Friday, April 29, 2016

::decluttering for my own sanity::

My family is going to be making a big move out of state this year and we might end up sacrificing some square footage along the way. The possibility of cramming our junk into an even smaller place was stressing me the heck out months in advance. I embarked on a fearless Pinterest search for decluttering/minimalistic/purging magic. Low and behold, dozens of blog posts from across the world popped up referencing this KonMari Method. Apparently, I was living under a rock for quite some time, because I hadn't heard of the method/book.
The premise sounded intriguing: Keep only items in your home which spark joy in your heart.

Hmm.. simple enough. So I picked up a copy of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo as well as the follow up Spark Joy.
I flew through those books like the pages were lined with chocolate. I couldn't stop talking about the method, the funny quirks of the author, the correct order of Tidying, and the Magic I was about to uncover in our house!

And then I started...

And it was hard...

Not hard in the actual work sense. Kondo lays the plans out very simply; sort items in your home according to category in the order she provides, decide which items spark joy, discard/donate the ones that don't, and then put things back in a way that makes sense.
The first category is clothing.  I pulled everything out of my half of the closet, including two giant boxes of clothes that don't fit me right now. Shoes, coats, underwear and socks. All of it.
As I began to sort and do the "Joy Check" on each item.. I noticed something kind of depressing. I had very very few items that actually sparked joy for me. I ended up with basically two categories of clothing "opposite of joy" and "hold onto out of necessity, but replace ASAP".
While sitting on my pile of unjoyful clothes in the middle of the living room staring at the two boxes of "skinny clothes" from before I had kids... I began to wonder how did I get here?
This is the part of KonMari that ended up being my favorite aspect... It was like therapy!
After having kids and gaining 50+ pounds (only to lose it and then gain it again and keep it), I ended up with this mismatched wardrobe of items that really didn't spark joy, they were just things I could fit into for now "until I lose the weight".

I found myself  thinking: Well, honey, it's been 2 and a half years of wearing those opposite-of-joyful clothes. It's time to either get in shape, or accept yourself and buy clothes you actually like.

Therapy I tell ya.

As I went through my Skinny Boxes, I had another realization. These clothes don't really bring me joy either... the *idea* of fitting into them brings me joy. So I made the decision to donate all but two favorite items. When I do get in shape, if I am ever that size again, I would rather buy clothes that reflect the almost-30-Jessie instead of dressing like the 20-year-old-Jessie just because I hung on to boxes of clothes for 10 years.

When I began to put things away I was amazed at the amount of space I had in there! I didn't feel stressed and weighed down picking something to wear. Everything hanging up fits me now and I don't have huge Skinny boxes staring down at me every time I get dressed.

The following categories weren't as emotionally difficult. I was addicted to the process. I was shocked when I got to the bathroom category, which I had just recently "organized" but I was still able to get rid of a giant black trash bag worth of junk.
I WISH I had taken before and after photos, because just saying that it made a huge difference doesn't express how insanely different my how looks and feels. I got rid of 30+ trash bags worth of trash, recycling, and donations. It felt so good to open a cabinet and see empty space, to open a drawer and find exactly what I was looking for right away, and to have less stuff in general (less to clean!).

I have now finished every category except sentimental. I'm such a hoarder for that stuff and I'm also super emotional so it's gonna take me a while to do that one, I admit.

Overall, while the house still gets messy, it's way easier to clean. I was able to dramatically reduce the amount we own which will definitely help with the move, and I was able to get a much clearer picture for how I want our home to look and feel.
I do consider this process to be Life Changing Magic for me, because once every single thing we own had it's own clear resting spot, it was a million times easier to put things back as I used them. I actually clean up the house before bed (imagine that?!),  I haven't accumulated any paper piles or junk drawers in over a month, and I feel mentally lighter. Like I am able to concentrate and tackle tasks because there's no clutter screaming at me in the background!

I am extremely thankful I stumbled across this book at the perfect time in my life. I feel more in control of our home, which was one of my main "getting my sh*t together" goals.  So that's a win.

Friday, April 22, 2016

::my gratitude journal::

I started my gratitude journal a few years ago when I was having a tough time emotionally. Every night before bed I made myself sit down and fill in my little prompts (I'll share those in a second!). At first I found it difficult to think of the answers, because I was so busy focusing on the negative in my life. Honestly though, after only a few nights I began to be able to write more and more. Throughout the day I started *looking* for things to add to my lists and noticing when nice things were happening. I think this is magic of gratitude; shifting your focus towards the positive things in life. The way the sunlight filters through the trees, the way my daughter giggles and talks to the squirrels, waking up to a new day and having a fresh start. All of these things are very easy to take for granted or ignore, but the process of writing them down, with pen and paper, seems to alter the way we see the world.

