Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This Blog May Be Quiet for a While...

We have just received some not so good news and I will be leaving the country to visit family as soon as I could arrange. If I manage to report some progress before then, I will certainly do. But it is not my priority right now. If I did not report within the week, this blog is likely to be quiet for a month or so... 

Just want to let you know ahead of time. 

I will be back.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Clutter and Debt 4: Debt Snowball

In Dave Ramsey's plan, he uses a debt snowball plan to get out of debt. The plan suggests to pay off the smallest debt first. The reason is to build momentum without feeling overwhelmed. Simply put, getting $1000 off a $10000 debt would not make one feel as good as checking a piece of $800 debt completely off the list. Once you see results, it is easier to move on.

For those of us who participated in Project Simplify, didn't we feel the same way? Once the first project is down, it is easier to get started with the next.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Report on My Time Budget

The fact that I publish my post late in the day on Monday shows that I did not properly budget my time for that day!

Without a plan, it is so easy for me to slide off and do something else, thinking in the 2 hours that my little girl nap, I could finish the post, prepare dinner, and check out Facebook, Twitter and new cases for my up coming new phone...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What hinders you?

As you know I was not doing so good with my 15-minutes desk de-cluttering task. (See here and here). What do you think I often find myself doing? Going on the internet! Just like Elizabeth @ Ready.Set.Simplify commented, there is just so much to learn...

Recently, I  has been consumed by the information on Unschooling and Home-schooling and whether or not we are doing the right thing by sending them to public schools.

A little earlier, I occupied myself with TED Talks.

When my little girl was smaller, it was cloth diapering that I tried to look into and later started. I also spent a lot of time reading up on Elimination Communication. Any blogs on green, environmental friendly and natural living information will get my attention. Blogs on Leadership was also very interesting.

The list go on and on.

Not to mention the occasional shopping bug that itch me to go on and the likes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Clutter and Debt 2: Budget

Another piece of advice I learn from Dave Ramsey's getting started guide is to set a budget. In an article, they wrote, "budget is just spending your money with intention" He also said in his podcast that money just disappear if you don't tell them where to go. How true that is also for our use of time!

From my last week's experience, I found myself not being able to do the dishes right after breakfast because I need to drive the kids to school. If only I had the morning starts 15 minutes earlier, I could have dishes done leisurely without the kids being late for school.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Clutter and Debt 1: Stop Using Credit Report

[If you stopped by here because you have real debt issues, 
you may want to visit for real debt help. 
This post is about decluttering by applying Dave Ramsey's debt help method]

It is Friday again. Time for me to report my progress. Last post, I listed the following action items:
  1. Get a load a laundry done when there enough dirty clothes for one
  2. Get the dishes done after each meal
  3. Putting away grocery immediately unless little girl need to potty
  4. Do not check mailbox unless I have the time to look it over
  5. Check the boys' school paperwork when I signed their binder
  6. Go to bed before mid-night...
Let's go through the list one by one:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Clutter and Debt 1: Stop Using Credit

Photo Credit:
Only after I announced this series last week, I thought of checking if the topic had already been discussed. I was shocked to find that Google found 2,700,000+ pages on "debt clutter". So, I guess I do not need to explain why I believe clutter and debt are cousins! But in order to apply the debt-free lessons to help get out of clutter, I dug a bit deeper to find out their relationships.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Desk Report

This week, I finally start eating my frog! I still have problem doing it first thing what I get the time. But 4 out of the 9 days since I last report, I work on clearing a bit of the clutter on my desk, can I say it is an improvement?

Here are my pictures:
On Sept 14

Monday, September 26, 2011

Introducing Clutter and Debt Series

Perhaps, money speaks to me louder. Debt just seem to be more difficult to swallow than clutter. But somehow, when I first exposed to Dave Ramsey's Real Debt Help website, the word clutter just popped into my head every time he said debt. I started to realize how serious my clutter problem is.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Time to Report

It has been a week since I last posted about my plan. During this week, I have been in and out the doctor's office, even paying a visit to the urgent care on Saturday! There was nothing serious, in fact, it may seem even hilarious: just my fingers having some kind of eczema that had gotten infected. They do look too horrible to be seen in pictures though.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Eat My Elephant One Bite At a Time by Eating My Frog First

[Perhaps, I should change my blog title to "Always Later Than I Said!" I am sorry that I haven't been able to keep up with my word. This is another area that I need to work on. I hope this is also a part of me that will be transformed through my blogging journey...]

