Food shopping tomorrow!
..for clearing the excess stuff.
I've used Marie Kondo's method of asking 'Does it spark joy?' and the 'one in, one out' method. Fly Lady treats clutter clearing as an ongoing task so it doesn't accumulate in the first place and Margareta Magnusson in her charming book with the less charming title of Death Cleaning asks this great question -
Will anyone I know be happier if I keep this item?
The sheer entertainment value of a young unknown Japanese woman with an approach from a very different culture, an American with a very down-to-earth common-sense attitude and a Swede aged 'somewhere betwnn 80 and 100' with a gentle sense pf humour, not to mention the various minimalists along the way, have kept me pretty much on the straight and narrow. 'Make it fun, it will get done' says sensible FlyLady.
Hyacinths in almost every room of the house. Amazing colours, diivine scent - how romantic is that?
THOUGHTS ON THE BLOG. Sandra mentions peace here on Live Simply Simply Live. I decided that conflict and controversy would have no place here, no matter how exercised I feel about current afffairs. I try to remember that there are millions, billions of little pockets of peace on our planet. This is one of them.
..is one of FlyLady's best ideas (It's a Wednesday). I kept buying healthy food and not eating it, then I feltt so terribly guilty for wasting food when some people have none, that I kept putting off clearing out the fridge! Eventually, one Wednesday, I just faced it. Some went in the compost, some in the bin, some glass jars went in the recycling, some leftovers in the freezer and some in the juicer.
Some went on a my plate for an interesting lunch. Then it was time to go shopping.
What will you do next anti-procrastination day?
A good question? You know I like a good question.
As for the answer....it's something I will think about over the next few days.
But for today it's back to Fly Lady for me.
I know some of you are fans already of this system for putting your house (and your life) in order. The website is old-fashioned and a bit of a rabbit hole if you are not careful. I don't remember how or when I first came across it, but within a day or two I felt I was more in control of things and within a week I knew this was it, the method I had been looking for, and three months later I was better organised than I had ever been and had dealt - 15 minutes at a time - with every last corner of the house! I was flying (to use Flay Lady's metaphor). It ismy routine place to go for a to a reset to the 'get things done' attitude. Now and then I fotget it for a bit, but I always come back t it, just jumping in where I am at.
If you would like to give it a try here is what I recommend. Go to FlyLady.net, click on Launch Pad, click on Flight Plan and just do what it says. That's it. Simple and easy.
Sometimes I just have to be practical although it is not my strong point. Things need done.
My thinking is that this January is the time to plan, to be ready for whatever comes, whether that be the shopping trip for healthy food (take inventory of the freezer), buy a small camping stove and more salt (power cuts and icy paths), and deciding whether to replace the old fence or do away with it.
The thing that may be coming and which I am looking forward to most of course, is the end of restrictions! I want as many pracical things in place so that when freedom comes I am free to take advantage! I have a ticket for a live concert in February! So excited!
Yay! Did it.
Step three of my paper sorting exercise was to put like with like, categorise the papers back into piles. Step four was to deal with each pile in turn. Take action/file/discard. It didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would.
I have a one drawer filing cabinet and the next task is to go through that one file at a time discarding as I go....Runnng a home is like running a small business.
I am really enjoying listening to Wintering by Katherine May, which is being read this week on BBC Radio 4 (find it on BBC Sounds if you can). Here is an excerpt..
Once we stop wishing it was summer, winter can be a glorious season when the world can take on a sparse beauty. It's a time for reflection and recuperation, for slow replenishment. It's a time for putting your house in order.
I am so lucky to be able to garden in lockdown. How peple in city flats are managing this period I do not know.
My four organising tips for garden work (which I have mentioned before, but not for a while) could of course apply to work in rhe home or other projects.
I set a time, which could be ten minutes or an hour, to spend on each point -
an ongoing task
a rescue job
something I want to do
a start and finish task
I write them down and enjoy ticking them off, feeling I have made progress, enjoyed myself, eased my conscience and have the satisfaction of finishing something, no matter how small. Feels good!
Usually very self motivated I must admit to finding it harder these days. But I am a great believer in carrots rather than sticks so have been tryng a few old strategies.
One is to set up a tray with coffee in a favourite cup and saucer and fill the kettle, set the timer for 15 minutes and get moving. I remember FlyLady saying you can do anythng for 15 minutes. It's true, and I will someitmes do longer once I am started.
