Monday, November 15, 2010

Progress! Baby steps, baby steps

If you recall, last week, the infamous PTA pile looked like this:

Well, it isn't gone, but it has been reduced! I did manage to pull everything out into the middle of the floor, and do a basic Keep/Toss sort. You can see that a good amount was tossed. Of the rest, some needs to be passed on to this year's treasurer (that was me last year), and the rest needs to be put in some kind of organizational order.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Enough of the talk, time to get working

So, after a weekend that left me feeling flustered and overwhelmed by the clutter in my house, I decided to get down to business tonight. So, I cleared off a counter in my kitchen. (Yes, there are 5 boxes of cereal there. Hy-Vee had a REALLY good deal going!)

I decided to tackle the table after the kids went to bed. It started out looking like this:

Am I the only one who piles up the stuff that just needs to go in the recycle bin? See that pile on the left? Out of that stack, after I pulled out the binder, this much of it went straight into the recycle bin.

Pretty soon the table was cleaned off, and I promise there wasn't any stashing and dashing in the process at all.

Next project? The PTA Pile that is beginning to take on a life of its own. It has stuff from last school year, the book fair, fun night, and more.

All right. Off to fold some laundry. Tonight there's only two baskets, compared to the 5-6 baskets I folded over the course of two evenings last week.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I've returned!

Wow, so I started this blog, posted one more entry, and promptly neglected to do anything else with it.

Well, I'm back, and once again, on a clutter kick. I've subscribed, and unsubscribed from FlyLady's emails. I love her, and what she has to say, but the emails (although greatly reduced from what she used to send) were still overwhelming to me.

I've also been watching Hoarders. It just makes me shudder. And reminds me of what I don't want my house to become. So, after considering my beautiful Android phone (which I adore), and its possibilities, I've downloaded a few new apps, and devoted one of my phone's screens to routine lists (thanks to FlyLady) and a timer. So far today, I'm doing pretty good.

The biggest thing I need to remember is that FlyLady says I can do anything FOR 15 minutes, not that I can do anything IN 15 minutes. Big difference. Tonight, in 15 minutes, I cleared off 2 of my three kitchen counters. Dishes mostly. It's just laziness that I didn't put them in the dishwasher, or wash the pans yesterday.

So what apps am I using? ColorNotes is the note app that I'm using to create my lists. You can create checklists, and when each item is crossed off, the title of the list is also checked off. You can later uncheck everything. And you can use the app's widgets to place each checklist on a screen of your phone. So far I have the list of zones for the month, a morning routine, an after work routine, and a before bedtime routine. Despite my disorganization, I really, really do love crossing things off of my lists. So, now I have to take care of the last three items for the night: shining my sink, brushing my teeth/washing my face, and going to bed.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

So I like to cook. That's never an issue. It's finding the time, and inspiration that are the issues from time to time. With a husband who is an over-the-road truck driver, a 30-minute commute one way to work, and two children who are growing faster than I know how to handle, some nights it's all I can do to make peanut butter sandwiches.

I figure they're at least a little better than a blue box of mac-n-cheese.

But tonight, we're having spaghetti and meatballs. And no jarred sauce here. Nuh-uh. Some friends of mine have been raving, absolutely raving about this amazingly simple sauce--whole, peeled tomatoes, butter, and an onion. That's all it is. So, we're trying it tonight.

The first friend originally found it here:

As for the meatballs? Well, there is some cheating going on there. I walked into Graziano's, my favorite local Italian grocery store the other day. After just stopping for a moment to inhale deeply, I noticed "meatball mix" on the shelf. The instructions said to mix the entire container with one pound of ground beef, one pound of ground pork, 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. The ingredients on the container are: breadcrumbs, Romano cheese, salt, spices. Pretty simple.

It also said to fry them up, but 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven, and I have now achieved meatball nirvana. The kitchen smells like Grazianos. And that is not a bad thing.

The most packaged thing tonight is the pasta. And even that label only has 4 ingredients. Whoopee! Supper tonight might not be given the seal of approval from Clean Eating magazine, but it will be delicious, and will still have less clutter than what can be found on the inner shelves of my local Hy-Vee.

And best of all? My husband made it through town tonight, so we'll be sitting down as a family. Not a complete family, I do have two stepsons who are at their mom's house, but still a family.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Getting Started

So I've decided to get the clutter in my life under control. Of course, some of it I just have to get rid of some of it will take more time and effort.
  • The physical clutter--piles of paper in the basement, the broken baby swing, and other items that are no longer used, needed or loved;
  • The financial clutter--the money I owe my parents, the student loans that are still hanging around, even though I graduated from college in 1996, and our mortgage;
  • The poor health clutter--fake foods made with chemicals, fake sugars, and preservatives;
  • And the emotional clutter--old resentments, past hurts, and self-imposed guilt.

I don't know where this journey will take me, or what I will discover along the way, but I'm actually looking forward to it. With the help of Flylady, I've already been working on the physical clutter. The small amount of peace I've uncovered through a shiny sink and bathrooms that are swished and swiped every day feels wonderful. I'm looking forward to spreading that peace throughout the rest of my house.

My husband and I have already been working on the financial clutter. Thanks to this year's tax return we eliminated some old debt that has been hanging around, and were able to purchase a few items for our home with cash, and without adding to our debt. We're digging out and dusting off our copies of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace and looking to "change our family tree."

I've been reading through copies of Clean Eating magazine and one grocery shopping trip at a time, processed foods are eliminated from our home. I'm also working on giving up soda completely once and for all. Although, I am not letting go of my coffee with cream and sugar, so I'll just be sure I use real cream and real sugar. No powdered creamer here.

And emotional clutter. Wow. This is going to be a big one. There are a lot of old resentments lingering around in my life. I'm working on letting them go. I fully believe that I am in control of my own emotions, so to a certain extent I know that I am choosing to hold on to this stuff. Other days, letting go of it seems to go against every self-preservation instinct I have.

Wonder how many self-help books I'll collect through this process?