With the realization that it is better to do something than nothing, I jumped in and get started with clearing up my once again messy desk. At the end of the day, it did not get much better. It is not even a tiny little bit noticeable. But I am glad that I did something about it. I guess this is the idea behind "Eating your frog".

To me, the clutter on my desk is my frog.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Remembrance of September 11

Ten years ago today, so many lives were lost that we were consumed with sadness. Then we were lifted up by those who sacrificed themselves to save others. In a very intense period of time, we experienced the darkest and brightest side of human being. At that very moment, we had a glimpse into the end of days... as well as the selflessness and unity that we human beings are capable of. It was hatred that brought September 11 to our nation. It was selflessness that brought our nation together. Perhaps, if we all have such kind of selflessness towards everyone, we will have world peace...

May God remember those who sacrificed on September 11. May God heal those who still suffers medically or emotionally from it. And may God heal everyone who are suffering...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Planning to Plan

Last post was a lot of fun to write. It truly represents myself: I have read books, blogs, articles on getting organized, increasing productivity or other areas of self-help. But I often stopped before I took action. As I was trying to show last time, I stopped because I didn't know what to do. I did not know what to do, partly because the mess has been so widely built up, there are everywhere and overwhelming. But it is also because there are so many theories and ideas that I have read, my mind is as cluttered as my desk.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Baby Steps" / "Snowball" or "Eat Your Frog"?

It is the end of August and in our school district, school has started! This year, in two days to be exact, I will also start getting a little kid-free time since we have signed my little girl up for a mom's day out program in a nearby church for two mornings a week. Lucky me, I know! So, I thought, I should get my act together and work on some organizing projects.

But here is usually when I stop: where do I start?!

Everywhere I look, there is something to work on. How can I keep focus? How do I make sure I do not move on to a new area before finishing one? I have trouble in figuring out how I should approach it. Then, I remembered some time ago, I read an article about monthly decluttering projects. I then think of how I liked the idea of Flylady's Baby Steps, changing bad habits one at a time. Dave Ramsey's "snowball" idea on eliminating debt also makes a lot of sense for decluttering - if you replace "debt" with "clutter" and "personal finance" with "getting organized" in his second paragraph under his Baby Step 2.

So, come back to my original question, where do I start? One common first step with these ideas: make a list and tackle them one by one. Unless I want to follow Flylady's Baby Steps straight, I need to make my own list. Just as I am about to make my own list, SimpleMom's One Bite at a Time - 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler came out! (See, this is why she is SimpleMom and I am MessyWife: I think of making a list and she made a list and made an eBook. Oh well, we are not here to compare.) At my first glance at the title, I thought the idea behind agreed with my plan... So, I clicked on her sample page where she put up her list, hoping that I don't have to make my own - I found the first one on her list was "Eat your frog". I did a little search and found out what that means...

And now, the question becomes: should I eat my frog first or do my baby steps first?

You see, the idea behind Flylady's Baby Steps and Dave Ramsey's Snowball are both on motivation through accomplishing smaller tasks: when you get a no-matter-how-small task done, you have the motivation to do more. On the other hand, Eat Your Frog means to get rid of a task that you have been trying to avoid so you can go on your day without that particular task dragging you down.

So, should I begin with simple tasks or should I do my least favorite task first?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Irresponsible Life

A Long Overdue Hello

It has been almost two months since I last posted. If you pay attention to really small tiny little details, you might vaguely recall I mentioned that we had a trip out of the country in June. And I would say, if I blog the right way, I should have posted about my leave before my leave, or, at least, shortly after I arrive my destination. But I didn't. I cannot believe it took me so long to blog again!

It's Typical of me...

However, when I come to think of it, it is pretty typical of me. It is kind of a pain to admit (part of the reason why this post is so difficult to write...) but in many many ways, it is so true. I started something with a lot of enthusiasm, plan in my head what I would/should do but, at the end, I did not carry through.

