Friday, September 22, 2023

Checking Back In: A Productive Week

My own post last week inspired me! This week I took action.

Early in the week I did a big declutter of the desk in my kitchen. I had too many papers on the counter and papers stuffed in a cabinet below. I dedicated some time to tossing out the old and filing what needed to be kept. A refresh of this space is just what I needed to start a new season. 

I found my Christmas notes from the last three years. I grabbed a notebook and started brainstorming for this year. I have already decide to pick up more stamps at the grocery store next time I am there. I also know I have plenty of greeting cards. Reviewing what the needs are in advance help relax me so much in December! Still plenty to plan, but I have started. 

My husband was home from work to enjoy much needed time off. In order to have some time together to have an outing or two, I found myself doubling up my regular daily cleaning. But yet, I also found time to do some deeper cleaning. I wiped out the fridge yesterday! I will do the freezer next week when it has less in it. I made note that the oven needs a good interior cleaning, as does the coffee and tea pots. If I don't get to them in September they will be on my October list! 

Around here it's a productive week, when I declutter! When I decluttered earlier this year the garage didn't get my full attention. Turns out I have been hoarding pots! So these went to recycling. An old hose holder was trash, so into the bin it went. 

I also found some pots, some wall hangers, and tote bin that are no longer needed and can be donated. 

I'll make a note to drop any donations I find by the end of October. I most likely won't be decluttering much after that. Although, if you search 'Christmas Cleanout' on this blog you should find 20 days of decluttering I did in December of 2020. It's possible I'll be inspired once again. 

A very productive week! Next week, I will focus on a project I want to complete by the end of September. I hope to also make another two week meal plan and make a big shopping trip. And if I can start putting my plans on the calendar for the next three months that will be helpful too! 

Planning ahead helps our minds and bodies relax. Decluttering does the same, creating open spaces to relax our eyes. Find where you need to focus this week, or next month to create more peace and calm in your home!

Friday, September 15, 2023

Preparing for A New Season

Have the temperatures cooled for you? Are you noticing less light and the trees changing colors? This is the start of a new season. If you have followed me for awhile, you know that for many years I have begun Christmas and holiday preparations early. This year will be no different. I actually have one gift I can buy already!

I am in the beginning stages of pondering what the final months of the year will bring and how best to make use of my time and plan a meaningful season. This is basically brain dumping. Making notes, and asking myself questions about what is the priority, what needs to get done, what I'd like to get done and what tasks can wait for another season. 

Earlier this week, I actually made a meal plan for the rest of September! I usually only plan for a week at a time. This weekend I will be shopping for everything that is a non perishable at the military commissary nearby. My hope is that during these busier months, meal planning further in advance will be a time and money saver. This is the first try at it, so fingers crossed! 

I also usually stock up on toiletries, and other household goods this time of year. Think toilet paper, dish detergent, personal care items, ect. It's a bummer to run out of something in the midst of the busy season and need to make an extra trip. I have also found that it keeps me out of the stores more, and less tempted to buy all the holiday items on display! 

The next two weeks for me are about prioritizing what is essential for the rest of the year. October and November are for preparing for December. December is primarily about celebrating love and light, where there will be more downtime, but also time to celebrate with family. It's been a joy to find myself in a relaxed place during what I notice is frantic for many others. 

I'll check back in soon and give you some insight into what I have prioritized and planned. But in the meantime, consider doing your own preparations for a new season, one that is proactive and relaxing. 

Friday, September 1, 2023

Letting Go of More

Here we are...two thirds of the way through 2023!! One of my intentions this year was to go through our entire home touching every item and deciding what was essential and a good use of my time and attention. I am the inventory manager after all...and I want less inventory to manage.

As the month of August wrapped up, I realized I had a couple stashes of donations that needed to get out! A couple t shirts from my closet. A stash in the front entry. A few items in the kitchen I had mentally labeled as 'time will tell' . Turns out time said I was not using those at all. And there were items stashed in a donation bin in the basement. 

