Friday, April 26, 2013

Happy Spring.....sort of

Spring has had several fits and starts here. Flowers are blooming, the sun has come out, and we've had some lovely weather, but we've also had cold nasty rain and some really cool weather. Hello Spring in Mississippi! How's the decluttering going? Mine is still a work in progress and I haven't posted about it, but it's coming along. With everything else that takes a while to create, it takes a while to dismantle.

  • I can see about 75% of the floor in my "junk" room, which has to be in guest sleeping quarters form by the end of June. Meaning: It has to be clean enough for an air mattress, and un-embarrassing enough for guests.

  • We are finally ripping up the rest of the carpet in the bathroom this weekend. I will be hiring someone to put down the tile. This has been a two year process and I'm over it. Time to get it done and move on to other projects.

  • I've priced solid wood flooring for the living room at Lumber Liquidators. This we can do ourselves. It's just a matter of coughing up the dough and getting it done.

My yard looks fabulous. I have completely missed my calling, but who can afford to quit work and start a business? Not I. I can't even afford to start a business with a full time job backing me.

My big projects for this week are throwing away and/or donating all the clothes I cannot wear. I have 10+ pairs of jeans and maybe 4 of them fit me. Time to go.  The biggest thing I've learned from all of this is that people become attached to and fix emotions on inanimate objects that serve absolutely no purpose other than the emotional attachment we have to the object itself. It creates literal and figurative baggage that most of us can really live more productively without.

I mean, who am I kidding? Yes, I might someday get back in those jeans, but today is not that day and finding storage space for them or moving them around for clothing that does fit has become something I no longer want to do. As Stacy from What Not to Wear says "Dress the body you have NOW."

Adopting the same philosophy for my house is my goal. Live in the house you have NOW, make it comfortable. Don't put off feathering your nest the way you want it just because you may not be there forever. None of us are anywhere forever.  Perhaps my Buddhist tendencies are showing? Whatever the case may be, I'm ready to dump the baggage and get on with my life.

Happpy Spring!

Monday, February 4, 2013

How's your week going?

I haven't done much decluttering lately. I got off to a great start, but I hurt my back and now I'm in crybaby land.

Let's do a 15 Minute Fling!

Decide what area of the house you want to degrub, grab a couple of big boxes or a laundry basket and prepare yourself for a 15 Minute Fling.

  • Pick the area you want to clean. It's usually best to focus on one area at a time.
  • Set a timer on your phone, microwave or stopwatch for 15 minutes.
  • Start your Fling!

If you can toss one item per minute, you have effectively cleared or cleaned 15 items.

What have you tossed today?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Declutter Challenge 2013 - Week 2

And so we begin Week 2 of the Declutter Challenge 2013. This week is going to focus more on housekeeping items than decluttering, but some of the tasks for this week will also help thin the herd and ensure you are well-rested for the challenge ahead.

This week's focus will be on the bedroom. I spend more time in my bedroom - mostly asleep - than I do the other rooms of the house. There's no TV or computer in there and I use it for primarily bedroom activities. I read there sometimes just to get away from the noise in the rest of the house.

Lately I've been having trouble sleeping. My mattress is uncomfortable, my pillows are flat and worn out and I toss and turn all night. In addition to not sleeping, my back has also been aching. There's also a shitload of clutter and laundry in my bedroom and it's all seriously affecting my ability to relax.

I decided to focus on revamping my bedroom this week and thought I'd share the process.

  • Strip your bed. This includes stripping the whole bed and starting from scratch. Wash and replace the sheets on the bed.
  • Vacuum and/or steam clean and flip your mattress. Vacuuming should be done once a month and you should flip your mattress every three months. If your mattress is like mine, it only has a pillow top on one side, so it can only be rotated. One solution for this issue is a nice mattress topper that will allow you to use both sides of the mattress.
  • Fold or put away any clean laundry that's lying around. Sort and wash the dirty laundry.
  • Take stock of your linens, pillows and mattresses. If you have some sheets or blankets that are more worn than others, rotate them to the bottom of the pile. 3-4 sets of sheets is a good number to shoot for. Sheets are kind of like shoes. It's something you use every day, and the more of them you have to rotate, the longer they will last. Heavier weight, higher thread count sheets are not only softer, they also last longer. 
  • If you live in a warmer climate and have a clothesline, hang your white or lighter colored sheets out. The sun really gives them a good bleaching and they will smell divine. Toss them in the dryer for a few minutes to soften if line-dried laundry isn't your thing.
  • If you have linens that can't be salvaged, re-purpose or throw them away. If you have linens for bed sizes you no longer have, donate them or give them to someone who does.
  • Wash or toss your pillows. Pillows should be washed at least twice a year, once every three months is better. If you have had them for more than, say, three years, it's probably best throw them away if they are worn out (unless they are feather/down). When you buy new pillows, take notice of the warranty and save your receipt or send in the warranty card if there is one.
  • Consider investing in zippered pillow covers. These fit over your pillows and protect them from any bodily fluids or skin cells that might get through the pillow case. (Ew, right?)
  • Clean your duvet and cover or blankets/comforters according to the manufacturer's cleaning instructions.
  • Take down your curtains and wash them or have them dry cleaned. Dust/wash your blinds
  • Toss or donate at least 5 items of clothing you are no longer wearing.
  • Toss or donate at least one pair of shoes you are no longer wearing.
  • Throw away your bras and undies that need to be thrown away. I don't need to tell you which know.
  • Throw away or re-purpose holey socks. The terry cloth inside of a sock makes a great dusting cloth.
  • Throw away any broken hangers lurking in your closet.
  • Donate or swap books you've been thinking about getting rid of. I love books too, but sometimes they just take up space.
  • Clean off your ceiling fan, light fixtures, lamps. Dust and vacuum horizontal surfaces. Wipe down the walls if they need it. This is something I don't do often enough. Tip: Use an old pillowcase to clean off the fan blades and catch all the crud to save yourself another cleaning step. 
  • If you're really adventurous, take off the fan blades and give them a good wash with a damp cloth, vacuum off the motor, take the globes off and clean them with a damp cloth and tighten up the screws that hold the fan to the ceiling. If you would like to change the look of your fan blades, you can use this time to flip them over, paint or stain them, or replace them all together.
  • Remake your bed.
This week is going to be a tedious one. Linens and blankets can be cumbersome and sometimes have to be taken to the laundromat if your washer and dryer can't handle the bulk. We often don't focus on taking care of our bedrooms because they are private spaces that not many other people see. However, your bedroom is where you spend at least 1/3 of your life and it should be comfortable and relaxing. Think of it as self care. 

