Summary of resolution month #1

Well hello friends! Can you believe January is gone already? I am amazed at how quickly this month flew by! Good thing I have been keeping track of all the things I’ve been doing this month!

As I mentioned in the last post, I have done some purging. My bedroom and my downstairs bathroom have been purged and cleaned. They are still in great shape. (I sweep the bathroom floor every night to keep it nice!)  I am contemplating what room to focus on purging next. I will make a decision this weekend and start on it at the beginning of next week. I’ll let you all know what room I decided on.

2 lemon slices, 2 orange slices, 2 cucumber slices, a handful of blueberries, and 2 sliced strawberries. SO GOOD!

 

 

My salad eating has gone fairly well… I ate a salad six days a week for the first two weeks. I lost a bit of momentum in weeks three and four, HOWEVER, my husband and I started a water challenge, and I have taken that a bit further and making my water fruit infused. I feel that between that and the salads, I have been doing a bit better. We have been trying to make more meals at home. It has been going well.

 

 

I have been trying very hard to have less negative thoughts. I was doing really well, then the negativity began to creep in again. I tried something new. I made a subliminal music soundtrack to play when I fall asleep. My own words telling me to love myself… to let go of the hate, and just be happy. I think that has been helping. I have still had some rage-mode moments, but I feel like they are a bit better.

 

Anything is better than nothing. Keep plodding along. You CAN do it!

 

I have eased my way back into exercising on my treadmill. My foot has been a bit angry with me with the additional walking, so I have had to give it a little extra rest. I am VERY pleased with my progress through the month of January. Every barbell throughout the month is a day I exercised… anywhere between 35-67 minutes per session. During the month, I walked more than seventeen miles!

 

 

My “January Jump Start” spending freeze went extremely well. I spent very minimal money, which was super challenging! I pretty much blew that whole month of no spending, in my opinion, because I ended up purchasing a vehicle. We knew we were going to be needing another vehicle in the next few months, with jobs, and my son returning home. We weren’t expecting to get the car quite this soon, but the deal was great, and everything fell into place so easily, we decided to go ahead and get it now. So, because of that, I am labeling February as “Frugal February”. Not a complete spending freeze, but the goal is to buy absolutely nothing at full price, including groceries. Everything MUST either be on sale or have a coupon for significant savings. We will be going through our menus for the month to make sure we can make that happen.

I think that covers everything that happened last month. Man, there was SO MUCH going on! All in all, I think I did well… up until the last day of the month, when the car was purchased. Try, try again, right?

That’s the beauty of this crazy life. We all have our weak moments. Let’s regroup and start again. It will be okay.

YOU CAN DO IT!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The projects continue: What have you learned this month?

Well, the month is starting to wind down, and I feel like I have accomplished quite a bit this month. I have learned some things as well.

The second part of this month has been spent cleaning and going through my downstairs bathroom. Even though this particular room is very small, we have SO MANY things packed in there, and so many of those items haven’t been used in years. Seriously! Why on earth are we holding on to ALL THESE THINGS? The counter top is small, with a metal shelf in the corner. That means that even a few things left out makes the entire counter look cluttered. The amount of things stacked up was kind of embarrassing. The same goes for the medicine cabinet. Perfumes… Numerous face lotions and other facial concoctions… First aid items strewn about… Also incredibly embarrassing. Under the sink was also packed full of various cleaning products some nearly full, and others just drops away from being empty.

I grabbed a large garbage bag and started with my counter first. What better way to start than to do the part that is seen every time someone enters the room! The calmness of a clean and organized counter is most definitely a motivator to carry on and finish the room. I sifted through every hair product, and every hair accessory. I threw away more than half! I had multiple products, which I use, that I was able to combine into one container. The majority of the hair accessories I tossed into the garbage. (I have this thing about used hair items… I just can’t donate them if they’re not washable… it seems so unsanitary!)

