Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day 13 - Opt out of store email offers

EMAIL offers - errrr.  So many times we have to sign up for a newsletter, daily specials, or a host of email that we don't necessarily want.  Somehow there is this silly badge of courage of how much 'stuff' you get in your inbox.  Maybe in some way you feel some type of connected?    Connected to an email server that collected information about your reading the email or if you click through?  You call that connected?

What I have done - I use several email addresses.  For each charity group I work with, I set up email address just to use with them.  That way their emails stay separated and I don't get distracted with them in with my work related email.  I send the personal stuff to another email.  This is shopping stuff, updates from various companies, and my phone messages that get transcribed via the cable company. 

So is it confusing?  Not at all.  In fact, it has help tame the inbox(s)  Since I use GMail for most of my emails, the powers to be of GMail do help sort my inbox.  So it's Primary Tab, the Social Tab and then the Promotion Tab.  There the items on Social are my linked, facebook, and twitter feeds; the promotion tab has many of those pesky email offers.  I must say the Gmail does a pretty good job in separating the information out.  It makes it easy to look at a tab, glance it over, and trash it as needed.

I must say you need to continue to monitor what you have sent.  So today I looked over the items being sent as promotions and unsubscribe to several.  Then changed the frequency on other offers from daily to 'specail' only.   I really like the company that is thoughtful about spamming the heck out of you ~or~ let you choose how frequently you want their information.

For the pesky items - I have filters set up so that if a particular email comes in, it skips the inbox and goes in it's folder.  I can then review them as needed.  And to keep on top of life - I sync my email with my smart phone.  That feature has saved me several times.  So Happy Emailing to you!

Success for Day 13 - Yeah great to keep only the email I need.  Item for Donate box - five little tins I'm not using any longer

Today's Challenge - Day 14 - Turn your bedroom into a place of relaxation - and - find one item to put in the donate box.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Day 12 - Donate items you're holding onto "just in case'

This day's Challenge made me think.  What do I have that is for "just in case"?  I wish I was at my Mom's house.  She is always saving items, more than she nor I nor my nieces and nephews could use in our lifetime.  I did help her unload lots of scrap paper, pens and pencils, assorted items for the no longer  shop/office.  What was the best part - it went from a cannot work on the surface of the desk to be able to work ---- now, some four months later, items have been given away and she is maintaining her desk.

Earlier in my challenge I cleared out a closet that had travel items in it.  I had moved the small bottles, supplies, etc to the bathroom shelves as it would be better there.  That's where I go to back the lotions and potions when I pack - good idea!  Ah ha, I'll use that space as for my challenge today.

So off to the bath - on the left, the Before picture and on the right the the After picture.  I didn't realize that missing from the Before picture was several more bags of 'travel items'.  As it seems, I also needed to clear up the entire shelving unit in the bath.

I don't have any closet or cabinet in the bath - yea I know - crazy 'cheap' builder.  I learned on my last move - I needed to clear up some clutter in the bath.  My house stagger was a bundle of great ideas.  One was to get one of those organizers you hang on the back of a door.  Oh my goodness - I found more of the same - that counts up to three places items were stored!  Shame on me :)

Travel is different today - often times I'm boarding a plane; other times it is a road trip. The former has limitations today - the latter, well heck it doesn't matter as you are not lugging it through an airline terminal.

Out of date items were disposed and recycled; like items put together; all the 'potions and lotions' are now at my reach and will use them up; and then the 'stuff' was disposed of as it no longer served a purpose.  There must be a dozen or more of potions and lotions - my goodness, glad they are now going to good use.  PS - there are empty slots in the door organizer!

What I am finding by being in each of the day's challenge, I'm becoming a bit more aware of my surroundings and how to create a more organized and now more peaceful space - with less stuff!

Success for Day 12 - Donate box -  I did find a small leather purse that I received some time in the past.

Today's Challenge - Day 13- Opt out of store email offers - and - find one item to put in the donate box.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Day 11 - Clean out the toy chest - Nope

Up early to make the appetizer and dessert. ....then off to deliver goodies to neighbors and then dinner with Bob and Judy neighbors.  What a relaxing day.  Thanksgiving is pretty special.

As for the toy chest.......I don't own one. Geez, I don't have toys.  I do have some board games, couple decks of cards,  and some wooden toys my Dad made.  Electronic games. That's not in the spirit of this Challenge.

