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10 Changes for the Last 155 Days of 2019

As of today, there are 155 days left in 2019. We are well past the half way mark, with 210 days gone for 2019. I feel like 10 changes is realistic for 155 days. Some will be easy. Some will be more difficult. All of them will be not only good for me, but good for the world (or at least the community). So, here goes my 10 Changes:

  1. Shop local. This will be good for numerous reasons. First, I have been really bad about the easy, breezy Amazon Prime purchases this past 210 days. I buy too much or spontaneously. Plus, Amazon is a wonderful innovative company, but it doesn’t always treat it’s workers great and it doesn’t give much to our local community. So, I’m going to try to raise our local tax base, support local business owners and really think about my purchases before I make them. This will include my holiday shopping. So, it will have an impact.
  2. Decrease my single-use plastic waste. I have been feeling more and more committed to this (note it has been a feeling, not necessarily an action) over the past few months. My family uses a TON of single-use plastics. I know I won’t be able to end it, but if I could just significantly decrease it, I would be happy. I’ve been looking at bulk shopping (we have a few places here where you can bulk shop for things like shampoo and conditioner and soaps) and will be doing that as soon as I use up some of things in my house already. Which are numerous. This brings me to…
  3. Use it up! Seriously. I have food items, cleaning supplies, body wash, lotions, soaps, books, scrapbooking stuff…the list could go on and on. And I don’t use hardly any and then I will actually purchase new stuff! Why??? I can’t explain it. But, I do. Compulsively. I have shampoo in my shower, but I bought a tester bottle at CVS two weeks ago and then bought a bottle of shampoo at Trader Joe’s this week. Why? Who knows? Again, those impulse buys get me every time. So, I’m going to do a thorough inventory of my house and commit to not buying anything new until I use up what we have.
  4. Read it or Rid it! I have so many books. That is an understatement. I have books in my room, the hallway, the garage, the living room, and more. I have not been reading much in the last decade and I go to the library pretty often. The books have just been sitting there on my shelves. I took two pretty big loads to the thrift store today and I’m going to make a commitment to only keep what I truly feel is worth keeping and get rid of the rest. I can get whatever I want to read at the library at some point, so I don’t need to have all these books in my home.
  5. Meal plan. I NEED to meal plan. We are so bad at not using food in our refrigerator and freezer. We eat out way too much, pay way too much for food we don’t eat, and we often have no idea how to make a meal out of what we have in our house. So, meal planning is a must. It ties in to #3 – Use it up. I buy stuff and then end up throwing it away because we don’t have a plan to use it. So, I’ve joined Kitchen Winners at Jessica Fisher and I’m going to try to really meal plan effectively.
  6. Digital Detox. I am on my laptop way too much and I tend to overuse my phone as well. So, I’m going to really try to digitally detox this Fall. I’m going to set firm hours for being online. I haven’t figured out exactly how it is going to work (one dark day a week would be nice, but seems a little beyond possible with my job and travel, etc.), but I’m going to put some limits on myself and commit to following those limits strictly. I didn’t take my laptop on vacation last week and it was pretty spectacular. I used my phone a little too much, but it kept dying, so it wasn’t too bad on most days. But, I’ve been bad on my laptop since returning home. And much like my purchasing decisions, a lot of it is not really necessary or helpful.
  7. Engage in my community. I used to be really active in the community when my DD was a baby. We went to a ton of local events and participated in a lot of fun things. But, since she started school, our participation the community has really fallen off. We don’t go to our Farmer’s Markets on regular basis anymore. We don’t do the downtown events when they happen. We skip museum events. I want to re-engage in these events for a couple of reasons. First, I feel like being involved in our community is important. Second, I feel like going to things like the Farmer’s Markets and museum events gives us access to people we wouldn’t necessarily meet or talk to in our day-to-day lives and those conversations can be important. In addition, it is often very fun! Once it is habit, I crave doing those events. But, when you fall out of habit, it seems like a lot of effort to expend.
  8. Do less. Better. This is my teaching philosophy for Fall 2019, so why not make it a life philosophy? I want to do the things I decide are important enough to do better. I’ve been floating through life not really doing well at anything. I now want to narrow my efforts to a few things and do those really well. What will those things be? Parenting, Home Management (including that meal planning, but also decluttering and keeping house better), Teaching and Coaching, and Leading Girl Scouts. That is not a small amount of things. In fact, it is a lot. Which is why I need to get off the laptop and phone and focus on doing them.
  9. Be hospitable. We are getting our backyard redone. It should be completed by the time school begins and we will have grass, an area for a patio table and plants, etc. I want to host people in our home and have dinner and play games and generally be hospitable. Our house is not great. In fact, it is mostly pretty ugly and worn. But, our backyard will be lovely, so we can use that until the rain comes. And maybe even then if we are strategic.
  10. Plan and implement. Last, but not least, I want to use my planner and actually implement the plans I make there. I am notorious at using my planner to write plans down and then ignoring those plans. I was better at using the planner and calendar in the Fall and I forgot way less things, but I would still not follow through with my daily plan and priorities. This next 155 days, I want to plan my days (at least a bit) and then implement those plans instead of just forgetting them. It sometimes feels good to abandon the plan, until the next day comes and I have even more things to do and still the things I didn’t implement.

So, there you have it, my 10 Changes to Make in the Last 155 Days of 2019. Let’s do this!

