Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to share a picture of our dining room table. We decluttered it yesterday for Thanksgiving, and actually had a meal at the table!

The only thing left from the piles of junk mail, magazines, old receipts, and things that just never got put away is a stack of library books, which my husband is returning to the library later today. Everyone agreed that it felt wonderful to sit at the table for a meal. And now we can have a games night tonight!

Also, Bridget, our Official Kitty of Thanksgiving, reminds you to give thanks for the blessings in your life, and pass the turkey.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Clean Sweep

Tonight, we had pasta for dinner. In the time it took for the water to come to a boil, and then for the pasta to cook, I went through the cabinet above the kitchen sink where we keep most of our cleaning supplies. I threw out all those that were nearly empty, that I bought years ago and have never used, or that were redundant (I rarely dust so why do I need two cans of Endust?). I threw out tile cleaner (we have no tile in our house) and scouring powder (I prefer baking soda for cleaning the sink). I filled two plastic groceries bags which I happily carted out to the garbage can, and out of the house. Then we had dinner.

After dinner, I cut some more pieces for the quilts that I am working on. All in all, I got a lot done for a Monday night. I consider every day that I remove some clutter from our house a successful day.

A good deed

I was thrilled to see this in my e-newsletter at work this morning! I have been trying to get Vanderbilt, where I work, to do a story about my daughter's awesome school for a while. Vanderbilt has a cooperative agreement with the school, and so much great stuff is going on there to turn the school around. I hope people will finally take notice!

Teaching as a team sport boosts student performance

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Day of Rest

Today was a lovely restful Sunday. I had coffee while I read and caught up on my minimalist blogs. It was raining and gray outside, though thankfully not as cold as it has been. After breakfast and coffee, my husband started working on his paper for school, my daughter started her homework, and I read a little more while planning my day. At one point I noticed that the only sounds were the rain falling, birds chirping outside, and the tick of the clock. While my family around me, working peacefully and quietly, I felt very content. After a while, I began work on the blocks for the quilts that I am making for my parents. I hope to have them done in time for Christmas, but the same things that have kept me from working on the house and simplifying have gotten in the way of my quilting as well. I was able finish four blocks today, so that is pretty good progress.

Before bed, I found one more item to minimize. I unplugged my alarm clock and added it to the donate pile by the door. The face is too bright, it awakens me with a loud blaaa sound which makes me instantly hit snooze, and it is not battery powered, so when we have power outages, I oversleep. I will be using my iPhone now instead. It has pleasant alarm sounds and is already by my bed most nights anyway being charged.

It's warm enough tonight that I have the bedroom window partially open. I love hearing the wind chimes.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

13.1 Miles Is Not Half Anything

We have done very little renovating or minimizing over the past couple of months. Last spring, I competed in the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington, D.C. About a week later, in a residual runner's high, I registered for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Savannah, Georgia. To that end, I spent most of my summer weekends either completing, or recovering from, long runs. Needless to say, this did not leave a lot of time, or energy, for home projects.

The race was on November 8, and I had an absolute blast!

The course wound through historic Savannah, and was flat as a pancake, except for one bridge at mile 1.

I had a time goal of sub-3 hours. I ran with the local Fleet Feet pace group, led by a wonderful woman named Crystal, and finished in 2:59:19. Hurray!

I have a few races planned over the next few months, but the longest is a 15K in February. I want to get some of the many projects that we have started, or that we have planned, completed, and I can't do this if I am out running 14 miles on the weekends.

Following the half marathon, I renewed my commitment to decluttering, minimizing, and simplifying. This morning, I spent some time going through the pile of papers on the dining room table. Most got tossed or recycled, and now there is a clean space to work on some Christmas gifts that I am making. I am continuing my journey into minimalism, reading everything that I can get my hands on, subscribing to blogs devoted to the subject. My favorite is Joshua Becker's blog Becoming Minimalist. I subscribed a few months ago, but just recently went back to the very beginning of his blog, to follow his journey from the start. It inspired me to document my own journey into minimalism within this blog, in addition to our home renovations and projects.

I also recommend:

Brooke McAlary's Slow Your Home
Leo Babauta's Zen Habits
Tammy Stroebel's Rowdy Kittens
Courtney Carver's Be More With Less

And for anyone looking for a wonderful, minimal Christmas gift, Courtney Carver is offering 31 Gifts That You Deserve, delivered daily to your email box. I have subscribed for my husband and I. We are going to try to give each other experiences rather than things this Christmas, as part of our move away from consumerism.

Somehow, even though I haven't had as much time as I would like to go through everything, just knowing that someday it will be out if our house has allowed me to mentally let go of all the feelings associated with all that junk. It's freeing, or at least the beginning of freeing. I already feel better just having made the decision to get rid of stuff - now, I just have to actually get rid it!