My four shelf medicine cabinet was tackled next. All the old band-aids, and other first aid items not really usable were thrown away. The good items that aren’t used frequently, but needed (like the thermometer for fevers, and sanitary band-aids), were put on the top shelf out of the way in a little box to keep them from getting spread all over. Perfumes and body sprays were set up on the next shelf down. I threw away any that were “so close” to empty, or ones that I haven’t used in the last three months. My face/beauty items went on the second to the bottom shelf. Any items that were purchased, used once, and never used again for whatever reason, were thrown out immediately. The remaining items were assessed thoroughly. I have a really hard time throwing these things in particular away. I see them and automatically think, “Oh yeah, I was going to use that before, but I forgot about it”. NEWS FLASH: if you haven’t used it yet, after months, it’s probably not going to happen. Say goodbye to it, and don’t give it another thought. You had already forgotten about it in the first place! Only the items I use regularly, and the ones that work are placed back in the cupboard. The very bottom shelf is designated for daily use items… toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorants, facial routine, etc. The smaller items were organized in a clear little bin, and the rest strategically placed.

The space under the sink was honestly the easiest for me to go through. All but five things were tossed or designated homes elsewhere. We live in the country, so we have well water, which I mostly love. The water is full of hard minerals that, over time, stain porcelain toilets and sinks, and create a ‘lovely’ yellow tinge to the bathtub. There are very few cleaning products out there that I have found that work extremely well without spending an entire afternoon scrubbing vigorously. I hear about new products, so I will buy it, try it, and discover that it DOES NOT do what I had hoped. So, then it sits under the sink, with all the other disappointing bottles. I took everything out and did an assessment. The nearly full items that don’t work for my hard water issues, I have placed in a box, and I will be taking them to work with me to be used there. The mostly empty bottles were used up on the sink, toilet and bathtub, and the bottles disposed of appropriately.

All of our towels in the cupboard were gone through. All of the ones in good shape were put back. The decent ones with frayed ends were deemed good for cleaning and put in the cleaning rag bin. The worn out ones were thrown in the garbage bag.

My last project was the walls and floor. This for me, is the hardest part. My house is nearly one hundred years old. I live in farm country. My house gets dusty in a record amount of time. Add to that a steamy environment, and you have the amazing potential for the kind of dust that sticks to steamy walls, and then dries there. Even when the little fan is turned on during a shower, it doesn’t help much. Years ago, I purchased the Swiffer wet mop wipes, and they are used most often in my bathroom. I attach one of those to the simple mop and wipe down my walls to get all the clinging dust off with little effort. Then, I mop the floor. I flip the “wipe” inside out and get the floor as clean as I can. Then, I get a new wipe and go over the floor again to ensure that it is clean. I know, I know, I could use altered microfiber towels to mop, in a homemade solution, instead of the disposable wipes. I have tried this, and for me, I find that this works better. At some point, I will probably revisit this subject, and work on finding a different cleaning recipe that cuts through the dust, sanitizes, and leaves a nice scent. For now, this is enough.

So now, I have two rooms completely done, from top to bottom. What have I learned from this? It is great to go through your stuff, clean, organize, and get rid of things. There is another factor, however, that is just as important. MAINTAINING. What’s the point of going through this if you aren’t going to put in the effort to keep it that way? It has been two weeks since the completion of my bedroom. I am proud to announce, that I am making the conscious effort to maintain it. In the past, I would let that small pile of clothes sit there “until tomorrow”. I have committed myself to taking care of those piles immediately, or not letting the piles happen in the first place. Shoes go back in their spot as soon as they leave my feet. Clothes are hung up immediately. Everything goes back in its place. I love it. I love walking into my room and feeling relaxed and satisfied when I look around. It takes less time to take that extra two to three minutes and simply put things away, than to take an hour to go through a pile of things every week or two. SUCCESS!

The month is almost over, and I will be giving you all a month end review then. I am so happy with the progress I have made. I am still excited about this ongoing resolution to literally clean up my life. (Haha!)

So, until then… KEEP GOING! You’re doing great! If you have faltered, that’s okay! Recommit to your goals and give it another go! You CAN do this. You WILL do this. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you! ❤

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January resolution progress report

Hello my friends! Happy Saturday! How is everyone doing so far? Have you kept up with your resolutions you made on January 1? I sure hope so!

On New Year’s day, I also started the year by making some goals for myself… publicly. I figured, what better way to make sure I stay on track than by telling the whole world about it. If that isn’t the best motivator, then I don’t know what is!

