Count Down

One thing that I need to do is get back to working on my interior Mayhem before I can start tackling the garbage that has started to take over the house again (I am beginning to feel like I am living an episode of Hoarders recently!).  August 1st I will be embarking on a 30 day self-improvement program.  It is being sponsored over at The Personal Excellence Blog and is entitled Be a Better Me in 30 Days” (30BBM).   

Here is a description from the site –

What is 30BBM About?

30BBM is an all-new challenge where we’ll be working on ourselves, our characters, our personalities – thereby creating a better us at the end of the 30 days.

So what exactly does it mean to “Be a Better Me“? It means…

  • To become a better person – One that we will be proud of. If I were to ask you to rate yourself on a scale of 1-10, what score would you give yourself? Would you rate it a 10? Why/Why not? No matter how good we are, there is always room to be a better person. Through 30BBM, we will do exactly that – be a better person.
    • Weed out the traits we do not like. Some of us may often complain about traits we’re not proud of. For example, procrastination. Laziness. Pessimism. Clumsiness. Carelessness. Forgetfulness. Tardiness. Impatience. Low self-confidence. Abrasiveness. Obsessiveness. Complaining. Self-victimizing. Etc. Does any of these sound familiar to you? During 30BBM, we will explore our negative traits and work to remove them.
    • Build new, desired traits. What traits do you want to cultivate? Compassion? Assertiveness? Responsibility? Resilience? Courage? Self-Belief? Sharpness? Wisdom? Wittiness? Femininity? Masculinity? Diligence? Through 30BBM, we’ll cultivate our ideal traits.
  • To develop our character. All of us develop a certain character based on our upbringing. When we don’t grow, don’t challenge ourselves, don’t explore new grounds, our character will atrophy into nothing. We become just another person in the crowd who goes with the flow, who sways with public opinion, who has no say/idea of his/her own. It is by taking on the right experiences and consciously growing where we build our character. By taking on 30BBM, you create the opportunity to develop your character in just 1 month, compared to if you don’t participate.
  • To (re-)discover ourselves. (Re-)Discovering who we are, on a whole new level. Connecting with our inner self. Knowing why we behave the way we do. Understanding the motivations behind our actions. Such self-reflection is needed for us to improve and become better. Many of the tasks in 30BBM will get us to reflect and rediscover ourselves.
  • To cultivate universal values. No matter who we are, there are universal values that connect us as humans. These values include Compassion, Gratitude, Love, Kindness, Truth, Authenticity, Generosity, Positivity, Growth, and more. Through the 30BBM tasks, we will reacquaint with these values and cultivate them in us.
There will be daily tasks to do.  I am looking forward to some structure.  This summer has sort of killed any type of structure I had in my life.  Everything I planned to do fell through, so I ended up being a sloth!   I figure it will also set an example for the girls.   They start back to school on August 11th, so when they sit down to do homework, I will be doing mine as well.
Anyone out there want to join me on this 30 day journey of self-discovery and growth?

Trashy Tuesday

I have a lot of things I could talk about today.

I could talk about how Hubby got a lot of his office organized. It looks awesome, by the way.

I could address that our Christmas tree is down and the rest of the decorations are gathered in one place, waiting to be packed neatly into boxes.  I love the way the family room gets suddenly bigger, but I miss the soft glow of the twinkle lights and the warmth of all my handmade decorations made by my parents and friends.

I could shout from the rooftops my overwhelming joy that while we were putting things back into the closet where the holiday decorations vacation, we were putting the remainder of the miscellaneous boxes in the order we want to go through them during the rest of the winter when Hubby found the discs containing all the pictures from our trip to adopt our oldest.  I thought those precious pictures were forever lost.

Instead I am going to talk about a different type of organizing and housekeeping.  The interior, emotional kind.

Ellen over at FatGirlWearingThin has started a challenge called the Hate Loss challenge.   I have joined this challenge because the only way that I am going to be able to continue to clean up and organize my physical house is to clean up my emotional/spiritual house.    I am constantly amazed at how one plays right into the other.  The more I learn to like myself, to accept who I am, and honestly look at the things that are good and the things that need to be tweaked a bit, the better I am able to cope with the stresses from the outside – I am able to let go of the unimportant stuff in my house and create a place of comfort for my family.

