Sunday, November 12, 2017

Christmas Missions Completed: Week Two

November is the key to less stress in December! Trust me. I think this is my fourth year working in advance. And if it didn't work, I wouldn't keep working ahead each year. Here's what I accomplished this week to prepare for Christmas:

Purchased Christmas Lights
I mentioned last week, that I discovered a burnt out set of lights when I checked them. This week, I made a point to get them purchased, so they will be ready for decorating day!

More Brainstorming
I did a lot more brainstorming for gift ideas. Probably too much, since I used Pinterest to help me a little bit. Having the extra time to think in November helps so much with the stress level. So much less pressure in November. This brainstorming also included talking to my husband about gifts and his ideas.

Ordered Stamps and Boxes
I was going to pick up postage stamps and boxes this week at the post office. I thought I'd be in the area. As it turns out, my plans changed. So to get another item off my list, I ordered my book of stamps and about five USPS Priority mail boxes online. The boxes are free! I did pay an extra $1.25 for handling on my stamps. I decided it was worth it to me.

Not the stamps I purchased

Ordered Photo Prints
I placed an order for photos online, as part of a gift. This is a long overdue task for this person, so it felt good to remember to get this done! I ordered through and they will be ready to pick up in a couple days. I could have done One Hour processing, but I wasn't going to be over that way, so I paid a little less for slower processing. I hope to have some other items to pick up there when run that errand.

Finalized Our Baking Plan
Our youngest daughter likes to bake. So I had a discussion with her this week about which items we would bake this year. She said no to one of my favorites, but picked another one that I expect will be just as good! Next steps are to schedule the baking on the calendar, make a complete list of ingredients to buy, and then buy the ingredients on sale just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Purchased Fabric
I'm making one of my nieces pajama pants to match the pajamas I'm making her American Girl doll. This week I went to the fabric store to purchase the fabric and other items needed. I even came home and washed, dried and ironed the fabric! Next step is to cut the fabric.

For illustration only :)

Baking Ingredient List
Once we decided what we were making, I got around to making the list of ingredients I needed. I counted up how many cups of sugar from each recipe to determine how many bags I might need. Luckily only one! I did the same thing with all the other common ingredients.

The list seems kind of long, but none of it took too long to accomplish. A little bit of time each day making progress towards what I want to accomplish for Christmas preparations. I'm feeling really good about my progress so far. I'm secretly hoping I can be done shopping by the beginning of December.

Tell me what you are doing to prepare for your holidays. Thanksgiving is just a little over a week away, are you prepared for it?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Christmas Missions Completed: Week One

For the month of November, I'm going to blog once a week to give you a wrap up of what accomplished during the prior week. I'm calling these Christmas Missions. Writing keeps me accountable, and I hope that you might find some inspiration from me as well. You might consider checking off any tasks that apply to you in the upcoming week.

Meal Planning
I made a meal plan for nearly the entire month of November. For now, I have skipped my planning for Thanksgiving, but I expect to get that complete this next week. I made a point to make a few dishes I could double and freeze for later in the month. I also picked some simple meals that don't require much preparation. I've done monthly meal planning in the past and it saves me so much time. Now on the day I prepare for shopping I don't also have to figure out what I'm going to make!

Checked Gift Wrap
I checked the status of my holiday gift wrap. It's all stored in a container under the bed. I'm good on everything this year. I have gift tags, tissue, plenty of paper, and boxes. I added tape, a pen and scissors, so I will have everything on hand on the days I wrap. Right now, my plan is to wrap once per week.

Gift Storage Spot
I designated a gift storage spot. It's a cedar chest that has some empty space and is right next to where I store the gift wrap. As I bring new purchases into the house, I will promptly store them there until it is time to wrap. The chest does lock, but I really don't expect my daughter (age 17) to be looking around for gifts.

Checked Christmas Lights
I almost skipped this task. It didn't sound pleasant, but I did it in under 15 minutes. I'm so glad I did because there was one large string of lights we use on one of our trees that only partially lit up. This means I need to buy a set before we set up our tree later this month. This saves that frustration that comes from finding out moments before you start hanging the ornaments. I have a couple weeks, so I can research which lights to buy and possibly find a sale.

Wrote Christmas Cards
I had just enough cards on hand to write out to the few people I intend to send cards to this year. I already wrote out the addresses, added a return label and signed the inside of the card. I was short on stamps. I have added it to my list of errands. I plan to pick up some Priority mailing boxes at the same time to save a trip in December.

Brain Storming
I also did a bit of a brain storming session about everything related to Christmas that I need or want to make happen. One item was to buy candy canes. Another one was to go to a holiday concert. Ad I even thought about stocking stuffers. Those are just a few examples among many that were dumped on a word document. I will use those ideas to fill in grocery lists, research, shop for or add to the calendar. I'm also going to make sure not to over fill our activities. This means I may need to cross some things off my brain storming list. It sure helps to see all those ideas in my head written down. Next step is to get it a bit more organized!