Here's a picture of what left....I won't bore you with the specific items.

My daughter offered up a few clothing items she no longer wanted. 

I also ditched some old garden fencing type material we inherited with the house. We haven't used it in nearly ten years and can't quite imagine needing it. 

There is more to let go of in 2023. I need to find my original list and figure out if I have looked at every room yet. If memory serves, the garage didn't get my full attention. I know there are things in there that need to go. I also should review files and photos. 

For now, I celebrate letting go of the excess inventory! 

Do you have a donation bin in your home that is full (maybe overflowing)? Consider making the final effort to get those items out of your house and to your preferred donation center soon! 

Thank you Friends from the former Organized Friends Facebook page for joining me here. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

For Everything There Is a Season

Hello Organized Friends!

I have decided to discontinue the Organized Friends Facebook group by the end of this month (August 2023). I am so thankful for the many years of engagement we have had with one another discussing decluttering and organizing. We shared tips, challenges, and success stories. I know my homes have benefited greatly by sharing my decluttering. I hope you feel you benefited as well. 

My engagement with the group has nose dived over the last few years and as a result so has the engagement of those in the group. I loved our last big challenge of decluttering and appreciate those of you that participated. I'm simply ready to be done with the group format. I have decided to keep this blog up for the foreseeable future. This allows you to engage with previous posts and potentially a few new ones if I still find I need an outlet to share progress. I know there are many, many places that we can all spend our time and I appreciate that you spent some of it with me! 

If I start anything new, or find a new place to publicly post, I will share it here. 

Thanks again for your interest in the group, your support and engagement. 
My heart is deeply thankful. 🦋


Monday, May 29, 2023

The Power of Five Minutes

There’s power in working on a task or goal in small chunks of time, particularly if the task is a big one that could take hours or days to accomplish. We know we can’t lose all our weight, declutter our home or write a book in one day. It’s the effort toward the task, or the goal done consistently that creates the progress. 

This spring I was a little daunted realizing the grass seed my husband put down in the fall didn’t just land on the lawn, but in my garden beds as well! I needed to get that new grass out of the beds before it built strong roots and took over. I could have dedicated a full day to the project of course, but I decided to save my physical body and tackle the project in short periods of time. 

I grabbed a plastic grocery sack and stepped outside each day to pull grass and yes, some weeds. Instead of focusing on the full yard, or even the length of some of these spaces, I kept my focus, my eyes on narrow sections of the garden bed. I would envision getting a section done and work to that vision or until my bag was full. I didn’t track the time spent, but a few times that I did look at the clock, I had spend 15-30 minutes on the work. Looking back now, I don’t remember the amount it time it took even in days. The point is that regular effort, in smallish increments got me to my goal, garden beds free of grass and weeds. 

I have used the power of small increments of time to declutter, unpack a home, sewing projects and reading books. In fact, last year much of my focus was on getting through quite a few books I had purchased and either never started to read or had only partially read. Every day I made time to read for ten minutes or for ten pages (it varied by book). By the end of the year I had read eighteen non fiction books (two were nearly 600 pages each)! Effort regularly, even in very small amounts of time simply adds up and brings our goal to fruition. 

Next time you are overwhelmed by a large task, consider if you could regularly work on the task in small increments of time, say 5-20 minutes. Show up daily, or on regular basis for this task or goal you want to accomplish and see what can get done in a week or two. 

Getting started on large, sometimes overwhelming tasks, can often be the hardest part. The small obligation of showing up for five minutes can get the project moving. We can all show up for five minutes, yes? 

Do you have any examples of how you accomplished a large goal, by showing up regularly to work on it? 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Reflections on My New Cleaning Schedule

I recently started a new cleaning schedule for myself and this new to us home. Okay, it’s been over a year and a half since we moved here, but newish! Every change of home requires a new strategy for keeping it clean. I finally realized I need to put myself on a schedule to keep up with this 2600 sq ft home, so that the layer of dust on the furniture wasn’t my only reminder to dust.

