Posting of Daily Goals for Decluttering/Organization – my Flight Plan

Archive for August, 2012

Flight Plan on Hold? or FLYing through Surgery

E’s hemiplegic hand before surgery

I had mentioned upcoming surgery for my daughter.  Well, it happened last Friday and my life has been crazy to say the least.  Did this put my Flight Plan on hold, or did I FLY through surgery?  Well, let’s just say, I was not adequately prepared with a Flight Plan for surgery.  I mean, how many times in your life (I hope not many) do you need a packing list specifically for an overnight stay at the hospital?  And what exactly do you take?  Also, keep in mind that you’re accompanying your 10-year-old daughter who will not be able to carry anything for herself following surgery, leaving you as the sole person responsible for everything.  Throw in details like sleep deficit and the stress that comes for teachers at the beginning of every new school year with the overwhelming number of details to attend to even before the first Teacher Workshop days, and my Flight Plan faltered.  I panicked, became overwhelmed, and screamed at my husband who appeared to be living a normal, everyday life that I couldn’t have.

Cast from fingertips to about two inches from her shoulder after quadruple tendon transfer to lift her wrist and fingers into a useful grasping position

In the end, I did come up with a manageable amount of baggage to bring into the hospital and carry back out again.  I did keep things organized by things to do during the waiting time before and during surgery and clothing and toothbrushes etc for the overnight stay.  I actually considered using my wait time during surgery to write up the plan for the presentation I’m scheduled for during teacher inservice days next week.  I know, right?

What I really did during surgery was eat breakfast (so I wouldn’t become a patient later by fainting in the recovery room with my daughter), post updates to friends and family, nap (so I wouldn’t look like I might faint in the recovery room and so I could intelligently ask and answer questions), and eat lunch (to have the energy to care for my daughter after surgery, especially not knowing when I could get away again).

Yes, I really wonder what I looked like when the admitting nurse, while asking me questions about Emily’s medical history, made a point of telling me that I was welcome to come to the recovery room within 30 minutes of her arrival there but that I certainly didn’t have to if I didn’t want to.  What?! my tired brain protested, trying to make sense of this.  WHY would I not want to be in the recovery room with my daughter?  Are there actually parents who think they have better things to do or what?  At another point, the nurse asked me if I was okay.  “Oh, yes,” I said brightly!  Do I look that bad?  Yes, I guess a couple of nights of 5 hours sleep will do that.  I need at least 7 hours to really feel good.

Cast on right arm from surgery, brace on right leg due to hemiplegia (one-sided weakness or paralysis), bandaged knee from surgery to halt growth on left to facilitate evening of leg length, and crutch for left arm – Oh, and dinosaur surgical cap on head

So I guess it appeared that my Flight Plan may falter, but I flew (FLY = Finally Loving Yourself) when I took care of myself during surgery.  After all, what good would I be if I didn’t?!


Flight Plan -Decluttering Stressful or Stress Reducing?

Is it possible to get too obsessive with routines and decluttering so that it can actually become a stressful thing?  Or maybe it’s the stress of seeing so much more I want to get done accompanied by the awareness of time being short.  After all, this is county fair week as I’ve mentioned previously.  It’s also the week that my youngest has surgery scheduled.  (At least there’s no stress over the insurance coverage now.)  And I’m scheduled to present at back-to-school workshops and prepare for the start of the school as a teacher in two different districts as well as get my own kids ready to go back.  And I’m continuing my mission of routines at home with decluttering included, while living with 3 kids (two teens and a tween) who all feel some levels of stress as well with fair week and the impending start of a new school year that the fair signals for us.


My body may be starting to feel it!  I’ve had tightness in my chest and need to tell myself to relax….  Then I ask myself if I’ve been remembering some of the very basic things I’ve been trying to build routines for –   drink water, take my vitamins, get enough rest, have fun!

So now I’ve scheduled electronic reminders for myself on my new IPhone.  Every day I’m getting gentle chimes that remind me to “Drink water,” “Take vitamins,” etc.

A friend recently told me a story about someone who actually brought his dead son back to life by praising and thanking God for His great healing power and for the life of his son.  She stressed that through all of her own health issues, she has been remembering to be thankful and how stress relieving that is.

