Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Life Update

So life has been crazy. I was just starting to figure out the stay-at-home mom thing when we found out that I may be in the beginning stages of pre-eclampsia at 38 weeks pregnant. And so with a diagnosis of gestational hypertension, I was admitted to the hospital to be induced. Several hours later, which included 2.5 hours of labor and my husband literally catching our child after one push before she fell in the toilet (there was no one in the room with us at the time), and we had a perfect daughter. She's now just over 2 weeks old and my husband goes back to work tomorrow.

So that's the big news. In smaller news, I have been working on the decluttering challenge at my own pace. It was really difficult in the late stages of pregnancy, because I pretty much had to do the decluttering mentally and then expend as little energy as possible to get up and pull out the stuff I wanted to get rid of. I have continued pulling stuff off bookshelves and other places as I see things that we don't actually need. So while it's not going very quickly, things are moving along. I was able to remove enough books from my bookshelves to move some stuff around and put some of our baby books on a different shelf, where they seem to be existing largely undisturbed so far, while the board books that our son still loves for us to read to him, he has easy access to.

Finally, I tackled the kid's room for my dream house. I knew that I didn't want it any bigger than would fit a bed, a bedside table, a shelf, a desk and chair, and a closet. Since we have two kids, I would just do mirror image rooms for them and they'll look the same. With a good organizer system in the closet, they won't need a dresser either.

So first I figured out roughly how much space I needed for each item I wanted in the room. Then I started drawing. I wasn't satisfied with the extra space left in the first drawing (left), so I tried again. I think I like the layout of the second drawing (right) and that ends up at roughly 10 feet by 6.66 feet, or a total of 67 square feet per child, 134 square feet for both rooms.

I want the bed to be built in, either as a loft bed, or an alcove bed with storage underneath. I could see the desk, shelving unit and bedside table to be built ins as well, so that there is floor to ceiling storage in every square inch of the room. Not that my kids should need that much space for their stuff, but if they do, they'll have it. Hopefully they'll enjoy reading too, so they'll need some space for their books. One window at the end of the room, the bigger the better to let in lots of light.

So far that brings the total square footage of our house to about 218 square feet.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Declutter Challenge - Kitchen

So this week has been focused on the kitchen. So far I've only managed one day, but I emptied out our pantry cupboard, threw out some stuff, and then rearranged.


I removed the rice cooker and several other things that did not belong in there. Threw out all the expired cat treats leaving all of one bag, threw out all the Chinese condiment packets that were sitting in two separate containers, and only then restocked. Everything is now accessible and I even managed to get a few things off the counter and into the cupboard where they belong. After that I looked through our mugs and sorted out 4 or 5 that we never use and that I have no sentimental attachments to. Continuing to feel pretty good about this purge and hope to tackle some stuff on our counters next. I'm hoping to get rid of our jars of sugar, flour, etc. that we hardly ever use but are taking up a ton of counter space in our galley kitchen and the rotating spice rack.

I ordered Tupperware spice containers from Amazon today and once they arrive, I will empty out the spices from the spice rack that we actually use, dump the rest, and then donate the rack. Then I will do the same with our spice bottles and random assorted spices we keep getting from a friend from her travels, label the containers, and stack them in a single row in the cabinet above the stove. That is the plan. We'll see how well that works in practice.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Dream House - Study

So over the years my dream house has evolved. For the most part in a size reduction sort of way. I've been trying to figure out the minimum amount of space we would need to be truly comfortable and have space for all the things that are important to us: gaming, reading, entertaining (mostly dinner parties), crafting (in my case), etc. Some of these things require flexibility in space, some things require dedicated space, and some require a decent amount of space (a craft room for example). I'm not sure what the finished product is going to look like, but I have been scaling back the amount of space to a bare minimum and went through that exercise with the study first.

This is the plan I came up with. It includes two sitting/standing desks, with file drawers and room for the printer in between. And on the other side a door to keep the tiny humans away from the cables and computers, in between two built-in bookshelves/cabinets. The door would ideally either be a Dutch door, or one with window panes, or a combination of the two, so that we can throw an eye on the tiny humans occasionally. Currently we share one larger desk, but too often hubby's dirty dishes end up directly in front of my computer, or his clutter drifts over to my side and vice versa. So it would be really nice to have defined spaces for each of us.

I wanted to go with standard sized desks, according to this Houzz article, that would be about 30x60 inches. This should give us plenty of room underneath the desks to store our computer towers and maybe a trash can or recycling bin. Above the desks, I'd want built in shelves, and in between the desks, I'd want two file drawers on the bottom, then a cubby for the printer, and then more shelves above that, potentially with a door.

The built-in bookshelves on the other side would have cabinets on the bottom, then a row or two of drawers for smaller items, and then open shelves. One more shelf above the door would round out the built-ins. I would want a window on one end of the office and a wall to hang up a large white/pin board on the other side.

Based on my calculations, this room would have to be about 12 feet wide by 7 feet deep. Not super tiny, but definitely efficient.

