I Survived #NaBloPoMo 2013!

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I made it through my second NaBloPoMo! My first was in 2011. This one was completed despite moving and travelling, and I’m quite proud of myself.

 

I never did write about all those things on my “to write about” list. Guess you’ll just have to wait for those posts.

I did manage to write about the possibility of reviewing products, then a week later, write about realizing I already have too much junk. So I probably won’t be getting new stuff to review unless it’s something we really need or were considering buying anyway.

As stressful as these challenges can be, I love doing them because it makes me write, even on those days when I would rather just say, “I’ll do that tomorrow.” Tomorrow usually doesn’t  happen because by then I’ve come up with something else to write about.

Best Laid Plans

I had great, lazy plans for today. I was going to catch up on the sleep I’ve missed for the past week, then get up and visit my favorite consignment store to find some “new” jeans. Except I’ve been sick all day, which is really awesome when you’re out of town and have a weekend full of family stuff planned. Or not.

So I’ve pretty much slept all day. Here’s hoping tomorrow will be better.

Think Outside the Big Box. Buy From a Small Business This Weekend.

I like Amazon as much as anyone, and I shop at Kroger rather than a neighborhood grocery store. Mainly because there isn’t a neighborhood grocery store. But I try to remember and remind others that there are oodles of small businesses out there, both online and in your neighborhood. While everyone is rushing out tonight and at the crack o’freaking dawn tomorrow, you can stay home where it’s (hopefully) nice and warm, there are no lines and no traffic, and you get original gifts rather than the same things that a million other people have.

Saturday is actually Small Business Saturday, but who actually has any money left after Black Friday? Make it easy on yourself and enjoy a Small Business Weekend. You get cool stuff and you’re helping someone else pay for their Christmas. It’s a vicious circle, really Continue reading

I’ve Gone Postal. In a Good Way.

You know the unofficial USPS creed?

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Well, my week has been like that, only without the heat part.

“Neither snow nor rain nor pressure washers nor gloom of night stays this chick from the not-so-swift completion of moving her junk from one location to another.”

Yesterday it rained. All day. For the most part, it was a light rain, as in, it wasn’t a stinging rain. It was still more than a sprinkle, though. I just kept my hood up and put a trash bag over the boxes I was carrying.

This morning it snowed, but that was before I got up. It was pretty much just the cold I had to deal with. So I wore three layers of clothes. Which was great for when I was toting boxes to and from the car. The problem was that every time I went inside, I had a heat stroke.

Maybe we should add “heat” back into that creed.

But it’s all done. Everything is out and the apartment is clean and while I’m a little sad to be leaving it, I know this is just a new chapter in my life, and as always, all you can do is just do the next thing.

Just hopefully not when it’s raining or snowing.

 

Game Night. Well, Not Really.

I’m so tired. This is going to be pretty short and boring. I was trying to finish packing today, but I came home at 7PM because Blake wanted me to play a game with him. The sweet little guy asked me yesterday why we never play any of the games. Well, for one thing, most of them were here and I wasn’t, but I told him that we couldn’t play until I could clean up the playroom, because there were toys and Legos everywhere. You could barely take a step.

So he spent a couple of hours last night cleaning up the playroom. Which basically consisted of piling all the Legos into one corner, but he worked hard on it and was very proud of himself. So when I left today to work on the apartment, he cried because he wanted to play a game. So, of course, I came home “early”.

First I needed to eat. I was so tired that when I put my soup on the stove, instead of putting it on low, I set it to high. Fortunately, we noticed before it exploded all over the kitchen. Much.

So I told Blake that I could only manage one game tonight. We played one game of Kerplunk. I don’t have a picture because I left my phone downstairs so I could give him all my attention.

I won, by the way. Yes, I’m excited I beat the five-year-old. Hey, he beats me at all the video games. I have to have something I can win.

Can a Homeschooler Live a Minimalist Lifestyle?

I’ve posted several times over the past few months about decluttering. I’m not talking about just cleaning out a closet. I’m talking about 30+ moving boxes of junk that I’ve moved around the country with me — some of them for 26 years. I have two boxes left that I didn’t get to before I moved again this week. My ex-husband found four small boxes (mostly books, of course) and one large box (only part of the contents were mine) that I left when I moved out. Because I couldn’t find all my stuff because we had too much crap stored in the basement.

I grew up in a very cluttered home. Not dirty. Just cluttered. Well, some of the shelves were dusty, because who has time to dust four million what-nots? (I exaggerate. There were probably only three million.) I was just as bad. I collected unicorns. And Precious Moments figurines. And those cute Avon perfume bottles. And Garfield toys and figurines. And books. Lots and lots of books. Everywhere. My mom had lots of those, too, And by “too” I mean both of us had way too many books.