... as a Blogger

When I first start this blog, I thought I would write at least once a week to give myself a little push to declutter. Thanks to Project Simplify, the requirement of a weekly post kept me in check. But, it went all downhill from there... In mid-april, I wrote in a post how I should give myself weekly goals and post about it. It didn't happen. Then, before this trip, I thought I could keep it up better because, in Hong Kong, I have help from the grandparents. I thought about what I could write about while I am not home actually doing the work. But, at the end, I even forgot to just publish a post I have already written to announce my trip and my plan...

... as a Student

I still remember I wrote in a weekly school journal on how I felt I would do better in school if only I could carry through the "study plan" in my head and to stay on track after the initial enthusiastic interest in a subject had passed. I was in seventh grade. I never did much better than studying the day before a test or examination!

... as a Mom

As I became a mother, my behavior did not improve much. In my head, I would like to give my kids some routine (and it would be especially helpful for their sleep when they were babies). But I have such a hard time sticking with anything. I wanted to read to them every day but it would last just a few days. I wanted to take them to the library regularly but I may have taken them once or twice. I would like to teach them some Chinese but it did not happen...

Facing the Truth

In the past, I never think of myself as irresponsible. I always, I thought, accomplished what was asked of me, be it from a friend or a boss. But, perhaps, I just forgot about the times that I have asked for an extension at school or at work because no problem has been caused. And as a mom, it is worse as I have no one else to report to. I could simply delete the task from my list or give myself an extension: if I could not make it to the library or to read a few books, maybe tomorrow, or next week...

Given this background, it is not difficult to understand why my house stay messy. I have no discipline at all! If I could not do the laundry today, I could do it tomorrow. If I could not clear out that counter today, I still have tomorrow. If I could not sort through that box of clutter today, tomorrow is still available!

Is there still a way for me to change? Honestly, I was seventh grade when I noticed my own study problem and I did not change throughout my school years. Is it still possible for me to develop better discipline?

For those of you who are reading my blog, I deeply thank you. I hope I did not depress you. And I am grateful that you read my posts, even though, there is no schedule and no wisdom to share. Thank you for listening.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What do you do when you cannot go online?

Obviously, you are online when you are reading this. But have you experience a time when you cannot? Did you do something about it? How much energy have you invest in it?

Last Thursday, for some unknown reason, I could not get online through my laptop. I found myself trying to go online with my iPod almost immediately. "Well, it worked. So, it was not the ISP, it has something to do with my laptop... " Just like that, I started talking to myself:

"How do I fix this problem with my laptop?"
"I could go online to ask around."
"But I cannot go online!"
"Well, I could use the iPod."
"But the screen is so small!"
"It is better than nothing. Without going online, you don't even know what number to call to have it fixed!"
"Or, you can take it to the Apple store, we heard they have great customer service."
"Drive to the mall? With the little one? Is there another way?"

Living with the small screen of the iPod, I started to search for solutions. I tried a few tips and it was still not working. Then, I began to worry. I did so much online. How do I check my account balance? How about that shopping list that I was going to do online? (Amazon is my new Costco, kind of)

Then, I decided that I would just take it to the store if all things failed. In the meantime, I lived with internet through iPod. I started checking and replying emails on it. Shopping on it. Reading blogs on it.

I found myself did minimal housework but to spend every spare minute on getting my laptop back online, or, to get online through iPod. It is at this point, I realized, how much energy I have put into getting the internet back on my laptop, how much it has affect me, how much I depend on it. Most importantly, how much of an addict I became.

The true problem, then, was not when I could not get online. It is, when I can get online, how much I do get online! It becomes difficult to distinguish when I am getting online to save time and be productive ; or, getting online to pass time. Or, even worse, I maybe getting online to do something useful and necessary (like paying bills or buying toilet paper) but I just simply cannot leave once it's done (like, keep clicking links even after I have read the blogs or facebook updates that I intended to)! It is time for me to admit, if I could have closed that laptop when I should, a lot more cleaning, decluttering, organizing, simplifying, or, simply laundry and dishes would get done.

How about you? Are you addicted to the internet? Or, do you have a self discipline tip to share?

