So, my birthday present...

I mentioned yesterday that for my birthday my family and I are doing a purge on my house. Tim, Timothy, and Anna are giving me an hour of work a day, although so far they've worked quite a bit longer each day. Madalyn hasn't committed (very Madalyn-esque). And my four minions are giving me 20 minutes each day.

Over the last year-ish, I have read several self-help books (many of them abfab) and I have found a theme that runs thru them. Focus on what you are doing at the moment. Do less. Get rid of stuff to do this. Get rid of responsibilities, technological clutter, mental clutter, house clutter. Become a better manager.

And I have to say it has been very inspiring for me. I used to be PowerMomma. I spent a minimum of an hour cleaning each day. I had the Flylady routine down pat. I made homemade freshly ground wheat bread almost every day. Meals to beat many restaurants. I volunteered full time. Homeschooled. And then I got sick (insert record scratch here) and everything changed. I have spent the majority of the last 3 years flat on my back or in my jacuzzi. And I have felt soooooooo lazy. So much guilt over all the balls I was dropping.

I have been slowly getting rid of responsibilities which means I have more successes in what I truly want to do. I have some more refinement to go. Crap, off on a tangent, back to the house.

The first book that I found very helpful on tackling physical clutter is The Joy of Less by Francine Jay. She says, "Generally speaking, our stuff can be divided into three categories: useful stuff, beautiful stuff, and emotional stuff." (p. 9). From this I made a rule for the family to consider when they look at an item: Keep Only If: you use it, you love it, it's sentimental. Otherwise, throw it out, sell it, give it away. We are using her method of removing everything from a room. Scrubbing, repainting and remodeling as needed. Then clean everything that was taken out of the room and apply our above rule to it. If it stays it then finds a proper place in that room or another room if it doesn't belong there.

The second book that I recommend is for spiritual clutter, though she does cover physical clutter as well. Magical Housekeeping by Tess Whitehurst is a mix of different approaches towards cleaning the house. She is the first source that has piqued my interest in feng shui. She uses other approaches that most pagans will be familiar with. I found her writing style to be interesting and enjoyable.

"Old, stagnant stuff in your home means there is old, stagnant stuff in your mind, body, and emotions. It's baggage," she said, "and it complicates your life and relationships." (p. ix). I use magickal cleaners for mundane cleaning. With 9 people in my house, there is a lot of psychic clutter and every little thing helps. Whitehurst has a similar approach and describes how to make your own cleansers and how to turn mundane into magickally mundane cleansers by adding essential oils depending on your intentions.

I really prefer to finish one room completely before moving on to the next one, however I am unable to do that this time. For several reasons: 1) to keep the momentum going we shouldn't take a break till we are able to finish 2) we have 21 days allotted to this project 3) we are waiting on materials to arrive 4) or it isn't in our budget to fully finish a project at this time.

So to give my brain the mental break that it needs (otherwise it nags at me to finish the project) I make note of it. We have a large whiteboard in our dining room (a leftover from homeschooling but we have left it up because we all love to use it for celebrations and family projects) that I have listed our rules of clutter on. Below that I listed all rooms/areas that will be purged during this project time. Next to each room I am making note of the remaining projects. For instance: bathroom- caulk and paint windowsill. Our dehumidifier is scheduled to arrive on Monday so I will be able to finish that room by Wednesday at the latest. Woot!

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  1. So far it feels nice in here! Can't wait for the bedroom to be done...

    1. bedroom in the living room isn't a look I care for :P

  2. Tam and I were doing some of that, but we got sidelined by sickness and other unpleasant things. We're hoping to get back on track soon.

    Miss you guys a ton, by the way.

  3. I hope you do too! Having a clean home really does reduce the amount of mental stress. I so frickin miss you guys! I was just thinking about you both as someone was asking about Amber's Kali painting on Thursday. How is your book coming along?

    1. My goal for this month is to go forth with electronic publishing. I got a Nook for Yule and I love it. Right now I'm working on the final edit and Amber is going to do the cover art for me! Yay! I'll start editing the second book, but I'm not even going to put a deadline on that one just yet. We really want to get the house organized.

      We discovered just how difficult it is to help family when the place is already full. We'd rather be there for our kids and friends who need a place to land, than have to shuffle around stuff all the time. When the storm hit, we had my two boys for several days, plus Tam's youngest, us, then Amber showed up needing a place, so... yeah. Had we been organized, we could have accomodated them all with little trouble. :)

  4. Congratz on the book! Amber will do a beautiful job. Please let me know when you publish it. I am an avid reader :). I think it's so cool and amazing that you found the time to write with your crazy schedule! Writing is definitely a priority for me this year.

    Setting a time limit (Feb 1-21st) and having the whole family help has really made a difference in our success of our do-over on the house. We've had plenty of "practice runs". Feels good to follow through.

    So now that you've had some "practice runs" you just need to come up with your final draft of your project, hehe.