Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Keeping a Personal Journal: Writing your Life Story


Lately, I have been contemplating the idea of keeping a personal journal. I really feel that I need a place where I can describe in detail my feelings, including frustrations and joys. 

I kept a journal for about 5 years or so during my late thirties and early forties. These were very crucial and difficult times in my life. I am convinced that keeping a journal helped during those years. I also tried to keep a journal after the birth of my son during my mid-forties. I really wanted to document my life as both mother and wife. But, this attempt only lasted for a few months. Now, I am practically fifty years old and feel that it's once again time to keep a journal. 

I know that there are many reasons why people keep journals, including self-awareness, accountability, focus, clarity, meditation, a place to face our fears, and a place to feel in peace. Although I feel that all these reasons certainly apply to me, I know that the main reason why I want to keep a journal is a different one. I want to keep a journal at this stage in my life because of my son.

I feel a deep necessity to write about my life and myself because I want to leave something that will aid my son to know my life story. We live such a busy life that there is never really enough time to share sufficient quality time with our children. Although I know my son knows who I am and how much I love him, there are so many things about me and my own life experience that I have not shared with him yet. If I take the time to write about my life story and my experience as his mother, it may give him the chance to know me better.

So, I have started to keep a journal once again. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Enjoy the Moment!



Last night, my husband, kids and I were all admiring and enjoying the picture above. A young seal was awaiting for the first blizzard of 2015 just in front of our cottage.  During winter, ice tends to form at the bottom of the staircase that leads to the beach and this young pup was using the space.

So far, the winter on our Island has been too warm and very little ice has formed on our coastal habitats. When this happens, seal pups tend to use any other solid surface that they can find, including ice on sand beaches. Clearly, this little pup is using the beach in our cottage until enough solid ice is formed on the water.

Although we did not see in person the seal pup, it made us very happy to know that this beautiful animal is using our cottage to survive and grow.  

Enjoy the moment little pup!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Uncluttering the Kitchen: A work in Progress


Our kitchen is super small. There is very little counter space, drawers are filled with all kind of things, and the space to storage food items is very limited. Small appliances and other items live on the counter top because there is no space inside the counters or anywhere else in the kitchen. Although we would love to renovate the kitchen, we know that we will not be able to do that very soon. 

While we wait for the day that we might be able to renovate the kitchen, we need to find a temporary solution because our kitchen is a real nightmare.  


De-Cluttering and Re-organizing

I found many good ideas with respect to decluttering and reorganizing the kitchen in the internet, especially at The Kitchnn. In the Kitchnn, there is a great series of articles about decluttering the kitchen, called "Kitchen Cure Spring 2010". I highly recommend these articles because they provide lots of tips to reorganize the kitchen, including ways to create more space in it. I am listing below some of their ideas regarding ways to create more space in the kitchen , but if you want to have more information, I strongly suggest you read the whole article


How To Create More Space in the Kitchen

  1. Look for unused wall space to hang shelves for additional storage.
  2. Mount a stainless steel bar with S-hooks to hang a spice rack and/or utensils.
  3. Mount a knife strip on the wall
  4. Even empty corners can be put to use; equip them with slim cabinetry that takes advantage of vertical space.
  5. Use wooden boxes to store things you don't use regularly that might otherwise gather dust or be in the way.
  6. Adjustable shelving can be customized to store taller items such as vases and jugs.
  7. A butcher-block surface does double-duty as a top for an island and a cutting board. Add shelving underneath.
  8. Use matching baskets to hold non-refrigerated produce such as garlic, onions and ginger.
  9. Put the kitchen table to use. Free up drawer space by keeping flatware in a caddy in the center of the table.
  10. Save counter space by mounting small appliances, like a microwave, coffeemaker, or toaster, under upper cabinets.

After reading this great article, I realize that in order to create more space in our kitchen, I first needed to get rid of all the things that we were not using, or that we will not be using in the near future. Among these things, there was the expired food.



I never realize how much space food can take in a kitchen. Based on the number of expired food items that were in my kitchen, it's clear that we buy too much food in our house.