Take a little time this week to perk up your private spaces and see if it doesn't make you feel better!

Treat yourself:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Declutter Challenge 2013 - Week 1

Do you feel good about what you accomplished this week? I do, even though I ended up with more stuff in the living areas... I've been dragging out, putting back, throwing away, lather, rinse, repeat. I'm in the pre-putting back stage right now.

What did you get checked off your to do list this week?

Monday, January 7, 2013

What did you toss today?

One thing that has helped me really get the decluttering ball rolling is making sure I toss something every day. Whether I toss it in the garbage, the donate box or the wash, it needs to be done every day if you have a mountain of clutter like I do.

So, decide what area of the house you want to degrub, grab a couple of big boxes or a laundry basket and prepare yourself for a 15 Minute Fling.

  • Pick the area you want to clean. It's usually best to focus on one area at a time.
  • Set a timer on your phone, microwave or stopwatch for 15 minutes.
  • Start your Fling!

If you can toss one item per minute, you have effectively cleared or cleaned 15 items.

What have you tossed today?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Declutter Challenge 2013

I meant to post this earlier in the month. I've started a Decluttering Challenge that I'm going to follow through the entire year. If you want to join, subscribe to the Declutter 2013 tag to keep up with the weekly tasks.

Since I've already completed the first week, we'll just start fresh and go from here!

Week 1

-Start with your medicine cabinet. Dispose of any expired medications, prescription or otherwise. If you have controlled substances, your pharmacy can dispose of them for you. (I'm not a fan of flushing meds, especially if you have a grey water recapture system or your sewer system dumps into a waterway.)
-Clean off your bathroom countertops. Throw away any makeup, sunscreen or partially used products that you've had for more than six months.
-Clean off your kitchen countertops.
-Shred any sensitive documents you no longer need. This might include expired credit cards, old bills, tax documents, credit offers, or ANY "special offers" that have your name on them.
-Throw away any broken holiday decorations.
-Clean out your fridge and toss leftovers or expired items.

Daily or weekly tasks. Do as needed.

-Start a load of laundry, switch from washer to dryer or fold and put away anything that's in the dryer.
-Hang up coats, hats and scarves, stow shoes and gloves.
-Unload the dishwasher and begin reloading for the next cycle.
-Wipe down the surfaces (including sinks) in your kitchen and bathrooms with a wet cloth or a disinfecting wipe.
-Sweep/vacuum/mop if needed. This should be done at minimum once a week, more if you have pets. I'm so guilty of not doing this.
-Make sure you have an outfit ready to go and your stuff is where you need it for in the morning.
-Prep for breakfast in the morning. I love mixing up pancake mix and putting in the fridge for the next morning, or beating eggs and storing for the next morning. Set the coffee pot, prepare condiments and set out your coffee cup.

A side note: I'm not a morning person, so the more I can do the night before, the easier it is for me to get ready in the morning.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! A fresh start for 2013

Happy New Year, everyone! Is it really 2013 already?

I've decided not to make resolutions this year. Making a promise to myself I may not be able to keep makes me feel guilty and feel like I've failed in some way. So, I'm making goals instead. Big picture goals with smaller "mile marker" goals are much easier to achieve, and you actually feel a sense of accomplishment when you can check that smaller goal off the list.

At the top of my list is organization. This is a big deal for me. I am the kind of person who cannot form a new habit, it seems. I can consistently do something for several weeks, and then I just stop. It annoys me to no end, and I really have to stay on top of things to keep the house at least presentable.

I have found the key to organization is...well, organizing things in a manner that makes sense to you. If you always have to walk across the kitchen to get something that should be where you need it, move it to where you need it. If something isn't working in your system, change the system instead of adapting to something that annoys you or wastes your time. Easier said than done, huh?

My spare room is atrocious right now. I mean, it's embarrassing. It's actually a nice room, but I have so much junk in there, I can't use it for what I would like. I would like it to be a craft room and/or spare bedroom. It won't have a bed, but leaving enough room in the floor for an air mattress is the goal.

Second on the list is finishing up our home improvement projects. Our back deck needs a roof, several light fixtures in the house need replacing, I need to paint several rooms, wallpaper my hallway, get some photos framed and hung, rip up the carpet throughout most of the house and replace it with hard flooring....the list goes on. Most of it will require a more time and money than I have at present, so it's a matter of saving the money and getting it done.

Which brings me to my third and final goal for the year: saving money. This is going to be a tough one, considering all the projects we need to finish up. I'd also like to take a vacation, but that may not be realistic either. I'll likely spend a lot of my vacation days this year working on things I don't have time to do during the work week and don't feel like sacrificing my weekends to do.

Naturally, these goals may be modified, added to, changed or even scrapped depending on what the year brings. I'd like to get EVERYTHING done, but I don't foresee that happening.

So, what are your goals for the year?

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