Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the less clutter we live in the less cluttered our lives are.

the less clutter we live in the less cluttered our lives are.  

A simple home, where everything has its place, multitasking on items
A clean home, where last minute dinner guests can show up without inducing stress
A calm home where mornings are spent enjoying time with the family and not rushing around to try to find a book or the keys to the car

These are my hopes for my home in 2011.

How I will be accomplishing this is by:
  1. eliminating clutter in each room of the house
  2. reorganizing each room to maximize the living space
  3. get rid of unused items. The idea that I may use it some day does not work any longer
  4. replace old, worn and inefficient items with newer more efficient items
  5. donate old toys, clothing and unused items to shelters or charities
  6. don’t buy anything new unless it has a specific purpose
Going through each room I am amazed to find things that at one point I thought were really important and now with my new way of thinking I realize that its only purpose was to collect dust.  My emotional attachment to certain objects have been eliminated due to the fact that it is just getting in the way.  An example of this is a very large stuffed animal that my sister brought home from Germany for me when I was in high school.  It was a mascot of the Olympics that year.  It is huge and I always thought is was very kind of my sister to stuff that animal in her suitcase and bring it all the way back for me.  Now 20 some odd years later I only see it as a matted fraying thing that I really cannot identify (cross the abominable snowman with a teddy bear) and cannot find a place for.  I also cannot think of any other person who would want this (my son was afraid of it when he was little).

Since I am the only one in our house at the moment that if gung ho on minimizing our clutter, I have to be respectful of the rest of my family.  To accomplish this I have bought more storage.  Shelving and bins that are attractive and have clean lines have replaced the mounds of clutter in each room.  The only rule I have imposed on my boys is that once the shelf or bin is full then they have to pare down their items to fit.  I will never be the person that own only 100 items and I am OK with that.  My minimalist goal it to be comfortable in my home with my family, to clean less and laugh more.  As long as everything has its place and is contained, that is the best I can hope for right now.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


One of my goals for this new year was to limit my yelling.  I am a yeller, I don’t think I have anger management issues, I think mostly it is frustration management issues.  

For this year, I have decided that each day as part of my journaling I will write the times that I yell, the reasoning behind it and if it was warranted or not.  If it was not necessary to yell, than I will write ways on which it could be handled differently.  Accountability is a key issue for me this year.

One of the most important reasons that I want to halt the yelling in my family is for my son.  I have accepted the fact when my son was born that every parent screws up their child in some way or another.  It is inevitable. But if you constantly look to yourself and try your best then the degree of screwed-upness may be limited.

Mothers yell out of anger, frustration or fear.  Yelling is natural and necessary at certain points in teaching your child the ways of the world. We yell at our child to keep him out of danger; ‘don’t run onto the road’ or ‘don’t touch the hot stove’. We yell at our child out of frustration; ‘how many times do I have to tell you to pick up your socks and not leave them on the living room couch’ or ‘why did you hit your cousin, hitting is never acceptable’.  We yell at our child out of anger; ‘you broke the glass because you were balancing it on your head, what did you think was going to happen’.

The trouble I have with yelling at my son is I feel like crap after, and I wonder what my yelling does to his self esteem and confidence.

My son is eleven.  I told him that this was going to be my goal for the year and that I would be writing in my journal all the times that I yelled and why.  I also told him that I needed his help.  To help out his mom, he has to let me know when I am yelling at him when he thinks it’s unnecessary.  I also said he has to be more aware of the things he does that cause me to yell at him.

Yesterday we had a discussion on yelling and I asked him how I was doing. His answer to me was very telling.  He said that I was doing great (said with sincerity and not his usual sarcasm) but after he asked me how he was doing.  That thoughtfulness was what made me think that my goal is helping him with his esteem.  He is actually thinking about his actions and how they effect others.

By writing in my journal the times that I have yelled, I have been noting a pattern.  Lately the yelling has centered around my son not respecting things, for example, he wrote on a computer mouse with a blue marker, a mouse that we only got 2 weeks prior.  It was the lack of respect that angered me and I was frustrated that we have had this similar argument before.  So writing it out I was able to see clearer and come up with solutions.  The thing that was the light bulb moment for me was realizing that he is very respectful to people and just needs to carry that over to objects and that I needed to tell him that.  So even though I yelled at him, we both got positive results from it, my realization him hearing that he does have good qualities, even if they are not pointed out immediately.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year New Goals

Shoot for the moon because even if you miss you land among the stars!

I hate New Years Resolutions.  To me it is a way for people to create opportunities to feel guilty about their shortcomings.  Every year I make a secret resolution to loose weight or create more or make more money and then by the time February rolls around I feel guilty because I have done nothing to help my resolution along or I have tried and I have failed miserably.

This year I am doing things differently.  I have created goals for the year, not a month, not something to accomplish immediately but an entire year to become a better me, one step at at time. Common sense right, so why didn't I think of it before?

I have set goals in the past, but I am fairly certain I did it all wrong.  I have set goals without any direction or a clear path to follow.  I basically set myself up for failure.

So I am going to go to school on goal setting.  Research not only how to accomplish my set goals but how to be productive in the goal setting.  Confusing right?  Not really.

So what have I found out?

Step 1 - Write every goal down in a place that is accessible.  For me this will be in my google documents. I can revisit and revise the goals as necessary on any computer.  I am a big fan of lists and bullet points. Each goal I have set has its own list of  bullet points within that I would like to accomplish and how to go about doing so. Organized and detailed is the way I like to be in most aspects of my life, why not goal setting.  Being as detailed as possible with the goal only makes it easier to to see things in a straight line and makes focus that much easier.  I have thought for a while about keeping a journal, thought that it would be a great discipline, but I never did start one mostly because I thought I would have nothing to write about.  Writing about my goals and the steps I am taking to achieve them, now that's a novel concept.

Step 2 -  Set up a time every day to focus on the goals at hand. I have chosen first thing in the morning.  Yes it means getting up earlier but it has been a wonderful way to start my day, with a cup of tea and my laptop.  I find it is like clearing out the cobwebs and starting each day fresh.  OK granted I have only done it two days in a row and this morning I had to convince myself that this was still a good idea, but in the end it was a great morning.  For each of my goals I write a paragraph on how I will work toward getting one step closer each day, it may be small or it may be a grand gesture.  At this point it really doesn't matter, as long as I can write one thing down every day to maintain focus and not give up.  That way set backs will not be disabling, just another step in a long line.

Step 3 - Forgive myself for the slip ups, set backs and a lack of motivation.  I am not running a race nor am I in competition with anyone else.  These goals were created by me and I can set my own rules and regulations.  Mistakes and mishaps are just a part of life, they are inevitable really if we want to life a full and complete life.

Each day is a new chance for moving forward. No longer will I wait in the wings for something to get me motivated to get going.