Although some expired food items can be consumed (e.g., canned food), this was not the case for most of the items that we had in our kitchen. We had cans and boxes of dry food that were sometimes 4-5 years old. I even found baby food from the time that my son (now 5 years old) was about 1 year old (e.g., baby formula and food). Overall, I must have filled at least 7-8 bags with expired food. I was certainly very happy when I took all the bags out of the kitchen, and actually noticed a little bit more space on the counter tops. 

Of course, my job in the kitchen is not over. There are still some appliances and other related items that have to be moved somewhere else. But, for the moment, I am enjoying the pleasure of knowing that we don't have more expired food in our kitchen!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Uncluttering: Old Magazine Issues


If you read my previous post about "uncluttering my life", you know that one of my goals for the year 2015 is to de-clutter my house. Why? Well, there is not a single counter or flat surface in the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms or living room in my house that is not covered by objects of all kinds.

My strategy during the first weeks of January has been to get rid of the most obvious things. So, I started by getting rid of magazines. Although I knew that we have subscriptions to a couple of magazines, I never realized that we have accumulated that many issues. Between the living room and the washrooms, I counted over 100 old magazine issues that were not read or touched by anyone at home. I got rid of most of the old magazine issues and only kept the most recent ones. The feeling of satisfaction after seeing the blue bags filled with magazine issues was fantastic! I know that it's not over, but it was a good beginning!


What did I learn from this?

(1) If you have lots of magazine subscriptions, but only read these magazines once or a couple of times, you may want to consider cancel these subscriptions, so you're not wasting money or cluttering up your home.

(2) Be Selective -- tear out pages of inspiration or interest and put them immediately in 3-ring binders...one for recipes, one for workouts, etc.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Uncluttering our Lives: Getting Rid of 3 Items Daily


The idea of living a simplified and uncluttered life has finally reached our house! As many people say, uncluttering some kind of space can be an unexpectedly positive experience practically, emotionally and mentally. 

My husband and I have decided that we need to do something with all the clutter and disorder that we have in our house. There is not a single counter or flat surface in the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms or living room that is not covered by objects. Not only that, our furniture (tables, dressers, and even chairs) are often covered by objects. Flat surfaces in our house are covered by toys, games, old mail, pieces of paper, children artwork and small appliances that we have not touched or used in years. It's really terrible and very depressing. 

When you have a major cluttering problem in your life, many people suggest to discard or eliminate a certain number of items/things daily. Some people suggest to get rid of 1 article while others indicate 3, 5, or even more articles daily. It is difficult for me to conceive the idea that we can easily eliminate 5 articles daily for 365 days, especially because we have never done this before.  Furthermore, we are sentimentally or emotionally attached to many objects that we have in our house, making it very difficult for us to get rid of them. 

To be realistic, I believe that between my husband and I, we should be able to get rid of at least 3 articles daily, but I am not certain 5. If we are consistent and get rid of 3 articles daily for 365 days (i.e., one year), well by the beginning of the year 2016, we would have ~1100 less items/things in lives. Thus, a realistic GOAL for us should be to get rid of at least 3 articles daily.


Where to Start?

This is a pretty good question because there is not a single room in our house that doesn't need to be uncluttered.



One approach may be to prioritize rooms and identify the one that is in the worse situation. Using this approach, I would say that we should start with the kitchen.

Another approach may be to start with the room that is really bothering us and that we can't stand anymore. Using this approach, the room would be again the kitchen!

A final approach would be to use a random uncluttering process. Instead of identifying rooms that need work, we focus on identifying the objects/things that should be eliminated. The advantage of this approach is that all our rooms would eventually look a little bit better because they are cluttered. I realize that the kitchen is probably the room that needs more work, but it would be nice to have a less uncluttered master bedroom too!

Random Uncluttering Proccess

The plan is simple. Each day, we will get rid of 3 objects covering counters, furniture or any other flat surface in our house. At least for the moment, this will be the only rule that I will try to follow. Eventually, I may have to add other rules, but for the moment, I want to keep it simple. 

So, wish me luck!