I tried it myself yesterday while flying across town in a total panic over back tags (yellow sheets of paper with large black numbers worn by the rabbit show participants).  Ours were misplaced and I had two girls waiting at the fairgrounds for their white shirts and jeans plus the back tags and only 20 minutes to go before the start of the competition.  All this after being so pleased with Teen DD’s organization with to-do lists made for the day.

Then I remembered the words of my friend whom I hadn’t seen in so long – about thankfulness.  I began thanking God as I pulled up to a red light.  Thank you God for the routines that carried us through fair entry days so that I made only one necessary trip across town and back instead of 2-3 trips for forgotten items.  Thank you God for all the opportunities our kids have through 4-H.  The red light turned quickly to green.  Thank you in advance, God, for the outcomes of the rabbit show and for my daughters who are waiting there patiently for me.  My shoulders relaxed with the realization that all outcomes are already decided and ours to enjoy.  What will we remember later and carry into the future with us?  Further relaxed.  I pulled into the fairgrounds and called to let the girls know I’d arrived with their clothes.  My Teen DD, whom I had expected to be screaming in panic and berating me for taking so long, said, “Okay, I see you.  I’ll come get the clothes.  And don’t worry about the back tags.  They made new ones for us.  Oh, and we’re not up for awhile.”   Yes, “all things work out for good to those who love the Lord.” Romans 8:28  And thank you, God, for putting Angie there to remind me of all this.

Flight Plan -County Fair/Surgery/School Year

I’m FLYing!

From my title you might guess that this is a busy time.  I’ve been FLYing through all three of these things – helping with 4-H projects for the county fair, preparing for surgery for my youngest, and shopping for the coming new school year, oh, besides planning for starting my new year of teaching.  All of this while continuing my decluttering/organization projects.

So here’s some of what’s been going on…

Teen DD asked for money for bobby pins for rabbit showing at the fair. I searched the drawer in the bathroom and ended up giving it a much needed cleaning. Hair things dumped in the drawer and spilled baby shampoo making things gunky. No, we haven’t had a baby in the house in 10 years!

Toothpaste & lip balms in narrow white organizer (also washed) and combs and flossers next to it in the drawer.  Hair things in separate bin for Tween DD.  Ear rings and whatever collected next to sink for Teen DD to take.

The bin full of stuffed animals was piled high with clothes moving from Teen DD to Tween DD – all of that between the bathroom doorway and the laundry hamper system. Unfortunately there are 6 years between the two girls, and clothes have to be stored several years before we pull them out and hope they fit, are still in style, and that Tween DD likes them…Ew, how dirty is the carpet underneath all that and behind the laundry bags too!

The pile of clothes is now in vacuum sealed bags for storage and the floor thoroughly brushed and vacuumed behind and underneath.

Hallway before

My side of the new refrigerator will contain reminders like “Take your vitamins” and “Drink water.”   Memo boards and laminated routine are on the other side of the refrigerator.  As Tween DD completes her morning routine, she moves laminated strips from the left to the right side of the refrigerator. On the far right is a job list on which kids can record points they earn that turn into money at the end of the week.

My side of the new refrigerator – It will contain reminders like “Take your vitamins” and “Drink water.”

Daily routine before

Completed routine – laminated strips moved to the right

Today is Fair Entry Day and 4-H Rabbit Judging at night.  Tomorrow I can post some awesome 4-H projects on trifolds, rabbits ready for transport, and craft projects boxed to go.  Later in the week I’ll post ribbons earned, … after returning from the hospital with Tween DD from her surgery.  More on that to come…



Flight Plan – Minimalism – Less stuff please!

I thought our house would be “perfect” when we built 14 years ago. Our oldest child was 3 at the time, the 2nd and 3rd not yet born. What did we know about what we would need in the future? Surely 3 bedrooms would be plenty for whatever number of kids we would have. And surely an open floor plan house would lend itself to a close knit family! Now we have 3 teens/preteens with one boy as the middle child. So teen daughter has to share with kid sister (ages 17 & 10) or with Mom & Dad until teen moves out! And open floor plan means no place to get away from anyone else – alone time, yes! I’m working on our basement now to make it a place where either the teens go or we, the parents, do. Yes, space is good!  Doors are good too!

Do we need a lot of “stuff” in that space?  A resounding no!!  DH occasionally orders online when he finds good deals.  The boxes arrive.  They get stacked somewhere in the entry or front room of our house, and they stay!

