Found on My Kitchen Table

Stream of Conscience (Redux)

The welcome sign on my "welcome cat" broke. Before

Clearing things out always offers a surprise or two.  Having washed the dishes and put away the laundry this morning, I decided to spend a little time clearing off the kitchen table.  Here’s what I found:

  1. The drip tray to a large, round George Forman grill (which also bakes) I no longer use.  I immediately put the grill and all its accoutrements in the Goodwill box without feeling guilty that it wasn’t complete.
  2. An upside down salt shaker.  Who the hell did that?  No, the holes weren’t covered with tape, so a pile of salt spilled out when I turned it over.  Fortunately, it was sitting on a ceramic tray and was easy to clean up.  It was nice to see the tray again.  It’s very colorful and cute.
  3. The pump to a bath and shower gel I’d been looking for.  I’d thought I’d found the pump, but this…

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Defining Moments

The clip art woman faces a clip art pile of laundry.
*big sigh*  [credit: bubblews.com]
After all the excitement of discovering new inspiration for decluttering, I hit a snag. I managed to keep up with the dishes, the laundry, the bills, and even email (snail mail, not so much), but I’ve been feeling guilty about not moving beyond the basics.

In my defense, the cat had an emergency vet visit, and the weather turned beastly hot.  After running errands in the heat (for the cat, of course), I was simply too exhausted to do anything, even spend time on the computer.  Now that’s exhausted!

Then last week, that Eureka! moment came—I was completely caught up with the laundry!  I’d even washed a (washable) silk blouse that had been lying in the bottom of the hamper—for way too many years.

Of course, laundry is one of those chores that never really ends.  Which is probably why the One Minute Organizer starts with it, along with dishes, and mail.

Talk of laundry always leads me back to the basement of my apartment in Newport, RI, when I bought my first washer and dryer.  It was the hottest day of the year, and I made sure to offer the delivery men some cold water before they left.  I can still see myself proudly looking at the new appliances; I can still feel the happiness and self-actualization.  It wasn’t just that there’d be no more trips to the laundromat, or that I could do a load of laundry whenever I wanted.  It was the realization that I’d finally achieved middle-class status.  I was truly an adult.

Later that weekend when all the clothes were washed, dried, folded and put away, I felt a similar sense of accomplishment. It lasted up until bedtime, when my worn clothes went into the no-longer-empty hamper.

And therein lies the biggest problem with housework—it’s never done.

What’s in a Minute?

I initially posted at the The New Stream of Conscience, but I’m thinking it’s a better fit here. Especially since there’s much more to write about regarding organizing, decluttering, etc, etc.  So maybe it’s time to fire up this blog again.

Stream of Conscience (Redux)

One-Minute Organizer set of books is written by Donna Smallin. One-Minute Organizer (Plain & Simple edition)

While waiting for an appointment yesterday, I came upon an interesting book called One-Minute Organizer Plain & Simple by Danna Smallin.  Leafing through it, I found some excellent quick tips for cleaning out clutter and getting my home (and life) in order.  I attempted to capture its wisdom with my tablet, first by taking pictures of the pertinent pages.  When that proved horrendously cumbersome, I tried to jot down notes on my tablet, only slightly less horrendously cumbersome.  I would have used the old tried-and-true pen-to-paper method, but had no paper.

After mentioning the book to my therapist (the appointment), she told me to take it with me.  So I did—with the intention of returning it after I’ve reaped its beneits.

The book is much like Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and other inspirational books, with little tidbits of help on every page.

The…

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Mental clutter is most difficult.

Time for my weekly check-in.  Sadly, I haven’t made much progress this week.  Why?

First of all, it was a very dreary, rainy week.  For some reason, when the sun isn’t shining, I find it hard to get the energy to do the things I’m supposed to do.  That was my excuse for not getting my packages mailed.

Secondly, I’m having difficulty deciding what to do with some of the things from my linen closet.

  • There are a couple sheet sets I love, but they don’t fit my bed.
  • A couple more sets are reasonably soft, and almost the color I like.  I’m hesitant to get rid of them because I might need the pillowcases.  (I sleep with 6 pillows.  Eight if you count the two I use when reading in bed.)
  • Memories.  I have a quilt and a couple pillowcases my mother made.  I don’t use them.  The quilt is badly stained, but I can’t seem to part with them.  So for now, they’ll stay on the bottom “shelf” (actually the carpeted floor) of the closet.  Maybe one day I’ll be able to part with them.  But not today.

As for the finances, I downloaded AceMoney Lite and tried to set it up, but it wouldn’t allow me to split my categories.  (Or if it allows it, I couldn’t figure it out.)  So I checked some financial software reviews, and YNAB (You Need A Budget) came out on top by far.  It’s somewhat expensive, but I’m trying the trial version for now.  So far, I rather like it, but I haven’t had to use it much.  We’ll see how it works when most of the bills come due at the beginning of the month.

Two steps forward, one step sideways

A week has gone by since I posted my goals for January.  Am I making progress?  Let’s see…

Big Thing #1:  mail all packages.

  • I mailed my HSN package (boots that didn’t fit).  It was important to send it back before the end of the month in order to credit the account.
  • Got my biggest Christmas package mailed.  The UPS clerk said he guaranteed delivery by Christmas—2013.  Haha.
  • I have wrapped all the Christmas packages and found boxes to mail them in.  (These can use USPS as they’re not as big.)  Hopefully I’ll get them mailed this coming week.

Big Thing #2:  take car in for serviceDone!

Routine Thing:  clean out the linen closet.  I’d already cleaned out the top two shelves (forgot to mention that last week).  This week I began tackling the lower shelves.  I was planning to go shelf by shelf, but once I got the third shelf cleared, I still had some energy and tackled the next.  Once that was cleared I decided to go all the way and do the bottom shelf, too.

But once I had everything out and strewn all over the hallway, I became overwhelmed and lost my energy.  I was shocked out how many sets of sheets I had.  I ended up posting two sets of flannel sheets and a down comforter on Freecycle.  I was surprised at how quickly I got a response and how many people were interested.  At least now I know people are ok with recycled sheets.  (I  don’t think Goodwill and Salvation Army take them.)  I do have a few more sets to get rid of.  But that’s a post for another week.

Other Thing:  get finances in order.  I think I’m up to date on my bill paying.  But Quicken and my actual bank statements are way off.  Fortunately, it’s the bank statements that are in my favor.  I hate Quicken and would like to just delete it and start all over, but haven’t figured out how to do that.  I also have a Mint account, but I’m not really fond of it either.  I’m going to try out AceMoney Lite to see if I like it.  If so, I might just swing the $40 for the full version.

I’m open for advice/recommendations on personal financial software, so if you have any, please comment.  🙂