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Archive for March 15th, 2009

51203ugooml_sl500_aa240_I’ve always loved Nikki McClure’s work and I’ve had a number of her calendars over the years (check out her website for examples of her work). So as part of my self-improvement experiment I am including her new collection Collect Raindrops: The Seasons Gathered as an alternative/right-brained source of inspiration and motivation. 

As with the other two sources, each week I will take a section of the book, in this case, one paper-cut and the word(s) associated with it and meditate on how it should, could or might apply to my life right now. The book, like the year, starts with Winter – so I will start at the beginning of spring which is just around the corner.

Lesson One:

So here is the first word/phrase in Spring:

Eat more Kale

Hmm, that is disturbingly specific. However I think it can be interpreted in a number of ways. First of all I need to improve my diet. That was something I was working on at the beginning of the year but with work and the travel involved with the interviews, I have slid back into my old ways which involve a lot of chocolate and pastries.

Related to improving my diet, I need to work on being more aware of where our food comes from and how it is produced. For awhile now SG and I have striven to shop organic, shop humane, and to a lesser extent, shop locally, but now that spring is on the way, perhaps it is time to really start exploring the local farmers market and look into getting a CSA share. We talked about it last year but never quite got it together.

So for this week:

  1. Be more mindful of what I eat. Keep a journal of what I ate, where I ate it, who I ate it with, where it came from, and how I felt when I ate it.
  2. Talk to SG about a possible CSA share this year.
  3. And finally, eat more greens (I can only take so much kale).

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I must admit I like Schofield’s take in the introduction and first chapter. First she tackles the all important question of why we should be organized:

I enjoy an organized lifestyle because it helps me get what I want. Good home management skills provide me with a cheerful background for living…Because things are orderly, minimal time is spent housecleaning. i have a lot of free time….

and then in the next section

What you need to do is put housework in its proper perspective. View it as a tool to help you get what you want…. visualize yourself lying down every night with a peaceful feeling, knowing your work has been done well. you awaken to a house that is in order.

Yes please!  I do want to wake up in that house. And despite my critique in the previous post, this is a refreshingly practical way to look at things. I don’t want to be convinced that housework as inherently fulfilling I just don’t want to live in a disaster zone. She also warns about over-organization and the havoc it can wreak on your family and personal life. Organization need to work for you. That is an idea I can get behind. 

So yes, I’m sold. Tell me more.

Chapter Two: The Organizing Principles

So here are her six organizing principles:

  1. Think before you act.
  2. Discard and sort
  3. Group
  4. Be motion minded
  5. Practice preventative maintenance 

Think Before You Act

In other words, don’t just do things the same old way, take a moment (or a few or a day) to think and plan before you tackle a project, and make planning a way of life.

All sound advice, but more of a mantra than a practical piece of advice, so let’s move on to #2.

Discard and Sort

Ah yes. Here we are at the classic decluttering portion of the book. No time. No time. But never fear, she has lots of different ways to implement her basic four box discard and sort method. Here are a few that might work for us:

The fast fix:

  • take out stuff that clearly stays (dishes, silverware, etc.) and put it in one box/pile
  • take out perishable stuff and put it into a second pile
  • throw away any OBVIOUS garbage 
  • put everything else in a fourth box and then put the WHOLE box out of the way for the moment – eventually you will have to go through it and do the discard/sort but it gets you dug out for the moment.
  • Put the other stuff away

Hmm, that might work for the living-room bookshelf. And the kitchen cupboards.

Tidbit

Go through the process one shelf or drawer at a time. 

Toss It, Move It

Go through the process one step at a time – with as much time as you need between steps. Find stuff that is trash – throw it away. Find stuff that belongs somewhere else, put them away. Find stuff that you want to give away – box it up. Reorganize and straighten the stuff you are keeping.

Both of these methods could work for different parts of the house.

So the goal for this week is to apply these three versions of the discard/sort methods to at least one area of the house.

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