Here’s a reminder of the resolutions I made for myself:

#1 – Eating better by eating healthier foods

#2 – Letting the negativity go

#3 – Exercising routinely

#4 – Purging my belongings and organizing what’s left

Nearly two weeks have passed, and here is what has happened thus far…

Resolution #1: I have figured out how to make the lovely vinaigrette salad dressing that my friend told me about, and I am extremely excited! I have salad greens in my refrigerator, salad dressing made, and homemade croutons in a vacu-sealed jar all ready to go. I have eaten a salad 11 out of 12 days so far. I discovered that slivered almonds and dried cranberries are a delightful addition to what I have in my bowl already. The possibilities are endless! I’m always willing to try something new and different. So far, my ideas have been surprisingly delicious. One thing I have decided to do, however, is have a limited ‘cheat’ day. That day is Thursday. Thursday evenings is when I meet with my girls, so I think that will be the day that I can cut loose a little bit and have a drink, and eat, in moderation, a few of the lovely foods that I enjoy so much. Hey, if I NEVER eat the foods I crave so much, the possibility for failure is much higher. I CAN do this!

Resolution #2: I have learned quite a bit about myself over the last 12 days. I take things WAY too personally. I have learned that I have a hard time letting things go.  I have a hard time not complaining about it. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut, especially when I’m tired. I have had to stop myself multiple times from blurting negative things out loud. Even then, I haven’t been 100% successful. I need to find a different, positive perspective on all of the things going on around me. They say it takes thirty days to make a habit. I am hoping to prove that theory to be correct. We’ll see what happens as the month continues.

Resolution #3: I purchased a calendar/planner to log all of my activities in. This includes my workout schedule. I have set aside three days/evenings a week for doing my treadmill workouts. As much as I would love to have four or five designated days, I know from past experience, that I tend to burn down within a month when I do this. I also know that I have to give my foot some extra time to recover between workouts. I don’t want to do any damage that will have me spending extra time sitting on the couch any more than necessary. I have completed every scheduled workout so far. I did end up getting sick for a couple of days, but I managed to make up those scheduled workouts within the next week. So, I have, ultimately, completed all of the workouts I had planned for myself. I am already seeing a difference in my body. Yay! There’s some motivation for me to keep going!

Resolution #4: PURGING TASK #1- MY BEDROOM: I have completely gone through every shelf, drawer, and tote in my bedroom. I have gone through every piece of clothing I own and have been brutally honest with myself about my things. I looked at every shirt, pair of pants, coat, socks, dresses, and my unmentionables. I threw away the items with holes, and the other things that I had set aside “to fix” that had been piled up in one of my laundry baskets. I hadn’t missed any of them after all this time, so they are leaving. I made a pile of the pieces that were nice enough to sell online. I made another pile that weren’t as nice, but will put them in a garage sale that will happen in the spring. I put my summer items in a tote that I labeled “seasonal”. I also put my Christmas clothes (ugly sweaters) in this tote as well.  I went through my purses, bags, wallets, scarves, gloves and hats, and was able to eliminate more than half of those items as well. The majority of the extra hangers have been removed and put in a tote to use in my upcoming yard sale. The items left, that I wear regularly, were returned to my closet. Any item that I’m undecided about has gone back into my closet with the hanger hung up backwards. After two months, if I haven’t worn the items, they will be sold, either online or in my garage sale. More than half of my clothes are out! I dusted all the shelves, and all the flat surfaces in my bedroom. I have vacuumed the carpet, and used my carpet cleaner as well. I AM OFFICIALLY DONE WITH THIS ROOM!

 

SIDE NOTE: Part of my process of purging a room is having to post all of the nicer items I want to sell online IMMEDIATELY. This does a few different things for me. I AM COMMITTED TO MAKING THAT ITEM LEAVE MY HOME. I can’t keep it for myself if I have it for sale. I can be motivated by earning money when I sell them. I can’t move on to another room if I haven’t finished all of my processes. I have heard good things about Poshmark, so I took pictures of all those clothing items and posted them. That is part of my plan… posting my items. It keeps me motivated to get it done! I have already sold five items for a total of $45.00 in less than a week. NICE! All of the money I make from my belongings will be going into my emergency savings fund.        https://poshmark.com/

priority mail boxes      So far, I have been very happy with this website/app. They, of course, take a percentage of your selling price, BUT, it is all up front before you officially list your items. The shipping is super easy. Poshmark takes care of the shipping end of things. All you have to do is package up your sold item (very nicely please!), print out a shipping label (that they email to you), and tape it on your “Priority Mail” box (you get them FOR FREE from the post office!). Then you take it to your local post office, they scan your label, and you’re done!  I’m all for it!