No!  We have nowhere to put the contents of those boxes, no matter how much he (we) wanted the item(s) inside.  No more!  Stuff must go out, not come in!

Flight Plan – It’s just 15 minutes, or is it?

Yesterday was Day 2 of a migraine.  I’ve had headaches for years.  They used to last 3 full days – not usually the flat-out-on-your-back-in-the-dark kind, but the annoying, nagging, please-talk-quietly-around-me-and-keep-the-lights-low, just-feeling-kinda-yucky kind.  They are now lasting 2 days instead of 3 – yes!, maybe because I know more now of how to keep them more at bay.  First, you catch it right away before it has a chance to get really bad.  After that, for me it’s a combination of ibuprofen and caffeine.  I can’t normally take too much caffeine.  But when I have a migraine, a grab a can of caffeinated pop (usually Dr. Pepper) and treat myself to a bar of dark chocolate.  Almost makes it something to look forward to – almost!

Well, as I said, yesterday was Day 2 of the requisite two day migraine and I was scheduled to drive over 2 hours to pick up my kids from Grandma & Grandpa Camp.  Besides that, I didn’t feel like I’d accomplished all of my goals for my week of decluttering without kids.  Could I get into the basement for one 15-minute session?

Here was my Flight Plan for the day:  I posted pictures and updated previous postings on our local Buy & Sell site with items already cleared from the basement.  Then I headed for the basement with two timers.  I set one timer to count up and one timer to count down from 15 minutes.  When the 15 minute timer went off, I continued on until I finished what I was doing.  The count-up timer let me know how much time I actually worked.  And here’s what I accomplished:

Here is the “before” picture from earlier this summer.

Here’s the part finished today. A couple of those bins contain items that will be sold, donated, or thrown away.

Here’s my donation to my mother!

After clearing out a box of craft materials, I was able to take a bag of x-stitch pattern books, material, and etc. to my mother who will put it to much better use than I have.  Then I got back to the shelves that I had started earlier in the summer and found them and the bins on them to be covered in a film of dust.  Easy to take care of, but what a difference it can make!

32 minutes or two 15s


By the time I decided to stop, three shelves down, I had spent 32 minutes total in the basement – or two 15s.  Not a lot of time or effort, but a significant accomplishment in the decluttering battle!

I had time to pack for overnight, take a short nap and shower, allowing time for last traces of migraine to dissipate before heading out for my 2-hour drive.  Nice accomplishment for  the day!

Flight Plan – FLYing Out with the Old & In with the New

I’m FLYing!

This should have been posted about two days ago, but here it is.  We were expecting a new refrigerator.  I posted pictures of the old one last time.  The store had told DH that delivery would be sometime after 5 p.m. which made DH happy because he would be home from work and could inspect everything, ask his questions about a possible line for the ice maker, etc.  Well, at 3:50 p.m. the delivery guys called to say, “We’re on our way with your refrigerator.”  I paniced and was speechless for a moment!  I actually said, “What does that mean?”  Then my brain kicked in, and I started thinking aloud.  “So what do I have to do then?  I mean, I’ll need to clear a path to the door, right?”  And as my brain fully grasped the situation, I added, “The only real problem would be that I still have to clear the old refrigerator out.”  No, not started!!  I thought I had at least another hour and thought DH would be home to help before I really had to think about it.  The guys asked how much time I needed.  Would 1/2 hour be enough?  I don’t know.  Would it?  I said, “How about if you call in 1/2 hour and find out if I’m ready.”  Fine.

15 minutes a delivery truck backs into my driveway!  Okay, the pressure’s on now.  Or is it?  They are the ones who told us it would be after 5 and suddenly show up an hour early!  Should I feel bad for them waiting outside on a day with temps in the 90s and a high dew point to match?  No, they’re sitting in their air conditioned cab listening to the radio and talking on their cell phones.  Okay…

I kept a steady pace, filled two large bins and a cooler in as organized a way as I could.  What really needs refrigeration and what can last awhile on the 78 degree kitchen floor?  Half an hour later I waved at the guys and we made the exchange.

Oh, then there’s the job of loading the new refrigerator!  A plan for organization right on the spot!  A true test of  my FLYing abilities!  With only a one-time shot at seeing the inside of the new refrigerator before it arrived in my house, I had no plan in place ahead of its arrival.  I set to work eying shelves against the height of objects needing placement and also grouping like items together in a way never before seen in the old refrigerator.  Yes!  I really am FLYing!