I was in my late twenties before I started even thinking about getting rid of anything. It had never crossed my mind. It didn’t matter that some things had been boxed up the first time my family moved when I was twelve. (If you’re really clever, you can now figure out how old I am.) Then we moved again six months later, in another cross-country move. Again, three years after that. I moved three times within the same town, then once to another state, and every time I moved, more stuff got put in boxes, and less stuff came out of those boxes. Who needs thirty boxes of anything? (Unless it’s chocolate, then we can talk.)

I went through some of the boxes, donating things, tossing some — and labeling and resealing half-full boxes. Why? I have no idea.

A couple of years later, I started selling my figurines and unicorns on eBay. I had so many that even after years of stumbling across them and selling who knows how many, I still found a large box full of Garfield figurines this summer.

So, here I am, moving again, and even after getting rid of all the stuff over the past few months, I still have So. Much. And I just don’t need this much stuff. And that’s just MY stuff. I can’t even talk about the kids’ playroom. When we moved here, Jack was 2 1/2, and there was one small bin of toys. Now we have two long shelves (8-10 ft) full of small bins–used to sort the small toys–as well as four huge bins on the floor — all of which are mounded up with toys. And the 50+ stuffed animals. And the thousands of Legos. All over the floor.

My ex has major hoarding issues, as well, and now that I’m back here (living in the basement — I seem to be forever living under other people), I’m reminded of how bad he is about that. So we all need work. X claims he wants help cleaning out, but the only way he’ll actually get rid of stuff is if I lock him out of the house and throw it away myself. It’s not my stuff to throw way, though.

But I can only start with myself and see what happens. Mainly because I’m so tired of trying to find places for all my stuff. I had two ebooks downloaded (collecting free ebooks was something I had to stop because I realized I was hoarding free ebooks as if there would never be enough to read) about minimalism so I read them both tonight. Don’t be too impressed. They were both only about 100 pages. They are books about minimalism after all. (Neither of these are free now. They were $2.99 each at the time of this post.)

I preferred Luxury of Less: The Five Rings of Minimalism by Karol Gajda. It’s written in kind of a chatty style, talking about his personal journey, and each chapter has a 30-day challenge, only one of which is to get rid of “stuff”. This book is more about your mindset.

The Art Of Minimalist Organization: The Minimalist Way To Organize, Clean, And Keep Your Home Spotless by Ben Night is more about a step-by-step process of how to remove stuff from your home and neatly store the items you do keep.

Both books are helpful in their own way. Minimalism stresses quality over quantity and being happy with your life and grateful for what you have rather than constantly wishing for more stuff, thinking that it will make you happy. Not that you can’t buy new things, but you make fewer purchases, and each one has a purpose — no impulse buys.

So, I’m looking around at the things I have here already and thinking about all the boxes I have yet to bring over from the apartment, and a good chunk of it is homeschool-related. I kept all of Jack’s old books in case he wanted to look back over them, or in case Blake wanted to. We have oodles of stuff for science experiments, and while neither kid is into crafts, Blake does like to draw, so we have all the paper, crayons, markers, pens, and pencils a kid could want.

Just *some* of the books I've kept "just in case".

Just *some* of the books I’ve kept “just in case”. Not sure if you can tell, but there are about 15 books in each stack.

We won’t even talk about the regular books these kids have. We could easily open our own little library here. (I’m not exaggerating this time.)

Then there are the puzzles and board games that every family has. Well, Blake really likes puzzles, so we may have more than our share of those, too.

One of the first things that set me on the path to decluttering and simplifying was reading something FlyLady wrote. At least, I’m pretty sure it was her. (And whoever it was, I’m paraphrasing.) If you’re a Christian, and you believe God will meet all your needs, then why do you hold onto things you don’t need or use “just in case you need it” ten years from now?

But I’m wondering if it’s possible for a homeschooler to be a minimalist? How much stuff do we really need to homeschool? I’m not talking about how much or how little to spend. I’m talking about how much stuff we keep around. I’m not quite ready to dump all the stuff yet — even the old school books, but it is something to consider. I have no trouble getting rid of clothes or shoes (just not the boots – I may need a boot intervention), but I can’t get rid of anything that is remotely educational.

Which would probably be fine if I didn’t see pretty much everything as educational.

 

Water, Water, Everywhere Part 4

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Do you see it?

No, not that spot. That’s just water that hasn’t dried yet.

See anything else?

No?

Do you know why you don’t see anything else?

Because my building was pressure-washed yesterday.

While I was trying to move.

Do you know how hard it is to move when you can’t open your door because you’ll get sprayed with soapy water? Or when you can’t use the sidewalk connecting your door to the parking lot because they’re pressure-washing that next? I should have taken a picture of the sidewalk. It’s quite lovely now.

This all took 4-5 hours, and just as they finished — I mean, literally as soon as they pulled out of the parking lot — it started to rain. Of course. Not a downpour. Just sprinkles. Just enough to get furniture wet while you’re loading it into a pickup truck while moving.

It did stop after about thirty minutes, but I really would like to know why water hates me so much now.