I finished my monthly budget as well. It is very strict, but very doable! There will definitely be some self control needed, but we can do it! January is already my spending freeze month, (Boy, I have SO MUCH going on this month!), which coincides well with our new budget. I have done very well. Yes, I have been tempted of course, BUT I have squashed the urges to spend. Nothing I have been tempted by is a NEED, simply things I WANT. That’s the important thing to realize… the difference between the needs and the wants. ONLY NINETEEN DAYS TO GO!

*Budget done.

*Bedroom purged.

*Items have been put up for sale.

*Exercise happening routinely.

*Eating healthy regularly.

*Actively aware of my words and actions.

gold star

I’m giving myself a gold star for the progress I have made in these first twelve days. I have been successful in many things, and those I haven’t been completely successful in, I am aware of the problem and have committed to doing better and being better.

I hope you are finding great success this year. Stick with it.

YOU CAN DO IT!

New Year, New Resolutions

Happy New Year friends! I am hoping that 2018 was a good year for all of you. It was a decent year for me. A lot of things happened… some good, some bad. I really want 2019 to be MY year. I want to make things happen for me. I am determined.

I HAVE PLANS. I HAVE RESOLUTIONS.

Just like so many of you, I am jumping on the new year’s resolution bandwagon. Most years I don’t do the resolution thing. This year is different. I want 2019 to represent the start of something incredible… a journey towards self love, self improvement, and a more relaxed, stress free home environment. I am so eager for this journey, that I started purging my closet as I was waiting for 2019 to arrive.

Resolution #1 – Eating better/healthier – Don’t get me wrong. I am not a complete junk food consumer. I admit, however, that I thoroughly enjoy chocolate, cookies, and a nice assortment of candies. I like fruits and vegetables, although I need to make a more conscious effort to grab an apple in lieu of some sugar filled goody.  Part of the goal is to simply eat more salad… with healthier salad dressing included. I love ranch dressing, and I love bleu cheese as well. I discovered a lovely, simple, healthier dressing the other night while I was at my friends’ house for a party- a delicious vinaigrette consisting of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard. WHY HAVE I NEVER KNOWN ABOUT THIS? I’m hooked! I make my own croutons with homemade bread, olive oil, and a dash of garlic salt. Sounds pretty simple, right? I’M READY!

Resolution #2 – Letting the negativity go – This one has a few layers to it. Not only is my goal to not let negativity and bad things throughout my day bring me down, but I am going to try harder to keep negative comments to myself. I think it’s good to let my aggression and frustration out, but I will do that in private… that place may be in my office, my car, the restroom… that doesn’t matter, as long as I am not bringing others down with me. I will let it out, and then I will let it go.

Resolution #3 – Exercising – For much of last year, I had a good routine going with my treadmill. Then, my foot surgery happened, and I haven’t been able to do much since the beginning of October. My foot still bothers me, since I still am having some pretty routine bouts of swelling. I am not looking to run a marathon. I just want to spend 30 – 45 minutes on my treadmill a minimum of three days per week. That should be doable.

Resolution #4 – Purge my belongings – As I mentioned in my last post, I am ready to get rid of stuff! My goal this year is to have half of my belongings leave my home. I want the clutter to go away. I want to make my home more relaxing… a place of calm. I went through my entire closet this evening and I’m pretty sure nearly half is going to go away! Success! Some will be put up for sale on various sights, and what is left will be set aside for a garage sale this spring. My objective is to focus on one room every three weeks (or two weeks, depending on the size of the room), and clean from top to bottom… inside and out, getting rid of the non necessities, and nicely arranging what’s left. Yessssssss.

What goals have you set for yourself for 2019? Health? Happiness? Determination? Whatever your resolutions are for this new year, I wish you all the success you desire.

RR tracks 2019

Happy New Year!              LET’S MAKE THIS THE BEST YEAR EVER!

