

I’ve talked before about how I bounce back and forth between liking a bit of homey clutter and thinking I should just ditch all the stuff and become a minimalist (or a quasi-minimalist because I’m pretty sure I can’t go all in on that plan).

I’ve been on a roll lately and have accomplished a lot.

I’ve crunched a lot of numbers and drawn up a new budget that might actually work in the real world that we live in.  I’ve added and subtracted (mostly subtracted) and come up with a plan to try and pay down some debt.  We are pretty much paycheck to paycheck, but I’ve re-dedicated to managing money better.  I use YNAB (You Need a Budget) and “undebtit”.  Both are programs that are helpful for the math challenged me.

I’ve roughed out a plan for next year’s art class that I will hopefully be teaching.  That depends on whether enough folks think art is important enough to sign there kiddos up for the elective.  In the past I’ve planned as the semester moved along.  I’ve already got the whole year planned out and a list of supplies put together.

And, since youngest daughter is starting high school next year, I’ve already pulled together the plan for what we are going to do in the fall.  A rough plan, but a plan.

I’ve accomplished a lot.

But yesterday, I kind of hit a wall.

I looked around the house and started thinking that I couldn’t manage it all.  It’s such a mess and there is so much to do.  Piles of laundry, drifts of dog hair, a science experiment in the fridge, suitcases still out, and a completely buried dining room table.  I know that it’s the same house that I was okay with the day before.

My perception and attitude is what changes.

But that’s a situation that is my reality.  I need to plan for the days when things aren’t going to go well and I can’t cope or handle life the way I would like.

So, a new plan for the summer.

Today, I am going to pack up stuff – getting rid of the stuff I don’t need or want along the way.

I’m going to pack up stuff that I like, but that isn’t essential to our life.  Mostly the decorative or sentimental stuff that is lying about.

Just for the summer.

I’m going to clear surfaces for easier cleaning and make more time for fun and relaxation.

And then we’ll see if the stuff needs to come back for the fall…or if we did just fine without it.

A minimalist-ish” (I know it’s not a real word, but work with me) summer.

Those “mountain-top” days or weeks are great.  I get a lot accomplished.

But they are not worth the time spent in the depths of the valley.  The time depressed and anxious and angrily frustrated.

I’m going to keep trying out new ways of doing things to maintain an even keel avoiding those ups and downs.

Now, to work…

Peace

 

When Laundry is Fun

0603161257The new washer is here!  Researched and pondered upon and paid for with cash.  My original intent was to purchase the cheapest washer available, but then wiser heads provided counsel.  Thank you family.  We purchased a more expensive washer, but one that will last considerably longer and is very energy efficient.  If you do an average of 6 loads of laundry a week on the cold setting, the washer has an estimated energy cost of $11 annually.  Of course, I did 6 loads of laundry the first day!  Still, it should save us money in the long run.  Purchased on Memorial Day weekend, there were all kinds of sales, specials and rebates applied, so I am happy with the expense.

Our special needs budget is depleted and we go back to saving for the next item on the list.  It’s a rather long list, but the “joy” factor in saving, waiting and anticipating is well worth it.  It’s also new to me.  I grew up in an environment where if you needed (wanted) it you went and got it.  I am proud of the intentionality of this purchase.

The washer has been named “Tony” by my youngest daughter because it sounds like Iron Man when it fires up.  She has spent considerable time watching the clothes spin and slosh around.  “It’s like a fish bowl, but you don’t have to worry about the fish dying.”  The first load found us all huddled around the washer watching for longer than I care to admit.

Today, I am reminded of the simple joy to be found in doing laundry.  Taking a pile of dirty, smelly wrinkled clothing and transforming it.  Being mindful in the transformative process.  Sorting and filling the washer, measuring out the soap, watching it tumble…transferring the wet load to the dryer.  Pulling out the warm, fresh items and carefully folding them into a neat stack.  Quietly doing a task that I’ve done a thousand times before, but taking the time (and effort) to realize that even such a menial and mundane task is a blessing to others and a luxury that most of the world will never know.

Remembering that I am privileged to have as much as I have – electricity, a washer and dryer, a home to shelter it in, clothing and linens in an abundance, family to make things dirty, and the burgeoning ability to manage it financially with more wisdom.

Over time, it’s possible that washing will become a mindless task again…one in a list of many that I struggle through, but maybe not.

Perhaps, this very intentional purchase signals a significant change around here.  That would be a blessing indeed.

Empty Boxes

You know that you are making progress when the “declutter” for the day is empty boxes, storage containers, baskets and the like. That’s what left the house today.  Lots and lots of empty receptacles.  The family room/studio/classroom is decluttered and cleanish.

The only stuff that I didn’t deal with is my art.  Art that used to hang in a church:  art that was made for a life that is no longer the one I am living.  A lot of history including joy, growth and grief.  There are lot of emotions wrapped up in that art.  For now, it will remain tucked in the storage area covered by a quilt.  I know it’s there and I know that I need to make some decisions about it all, but not right now.  It’s out of sight, but not out of mind.  I’m learning to recognize when I’m avoiding an issue that is impeding my journey.  Something that is holding me back.

