2016 Clean up Plan Update

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Random photo from the month I am currently purging. I have always liked this shot.

I thought about the Wednesday HodgePodge Post but frankly the questions this week didn’t interest me very much. Maybe next week.

Instead a quick update on my goals progress.  This year I made a list of twelve areas to clean and so far I have been cruising right along.  I have four items left:  clean out file cabinet and shred again, and purge my digital photos and figure out a back up storage option (most likely on-line).

I have four years of photos on my computer, over 4700 photos!  That is a lot of photos and the task felt quite overwhelming when I started.  Oddly enough now it is one of my favorite parts of the day.  Each day I set the timer for ten minutes and start purging.  Sometimes it is easy, a photo is blurry or just not a good shot. Or it is a photo I took for a blog post or Facebook and no longer need.  Often I take a few shots of the same thing and now I have to figure out which one I like best.  Or on a few occasions I have a series of photos of my son making weird faces.  Hmm.  I just go with my instincts and if I am hesitant I keep it, at least for now.

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I love this shot  of  the elephants at the Reid Park Zoo with a C-130 from the military base above them.

I am curious to see how many photos I end up with when I am done with the purge. It is slow going but I don’t mind, I get to take a trip down memory lane each day!  And I know once school starts in mid-August I can increase my time for the project, hopefully to twenty or thirty minutes most days.

I have decided I also need to organize all these photos somehow.  I am thinking of adding some key words and sorting them into different albums.  Maybe all the camping photos in one, Christmas in another etc.  We’ll see how long the initial purge takes first.  I mean, it would be terrible if I did not get to clean out the file cabinet this year! 🙂

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It is terribly hot here these days so I thought one last picture to cool things off.  This was taken at the Grand Canyon,  April 2013 over “Spring Break”. 

Wardrobe Reality (Part II)

While the focus on my wardrobe has been primarily on purging I have recognized some needs as well. And there is now room in my closet for a few items. One area in particular is capris. By late September/October I am sick of wearing my shorts, even if the temps are still in the 90’s.  I find myself homesick for autumn. As a compromise I have begun building an autumn wardrobe for warm temperatures.  Just a few shirts in fall colors and capris. In my purging I had gotten rid of all my casual capris except for one pair. I have three pair of dressier ones that I wear to church or when I want to look a little nicer but I wanted a few more pair for around the house  and that seemed more suited to fall than summer. I got lucky at Goodwill and found two pair. Khaki Dockers that fit perfect and a denim pair that I need to get taken in a bit.

And then I looked at the J. Peterman catalog.  J. Peterman Owner’s Manuals are a recently acquired guilty pleasure.  I didn’t even know J. Peterman was a real company when it was on “Seinfeld”!  I love reading all the vignettes and imagine myself in the breezy dresses walking towards a café in Italy or France or Cape Cod. But actually wearing something from there in my real world, not so much.

When I was purging all my sweaters I promised myself that I could buy a light weight red sweater. Something that would look good at Christmas. And there in the catalog was a red summer sweater, made for cool nights on the beach. The reviews were good, it was on sale and I decided to buy it. And then, dark blue capris, perfect, exactly the addition I needed. How about a pair of rust colored hanging out pants?  I hadn’t sorted out my sweatpants yet but I thought a pair of new, less frumpy ones would be a good asset. And then there was the hooded sweatshirt. It was actually for men but reviews said it was cut small. It was like nothing I owned, striped and color blocked and on sale. Into the cart it went.

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Christmas in August!

When the package came it was like Christmas. The sweater was heavier than I expected, more like a medium weight, but that could be because it was 100 degrees when I was trying it on. I loved the fit, color and style and into the closet it went. Everything else fit as well and felt really good. I confess I have no  need for another hooded sweatshirt but I love the uniqueness and there is nothing even remotely like it in my closet.

I have to admit it feels really good to only wear clothes I love and that fit well.  I no longer dread getting dressed in the morning and I feel like my days are more productive now that I am not slouching around in sloppy workout clothes or humongous tee shirts.  For me at least my clothes affect my attitude.  Better clothes choices = better outlook.

