Sunday, June 28, 2015

Does It Bring You Joy?

I read "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo toward the end of last year, and decided to try the "Kon Mari" method in my home. As with anything I read, I take away the parts that I find useful and modify the parts that don't fit with my way of thinking. So far I'm finding the method refreshing and effective!

For those who are not familiar with this book, the author encourages us to discard -- "all at once, completely and intensely!" We don't have to be hoarders to know that many of us simply have too much stuff. The theory is that once we get rid of the excess, we can keep our homes cleaner and neater. I'd read the Kon Mari Method can seem a bit intense, and Kondo has some ways of dealing with things that are unique for some of us (thanking and saying goodbye to things, for instance). She appreciates minimalism. I have raised a family and have decades of collecting many things, so am keeping these added "life layers" in mind as I choose what to keep and what to toss. 

There is a certain order to clearing things out, according to the Kon Mari Method. You start with clothes, then books, then papers, then komono (miscellaneous), and lastly momentos.  Out the window are the traditional decluttering methods of one room at a time--instead you are to purge all the items for a particular category throughout the entire house.

I tackled clothes right after I read the book. I was shocked at how strewn around the  house my clothes were! I found them in my bedroom closet, the front entry closet, the laundry room, two different dressers, and there were even a couple sweaters in the trunk of my car! No stone was left unturned as I weeded out the tired and poor fitting, and constantly asked myself the all important question at the heart of the book, "Does it bring me joy?" If not -- out it went! After hauling several bags of clothes to charity, I was amazed at the new found space! I even tried my hand at the recommended folding of my sweaters into rectangles that would stand on edge in the drawer. This allows me to easily see what colors I have to choose from.
Next on the list was books. In my heart I knew I was never really going to re-read many of my fiction books, so out they went. Also gone -- old textbooks, some of which were written 30 years ago! I culled other books and made a large dent in my overgrown collection, but did keep many that "bring me joy."

Next it was on to papers. It is best to approach this task with the mindset of Kondo's opening words to the chapter: plan to "discard everything!" I knew full well that wasn't really going to happen, but having "the idea" in the back of my mind helped me be more ruthless about what I truly kept. I will always have more papers than the book recommends for a few reasons:

1. I'm a die-hard snail mail fan and postcard collector, so have stationery, letters, and postcards. These are things that bring me joy.
2. Genealogy is a hobby. While I try to keep much of my family research on my computer, I do keep logs of research completed, copies of some hard-to-find documents, and research handed down from relatives.
3. I'm a speech and language therapist. I have collected some valuable materials through the years that I do refer to and use. In addition, I am required to maintain some records.
4. I own a home and car, and have children. There is a certain amount of paperwork needed in these areas in being a responsible person.

In my bedroom was an ugly metal file cabinet with a jammed drawer. I hauled all papers from that old cabinet upstairs to my home office to file or purge. It was so freeing, and I really lucked out as the next day there was a note on my mailbox for a "metal hauling" service that was going to be in the neighborhood that week. Perfect timing for me to drag that yucky cabinet out to the street and have it taken away! This cleared a corner in my bedroom and inspired me to angle my little writing desk under the windows. I love to sit there, looking out at the birds and trees, and pen a quick note to someone.
In the kitchen, I tossed or filed any accumulated papers, leaving only four pretty files folders in a basket: current bills (in the blue folder with the flower), 2015 tax receipts, items to take care of this month, and filing. I left this basket in the kitchen because it's the most convenient place to deal with the mail as it comes in.
The filing folder contents go to the home office when I make a trip upstairs and are immediately filed. While I don't have much filing to do with the adopted Kon Mari mindset, I do have some items like insurance policies, professional license renewal proofs, continuing ed certificates, and so forth.

I was about a third of the way through the paper purge when the holidays arrived, and then the next thing I knew the end-of-the-school- year craziness hit. Now that summer has arrived, I'm committed to finishing this project, so am back in my office again, tunes cranked up, tossing papers.

I've found it convenient to toss the papers to be recycled directly into paper bags. That way the whole bag can be tossed in my curbside recycle bin.
I also have a couple growing boxes of papers to shred. This file cabinet was completely filled with old private practice papers, home warranty manuals, and notes from seminars.
ALL were unnecessary and have been purged, and the cabinet is completely empty now! I have a feeling I will be using it for crafting supplies or something else that brings me joy, but if not, I will re-home it.
I'm eager to finish the paper purge and move on. Have you Kon Mari'd your house? How did it go? What did you learn?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Encyclopedia of Moi: H

 Things that are special to me that begin with the letter "H"....

