The Book Shelf

I love reading! Well, now I do but that wasn’t always the case. Reading wasn’t something I enjoyed, my mom tried to find books that I might like, teachers tried, I just wasn’t interested. I read for school, to my kids but not for fun. I didn’t start reading for enjoyment until I was in my thirties when I was put on restricted activity for health reasons. I was given some books to read, one of them was A Walk to Remember by Nicolas Sparks. I was hooked!

Now, I read more than one book at a time and know when new books in a series will be released. Sometimes I pick my next read by how many pages it has, if I’m going to pay for it the longer the better. I perfer to read non-fiction in traditional book format but fiction I usually read on my e-reader becasue I don’t need a light to read in bed. And a 400 page book hurts when you nod off and drop it on yourself.

 

I’m currently reading these three books

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Some of the books on my to be read list are

What books are on your to be read list? Please share in the comments I love book recommendations.

 

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My favorite things under $20

These are few products I’m lovin’ right now. It’s like Oprah’s favorite things list but cheaper.

Maybelline Super Stay Matte and the Super Stay 24 hour satin lipsticks. I don’t wear IMG_0099lipstick very often because it wears off and don’t like to  continually reapply. These stay on! The one time I wore it to work my co-workers thought I was wearing the more expensive direct sales brand. Nope! Under $10 at the drug store or discount department store. Initially it goes on a little sticky but that feeling goes away once it dries. The colors are more intense on your lips than they look in the tube and I’d recommend getting the remover because it stays on.

 

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O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Lotion. This lotion has been a life (and hand) saver this winter. I work in an office where paper cuts are an occupation hazard. The lotion keeps my hands from feeling dry, it’s doesn’t feel greasy or heavy. It’s around $6 at the discount store. The best part for me is that it’s fragrance free. I’ve sensitive to perfumes and scented lotions, this one hasn’t caused the reaction I have with other lotions.

 

 

IMG_0101Pilot Frixion Highlighters. I like these highlighters for my planner because the colors are subtle compared to traditional highlighters and they don’t bleed through thinner papers. They are erasable and it works but it does leave thinner pages a little wrinkled. The set of 5 were under $8 at the office supply store.

 

IMG_0102Simple Modern Cruiser Cup. The cruiser cup holds a 16.9 oz water bottle perfectly. The lid has a snap closure that seals well to prevent leaking. I like the of this thermal cup better than some other styles I’ve tried because it’s slimmer and lighter. I feel like I can better hold it in one hand. I ordered this one from Amazon for $18, it’s available in a varity of colors.

 

What are your favorite things? Leave me a comment with your favorite things list!

 

You Need to Hear This!

While reading another blogger’s bio, my first thought was “this lady is perfect, I can’t be a blogger”. I started reading some of it to my husband. He wisely told me to stop reading it. Did I stop? NO! Her toddler can play the violin. I can’t even compare (translation – I’m not good enough).

That little voice in my head found a sweet spot of self-doubt and fear. Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom recently posted this quote on Instagram:

Of all the people on the planet, you talk to yourself more than anyone. Make sure you are saying the right things.

When I first read the quote I thought that is so true. But then I read the blogger bio and that quote came back and hit me right in the heart. Would I ever intentionally tell my kids they aren’t good enough because someone else does something better? No! But there I was telling myself I’m not good enough.

The only person comparing me to her was me. I was comparing my everyday to her highlights. Of course she’s not going to put in her bio that her floors are sticky and she has had laundry in the dryer for three days.

 

Kindness seems to be a current theme on social media. Be kind to those who have opinions and beliefs that differ from your own. Yes, we need to be kind to friends, family, co-workers, and the other people we interact with. We also need to be kind to ourselves. There is always self-talk going on in our heads. Those thoughts that just pop-up.

