clean all the things, cleaning, cleaning plan, decluttering, gussy sews inspiration workshop, Home, inspiration workshop, organization, organization plan, organized home, organized life, Organizing, organizing plan
I bought this book a few weeks ago.
I can hear my mom saying, “People who buy organization books and people who actually organize are not the same people.” I know, I know, mom. You’re right.
I want to be organized. It’s not like I didn’t have THE best example in the world, growing up. My mom’s a cleaning and organizing whiz. Seriously, she’s amazing.
And then there’s me.
It’s not so much that I don’t know how to be organized. It’s that I don’t actually act on what I know. (Which is far, far worse. I wish I could claim ignorance.)
This is fairly humiliating to admit.
The thing is, I truly desire to create a calm, peaceful, inviting space for my family. And this year, I feel very strongly convicted that I need to conquer the clutter. I need to keep a clean home.
For one, my husband works hard all day long and he deserves to come home to a relaxing environment. I want to provide this for him.
And two, well, did you see that post earlier this week where I mentioned that my parents packed up our house last move? It’s not the first time they’ve boxed up all my things and cleaned our house from top to bottom. As embarrassing as it is to admit this on my blog? Far more embarrassing to have my mother, the queen of clean, wiping out my freezer and seeing what actually is under the kitchen sink and in the back of the closet.
I hang my head in shame.
My approach to getting a handle on the housework, though, looks a lot like this:
[via Hyperbole and a Half]
I’m kind of an all-or-nothing person. Yes, I know that’s a logical fallacy. It’s also how my sad little brain works.
I’m also quite the multitasker. The older I get, though, the more I’ve come to realize that my version of multitasking is really distraction in hyper drive. Productive? Not so much.
We all know the fable of the tortoise and the hare, but I look more like a bunny on a sugar high hopping from room to room than I do a slow and steady tortoise.
All this might not be so terrible if I wasn’t also a perfectionist. So, I work myself into a clean all the things frenzy, hop from room to room starting a billion and five organizing projects, then sit down and cry when my house doesn’t look like a magazine after one
So when Natalia from Ma Nouvelle Mode emailed me about Regina Leed’s book One Year to Organized Life and suggested we go through it together, I was only too eager to say yes. (Natalia’s in France. I’m in Florida. Don’t you love the internet?)
The book is broken down into chapters which correspond with months of the year. January’s four-week segment was all about kitchens, and February will go through bedroom organization.
So far, I love it — it’s encouraging, the tasks are manageable, and best of all, I don’t end my cleaning frenzy lamenting “I should have done more! I should have done better!”
Viva la clean!
“…into the fog where no one notices the contrast of white on white…”
“…’round here we always stand up straight, ’round here something radiates…”
“…’round here we stay up very, very, very, very late…” -Counting Crows
I’ve been busy this month cleaning, sorting, and de-cluttering — a really great start to 2012! Here are a handful of snapshots from around the house, snagged from my Instagram feed.
This is the cozy view through our bedroom door, looking into the living room. I took this the first night we were back in Florida after Christmas break.
I think I’d like to keep these lights up forever. It always seems so sad and dark in January when the lights are packed away.
The top of my dresser –the amazing London grid art is from TexturedINK on Etsy (and I won it via a giveaway on the Happy Interior Blog!) I really need to pick up some frames. I’ll have to post some additional photos once I get the art hung properly.
I mean, really, is there anything better than salsa? I’ve been eating it with every meal lately.
I worked on this little Japanese-inspired creature over the weekend. Aveline will get this particular one for her first birthday (which is on the 19th. THIS MONTH. Ahhhhh!), and I’ll list subsequent ones in the Oaxacaborn shop. (Did you see the kawaii plush I made her for Christmas?)
This morning’s rare and heart-breakingly beautiful fog made me miss the California coast something awful. Someday, someday.
And oh yes, last by not least, my new Nakate Project beads. I love that purchasing these beautiful necklaces helps women in Uganda eat properly, put a roof over their heads, send their children to school, and start small businesses. (P.S. Right now the ENTIRE Nakate store is 50% off when you use the code NEWYEARSALE.)
