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Fall Craziness Has Invaded My Life Once Again

Last week, when I wasn’t able to post to this here blog…again, I remembered why there was a chunk of time when my blog fell by the wayside.  Sometimes life gets nuts.  I’m talking full on crazy nuts–and while you have control over that chaos, it doesn’t really feel like it at the time.  Work was crazy with meetings and planning presentations and getting programs underway and an endless stream of stuff that needed to be done well and done quickly.  The fall semester is also when I teach a class at a local university, so I add in grading time each week which can be anywhere from 6-12 hours depending on the assignment.  And, we started back up with Girl Scouts again, and I am the primary leader which means doing all the planning, shopping, and communicating for the troop.  And, while we meet only once a month and do outings only once a month, this volunteer activity takes up a larger chunk of time than you would think.  Add to that volunteer time that I spend putting together online info for a state professional organization and reviewing books for my district and a professional journal. Just looking at my professional and volunteer time makes my head want to explode!  Plus, I want to still keep up in my home routines for cleaning, meal planning, exercise, etc., spend some fun down time with my family, and do some fun fall activities around town.

The title of this post is “Fall Craziness has Invaded My Life Once Again…” but I’m not sure if I would have it any other way.  I really do love my job and the fall is one of the busiest times because we plan a lot of professional development activities, attend a ton of trainings, and spend a bunch of time supporting our new hires.  Once October comes around, things settle down a little, but August and Sept are just plain busy.  I’ve taught my fall class for several years now, and I truly enjoy it–and wouldn’t give it up because I also gain so much from it personally.  And while my husband doesn’t understand the amount of time I put into Girl Scouts, I wouldn’t give it up for anything.  It’s an activity I remember fondly from when I was a kid (and my mom was one of our leaders) and I want to have that same connection and fond memories with my daughter.  My volunteer time adding items to a website and reading books do add to my total hours in the week, but not enough to truly be draining (plus who wouldn’t want a volunteer job where all you do is read!).

Where it gets a bit dicey is adding these commitments to the other main focus of my life–my home and family.  I want to make sure we have a home that is well cared for and meals that are good for us, but I don’t want to spend a monumental amount of time doing so.  Which is why I established my routines to begin with.  I spread out the cleaning “chores” during the week so they wouldn’t all pile up on the weekend and so I wasn’t spending valuable family time cleaning the bathrooms.  I meal plan and do intentional grocery shopping and meal prep to save time during the week.  But in the last month, something had to give.  And it wasn’t going to be my family or my professional responsibilities.  So, maybe the carpets didn’t get vacuumed for closer to 12 days than 7.  Maybe we ate out a tiny bit more this month.  Maybe the laundry stayed folded in the basket until the following week when I needed the basket again.  Who cares?

And that is truly what I’m here to talk about today–because it has been weighing on my…heavily.  Who cares that the bathrooms didn’t get cleaned on Monday?  Who cares that we ate out two nights in a row when the meal plan and shopping said otherwise but my tired self and husband said forget it?  Who cares that my morning exercise routine went down hill for a week?  The answer is that I do.  There are times when I feel guilty that I haven’t accomplished the goals I have set for the day.  When I long wistfully for the time and energy to do everything.  But, I know I can’t really and truly do everything without having  some sort of breakdown.  I know.  I’ve been there.  In fact, there was one day this week I was so drained I spent half of one weekend day sleeping and another large chunk of it hanging out and reading with the kiddo.  I just needed one day to just be still, but I still felt a little guilty about it later when I looked at all I didn’t get done.

So how do we balance all of this crazy stuff we call life?  I don’t have any hard and fast answers, but I think we have a few things we can do to feel less guilty and harried.  1)  Give yourself grace.  This means if something doesn’t get done exactly when or how you want, let it be ok.  So, we had take-out dinner two nights in a row.  We still had dinner together and that’s more important to me.  I just shifted our planned meals down a few days.  2)  Celebrate the small victories.  I may not have gotten up to exercise every morning this week, but I did take my vitamins everyday, made a veggie juice drink for the hubby every day, and had my daughter all gussied up for spirit week every day.  These are all things that were also important to me and I needed to celebrate them and not just focus on what was not done.  3)  Don’t let the chore chart bring you down.  Making and setting routines is supposed to be helpful and not something that makes us feel bad.  If it’s making you feel bad, either something needs adjusted in your set routines that isn’t working or maybe there is just something going on in your life right now that you need to get past in order to get back in the swing of things.  Either way, take a moment to reflect and re-evaluate.  I know I will be.

So, I wasn’t able to do anything cool with organizing or crafting or food related in the last few weeks to blog about–but that doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to say.  And, as I have said many times before, this blog is not only for anyone who happens to stumble upon it, it is a way for me to think through and think about the important things in my life.  While some people would say that giving up my weekly blog posts would definitely add less to my to-do list, I don’t want to give it up either.  I have always been a writer, and I know I express myself better this way.  So while not the most exciting post for anyone else to read, this was definitely something I needed to do…for me.  Think about what you need to do for you today and go do it!

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Under The Sink –Rethink

Sometimes you try something and it just doesn’t work out.  The sink under the kitchen seems to be a pain for many people–and I’ve seen the pins to prove it.  A few years ago, I organized under the kitchen sink and even did a spiffing up update in January with the rest of the house.  But, something just wasn’t working right.  Somehow, piles had grown where order once was.  And, every time I reached for something under the sink, something else fell over.  I found myself getting frustrated which led to me getting lazy and stuff was just getting shoved wherever it would fit.  Not cool.  This is what it looked like this morning.

The before...  You can see how if you grab one thing another thing will for sure tumble out too.

The before… You can see how if you grab one thing another thing will for sure tumble out too.

While the above picture is not terrible, it was definitely a space that was giving me grief.  I had a plan, but I will admit that I made an organizing mistake when I was rethinking how I wanted this space to look.  I had seen how someone used stackable bins to organize their under the sink area.  I thought I might give it a shot.  While at the store, I spied a set of 3 stackable bins and knew for sure they wouldn’t stack more than two high under our sink.  But, I was ok with that.  I also knew that I should have measured my space before I went to the store (that was the mistake as you’ll see below), but I decided to wing it.  I could always take the little guys back if they didn’t fit.

It's amazing that all this stuff fit under here!  And, that most of it fit again when I put it back.

It’s amazing that all this stuff fit under here! And, that most of it fit again when I put it back.

I started out by removing everything from under the sink.  I think part of my problem was that I was collecting things under there with the “just in case” mindset–which is a definite way to build clutter and cause chaos.  After removing a few items (glass jars, old cleaners, etc.), I attempted to add the bins to the left side–no dice.  One would fit, but the garbage disposal got in the way to stack the bins.  They did fit on the right side, but the black caddy wouldn’t fit on the left.  After some thinking, I decided the caddy isn’t really necessary.  I never take these items anywhere, so they don’t need to be portable.  The caddy will get resued somewhere else–not sure where yet.  I wiped out the bottom of the cabinet, and put everything I was keeping back.  Everything we use frequently is up front in the white bins.  The other items are located behind and are still easy to access.

Here is the finished product!

So much better!  I did some cleaning in the kitchen after moving everything around and it worked great!

So much better! I did some cleaning in the kitchen after moving everything around and it worked great!

This whole process took about 20 minutes.  Sometimes a quick rethink and refresh is all something needs.  Are there any small places you have organized but have made a big impact?

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