 

What will you be doing this summer?

Summer is upon us! There are so many things to love about summer.  Ah, the sun, the barbeques, the vacations, and… THE GARAGE SALES!

I love shopping garage sales for the incredible bargains, but I’m going to focus on the HAVING garage sales. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m not overly fond of putting on a sale, but I am on a mission this year. I desperately want to pare down my possessions. I make progress every week, which is good, but I’m gearing up for sale day. I still have a few weeks to go, and that’s great! I’m looking forward to filling up all my large boxes with items to be sold… which means more stuff leaving my home! I’m even taking this a step further. I’m planning with my neighbors and we’re going to have our sales on the same weekend. How awesome is that? Neighborhood sales attract more attention, which hopefully means more people and more of my stuff going away!

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I know I keep focusing on items going away. Yes, that is intentional. There are a few reasons why…  #1- I need the ongoing pep-talk. I’ve been making excellent progress, and I would like it to continue. In this case, I am my own personal cheerleader.  #2- I am trying to change my mindset. I am trying to reverse 40+ years of keep, save, and buy multiples of everything. I’m tired of storing so much. I’m tired of having to find bigger totes and shelves. When I’m asked if I have big plans for the weekend, and my response is all too often, “I’m going to be cleaning and organizing my music/computer room… AGAIN”, then obviously, things need to change!

I started following a Facebook page called Becoming Minimalist a while back.  I am inspired by Joshua Becker. His posts are not only interesting, but I find them to be quite insightful. I love the little sayings he posts. I can relate. I take them to heart. I’m trying to embrace this way of thinking in order to take my home back and not let my stuff own ME.

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Let’s buckle down and go through our stuff! Call your friends and neighbors and get to selling! (And don’t forget to donate what you don’t sell!)  Less stuff means less cleaning and less stress. Let’s take back our evenings and weekends, and do the things we really want to do… ENJOY LIFE.

LET”S DO THIS!!

 

Mason jar mania: My obsession

I have a confession to make. I am, and have been, obsessed with anything and everything related to mason jars for quite a long time. Many just think of mason jars as what our moms and grandmas used for canning their peaches, cherries, and strawberry jam. It goes so far beyond that for me. I inherited A LOT of canning jars. When I say a lot, I mean HUNDREDS. I have too many reasons for loving these jars to list every single one, but I’ll address some of my favorites in my post.

My basement is full of mason jars

One of the main reasons I love canning jars so much is that, especially for me, they are readily available. My mom religiously canned every summer… Peaches, tomatoes, apple cider… you name it, and it’s entirely possible she canned it at some point. I have so many jars. Granted, I have given quite a few away to friends who can, but I still have so many! I decided quite awhile ago that I needed to use them as much as possible. So far, I have done a fairly decent job.

Yes! These really exist! Sleeves, coffee lids, etc.

Another reason I love jars so much… They are so versatile! The amount of accessories that are available for jars now is mindblowingly amazing. Several years ago I found some neat lids that could be used for drinking out of. I really like them. Recently, I have looked online, and the accessories are everywhere. This makes me so very happy!

I can use my jars as coffee cups, with real lids. No sloshing or spilling. Ingenious.

Use with your vacu-seal to extend the “life” of your dry goods

 

 

I use my jars for food storage. Not necessarily in the actual canning sense though… I use them in conjunction with my vacu-seal machine. I have the canning jar attachments that suck all the air out of the jars and seal them. I use them for most of my dry goods… flour, oats, pasta, nuts… the possibilities are endless.

 

I take my fruit salad to work in my mason jars. WHY NOT?!

I also love to use my jars in the fridge. They don’t take up as much room as other containers, since they’re more vertical. I also enjoy the fact that I can put them in my lunch box and take them to work. I decided to try and glue several lids together to make yogurt and granola more portable. I love parfaits… I sure hope it works out like I hope it will! I’ll let you know if it does!

 

Just…. WOW

 

The next reason for my love of jars is decoration. My daughter’s wedding is coming up in about 6 weeks, and trying to come up with elegant, frugal, and simple decorations are a must. I found a nice item that I think will be nice for the reception, and then be useful at home as well. These solar charging light strands screw to the top of the jars and look so beautiful. They make wire holders for hanging, so they could be hung up by my patio for a nice relaxing evening after dark.

