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?


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?

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!

Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Spiders – Oh My!

May 13, 2010

While I’ve completely abandoned my “Beat The Clutter” effort (at least temporarily), I am still working on being a bit more eco-friendly and simplifying things in my life. While visiting home, I remembered the wonderful lemon cucumbers I used to eat straight from the garden. I missed out on all the tomatoes because as a kid I hated them. I didn’t like squash or zucchini either, but was forced to eat it. 

I mentioned that I missed the lemon cucumbers to my mom, and that I couldn’t find them here. No seeds, starters –  even at the farmers market. So we stopped at a local nursery and picked up four babies (for $8). Assuming I don’t kill them, and our resident squirrels and crows don’t discover them, it will be a worthwhile investment. 

Since our yard is in a disastrous mess that requires the rental of a brush mower, I read up on container gardening. Turns out you can grow just about anything in a container! 

Off I went to Home Depot to gather up a container, trellis and a couple of tomato plants. While I was there I decided to grab some flat leaf parsley, basil, and mint. Not sure exactly what I will use the mint for. 

I found some tomato trellis/gate thingies that I had bought a few years back. At that point, I never even bought the tomato plants! Oops. So really, this will be my first effort in growing anything edible. I have come to the conclusion that I got bored of the flowers when they weren’t blooming, so as long as I have that bad habit, I’ll never excel there. But maybe, just maybe, growing stuff to eat will keep my interest. I’m guessing this based on two things: 1- I love to eat and 2- maybe watching stuff grow and the process of producing something will keep me coming back to it. 

Black Widow as found on Wikipedia


The only thing about gardening I really hate is…. SPIDERS. Ugh. I really, really don’t like them. Mostly because the majority of spiders in our yard are black widows. About a month ago, I decided I would clean up the back patio. (Note to self: next patio set will not have crevices that attract black widow nests.) I found the biggest freaking black widow I have ever seen. The “butt” was at LEAST the size of a nickel, if not a quarter. Of course I was home alone, so I have no actual witness. For a brief moment, I contemplated running for my camera, but I was too scared to take my eyes of the evil one. The crunch under my shoe was audible. Sorry momma, but anything that’s poisonous has GOT TO GO!  (In case you have been under a rock all your life, these buggers are highly venemous. Though in finding this photo, I learned that no one has died from a bite in over 10 years.) 

I guess I found a male today, as it was brown with red markings on the belly. EWWW! He’s no longer with us. I wish there were more natural predators for these guys. I guess some weird sort of wasp is the only one. We don’t have any wasps to speak of around here, so I guess it’s time for prevention. I managed to destroy several egg sacs – YAY! And after that, I promptly jumped in the shower. I knew none of them made their way on to me, but I still felt creepy crawly. In fact, even hours later, and after a good shower & hair washing, I STILL feel icky!!!

BTC: Days 4-7

April 26, 2010

Whoa. Outta control here. Hubby’s truck needed to visit the doctor on Thursday. Neither one of us felt all that great (thanks weather!) so we both stayed home and power-lounged on the couch. Then, Friday, I had to drop him at work (and pick him up). Same for today, but I’m bound to start fresh this week (even if it is close to noon).

So, last week, I made progress. Cooking, cleaning, etc. I spent another hour or so in the kitchen and it looks so much better! Still needs tons of work though. But at least the junk is off the counters and the stove is cleaner. The laundry is clean, folded and put away – and even nothing in the washer/dryer (Flylady would be so proud). Got the cat box cleaned.

So this week, in addition to the regular daily/weekly stuff, I need to work on the front yard/porch, MUST SCAN RECEIPTS (due by 4/30), and throw a bunch of junk out!!

As an aside, I can see that the minimal progress I’ve made has subliminally inspired hubby to de-junk too!

BTC: Day Three

April 21, 2010

Okay, for anyone wondering, this (Bust The Clutter series) will not be a daily occurence for the long term. In order to make myself accountable, and attempt at some sort of routine, I feel I need to log my progress (or lack thereof). 

Hmph. Looking at what I accomplished and what needs to be done, I don’t know what I did yesterday! I even stayed away from Bejeweled on FaceBook until about 5pm. And I only watched 2 hours of Tivo’d TV, and that was when I was eating lunch. Today is going to be a short house day, because we’ve got another game. Not sure what brainiac decided to start them 1/2 hour earlier than normal, but I’d like to pull out his toenails. Getting hubby out of bed and off to work in time to leave early can be quite a feat. Plus, traffic is ten times worse. I swear that they named the 405 Freeway because you only go 4 o’ 5 miles an hour. Even in the carpool lane.

So. Today I resolve to throw stuff out. It’s garbage day, so I probably should have managed this yesterday so I’d have nice big empty containers for the week. Oh well. They are big.

Yesterday’s Progress: 

  • Morning Routine
  • Healthy lunch
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu made for dinner
  • Baked a cake after dinner. (Dang chocolate cravings!) Unfortunately, it didn’t even taste that good.
  • Pried hair from vacuum beater bar (chalk up one more point for going back to short hair!)
  • Laundry clean…. but that’s it
  • Kitchen – spent about 45 minutes working in there
  • Today I don’t have to worry about dinner, because we’re going to a game. 🙂

Remaining goals for today this week: 

  • Other half of weekly home blessing
  • Clean litter boxes
  • Declutter dresser
  • Spend 60 minutes in the office NOT on the computer – get rid of junk!
  • Spend 60 minutes in kitchen/dining area – FLINGING
  • PUT LAUNDRY AWAY (I really hate folding clothes)
  • Sweep front porch
  • Clean (wash) dryer lint screen
  • Bathroom counters
  • Scan & email Flexible Spending Benefits forms with receipts
  • Begin planning bathroom remodel (Dream Book) – maybe I should do a virtual dream book?