Monday, February 7, 2011

Much Progress

I actually am not sure where to begin. My mother came to visit last Friday. As my Christmas gift I asked her to come for a week and help me finish 3 household projects that were lingering.

1. Finish painting the kitchen. I started this project in the summer and stalled.
2. Clean/fix/paint the bathroom ceiling. It felt like it was going to be a seriously intense project so I was avoiding it.
3. Organize/sort/declutter/clean the basement. Our basement is unfinished but used for storage and working out. It is FULL and complete chaos.

I asked my Mom to help for two main reasons. First, she is a hard worker and loves tackling a job from beginning to end. Second, and perhaps most important, she would push me to make sure they got finished.

True to form, we are 3 days into her visit and the kitchen is painted. We also cleaned out every cupboard, washed walls, cabinet doors, appliances (inside and out) and scrubbed the floor. Oh yeah, we also took down the light fixture to clean and added contact paper to the cabinet floor under the sink. I wasn't lying when I said she pushes me LOL. In the process of cleaning out the cabinets, many pieces went to the flea market pile. I also cleaned up a toy vanity table/stool and the exersaucer to go.

Today we nearly finished the bathroom ceiling. It was less productive since my husband went to work and we had both girls home with us. Also we spent the afternoon at the pool, a welcome break. Tomorrow's plan will include a top to bottom clean of the bathroom, probably done while I am at work for a few hours. Then, it's on to the basement.

I knew my Mom was motivated but I did have my doubts it would all get done in 6 1/2 days. I doubt no more!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

So far to go

I've been feeling a little underwhelmed the last couple of days. We've removed two full car loads and two medium sized pieces of furniture. But when I look around it doesn't seem as though we are any further along. I want the satisfaction of an empty shelf or a closet that isn't full. And because I've been feeling unaccomplished, I've done very little.

So tonight I tackled one cupboard in the kitchen. Removed 2 casserole dishes and 3 ice cube trays. It opened up the space to put the blender in. So still not an empty shelf but a slightly emptier counter.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Flea Market

Today I made another trip to the flea market. We've decided to simply make it a weekly event until we stop making at least $50 a week. I like the flea market. We've used it with varying degrees of success as a tool for making a few bucks while decluttering. But that's where my enjoyment stops. We've gone a few times over the years but rarely leave with anything of use. It's not a "good" flea market consistently.

As I sat there looking around that the people milling about looking to buy and the vendors looking to sell I was struck with one thought. This entire building is exactly why I am moving towards minimalism. It was an entire building of people selling their crap so that they can be the people buying other's crap. One big cycle. In fact the most common thing to occur is for the "regular" sellers to pounce on new sellers before they even get their table set up. Looking for the great buy, the "score". And all I could think was "How sad!"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why Are You Making This Room So Clean?

This is the question my 4 year old asked me as I was clearing out the bedside tables in the master bedroom. And she didn't think it was a good thing. You see, my daughter is a packrat. I worry that it could turn to hoarding. She picks through the dirt pile if I sweep when she is around. She wants to keep the scrap cuts of paper from craft time. She cries if we have to throw out a paintbrush we forgot to clean. So clearing out excess things is causing her some upset. We are being very careful to stick to things that belong to Jeremy and I. And she doesn't seem to be bothered with the casting off of the baby's clothes. But a discussion of the "one in, one out" policy we are implementing is causing major distress with her. Like tears on a daily basis as she talks about it. Any tips/advice?

In other news, I implemented a new strategy yesterday. I was feeling unfocused now that a lot of the big stuff has been done. So being the Flylady that I am, I decided to focus on the zone of the week. This week is the master bedroom. We've both already culled our wardrobes so that was looking good. But I took out 2 of the 5 vases on the dresser, a bag of fabric that needs to go back to my sewing group, half a dozen books that I've already read or have no interest in reading and enough cat hair to make a kitten LOL.

Also, a candleholder. I bought the candleholder 10 years ago in North Carolina. I hung it in our bedroom 3 years ago because it covered a small damaged spot. But I don't think I've truly noticed it in over 2 years. After Jeremy banged his shoulder on it during a midnight baby waking last week I was nearly ready to let it go. And now it's in the flea market container with no regrets.

I removed 2 of the 7 decorative pillows on our bed (what can I say, I'm a decorator!) and the rug moved to the living room to keep the baby's feet/bottom warm when she plays. And while none of these changes are major, the room feels more open, brighter and much more peaceful. And while Ella called it clean, I think this peace is what she was feeling.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Saturday I cut at least a foot of hair off. It adds a bit of time to my morning routine but I love the way it feels and it looks a little more pulled together. Helping me let go of my frumpy mommy look :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011


That's how I've been feeling over the last few days. I think partly because all of the things I wanted to be gone were stuck in a pile. And partly because I have some big projects that are going to take longer than an hour (how long the baby naps).

But now I'm re-energized. I spent half of my day at the flea market unloading the large pile that had grown in the basement and hall closet. Came home $150 richer and a lot lighter in spirit. There is about 1/4 of what I took left. I'm heading back next weekend and am motivated to find another tote of stuff to take with me.

And I said screw it and started one of the big projects. Filing! The system we have is really not working. A basket overflowing with all the mail that needed to be shredded or filed. About 3 years worth. YIKES! But my work in one of the closets meant I had an empty shelf. I removed it and was able to fit the tall filing cabinet from the basement into it. I'm working my way through the shredding and filing but I'm already feeling better about it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I am not Julia Childs

and if I'm being honest, I have no desire to be. I owned a half dozen cookbooks. I have several hundred recipes from swaps. I have dozens of recipes printed from websites or clipped from magazines.

But every day I wondered and stressed about what to make for dinner and at the end of the day just made one of a handful of standbys. Or picked up fast food. Or had a "fend for yourself" night. So I gave away/sold the cookbooks. And I made a 14 day meal plan. It contains all of the meals we eat on a regular basis anyway. I left one day open to try out one of the recipes I've clipped or saved. I figure I can cook something new twice a month LOL. If the recipe doesn't make the cut, I'm tossing it. If we like it, I'll make it a few more times. If we love it, we'll either trade out one of the other meals or extend our rotation.

At the end of my stack of clippings I hope to have a 30 day rotation and a much more streamlined recipe binder. An added bonus: easier grocery shopping :)