 

 

If this self watering indoor herb garden works, I will be overjoyed.

 

My last, and newest reason for my mason jars… planting herbs for an indoor, self watering system. I read about this concept on Pinterest, and I was instantly intrigued. I have “the black thumb of death”. I am horrible with plants of every kind. I can kill any plant… just give me time! I either over water, or forget about them entirely. It’s totally unintentional, but it happens EVERY time. I do tend to get very distracted. So, I’m hoping that this system will forego all my plant flaws and let me grow things!

 

And there you have it… many of the reasons I love my jars. Jars are everywhere you look… Garage sales, thrift stores, attics, and basements. Let’s utilize what is already out there. Reuse, reuse, REUSE!

Minimalistic traveling

Over the last few years, I seem to have started traveling more. Admittedly, it is mostly for work, but not all. I have done more air travel recently than I have the entire rest of my life. That’s probably not saying too much, but it’s true! For the most part, I enjoy it. (I’d enjoy it a bit more if I didn’t get motion sickness from bumpy flights though!) I love seeing new places and taking in different scenery.

There are some things I have learned from my recent travels. First off, I really detest checking my bags. I like having my eye on my stuff at all times if possible. Okay, some smaller planes still make you hand over your small suitcase\carry on, but at least it goes from the trolley at the front of the plane directly into the plane, and right back to me when the flight is over. Hey, I don’t trust people! I’ve had my suitcase gone through more than once! Secondly, because of that fact, I have to pack smarter. As you have probably already figured out, I like stuff. I like taking my stuff with me. You know… just in case! I have finally figured out that packing lighter and smarter isn’t as terrifying as I thought it would be.

I think what helps me the most is HOW I pack. I used to fold everything all nice and neat and lay things on top of each other, just like I would in my dresser. Turns out, at least for me, if I roll up my clothes, I have considerably more room. (AND less wrinkles!) I can put the things that I would put in my backpack in there as well. I was so mad at myself for not figuring it out sooner. Seriously! This could have made my previous trips so much easier. I always bring too many extras. How about instead of 3 extras, just take 1? I actually did it. It’s amazing how much more room I have when I don’t try to take my entire closet with me! This doesn’t mean I can take a lot of other things with me. I see all that extra room in my suitcase, and I feel the need to fill it up with things. I refrained. I am making progress!

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This is half of what I brought the first time I came to Montana. One pair of jeans (besides what I wore on the trip over), pajama top and bottom, two tank tops (for under shirts), a t-shirt, a dressier tank, and two different styles of sweaters in case eating out was going to happen. I also brought three pairs of socks (one extra), same for my other under things, and an extra pair of more comfortable shoes. One layer in my suitcase! Woo hoo! I don’t think you realize how big of a deal this is for me!

I gathered all my other stuff. One small bag of makeup, one baggie of chargers, and two baggies of miscellaneous toiletries that I have to bring. I simply can’t use hotel shampoos and conditioners. My hair is too picky for that.

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There is still a ton of room in there. I would call this a success! (There is some dramatic dance moves going on right now!)

So, what it comes down to is this… Plan ahead. Make a list in advance of what items you want to take. Then, take the time to assess what is on your list. What can you eliminate? What isn’t necessary? Can you survive your trip without it? If you can’t, is there a smaller version you can take? It seems like it should be a no brainer, but sometimes these things just don’t occur to us when we’re in the act of packing. I actually did purchase a few “mini” travel items that took up half the space… Deodorant, first aid kit, and toothpaste. There was nothing overly extravagant, and the total cost was under ten dollars. The nice thing is that I won’t have to purchase them for a few more trips, so it’s totally worth it to me!

There is a certain feeling of freedom when we have less to (literally) carry around. Go on your trip, have fun, and take less with you! You’ll have less to keep track of. You’ll thank yourself for it!

My need to have less stuff

I have a confession to make. Lately I’ve been feeling very closed in and trapped by my stuff. Over the last year I have gotten rid of a lot of things. I’ve had garage sales, and donated trunk loads of my unwanted and unused goods. I have a lot less. So why do I still feel like I’m drowning?

