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?