Wardrobe Reality (Part I)

The focus of my purging this summer has been my wardrobe. The purpose of going through all my clothes has been threefold:

The first and primary purpose was closet size. This is the smallest closet I have had in decades, coupled with the fact that I have no attic or basement to store totes of off season clothes in.

A second purpose emerged as I realized how much stuff I have and how old most of it is.  It is not that I am a huge clothes shopper but over the last 10 to 20 years items accumulated.

Thirdly, I have come to accept that my wardrobe is set up for the wrong season. Until I moved to the desert southwest five years ago I had always lived in the northern tier of the nation. I had nine months of winter clothes.  Even in the summer one needed fleeces and jeans for at night. Now I barely need 3 months of slightly cooler weather clothes.  Actual cold weather clothes?  Maybe two or three days.

I have for the most part accomplished goal one.  All of my clothes except for one tote box  are in my bedroom closet or dresser.  This tote box is full of winter pajamas and is in my half of the playroom closet.  Goal two is done for my summer wardrobe.  I admit I am loving my pared down choices and I have not missed anything I’ve gotten rid of.  I am still a pretty casual dresser but no longer crossing the line into slobville.  (I can’t see the casual changing, after all I am a stay at home mom of a seven year old where it is going to be over 100 degrees everyday for the foreseeable forecast.)

And now we come to goal three.  I was going to wait until winter to go through my cold weather items but since I was on a roll I decided to give it a go.  I have a lot of sweaters.  Some heavy, some lightweight.  Cardigans and pullovers.  I  read a blog post about a woman who had a huge walk in closet and actually counted her clothes.  I thought about doing that but, nah I was happy with my summer outfits.  They fit neatly in the closet, I loved and was wearing everything I had.  Good enough,  I didn’t care about a number.

But sweaters?  I stopped and thought.  How many really cold days a year did we have here?  Not just cold but gray and rainy because even in winter the sun here is warm.  How many days could I wear a heavy pullover sweater?  Realistically only two or three plus my December trip to Flagstaff which adds another two to four days.  I looked at my pile of sweaters.  Hmmm.  I finally paired it down to five and it wasn’t easy.  I hated getting rid of sweaters I would wear if we had the weather for them.  I went back to the “would I buy it today” mentality and that did the trick.

I also  kept five heavy cardigans because I use them as my winter coats for walking my son to school in the morning and then walking the dog.    I also have nine lighter weight pullover and cardigan sweaters.  These get more wear as we seldom turn the heat on so I frequently wear a layer over my shirt in the mornings around the house until the sun warms things up.

It still seems like a ridiculous amount of sweaters for this climate.  I will see what happens this winter.  What I wear and what I love.  I will try and keep in mind how happy I am with fewer summer clothes.  Of course the forecast is for an El Nino winter, cooler and wetter so maybe this year I will need my sweaters.  It is a very comforting thought.

Half the Year Gone!

Since six months have gone by I decided it was time to look at my goals for the year and see how I am doing.
It took a few days after vacation to get back into our routine but now things are going well again. I am feeling better, sleeping well and realized my extreme crabbiness was simple PMS. (Possibly exacerbated by less than great eating choices over vacation.) I still made my doctor’s appointment for my regular annual exam in mid-August. I am going to start a list of questions to take with me so I don’t forget anything.
My goals for this year:
Write every day: Rather on hold until school starts up again but I am reading blogs and writing down a game plan of different things to incorporate or try to help make me a successful writer if not a published author.

Don’t be afraid to use things: I feel like I am doing okay with this one.

Play before work at least sometimes: I am actually doing pretty well with this one now that it is summer vacation. Pool time has been trumping making dinner at our normal time and keeping the meal really simple. Often I make some sort of cold side dish in the morning (cole slaw, macaroni salad etc) and have my husband grill something when he gets home. We have also been eating a lot of carrot sticks and cucumber slices, even easier than a salad!