Full disclosure: Yes, I am the Systems Administrator for Nakate, but I’m not being compensated in any way for my posts about them. I talk about Nakate often because it’s important to me, not because I have to. :)
UPDATE: Open call for guest posts for a brand-new Scandinavian Christmas blog series!
I think what I really like about this is the birch branch and the natural light from the window behind the garland. The colors in this photo made me think of Scandinavian design and Scandinavian Christmases — white, white, white with some natural elements and burst of bright color here and there.
Felt Ball Cascade Kit via the ACME Party Box Company
Frederikke Heiberg, a Danish photographer, captured Christmastime in a gorgeous seaside home in Rågeleje, Denmark. The following three photos were published in the Swedish magazine Lantliv. Aren’t they lovely?
Kjerstis Lykke, a Norwegian photographer and blogger, has a gorgeously simple and elegant home. When I see photos like this, I want to seriously clean and dejunk with a giant garbage bag in hand.
As the owner of a tree which is wholly undecorated everywhere within the baby-toddler’s reach, I loved her rationale behind the minimalistic decorating –
Fir was in place yesterday, and it is not overloaded with lots of Christmas decorations. I have boxes of boxes with pretty beads in the poor man’s silver in the freezing attic, but with a 2 year old who cruise around in your living room on his bike, so they better in the cold;)? (Poorly translated by Google Translate; alas, I do not know Norwegian.)
Off to bemoan clutter and with a renewed resolve to dejunk,
Without a doubt, this is my most interesting Christmas decoration. Over the last few years at our Christmas Open House parties (which we won’t be having this year…boohoo!) I’ve watched my beloved nativity set become either an instant conversation piece, or the elephant in the room.
Since I finally finished sewing the third striped curtain, I thought I’d share the completed room. We only moved in at the end of February…it’s about time, right?
The dried milo berries are from our wedding. Our centerpieces — large hurricane lamps — contained tiny bouquets of milo berries sticking out of black sand. The berries were also scattered around at the end of the aisle, instead of flower petals.
Aveline’s first little stocking, and a few of the headbands in my shop. I’m SO looking forward to Aveline’s first Christmas!
My morning in pictures. Except, in interest of full disclosure, the following things have remained unphotographed:
- my impressive bedhead (well, you can kinda see it in the Coldplay CD cover)
- the displeased squawking sound Aveline makes when I don’t cut up her fried plantain pieces fast enough
- piles of partially-sorted laundry near the washer
- the rumpled, unmade bed
We had to move around some furniture this morning. Aveline’s crib had been near the wall of windows in our bedroom, but yesterday she discovered she could reach through the side of the crib and mangle the mini-blind slats (don’t worry, the cords have been safely tied up for a long time now.)
Swapping the position of two pieces of furniture seems simple enough, but now everything is all discombobulated. Cluttered. I’ve been on a mission to get rid of excess stuff, but honestly, I struggle with it. Not with the idea of getting rid of things, but with the actual sorting. If I’m totally honest, I would admit that when it comes to sorting, I am pretty lazy.
I love the idea of minimalism. In theory, I hate clutter. In practice, I live with little piles of clutter. But I get so STUCK when it comes to sorting piles of small things — especially when they are interesting. For me, it’s the ziploc bags of ticket stubs and maps and letters and greeting cards that stop me in my tracks. I just really have a problem getting through the stashes of paper ephemera. I get bogged down, finding myself distractedly reading that one card my uncle wrote me for my high school graduation or reminiscing over the train ride from Barcelona to Paris. Gah!
And the stickers left over from addressing wedding invitations? The six pathetic pieces of cardstock left over from my last scrapbooking project four years ago? Get a grip, Gina! I don’t need these things to remind me of those memories. I’d rather have the space in that basket on the shelf for something actually beautiful or useful.
I am going to tackle the bedroom this weekend, with this William Morris quote in the forefront of my mind: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
Because really, laziness is the only thing keeping me from a clutter-free house.