I find the best way to work on that interior side to be dispassionate and honest.  I do have some things that need a lot of work, but I also have some really great things about myself as well.  I am overweight – but I still have twinkling blue eyes.   I may not be able to keep up with my girls because I am so deconditioned – but I have the ability to create a plan to correct that situation and one day I will be able to participate in more of their physical activities.   My goal, my plan to defeat that little voice inside me that is quick to point out the bad about myself, is to counter each negative thought with something good about myself.    Eventually the positive WILL sound out louder than the negative.  Eventually I will be able to not cut myself to emotional shreds when I look at other people.

So here it to getting rid of the emotional trash in my life.  Is there anyone else who would like to join me?

Trashy Tuesday

OK – I am going to get really trashy.

Old trash can

Image via Wikipedia

I have been getting up and doing my morning routine (up, shower, hair, sometimes makeup, breakfast and medication) long enough that it can be considered a habit. I tried to add exercise in there, but that just did not work. While I know I need to do that, I am not going to stress about it. I am making a conscious effort to not sit all day, but to get up often and get a glass of water or change the laundry, etc. So while it is not 30 minutes of increased heart rate, it is movement.

Instead, I am going to set a new habit routine.

I am going to dispose of something that is sitting around my house every day. This does not include disposing of the junk mail each day. This means looking around and seeing what I do and do not use, determining what I can live without and getting it out of my house. Does anyone want to join me? I would love to hear what people are getting rid of and how they are getting rid of it – trash, donate, recycle, freecycle, reuse, repurpose, Craigslist, garage sale?

By this time next year I figure I will have a house  purged of a huge amount of junk, an oldest daughter who does not feel like she is living her nightmare in the house, a younger daughter who will have learned how to not be a hoarder, a husband that will lift my yarn buying ban, fewer allergies from all the dust that is collecting around the house, and a routine for keeping my house neat!

So, for those who want to join me, here are the “rules”:

Typical advertising mail

Image via Wikipedia

If paper comes into the house, it must be dealt with as soon as it enters the doorsort, act on it, or throw it away.

Constitution-Java battle plan

Image via Wikipedia

Create a loose plan of attack – (especially if your house is a bad as mine is right now) – I am choosing a couple of counters in my “Butler’s pantry” and kitchen that seem to collect junk. I want to get those cleaned off so that I can create a “landing pad” and “control station” for my family. As those get cleaned off, I will head to other parts of the downstairs, then move upstairs. I also intend to throw one thing away in my office until all those boxes and stacks on the credenza and in the corners are gone.

Assymetric in/out boxes

Install the One in/One out rule – This means that if anyone in the family gets a gift, they must get rid of something else.  That also means they need to immediately find a home for the new item.  It can’t just lay around the house.  This is very important since Christmas is coming up!

TraderStar's screenshots - Feedback

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Come back each Tuesday (or more often if you like!) and let me know how you are doing – I am one of those people who need be held accountable for what I am going to do.  So I promise to be your accountability partner if you want one.


Today I am going to clean out my “purse basket” on the butler’s pantry counter.  This is a basket where I normally keep my purse and keys.  It is so full of other stuff that I can’t fit my purse in there anymore, and my keys become lost.

So awaaaaaaaaaay we go!

Trashy Tuesday – Noise

I know, I know.  You are seriously wondering what noise has to do with decluttering.  Well, to be perfectly honest, I have found it have a lot to do with it.

The iPod family with, from the left to the rig...

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever noticed how you work more efficiently with a clean desk?  OK – don’t laugh.  I know it took me a long time to figure this out, but I did learn my lesson.  Well, what about a clean mind.  If my head is so full of noise and constant sensory input, I find it very difficult to focus on my priorities.

The first thing I would challenge you to do is to turn off the radio, the I-Pod, the TV – anything that is making noise.  Listen to the quiet for a moment.   How many people think they will go crazy if they don’t have some sort of noisy input at all times? I did for a long time.   How many people are actually comfortable with their own thoughts?  I wasn’t.  But now I have found that the more I experience quiet, the more I am able to think and get to know myself better, which leads me to crave more quiet time.

