Tuesday, January 29, 2013

on progress, or the lack thereof.

So. I mentioned that I was embarking on a 52-week project to organize my home. I started with aplomb. Got things done each week. The first few weeks I was feeling pretty accomplished. I had some loose ends each week, but nothing that couldn't be tied up in an hour or two.

Then, Week Four.

Last week.


Last week was awful. And by awful, I mean awful. It started with the weekend. A lot of time spent out of the house. Not much time to devote to my project. Although I give myself seven hours each week (which, realistically, is enough time to complete each project I think, save maybe one), that weekend and all of its activity left me completely unmotivated. So, I did nothing. I didn't worry about it, since I knew I had Monday to finish (each week starts on Tuesday).

Monday came and went. Crickets.

That was pretty much a harbinger of things to come for the remainder of the week. Every day my daughter was fussy (teething), taking short catnaps and leaving me with not much free time. No biggie. Each day I would just wait until my husband got home from work and tackle it then.

No haps. She just fussed then too. So I would have just enough time to make dinner (except for one night when I put my son on dinner duty so that I could tend to her all evening) and that was it.

Add in some personal setbacks and it was a formula for... well... nothing getting done.

This week has not started out great either. Yesterday (Monday) came with more personal setbacks, plus my husband being out of town working and my son out of the house for the evening. I got the kids some pizza and me some Panda Express. And did nothing else.

Same thing today, which was supposed to be the start of Week Five.

I wish I could have a better progress report for you, my beloved tens of readers. I just don't.

I won't go into detail, but suffice it to say, last week was one of the more difficult weeks I've had in a long time. It had me wanting to check out of the wife/mother routine for a few days. It just seemed like I couldn't manage to do ANYTHING, much less do anything RIGHT. If I had the money, I would hire a maid, a cook, a nanny, a personal assistant, and a driver, just for weeks like last week. Alas, as I have access to none of those things, I was in pretty bad shape, even for me.

I am happy that I can now say that I am not feeling nearly as down about it all as I was. Once I had some time to step back and re-evaluate, I realized (or better yet, remembered) that I do not have to have it all together. I know that concept is anathema to many... at least on paper... but it's true. My kids still smile and laugh and play and are happy and enjoy each other. My blood pressure is inching closer to normal. I've lost 55 pounds without trying. My teenager loves to spend time with me and tells me everything that is going on in his life. That's more than many people have. So what if the hall closet isn't done and there are still clothes that need to be washed and that patch of dining room floor that I cleaned is now a mess again?

I also remembered that starting with Week Thirty, I had run out of things to do. That means, I really do have plenty of time to just start over where I've stopped. This week, that is what I am going to do. I am going to take Week Five to tie up all of my loose ends from previous weeks and relax. Next week, I'll tackle that hall closet.

I know some folks asked for progress before/after pictures. I'll do that too.

I hope your week is off to a lovely start.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

organizing my home.

This year, as with every year, I take some time at the start of January to make lists. I am a chronic... nay... pathological list-maker. I will admit that there have been times (once or twice) in my life when I have made lists of lists.

Sometimes, the lists are fairly stupid and useless. Other times, the lists help me focus. In all reality, many times the lists help me focus and are a great motivator.

Such is the case with one particular list I made on the second day of January. I decided to start a new Project 52.

I know... "Dude. You didn't even finish your Project 52 in 2011. And your photography P52 here... well... where are the pictures??"

You would be right to ask those questions. In 2011 I was going along swimmingly. A self-portrait, family portrait, art portrait, iphonearoid, and video log each week. I kept that up for half a year. It was an ambitious undertaking, now that I think about it.

Then, my mom died. And I didn't feel like doing much of anything, least of all any of that. So I stopped.

Then I found out I was pregnant. And sick. And tired. And largely unmotivated. So, still no-go on the project.

Needless to say, it was dead in the water.

As for this year, I have taken pictures of my Hope every week, but I have been lazy with the cleanup on my computer so I have a lot to catch up on with the uploading and sharing.

Thankfully, I don't need a computer with sufficient memory to complete this new Project 52. Just some elbow grease and stick-to-itiveness.

I am taking this year to organize my entire home. One week at a time, one project at a time.

I am currently on Week Three.

And this is something that I am going to share with all of you, so that you can join in too, or follow along, or armchair judge, whatever you want to do.

I was asked to take before and after pictures, but sadly I didn't even think of that for the first couple of weeks. Maybe I'll do it for Week Four.

Here's how it is working for me: I decided that the only way I was going to get anything substantial done around here, with my little ones and my energy level being factored in, was to make a list of everything I wanted to do, then take each thing and devote a week to it. I even broke that down further to an hour a day. So, a total of seven hours for each project.

If the week comes to an end and I haven't finished, so be it. On to the next project. I am NOT beating myself up over this ish. If I fall off for a day, or a few days, I will not take any time whatsoever to sit around and assess how much I suck. I'll just get back to it the next day.

The good thing is, by the time my list got to Week Thirty, I had run out of things to do! Soooo, I have SEVERAL weeks until the end of the year that are weeks of pure grace. Meaning, I can just go back and tackle whatever it is I have not yet finished. Starting back at Week One.

I am going to share a little bit of my list with you. If this is something that you think will work for you, by all means, make your own list and get to it! You may find that you also have more weeks in the year than things that need to be organized. If so, breathe a sigh of relief! And have a glass of Moscato to celebrate.

A sampling of my list:

Week One: dining area
Week Two: kitchen
Week Three: laundry (meaning, EVERY bit of laundry in the ENTIRE house, done)
Week Four: hall closet
Week Five: bedroom closet
Week Six: bedroom
Week Seven: nursery/girls' room
Week Eight: nursery closet
Week Nine: living room
Week Ten: bathroom
Week Eleven: boys' room
Week Twelve: outside closet

When I sat and made this list, there really was no rhyme or reason. I just quickly rattled off room by room (in Evernote, which by the way is a TOTALLY dope app that I have used for a couple of years and HIGHLY recommend) and then realized that I had managed to give myself easier projects to start off. Whew. The harder projects are being micro-managed. For instance, living room: one day will be bookshelves organized, another day will be all music organized, and so on. Then, starting with Week Thirteen, I moved on to things that I wanted to paint, shelves I wanted to put up, things I want to hang on the walls, furniture that I need to procure, et cetera. And I broke those projects up by room, and of course gave myself a week for each room. Week Twenty-Nine says I need to have all important papers in a filing system in file boxes (or binders).

Week Thirty is blank, as are all the weeks following.

This, to me, is do-able. I have felt accomplished every day that I have worked on this, even if I haven't been able to devote a full hour to it. And there have been some days that I didn't get anything done. I have not completely finished any week yet, and I am fine with that because what I HAVE actually done looks soooo much better, and feels better and lighter. Plus, with the coming weeks, if I happen to complete any ahead of schedule, I'll devote the extra days to pick something to revisit.

An added bonus: my husband and little ones have pitched in. My little ones cleaned and vacuumed the hallway and stairs and the entire area is spotless. And my oldest son did a major clean-up on his room, so when I get to the week for his room, there really won't be much to do. I'll be able to go back and tackle leftover stuff from a previous project.

And in the end, all of that pent-up nesting that I never did while I was pregnant (because I just didn't feel like it dammit. What.) will come to fruition and my beloved TLH (Teeny Little Home) will be a lovely nest.

Are you in? Does this sound like a worthwhile project for you? Leave a comment below; let me know what you think and how you will make it work for you!