Deep breath…

Wow! I’m not quite sure how almost a year has gone by so quickly.  Somehow, nothing went quite as I planned…almost no renovations have happened, the furniture is all the same…I haven’t even moved my oldest darling daughter into her own bedroom yet.  Completely inexcusable.

So let me give you my excuses…

In short: husband is ill, mom is doing chemo, grandmother with dementia has moved in with the mom doing chemo, took on extra job in March.  Have absorbed many child-rearing responsibilities, and let’s face it: I was not cut out for single parenting.

With that said, as manic as things are, I’m thinking it’s not too early for a resolution.  And I’m thinking the resolution might have to be something about just showing up. Not necessarily winning or getting things right, just showing up.

Just my thought for the day.

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You may have noticed this already – and forgive me if you have – but it’s, um, March. In all the crazed-ness that seems to be my life these days, I truly hadn’t noticed. I’ve been joking with friends and family, in fact, that my life is like a country western song: my grandparents aren’t doing well, my mom started chemo this week, my dog needed major surgery. That about covers the immediate drama; add in the kids, school work, starting a new job while keeping the old job and more, and I’m wondering “What next?” While today was a rough day, I’m still incredibly grateful – okay, maybe just normal-grateful – to have some good things in my life, too. For instance, a week ago I got to do this:

I bought those soft, foam-roller curlers for one of my daughters, who’s fondest wish is for curly hair. Sure enough, once she had them in her hair, they all wanted them. Good thing there was 50 in the package!

So, I guess the short version of life: things = not so good; life overall = not so bad. Doesn’t mean I don’t let out a good groan once in a while, though!  In any case, here’s to getting back on the making-the-house better kick I was on before the country-western twang vibe kicked in…wish me luck!  And if you have any pointers on how to stay sane when everything around you is falling apart, please pass those along!

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not a garage sale…

I’m not really the garage sale type.  There, I’ve admitted it.  And certainly no offense to those of you who adore them, including my good friend Katy, who has one each and every year – and who I think sometimes buys things knowing she will just re-sell them.  But with three kids and a job that generally leaves me working 12-16 hours a day in the summer, I don’t have time for garage sale magic, no matter how appealing and lucrative they may seem.

But…I have a *lot* of junk stuff in my house.  (Well, if it’s mine, it’s “stuff”.  If it’s the big guy’s, it’s “junk”.)  🙂  Mostly, these are not items that are eBay-worthy (as I do love me a good eBay sale!).  We’re talking extra black wallets, ten year old TVs, slightly used (but definitely not new) board games.  Really, it’s a garage sale lovers paradise, because while nothing here is new – nor has it been new in quite some time – it’s mostly in good shape, because I do a Goodwill purge about once a month. Still, my house looks like an episode of Hoarders sometimes:

Oh, wait.  That actually *is* from an episode of Hoarders.  Still…

I really need to get rid of all this stuff.

I started by at least asking my friend Katy, the afore-mentioned garage sale expert, when her next sale was going to be.  Since we currently have 20+ inches of snow on the ground, and it’s -5 outside, she looked at me a bit strangely.  “Um, probably when it’s warm…” she trailed off, looking at me like I was nuts.  Which I likely am, because I need this junk stuff gone.  Like, now. Actually, yesterday would be better.

So, after a few forays into the world of craigslist (and just as that terrifying-sounding Lifetime “craigslist killer” movie is being advertised) I applied for an official account, and started posting stuff tonight at what I hope are reasonable rates in an attempt to clear some clutter to make space for my other projects.  In fact, this whole ridiculous laundry room idea I had (which is still on; who knew it was gonna take so long?) hinges on me getting rid of a lot of the stuff in that room, or I will not find the floor to paint it.  seriously.

Off to take some more photos…wish me luck!  And tell me, please pretty please: do you have any tips for me on getting rid of craigslist stuff quickly?

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Over-worked…or just over-cluttered?

Last year, distressed by the clutter and papers strewn about my office, I snapped a photo of it.  I was determined to make this:

look a bit more like this:

That’s right, I have a massive imagination.  It’s a blessing and a curse, I say.  anyways… Now that I’m back in my office after the holiday (this year I took a few days off in between Christmas and New Years to spend time with my girls), I realize my office still looks like this:

Ok, maybe I’m dramatizing a bit.  I have, after all, moved the papers slightly to the right a bit.  🙂  But the reality is that while I had great intentions of cleaning up my office in the name of increased productivity (and, let’s face it, to make it cuter) it didn’t even come close to happening.  Last year was incredibly busy, but let’s face it – that wasn’t really the reason I didn’t do much.

I was kinda lazy.

