Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas....Away in a box.

The Epiphany has come and gone. Today, I conquer the Christmas chaos that was left behind. All of the decorations have to go. NOW!!! Yep, time to put the house back together and feel some serenity and get organized for the year. My family had 2 weeks off, so everyone was home, and yesterday, they all went back to school and work. I love them dearly, but honestly, I am reveling in the quiet stillness of the house. Do you hear that? That's right, just the faint hum of the refrigerator.

Today was the day that I was going to start walking for exercise, starting with 30 minutes and then gradually increasing my time and speed. However, I have been up and down the stairs so many times today, and I'm just getting started, that I think I'm getting more exercise by putting away the Christmas decorations. Reaching and stretching, pulling, squatting, and all of the storage boxes are kept in the basement. Maybe tomorrow is a better day to start walking.

Love, love, love decorating the house for Christmas! Taking it all down and putting it away is a different story. Most of the items sitting around, and the garlands and swags are all put away. It's the tree that I just want to shove into a closet until next year. Leave the ornaments and just stick it in a closet and pull the whole decorated, inverted, cone of prettiness out next Christmas. If only I had a mega-huge house with a closet that would house that monstrosity, and still realize that it's a closet that I don't really need the other 11 months of the year. Oh well. What's a girl to do? Take down the tree. Ugh!

However, to make this process easier, I do have a little "system". I have two boxes of ornaments. Let me rephrase that, I have to large storage tubs of ornaments for the upstairs tree. Lots of ornaments. In one tub is just the regular store bought, 4 - 8 ornaments in a box, type of glass ornaments. In the other tub are the more personalized, one (or 2) of a kind on the tree ornaments. The store bought ornaments get taken off first. Get a large plastic bowl, or lined basket, and just take all of them off and fill the container. All of the surfaces are pretty clear in the living room. Just group them together on any flat surface. Then get the box for each group and put them away. It saves me from picking up a box more than once. It also saves the search and find stage of ornament de-clutter, by not having to search for the last ornament for a box. It's like playing "Where's Waldo" or looking in an "I Spy" book and trying to find a needle in a haystack. Fun in its own right, but not when you want to get something done quickly.  I continue in this manner with the rest of the ornaments until everything is off of the tree. Then I put them in their designated boxes, wraps, and papers, and directly back into the correct storage bin. Time to get started. (Imagine the music from Final Jeopardy playing.)

Okay. The tree is now bare! Yippee!!!!! Here's the progression.

Four Paper Bowls that I have on hand.

Containers for holding ornaments.
 Christmas tree in all of its glory. Hmmmm. It somehow looks better standing next to it. Oh well.

Decorated Christmas tree. Picture was taken at 12:09 pm. For got to put a time stamp on it. Sorry.
 After gathering my courage and pulling the tree to the middle of the floor in order to gain access to the back of the tree easily. I started taking ornaments off.

First bowl filled with ornaments. 12:16 pm.
This started going pretty quickly. Moving right along with no problems. 2 minutes, not bad.

2 bowls filled. 12:18 pm.
 3 bowls filled within 8 minutes. Now we're moving.

3 bowls filled. 12:22 pm

All four bowls filled with ornaments, in less than 20 minutes.

4 bowls filled. 12:24 pm. Nice Job!!

 This is a little trick that has helped me every year. Quite a few years ago I took pictures of 1 ornament from each box, printed it, and taped it to the outside of the box. No more guessing which ornaments go in which box. Problem solved. This is a real time saver.

Tape a picture of the ornaments on the back of the box.
Putting the ornaments in the correct boxes is very simple with this method. Snap. Print. Tape.

Put ornaments in the correct boxes every time.
 The tree is un-decorated and waiting for TM  to come home and put it back in its box to hibernate until next Christmas season. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!

All of the ornaments off the tree. 1:42 pm.

Both tubs filled with ornaments and waiting for storage. 1:42 pm.