[BTW, the problem was fixed on my laptop. I am unlikely to live with typing a post on iPod... yet.]

Monday, May 30, 2011

Providence of God

You can call me superstitious but I felt like I needed to rethink my post that is still lost. Maybe, it was not supposed to be published... Perhaps, I should have included more pictures. Perhaps, I should have made it brief. Perhaps, I should not have separated the story to a "Part 1", "Part 2",... etc.


While thinking it through, I thought through the progresses in my home and Providence of God just came to my mind...

A lot has happened since February when I started this blog. I wanted to get my home in shape, as I did every year before this. It has been my yearly New Year Resolution. But this year, I have a few more external motivation. My trip with the kids out of the country in June, leaving my husband in this home alone for about 3 weeks; my desire to serve as a Bible study leader at our fellowship; my youngest one may start going to a little bit of preschool; and the possibility of me returning to work; etc. With all these reasons, and some sort of a time-constraint, I feel like God is putting together something and I imagined that my house would look different before school year end.

But it did not happen the way I envisioned. Even though I knew that I, or my habits, could not be changed overnight, I still think that I would be making most of the initiatives and doing most of the work. The truth is, I simply cannot do it by myself.

As a life-long procrastinator, even with the time-constraint, I stopped making progress whenever there was a lack of immediate deadline. There are always some other things to do. Thanks to Project Simplified, I had mini deadlines every week for the month of March and first week of April. Then, I found myself struggling with laundry alone. Just when things come to a standstill, my husband reminded me of my sister-in-law's visit in the beginning of May.

Because of the visit, my husband actually asked me to hire house cleaning. But I was, honestly, really afraid of doing that... They need to find the floor before they clean it, right? But my kitchen floor was a disastrous zone. For this most overwhelming job, I got unexpected help. The mom of my son's best friend and I have only chatted during pickup or drop-off a few times but she offered to help!

All of these work together and I have not even mentioned how many other moms have helped me babysit my toddler so I could get some things done. Now, I can see the floor around my desk and most surfaces in my home are very much cleared. Just like the other mom said, all these things I saw everywhere also cluttered my mind, made me feel overwhelmed. Now that the surfaces are mostly cleared, keeping up is truly easier. True, I still struggle with procrastination and lack of motivation to do housework. But it did not feel like a huge load of weigh on me any more. It was lightening.

Suddenly, I am not so afraid of unexpected visitors (Well, there will still be toys on the floor, but let's be real, kids need to play) All of these progress in my home was not because God has changed me to have better organization skills or ability to work faster (or sleep less!), but because He has provided me with help from people around me, encouragement from friends including those met on the internet and guidance from many wise voices. 

Those were Providence from God.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger Buzz: Blogger is back

Blogger had a technical problem yesterday. Users cannot write, edit or post. They have rolled back to a version on May 11 according to Blogger Buzz: Blogger is back Unfortunately, my most recent post on May 12 is "in the progress of restoring" :(

[ETA: BTW, do you back up your own posts? I haven't, so, I should either rewrite it or wait for it to be restored, which I kind of afraid wouldn't happen... ]

[Added 5/16/11: My lost post is... still missing. On top of that, I cannot reply to comment on this post, very weird! For those who by now wanted to keep a backup of their own blog, I found a smart solution on the forum - you simply subscribe to your own blog and you automatic get an email back up, how simple!]

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Laundry: What I Learned...

It has been more than a week after I posted my first goal. And the laundry baskets are not emptied. However, I finally come to realize that I should not feel guilty or defeated. Here is what I learned, so far:

Have Realistic Expectation
Laundry really won't end. I mean what was I thinking that I could empty laundry baskets on a specific date? New things get put in every day, at different time. Unless I do my math so accurate that I could finish the last load while my toddler is napping and my boys are still in school with my husband at work; or, at night after everyone else went to bed; I cannot guarantee that no one put something inside while I'm at it. Besides, I always wait for a full load.

This is probably one of the major reasons that laundry is difficult for me. I like to put "finished" to laundry. So, I set myself up for disappointment and frustration. And this leads to my next point.