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Fridge and Freezer Frustrations – Uncluttering in the Kitchen

I am joining in on the 2017 Unclutter Your Nest challenge at Nourish and Nestle.  I have uncluttered a lot of my kitchen cabinets already.  I got rid of dishes, coffee cups, glasses, expired food, and some pans.  I still sometimes have some issues finding places to put things, but for the most part, I have a place for everything in my kitchen.  But I am constantly struggling with my refrigerator and less often, but every once in a while, the freezer (because we have a stand-up freezer in our garage, so that isn’t as much of an issue).

halfway

I have been cleaning a lot of things in my house since getting home a couple of days ago (in an attempt to get it all cleaned up before school kicks back into gear), but I have not touched my refrigerator other than to throw stuff in there and get out what I need.  I have thought about it, but just not had the motivation to do it.  So, this is what my refrigerator and my top freezer look like right now:

There are a lot of things in there.  A lot that probably needs to be thrown out, but I always have organizational issues.  I’ve tried to use baskets and Tupperware containers and “zones” but nothing ever seems to take.  We have a lot of leftovers in the refrigerator right now because my MIL sent them home with us when we returned a couple of days ago and we haven’t been eating them much.  So, that’s dinner tonight.  And maybe lunch tomorrow.  I want to have a plan for organizing the refrigerator that I can use this time.

So, I think the solution for me is the same solution that I need to use in every other area of my home.  Simplify and purge!  We just have way too much stuff in there.  I tend to save things that we are never going to eat (trying to be frugal and such) and that stuff creates such a cluster that things that have expiration dates get pushed to the back and not used in time. In addition, I don’t meal plan (I swear I’m going to…every. single. week. but here I am without one in week two of the year), so I end up with a bunch of food that I don’t use.  That makes me feel guilty AND frustrated. I’ve joked in the past about shopping daily (I know, I know, all you frugal-minded people out there are breaking out in a cold sweat and yelling “NO!  Don’t do it!” at your computer screen right now) because then I would buy exactly what I was going to go home and make – some nights it may be a made-at-home meal, other days it would just be a frozen pizza.  I don’t know if that is the solution either though.  I am an impulse shopper, so more days in the store is quite dangerous for me.

So, I think, despite my idea of going every day, I really just need to meal plan.  So, I am taking Ann Timm‘s advice from over at Keeper of the Home (you see how that fits in with my one word from this year as well?) and stick with my commitment to doing the Plan To Eat New Year’s Make Ahead Meal Challenge.  I was planning to do it and then was visiting family last week, had a hubby traveling for work this weekend and a sick kiddo to deal with as well (diagnosed today with an ear infection and pink eye…ewwwww…but, she is on eye drops and an oral antibiotic, so we should be good in a couple of days) and dropped out of the first week of the plan.  BUT, that just means we can extend it into February now, right? So, I’m going to the store tomorrow and I’m going to get the goods for this week’s meal plan and do it.  I like the idea of prepping for a few meals on the same day.  But, this means that I need to have room in my refrigerator and freezer.  So, I went ahead and cleaned them out today.  Here is the result:

So much better!  And it didn’t take long.  I threw out a lot (guilt or no guilt), rearranged some things and grouped things by category.  I now have some space for things I will have to have for the meal planning challenge.  I will also have room in my freezer.

I’m hoping that I can avoid the Fridge Frustrations from that first picture in the future.  I just need to keep up with eating leftovers (or throwing them out if they aren’t going to get eaten).

 

 

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday

Will I ever get it together?

That, my friends, is what I feel like this week.  And, in reading some of what I wrote three and two and one year ago, it is what I feel like a lot of the time.  I try to do self-help, organizing, decluttering, etc. projects constantly and nothing sticks.  I feel like I can pull it together short term and then I just get tired and can’t follow through.  What is my problem?

I know I need the following things in my life to truly get it together:

1)  A routine/family schedule that includes the following items:

  • Exercise
  • Meal plan
  • Chore list

2)  A budget.

Really, those two things would do wonders toward me getting it together, whatever IT is.  I have a calendar hanging on our wall that no one much checks other than me and often I will forget to write things on there because I put it in my Google calendar or something.  I’ve been trying to follow a plan where at the end of each month (so today for example) I sit with the wall calendar and my Google calendar and “sync” everything so-to-speak.  But, mid-month, things fall through the cracks.  I don’t really exercise.  We are constantly eating out despite having tons of food in our fridge, freezer and pantry – often a lot of that food goes bad before we eat it.  I am the only one who does stuff around the house on a regular basis.  And I get bogged down in other things or leave on a work trip and the whole house becomes a $#%* show.  I’m not kidding.  Garbage piles up on the floor and every flat surface (because Lord knows that walking the five feet to the garbage can to throw away a fruit treat wrapper or a fast food wrapper would be overly onerous).  Clothes are EVERY where – on the living room floor, bathroom floors, bedroom floors, piled up in the laundry room.  I don’t even know what is clean and dirty sometimes.  Dishes get left everywhere.  It is seriously like I live with people who were raised by wolves – and I’m currently raising one of them.  So, what does that make me?  So, I need a new plan.  I need a new determination and discipline.  I need some motivation for myself and others…ideas would be appreciated.

The budget thing is a whole other beast.  Both my husband and I are impulsive spenders.  We have some things we plan for, but nothing is ever budgeted out.  We just spend money until we run out pretty much.  And we end up with a lot of stuff we don’t need/want.  So, that contributes to my overwhelm in the first department – cluttered living conditions.  But, every time I try to set up a budget I realize just how much we overspend, get depressed and just give up.  I vow to stop spending, but don’t really do it and so, here I am. I must admit that I’m also one of those people who feel like I “deserve” things because I work a lot.  But, I don’t realize how many “things” I have/get.  So, yeah.

I need a counselor…that’s what I really need.  Or a life coach.  A serious, kick-me-in-the-butt, make-me-do-what-I-don’t-want-to-do life coach.  Volunteers?