So I decided to share an ornament I keep on my tree, a pineapple.   It signifies hospitality, and how I feel my home needs to be.  It joined my collection after a visit to Mystic Village.   In this season, I hope you bring hope and joy to your home.  May you have the thanksgiving spirit to guide you each day.

Day 11 Accomplished - Item for donate box - 2 pairs of older prescription glasses

Today's Challenge - Day 12 - Donate items you're holding onto "just in case"  - and - find one item to put in the donate box

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Day 10 - Take an hour just for ME!

Wow, an hour just for me.  No technology, tv, etc!

I enjoy cooking and entertaining.  So I will spend the hour and a little more, to go through my collection of cookbooks and idea folder!

They currently occupy the three of four cubbies on the far left had side of the cubby in the kitchen.   I go through spirts of looking at them and not.  When I feel like I need a new recipe, I often look on-line at one of the hundreds of places now available.  So a good question, why have these books?

Back when I was younger, I purchased recipe cards, the McCall's Great American Recipe Card Collection.  They came in packets every several weeks.  You could put them in a box with dividers and you were the 'master' of the kitchen.  I moved them out of the box and put them in a 3-ring binder so I could flip through to find ideas.

There were subtitles of Memorable Summer Meals, The French Touch, Contemporary Cooking to name a few.  Taking pictures of food today vs yesterday - what a difference.   All the ingredients were fresh and  no artificial items used.

After going through those cards, I took the white notebook out.  That is where I put a recipe that is given to me and a place to put "ideas" I read about.  I am so excited, I now have a list of what is in the book, the 'ideas' are now gone through and about 1/3 of them are eliminated. Guess they were not that 'good' any longer.  The balance of the 'ideas' are in a folder that can be easily browsed when the spirit moves me.

Bonus - now seven out of twelve cubbies are cleaned out!

Day 10 - Accomplished - and inspired as to what I'd like to cook!   Donate Box --  Inspiration for other cooks - books from my collection will be donated to the Library for their next book sale.

Today's Challenge - Day 11 - Clean out the toy chest  - and - find one item to put in the donate box.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving - We are thankful

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun”
From Into the Wild - by Jon Krauer

Wishing gratefulness and thanksgiving on this special day to each and everyone.  Since we last celebrated this holiday ---  what have been your new experiences?  How has your horizon changed?  How was your Joy and the Joy you gave to others?  

Thanksgiving, while celebrated today, is a spirit that needs to be celebrated every day.  Please take a moment to remember this past year.

What will you do this Year of Thanksgiving?  Look forward to sharing them with you.

Best to you and yours,

Picture Credit - Getty

Day 9 - Opt for a digital picture frame

Okay - this one is interesting.  I'm not the big photo bug unless I'm on vacation or at an event.  I have many photos in albums, boxes, and such.  First attempt with a  digital camera was in 2005.  With the digital camera - came the technology.  I've loaded all my digital photos on a laptop; the front end software, Picasa, allows me to tag the photos with the people, dates and location.  You can use any software you choose, though it is fun when you want to find the pics of the kids that go way back.

Since 2005 and three laptops later, when I want to show my pictures, I would bring along my laptop.  So far that has served me just fine.

So what about the non-digital pictures?  See that special bookcase - yes it is full of photo albums.  These go back to the photo albums my mom made for me when I was just a wee one. As I got older, I put the pictures in photo albums. Some pictures are still in envelopes as I just didn't get to it.

So what to do?  I've the equipment to scan then and eliminate the majority of the albums.  So I have set up a new ToDo list - to start another 30 day challenge when this one is complete.  I would love to have this bookcase available for my lace studies :)

PS the digital pictures are backed-up in the cloud so if something happens to my laptop, no problem!

Day 9  Set up Challenge To Do list and add the elimination of picture albums Accomplished!  ---  cassette tape of Boz Scaggs - Silk Degrees for the donate box.

Today's Challenge - Day 10 - Take an hour for yourself  - and - find one item to put in the donate box.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Day 8 - Pick a Corner

My Corner - Before
So I did - on to the lower level of my home.  It's where my office is and extra space.  With this week and having "company" and the Thanksgiving Holiday, I'll have a chance to hide myself away and complete more of the Challenge.