  • I can’t believe I said that
  • I’m such a clutz
  • My hair looks awful
  • This shirt makes me look fat
  • I’ll never be able to …
  • I’m so stupid

We wouldn’t intentionally say those things to people we care about but we say them to ourselves all the time. We need to be our own Aibileen Clark from the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

You is kind

You is smart

You is important

I would add one more to that list…

You is enough

The Craft Area Reclaimed

My February mini project was to organize my craft area (aka the dumpster). Items got dumped there while waiting for their final destination, either it’s home here or elsewhere. The inspiration for the project was born out of desperation. I wanted to make some greeting cards but first I had to clear a work space and dig out the supplies.

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When I finally starting working on the project it only took about 2 1/2 hours to get the majority of the project done. My goal was to get the items out of the craft area that don’t live there, make it simpler to get the supplies out and to put them away.

My first step was to make a plan. I decided to create two craft zones, one for sewing and one for paper crafts. I took every thing off the shelves and put groups of items together. Because I had the least volume of sewing supplies I put them on the smaller shelf. I moved the small shelf next to the sewing machine to create the sewing zone.

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I moved the two larger shelves together for the paper craft and scrapbooking zone. I sorted and purged the drawers in the craft cart because the supplies were a mess! I put the smaller craft items, colored pencils, adhesives and rubber stamps in the drawers. Each drawer now has a specific purpose. If I need a tape runner, it’s in the top drawer.

I still have a few small projects to finish. I want to label the craft cart drawers and the storage boxes, and purge the rubber stamps (again). The last small project is to get rid of the dried up markers. Time to get the creative juices flowing!

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5 Productivity Road Blocks

I struggle with getting things done. I make great to do lists and have big plans, but then I get side-tracked. I hurry to get the most important things done at the last minute. These are my (self-inflicted) productivity road blocks.

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1.  Not writing it down. When it isn’t on the to do list I forget about it and it doesn’t get done. That applies to household chores, scheduling appointments, projects and even mailing cards on time. If I don’t have a reminder, I will forget to mail birthday cards.

2.  I really don’t want to do it. The chores on my list I really don’t want to do, I avoid. Usually, I’ll do something unproductive while I’m avoiding the dreaded task. Ultimately, I just won’t get the chore done or I’ll move on and get anything else done.

3.  In a minute. I tell myself I’ll come back and finish it “in a minute”. In reality, the “minute” might be a minute, an hour, or a week later.  I’ll get back to it eventually. Getting Things Done author David Allen says if it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now. I waste more time going from unfinished project to unfinished project than it would have taken do just finish what I started.

4.  Social Media. Ouch! I don’t mean actually posting on social media or checking in once in a while, I’m talking about refreshing the screen every two minutes in case I missed something important. Then I realize I’ve waisted an hour or more just scrolling along.

5.  Game apps. That realization really hurt. This is my biggest productivity crusher. I will play games where I can pop bubbles or break blocks until I run out of lives or coins and then try just one more time. Hours will pass without me realizing it.

What are your productivity road blocks? What steps did you take to overcome them? Please share your ideas in the comments. I need the help!

 

February Mini Project

I’m still recovering from purging and organizing our storage room. Because it’s late in the month I’m doing a mini project for February. I’m tackling the crap craft corner. It has gotten a little out of control and has become a catch-all area for the other sorting projects. The craft tables are a great place to put things just until I decide where they belong and put them there.

I sorted and purged some of the craft items in earlier organizing projects but it needs to be done again. I need to be very honest with myself about what I can and will use. Then organize what’s left and label the containers so I can find the supplies I want to use.

I wanted to make some greeting cards this week. Before I could start that project I had to clear a work space on the table. Cleaning the workspace before I can even start crafting drains my desire to work on any projects. I also realized many of my markers are dried out, supplies that don’t work also take the joy out of being creative.

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My goal for this project is to be able to find the supplies I want to use and easily be able to put them away. I want the corner to be a happy crafting area again and not the crap corner. Please share your craft supply organizing ideas in the comments.

Wait! I Might Need That!

Yes, that’s was my excuse for keeping a lot of things I don’t use. Because someday I might need the little kids craft supplies. I don’t have little kids at home! My “little” is taller than me and will be driving (too) soon. Do I really need to keep the finger paints and sidewalk chalk? There are also things I keep out of guilt because I think I should keep them. Maybe because it was expensive or it was a gift that has out lived it usefulness. Those aren’t good reasons to store items that aren’t used or loved.