 My prompts from my gratitude journal:
A blessing I received today...
Something nice I did for someone else...
I am thankful for...
I love...
A sensory pleasure I experienced today...
I appreciate Husband for/when...
Something I like about myself...

 How each person journals is entirely unique; It can be in list form, multiple prompts with paragraphs for each response, or even a story of  favorite parts of the day. I started mine with a few simple prompts and ended up adding a few more that I knew needed a little nudge of positivity.
My journal is one of my greatest treasures. Whenever I need a pick-me-up I can sit down and flip through page after page of beautiful things in my life. I am reminded of the greatest parts of my days, the simple beauty I have experienced, and tons of happy memories. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

::be That Girl::

I think a lot about what Future Me is going to be like. How she has so many goals accomplished, she’s so productive, she eats healthy and works out like its second nature, she has a successful blog and Etsy shop, she’s even working on finishing her degrees! All while being a patient mother and attentive wife. She’s unstoppable!

Why can’t I be more like Future Me? I would rather lie down on the couch and “rest my eyes” while Boo watches Blues Clues. I would rather eat carbs for every meal and consume strictly coffee and wine for my fluids.

I finally came to the sad yet somewhat liberating realization that I am not going to just wake up one day and be Future Me. Well, I am technically... but not in the way that I want to be. I will be just like Today Me. The only way I am going to someday transform into this Butterfly-Goddess version of myself is to literally be That Girl.

When I want to sit there and refresh Facebook for 20th time I need to stop and think “is this what That Girl would be doing right now?” and do whatever she’s doing instead. That means actually sewing the quilts that I’ve had cut out and ready to assemble for the past 18 months so that I can list them on Etsy. That Girl would be working out if she hadn’t done so already. She would definitely be knocking things off the to-do list instead of watching old Dr. Phil episodes.

The amazing part is that it doesn’t take long to see results. At the end of the day I feel a little more like That Girl, I feel good about my day and what I did, and I know that I can rock it even more tomorrow. All I have to do is be That Girl. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

:: my first Aha Moment ::

I keep telling myself that "once I get my crap together, then I will start blogging". The house has to be perfect; I need to get started with that super productive morning routine; I have to be caught up with projects, work, laundry, dishes, DVR shows, grocery lists, and have all the closets organized. Then I will start writing.
After telling myself that for months years, I figured it would probably never happen. I felt like the stars needed to align and pigs needed to learn how to fly before I would be able to sit down at this computer and type my thoughts.

A couple weeks ago, after the kids were in bed I began Pinteresting my little heart out. Pinning the healthiest recipes, picking out my wardrobe for when I finally lose the baby weight, and of course, planning out the perfect decor and organization techniques I will (eventually) use for every nook and cranny of our home. I stopped for a second, switched to Google, and found myself typing "How to get your sh*t together". Not even kidding.
Unfortunately, the results didn't really answer my question. There were a bunch of sarcastic slideshows aimed at young college students with study tips and lame motivational quotes. Nothing for a wife/mom of two that feels like she is treading water while simultaneously being pulled in every direction and can't quite figure out how to balance her time and energy to make everything flow so she mostly drinks wine and looks at Pinterest.
I can't be alone. There must be other moms that feel like me. Moms that have the best intentions and are doing a pretty good job at things, but who feels like there's got to be a way to make things smoother? Less stressful? And maybe, just maybe, accomplish some personal goals and dreams for myself without waiting until the kids turn 18...
I went to bed pondering that silly question "how to get your sh*t together".

The next morning I had what Oprah calls an "Aha Moment". 

What if I blog about my process of getting my life in order? 

I don't know what the heck I'm doing, but if I journal my way through it, then I'll have an awesome record of where I started, what works and doesn't work for me, and the feeling of accountability because I'm putting it out there into the world. Maybe another mom will stumble across this and find some inspiration for her own journey. Who knows?

So here I am.
My two year old is sleeping a few feet away from me so I typing as quiet as possible, but I'm starting. The kitchen looks like a hungry tornado crashed through it, but I'm starting. My nails aren't painted, my legs aren't shaved, and the dryer is fluffing for the 4th time, but I'm starting.