Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year 2010

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2010! My family and I rang in the New Year with friends, and the next morning (ok, late the next afternoon) I was back on my anti clutter kick. I am not big on New Years Resolutions, but maybe having a goal to NOT collect so much random weird stuff this year might not be such a bad idea. I think at least one of my kids was hoping my Boxing Day (or Boxing Month as it has turned into) would somehow involve pummeling something with gloves, but we're just tearing the house up and boxing up a bunch of stuff to get rid of. Some areas look a bit like they have seem a hurricane at the moment, but it feels really great to see all the excess stuff that will be leaving my life soon. I still can't believe I have this much stuff. It's ridiculous. This accumulation of stuff has gotten way out of line, and come to think of it, so has my accumulation of winter weight gain. My lack of exercise lately is rather sad. With working extra hours, bad weather and very little daylight, my body is not moving nearly enough, and I can feel it- my body is definitely trying to tell me something- probably something like "put down the cookie, and get moving woman!" My butt is starting to feel like it is reshaping itself to my office chair, and I doubt it's a good look for me. So, since I'm at it, maybe an exercise goal would be a good idea for the New Year too.

Speaking of resolutions, or "vague goals" in my case, one of the final assignments in my college classes this past semester was to write about areas of our own lives that we would like to "revitalize." Words like "revitalize" feel a little dramatic for my reality, so instead, I came up with a few areas for "improvement." Even that sounds a bit cliche with New Years and all, but I did it anyway, and in the spirit of the season, I'm sharing.

It seems like there was this theme of "finding your purpose" in the assignment, but overall, I think I already have plenty of purpose in my life. I have a lot of good things going on right now, and don't feel in the least bit lost, or without meaning. What I do feel, is really stinking busy with all this good stuff I have going on. I could certainly use some improvement in my juggling skills during stressful and busy times. I could also use some household help.

Realistically, I'm probably not going to get a maid anytime soon, nor a personal assistant. I don't see myself suddenly having mountains of free time either. So, it would probably make sense for me to learn more about dealing with time management so I can play the hand I've been dealt. I actually saw a time management class offered online recently, but ironically, I haven't figured out how I could squeeze it into my life. Somehow though, I would really like to find a balance between being a procrastinating slacker, and being a micromanaging control freak. I think I'm swaying dramatically between the two these days.

My guess is that in a time management class, they teach you to use lists, prioritize, communicate and delegate things. I'm trying all of the above. The trouble is that lists get lost sometimes (ok, a lot of times), and when I delegate, other people don't always do things the way I think they should, which is really annoying.

I know a major problem is that distractions are so darn abundant. Kids play loudly and interrupt. For example, one child is playing a harmonica about 10 feet away from me right now. Husbands (who are normally silent) start up a conversation as though they don't notice you are trying to type. Telephones ring at the most inconvenient times. I have one infamous friend, who I won't name, but if my children see her name on the caller ID they cry out "NO! Don't answer the phone- you'll talk to her all day!!!" Another big distraction issue for me is when attempting to write or work on my classes on the computer, it's just so awfully easy to get sidetracked with Facebook and email right there. When I go to just check something "really quickly," I can easily lose a big honkin chunk of time. I'll be trying to work and be good, and a message from a friend pops up in one of those chat windows. I know I really need to focus on what is important to get things done.

Maybe in the New Year I'll get better a little better at managing time, and taking care of myself and my home. I hope I'm at least making progress towards improvement and growth in these areas that are recurring themes in my life. I'm not sure if I'll end up with baby steps or giant leaps in 2010, but it feels good to be moving in the right direction. Today, I took another load of toys, clothes and books to donate. I even walked away from buying another book I saw on sale, figuring I should at least finish my cleaning before I add any more to the mess. It wasn't easy either, as it was a beautiful illustrated history book for $4! Still, I resisted-but hopefully it'll still be there when I'm done. The trash and recycling are both full again this week with stuff that will no longer be cluttering up our lives. Just before dark, I took advantage of the break in the rain and walked the dogs too, which made us all very happy. I love simple pleasures like that.

I think 2009 was a hard year for a lot of people, and it's good to be looking ahead to better days. I hope the New Year brings blessings to everyone! Happy New Year!


  1. I can totally relate to the purging of irrelevant / stockpiled (or no longer relevant) items stacking up on any vertical space in our home.
    Since we are moving this January (and have known it for the past three months), I began the process of sort to keep, recycle, donate, reuse and plain "old throw it out" a few months ago. I have been enjoying the pleasing sense of seeing the countertops and have been following a bit of a routine to stay on top of the organizing and intermittent and unexpected house "showings" the real estate agents have paraded through our house. Nothing like an hours' notice of a possible Buyer to get a jumpstart on the organizing.

    But most recently I have seen the correlation with new eyes since signing on a real esate agent to show our home to complete strangers at any time of day. My closets have never had more breathing room than the day I toted out huge bags full of tattered "work clothes" I had accumulated. I honestly could not get one through the door and had to reomve some heft from the bag to allow passage.
    Seriously, some clothing was pre-marriage some 13 years ago. I justified keeping things as a remembrance that was useful, hence the t-shirt collection of tee's I would never wear in public because of the gross stains in weird places- I'll always have my memories and thank god the tee's are not clogging up my living space anymore.
    Another interesting way I have begun to evaluate what comes in to our home is whether it:
    1) is plastic
    2) is disposable in any way
    3) will need to be recycled
    4) is redundant to what is already in the household.
    If it violates more than two of the criteria, we don't bring it home. The recycling criteria is because we live in a remote place and it will cost us fossil fuel to drive it to town to get the redemption value on it or cost us to have the trash company come haul it away. Either way there is usually a doable substitute.
    Our move is slated to happen on the 25th of January and even though we have a moving company that will come in and box up our personal belongings for us, I can't get beyond the mental image of some burly dude bubble wrapping yet another delicate piece of non-essential crap and shipping it to Maui where we are relocating. The karma associated with that responsibility is just too much.
    So with just three weeks left before our move, I see the New Year and it's epiphineal way of providing us the opportunity to start anew with fresh resolutions and reveling in memories past. I might have to celebrate the new year every three months just to keep things simple and have a lasting effect through out the year. I wonder if I could convince any of my friends to have a new year's party in March-
    Oh yeah, we call that one spring cleaning minus the bubbly. Maybe that will be my new years' resolution! A time to toast and toss every fews months to keep the hoarding bugs out of my closets. Happy reducing, reusing, recycling and restoring our (perceived) sanity!

  2. I won't be getting to move to a tropical island after my seasonal purging of stuff, but it sures feels good to clear clutter anyway- even if it's still the same little old house in the hills.
    Hoping everything is coming along with your move!


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