I used to crave sound.  The TV would come on as soon as we entered the house.  In the car, the music was playing constantly.  But one day I got busy and forgot to turn it on.  Before long I was making a list of things that I wanted to get done.  Then I was actually working on that list because I was focused on what I was doing.  All that space the noise was taking up in my brain was  clear, allowing me to think clearly (No remarks about there being such a small amount of brain that music would fill it up!).

So let’s go back.  Turn off all the sound making equipment around you. What do you hear?  I like to take a few moments and just close my eyes and breathe (more on that in a later post) and relax.  Before long I hear all the house sounds around me (I can find the leaky faucet and put it on my honey-do-list, I know when the temperature is rising outside because of the sounds the house makes),   I start to recognize the sounds outside the house (the leaves rustling, the birds singing, which neighbor is coming and going based on the sound of the vehicle).  Then I start to turn inward and hear myself – my breathing, my heartbeat, my emotions.  That is when I start to be productive.   This is when I can calm myself and pray, or fly through that to-do list, or just be.

Now when I pick out music during the day I tend to choose  instrumental pieces – music that does not require me to think about it.  Music that inspires emotion without forcing it on me with words and booming bass.  Music that allows me to interpret it instead of spoon-feeding me.  Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I crank up the music and sing and dance around the house – and yes the windows and blinds are closed!  But I no longer use it to hide from all the other clutter in my life.  Ensuring that I get at least a few minutes of quiet time each day allows me to discover more about myself.  It helps me get rid of all the clutter in my brain so that I can prioritize and organize and enjoy all the other important things in my life.

So here is my challenge to you – find a few minutes and turn off all the artificial noise around you.  Are you comfortable spending quiet time with yourself?

Stop and Do

I have several blogs listed in my side bar.  I love to peruse them.   My Google Reader is overflowing with even more blogs that I enjoy reading.   I have them divided into different groups –

Google Reader OS X

Image by gS32tom via Flickr

I have my 31 day group – the bloggers who wrote everyday for the entire month of October about a single topic.  I am still wading through all that wonderful information.

I have my Adoption Group – these are blogs of friends who have adopted, as well as blogs of adult adoptees, first moms and some that I have just stumbled upon over the years.

I have my Budgeting and Organization Group – the group of blogs that focus on ways to save money as well as blogs about  organizing, decluttering and time management.

I have my Craft and Journaling Group – this includes different digital scrapbooking sites, journaling prompt sites, and a couple other sites that post frequently about other crafts that I enjoy.

I have my Faith Group – these sites are specific to my faith tradition

And last but no least, I have my Misc Group – blogs that don’t readily fit into any one of the above listed topics.

At any one time I had 1000+ posts that were unread.  I don’t like to leave things unread.  I am afraid that I am going to miss some crucial bit of information that may hold the key to getting me where I want to be in life.  Finally (mentally slapping myself on the forehead) I realized how much pressure I was putting on myself!  Most of these people did not care that I read their sites – they did not even know that I exist!  So I did something very radical – I removed them from my list.  I finally realized that I am NOT going to be the coupon queen.  While I am sure that it would save my family a lot of money,  I just don’t have the mental energy to deal with it.  I will by the white and blue containers from my local Wal-Mart and call it good.  So I deleted all my couponing sites.  Then I cleaned out all the unread articles that I knew I was never going to get around to reading.  I am now down to 739 posts to read.  Of those, I will probably delete several more.  But this was enough for one day.

Next came along another mind-blowing realization (and another mental slap to the forehead).  I was spending so much time reading about how to do things that I never got around to actually doing it!  Well, duh!  Blonde moment!  I am fairly sure that I was hiding from the responsibility of “doing” by “learning”.    While I could be a professional student, it is not part of my life at this moment.  I need to actually DO something with all the information and inspiration that I read.

So today I am publicly announcing a new goal for tomorrow.  I will organize my desk.  Now if you think this is a small job, you have NOT seen my desk.  First of all, there are not enough drawers for everything.   So tomorrow I will sort, fill my trashcan,  utilize all the little boxes that I have hanging around the house, and I will have a clean desk top.  I promise there will be pictures.  (No, they will not include me)

Does anyone else have a short term goal they want to set?  You have one day to get it done, then we can relax for the weekend!  (And I can get over this headache from all this forehead slapping!)