Monday, January 30, 2012

My 5 Minute Solution

My house was getting grubby, people!  With the combo of being closed up over the winter, and Christmas travel and some very calculated blind spots on my part, there's cat fut collecting in the corners and dust on the door jambs.  Coming home and putting away the Christmas decorations at the beginning of the month really brought it home.

My first instinct was to pitch right in, and do a deep, deep clean.  Spring cleaning a couple of months early, and have done with it. But I know me, and tempting as it is to just get it all done at once, I also have the terrible habit of then thinking I don't have to clean again, since "I just did all that heavy cleaning last week...month...season".  lol

So, instead of marathoning it and then ignoring it till I break down again in July, I've implemented a different solution. 

I broke the house into different areas; living room, guest bath, sewing room, hallway, laundry room/closet, bedroom, master bath, stairway, upstairs, kitchen, dining room, garage, and front porch.

Everyday, I set a timer for 5 minutes, and clean for five minutes in each area.  Whatever is out of place or needs doing (dusting, etc) that catches my eye first, I just pitch into.  I haven't been doing the porch, stairs, garage or upstairs every day because it's been cold!

I've been doing this for a month or so, just about every day, and I've been shocked at how effective it's been!  It really keeps things nicer around here if I work a little every day, instead of doing certain jobs on certain days of the week or month.

Of course, this new plan is in addition to the regular daily chores of dishes and dinner and cleaning the stove and counters, etc.  I'd never keep the kitchen completely clean in just five minutes!  The five minutes I spend in the kitchen with this cleaning, I do some things that are easy for me to miss, which usually means looking up.  Being on the short side, I just don't notice sometimes when the upper cabinets and tops of things get dusty!

I'm not sure why this is working better for me, considering that I would spend an hour or two cleaning most days before this, but I think the timer and the fact that I'm cleaning in every room every day helps me to keep more focused and get more done in the same time frame.  I don't just wander around "deciding" what to clean I guess.  I suppose I am actually putting more time in with this method too, since the regular things, like laundry or cleaning up after dinner aren't in the "five minutes time".  I use the timed sessions for the things that are easy to forget or overlook, like fan blades, etc.

It's also been easier for me to stay motivated, since the timer makes time seem to go more quickly, so it's not a big deal to do "just" five minutes.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winter Pursuits

I've been happily stitchinng and cleaning. I love winter because it gives me so much time for the fun indoor things that I love.

I'm working out a design for a tutorial for felt flower pins, pictured up above. I've been sketching and refining some embroidery designs. And knitting! I've been knitting away at my Elizabeth Zimmermann Suspender Sweater every day, but it seems sisyphian, because the rows are so long, from front bottom hem to back bottom hem. I am starting to see a little progress though, and I've been switching back and forth between the two sides, so that the stripe pattern would match. I can never remember that kind of thing, though I think I will. At least I've learned not to trust that feeling!

The felt flower was a fun little break from knitting. I love working with wool felt so much! There's just something so satisfying about the way it feels and looks. For some reason, it reminds me of crayons and I'm sure I've mentioned my love affair with Crayola before.  Anyway, this is a little gift for a friend whose birthday is coming up.  I wasn't sure about how to finish it, because the whole thing began with the idea of making her a "Birthday Girl" corsage, because she's big birthday lover and wants people to celebrate with her. But then I decided it made more sense to make something that can be worn more often.  I might make a detachable ribbon or something with "It's my birthday!" on it.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In the new year

I hope all of you had a beautiful Christmas season!  We had a very nice holiday.  I was very glad to get to go home to MI and visit family.  We picked up some kind of bug while we were travelling though, and have both spent the last couple of weeks all gunked up and sick.

I think I'm starting to shake it though, and get to feeling normal again.  I'll be glad to start my regular workouts again.  I've been walking, because it's more gentle.  The walking has been nice, very relaxing and the weather has been so gorgeous lately!  But I have to get back on track and really burn the calories if I'm going to earn myself anymore weight loss milestone rewards.  And I have my eye on a new mp3 player, so I won't have to tape the earphone cords down in order to hear (out of just one ear, lol) anymore.

We were careful not to overindulge during the travel and holiday feasting, so neither of us gained any weight.  I'm very pleased about that, because gaining weight in the middle of training and getting healthy seems like such a backward thing to do.

I've had my mind full of new year plans and habits lately.  I don't do resolutions in general, because I always figure that waiting to change things only at a certain time of year and putting so much pressure on yourself is a recipe for terrible disaster.  But this is also a natural time of year for me to do some planning, since it's time to plan the garden, and I also have more time on my hands than any other season gives.  I'm working on establishing some routines now that I hope will lend success to a lot of the projects I'm planning for the year.

I've been thinking about household routines, mostly cleaning and organizing.  I also have a lot of plans to step up my Etsy shop.  Since they've gone to a default relavancy search, I've made so many more sales of my patterns, and I really enjoy selling the pdf files.  I would love to put together some more tutorials or patterns to sell as well.  I'm still in charge of the county newsletter for the homemaking club I'm in, and I'd like to establish a more organized and standard routine for getting it put together, now that I've gotten a few issues under my belt.  The garden, of course, is on my mind, and I want to get it planned, but also to make sure that I have systems in place for everything else before the busy garden work starts up again, so I can try to stay on top of the weeds this year!

So, that's what I've been up to lately.  I'm also planning my 2012 blogging year, and I hope I can continue and increase the amount of information and projects and fun I try to share here!

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