Somehow my desk area seems to always be a clutter place!  So this week, and for the rest of the challenge, the top of the desk will stay orderly.  I've gone from good to awful and back to good again.  That cycle repeats itself a couple of times of the year.  So now it is time to have the cycle kick back in.  We are what we repeatedly do,” Aristotle proclaimed, a great thinker.    There are plenty places to read what to do.  At , she outlines a simple eight step method that maybe some salvation any of us need.

My Corner - After
First, everything in it's place; don't procrastinate, establish a routine, and develop a system that works for you.  I'll  take these first four items and make them the tools I will use not only for the balance of my office, but for the rest of the Challenge.

Today was a pretty good day.  I wrote a few items to help establish a routine on a small white board - not visible from here.  The desk top is cleared off - they items in the 'after' picture are ready for my meeting tomorrow.

After updating you on the progress today - I'll be making up a list of the various items that need to be done, such as a pile of scanning, sorting of other stuff that needs to be placed not in the office.  It surprised me (LOL not really) how some items make it to the office and I don't know why?

Day 8 - A Corner - Completed!  Item for donation box - a partially working foot bath machine.  

Today's Challenge - Day 9 - Opt for a digital picture frame - and - find one item to put in the donate box.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 7 - Postponed - Being Thankful

Being good to me is what started this challenge - gives me daily goals and has appropriate rest spots to reflect what you have accomplished.  A little structure may help get me going.  

Saturday night I met up with a small group of high school friends. We had our 40th reunion this past September and it was a blast!  So much fun.  I do say we are a remarkable group of friends. Many I've haven't seen from HS days or the last reunion.  So many are not local, though we do have FB to keep us in touch.  

Yesterday morning I made me breakfast; yummy french toast.   Then the disruptions began.  I was waiting for the plumber to fix the garbage disposal, calls to / from neighbors about the holiday celebrations, work with mom via phone to get her boarding pass organized.  She is going to spend her third Thanksgiving with my baby brother in St. Louis.

Before I knew it, the day was more than half over.  It's okay.  I shared this challenge with my community garden partner/neighbor.  She is thinking this is a great idea and asked to have a copy. I spoke with Terri as she cancelled her trip up here.  I needed to spend some time with her as a friend of her's is now in hospice care and she needed to talk.  I also had the opportuity to thank her for booking my guest room so that I kicked off this whole thing.  

Instead of feeling guilty - I didn't complete today's challenge which was to clean up the mail - i.e. go through paper mail and see how much can be sent electronically.  I'll be working on it over the next several days.  My mail is enough to stop an elephant in it's tracks.

I'm feelinig thankful to have been able to reach out to my friends and family yesterday.  The next eight days will bring me lots more to be thankful for.

Item for Donate Box - another eye glass case!

Photo credit

Today's Challenge - Day 8 - Pick one corner - and - find one item to put in the donate box.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Day 6 - Declutter the dresser

This is like a buy day.  My dresser - it's like a charm - one of the best kept spaces I have!  It's easier as I hang many of my clothes.

Picture on left is before,  the right is after picture ob the bottom drawer.  All those scarves!  Now they are rolled up so that I can see them all.  Yes, I did find a couple of items that could go elsewhere, few scarves that needed a rinsing and I found another eyeglass case  - time to donate.

Today - it was the day with my housekeeper.  Yes a housekeeper - once a month, what a great investment in my time.  This month due to our respective schedules, she came on Saturday instead of our regular Thursday.  She was so surprised of the improvements I made to the closet and to the Guest Room.

We have our assigned tasks.  I'm incharge of putting things away, therefore she can clean.  With this day's challenge, I wanted to continue some of the new tasks that popped up because of the first five days.  We did some extra cleaning, truly makes a difference.

I also got a bonus done.  She helped me put up the poinsettia garland on the hallway banister.  I was going to do it over Thanksgiving with my house guest - kinda do a deck the halls evening and decorate and enjoy the upcoming season together.  Unfortunately, those plans changed.

Today was the perfect day.   Day 6 Accomplished!

Today's Challenge - Day 7 - Clean up your mail - and - find one item to put in the donate box

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Day 5 - Donate a bag of clothing to those in need

Today - unlike the first days of this challenge, I had to be up early and out of the house for an appointment.  Then it was my master mind meeting.  I look forward to this hour I have each month with a great friend to do our "successes, challenges and goals"; more on this another day.