I need to celebrate what I already did! Well, maybe not rewards because I tend to forget there is more to be done after rewarding myself. But shouldn't I be glad (and upbeat, and encouraged) that I actually did 5 loads of laundry within those 2 days. I was only 2 more loads away from my goal on Sunday night. I should be happy instead of feeling failed (and discouraged, depressed!) Negative feelings does not help me with getting any more thing done. I need to savor the positive and move on.

Allow Time for "Other"
Things were going well when I posted the before pictures. I thought I could get the same amount done the following days. As it turns out, there were other things I needed to do (Hmm, I guess I am a one-thing-at-a-time kind of person, after all) Then, I was too exhausted to stay up late to do another load. In the following days, my toddler did not nap quite as well. And there were unexpected visit from out of town friends... etc etc etc. My point is, I need to learn to space out laundry to allow for other things to happen.

Still a Battle
At the end of the day, I need to admit: I procrastinated, I got distracted, I spent more time online than I should have and I allow myself to think "tomorrow, tomorrow I would do it" when I actually get a chance to do it today. 

Laundry or not, I still need to learn to work on things that does not have an imminent deadline, not to put it off until it is last minute, then ask why God does not help me when my toddler needs to be cuddled after nap-time and my son needs help with homework while I am not done preparing dinner.

Thank you

Thank you for those of you who came back and check if I posted even though you may not have commented. It must be hard to follow or care for a messy person who has problem getting things done and did not put a post up on days she said she would... Thank you for coming back after a week of silence. I do hope that this is just the beginning of my blogging life and you would witness transformation in progress.

Does anyone of you have a laundry routine that you could share? Comment away and help out a struggling woman.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Laundry Update

Thank you for stopping by and checked on me!

Apparently, I failed in fulfilling my first goal - it is passed mid-night after Sunday and my laundry is not done yet. And I am truly exhausted after today's events, let me stop for now and hopefully, I could update soon...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Laundry Before Scene

Now that the boys are still in school, my toddler is still napping, the breakfast dishes are done and the second load of laundry is in the wash (what a rare situation), I guess it is a good time to enjoy my secret cookie and post some Before pictures. It is not a pleasant scene, so, do not scroll down unless you are ready...

The Boys', mostly

The girl's

The Mountain
Let's just say: the basket is not empty...

On some random surface

The Finale
All together (minus the whites)
being sort by colors
Well, I told you, it would not be pretty. Let's come back and check my progress on Monday. 

BTW, any suggestion for what the rest of my "mission" should be called?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Laundry, Laundry, Laundry

Life is not as good without Project Simplify, at least, not for someone like me. I was certainly more tired, had more stress and was a bit overwhelmed during Project Simplify. But it felt so great to get something done and documented! Now that it is over, I am back to my normal self again - worrying about the mess on the top of the self, paperwork getting pile up again and the overflowing laundry basket.

I need to pick back up that momentum again. To help myself to restart, I should set up goals here and put up my progress by the end of the week. With the mountain of laundry that got piled up, I really think laundry should be my goal for this week. It may be a bit lame to set a goal to do something that many do every day or, at least, every week. But given that it is already Thursday night, it seems to be realistic and yet challenging for me. Remember, laundry has always been problematic for me. Conquering it would be like an alcoholic resisting the champagne at a wedding, right? It should be victorious, right?

So, here is my deadline: I would like to empty all the laundry baskets by Sunday. And next week, I should post up my next goal on Monday.

Now let's hope that no one pee or throw up in their beds Sunday night. It just seems to happen every time I empty those things!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Project Simplify Hot Spot#5

It is 2:30 am on the last day for Project Simplify results submission. I have finally had my tax return finished and could write down how we did on Hot Spot 5. 

During Hot Spot 3, I have already decided that I would work with my kids on their toys this week because this is their spring break. I was planning to do that plus the week 5 hot spot. I was thrilled to learn that we get to choose our own!

So, here it is.

It's a battle ground

It is a common scene - I started doing something in the kitchen and let my toddler roam free in the living room. Before that, her brothers left a few boxes of toys out:

Though messy, some of these toys are easy to put away: the marble race, the kitchen play things, the stuffies; you know, anything that you can put a name and group them all. It is the knick knacks kind of toys that bother me the most - never seem to find a place to hold them and they just end up on the kitchen counter, on the bookshelves, on top of a cabinet or under any furniture that has legs.