Happiness ~ One of my highest values. Life throws so many curve balls our way, and somehow we must learn to let happiness win in the long run. I've had my share of heartaches and consequent pity parties, but in the end what is our short time on this earth worth if we can not move beyond our sorrows and find the strength of spirit to allow joy to win out? Somewhere in my soul, I think those I have loved and lost would want us to live our lives joyfully as well.

Hope ~ Like happiness, hope is a choice, but makes a huge difference in how we approach life. I prefer to be an optimist, figuring God will see me through my troubles and I need to hang on to hope!


Hiking ~ One of the most marvelous things about hiking are the options available. You can select easy trails or challenging ones, nearby trails or far away adventures. Outdoors, breathing in fresh air, marveling at the details of nature -- what could be better for body, mind and soul?

Home ~ Home is our refuge from life, a place we can relax and be ourselves. My home is one of the blessings I count often in my Gratitude Journal. My kitties and doggie greet me at home after a long day, and snuggle up on my lap when I slip into my jammies and put my feet up on cozy nights. Here I can create and express my tastes. I can share belly laughs and secrets and my inner most thoughts with my family. There's no place like home.

Hawaii ~ There is something in the air of Hawaii that makes it like no other place! It's warmth, the fragrance of flowers, the soft sand beneath your feet. I love Hawaii!

Horses ~ My daughter had horses growing up. We loved them dearly. I never had horses when I was young, but rode with a friend in my 20's. We would break into a full gallop and it was exhilarating! I loved brushing Lys's horses, helping her groom them, hugging their necks, watching her ride.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

We Are Giants Fans!

There is a whole debate about using the term "Gamer Babes" to identify women (especially young women like my daughters) who are San Francisco Giants fans. Some find it "cute," some find it sexist. We find it mildly sickening, but whenever I don my orange and black scarf and baseball cap, they don their Pence and Lincecum jerseys, and we grab our rally towels and head for AT&T Park, one thing we do know -- we are Giants fans!

So that is how we spent Mother's Day this year -- at a Giants game. 
AT&T Park becons us!
 Walking over the bridge to the park... 
Love the huge mural and once you see that scoreboard, you are in game mode!
 It was a full house for Mother's Day!
 Often we are sitting in the second or even third tier, but this time we had great seats in the bottom section, overlooking the diamond where we could catch all the action easily.
Lou Seal, the Giants mascot, drove around with his "mom," tossing out goodies.
You can't beat Lou Seal as a mascot! He never speaks a word, but he has the moves! Here's a little clip of him getting his dance on with Keenan Cahill and Giants players Brian Wilson and Cody Ross: Dynamite! In case you are not familiar, Keenan Cahill has a unique story of his own. He was diagnosed with Maroteaux–Lamy syndrome and some of his lip sync videos are to promote fundraisers for his condition.

Lou Seal has been inside that 25 lb. head for many years now! Want to know more about this devoted man? Read this entertaining interview: Inside the 25 pound face!  Hey, who can't love a guy who's flirty with women of all ages!

It was fantastic, as always! Behind the Marlins many innings, and then in the last inning the Giants came through and won the game!  Whoo-hoo! Baseball season is in full swing and we're lovin' it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


From "Bloomin' Words" to "bloomin' fun," "Bloom!" was the theme for a Women's Conference I attended in April! I don't know about you, but I love to refuel my soul from time to time with some girlfriend time and healthy inspiration!

We were greeted with uplifting music, a light breakfast, and packed goodie bags. See the little package that says "BLOOM" on it above the orange juice? That unfolded to be a cute tea towel. Inside the paper bag were flower seeds, a magazine full of beauty tips, a journal and pen, snacks, a water bottle, a compact mirror, a cosmetic bag stocked with hand sanitizer, lip balm, and kleenex, and an assortment of other cards and coupons.
After some light-hearted ice breakers with the people at our tables, we broke into small groups for different classes. I attended one on "Leaving a Legacy" that was thought provoking. The speakers promoted the importance of sharing our life stories in order to help others live through their challenging experiences. Then it was on to an "Event Planning" seminar, full of good ideas. We came back to the main room for a tasty lunch and then listened to the hilarious, but motivating main speaker--author Kathi Lipp.  Kathi had us in stitches, telling stories we all could relate to, including the one where someone cut her off in line through a drive-through Starbucks on her way to church and she reacted as we all want to in such circumstances -- by yelling out the window to him, "Unbelievable! Who raised you?" The story ended with the barista telling her that the car in front of her's paid for Kathi's drinks and said to tell her they were "raised by wolves!"  I've been skimming Kathi's book "The Me Project," in hopes of finding inspiration to move forward on some projects I have in mind.
Sometimes we just need a little kick in the pants or a fresh perspective to quit procrastinating and get going on projects. Check out this quick "antiprocrastinator" site:

Are you ready to bloom? I am!