Bowls holding the extension cords waiting for storage.
So after whining and procrastinating, it's all done. It took approximately 1 and half hours and I also took a break for lunch during the process. It was actually really easy.

Just an update to this prior to posting.....I actually did get a short walk in today, 15 minutes!! Okay, so it's not great, but it's a start. Now, I just need to start increasing my time each day until I'm back to where I was before I stopped taking daily walks a couple of years ago.

Enjoy! Go forth and accomplish one little thing today that will have an impact on a long term basis. No...doing the dishes doesn't count. Clean one drawer, or shelf, or closet. Oh I have another one, take down your Christmas tree, I did.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Time To Get Started

Have you ever found a product that works for you, only to discover when you try to get a new one, that  you can no longer find the product which you so loved? Countless times this has happened to me. I find it a bit frustrating. But, hey! That's okay, you just keep looking for something to fill the void, or if it's something you can duplicate at home, then do so. Just don't try to sell it, or pass it off as your own creation. That's just wrong. Enough said.

Real Simple has (or had) this great Grocery Checklist (pictured above) that I found at Target a few years ago. It has the basics on it, with little check boxes, and extra lines for writing in items that you might need. Great product! It made it very easy for the family to "help" with the grocery list by checking off items that we had depleted. It really does help organize your grocery list making. You can grab the sheet and take it to the store with you, or use it to make a more thorough list. Either way, it's easy to see what you are out of on a daily basis.

Weill, I was down to my last 3 sheets, and a bit frustrated with the fact that after searching periodically for a few months, I was still unable to locate a replacement. Yes, I searched Target.com, organizing stores, Real Simple, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, the Web. Yes....yes...yes. I searched pretty thoroughly, or so I thought. Well, here's the kicker, I wasn't supposed to find it. I was supposed to, for personal use only, duplicate it and tweak to my family's basics. It worked out great!!!! I used Excel and made a sheet that looks just like the sheets that I have grown to love, but was able to delete some items that we never purchased, and add some items that we purchase quite often. Brilliant!!!! Unfortunately, I don't feel that it would be right for me to post it online, because it is for personal use, and I did use my old list as a template. But someone else worked really hard to produce that item for Real Simple and sell it.

The point of this story? Stop pining away for something that you want and either can't find or don't want to pay the kind of money that is being asked, and make something for yourself. It's fun, and I won't lie, depending what it is you're making, it might be difficult for you. But......just try.....you'll surprise yourself. It's extremely gratifying and you'll love it because you made it yourself. It's also a great way to learn how to do something that you didn't know before, or just hadn't thought of doing at all.

Enjoy! Go forth and try something new!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's a New Year!!


It's a New Year. Let's try to make this year successful in a way that is meaningful individually. Not successful in the eyes of others, but on a personal level. That could mean finally organizing the linen closet, or making a laundry schedule, or losing that 5 pounds (or more in my case), that has been pinching at the ol' muffin top, begging to be released. What ever the goal is, no matter how small, if it's reached, then it should be acknowledged and celebrated.

Personally, I really do have a few pounds I would like to shred. BUT....and I say this loud and clear.....I don't want to go on a diet. The pounds are secondary, a healthier lifestyle is the complete goal, right down to my crazy sleeping schedule. This is not something that I can flip the switch and have all of my bad habits gone. It's going to take some time, a slow and steady process, with little changes here and there that will (hopefully), eventually be big overall changes.

Organizing my home and time are two other goals that I have for the year. There are other things that I'm sure I should do, and in time I will, but the starting line has to be painted somewhere. It's not a race of speed, but one of endurance. Slow and steady wins the race to making changes in my life that will produce good habits and erase the bad habits. Okay......let's be honest here, let me start by just trying to erase some bad habits. Well, I don't want to get too over zealous and set myself up for failure. It's like making a "to do" list for the day of 50 tasks and knowing that you really only have time to complete 10, on a good day. (Note to self: another goal....don't set yourself up for failure).

On that note, I know there aren't many people out there that are sharing this experience with me, but let's try this again. Shall we?