Thursday, January 5, 2012

    A picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

      Blogging is not as simple as one might think. It is not just a matter of writing whatever you want to an audience you may or may not have. It needs to be interesting and hopefully witty. Yesterday I sent a copy of my blog to my daughters. Both were communication majors in college. While encouraging of my endeavour, my oldest said it was flat. I needed pictures to illustrate what I was doing, I agreed wholeheartedly.
     As a former teacher, I spent many years teaching elementary writing. But you know, it is a lot easier to tell someone  what to do than remember to do it yourself, And of course, the teacher came out and focused on mechanics, which was the last thing I told my students to focus on. Be creative, then work on the mechanics. But, as I said in my first blog, it is important to learn new things.    
     Blogging is new to me,There is a lot to it that you don't see. Last night, instead of blogging, I concentrated on learning to put pictures up. First try, copy and paste. Nada, just a lonely cursor. Oh look, there is a way to upload pictures, from my computer,so that is what that picture in the toolbar is.No problem. But I wanted to upload some pictures from the internet. Upload url? Just a bunch of gobbledygook. Oh look, there is a tab for html, I wonder what that does? Nice now it works. Okay, next problem.  I have pictures on my iphone. How do I get them to my blog in the easiest way? Finally figured out how to email them a few at a time. Couldn't do all of them. But that is a lot of work. What about Dropbox? Can I move them into my dropbox? Nope not yet. Feeling frustrated and a little woozy after a few glasses of wine, I went to the internet. It seems there is a nifty little iphone app called dropphox. Only 1.99. Normally I don't buy apps (I am really cheap) but I had a credit so why not. Too late for the pictures I have already taken, but new ones will automatically go to dropbox and I will be able to get them from any computer now. As you can see, I was pretty busy last night but by the time I got all this figured out, I was too tired to blog so I am catching up today and will post about my decluttering from the last two days and include pictures! "Yea!" the crowd roars, ***************************************************************************************************************************************
Declutter Days 4 and 5
     Yesterday my task was to declutter the top shelf of a cabinet.  Today's task was to go through your spices. But since I was cleaning a shelf and sorting anyway, I decided to do Friday's task which is to get your cans together. Spices on Friday. As an ex-school teacher flexibillity is the name of the game.
      I know there is a lot of white space below and it is terrible page composition but that will be my next blogging lesson.  Tomorrow, I will be working on my spice cabinet.  Ciao muchachos!
All this came off of 2 shelves

Finished project


I threw lots of  stuff away, jello, koolaid,  and 5 year old chili to name a few.  I really need to go shopping now.  As you can see above not many canned gooods but that meant it was easy to organize them.  The second shelf is breakfast stuff.  There are 2shelves left and I will probably put coffee and teas and the last shelf cake mixes.

This was thrown away.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Declutter and Dust your cabinet tops

      I know this blog is supposed to be about handling retirement and it really is.  This decluttering is part of my journey.  It is all about cleaning my mind as well as my house.  I have worked in some capacity since I was twelve years old.  And retirement is a big change. I kind of had a trial retirement  when I officially retired in 2007.  I had to wait six months before I could return to work in the school system.  In that six months I gained twenty pounds which I am still trying to lose.  As the six months wore on I  found myself sleeping later, taking a nap and watching a lot of TV. Not good!  So.... I joined a book club, started volunteering, going out to lunch a lot,(hence the 20 pounds)shopping,etc.  Soon I had no free time.  Not good either. I knew I needed a balance. As luck would have it my six months were up.  Sounds like a jail sentence doesn't it? Anyway I got an interim job and taught for another three and a half years. 
     Now it seems I really am retired, but I have learned some lessons.           

  1. Get involved in something physical
  2. Choose only a few activities
  3. Choose moderation
  4. Have fun!
Easier said than done but I will eventually get where I need to be.

       Now for day 3 of decluttering.  Today was definitely a no brainer.  Clean and dust the top of your cabinets.  I only have 3 and it took 10 minutes because there is really nothing on them,except for lots of dust of course.  Probably haven't been dusted since they were put in  in 2005. 
     Since I had the day ahead with nothing to do because plans with some friends were cancelled , I had a choice, don't get dressed and watch TV or straighten out my table linens. Experience told me that to  watch tv all day was a terrible idea.  Table linens it was.  I had no idea I had accumulated so many napkins and table cloths.  Five drawers were crammed with the linens. I went through the tablecloths today and separated the everyday cloths and vintage into two piles.  I also sorted through the antique linens from two grandmothers.  I had forgotten how beautiful they were with all the handwork.  If I can figure out how to photograph them and do them justice I will try and post them tomorrow.  Thank God for storage totes.  What did we do without them?  Any way they are folded and stored.  Next task is to go through all the napkins and placemats.  Any suggestions on the best way to clean the linen and damask napkins?
Tomorrow's task: declutter one cabinet shelf.
     Well it is my birthday today so night all.  I think I will eat cake.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Setting up a Donation Station