We wake up too early, to the uneven rhythm of traffic slowing and starting again as a multicolored ribbon of cars passes in waves through the toll booth. Aveline stirs and fusses, increasing in volume until the sputtering grunts grow into a jarring cry. She presses her teary face against the slats of the crib, gripping tightly with dimpled hands as she wobbles her way into a kneeling position.
I sit up, glancing upward at the cacophonous din of pigeons who’ve taken up unwanted residence in an opening in the eaves. The water pipes groan and heave, and I hear the splash of hot water making its way through the shower head in the adjoining room as Josiah prepares for the day. I rub my eyes, reach out my arms and smile through a tired fog as Aveline’s fingers quickly grab onto me. I pick her up and pull her close. She buries her warm face in my shoulder and breathes a sigh, kicking her legs in happiness.
I carry her into the living room, letting my eyes truly see all the colors and light and beauty the new day holds. The white light enveloping the chair in the corner. The bright hues of the yarn and thread on the table. The hint of red in Aveline’s hair. Give me strength for the day, Lord, I quietly pray. Thank you for life. I change Aveline’s diaper, tossing her green pajamas into the laundry basket, smiling to myself at the sight of the heap of tiny, rumpled clothes. I pull a bright yellow mod dress off a hanger, and slip it over her strawberry blond head. The sixties-esque daisies on the dress make me smile.
Josiah walks into the kitchen, his wet hair hanging in curls. He reaches for Aveline, holding her in one arm while he measures out coffee grounds. My heart nearly overflows. My two loves, sleepy-headed and happy, together in the kitchen in the morning light. She’s learning how to make coffee, he says, and she turns around to look at me, grinning from ear to ear.
Later, she sits on his lap while he works on the iPhone game he is creating. I sit across the room, letting the bold flavors of my coffee curl around my tongue. I stare into the steaming liquid. Coffee and chocolate, I think to myself. Exactly the color of his eyes.
I read Genesis, and Jacob’s blessing speaks to me.
The God before whom walked
my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
The God who has been my shepherd
all my life long to this very day,
The Angel who delivered me from every evil,
Bless the boys.
May my name be echoed in their lives,
and the names of Abraham and Isaac, my fathers,
And may they grow…
This morning, I’m extra tired. Baby Aveline fell back asleep this morning, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t. And so here I am awake, rubbing my eyes and downing decaf.
The sun is pouring in through the windows, which are closed tightly to keep out the heat. At 9:30 am, it’s already 80° F (27° C). The forecasted high is 95° F (35° C), with a UV index of 10+. And that’s on a scale of 1 to 10! Looks like the little miss and I will be staying indoors today.
P.S. Want the waffle recipe? They’re gluten-free!
aveline’s room looks absolutely nothing like this at present. the stars are all in a taped-shut box somewhere in the living room. the art piece is wrapped in cardboard and is leaning up against the dining room table. the crib is actually in aveline’s room, but is sans mattress. (hello, moving company? just wondering where exactly you ended up delivering that mattress? thanks.) the lovely white dresser is a brand-new purchase, but like most IKEA items, it came in a package the size of a cereal box. and since the cordless drill may or may not be wherever the mattress ended up, assembling the dresser is going to be quite interesting.
meanwhile, in aveline’s room, there are stacks of flattened boxes. there are unflattened video game console boxes. there’s a shelf of bulk food. there are half-opened industrial size ziplocs holding every size of baby clothes except for the size she’s in right now (the proper size was finally uncovered. half now reside in a pretty green laundry basket. the other half — the clean half — are living in an open box). but hey, the changing table is alive and well, fully stocked with [clean] diapers and wipes. i mean, ya gotta have your priorities.
the house is slowly coming together. it looks more beautiful with every unpacked box. ordinarily the snail’s pace of the unpacking would be driving me wild, but there’s something about looking into the eyes of a smiling cooing baby — a baby we prayed for — that really puts things in perspective. it’s okay if the boxes are being unpacked slowly. it’s much more important to treasure every moment of this. and so here i am, right now in this moment, holding an arm-waving, hiccuping, wide-eyed, refusing-to-nap baby. nothing’s getting checked off my to-do list. but that’s so much more than ok.
This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness. -Elisabeth Elliot