I need to donate a bag of clothes.  How appropriate that this is a time of Thanksgiving.  I am so grateful that this challenge I wanted to do is now happening.  I was told last night --- ' everything has a reason.... and there are bigger things for me to accomplish'.  You know - we need to be aware of opportunities and we can only accept them if we are open and aware of what is going on around us.

So off to my closet I go.  It is amazing how this little space can be so full.  The pictures above are the before look.  Now while I only need a bag of clothes - I may as well be a bit ambitious  and empty the closet and re-hang it.  As I put items back in, I found clothes that I haven't worn in several years, several space bags with clothes in them and piles of tee shirts, pjs and sweaters etc on the top shelves.  The elves mess up the closet at night! :)

Before long, a pile of clothes began to accumulate on the floor and all those white plastic hangers!!  Oh my goodness.  In the middle of doing this, my baby brother calls and puts me on hold.  While waiting on hold - I was able to do the second half of the closet.  I can be a bit fussy about my closets.  The clothes must be organized by type, i.e. pants, shirts, dresses, etc and then I want them organized by color and/or season.   A few years ago, I had Santa bring me matching velvet hangers - the skinny ones that take up less space.

I'm really pleased - the closet is cleaned and once laundry is done later tonight, all will be in it's place and looking good.

Now I'll fold up the clothes, make a list for the donation, and get them delivered to the donation center - one place will take clothes and the other place will take the hangers.  I still need to look over the vacuumed space bags.  So I may have another bag to donate.

Lesson learned, or should I say re-learned......  I need to look through my wardrobe on a more regular schedule.  Maybe

on the smoke detector battery schedule which is generally in the spring and fall.  Place it on my electronic to-do's for those months?

Success for Day 5's Challenge!

Item for the donation box......  white plastic hangers!

Today's Challenge - Day 6 - Declutter your dresser - and - find one item to put in the donate box.  

If you are following along with the original listing - I'm reversing the order of Day 6 and 7 as I will not be home for most of the day.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Day 4 - Tackle the Guest Room

You should have seen the room last week - a mess.  You could barely walk into it.  I spent time over last weekend clearing it up because I was having a guest for Thanksgiving week.  That's when I found the printout of the minimalist challege!

I must admit that Guest rooms are infamous for serving double, triple duty in many homes today. Sometimes it is a family member on an extended stay, or a place for the kids to stay when they 'visit', or our home office - all in all - it is some type of space.  It accumulates our stuff.  It's a place not visited very often - filled with "we'll get to it later" items.

My Guest room does double duty.  One for overnight guests (though I would love to hide the bed in a murphy) and for my studio.  Yes, my studio, for my crochet and lace endeavors.  I admit, it does have "stuff" in it that does not have anything to do with either purpose.

So for my challenge, I will move the studio stuff out of the guest area of the room.  Studio stuff will need to be another day.

First to tackle - Items on the bed - yes I put them away in the big chest - easy as I had space for them - image that!

Second, the closet on the left!  I found a carryon and a duffle bag that could go.  Found flatened boxes, items that could be gifts or giveaways, and a empty box I don't know where it came from - recycle.  The one item not put back - box of potions that I use for traveling - really it's the size of a file box?  I'm also considering a garmet type bag - very heavy that I haven't used in ----ahhh I don't know how long.

