Tuesday, October 4, 2016

27 Things Plus 2

Way back in the spring, in addition to the major decluttering I was doing, I also was looking at ways to reduce my accumulated stuff by using it up.  This primarily had to do with cosmetics, skin care, and hair care products.  I had subscribed to Birch Box for an entire year and received many sample sized items that became overwhelming after a while.  I ended the suscription after the first year and decided to tackle my many personal care products by selecting a few and using them up and then moving on to the next group of items.  Well over the past few months I have done just that.  It actually feels really good to use up these items and really assess whether it is a product I need or want in the future.  Many of the items are not things I will purchase again.  Othere items have proved to be effective enough that I may just add them to my routine.

The CeraVe is a must have on my list for body cream.

Dry shampoo is a must have and the heat protector is pretty good too.

The Vitamin C Serum is a Murad product that I really like as part of my skin care routine.

The Shea Soap smells great and I will buy it online. 

Some of the items are must haves like toothpaste, deordorant, and hair conditioner.  However some of the scrubs I bought were okay but I'd rather have one all-purpose scrub to use rather than individual products.   The Nutregena Shower Gel is a staple in our home and we get that at Costco.

Believe it or not I still have quite a number of items to go through and use up.  I'm hoping by the end of 2016 I've reduced the clutter in the bathroom and have identified a few really good products to use on a regular basis.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

One Step at a Time

The last few weeks we have gone to the Lillie house somewhat intermittently.  Mor has been working in the yard, and I've been doing a few things inside.

On Sunday I spent some time at the Lillie House and gathered another 54 items (two groups of 27 Things).  It took some time because I worked primarily in the garage.  Here is what I gathered on Sunday:

Books, books, and more books!

Various items mainly from the garage

I worked for approximately 2 hours and bagged and boxed up the items to deliver to Goodwill for later in the week.

So today. before I went to the Lillie House, I worked at home and looked through some of the items I have brought back from the Lillie house and began to incorporate them into our current home.  I have some specialized kitchen gadgets, as well as towels and some sheets I need to wash, fold, and store in our linen closet.  I also gathered another 27 Things at home.  Some of the items were things from my closet which will require an extensive overhaul but I'm starting out small.  At the Lillie House I brought home several boxes for storage in my closet and I also dropped off 4 bags at the Goodwill Truck.

A couple of the shirts are going to be passed on to a friend if she wants them.  They are a little large for me but are really nice.  I also sorted through bras and finally released three I have not worn in ages.  I tried them on and they were not comfortable but someone will get good use out of them.  The toothbrushes just seem to sprout around here and they will be given to the Food Pantry my friend runs.

So that is 81 items I can add to my total which is now a whopping 1,242 items moved on and released from my space.    I also can add 5 hours over the past 10 days for a total of 5 hours remaining on this second 27 hours committment.

Over the past few months we have made tremendous progress and Mor is getting the yard in order which is important in the marketing of our property.  We are getting closer to have the house entirely cleared out.  I just need to keep the momentum going!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Maintenance Ramble

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of maintenace as it relates to maintaining something in a specified condition or another way to look at it, the care and upkeep of our things.  Maintenance is important and it takes time too.  This morning as I was working in my backyard, trimming and pruning shrubs I thought about the time and effort spent in maintaining things.  The fact is I like to work in the yard but it is a committment.  Tackling a project that has a start and end to it is one thing, but it is the daily maintenance that takes the real comittment in my opinion.

It seems for the last week or so I've been in a maintenance mode.  I have spent time in the yard doing things each day to keep it up, and I have been working in the house, doing the routine things like vacuuming, laundry, mopping the floor, cleaning toilets, cleaning mirrors, and dusting. which are all maintenance activities unless you let it go so far that it becomes a major project to clean it up.  So much of the project work I've been doing lately such as the office update is to get me to a point where I am only doing maintenance in the office!  Ha!  The thing is maintenance does take a lot of time so it is never really done.  I'm not complaining but it is an observation and in some ways helps put things into perspective.

For the past few months I've been actively working on decluttering 27 Things at a time which I have characterized as a major project.    I've done this in my current home as well as the Lillie house we are getting ready to put on the market. To date I've moved over 1,000 items on to a new life with friends, family, or a charitable organization.  It has been a freeing experience and I still have more to do.   One thing I know is that the less "stuff" you have, the less you have to maintain.  So if you look at the idea of maintenance as something that never goes away, you can at least minimize the impact of it by reducing what you have to maintain.

In the next few days I plan to work at the Lillie House to really bring that project to closure.  It is hanging out there and I need to finish it.  It just seems like maintenance of things is getting in the way.  I need my momentum back which was at full speed in July and kept me motivated.  Maintenance does not motivate in the same way.  So I need to be able to shift from project to maintenance and back to project so that I can jump start my momentum and get this project done.

What's that saying?  Just do it!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Good Maintenance Habits

Yesterday evening I took a look at my email inbox and I had over 250 unread emails.  That is not a good sign and without action on my part, that could easily get out of control.  Back in June I completed a massive clean-up of my emails with over 7,500 unread emails in my inbox.  I then utilized the Unroll.me app which has helped me maintain a relatively clutter free inbox.  It doesn't happen magically though and it still requires action on my part on a regular basis.

