Tag Archives: resolution

Crossing 17.5 Years Off of My To Do List

This weekend, I have been feeling pretty motivated to make headway on our home for four reasons:

  • We’re in a fresh, new year!
  • This is the last weekend of my holiday break.  I return to work tomorrow.
  • I am participating in The January Cure with Apartment Therapy.
  • My sister just took a job in the area, and she’s moving in with us today.

With The January Cure, the team at Apartment Therapy sends a task each day of January to encourage you to take action toward making your home the place you’d love it to be. Thursday’s task, the first of this project, had me sitting on the fence about participating in the Cure.  The assignment was to walk through your home and brainstorm about things you want to address in each area.  Daunting, I thought.  I was not concerned about the “walking around taking notes” part, I was concerned about the “seeing the whole list in one place” part.  Amazingly, though, tasks that I had avoided since moving in somehow seemed much simpler when they were just little line items to be crossed off.

And that’s where I kicked it into high gear.  Had I anticipated how much progress we’d make, I would have taken plenty of pictures to ensure a good “before.”  Alas, I couldn’t predict where the day would take us!

1.  The Big Desk [Time on To Do List: 1.5 years]

The Big Desk

The Big Desk

When we moved to town a year and a half ago, my sister asked if we’d be interested in taking over her lease so that she could move into an apartment that would better suit her needs.  Yes, we said happily! When she left, though, she left this one big piece of furniture.  One huge piece.  It is an L-shaped desk that is made from a solid wooden door and a 3′ x 3′ square addition.  It has two large glass pieces on top and seven spindle legs below.  It made a great desk for her, but for us it has just been a place to pile junk.  At first we thought she’d come back for it, but her Mini Cooper could never move this thing.  Then we thought she/we’d try to sell it, but we never got around to it.  For a year now she has been saying we could do with it what we want, but we haven’t taken action.  Finally, yesterday morning, I dug out our drill and got to work disassembling it.  My husband heard the commotion, came in to help, and we dragged two huge wooden pieces, two huge glass pieces, seven legs, and a bag of hardware out into the front yard.  I scribbled “Free, Please Take!” on a couple of signs and taped them to the pile.  We posted The Big Table on Craigslist and headed to brunch.  When we returned an hour and a half later?  Gone! (It’s a good thing I’m not a betting woman… I was sure it’d still be there!)

Empty Space!

Empty Space!

2. Vintage German Dishes [Time on To Do List: 4 years]

Vintage German Dishes

Vintage German Dishes

I bought a set of these dishes in 2009.  I thought they were lovely, and I still do, but they are not what I want to use every day.  There was a point in time that I was okay with having a spare set, but that day is long gone.  I posted about them on Facebook, and a good family friend who is originally from Germany expressed interest in them for one of her daughters in their early twenties.  I’m giving them to her.  I’ve long since forgotten about the money I spent on them, I really just want them to be used and loved.  I’m relieved they’ll be gone, especially since I won’t have to figure out shipping them if I sold them online or waiting if I sold them with a consignment store.

3.  Old Computer [Time on To Do List: 4 years]

I have a computer that stopped running well four years ago.  A friend borrowed the power cord when she lost hers, but she forgot to give it back.  I waited, thinking I’d recycle it once I had charged it and saved files the I wanted.  Four years later? I haven’t missed a single file, so I decided to take it by Best Buy for them to properly dispose of it.  Good news: they no longer ask you to pay for that service!

4.  Old Phones [Time on To Do List: 6 months for mine, 3 years for husband’s]

Verizon gave us a five dollar credit for each of these that we applied toward our bill. Note: both phones were able to power on, but were replaced because of operating problems, so donating them was not a good option.

5.  Old iPod and Old GPS [Time on To Do List: 4 years since I’ve used iPod, 6 months for GPS]

This is a little embarrassing.  In a move to finally get rid of these, I took them to Best Buy to see if they could recycle them.  The man said he’d be glad to take them, but he asked if I was sure I didn’t want to try selling them online first. Waiting to sell them is exactly why I have held onto them so long, I thought, now I just want them out of my hands. But, his question made me feel guilty for not doing due diligence, so I took them and went on my way.  My husband listed them online, and they each sold within an hour.  We made nearly $80 for the two (the iPod was from 2005, the GPS from 2008/2009).  Who knew?!

Lesson learned this weekend? Just take action.  These things that have haunted my mental To Do List for a combined (and unbelievable!) 17.5 years took hardly any time to actually get rid of.  We made extra square footage for my sister, a friend happy, $90, and a big heap of relief.  That’s a satisfying start to 2014!

Related reading:

“Try to do one nagging task each day, or even better, avoid having a nagging task” by Gretchen Rubin.

“It’s Not Too Late! Join Us & Get Organized in 2014: The January Cure via Apartment Therapy.

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A Fresh Start

As I scroll through posts from years ago, I am struck by how much has changed and how I am very much still on the same mission.  The process to simplify my life has been ongoing since 2008, really.  I find it comforting that I continue to see the value in this process and a touch frustrating (this is still so very much a process?).

The past few years have included many significant changes: I’ve finished my degree, gotten engaged and married, moved cities, and taken on a full-time job in a new career.  I’m living with my husband now, which means we have merged two households, and we received gifts from many generous well-wishers.  During my time away from blogging I (and in many cases, we) have continued to pare down.  I have settled into a new lifestyle, and that has helped the de-cluttering process.  Whereas in graduate school I could wear denim daily, I now need a business casual/semi-professional wardrobe for teaching high school.  Whereas when I lived with my parents my dishes were stored away, I now get to use my beloved Pottery Barn Great White dishes on a daily basis.  Now that a lot of what was once in flux has been settled, I am able to move more decisively toward living out the values that I continue to hone and reevaluate daily.

