Not bad for a fat girl


Eating an Elephant One Bite at a Time


In Other Words, Cleaning Up My House

I’ve never claimed to be the world’s best housekeeper. I’m not. I do like a certain sense of order, though.

For example, the glasses in my kitchen cupboards are organized by type and are in precise locations. The wine glasses and crystal are in one cabinet, the everyday glasses are sorted by type and size in another.

It’s not just in the kitchen, though. My fabric collection is folded and stored on open shelves by color. The clothes in my closet hang on identical hangers (well, one type for pants, another for skirts, and a third for dresses and tops, but you get the idea). The tops progress from teal to green to white, then tan, brown, black, into red, pink, purple, and finally blue. There’s a system.

I don’t have systems for everything, though. Or if I do, they break down. Take books, for example. I’ve been trying to get most of my books from Overdrive, the online library app. It saves me money and storage space. Still, I like to support local authors, and the professional books that I use are valuable additions to my library. As a result, I have more books than my current system allows. There are books on the kitchen table, books on my nightstand, and books on the kitchen counter. And yes, there are books on the bookshelves too, but they’re a mess.

Purses are another issue for me. I don’t have nearly as many as lots of people I know, but I do have a few that I use routinely. Where do they end up? On the kitchen counter. There a small section to the left of the fridge that is a complete disaster. Mail, meds, purses, you name it, it might be there.

the-japanese-art-of-decluttering-and-organizin-2-638All of this extra stuff brings me down. It drains my energy. It doesn’t bring me joy, as Marie Kondo, of The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up would demand. But on the other hand, it’s stuff I use. Just not all at once. So what’s the solution? Put it away, of course.

Flylady, of Flylady.net often says, “You can’t organize clutter.” I agree. There comes a point where too much is simply too much, and no matter how clever I think I’m being, I need to scale back. It’s time to do that, but I can’t do it all at once.

Here’s where the eating the elephant comes in. They say it can only be done one bite at a time. Well, I’m starting to bite. For me it’s more like one area at a time. The kitchen island has been done, but that one keeps accumulating stuff. It’s what Flylady calls a hotspot.

My bathroom vanity has been done, and man, it’s so much more pleasant to get ready in that area. My brain knows this, and yet, I let it get cluttered over time. WHY?

There are, unfortunately, so many more of these areas to go, but if I keep at it one bite at a time, eventually I’ll eat that elephant. Today’s goal? The kitchen table. Where I’m writing at the moment. It’s not a second office, it’s a place for meals. This one should be simple, just a few notebooks and books, a laptop, and leftovers from someone’s birthday, last month. Yeesh. One bite at a time.

DISCLAIMER: I would never eat a real elephant. Just so you know.

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Go For It!

images.jpegIt sounds like a good idea, right? Identify your goal and hop to it. Go out there and grab hold of your dreams! That’s the American Way, isn’t it? Is it? I’m not sure.

I’m not sure of a lot of things. Like, for instance, what exactly my “goal” is at this particular point in my life.

I have goals, certainly. I have many of them, some large, some miniscule. So I suppose my question is how do I prioritize them? How do I decide WHICH goal is the “go out there and get it!” goal? Or are there multiples of those? In which case, the new question becomes, how on earth do I go out and conquer all that stuff????

Well, I’m a firm believer in divide and conquer, so there’s that. But then we go back to the prioritizing issue. What to tackle first?

When paying down debt there are two main schools of thought. The first states that you should allocate the majority of your efforts to eliminating the debt with the highest interest rate first, then tackle the next highest and so on. The second one suggests that you go after the smallest debt first, then the next smallest amount and so on, leaving the largest debt for last.

Both methods have their pros and cons, and both methods, if applied faithfully, will get you out of debt eventually. So what’s the right answer? I don’t know, but fortunately getting out of debt is one goal that I achieved several years ago, so I don’t have to worry about it. (By the way, I used the small amount first method, it helped me feel successful and empowered by the process).

Maybe I can use the same method with my goals. Maybe I should start with “baby steps” as Flylady says. Or, as my father used to put it, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” For now I will keep stepping to get my daily fitbit steps, I will keep working at revising my novel, I will keep sharing my writing with you all and my writing partners, and I will keep working to tackle the clutter that’s been invading my home bit by bit. I will also keep being the best teacher, mother, daughter, and partner I can be. That’s not too many goals, is it? Wish me luck, and if you have any advice, I’d love to hear it.



My New Favorite Gadget

I’m not a big fan of housework. In a perfect world I would wave a magic wand and all those little chores that need to be done would somehow take care of themselves. I’m not a slob, mind you. I like things tidy and neat, and clean is always better than dirty, but the work involved to maintain a household can get overwhelming.SK460

I know there are methods, solutions, organizational systems, and tools to help with this never ending process. I know that I’m not the first person in the history of the world to dislike housework, and I will certainly not be the last. I have some nifty tools, I have learned much from the wildly popular Flylady, and I keep a certain level of clean at all times. It’s just not the same level that is needed to make your house look anything like a model home.

Normally this wouldn’t bother me too much, but currently I’m striving for the model look.  I want my house to look ready to move into at a moment’s notice. I have to tell you, it does look pretty darn good. The thing is, the better it looks, the more things I notice. This is sort of a double edged sword. I like the clean, but when I clean up area X, area Y suffers by comparison. It feels endless.

One of my all time least favorite chores is cleaning the floor. I vacuum. I swiffer, I use paper towels to wipe up spills. I do. But mopping? Ugh. I avoid it like the plague. The problem with this approach is that I have light colored tile floors and a family that includes a dog. Truth be told, the floor was looking a little dingy.

The last time that it got a good cleaning was right before I moved it, more than two years ago. Gulp. My sweetheart brought over his nifty steam cleaner and did the floor. Honestly I’m not sure how much impact it had, since the house was pretty darn clean when I bought it. Still, I was glad he did it, and very appreciative.

As we were preparing the house for sale he mentioned that he would do the floors. All of them. Hooray! No nasty mopping for me. I hate mopping. You swirl dirty water all over your floors and hope that when you’re done it looks better. I don’t get it. Long story short we got to the very last day before the listing went live, and finally he brought out the steam cleaner. At last!

He plugged it in, and lo and behold, it died. Seriously? He had been wanting a new one. He had one in mind. We looked for it but couldn’t find it in stores. We meant to order it online. It never happened. Phooey. Guess who ended up on her hands and knees washing the floor with rags? So gross.

It helped, but it wasn’t a great solution. I also gave up after the most critical area was done. My knees were killing me!

Fast forward a few days, and we looked at the floor in the daylight. An intervention was needed. Off to the store to pick up the not quite right version of the steam cleaner and give the floors the attention they deserved. He set it up, plugged it in, and went to work.

It looked pretty good. It even looked pretty fun. I wanted in on the action. He showed me how to set it up (it takes an IQ of about 12) and off I went. Wow. I liked it. I liked seeing the instant results and not swilling filthy water around the floor. I also like that it just used water and not a whole bunch of expensive chemicals.  I’m a convert. I have a new favorite gadget, and it can even help me with my formerly least favorite chore. Now to find a gadget to remove poop from the yard.