When our families were little and we were working full time and studyiing too, a friend and I had an arrangement when things got really chaotic. One of us would phone the other on a Saturday morning and say The place is a mess . Woud you like to come for lunch at one? Right you've got two hours the other woud say and we would get the family to join in and whizz round the house cleaning and tidying and making lunch in record time. It worked every time, and we would enjoy the rest of the day.
I did that with the same friend the other Sunday. I texted her to say I coudn't motivate myself to do anything - If I got things done within the next hour coud I reward myself with a call with her?. She agreed and said she would do tasks which she had been putting off for a week. One hour later with everything done, we had a lovely long chat, all the while laughing at ourselves for needing such tactics still!
How do you get yourself motivated when you feel you really can't be bothered? All suggestions welcome!
Gwendoline in a recent comment mentioned her 'we will get through this kit'. Sausages are part of her kit, and marking occasions like Burns Night. Two good strategies I thought!.
It made me think it might be fun to share the strategies we all hve. Our circumstances will all be different of course, but we all have this in common - we have to find ways to get through this and come out the other end sane, and ideally stronger.
An important part of my kit is to get up about the same time each day and after feeding the birds and myself, do my FlyLady routine. The Fly Lady website is huge and it would be easy to get lost in it. I just go to one page and do what it says there. Here is today's page. So easy! I have been using it for years. It covers pretty much everything to do with running the house and makes it a doddle. Over a period every corner of the house is cleaned (the 15 minute Mission). So I know the basics are always covered, with minimum effort. Housework is one area where I have alwyays been for minimum effort!
It's about self care really, enjoying my home.
Like Cristiana I do like lists but I have to confess that until I read that Gail was planning to do most of the list I made up on a whim, I hadn't really thought of doing it myself! (I was just anusing nyslef with a play on words really.)
Doh! Of course I will have to do it! Thank you Gail for the prompt.
But how? I could choose an item at random, I could choose the one I just feel like doing each day, I could leave some out altogether, but I think I will start with the first item and proceed in an orderly manner till the end of November. Perhaps Make A List could be at the head of your list - you might have more fun making your own...
I will start tomorrow with make a meal and set a beautiful table.
Today I will clear the table in readiness. I don't ususally let things pile up on the table, but right now there are two books, one notebook, one catalogue, a pair of secateurs, two pens, a tube of handvream, an elastic band, a coaster, some fading flowers and a used up candle, a crushed up piece of paper, and a jigsaw. A jigsaw? I don't even like jgsaws!
Away with it all.
And a good wipe down of the table.
Will you join me? It will mean that for at least a little while each day we won't be thinking about elections/Brexit/lockdown/terrorist attacks/storms....
What will your approach be?
..not Tiffany's but at The Boat House.
Super organised and super friendly, it was a real treat to have someone else cook!
You can see from the angle of the sign on the bike how strong the wind was!
On the tidying front I was thinking how boring this task was but when we had a power cut last night I felt, if not a spark of joy, at least a pulse of pleasure that I could lay hands immediately on a torch that works and candles and matches....
The paper tidying has been challenging and tiring and I have just jammed the borrowed shredder!
I seem to have kept copious notes on everything I have ever done, never stopping to sift through them before hurtling happily on to the next project - teaching notes, garden designs, notes on my reading, notes on everything! Processing one's past is draining.....
I should perhaps have stopped with the house, but I have tackled the studio too. Not sure that was wise.
Some gardening provided light relief.
And some aesthetic pruning was theraapeutic. I cut off the fronds of the ferns which were touching the ground, and those which were distorted by growing against the wall, then thinned the rest for a lighter, fresher look to the sitting area.
Then I took some drastic action with the hostas..
I used the hedgetrimmer! Hope they grow back..
How was your weekend? And your paper clearing?
A fellow student called me that once (and it wasn't meant as a compliment!). Well, he was young. I forgive him :-)
So here goes with Marie Kondo's method with paper. She says the ones to keep all fall into one of three categories..
So I cleared off the table and added two categories - already have a home and out and I set to.
Do you know I believe she is right!
Making good progress...the thing is not to engage with every piece of paper - I remind myself I am only tidying, not dealing with what's written on the paper. That's a whole other job. Focus! Don't get sidetracked.
PS If you are interested in the Keto diet do read Swissrose's comment on this post.
..and the study is at that desirable click poinFeels good!
Papers are next on the Kondo 8 week challenge. ! procrastinate more over paperwork than anything else and I don't know if it is really possible to deal with them in a week.... There is quite a backlog.
