Sunday, March 12, 2017

40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge - Reclaiming the Family Room

This year is really flying by. It's hard to believe that Week 1 of the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge by Ann Marie of White House Black Shutters is already in the rear view mirror. Surprisingly, even though I've been highly motivated to do this challenge, I'm still struggling with getting it done.

Since my mother has come to live with me, my life seems to revolve around Work and Cooking. Usually soon as I finish dinner and we eat, I sit down and drop off to sleep no matter how much I would like to get done.

For some reason though, Thursday and Friday were different than the earlier days of the week. So I buckled down, determined to see a project through to completion and started tackling the coffee table and sofa in my living room / family room.

Day 9 - Coffee Table

I didn't take any before pictures of the coffee table (too embarrassed) but I'll try to paint a visual picture. 1) like the Bathroom Vanity, you couldn't even see the surface of the table, 2) the clutter was piled at least a foot high and 3) there was so much of it that it was falling in the floor around and beneath the table.

So, I started with pulling out a garbage bag for the things that would go in the trash and bag for recycling. Turns out, I needed a total of 5 bags (1 for trash, 1 for recycle, 1 for the things to go in the shredder and 2 for things that belonged in other areas of the house).

And here is my cleared off coffee table with the aforementioned bags in front of it.

Day 10 - The Sofa

Even though I'm ashamed to show these pictures, here is a before picture of the sofa.

For awhile now, I've seem to have a perpetual pile of clean clothes on the sofa that never fully got put away. Somewhere, along the way, I tossed a few non clothes items there, too. But this time, I was determined to get to the finalization stage of clearing off the sofa. And yes, I managed to do it. Three cheers for me.

So, here is the final look.

With the sofa, I didn't fill any bags  but oh the high from finally getting this area of my house back in order. Now my momma has some place else to sit besides at the kitchen table.

Days 8 - E-mail clutter

I'm been such a slacker on this 40 Bags in 40 Day Challenge conducted by Ann Marie of White House Black Shutters. Like I really did nothing from days 5 - 7. But oh did I make up for it on Days 8-10.

Some of the suggestions that Ann Marie gives for areas to work on include areas, such as e-mail accounts, where you will not actually be bagging up clutter.

So, my Day 8 was devoted to trying to clear out some of the clutter in my e-mail accounts. I have 3 e-mail accounts.

The Yahoo account has been set up since I first established an online presence. I've had it for almost 20 years now, so almost as long as it has been around. The only reason I've kept it all these years is 1) sentimental reasons since it was my first and 2) I've not gotten around to moving some of the more important things over to my gmail account. I rarely ever use the account anymore for sending and receiving e-mails due to the fact that there is just so much junk that flows into that account, some days it's hard to filter out what I really need from the unimportant junk,

My other 2 email accounts are gmail accounts. One is for blogging / genealogy and the other is for the really important things in my life like bills, etc.

Any who, all 3 accounts could use a good clearing but the gmail accounts are not nearly as bad as the Yahoo e-mail account. Therefore the focus for Day 8 was to start trying to declutter the Yahoo e-mail account. I probably have over 10,000 e-mails in that account and some date back over 10 years.

You know how you are always afraid to delete things because you figure as soon as you do, you will need it. That's me and the Yahoo account.

So on Day 8 of the challenge and Day 1 of trying to clear out this account, I deleted 1461 e-mails. For the bulk e-mails, it's rather easy to clear out a ton at one time. Just do a search on a particular e-mail and delete all.

My goal for the remainder of the challenge is to 1) go through the e-mails each day and 2) delete the ones for that day and at least 1000 more.

So there you have it. No bags but more clutter gone from my life.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge - Day 4 - The Car

I don't know how it happened but after only 2 days, I was already behind in the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge.

I didn't get anything accomplished on Day 3 of the challenge. But on Day 4 I was back at it.

Day 4 was devoted to decluttering the car.

I just have the one vehicle which I practically live in some weeks, so it gets pretty trashed. I'll just let the pictures tell the story of this decluttering.

Here are some lovely before pictures.

Now the after pics. Keep in mind that this project was all about decluttering. I still need to do things like vacuum, wash, and clean the car.

This project resulted in 3 bags of stuff - 1 for the trash, 1 for the recycle bin or shredder, and 1 of things that needed to be put away.

The 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge  is a yearly challenge done by Ann Marie of White House Black Shutters. This is my first year of participating in the challenge.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge - Days 1 and 2

As mentioned it my last post, I have got to get my house back in order, if for no other reason than for the comfort of my mother while she is staying with me, which has been almost 2 years now. So, I decided to participate in the 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge by Ann Marie of White House Black Shutters.

The challenge coincides with Lent, which started on March 1st. Therefore, the challenge began on on March 1st.

I've really been struggling during the first few days of the challenge as I've been coming home from work and immediately falling asleep this week.

However, I am still working on the challenge. I'm just getting up early the next morning and working on the the area that I decided to work on for the previous day.