I keep reminding myself that this is a journey that cannot be traveled quickly.  For now, I’m exited about the progress that I’ve made.  A full pick-up load of stuff is gone to the thrift store and recycling.  The trash can was full yesterday and is already half-full today.

There is space in the room to set up my drying rack so I can cut down on my dryer use.  My art desk is clear.  There are two comfy chairs clear of clutter sitting next to the fireplace ready for winter snuggling.  The school stuff is organized and a plan is in place to read the books that we have on the shelves and to share them with other homeschoolers in the next few months.

I really and truly can’t find anything else in there to get rid of.  But that’s today.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.  I may become a minimalist yet.

Um, probably not!

A cue from Mary Poppins!

This week I’m taking the advice of Mary Poppins in my de-cluttering ventures!

In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
you find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game

 And every task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree!
It’s very clear to see

That a…
Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go dow-own
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way

A robin feathering his nest
Has very little time to rest
While gathering his
Bits of twine and twig

Though quite intent in his pursuit
He has a merry tune to toot
He knows a song
Will move the job along

Since I’m a big fan of birds and have been working on “feathering my nest” to make it simpler, more welcoming, and more intentional it seemed a good fit.

I’ve been stalled on making much progress (by stalled I mean discouraged, feeling hopeless, and considering giving up).

But, it’s just not in my nature to give up for long – so….

…a game it is.

I know someone who is moving into a fancy-dancy awesome new place and while I’m not jealous, (I’m happy for her because she’s worked hard and truly deserves this blessing) I’m a bit sad that I don’t have the option to “start over”.

So…I decided to make it an option of sorts – starting over that is.

Room by room as I follow my cleaning list, I’m going to envision what that room might look like if it were a new room in a new home that I was moving to.  What would the room look like?  What would I take with me to my new place?  What would I get rid of so as not to move clutter into my new space?  I’m taking notes on what renovations/repairs I would like to see including paint color, etc.  Then we have a to-do list to work from as funds and time become available.

Today is Master Bathroom day.  My husband is installing a new sink faucet that we’ve had, but never installed.  On the list of future improvements is a new shower unit.  Our shower has a crack that isn’t leaking yet, but…  I’d like new flooring because the old flooring is worn out.  And I think a bright coat of white paint is in order.  Bright and clean and spacious.

New lights above the sinks would be nice.  The ones we have came with the house and are boring.  That’s fairly far down on the list, but this is a wish list.

Having a list of needed/wanted items will help us out in searching down bargains.  We’ll know what we need when we spot it.  The list will also help us make repairs and updates in a more timely fashion.  A plan is a good thing!

In the discard pile are some old cosmetics that I never use.  Truly, I don’t know why they are still there and have made it through past de-clutters.  Also gone are my youngest daughter’s bath/shower toys.  She’s outgrown them, but I don’t know which of us is more reluctant to part with them.  Everything in the bathroom is useful or loved.  Nothing extra.

Our old towels are staying and not on the list to be replaced.  They are still more fabric than holes and perfectly functional.  Keeping in mind that I want to simplify and reduce waste, I find that I see a simple beauty in them.  They serve a purpose and there is no reason to run out and buy new ones.

I’ve finished up with a good scrub-down of the room – right down to the baseboards and trash can.  Less stuff = faster cleaning.

The game is on!

Learning how to tell my own story.

I didn’t plan on posting again so soon, but I was running some errands today and this story started coming together in my head.  So…a couple of years ago I became somewhat obsessed with the idea of minimalism.  I researched the concept, perused endless blogs about simplifying, and wondered at folks who got rid of everything and traveled around the world with all their worldly belongings in a couple of backpacks.   Please don’t misunderstand – I think it all sounds amazing and I admire them for doing so.  I was even envious for a bit.

My own life, in contrast, seems incredibly mundane.   I’d like to be living in a cute little vintage cottage with an English style garden, dressing like an artist in organic cotton and linen.  Oh, and the house would always be clean and tidy because there would be no clutter whatsoever!   In reality, I’m a stay-at-home mom, married 30-something years to the guy I met in college, and living in a manufactured home in a working class neighborhood.  Said home is very “lived-in” because there are a bunch of us living in it.

But, back to paragraph one…I spent a considerable amount of time and energy de-cluttering and organizing our belongings.  There might of even been a bit of nagging and grumbling about other peoples’ stuff interfering with my vision.  I wondered about the possibility of moving into a R.V. and traveling the United States living life with carefree abandon.

The reality is…that story belongs to someone else.  I had a somewhat insecure childhood.  We moved every year of my life until high school – sometimes more frequently.  I was always the new kid in class.  As a result, I’m a homebody, a nester.  And I’m learning to be comfortable with that.  All those travelers need a place to come home to at some point.  There is lots of stuff in my nest because I need to be ready to welcome whoever shows up.

That may be what this blog is about…writing out my own story for you…and for me.