Thursday, August 25, 2011

How One Misplaced Item (or a Bunch) Can Ruin it All

OK, so my post's title is a little dramatic, but many of us have had those times when one thing has thrown our entire schedule or home out of whack. Erin Doland at Unclutterer named it so well: the Keystone Demise. In architecture the keystone is the center stone of an arch that holds the arch together.
While explaining this concept to my husband, I pointed to the two main causes of our keystone demise: cute, lovable Claire and our wet basement. (If you read that like I did, cute, lovable Claire was upbeat and happy but wet basement was neither and followed by a "whop whop whop" sound like when people fail on a game show.) While neither is as minor as the triggers Doland refers to, my things have greatly contributed to our disorganization. (And we've had plenty of those minor things that have thrown what little routine and organization we have out of whack. They're just really minor in our grand scheme of things.)

In May 2010, when cute, lovable Claire was just shy of two months old, we had a flash flood that caused water to pour into one of our basement windows. I was fortunate to have my parents and younger brother visiting, so with Nick at work and Mom watching Claire, Dad, Eric and I set to work clearing the office and bar and bailing as much water as possible. 

We were left with soggy carpets, a relatively unusable basement and a jam packed upstairs guest bedroom.  I was basically camped out in the master bedroom with Claire anyway, so it didn't really impact my routine. 

But that's mainly because my routine was fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-figure-out-how-to-be-a-mother. Yes, that's right, everything was already up in the air and disorganized (and my routines have complex dashed titles). 

(I just had to pause and take a deep breath. Just writing this is giving me anxiety.) 

We got the basement back together, but never completely organized and finished. Claire has grown a lot, but we're still taking it day by day with her. Then in early May it began to rain and it didn't really stop until the end of June with intermittent downpours and showers in July and August. And we've found ourselves in the same place again with a damp, disorganized basement and a cluttered upstairs guest bedroom.

(Here, guest, whom I love enough to host in my home, just step over that pile,
leap the next pile and from there you should be able to jump into bed.)

So, a number of things have led to a state of chronic disorganization in my home. (It's been over a year! I consider that chronic.) It has to stop. We have to get everything back together. My sanity is at stake here. Throughout the fall, and undoubtedly into the winter, we'll work to get everything back together and finished. As I go, I'll share my solutions and tips to an organized, usable and, most importantly, a finished basement.

Have you had a similar case of chronic disorganization? What set it off? How did you resolve it?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Green Dishwashing Failure

One of my goals is to reduce the chemicals in our house. I'm starting with our cleaning products. After using the last of our chemical-laden Cascade, I decided to try a green detergent made of borax, washing soda and baking soda. The results left a lot to be desired. My dishes were coated with a nice layer of white residue. I attempted to rerun the load with less detergent, but it didn't solve the problem. I had to hand scrub the entire load, taking so much more time than if they were just dirty from use.

I know our hard water with lovely orange staining abilities and lack of a water softener are to blame for the issue, but I'm still very frustrated about it. Here I am trying to do what I think is best for my family, and my failure is not welcome!

But I'm not giving up. I'll try just a few dishes with about half the amount of detergent. If it works, I'll be thrilled. If it doesn't, I won't have as much to hand wash, and I'll move on to another recipe.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A New Sewing Machine and the Possiblities

I just purchased a Singer sewing machine on clearance for 50% off. To say I'm excited is an understatement. I've been pining for a sewing machine for a while now, but I'd planned to wait until we move. The great price prompted me to buy it sooner than planned.

Suddenly, the world is alive with all the possibilities of sewing projects:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Executive for a Week

Lately my job has seemed more administrative than I'd like, and it's led to a lot of frustration for me. This week, though, has been the exact opposite. My boss picked the craziest week to go on vacation, and I'm loving it! I've been responsible for making marketing decisions all week. At first, I was really stressed and anxious. Now I'm really stressed and excited to see what I get to tackle next.

Two more days left...