I have theories of course. I have problem areas in my home… my dining room table, a certain oversized bookshelf, and my computer/craft/music room. These are either my high traffic areas, or where I spend much of my time. I’ll be the first to admit that when I get home from work lately, I’m tired. I collapse on the couch and don’t want to move. That is where the problems start. Everything that has happened during the day doesn’t get taken care of, so it starts to build up. It sure doesn’t take long!

The “drop zone” at the end of the day

Where items with no home hang out

I also bring things home. That offsets all that I have disposed of.

I’m sure you can relate. I know I’m guilty of not putting things away. We don’t have control of what happens in our homes when we leave for work, unless you live by yourself. It all adds up in a hurry. Then, within a few days, I start to feel the stress of all my stuff hanging around… far away from where their rightful place is. I feel like I’ve lost control. My stuff owns ME.

IT NEEDS TO STOP!

I’ve read many articles, blog posts, and books about decluttering and minimalism. It all sounds so appealing… so very nice. My big struggle is getting past my heritage and upbringing. You see, I come from a long line of pack rats. NOTE, I did NOT say hoarders. My family has long believed in stocking up on things… getting extra when there’s a deal to be had. It’s not garbage and nastiness… Just lots of items for later use… large boxes of various electronic cables, canning jars full of random nails and screws, shoe boxes full of artist paint brushes. I’ve noticed, as I look around my home, that I tend to do the same things. What makes it all the more ironic, is that I live in the house I grew up in. I still have things in my basement that my dad saved. (Cabinet drawers full of screws, nails, zip ties, etc.) There used to be A LOT more things, but I finally got up the courage to sift through most of it.

I just need to be brutally honest with myself when I take time to deep clean. I need to take every single thing out of my closet and start asking myself those all important questions that all those articles have brought to my attention. Do I use this item daily?  When was the last time I used it? If I were to get rid of it, is there another item that I have that could work similarly to this one? Do I know anyone that I could borrow one from if it was absolutely necessary? If there are several similar items, is there possibly one item that could do all the things that the multiple items can do?

I need to get a variety of boxes together and designate them for definite keepers, undecided, throw away, and donate/garage sale. Ultimately, what I like to do is have my garage sale, and then donate what doesn’t sell. I try to find a cause to donate the clothes, crafts, and other specific items to, whether it be shelters, nursing homes, schools, or various local charities that could use them before donating to my local thrift stores.

I have already decided to do a garage sale this year. I’m really not all that fond of putting on garage sales. I never have been. I work in customer service, so sometimes having a break from people is nice. However, I will admit, that when my daughter comes and hangs out all day with me, it is much more tolerable. We usually don’t make a ton of money, but I do enjoy her company. We listen to music, talk, and laugh obnoxiously… THAT I enjoy immensely. I think the biggest thing that I have learned about the yard/garage sale process, from my coworker, is to price all your items as soon as you have decided to sell them BEFORE you even put them in that designated box. When you’re ready to have your sale, you don’t have to spend the time pricing everything frantically as you’re staging all your tables. It takes so much stress out of the entire process! (Thank you, Angie, for THE MOST amazing advice!) I am even going to talk to my neighbors about the possibility of a neighborhood sale. That would bring in more potential customers. Why not? Last year, I designated the money I made for birthday and Christmas presents. It worked out really well. AND I GOT RID OF STUFF! Watching my things leave with an excited person was refreshingly pleasant. I’m glad someone will enjoy them.

As the summer season approaches, I am going to try and be more vigilant about putting things away as soon as I’m done with them. I’m going to recommit to my “5 things a day” rule. I’m going to put my reusable grocery bags back in my car as soon as I’m done putting my groceries away. If I bring something home, I am going to try to get rid of two things for every one thing I have brought in. I’m going to “Power Hour” my way around my house and have my biggest garage sale to date. (Last year’s was pretty big, so I have a lot of things I need to get rid of!) I’m going to go thru all my clothes and shoes, and get rid of the things I truly don’t wear anymore. I’m determined to reduce the amount of things in my home!

Sometimes all it takes is the realization to reawaken the declutter beast. That has happened to me.

ARE YOU READY TO OWN LESS? I KNOW I AM!