As a review this was the schedule I created for me, for this house, for now:

Sunday: take out household trash to curb

Monday: clean kitchen, water plants

Tuesday: dust upstairs, wash master bed sheets if needed

Wednesday: dust main level, wash bathroom towels

Thursday: clean upstairs bathrooms

Friday: clean lower level bathrooms, dust basement

I am generally doing my cleaning in the morning, soon after my husband leaves for work. Some days, I do the scheduled task in the late morning or early afternoon because of morning obligations. It does vary a bit, but because it’s on a schedule, I’m holding myself to that day’s task. I know that if I don’t do it, it will either get tacked on to another day (not appealing) or skipped until the next week. 

At this point it’s been two full weeks of following my new to me schedule and it’s going really well! I have not skipped one day yet. The kitchen on Monday is the area that takes the most time, followed by the bathrooms on Thursday. Both take 25-35 minutes. The dusting is getting done regularly, which means I’m not seeing a thickish layer of dust to point out what cleaning I have neglected. By the time Sunday comes around I can see that yes, the kitchen could be cleaned, but for the most part it feels like the house is clean nearly all the time. 

Yippee!! I’m keeping up with the dust and grime. I’m good at keeping a house clean, I just hadn’t found my new groove with this home, where we nearly doubled our space. 

Hat tip to my husband who helps with evening dishes, and generally does all the floors. I really don’t like doing floors for some reason. Maybe in time, I will incorporate some vacuuming as I get this new schedule down. There’s nothing like a room that’s been dusted AND vacuumed at the same time!! 

Turns out a new to me cleaning schedule is just what I needed. I had not been focused and doing it regularly enough for my own standards. I had to step it up a bit to meet my own expectations! And that is key. Know what standard YOU are striving for, not someone else’s. Are you meeting what you envision? Do you have the time and energy for that vision? Do you need to raise your standard or lower it? Make whatever changes might be needed, do an experiment for a few weeks, adapt it as needed. Also realize that life changes. We might move to a new home, have to work more hours at our job, have different obligations than last year. It’s okay to acknowledge that what may have worked in the past needs to change. 

I’m cheering for you! Do you have a cleaning schedule? If so what is it? Do you need to change things up? 

P.S. Nope, there's no cleaning task on Saturday for me!

Monday, May 8, 2023

Attempting A New Cleaning Schedule

Confession. I've never had a regular daily cleaning schedule. Yet....I AM able to keep a tidy home! Some weeks, I do clean something everyday. Some weeks, I procrastinate and it seems I only did laundry and cleaned a couple of the bathrooms. This may just be my style. I'm going to try an experiment with a daily cleaning task and try to stick with it for several weeks before I evaluate if it's working. 

I will note that we are very good at keeping up on dishes daily. We also run two to three loads of clothing through the washer each week without much of a schedule and that works for us. 

Here's my plan:

Sunday: take out household trash to curb

Monday: clean kitchen, water plants

Tuesday: dust upstairs, wash master bed sheets if needed

Wednesday: dust main level, wash bathroom towels

Thursday: clean upstairs bathrooms

Friday: clean lower level bathrooms, dust basement

I am not adding any cleaning tasks for Saturday. My husband generally does the floors, so those are not included. I expect the kitchen to take the longest. The easiest day is Sunday. I'm going to time myself the first week, and possibly second week. These tasks will take place at various times as each day I have other things to work around, but I hope I can get some of them done rather early in the day. 

I'm going to work on my mindset regarding the kitchen. I expect that some tasks will be done in the morning and some later in the afternoon, simply because of my schedule that day. I will be cleaning outside of stainless steel appliances, the stove top, glass kitchen light fixtures, sink, counters. There may be times where I add additional tasks, such as the inside of the fridge or oven. 

If you do your own cleaning, do you have a regular cleaning schedule? Do you do your weekly cleaning on multiple days or just one day a week?