     Today, I embarked upon day 2 of decluttering my life.  I checked the calendar. Another easy, cheap and quick task: create a donation station.  I could do this in five minutes.  I grabbed a laundry basket and put it in the laundry room.  I pulled out my trusty label maker and marked it Goodwill.  Done! Now I could cross another task off my list. 
     But of course that was too easy.  About an hour later my husband told me it was in the way and to put it somewhere else.  Naturally when you have two retired people in the same home, conflicts  will arise. I wanted it where I would see it.  He wanted it out of sight (and out of mind).  Finally we agreed on the den coat closet. Out of sight but constantly being used.  Okay now I am finished.   Nope, a few minutes later, my almost OCD husband comes in and asks for the plan for taking the "stuff" to Goodwill.  ADHD me paused and said when it gets full.  Of course discussion ensued.  My husband knows me well.  I am full of good intentions.  "Are you going to take the basket? How often?  OK, OK, I guess I need to come up with plan.  So after much thought, and a few Hallmark movies, I came up with a plan. For the time being, I would continue with my laundry basket and line it with a black garbage bag. The bag is big enough for the basket.  When the basket is full, which means the garbage bag is about half full, I will take it to Goodwill.
     I would like to say that he would take it but he believes in just throwing unwanted stuff away. If you want to score just come by my house on a Tuesday after he has cleaned out a space. When we moved he put a 6 month old exercise bike,antique toys and some wedding silver on the curb because no one seemed to use them. I am just the opposite, I have an emotional attachment to everything. Will I use it?  who gave it to me?  Can I repurpose it?  Can I regift it? So when I do finally decide to get rid of something it is a big deal. 
     Now day 2 is done and it should work for now until I come up with a more permanent solution.

Tomorrow: Declutter the top of your cabinets and dust.
Wednesday: Declutter the top shelf of one of your cabinets
Thursday: Go through your spices and discard those that are old and out of date
Friday: Put all of your cans together on a can shelf or shelves.
Saturday: Go through your freezer and discard old freezer burned food

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Let's Get Started, new beginnings

     A new year and an excellent time for new beginnings. First a little about myself.  I retired in July 2007 as a teacher.  For the past 4 years I have continued to teach in part time positions. Alas, this year due to budget cuts, part time teaching positions are drying up and for the first time in over forty years I find myself unemployed.
     Sounds great you say, you are retired, not unemployed.  You can  do what you want to do! Unfortunately for me that is just the problem.  What to do! I have worked all my life which in itself has forced me into living a scheduled life. My job, children and husband dictated what time to get up, play, relax, work etc.  Now all of a sudden with those confinements gone, with the exception of my husband, I find myself with too much time on my hands and not enough activities  to fill it.
     But before you say "Volunteer", I want you to know that I am doing some, but too much can be a bad thing and so I have limited myself to church activities and one community activity, The Friends of the Library.  Both can take on a life of their own if you are not careful.
     Now getting back to new beginnings. At the beginning of the school year when I am usually involved with all those back to school things, I decided I needed something to get myself up in the mornings.So three days a week I enrolled in a water aerobics class.  I always hated jumping up and down and all that jazz but in the water there is not so much wear and tear on my joints.  It has been fun and allows some socialization with new friends. I have not really lost any weight, but I do feel better.  The other thing I have done is start a pottery class. Again socialization  and learning a new skill.  I might add it is also the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but more on that in a later post.  I have also decided that as a retiree, it is important to stay mentally sharp.  So I hope to undertake at least one new thing at least twice a year, hence the pottery and I guess this blog.
     As a retiree living in the same house for 20+ years, I find that I have accumulated quite a bit of clutter which has needed to be tackled.  For five years of my semi-retired state it did not happen.  The task was too daunting.  Where to start?  I would spend whole days trying to start tasks but never finishing anything. So another part of this blog will chronicle my attempts of decluttering my life. I found a calendar at My Simpler Life that is to help declutter your life. So each day I will do the one thing it says to do and see the results.  As a disclaimer, I did not create the calendar, I am using it as a guide to declutter my life.  So check in to see my progress. For January 1 the calendar simply suggests: "Think about who you want to be this coming year." Easy enough, I can definitely do that today.
     Since this is my first time creating a blog, I hope to get this organized as well, so bear with me as I learn this new skill of blogging.  So, see I have already committed to two new things since retirement.
Happy New Year and I will see you soon!