For Day 1, I decided to work on the vanity in the Master Bedroom. I forgot to take pictures of it but can describe it for you. The mirror needed a serious cleaning (I could barely see myself). I couldn't even see the top of the vanity. Therefore, Day 1 just focused on the top. I will concentrate on the cabinets and drawers another day.

I actually did end up starting on one cabinet. I disposed of out dated medicinal items as well as some old hair products that were well past their prime. The plastic bottles went to the recycling bin.

And my first bag. These were items that went in the trash. Not a full bag but it's a start. Unfortunately, this picture also highlights the need to sweep and mop my floor.

And just like that, I have a nice decluttered vanity top. The clutter removal will definitely help with getting ready in the morning. And yes, you can see in the mirror, the clutter on the other side of the bathroom. Things didn't get this bad overnight and unfortunately, it's going to take baby steps to start getting things back in order. The 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge hopefully is just the beginning of me getting back to a peaceful environment in my home and not the chaos from all the clutter.

For Day 2, I concentrated on the kitchen table. I did manage to take a before picture this time.

And here is the after picture.

My mother sits in the chair on the left side. It may still look a mess but when mom first came to live with me, she had trouble sitting in unpadded chairs, so I added some cushions to the chair. Not the pretties site but it keeps Mom comfortable.

And my bags from the table decluttering.


In the picture below, the front bag is items that belong in my bedroom. The back bag is the previously mentioned recyclables.

These are items that belong out in the garage

I didn't take on big projects these first two days and probably won't take on any big project during the first week. For me, I need to have some mini successes as I head toward those bigger projects.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Seriously, has it really been over 2 years since I last posted about my crazy life and talked about my never ending battle to get my house in order by doing a whole house declutter.

Life has really changed for me during the past 2 years.

In November of 2015, my mother came to live with me. Similar to my crazy health issues of 2013 and 2014, my mother suddenly started having some issues. She lost a lot of weight, her blood pressure was sky high and wouldn't come down no matter what but the worst was when she began to experience what seemed to be the early signs of dementia, where she had one horrific major episode.

Thinking that she was in those early stages, I tried talking to her about going into assisted living or some type of senior village but she wasn't having it. Therefore, my only other option was to have her come live with me. Since that horrific episode, nothing else has occurred although she does seem to have more difficulty recalling names and places that she has known all her life. That being said, she seems to be doing much better and friends and family have commented on it when they see her. For now, I just take things one day at a time and try to treasure each moment and whatever time we have have left together.

As far as my personal life, hectic as always. Hoping that I will be able to take Retirement #1 in a few more years, and I'm still happily single. It took me a long time to get to the happily part but ever since the death of my father in 2011, I came to realize that I love my single life. Many may think it's boring but since I'm the only one that matters concerning this part of my life, I have, so far, loved and embraced my state of singleness for the past 6 years and have never been happier.

Now that I've given you a rough idea of what's been going on with me the past 2 years, it's time to try to get back to my blogs and other hobbies an interest. After my dad died, I really struggled with finding time and sometimes the interest to work on the hobbies, interests, etc. but even though we are almost into March, I'm recommitting to trying to get back to the blogging, my genealogy, sewing, crafts, etc.

Since mom came to live with me, it seems like the clutter just exploded. In November of 2015, when mom came to live with me, I was  continuing to work on decluttering the garage. I had hauled a massive amount of items into the dining area so that I could go through them. And 2 years later, those items are still sitting there in the dining area. So, I'm using whatever tricks I can to to get things decluttered and back in order.

I've decided to participate in the 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge sponsored by Ann Marie of White House Black Shutters. I was having a hard time trying to decide what to give up for Lent this Year. When I read about this challenge (I receive weekly emails from Ann Marie), I immediately thought this is exactly what I need. It coincides with Lent, beginning on March 1st and concluding on April 13. Even though I've already been working on decluttering throughout these first two months of 2017. I still have a long way to go.

Another goal that I have during this time frame is to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of  Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I've read other bloggers fabulous reviews on this book. Since something has got to change, what harm can it be to read it.

In an effort to stay on track I will hopefully post a few times a week, maybe even daily, how I am doing with the challenge and reading the book. Wish me luck.

And it's wonderful to hopefully, finally, be back among my fellow bloggers.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Beginning 2015

Gosh, it's been nearly six months since my last post, which means one of my first goals for 2015 should be to do a lot more blog posting.

Except for my one big project with Phase 1 of the backyard revamp, which you can read about here, here, and here, I didn't get a whole lot accomplished around the house this year.

So, in 2015, I hope to do a better job. More specifically, I hope to finish a bunch of projects that I started on nearly 2 years ago when I started this blog.