The Treasure Hunt

So, we started off on Tuesday and Wednesday with the "treasure hunt". The boys and I try at our best to dig out all those toys or missing parts from under the bed, the dresser, behind the books etc. And here is what we ended up with:

On Thursday, we went through all of these and I am proud that they are willing to gave up these:
It is not much comparing to what we kept. But, I am glad that most of the knick knack kind of toys are gone!

Here is what we kept in our living room now:
The toy rack from my toddler's room
which will soon become her dad's office
These also serve as temporary child-proof "structures"
The "sets" are those in clear boxes with closure:
From Top: Kitchen set, trains, blocks
with marble race next to them
dominos and race cars tracks

Hopefully, I could keep these boxes closed when not in use and only have one open at one time... 

Well, these are hardly all of their toys. They still have a box of legos, 2 boxes of stuff animals and another box of race car tracks under their bed! But I think it was a good start. I am especially proud of my oldest child. He got so emotional when I first talked to him about giving away toys. But in the end he was able to let go quite some of it. I hope this process will also help them (and ourselves too) to resist impulsively buying toys. The less we have the easier is the clean up!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Peace from God

Monday was not a good day for me. I guess I was overtired and emotional to start with. Added to that was some piled up housework. Then, little things went wrong and I snapped. That night, I was going to write about it on this blog. But for whatever reason, I could not continue. 

I did not work on those piled up housework either. Not in the mood obviously!

Instead, I went on mindlessly clicking through the blogging world. Then, through Inspired to Action, I came across Ann Voskamp's article  on peace retreat. As she noted at the end, yes, sometimes, mom needed a time-out in the peace retreat. I needed one. It is by God's Grace that I was reminded to find Him during such times. He knew what I truly needed.

If you were reading my previous posts, you may realize that, when I first posted about Project Simplify, I wanted to have a cleared desk so I could have undistracted quiet time. Well, paper work came as the 2nd hotspot and I have quite a cleared desk then. But my quiet time didn't start. And my desk was quickly taken over by paper clutter again. 

God remind me once again, I cannot do this alone. I cannot have a transformed life without seeking Him. I have too many bad habits to fight against. I have too much negative feelings to throw away. I needed that quiet time to gather myself to deal with those habits and emotions. And to find peace in Him. At the least, I needed a spot to time-out, a place I could be reminded of Him, the One who has everything under control and I have nothing to worry about. I needed a peace retreat.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Project Simplify Hot Spot#4 - After

Writing this post late made me think of the story of the race between the turtle and the rabbit - I really thought I could come out ahead for this hot spot but here I am writing this post after the next hot spot is announced!

Cleaning the pantry and fridge is truth-revealing to me, I am definitely guilty of all Ten ways to waste food from Elizabeth @ Ready.Set.Simplify...
Expired Food
Note the expiration date

Other spices with similar expiration dates
Given to me when I was pregnant -
My little one is now 19 months old

I have not used them
Must learn to resist free stuff!
Sprouting taro
I thought these would be healthier snack substitute
I just don't know how to cook them...
The reason I cancelled our Costco membership
- until I can resist the impulse to try things in bulk
The Reorganization

For some reason, I am hesitant about putting bread into the pantry. But upon seeing Simple Mom's results, perhaps, it is time for me to overcome that fear...
Counter full of bread and stuff

Bread gone, fresh fruit for easy access

Bread and spread now inside pantry
With my middle child outgrown his wheat allergy, I have stuffed our pantry with a lot more crackers and cookies. The dried fruit I used to fill his (and his brother's) snack box with has been left behind. Fortunately, those dried fruit has long shelf life and now I am putting it back in a more visible location for easier access and the less healthy crackers being pushed back.

Okay, popcorn and marshmallow are still in front
but I can see through them :)


I am sure this system will need some reviewing soon - I should re-evaluate myself next time I do grocery shopping and see how quickly/easy I could put things away. There are also healthier food/snack choices out there. (Urgh, it would have been a good start if I could have the winning price of this hot spot!) But I now learn that I should have learn how to cook them before buying! 