Yes, here are the pictures!  Will it stay this way?  Well, I have the pictures now to check against in a week or so after we’ve had 5 of us in and out of there on a daily basis.  Maybe I’ll even post them so you can help me judge how close we’re staying to my original plan of organization.

New French door style refrigerator – much bigger than the last one and more energy efficient

Full view, excluding the freezer drawer in the bottom

A closer view of the middle for organization – a bin for meat that we added ourselves, a bin for cheese using one of the veggie crispers, FridgeSmarts of lettuce and fruits, a drawer full of yogurt, 2 more FridgeSmarts waiting for the next trip for fresh produce

Drinks and condiments organized in groups, same in the other door

I did not take pictures of the coolers and bins I used (I could have.  We had to wait to fill the refrigerator for a couple of hours while it took its time cooling below the 80 degrees it said when set in place) or the disgusting awfulness of the kitchen sink full of the rottenness of those forgotten items from the back of the refrigerator.  Tofu gone bad is pretty wretched!  Just sayin’!  And I couldn’t believe the number of brown bananas collected in the back of the freezer – way beyond banana bread material!  I would say 2 1/2 bunches worth when you put them together!  Not happening in the new freezer.  This time we have the freezer as a drawer on the bottom.  Much easier to see everything, and nothing can get lost in the back.  Maybe in the bottom?  I hope not!

Yesterday’s post would have been on my efforts to completely clean the kitchen for the 3rd day in a row this week!  Putting away the wiped out coolers and bins, disinfecting the stinky sink, and washing one last round of dishes along with a round of zip locks.  Do zip locks accumulate at your house like they at ours?  I’ve decided to wash 7-8 at a time every time I wash dishes until they’re all gone.  The pile is too much to look at if I think I have to do them all at once, and there’s nowhere to put them all to dry anyway.

Baby steps!  A little at a time, but always moving forward!

Flight Plan – Goal for today – Do not PANIC

The goals I’ve made for myself  –  I feel like if I don’t accomplish them quickly, they won’t happen.  That happens too many times around here.  But, on the other hand, I need to not run myself into the ground.  I’m been spending a lot of time the past couple of days in front of the computer, whether it’s writing this blog, reading inspirational/motivational posts and e-mails, and searching for the perfect to-do/list apps for my  new IPhone.  (I had great ones for my DroidX already, so why did I switch?)

Today I’m tired.  But my kids are away this week.  This is my time to accomplish goals.  But one of those goals needs to be to learn how to relax and enjoy.

Today I inserted “Exercise, eat” between steps of my to-do list at least 3 times.  I will go step-by- step through the list which includes the things I need for me and things I will enjoy, mixed in among the hard-core organizational goals.  I will also remember to do only one-step (15 minutes each) at a time, and the whole thing will be manageable.

I have to start with dishes.  Aaawww! I whine internally.  Then I remember the movie I want to watch on our kitchen DVD player as I clear the dish drainer and wash the next round.  Oh, and I get to finish clearing the magnets and miscellaneous whatever collected on the refrigerator.  We’re getting a new fridge tonight!!!  Yes!  And I have a system in mind for organized use of the side of  the fridge as a magnet board for daily routines.  Again, yes!!

The side of our refrigerator – You should have seen the front. All good, usable stuff, of course! Just too much of it! Then no one sees ANY of it!

Aaawww!  I don’t have near enough dishes or magnet clearing to do to keep me in the kitchen for the length of a movie.  That’s okay!  Take the DVD upstairs later and continue it while you fold clothes and empty baskets in the bedroom!

Yeah, that’s the plan!

Pursuing "enough"

Finding contentment in a "more is better" world

Texana's Kitchen

Yummy food. Pithy commentary. Pretty pictures.


the semi-literary works


The wacky stories of a crazy lady.

Blue, Butterflies, Books, Sheep - Turning Randomness into Order

Posting of Daily Goals for Decluttering/Organization - my Flight Plan

cancer killing recipe

Just another site

Single Again

wanderings and wonderings of a girl who is single, again.


returning to simple living

Life isn't so much a puzzle as it is a plan

I live. I think. I write. I shoot. Unedited.

Home Baked

Home Ec in the 21st Century

Nathansno1 Blog

Just another site

Cierra's Blog

Just another weblog

Owatonna K-8 Explorations

Just another site