2012 and 2013 were years of transitioning and getting acclimated to all of the newness in my life.  Now, I am familiar with the expectations of my job, what it is like to live with my husband, the many things this city has to offer, etc.  I am ready to hit my stride in terms of aligning how I am living with what I claim to value.

For as long as I can remember, I have made resolutions.  My format has changed through the years.  A lot of years were long, daydreamed lists of things that I would love to tackle if the opportunity came along.  Attending wine tastings, finding a go-to hostess gift, etc. Some years, such as what I have chronicled previously on this blog, were more specific, targeted goals, such as to contribute a certain amount to my Roth IRA.  This year, neither strategy felt right.  I am optimistic about the changes I can make this year–new habits, fewer things, better choices–and realistic that I cannot predict now what might be relevant goals for me in six or eight months.

What I really need for 2014?  Accountability.  I am rejoining the world of blogging to chronicle the next phase of this journey.  I have plenty of the mundane to sift through, so I make no promises about this being a page turner (page scroller?), but it is here for anyone who, like me, finds it beneficial and motivating to find inspiration in down-and-dirty, realistic photographs and mini-victories.

Here’s to 2014!

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Resolutions Update, 01.25.11

At the end of 2010, Jolie at Shaking the Money Tree graded herself on how well she did with her goals for the year.  I think I’ll try the same for my 2011 resolutions thus far…

Resolution #1: No using my phone in the car.: C- I’m bummed that this one comes first on the list.  My hope was to have ZERO phone usage, so even though I’ve been better, better doesn’t count for too much in this case, as it’s a matter of safety (if it wasn’t an issue of safety, I’d go easier on myself on this one!).  For instance, I have answered my phone and then pulled over to talk, and I’ve still been texting at stoplights sometimes.  An improvement over driving and talking, but it still isn’t what I was going for.

Resolution #2: Keep car cleaned out. A+ This is going really well!  Doing this daily isn’t bad at all.  I’m glad I’m in getting into this habit before classes start back next week and I’m commuting daily.

Resolution # 3: Allow 45 minutes minimum to get to school or work. A+ This has such a big impact, I’m glad I’m doing this.  I’ve only been using this for work so far (next week I’ll add in school), but I have shifted to where this leaving time feels like I’m on schedule, not ahead of schedule (so I don’t dally just because I think I have the time to spare).

Resolution #4: Make quarterly resolutions. C+ If you remember, the catch with this one was that I could change my mind and do weekly or monthly resolutions.  I haven’t done so well with the resolution I had in mind, which was to keep a daily journal for jotting down things I’m thankful for and things I’d like to include in my prayers.  Even though I only kept up with that for a week and a half or so, I have done a pretty good job of working towards smaller goals: pursuing more “side hustle” opportunities and working on getting my computer organized.  I also got my room in livable shape.  So, I have been focused on little goals, just not the ones I’d planned.

Resolution #5:  Read a non-History book each month (or, at least, a non-assigned book). A+ For most of January, I wasn’t making much progress on the books I thought I’d be reading.  Then, when I was at my boyfriend’s house this past weekend, I found Into the Wild. Apparently all I needed was a book I could get lost in, and that I did.  Interestingly enough, it is recommended here as a thought-provoking book with a minimalist theme.  I’m not much for writing book reviews (grad school knocked that out of me), but it’s definitely worth the read!

Resolution # 6:  Create a home inventory: a) purge unnecessary and unused items via donation or sales, b) organize remaining items, c) itemize and record items. A+ Choosing to participate in the Declutter Challenge 2011 has been the best step I could have taken towards this resolution.

Resolution #7: Implement an exercise calendar. This is a tough one to grade.  Yes, I made a calendar, and yes, I marked the days on it that I exercised.  The problem is that it is January 25, and I only have two days marked with an “X.”  That is not exactly what I was going for.  So, while technically I should get a good grade for this one, I don’t feel like I quite deserve it.  At least I have been thinking about exercise more often than last year!  🙂  Maybe thoughts will turn into action for February… perhaps a B is an appropriate grade for January?

Resolution #8: Pay myself first. A+ These days, putting money toward my savings goals is the most exciting part of payday!  While my amounts are small, the importance is big.  I’ve been able to put some extra income streams toward savings goals, too.

Resolution #9: Daily Financial Tracking. A+ This is the practice that I started in October; it’s still going well!  This month I have started recording the amounts I put toward savings, too.

Resolution #10: Calculate my “Actionable Net Worth” monthly. A+ This was only a one day commitment, but I did it!  I’ll post more about this after I calculate February’s.

Resolution #11: Give some money away. A- My plan for the year is to give $250 to my church and $150 to other causes/organizations/charities.  I have given 1/12th of the church contribution, but I haven’t given any to any other causes.  A guy from NPR called and asked if I’d make a donation again this year.  I told him I would love to, but that I wasn’t able to that day and asked him if he could call another day.  He said he’d call in a few weeks.  I plan to give NPR more than 1/12th of my “other” fund, though I’m still not sure exactly how much.

Resolution #12: Open a Roth IRA. A I haven’t saved very much for this in dollars, but I have done pretty well percentage-wise.  I have made three contributions to my Roth IRA fund (the account at ING where I’m saving up to purchase a Roth IRA) this month: $35.74, $25.02, and $25.  That’s not too bad considering I’m trying to build other savings accounts, too.  Oh, and that my January 16 paycheck was approx $140 less than it was supposed to be because of days missed on account of snow.

I’m pretty pleased!  It’s easy to see which things are coming to me pretty naturally and which ones are going to take a little extra effort.  I gave myself several A+ scores, which might make it seem like my resolutions were too easy, but the funny part is that I hadn’t been doing them before, even though they’re not too hard.  A conscious decision to make a change + a tiny bit of effort = big results!

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