Friday, January 20, 2012

Pack it Up, Pack it In...

Let me begin...

Currently, the Cluttered House looks like I'm vying for a spot on Hoarders.

Why, you ask? Because after a LOT of hemming and hawing and soul searching and number crunching and all the other stuff you do when you're trying to make a major life decision, we've decided to sell the Cluttered House.

We have done our best to make the space work for us, but we've reached critical mass. While I heartily applaud those who can live in  small quarters, but we've been struggling to make it work since before Duckie was born and it just got more difficult following his arrival. Our biggest issues are the absolute lack of outdoor and storage space, as well as the difficulty of having a baby who needs quiet to nap and a 3 year old who doesn't seem to grasp the notion of "quiet" time. We have been creative, we've purged and minimized, but alas, we can't make it work. It is time to move onward and upward.

The Cluttered House goes on the market in early February, which means I am furiously packing up the non-essential so that our house is in showing condition. That means no kids toys, no knick-knacks, etc. It also means I need to get even MORE creative in how I hide things, because kids require a certain amount of stuff in the day to day (books, toys, diapers, clothes).

Soooo, my new part-time-schedule-so-I-can-spend-time-with-the-kids plan has turned into the kids spending days at my in-laws' while I frantically try to pack up the non-essential. Good times. Hopefully it will sell quickly and we can move on to something a little bigger. I'm working hard to purge as we pack and to keep a nice, organized and detailed inventory of what I'm packing, so that we can move into wherever we end up in an organized fashion!

But don't fret, dear readers, while the Cluttered Family may be moving to a little more space, we will still be trying to downshift, minimize and simplify in the process.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cluttered Recap

Lots of changes coming to the Cluttered family this year, but before I blog about my plans & goals, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year, using these questions that Tsh posted on Simple Mom (and on incourage)  

20 Questions for a New Year’s Eve Reflection

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year? Duckie's birth. Not only was I able to successfully VBAC, but he brought a sense of completion to our little family. He is also just a little nugget of joy!

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened? Duckie's birth! Don't get me wrong, it has been an amazing blessing and wonderful in so many ways, but it has also been very challenging to go back to sleepless nights, diaper changes & breast feeding. It has also brought our home to the bursting point with people & stuff. We are at max capacity!  

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year? Having a supervisor who "gets" me and who is supportive of my needs, but also sees the value of what I contribute to the company. She worked hard to get my new schedule approved and really get me re-engaged with the workplace. Plus, she's just super rad & I like her.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle? Postpartum depression & anxiety. It was awful & I didn't expect it. It also derailed a lot of my hard work in getting my house organized, blogging and other facets of my life. It made my maternity leave a lot more difficult and made parenting a lot tougher. I'm doing better now, but am sort of sad that I lost so much post-baby stay-at-home mom time to feeling panicked and stressed.

5. Pick three words to describe 2011. Exhausting, hopeful & Happy

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you). Kids, tiring & happy (Diesel's input: baby, family & busy)

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (again, without asking). Good, busy & exhausting (Diesel's input: "busy, very busy, overly busy," baby & work)

8. What were the best books you read this year? The Help & Organized Simplicity  

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships? My husband & kids

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year? Becoming more proactive and developing the attitude that the worst that would happen was I'd be told "no.". I started asking for what I really wanted and Lo and behold, the answer was "yes" more often than it was "no."

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally? I feel braver. Don't know how to really put it into words, but I feel much more like I can (and will) achieve the things I want in this life.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually? I found ways to start getting more involved at church. I am now co-leading an evening Bible study for moms. Prior to this study starting, all the mom-related activities were during the day. I casually mentioned that I thought it was a need and literally within 5 minutes, I was starting a Bible study. What has been interesting is how successful it has been and how fulfilling it has been for me.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically? I carried a baby so that was a lot of growing.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others? I learned to distance myself from people who were negative when I was trying to be positive. It very much helped me keep from getting bogged down and losing focus on my goals.

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)? At work: Working with students. They are ridiculous, but I love them! At home: writing again-- even if it is just my little blog. I've also really enjoyed purging and organizing, even though the house has spiraled out of control again!  

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)? At work: the politics. Yuck. At home: finding time to get my work done and trying to keep the house organized

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year? the Internet: Facebook, Pinterest, BabyCenter. TV too. I definitely need to reassess my relationship with them in the new year.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year? Spending time with my boys. Especially doing crafts with Little Man and taking both kids to the zoo and aquarium (yay for season passes!).

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year? That things really can come together with planning, hard work, a little luck and a lot of faith & prayer!

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you. Instead of creating one, I'll quote the great Barney Stinson and say "nothing & everything is possimpable."

I wish you all a fantastic 2012 and I look forward to sharing with you all the changes that I and the Cluttered Family will be undergoing in the coming year!

Miracles & blessings to you,
Cluttered Mama