It’s safe to say

December 30, 2010

that my efforts to simplify my life have been undermined by that pesky job. It’s been since June since I last revisited this topic.

  • Sewing machine is still gathering dust in the back bedroom. I had grand notions (ha, notions, get it?) of making cute gift bags for Christmas presents this year. Let’s just say I’m STILL shopping, so that didn’t happen.
  • I have NOT been cooking much. I do, however, have a shiny new oven. It’s not the pretty blue interiored number I drool over, but it works great. There’s a cafeteria in my building, so I often have a sandwich or tacos for lunch, although I will be making a much greater effort to cut back in coming months. Even if that simply means bringing sandwich stuff to work and doing it there.
  • Less daytime TV – MAJOR SUCCESS! (Thanks to being gainfully employed.)
  • Keeping the house tidy… I’m getting there. My kitchen is normally presentable, the bed is usually made and the living room is much less of a disaster.
  • Remembering my reuseable grocery bags: I’m normally pretty good with this since I usually remember to put them back in my car.
  • Clearing clutter: Doing well, and it seems to be rubbing off on hubby. Maybe Flylady was right?
  • Gardening: It has been raining, no scratch that, POURING more days than it hasn’t lately. This does not bode well for vegetation in my life.
  • Purchasing less: I can honestly say I really evaluate the value of a purchase (unless it’s chocolate or alcohol) before spontaneously tossing it in my cart.
  • Doing stuff that’s FUN: working cuts down on time for this… although Hockey has been my life recently, and I expect it to stay that way until spring. Other than that, I’m throwing sleep in the “fun” column because I just don’t get enough!

In this time of re/evaluation and introspection, what are your goals for the next year? What’s your focus? (Or do you have add like me?) Where have you seen success? What’s been your most important adjustment?


Holiday Thoughts

December 27, 2010

This year, my husband and I decided (before my grandfather’s death) that we would not be travelling for the holidays. Every year, in the 13 years we have been together, we have driven all over to please relatives. Sometimes this meant traversing both California and Nevada. Battling holiday traffic and navigating winter weather (okay, I know our weather is nothing compared to other areas of the world) and putting up with family drama is just not the kind of “relaxation” I want to do during my limited time off.

So the foot was put down, and the families dealt with it. And we did everything (mostly nothing) we wanted. We spent time with neighbors and at hockey. (And of course each other.) Just the perfect time off! Because it was just us, the pressure to participate in excess was much lower. I think we’ve started a new tradition.

And for the new year: I’ve already begun to purge! I’ve pulled two trash bags of clothing from my closet to either garage sale or donate. We spent several hours going though paperwork and magazines and tossing away! It feels so good to dump all this stuff. I want to continue working on this at least one day each week. (Not the whole day, just a little bit at the minimum.)

Also for the new year, I want to be healthier. This includes eating at home more and exercising more. It also includes keeping the house tidier and cleaner. Not that we live in a hovel… but we definitely have room to improve. And this will keep us in a better place mentally, plus it will be nice to open our home to friends. I think the focus of simplification remains… We did well with not bringing more clutter into the home in the form of Christmas gifts, so I call that a win!

Simplification: Check-In #2

June 22, 2010

It’s been a long while since my last check-in. What’s been going on?

  • Haven’t touched my sewing machine.  FAIL! I have, however moved it from the middle of the kitchen table to my nice guest room. (No, I do not expect guests to sew for me.)
  • I have been cooking more! Well, considering my diet, I kinda have to or I would starve! I have lost 11 pounds in less than two weeks. When I think about that, it’s kind of embarrassing because it just goes to show how terrible all the processed crap & fast food really are for you!
  • Less daytime TV – Check! More movement: FAIL.
  • Little chores: PROGRESS… Thanks to Flylady, I’m getting some basic stuff done (making the bed, keeping the kitchen sink shiny, etc.)
  • Remembering my reuseable grocery bags: I’m ROCKIN’ this one!! At Trader Joe’s, they give you a raffle ticket for a gift card drawing, and at Whole Foods, they give you a nickel off per bag. Little rewards are nice!
  • Clearing clutter: a little progress.
  • Gardening: my front planter box remains weed free and my container veggies remain alive. Yahoo!
  • Purchasing less: unless it pertains to something edible, or something to improve our house, I’m killing it!
  • Doing stuff that’s FUN: Check! I’ve seen one of my very favorite performers (twice) and have been taking walks with my borrowed doggies. Also, it’s been fun working with hubby on the house – kind of a bonding experience. We’re actually becoming quite a team when he’s more patient with whatever’s not going right, and as long as I don’t take his comments personally (they’re always directed at whatever isn’t working or himself anyway).

What are you doing/have you done to simplify your life? Are you struggling with any of the things I am? How are you decluttering your life?

And… I’m back!

June 10, 2010

Well, I was never really gone.

I’ve been here all along and have been motivated with a few projects away from the computer. In a way I feel like I’ve neglected writing, but on the other hand, I feel like it’s all been so… BORING.