Also, I’m overwhelmed by how much happens in that room. Though they aren’t there right now, I’m usually sporting an additional laptop and printer, both of which currently need to be replaced.  And about 12 people use my office a day, whether staff (who know where things go) or volunteers (who don’t).  finally, my co-worker’s little boy (soon to be four) uses this space about two-three days a week, so I need to have some space for him to play and keep his toys…we share a [very] small office, so using my space is crucial.  So everything has to be super-clear, well-organized and easy to find.


So, I’m adding this to the list of junk I have to do this year (watch out for a much longer list in a day or two!).  Because I can’t be professional and work in this office the way it is much longer; I keep expecting the papers to grow legs (arms? hands?) and suffocate me.  I can’t paint the office (though it really needs it) and it’s unlikely I’ll be able to afford new furniture (I work at a tiny non-profit, remember?), but if it’s on a flat surface, it’s likely to get cleaned, tossed or re-organized in the next few days.   I can’t wait to get started on this one!

Note: The beautiful office above can be found at Cottage Home Offices from Luis Caicedo : Designers’ Portfolio 2510 : Home & Garden Television.  Really? 2510? I can’t even plan two days out!

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Happy, Happy New Year!

Hope you have a wonderful 2011. I’m so happy to be here with you…hope you stay to share this year of transformation with me, and experience some wonderful transformations of your own.

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In the meantime…

Somewhere in the middle of the laundry room project, I realized that I didn’t feel like I was making much progress – and that I needed a success to build my motivation to keep going.  Not anything big, just something I could point to and say, “Hey! At least I got *that* done today / this week!”  That’s where this little cabinet re-organization I whipped up in my kitchen today comes in.  It’s not big, and I didn’t buy a thing to complete it (just took an empty shoebox out of my closet) – but it definitely is going to make this cabinet more useful.  Here’s the awful before:

Everything is just sort of shoved in there, all on top of each other.  I can’t even tell what’s in the back!  (And, since I can’t see it, you know I’m not using it, either.)  This is called months of what is me and the girls (and occasionally the big guy) just shoving what we took out of there back into the front, wherever it “fits”.  In fact, once I took everything out, here’s what I discovered I had:

What is all that junk? I found a coffee maker, a cappuccino maker, a hot tea maker, a waffle maker, assorted oils and vinegars, the toaster, tons of dog bones and rawhides, lots of plastic bags and lunch bags, and other assorted odds ‘n ends.  What a mess!  I started by grabbing a paper grocery bag for anything that could go to the Goodwill.  In went the hot tea maker – my husband has not used this in two years, at least – and at least three of those tiny recyclable totes for lunches.  (We all have at least one more that we use daily which is stored elsewhere, and if I’m going to be thinking about this house like I’m going to sell it, then I need to ruthlessly get rid of the clutter.  and duplicates.  especially duplicates!)  Also, the empty mason jar went in the bag – I know someone will use this.  One extra pet dish also went in there.  All those items (and this part is important, REALLY important) then went into the trunk of my car, to be delivered to the thrift shop tomorrow.  I’d go today, but I’ve already done all my errands for the day, so tomorrow it is.

Once that stuff is done, I can put things back.  As mentioned, I put all the dog stuff in a shoebox I found in my closet, then labeled the box so I remember where that is.  I got to throw away a bunch of packaging by doing this, which freed up a bunch of space.  Exciting!  Other items went back in based on how often I used them – the toaster gets used all the time, so it made sense to put it right in front.  The oils and vinegars stayed in their little plastic crate (to help catch spills, if I’m messy putting them away) and plastic cutlery, which rarely gets used, went in the back.  Yesssss! Once I put away the pared down items, things look so much better:

And, I get my minor miracle success for the day.  My husband is making dinner tonight – I wonder if he will even notice the new, clean cupboard?  Or the missing hot tea maker?  I’m guessing no on both!  How about you guys – do you, like me, need a success in your corner to keep you motivated? Or are you more of a “plug along ’til it’s done” type?

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The best laid plans…

I was naive. So, so naive. That project? The one I started yesterday? Oh, I’m still working on it. But here’s the thing: step one is actually “clear the space”, and I didn’t even consider how long *that* little task was going to take me. Since I want to get it to a point where I can keep projects out for a day if I need to (because the little ladies always need something right when I’m at a critical juncture) I feel this need to be “caught up” on laundry and the basics that happen in this space. So, I’ve cleaned the kitty litter box and I’m on my 5th or 6th load of laundry – and the space looks no clearer yet. In fact, the big guy went grocery shopping yesterday, so it may be a little worse. (He’s a stock & save kinda guy sometimes…which means storage of extra items.)

Sigh. I have a feeling this may take more time than I thought. 🙂 I remain undaunted, though – not going to let this space beat me! Plus, I think I’ve thought of a way to deal with my ugly wires and wall situation behind my washer and dryer. More on that in a day or two…

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