Whoa! I actually did quite a bit this week. Most of them didn't take that long. In fact, the meal planning took the most time, but that is going to help me so much as the month goes on! Consider setting aside 20 minutes everyday this month to work on your Christmas plans. Or even an hour each weekend can make a difference to how things go in December.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Getting Things Done: Wrap Up

Thirty-one days of Getting Things Done at my house was a success! The list was big and daunting. But I got nearly everything on my list complete. A few tasks will rollover to the future, but that is okay. There was never a hard deadline. Just a self imposed one!

The tasks I did not complete were:
Setting up appointment to have second fridge repaired
Starting an online photo project
Calculating short term savings goals
Dusting all the light fixtures

Other tasks I completed but didn't write about:
Tossed expired medications
Tossed expired spices

Oh, and I did finish my book that I mentioned earlier in the month! I started another one, but didn't get too far on that one. I do have in mind that I'd like to finish it in the next two weeks.

Thank you so, so much for letting me share my list and accomplishments with you. Knowing there are people reading and interested is great motivation for me. I hope you were able to accomplish whatever it is you set out to get done this month, too!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Getting Things Done: Selling on eBay

I've been an off and on eBay seller for years. My account says I started selling in December 2001! That's nearly 16 years of stuff we bought and I resold when we no longer needed it. It's the first place I look to determine how to get rid of an item. If it has value to someone else, and worth the potential sale price for my time, I will list it. 

I sold three things earlier this month, but found four more while decluttering the other day that have good potential adding some cash back into our bank account. So fingers crossed the toy, jacket and two theme park items will sell soon! 

One year I made enough selling on eBay to fund our Christmas gifts! I think the amount accumulated to nearly $1,200, but I know I spent less on Christmas. There is money to be made there. 

I get that not everyone has the time or patience to resell their used items. That's perfectly fine. I find I like the little extra perk that comes from getting some cash back. I'm always cheering for you if you make a decision to let go and then get it out of your house in some way. What ever motivates you to move those unused items on is good in my book! 

So happy...getting stuff out of our home and off my list!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Getting Things Done: Decluttering

The month is winding down! A whole month of Getting Things Done has been fantastic motivation for me. It helped knowing you were following along with me and wanting to see what I accomplished. 

Did you think I would go the whole month and not declutter? I actually did. I didn't put it on my list, but something in the last couple days made me want to do a quick run through of most of the house to see if anything was ready to leave!

Hmm...maybe it was this box I found hiding in the guest room closet. Perfect box for putting donations in! 

I didn't photograph the entire process. But look at all the things that came out of our bedroom and closet!! I think I found a few things in a hall closet too. 

And the items below came from our bonus room upstairs. A few gift bags to let go of, the cardboard sleeves that come with DVDs. And some neglected exercise equipment.

And I did a quick look through my desk and file drawer. There are a month's worth of receipts hiding under that pile of papers. Paper can be so easy to keep, but hard to let go. It felt good to toss what I did. And honestly, I did avoid a few of the bigger files. Too overwhelming when I'm trying to move fast. 

I didn't take pictures of things I found in the kitchen, guest room and bathroom. But there were things we don't use lurking in the cupboards and closets. I really went fast making quick decisions. 

I found at least two things I think I can sell, so those will be put on eBay before the month ends. Maybe the proceeds will result in treating myself to a little reward for all the hard work this month! I'll pick up that treat on my way back from the donation center. :)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Getting Things Done: Deep Cleaning the Shower

The shower in our rental home is my least favorite thing to clean. I love the look and size, but all those grout lines and porous stone in a humid climate do not mix!!

I clean it, but the mold stains persist. So on a semi regular basis I use a grout brush and an approved cleaner to scrub the grout lines really good. It's a bit gross how much gunk comes off in the process. And no I will not show you pictures!

I also use bleach to 'clean up' the mold on the caulked areas. I have found those bleach pens work fantastic for this process. It allows me to put the least amount of bleach possible on the caulk and keep it off the stone (at least until the rinsing process).

It looks better, but it still is far from perfect or looking brand new. Maybe that's why I put this process off...the results are not as satisfactory as I'd like.

Despite all of's done!! Checked off the Getting Things Done list. And guess what? This is the last cleaning task you have to hear about from me this month!! Yay!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Getting Things Done: Light Fixtures Dusted

I'm getting closer to finishing up my Getting Things Done list. So excited!!

My favorite tool for dusting is a microfiber cloth. I grabbed several and a chair to stand on and went from room to room dusting the tops of the ceiling light fixtures. They don't always look dusty, but they are!

I didn't time myself but the task went relatively fast. It helps to listen to music or some sort of podcast in my opinion.

Another task cleaning task done!