Clutter is no more than postponed decisions. – Barbara Hemphill

Our simplifying process started in September with the challenge to get rid of one item a day, I kept that going in October but concentrating on clothes and crafts. November I downsized our Christmas decorations as I got them ready to put out for the holidays. January’s project was our basement storage room. The second load of donations from January’s decluttering were dropped off this week. It felt really good to get the piles donations, trash and recycle out of the family room.

Five months into decluttering I thought I might be missing some things or regretting giving them away. The truth is, I’m not missing any thing. I haven’t wondered where I put an item or wished I hadn’t gotten rid of something. Maybe because we are taking baby steps to decluttering or because we have too much stuff. I’m also more thoughtful about what I buy because if I don’t need it, use it and love it, it will quickly become clutter. I love having empty spaces! Not to fill them up with more stuff but to be able to see, use and enjoy what we have.

Wrapping Up the January Project

Our January decluttering project has been the storage room. The has turned out to be a bigger project than I expected. It’s surprising how much stuff I can get in a box and still get the lid to close.

The shelves along the wall were the focus of the project. The goal was to get the boxes off the floor, put like items together and get rid of things we don’t use and love. We do love coffee, but there is a limit to how many coffee makers even we can use.

 

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I posted about earlier progress here. These are the piles from the second part of the project.

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It was a lot of work! I’m very proud of the progress we made and motivated to keep decluttering. Sorting the kids keepsakes and the photos will be on going projects along with the shelf of Legos. It’s great to start seeing empty space and not feeling so overwhelmed by all the clutter. I think we accomplished our goals of clearing the floor, putting like items together and rid of things we don’t use.

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The final touches will be to deliver the donations, get rid of the trash, the empties and not piling stuff up in there to deal with later.

 

Planner Obsessed

I love my planner, I know that’s not a secret or a surprise. What’s surprising is how long my obsession has been going on. One of the tasks for my January organizing project was to sort my books in the storage room. In one of those boxes I found 10 years of planner pages, 2003 to 2013! TEN years! Oh my! It’s very possible they have been in that box since January 2014. My relationship with planners goes back even further, it started before my oldest was born (she’s 24 now) an I don’t expect it will end anytime soon.

I use my planner as a to do list. When something I want or need to get done is  written in the planner there is an 80% it will get done, if it’s written down – well there’s a 98% I’ll forget. In addition to my to do list, I keep track of appointments, activities and birthdays on the monthly calendar page. On the weekly pages I put a reminder when to mail birthday cards, usually a week before the date. The weekly page is also where I keep my to do list, scheduled appointment, food journal, exercise log, and other reminders that may not be something I need to do but something I don’t want to forget.

My planner isn’t just a calendar or an office supply I tote around. It’s my accountability buddy and some days my brain, because I can use all the external memory I can get. How do you keep track of you to do lists? Do you use a planner, bullet journal or blank notebook? What other activities and tasks do you track to achieve your goals? Please share in the comments I love to get new ideas to (hopefully) keep me organized!

January Project Progress

The storage room decluttering project is going to be more of a challenge than I thought. Even after creating empty space on a shelf, there is still A LOT of STUFF in there.

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I started with the things we obviously aren’t using, the 3 small coffee makers and the 2 coffee carafes for coffee pots we don’t own any longer. Candle holders were next, I’m just not a candle kinda girl, I dust them more than I light them.

I was surprised I only had two boxes of books – very full boxes but only two. I combined all the children’s books into one box that I placed back on the shelf along with a box containing my Harry Potter collection.  A stack of books went into a separate donate box. I still have 2 boxes on the shelf, but now each are only half full and better organized. The next step is to put all the kids keepsake boxes on one shelving unit. They will have to help sort those boxes.

My progress is very slow. I have some empty space to organize things into groups, like photos and toys, in order to sort later and the donation pile is growing, but there is just a lot of stuff. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by this project. I’m trying to be mindful that every step forward is a good one, it’s going to take a while. But it will be worth it!

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