Getting rid of clutter

There is nothing more frustrating than getting my hands on a potentially informative “how to” book, only to find upon completion, that I have learned absolutely nothing new. I have high hopes that there will be great insight for making my minimalist hopes a reality. I need an easy, realistic, virtually pain free, “baby steps” process to make all my dreams come true. I need something to be spelled out for me and tell me exactly what to do. I look around me, see all the stuff, and immediately say, “Nope. I can’t do this”. I have failed before I have even started.

I am definitely NOT a hoarder. I have, however, inherited the pack-rat gene. (Obstacle #1) Yep, it’s true. Admitting the problem is the first step to recovery, am I right?! It has taken me a very long time to get a grip on it. At first, I was in denial. I couldn’t possibly do what my parents AND grandparents did. Then, through some in depth soul-searching, my eyes were opened, and all my stuff stared me down and slapped me in the face. Oh. My. Gosh. I hold onto stuff, “just in case”, exactly like they did. I didn’t think it was a problem, until it WAS a problem. At that point, I decided I needed to dig in and get rid of things. Obstacle #2- I have a great deal of emotional attachment to my stuff. I have good reason to be this way. I have a pretty small family, and both my parents have passed on. I am so afraid that if I get rid of things, I am going to forget all the memories that go with them. Most of these things have no real value to anyone but me. Obstacle #3- I have things set aside for all those amazing creative, craftsy ideas that are floating around in my head. I have A LOT of great ideas, and they always reveal themselves when I lie down for bed, or wake me up at 2:30 in the morning. Seriously. So now, I have piles, bins, and baskets stuffed full of these projects in various stages of completion. Ostacle #4- I also have piles of broken things that I feel I can fix. I am a handy person. I love to fix things. I’m good at fixing things. I SHOULD fix the things.

My tips for MY obstacles seem to work for me. I would love to think that they will work for everyone, but, we know how that goes. If you haven’t tried them, by all means, give it a try. It might surprise you.

Obstacle #1- Admitting you have too much stuff is a HUGE deal. You’ve recognized it. Now you notice all that stuff sitting around.That’s good! It’s time to watch it go away.

Obstacle #2- When it comes to MY emotional obstacles, I decided that taking a digital picture(s) of the item, and getting rid of the actual item will still allow me to recollect the memory associated with the item without actually having the item IN MY HOUSE. It works, and I love it.

Obstacle #3- This one was one of the hardest for me. I have these visions of amazing projects becoming even more amazing things I will cherish forever….  HA! I have such a giant pile of projects, I don’t think I’ll be done by the time I’m ready to retire. Having said that, I have become very brutal with my decisions of what to keep. Honestly, I threw away probably 100 projects I wanted to do. Why? I have had some of these projects since before I moved into my current home… 18 YEARS AGO. Yep, you guessed it. Buh-bye! It’s not going to happen if it hasn’t by now.

Obstacle #4- This obstacle very closely resembles obstacle #3. Most of the items in my “to fix” bin have been there for years. My intentions for wanting to fix these things is warranted, but, obviously, I haven’t missed it enough to bother with fixing, so, out it goes. It feels good, doesn’t it? I’m breathing a deep sigh of relief right now.

I am going to spell it out for YOU and tell YOU what to do. I have two ideas that will rock your world. The first one is “5 things”. I want you to commit to getting rid of 5 things a day. That isn’t hard to do. It could be as simple as those sad socks that lost their mate a year ago, or the ink pen that writes terribly but is oh-so cute. Seriously, throw it away. Just let it happen! 5 THINGS will change you! If you started today, by the end of the year you would have 1,825 less things! Really!

Here’s idea number two… My friend introduced me to a little pot of gold… two simple words…  POWER HOUR.  This may not seem all that great, but, this will soon be your best friend. Imagine an entire phone free, facebook free, snapchat free hour, listening to your most motivational music, focusing on one thing, and taming the beast. Throw things away. Clean. Organize. Exercise. For one incredibly focused hour. Then, at the end of your hour, look around at what you’ve done and celebrate! You deserve it! By all means, if you feel like continuing, do it! You don’t have to though, and that’s okay. It’s progress.

My take on the “how to” of decluttering works for me. I have gotten rid of so many things! I literally breathe a sigh of relief when I look around and things have a home. I feel less stressed. That, my friends, is what it’s all about.