But it's all progress in these limbo like times so I will give it my best shot!
But firstly the shed! (I know you must be fed up hearing about my shed but these will be the last photographs. Promise!)
Whew! There are a few things I hope to sell, a good neighbour carted away a sizeable load for the village hall Pound Sale including a set of metal shelves, another load awaits picking up to take to the dump and the old tools which will be made into sculptures will soon be uplifted.
As for Little Altars Everywhere (has anyone read the book of that name?) I've been reading Stephanie Bennett Vog on the subject of creating 'altars' about the house. I do it all the time in creating small still lifes of objects I love and it seems such a coincidence that I was reading about them just now in her book A Year To Clear. I read a little of it every day.
Here is today's little altar. I hadn't appreciated the possible symbolism of the one object from the shed which sparked joy being a spirit level until you pointed it out. Thank you so much for that! I also found the tiny key - no idea what it ever locked and unlocked....but it may have something to do with hearts.
Do you have 'altars' around your home?
Shall I write a bit more about altars? I find it very interesting
The shed was Barry's domain. He was the patient fixer of things, he mowed the lawns, replaced the lightbulbs, made the gates both red and yellow, cut the hedges, climbed the ladders into the loft, dealt with the mice, mended the fence, chopped the wood, and more. He also kept all the leftover bits and pieces from every job he did and hoarded sets of tools for cars and bikes long gone and collected more jars of rusty nails than can be imagined! Just in case.
In a fair world women would not be left to clear out their mens sheds.
But what a support team I have behind me! I loved all your suggestions - I will adopt the explorer/playful/inner child mindset, I will whistle up the courage, I will probably sigh and swear and laugh (my helper has a great sense of fun). Bribery is a great idea, and I am already thinking up ways to celebrate....
When I have Kondoed the shed I will have gone through every single item I own.
I have to confess it has been quite exhausting at times, both physically and emotionally.
And the sentimental is by far the hardest (I have corralled all the photographs and letters), though there is little of sentimental value in the dreaded shed!
Since my laptop came back this afternoon I cannot find anything!!
It all looks different and it may take me some time to re-orientate myself and make sure everything I need and want is still here somewhere. I lost my purse today - that was enough stress for one day thank you. (I did find it again thankfully.)
So where was I? Ah yes, I still have piles of stuff around the guest room but I have now sorted it into categories as follows..
Things to try to sell on eBay
Things to sell at the village hall fundraiser
Things to offer to family and friends (one gone already)
Things to donate to charity shops
Things to keep - just because.
I have found more treasures I had forgotten about - a lovely piece of old fabric and a favourite sundress. When I locate my photos I will show you them :-)
I was going to post the song The Last Rose of Summer but it was too too sad!
The invasion of the mice meant I had to get into the cupboard under the eaves, so while I was in there I pulled out the boxes to investigate exactly what was in them. The contents are currently spread all over the guest room - but it was the final cupboard in the house - nearly there!
And I've just had an offer of help with clearing the shed. Yay!
I titled a recent post about the pace of my life fast and slow. It could equally apply to my computer!
Not yet at the repair shop for various reasons, I decided to try a little self help. I watched a couple of tutorials and I managed to refresh my browser and delete cookies and some documents and downloads and the effect was amazing. Much faster.
I confess I am lazy about learning about the computer, and so embarrassed about my ignorance I avoid asking for help when I need it! How foolish is that?
I am finding this site helpful. Hate to be sexist but the fact that it is written by a woman shows - it's in English! I took the laptop to a repair shop once where the guy only talked computer-speak and preferred to talk to men. Barry had gone to park the car so he was forced to speak with me but when Barry walked in he turned - in mid sentence - and spoke to Barry (who wasn't much more computer literate than me, if truth be told and didn't know what the problem was with my computer.). I still feel so indignant!
Despite my best efforts however there are still problems, so if I suddenly go quiet.....
I do like lists.
To-do lists, tah-dah! lists, shopping lists, the Absolute No list (of more later) and now there is the Kon Mari list -SO helpful!
Google Kon Mari lists for various options (thanks Julia).
And just to be controversial....Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist which I liked, has just brought out this...Tee Hee
It's true that my studio is very tidy but I'm not actually painting...
But the Kondoing is giving me such clarity and so much energy and headspace that I know it is opening up possibilities for my creative side and I'm seeing it through.
Plan to be done by Christmas (including the dreaded shed!).
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)