I envision storing the following in the office:

Open Shelves: books related to computers and coding, maybe our roleplaying books, binders, journals, yearbooks, photo albums, first edition books that we don't want the tiny humans to have access to, magazines

Cabinets: spare paper, shredder, briefcases/computer bags, games (unless there is a better place for these, because we have a lot), computer game discs, misc. boxes with things like computer game manuals

Drawers: pens, pencils, markers, scissors, cords and accessories, spare batteries, hole punch, ruler, stapler, tape, etc.

File Cabinets: all the paper files waiting to be put into binders

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Declutter Challenge

So I decided not to create a new blog for purposes of my sanity. Instead I will just continue to post to this one, and I apologize to anyone who wants to see mostly craft-related posts. You can skip these.

So if you're interested in joining, you can join at any time. Sign ups are here. The whole idea behind this challenge is to spend 30 minutes a day over 30 days getting rid of clutter in your house. The organizer encourages people who join after May 1 to start where everyone else is currently, so that you can ride that wave of momentum, instead of stressing yourself out starting at the beginning.

Week 1 is bathrooms and closets. Until today, I haven't had much time to actually work on this every day, between my kiddo not napping, appointments, and pregnancy exhaustion. However, today was my "day off." So not only did I get to sleep in this morning (by which I mean, I got out of bed at noon) and then do whatever I wanted with my day. One of the things I actually wanted to do was to get caught up. So first I tackled our bathroom, which has one single medicine cabinet in it. While I was taking things out, I also cleaned the inside of the cabinet, which gets done infrequently at best, and then put everything back that I actually wanted to leave in there. Here are the results:


Some of the things I threw out or removed: expired medication (to be disposed of properly), empty perfume containers, things that don't actually belong in the bathroom (namely medications which don't do well in the fluctuating temperatures and moisture that is found in any bathroom), back up floss containers, and things we don't use anymore.

Then, because I was feeling pretty good about myself, I decided to tackle the linen closet as well. I spent quite a bit of time organizing the inside of the linen closet a while ago and even bought storage containers for our hair accessories, first aid kit, my makeup, the bathroom cleaning supplies, etc. Here are the pictures:


I got rid of an entire plastic shopping bag's worth of expired contact lens solution. It expired in 2008/2009! I also consolidated several items, got rid of things that I never use (most of my nail polish, hair products, even some lotion I haven't touched in ages), put away stuff in the first aid kit after removing expired meds from there. I'm also looking forward to getting rid of some post-pregnancy items once this kid arrives in June, but until then, that sitz bath and inflatable ring, etc. will just have to continue to live in there.

The expired meds still need to be taken care of, so they are living in the trunk of my car for now, until I have time to take them to a disposal site (address is printed out and in the cup holder of the car). I figure that's the safest place to keep them out of reach of my toddler. And I also need to figure out what to do about the few things I found to donate, including a never-opened, non-expired pregnancy stick with instructions that I have corralled together in a Ziploc bag.

All-in-all I'm feeling great about my progress so far. Up next will likely be our coat closet. We have so many unnecessary pairs of shoes and coats in there, it's pretty crazy. Now that I've started, I actually look forward to doing more purging. I've always considered myself to be a hoarder, and in many ways I still am, but it felt great to drop that bag of trash in the trash can and the recyclables in the recycling container without even a hint of guilt.

Monday, May 1, 2017

New Blog?

I've been playing with the idea of starting a new blog (in addition to this one), about my plans for our future dream house and household stuff in general. I'm starting a 30 day declutter challenge today (if you're interested, you can sign up here), so I wanted to have a place to post about that, but also about stuff that I've been dreaming about for a while now. I just don't think I keep up well enough with this blog to start a new one, so since the title of this one includes "Life" in the title, maybe I'll just stick with posting to this one about all that stuff. So look for a post sometime soon, either about my vision for our dream house or one with a link to my new blog.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Feeling Lost

I haven't sewn anything in my house in over a month. I'm feeling a bit lost and frazzled and there's lots of reasons for that. The biggest is that I'm officially a stay-at-home mom right now to a very active 2-year-old, and have been for the past three weeks. My husband works at least 11 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week, so I see him only briefly and I have to get up with our son almost every day, so by the time his day(s) off come around, I'm physically and mentally exhausted. Of course, the whole being 33 weeks pregnant thing isn't helping there either.

The other problem is that my husband and our friend helped me move most of my crafting stuff down into the basement, but it's still a pretty big mess and every time I go down there to try and put stuff away, I realize that I just don't have the space for everything, but don't know what to get rid of, and I feel defeated and just sit on the bed and stare at it all. My machine is sitting on my sewing table, but isn't plugged in. I haven't worked on my commission quilts, even though both tops are done and I know what I want to do quilting wise for at least one of them. I've got ideas for the other one. And I think the worst part is that I know I need a creative outlet in my life, but I can't make myself do anything.

On top of that, I miss our families. It's like a great gaping hole in my chest. We managed to get two Michigan trips in the past two months while we've both been looking for work. It was so nice to be near family, to drop our son off at his grandparents for a night or two and actually both get to sleep in, to bring dinner over to my sister who is dealing with a newborn and an active toddler, or just congregate at her place to eat dinner together. To be there to support my father-in-law through the recovery for his eye surgery and give him something to take his mind off having to be face down and just generally let our son run around with his cousins. We have a pretty good support system here as well, but it's not the same.