Take 5 minutes everyday to just sit: I have been doing very well with this one. I usually wake up early and I go outside and water the plants and then just sit for a few minutes. I also spend time floating around the pool admiring the clouds or sit under the patio during thunderstorms. (The monsoons have come early this year. Seems like thunder chases us out of the pool every afternoon for awhile though the rain so far has been spotty.)

Healthy eating: This will always be a work in progress but we have been making progress. I rather gave up on the Farmer’s Market. I am not sure why I find it so hard to go but I recognize a lost cause when I see it. Instead I signed up for a CSA and my first pick up is this week. More on that in a later post. I also just bought a Nutribullet to make smoothies. So far I love it and am excited about trying lots of different combinations of fruits and veggies. More about that when I have had more time with it.

Exercise:  I resumed my yoga and jump roping  no problem after vacation.  Plus I swim most days and try and spend 10-15 minutes swimming back and forth with minimal stops.  Hopefully I will be able to see the difference in my arms by the end of the summer.

Purging:  I am still making small advances in downsizing my possessions.  Lately I have been  working on my wardrobe.  I browsed a few blogs searching for a what an almost 50, stay at home mom should be wearing.  The prevailing theme seemed to be mix and match with just a few pieces of good quality that fit well and you are supposed to pick a basic color palette.  While I am not ready to commit to having just 6 tops and 6 bottoms like one person,  I am working on purging those items I may wear but don’t really love.  (I read a good tip that said don’t go by if you wear something but ask would you buy that article of clothing today.)  I am being cognizant of the outfits I really like and that make me feel good and those I wear that make me feel meh or that I don’t really want to leave the house in.

I am also starting to look around my office for what I love and use and what I have simply because I have it.  On deck this week for purging is the laundry room.  I did the games and puzzles earlier this year but looking around I can see more miscellaneous items that can go.

Some random bits to update:

The new bedroom closet organization has grown on me and is working very well.

Relishing reading my Agatha Christies.  Love being able to browse my own shelves to find one that suits my mood.

I am really enjoying church and signed up again to donate a dessert for the men’s shelter in July.

I got a new hairstyle and I LOVE it!

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HAPPY SUMMER!!

Three months into the year

I thought it would be best to check in on my New Year pursuits.

1. Write every day. So-so.  I am posting regularly but other writing not so much.  My focus of late has  been more on setting up healthier lifestyle habits.  I hope to write more as the year progresses.  I am starting to think I really need to take a writing class, I have a lot to learn about writing and now realize I need some help.
2. Don’t be afraid to use things up. I am putting more stickers and notes in my son’s lunch. We used up a bunch of things making Valentine bookmarks. I have another project in mind once I finish my current project.  I give myself a thumbs up for this goal.
3. Play before work. This one still needs some energy but I am working on it.  Probably a C.
4. Take 5 minutes everyday to just sit. This one is surprisingly tough. I have managed it a few days but still needs a lot of work. Truthfully, an epic fail.

I am doing well with yoga and walking the dog and back on track with healthy eating after a rough first 6 weeks of the year. Still not visiting the Farmer’s Market. I think if it was closer I would be more inclined to go.  Once my son’s  bowling league finishes the end of April I am hoping to develop the habit of going on Saturday mornings.

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Still purging. The garage got straightened up.   I have made  three trips to Goodwill so far this year and sold 18 of my LOA books to Powell’s on-line. I also went through all the recipes I have cut out for the past year. I purged a bunch and the one’s I still want to try I went ahead and pasted in my books. Obviously the keep them in the sleeve until I tried them method wasn’t working very well. I also moved the box of shred and shredder from the garage to the family room.  My son and I do shredding in ten minute intervals as the mood strikes.  Once the box is empty I will move it next to the file cabinet and begin to fill it back up.

Overall I am pretty happy with my progress so far this year. I have made progress of some sort with all my pursuits and that is all that I ask of myself.