So here’s the scoop! After cleaning the linen closet, I realized I could move the stash of PartyLite decorations (mostly holiday stuff) from the nice guest room to that closet. And in doing this, I realized the closet rod is giving out. It seems that when I rearranged the closets, I upset that delicate balance. So I had to take EVERYTHING off the rod before it completely gave out. Been there, done that – not fun. Wall repair makes hubby swear. Simple fix = one well place screw. Back to the closet with all you heavy jackets! (Will weed through them at a later date.)

In moving all the PartyLite stuff (I was a consultant for a few years) I found things that I forgot I had. None of which I couldn’t live without. Hello EBAY! So far, I’ve sold a dozen things and have only had to stalk one person. Actually, still stalking them. If you’re reading this, I’m holding your Fairy hostage till you pay me, sucker! I listed over 25 things, so to sell 12 is good, but not great. And – it’s MESSY! I completely destroyed the nice guest room! (I could have it presentable in about 30 minutes though, so it’s not TOO bad.)

Oh, and we finally (after owning this joint 11 years) ordered sliding closet doors for the two bedrooms. We found them quickly for the office, so those have been nice for some time.

In the middle of this madness, the garbage disposal shit the bed. It was spewing ick all over the underside of my sink!! So, hubby decides he’s gonna tackle this one himself. Cool! Off to the store to buy a new disposal ($100). Hey look – it’s a shiny new faucet! You know, ours has been stuck on spray for about 5 years. Time to handle that too ($100). I won’t get into the yawn-inducing details, but let’s just say that the faucet was really difficult to install. Compounded by the fact the cold water valve had an opening that was too big for the hose. Had to replace that too. Plumbing sucks, y’all. Woo hoo – a day and a half later, we’ve got it all fixed. Or so we think.

Tuesday, I started up the dishwasher as usual and left the room. Came back a bit later & wondered why the rug in front of the sink was all wet??? UGH! Turns out there was some plug that had to be punched in order for the dishwasher to drain properly. This is what happens when you only read part of the directions, folks. So, empty out under the sink AGAIN, wipe it down AGAIN, and wait for hubby to get home. He gets home and right away we have to go vote. Then we’re met by a contractor bidding a job to paint the exterior of the house (more on this in another post). I finally remember and thankfully, it was an easy fix. Didn’t even have to take the disposal out!

Also over the weekend, hubby installed a new doorbell (sounds kind of like the chimes they play when our hockey team goes on a power play – I LOVE IT!!) and he also replaced the button and switchplate at the front door. It looks SO nice! Let’s see – what else? I think that’s it for home improvement. Well, except I got motivated to paint the doors & trim inside the house (again, after 11 years). I’m really not very good at it. But, it’s still better than how it was to start with. So far I have one door done.

Oh, I’ve also decided to start a crazy diet. LOL It’s actually not THAT crazy, and not really a diet. Basically, I’m working to figure out if I have any food sensitivities. I know I’m not allergic, but apparently food affects all sorts of things such as skin issues, headaches, allergies, lethargy, etc. I eat way too much CRAP and I know it’s bad. This give me a reason to “Break Free” (name of the program) for 28 days. I guess we cut out a bunch of stuff for a while and then add the items back in individually (like gluten, dairy, soy, etc.). This starts on Monday, so I have between now and then to get my shopping done. Hubby’s not convinced he can live without cheese. He said he would do it only when with me – but he’s not getting the point of cutting the stuff out altogether. Oh well – we’ll see how it goes, and I’ll keep you posted!

(My biggest fear is living without my coffeemate and splenda!!!)

My ADD Week

June 2, 2010

What a strange few days I’ve had. I feel like I’ve been really busy, but with spurts of serious laziness.

First, hubby was on a business trip from Tuesday and returned Saturday. Friday night he called me to let me know he had crashed the bike he was riding. Thankfully he’s ok. He was wearing the best gear available and simply lowsided. The bike, however, highsided after they separated, and was damaged pretty much all over. With some “MacGuyvering”, it was again rideable for the rest of the trip.

Second, during hubby’s absence, I was again charged with getting his truck to the dealer to have the A/C fixed. Again. Traffic to and from this area is often INSANE. Mission accomplished, though it wasn’t done until Saturday. Seems to really be fixed this time. Electrical problems suck.

I started a new baby blanket and have been working on it as much as I can. I need to get it done & shipped since the baby is already a month old! Anyone know if the year statute for wedding gifts applies to babies too? LOL

I came to the conclusion that we own WAY too many sheets. We have three sizes of beds: double that was hubby’s before we met, queen that we bought when we bought our home, and a King that we got when we got new bedroom furniture. Somehow, I’ve managed to collect twin stuff too!!! Seriously, I think the sheet nymphs brought it when I was out shopping for queen sheets one day. When possible, I’m keeping the minimal spare sheets near the appropriate bed. (I also got smart and marked the tags with a D, Q, or K to help me identify where they belong!)