Third - the items under the desk - yes more studio stuff.  Geez - you'd think they were multiplying everywhere - I'd like to think that though I know I just haven't been paying attention, being present in the day and having a place for each item.

~~~ time passes ~~~ oh my goodness - I looked under the bed!  I found my hat, a bag with some blankets, a mess with the wrapping paper that seemed to jump out of the box that it was in.  Isn't always the way....  start one project and it begins another project.

Wow - what a difference a few concentrated hours can make.  I feel a bit ruthless and it feels really good.

Donate box----- package of new color pencils and pencil sharpener.

This was a great day - thanks Denise and Aly Sanger at .

Today's Challenge - Day 5 - Donate one bag of clothing to those in need - and - find one item to put in the donate box.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


To quote Nelson Mandela,
Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of justice.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day Three - Recycle

Yesterday's task is easy.  When I was clearing up the garage I noticed items that I could not deal with and left them there. "Oh I'll deal with it another day", I said.  Really haven't we all done that hundreds of times.

It's about decision making and having a clear goal of what we want out of life.  In this challege, I'm going to explore the 'clear goal'.

I've had this popcorn maker since college.  Tons of late nights we all met and hung out and watch TV, talked or gossipped and had great popcorn.  

It has a round bottom, needed to get a substituted cover. There is no switch - it's either plugged in and on or unplugged and off.   There is an electrical short in the cord so in order for it to work, you needed to prop up the cord. If my electrician brother reads this I'm sure to get a lecture!  It's ready to recycle. I'll take it to the transfer station this weekend. 

Balance of today - find an item to donate.  Found it!  Three three-ring binders that I do not need any longer.

Today's Challenge - Day 4 - Remove the items you're storing in your guest room - and find one item to put in the donate box

Day Two - Junk Drawers

Junk drawers.  I guess some of us have them. Living in small places, meant that one needed to be better at what you kept.   Knowing what you have and what you need to have is part of this minimalist challenge.  So first thing - I took an inventory of drawers my home.  The kitchen has 4 drawers- one for silverware, one for cooking utensils, one for baking utensils, and one for the 'home office'.  Each of them are dumped at least twice a year and restraighten out.  Oh yes - the drawer under the stove which contains those baking pans, etc.

The Guest Bath has three drawers.  One to keep the extra rolls, another for deodorizer, and one for femine items.  The master and hallway baths upstairs contain no drawers - go figure?!  As for the balance of upstairs - no other drawers except for the clothes dresser and night stand.  In the studio, known as the 2nd bedroom, there is another night stand - it's empty, a dresser in the closet (2 drawers for any overnight guests and 2 drawers for my beloved threads.  Lastly, there are two craft type tables with drawers.

I think I found the drawer(s) - the craft drawers.  Here they are!  It took a little less than an hour.  Dumped each out and reorganized, found that items were here that needed to be there, and vice versa.  Oh my goodness!  The one on the left was a bit of a challenge. Found several craft projects never completed - hmmmm?  Found a kids present, a whole box of colored pencils and a sharpener.  Items that should be in the supply closet... and filled a whole bag of trash.  A bonus was the cart on the right.  the bottom drawer had items that are now in the bottom drawer on the left - more logical. So the bottom drawer - now empty, I was able to put in my little sewing basket.  Now that is not on the shelf and books you see above are on the shelf.  By the way - the yellow tags specify what is stored in each drawer.  I'll make up fresh tags for both drawers.

In the donate box for today - two pairs of eyeglasses.

Today's Challenge - Day 3 - Recycle one item beyond repair.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day One

Day One went pretty good.  Making a committment and keeping the negative vibes at bay is the first step of moving forward in this challenge.  I read ahead - nothing like doing the homework and 'seeing' my environment.

I had moved several items that needed to be given away.  The challenge was to find them and place them in the box.  This scale I had from the beginning of my business.  Now I have a sleek digital one.  Some how the digital one - while reliable - it misses that sound that you get from the springs when lifting the weight off the top.

Day 1 - accomplished.

Today's Challenge - Day 2 - Eliminate the need for a 'junk drawer' by tossing the junk and add another another item to the donate box.

Monday, November 17, 2014

30 Day Challenge - Good to me!

It's raining out.  My to do list - like many - is way toooooo long.  Stuff is the problem - too much of stuff - good stuff and junk stuff.  The garage was first on the list.  It was getting colder and I need to put the car in it or I'll be scrapping snow!  In the past two days, I cleared out two closets that became a danger area - LOL.  Then came the 2nd bedroom, guests are coming next week.  Nothing like having a deadline and company that will get you to get up and move.

I found this challenge at Minimalism is Simple quite some time ago - like 11 months ago?.  It's called Minimalism is Simple.The printout of the challenge somehow got put in a pile - and was unearthed this past weekend when I said to self  "Self - this is enough.  I'm not waiting for "New Year's" - I'm begining today".  In one month, a simple 30 days.... from now, I'll see a better place - home and office, and am planning to have a neighbor gathering over the holidays!  So there my lizard brain, thanks Seth Godin, I'm moving forward.

Today's Challenge - Day 1 -  Place one Item a day into a donate box for the next 30 days!