So yesterday I utilized the "power hour" principle that Gretchin Rubin has written about and discussed on her Podcast, Happiness.  The power hour is a great approach to tasks that don't really have any deadline associated with them but could benefit from some focused time.  Within that hour I was able to delete messages that I no longer need, read messages that required attention, file emails in approapriate file folers for future reference and bring my inbox down to about 12 read emails.  It was a good feeling and addresses that nagging fear we have sometimes that there is something important we are missing.

My approach will be to address the email inbox daily but also to do a weekly review in case I've missed some days.  Also, I am setting a threshold number of unread emails that will be the catalyst to take immediate action.  The threshold will be 250 since I can deal effectively with those in a power hour session if needed.

Wow - it is all about maintenance and daily steps.  Doing things daily makes big difference in the long run.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Moving Things Along

Well today I spent time at the Lillie House and although I didn't accomplish everything I thought I would when I posted yesterday, I did get quite a bit done.  There are items there that I am incorporating into my current home and I brought home several bags of stuff although it is stuff I did not count.  In the big scheme of things it does reduce the number of things I am dealing with at the Lillie House.  I also was able to gather another 27 Things to move on and out of my space for a total to date of 1,161.  I'm still working with glassware and fragile items as well as books.   Today I boxed up a number of fragile items, and bagged up books to take to the Delta Human Society Thrift Store. In addition there were two pair of shoes I dropped off as well.  I wasn't able to clear out the dining room, living room, and laundry room like I thought I would but I did organize the various things that remain so that it was all in one grouping and looked somewhat neat.  I don't know if that really amounts to anything but it did make me feel better as I was getting ready to leave.  In the garage there are about 5 big empty plastic totes and I stacked them in the corner too to give off a more organized feel to the space.

I am planning on working at the house tomorrow and my husband will be at the house as well.  We had a broken window in the master bedroom that is being repaired tomorrow so that is another thing we can mark off our list.

In total I spent 3 hours working at the house for a total of 17 hours for this second effort at 27 hours. That means I have 10 more hours to go to meet my second 27 hours and when I finish that I will have dedicated 54 hours to this project.  I hope to accomplish a lot in the remaining 10 hours.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I'm Back!

It has been almost two weeks since we got home from our Oregon Coast trip and I have been busy with multiple projects but have not gotten back to my Lillie House project.  I have been focusing on our backyard for the last 10 days and thoroughly enjoying the outside work, but it has put a crimp in my Lillie House project.  Well today I did both -- I worked in the yard for almost 2 hours and also drove over to the Lillie House and put in a couple of hours there as well.  It was good to get back into the house clearing project and my hope is that over the next few weeks, I keep the momentum going on both of these projects.

Today I gathered two groupings of 27 Things at the Lillie House which were mostly glassware and a few books.  I have put off working with glass items until I could find a place to easily and conveniently donate the items.  I've been donating most of our things to Goodwill as well as a few things to friends and family.  However, for most of the stuff, I drop things off at the Goodwill truck and they are not really set up for fragile items.  A friend told me about the Delta Human Society Thrift Store in town and so I visited today to see what they stocked, what their hours were, and when they can take donations.  Their hours work well for me -- 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday and they take donations during that period.  They stock clothing, books, jewelry, and glassware as well as small appliances and small furniture pieces.  This was good news for me and I proceeded to make my trip to the Lillie House and work with my more fragile stuff.

After gathering the items, I boxed them up and dropped them off at the Thrift Shop.  The lady was so nice and very appreciative of the items.  I plan on making another drop tomorrow.

This additional 54 items pushes my total up to 1,184.  With the 2 hours of time spent on this project today I am now up to 16 hours toward my 27 hour commitment.

There is still a lot to do but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Tomorrow I will clear out the dining room completely, as well as the living room and the laundry room.  That focus will help move this project along and build momentum which I desperately need right now.  Today was a definite start and it was a good one!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

27 Days - Another Approach to Getting Things Done!

Today is my first day home from a week long trip to Oregon.  We spent three glorious days in Seaside with family, and then the two of us were off to Klamath Falls and Crater Lake for golf and some down time.  We had beautiful weather and Oregon is a really scenic state so the week was a good one.

Today I'm resting up from yesterday's long drive home.  In the next day or two I will pick up the slack of cleaning out the Lillie House but for now I'm taking it slow.  There is plenty of time, and rest time is productive time in the long run (anyway it is in my book).

One thing I have done periodically is take the 27 Things principle and bring it to other parts of my life -- not just decluttering or working around the house.  In early July, I decided to give myself a goal of not drinking any type of soda water, regular or diet, for 27 days.  I figured I could do it for that period and in fact I did!  Setting the 27 Days goal really worked for me and a couple of times when I found myself even going for a sip of my husband's soda - I stopped myself.  I wanted to finish out my 27 days and for me that is the power in the 27 Things approach.

What did I drink instead?  Mostly water which I like and frankly is a lot cheaper than soda.  Once I had iced tea,  unsweetened, but the majority of the time it was water or coffee but mostly water which is so much healthier.  Since I reached the 27 days goal, I have had a couple of sips of soda (my husbands) but only after I reached 27.  I am tempted to do another 27 days of soda free drinking.  I can't say that I felt better or even different.  I haven't been a big soda drinker in the past, but have relied on diet pepsi or diet coke when I'm out for lunch or dinner.  And of course free re-fills make it more than an 8 oz or 12 oz serving.  I know that soda is really not healthy, sugared or sugar free so I believe it is a good habit not to drink it.

It is amazing what we can do when we set our minds to it or when we frame our goals in a way that is both motivating and doable.  I have more goals to set but I am still thinking those through.  Now back to resting from our vacation!!