I spent most of yesterday measuring sheets to determine which set went with which bed. Once I had that sorted, I had to decide what I was keeping and what I’m getting rid of. Also, I found a HUGE candle stash in the linen closet. I vaguely remember thinking that would be a good place to store them as it doesn’t get too hot, AND they will make the linens smell good. Not a bad idea assuming I remembered they were there. *rolleyes*

Next comes towels. We’ve collected a ton of towels too. For some reason, people gave us (and we accepted) regular sized bath towels. We both LOVE bath sheets. We really never use the standard bath towels. And I found a stash of kitchen towels. I went through them ALL and refolded everything and stacked it by size.  Add to this my few sets of extra sheets, some blankets, and tah-dah, I have TONS of space in my linen closet!!! I am going to use our towels like normal and after a while, I’ll donate the ones that don’t get touched.

It feels SO good to have this closet organized, but it feels even better to see empty space! Maybe this would be a good spot for my special holiday decorations?? (Look at me; the space isn’t even empty for 24 hours and I’m searching to fill it up!)

So now, with hubby on yet ANOTHER business trip, I wonder what kind of trouble I’ll get into?

Guest room redo

May 29, 2010

Phew! If anyone noticed it’s been a bit since my last post, I’ve been shoulder deep in clutter, crap & well, more crap.

A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law went through a divorce. Suffering from depression, fibromyalgia and laziness, she had no job and no place to go. So of course we took her in. Turns out she developed quite an alcohol problem too. Long story short, she lived with us for about a year and then went off the deep end. I loaded her in the car & dumped her at the airport, fully wondering if they’d allow her on the plane since she smelled like the inside of a Cuervo bottle, and shipped her off to her parents’. She’s pushing 40, so she really should have life figured out by now.

Not my closet - shot found at

So the point of the post is that I finally spent some time rearranging the former guest room. Every time I went in there, it felt like she was still there even though the majority of her stuff is gone. She had changed the furniture around to suit her needs, which was fine. It’s just not how I would want it for a guest. I also swapped jackets around: riding gear in the hall closet and winter jackets in the guest closet. While it was a ton of work, I realized just how many jackets we have. And I started thinking about how many people go DON’T have a single jacket, or make do with one that doesn’t fit well or isn’t well made.

As soon as hubby is back and feeling up to it, I’m going to insist that we go through the winter coat closet. Not only will it lighten the load on the closet rod, donating (even in the summer) will help those that need it. Sometimes it takes putting everything of a kind together to realize what you’ve got.

And the end result is that I have a cleared off desk to use for sewing, crafts, scrapbooking or even wrapping gifts. There’s a dresser that I can access, and a mirror a guest can use easily. The bed is right under the window – and considering we don’t have AC – that will provide some much-needed air in afternoons. And hey – I can get to the window to open it up! Also, I put gift bags, tissue paper, ribbons and bows in the drawers of the dresser. Having them empty just beckons me to put clothing in them. Why not use it to store these goodies without crushing them? And if someone comes to stay a while, I can easily throw them in a box or bag to free up a drawer or two.

I just have some rearranging of plaques and number plates. Don’t want anything falling on someone’s head in an earthquake! (This is where we’ve showcased our – yes OUR – trophies, plaques and awards for motorcycling & work, along with some personalized number plates given to us from friends.)

Now, on to the OTHER guest room. That one’s going to be much harder considering hubby’s collection of magazines. UGH!

Yay for me!

May 25, 2010

Yippee! I got new dishes!

My mother-in-law asked what I wanted for my birthday (in March) and I told her that I wanted to replace a few bowls from my (hand-me-down) corelle set. Trouble is, the pattern has been discontinued probably longer than I have been alive. However, the outlet stores usually have open stock pieces that will match. She couldn’t find any over the last couple months.

She realized, perhaps with a tidbit from my sister-in-law, that I never actually picked the dishes. They came with the marriage. And since there was “service” for about 4,000, I couldn’t justify getting rid of it (plus the fact that the set had belonged to her mother, who unfortunately passed away in her early 50’s). Besides, I can’t complain about something that was free, and perfectly fine.  So she asked if I’d like to pick out a new set? OMG YES!!! The idea was to go to the outlet store about 2 hours away, but it seems the corelle store left that mall. That left one nearly 3 hours away. Well, for the money savings, that much driving didn’t seem to be worth the trouble. Off to Wal-mart, K-Mart, Kohls and any other place we could think of.

After spending a day zig zagging around the county, I settled on this set. We also picked up some open stock pieces like a square serving bowl, a round one, a few soup/pasta bowls and a funny rectangular flat dish. Oh and a couple platters too. (Note to self – must pick up more platters before fall holidays.) Why platters you ask? Because a big ass dinner plate just won’t hold all the food at special occasions! lol

We packed up the old stuff (except my cat’s breakfast saucers) and it was then that I realized she had an ulterior motive. There’s a man at her church that her daughter has befriended. Evidently, he has been divorced for many years and was laid off from is banking job some time ago. He made dinner for my sister-in-law, but didn’t have any dishes. Well, that’s an exaggeration. Dinner was for three people and he had only two plates. He ate off a pie plate. My MIL wants to give him the old set. In a way it surprises me because of the sentimental value. I’m all for it. I suppose she thought about it and realized that it won’t do anyone any good in a box in the garage – why not give it to this guy who cooks?

I’m happy to know that they’re going to a good home, and I’m really excited for my new set! Hubby doesn’t get why I’m excited, but hey, who cares?