So here's my list of goals

  1. Finish decluttering and organizing the garage.
    1. Sadly, the one side of my garage doesn't look much different than it did in June 2012. I will say that in 2013, I actually saw the finish line in site but that was the year of replacing the flooring in over 90% of my house and getting scammed along the way. Which means, that a lot of things got moved into the garage and there they remain.
    2. So, there's a ton a stuff that needs to be gotten rid of and what remains needs to have some type of organization too it.
  2. Finish the redo of the office!
    1. I started on this in 2013 right before getting the flooring replaced. I've still got a pile of boxes from boxing everything up for the flooring redo.
    2. So once again, declutter and organize.
  3. This one and the next one are the two biggies for 2015. As much as I would like to get both of them accomplished, right now I'm not even sure that I will managed to get one of them accomplished. but here goes.
    1. Purchase and install a closet organization system for the Master Closet.
      1. While, I've downsized my wardrobe over the past two years, the closet still doesn't function very well for me. It's builder's grade wire shelving set up in a builder's configuration.
  4. Landscaping in front yard.
    1. Late fall, the water line coming from the meter to the house sprung a major leak and front yard had to be dug up. The leak as been repaired but my front yard remains a mess. Half of it is essentially a mud pit right now. So, I thought when I got that taken care of that it would be a perfect opportunity to get the front yard landscaped.
      1. There are several shrubs that I would love to replace.
  5. Finish making the blinds for the front windows.
  6. Repaint the back door and don window treatments.
    1. This door is a single french door but the paint is peeling and the windows need some type of treatment for privacy.
  7. There are a lot more mini projects plus a few big ones that I would also like to get accomplished but don't want to just put a laundry list of items. Some of the these unmentioned projects may even take precedence over the ones that I specifically mentioned but I had to start somewhere and I'm determined that this is going to be the year that I get my house back in order, for the most part. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Going Vegetarian / Vegan

For most of my adult life, I've always considered myself a borderline Vegetarian. Even though I probably ate more meat than I think I ate but it wasn't something I ate everyday. Especially during the summer months, where my way of life was big salads with fresh veggies, I use to always say that I could easily be a vegetarian.

Well, earlier this year, after a series of crazy, and I mean crazy, health issues in 2013, I decided to tweak my diet one more time and decided to quit being a borderline Vegetarian and go full fledged. The crazy thing is I never intended to go Vegan but I'm naturally progressing in that direction, also. I don't know if this move is paying off healthwise, but I do know that I'm feeling tons better and seemingly have more energy, even with my crazy sleep habits.

For most people, that go Vegetarian / Vegan, it brings on major changes. Since, I never ate that much meat to begin with, it hasn't been a major change for me. The one thing that has occurred is I have discovered even more wonderful foods. It hasn't seem to be a big issue, either, as I've moved toward Veganisim. Surprisingly, I've not missed cow's milk, cheese, or eggs nearly as much as I thought I would. Of course, I've not done much if any baking since heading in this direction. While I don't do that much baking for myself, I do do a lot of baking for friends, so I'll need to learn to adapt my recipes or just not eat any of my baking, which crazy as it my sound I never did away. It's not that I don't like sweets but I much prefer a salty snack. Like I said, I usually bake for others, which is my way of ensuring that I don't have mega quantities of sweets lying around my house.

Overall, I think probably the biggest change is eliminating many of the processed foods I used to use. I probably still use more than I should but I've eliminated some, too.

The hardest 2 things about being a full-fledged Vegetarian / Vegan, is 1) the people that just don't get it when you say you don't eat meat any more and are constantly trying to push it on you and 2) the stupid questions you get from people who think they understand nutrition but have no clue. On point #1, my toughest person is my mother, who I really thought would be the easiest. It was my mother who taught me to eat this way. Growing up, she emphasized fruits and veggies, grains and legumes, etc. We had plenty of meatless meals. So, wouldn't you figure that she would be the one person who understood. Absolutely not. Somewhere along the way, she has bought into the hype from the meat industry that you must have meat, poultry or fish at every meal. Because she's one of those typical southern mom's who even 53 years later, still enjoys the role, whenever I'm over in the hometown she always feels the need to feed me. She always asks what I want and then proceeds to tell me what she has to offer. No matter how many times I've told her in the past few months that I no longer eat meat, anything meat related has suddenly become the first words out of her mouth these days.

Then there is point #2. The first question anyone always likes to ask is well then how do you get your protein. Well folks, first protein is in practically everything you eat. Yes, veggies have protein especially those peas and beans and all sorts of other wonderful things. And you know what, most people eat way more protein than the body needs. Most days, I've already consumed half of my daily needs for protein at breakfast. How many folks do you know who can say that? Trust me, an egg doesn't have nearly the protein that you think it has.

So here's my assessment of my current health and the changes I've made this year. Will making these changes help me live longer. I have no clue but will it help my quality of life. Absolutely and to me that is more important than anything. I've watched one to many loved ones being prescribed pill after pill that treats the symptoms and not the underlying cause. During the craziness of last year, I was put on high blood pressure medicine, then Lipitor. The Lipitor made me feel lousy, so I'm conducting my own little experiment to see if it was the change in the diet or the Lipitor that so dramatically reduced my cholesterol levels. I'm suspecting it's the diet but since I started the Lipitor and the diet at the same time, I need to confirm that first before telling my doctors that I refuse to take that poison any more.

So, as I continue on on this sort of new life style, I'll definitely give updates, valuable tips, etc.