Wednesday, October 31, 2007

...and let the writing begin...

I am a writer. I write here, I write fiction, I write on a couple of other blogs that have nothing to do with clutter and thus I won't link to them here. But in the spirit of sharing, I want to let you all know about NaNoWriMo, aka National Novel Writing Month. The month is November, and it's more than national, it's worldwide.

A while ago, a few years I think, there were a number of online writing buddies who would occasionally do something called the write a novel in a month challenge or the novel in thirty days challenge. They'd all start on the same day, and pound out a novel, sometimes working from notes or an outline, sometimes not. At the end of the month, they'd have a 50-60,000 word rough draft which could then be polished (or tossed) as the case may be. Great fun. I tried a couple, but never got more than a few thousand words in before losing momentum.

If you'd like to try NaNoWriMo, just follow the link that image below will take you to, and join up. Good times for all, and everyone who reaches 50,000 words wins!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sources of Inspiration

Every once in a while, I'll get a burst of inspiration. Sometimes from within, but more often from a visual--a photograph in a magazine, a glimpse of a lovely living room as I drive down a neighborhood street. I love those moments, because they can carry me along for several hours of decluttering and tidying activities.

Yesterday, I had an active morning, cleaning the bathroom, running a load of dishes and several of laundry. Then, grocery shopping stole all the rest of my energy. What was meant to be a one hour trip turned into double that, and since I had Younger daughter with me, it felt like time just expanded. We didn't even manage to get everything on our list, thanks to going to Grocery Outlet (where you can't count on anything being in stock) and HT, a new Asian market in our area. Both stores had wonderful bargains, and I came home with a huge amount of groceries for not much money, but still, missing crucial items for this week's menus.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Value of a Clean Financial House

Your financial house is just as important as your brick & mortar house. One financial expert has been quoted as saying that she can tell by the way a person's car looks what their finances look like.

Financial clutter can be harder to assess than pure physical clutter. You can see the excess toys, the books, the dishes that overflow the cupboards. But the only evidence of those superfluous accounts, those forgotten bonds, or that inadequete insurance are the pieces of mail that may (or in the case of bonds, may not) come into the mailbox every month.

Those of us who have extra trouble dealing with paperwork can be especially cursed by cluttered finances. Ever set up an online bank account only to later forget your password? Or lose that opening paperwork in the mass of bills, solicitations and magazines on your desk?

There is help out there! It can be a challenge, but taking the time to put your house of finances in order is crucial for your family's well-being.

Several new online services can help. First, of course, you need to know what you have and where it is. That can take some detective work. Once you have your accounts in hand, an online service such as Mint, Quicken Online or Wesabe can help you to see your whole financial picture and begin budgeting, or at least, tracking your expenses. See this article for more on these services.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Well, That Was Easy (Kid Rooms Part 2)

I haven't washed the rug yet, the washer is full of clothes. Other than that, not bad, eh? I only filled about 1/3 of a bin, there wasn't much chaff.

Messy Kid Rooms: Part 1

Today I'm going to tackle Older Daughter's room. It isn't too bad, actually. Most of the mess was caused by Younger Daughter going in and tossing things around. But there are still excesses of random toys, bits of paper, books, games, etc. My goal is to fill a whole bin with excess from the room, wash or at least shake out the rug, and tidy the nook.

Above you see our starting point. But here are the positives!

She makes her bed every morning. She gets a quarter each day she makes her bed. Nothing wrong with offering an incentive!

Her closet is mostly tidy. The hanging "shoe holder" actually holds outfits that she makes up five or so at a time. Saves so much time and angst in the morning!
Shoe basket on the left, garbage in the center, laundry basket (actually an office-sized garbage can) on the right.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Have Bins

Yes, I do. I bought a few more of my favourite ones (clear with snap lids), and they're waiting to be filled with excess toys. I've realized that the kids, especially the younger one, will play with anything. If it's out, she loves it. She'll turn anything into a toy. So, why keep so much out if it's all going to be played with?

In tidiness news, I tried a rug cleaner on our living room rug. It has some stains from spills, cat puke, etc. The rug cleaner didn't do a darn thing. The rug either has to be sent out or replaced. I am leaning toward replacement, with a darker coloured one. Anyone know a good place to get a 6 x 9 foot wool rug in the Seattle metropolitan area? I usually go to IKEA (hey, meatballs!), but it's a long haul from my house.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Fall into Intertia

Yes, my house is full of crap. I'm looking at all sorts of weird junk in my basement right now in fact. But oh, how to get it out! How to move and take those steps and make those decisions!

CB suggested that I simply box/bin up the loose stuff rattling around, and that's just what I may do. I know that it does indeed work to put bins of stuff into the garage to 'age' so that I can gain some distance and make decisions. But getting the will to do that, oh me oh my!