For more inspirational transformations of other participants, click here

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Re: Ten Ways to Waste Food

Upon reading the true and funny post of Ten Ways to Waste Food from Elizabeth @ Ready.Set.Simplify, couldn't help but to post my response:

1. Nope. Not a problem here. My fridge is okay, it isn't scary. And no, it.doesn'!!
2. Yep, just put this back in the freezer:
I believe that expiration dates are overly "safe" to prevent the companies from getting lawsuit. I think we could and we will still eat it, even though it has been sitting there for months!
3. How else can you do it? 
4. Why would anyone wants to pass up a good deal? Am I missing something here?
5. The last time I look at this must have been January. It was still okay to donate it...

6. What is a meal plan?
7. That's what Costco is for, right? They give you free tasting, so, you try the food, they tasted so good, it seems so easy to make and so much healthier than you normally eat, you are convinced that you'll cook it at home a couple of times a week. So, you buy them in bulk.
8. You mean you write down what you want to buy and search the inside of your fridge and pantry and write down what you have got? Yeah, who has time for that nonsense!
9. Why label? I always remember what's in my containers, each and every one of them!
10. Sure. Why would I want to eat the older ones first and let the newer ones get old?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Project Simplify Hot Spot#4 - Before

This week the Hot Spot was our pantry and refrigerator. I had a little bit of relief - comparing how terrible the rest of my home is, the pantry and refrigerator is not so ... terrifying?

Top shelf- extra cereal, adult snack
2nd: kids' snacks
3rd: some plastic bins, meds
4th tea and cans
5th: pasta, noodles
bottom: rice and some more noodles
Coffee and Spices

Well, I didn't say it would be neat. So, if you expect something nicer, I am sorry that I disappoint you. But I did use a lot of basket to make reaching into the back of the pantry easier and I also employed some organization system. And I also check them often... at least comparing to me a few years ago :)

My fridge isn't in too bad a shape too, I highly doubt I would find many expired things in there:

But then, take a look at my counter:

and the top of my fridge:
and the grocery bags on the floor:
I realized that my "system" is not sufficient for what I buy, that's why they are on the counter; that's why I am so reluctant to put away things after grocery shopping! It's because I do not know where they should go. I needed to review my "system".

But the biggest challenge of this hot spot is actually the other part of the question: why certain things even exists in the pantry or my grocery bags? Do those things truly deserve a spot? Does it match with our purpose statement? 

My secret ice-cream
And chocolate bar

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Project Simplify Hot Spot#3 - After

Posting the embarrassing before pictures on Tuesday does take up a lot of time from actually doing the work. But it also, at the same time, helped me to focus on what needs to be done and to envision how I like the room to feel, even though, we are planning to move her into her brothers' room...

So, here is the before and after pictures of the most embarrassing corners:
Dresser #1 - Before

Dresser #1 - After
Diapers and changing area - Before
Diaper and changing are - after
In the first picture above, the bags next to the dressers were actually going away clothing and some diapers that I was going to sell. So, that part was actually not too difficult. It is harder to go through her clothes to sort out what keep and what not. I don't know about other 19-month-old girl but mine is definitely very typical girly type - she wanted me to put clothing that she liked on her and keep digging out other pieces of clothing! I ended up put her to nap in my bed one afternoon to sort it out. 

And now I am quite happy with how the room looks:

What have yet to be done

During this project, I suddenly realized how have been avoiding the laundry part of it. There is probably more clothing in the laundry pile that should really be in the "Give" basket. I need to tackle this:

My husband noticed a lot of things were gone from our girl's room and asked where they are. I am actually not sure if it is a good idea or not, I have put them into my closet the very first hot spot! But I guess I still need a place to put them away before I actually sell/give them, right? I hope I will carry through this very last part of the work and see it to the end. It wouldn't be Project Simplify if I am just moving things around, right? 

To be sent away
As excited as I am seeing the results of all these hotspots, I do honestly hope that the next spot would be a bit easier, so, I may deal with these "residuals". Besides, I haven't started my taxes yet. But then, which area of my home would be easy for me? Which part isn't a hot spot?!