I am an over-thinker.
I often complicate things that should be simple.
I sometimes spend more time writing out a detailed and systematic to-do list than actually working on the task at hand.
I have often created elaborate New Year's Resolution plans and intricate systems for managing my work- and home-life.
These systems are almost always difficult to implement long-term.
Every day is a new day, full of surprises and challenges.
My work calendar has been filled up with meetings, webinars, and out-of-town conferences for the last few months.
I knew this year would be an adjustment period, but to be honest...it's been pretty overwhelming.
We've had some situations come up in my department that are uncharted territory for our district. We've had students transfer in and students transfer out. I've been working with and learning from several outside agencies.
I've been reading several books about leadership and project management and not putting unrealistic expectations on yourself.
Through my reading (and YouTube & blog exploration), I've come up with three goals for myself to really focus on from now until the end of this school year.
There are a million things biding for my time every single day.
I have some choices about what I allow to take my energy every time something new comes across my desk, across my phone or email inbox, or in front of my door.
I have choices about when to say "yes" and when to say "no"...and I can assure you that when it comes to my family, the answer should always be "yes".
I need to be intentional with my time, with my commitments, and with Mr. Farmhouse and the girls.
Some days, this might look like closing my office door and pushing through the items that haven't gotten enough attention that week.
Some days, it might look like closing whatever I'm working on at school and heading home right after school.
Some days, it might look like laundry, dishes, and sweeping the kitchen floor.
Being intentional is so important.
I have always been a "just in case" person.
I'd better keep that piece of paper "just in case" we ever need it again (even though I could print if off the internet any time I want).
I'd better save those toys and clothes in a tub in the basement "just in case" (even though I trashed boxes that hadn't been cracked open in over eleven years when we moved last summer).
I've realized through the years, however, that I have hardly ever needed those "just in case" items!
Thanks to the KonMari method, I pared down quite a few of our belongings right before we moved to the farmhouse.
I tried to be very intentional in my decorating and purchases made when we moved in.
I've tried to transfer a lot of my "paper clutter" from paper to digital copies.
My complicated systems are now simple and intentional daily reminders...a checklist that I move through during my free time at home and school.
Less is more.
A simple and manageable system is so much more effective than an over-complicated and unattainable plan.
One Day at a Time.
At the end of the day, we can't be all things to all people.
We WILL NOT mark every single item off of the "to do" list and even if we did, there would be more tasks tomorrow.
We have to be intentional with how we spend our time each and every day.
I wake up in the morning and do my Bible study, have some prayer time, and then I crack open my calendar app.
I look at my list of the things that must get done that day on my Trello board and I schedule them into my little pockets of open time on my Google Calendar that used to be wasted.
As I work through the day, I mark items off my list as I complete them and I move the tasks down through the day if something comes up that is a higher priority item.
If I don't finish the tasks for the day, I have learned to forgive myself and move them to the following day.
We can only do what we can do.
We can do our very best...
give our best effort...
try to strive for perfection...
and still we will fall short.
We will never be "caught up"...but do you know what we can be?
We can be present.
We can wake up every morning renewed and full of purpose, ready to try again.
We can be intentional and we can strive for the beauty of simplicity...one day at a time.
Have a great week, friends.
Love from the farmhouse,
Happy Week 4!
This week we're going to go back through the first three zones we worked on and make sure that those areas of the house are in a "resting state".
You might remember my blog post WAY back in July about getting to start over.
In that blog post, I talked a little bit about my experience with the KonMari method of tidying your home.
This method has given me a different way of thinking about my house, but I have to be honest and tell you that I didn't finish the process completely during either round that I went through and so I have rebounded a little bit.
I want to go through another round in the new year, but until then the zone work from the Christmas Countdown will have to pull me through!
So this week, we're going to think about that "resting state" as we run back through our first three zones.
Look around each room you've already gone through on your zone list.
Is there anything that can be taken away?
Does it all flow nicely?
Is there any object that looks out of place?
Are you pleased with all of your decorative items that are out on the flat surfaces or on the walls?
If not, take a few moments to change those things.
You can print your Week 4 checklist and Zone worksheet here.
Let's revisit our Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 zones and get Week 4 in order this week.
We are almost halfway there...only five weeks until Christmas!
Make it a great week, friends!
If you're just catching up with the Farmhouse654 Christmas Countdown, feel free to join the Facebook group HERE and print out the Planning Calendar and Week 1 Checklist HERE.
Christmas Countdown Blog Posts
One thing that we try to really impress upon our girls' hearts is that it is always important to be kind.
Harlee and my niece Riley are at basketball church camp this week.
When we dropped them off, I made sure to have my teacher-y moment with them about how to treat other people.
"Girls, you're very lucky to have each other here, but not everyone will have a friend. Include those people. Invite them into your group. Be kind to them."
Kids just want to be seen.
Adults just want to be seen.
People just want to be seen. And heard. And loved.
Friends, we have a great opportunity to "be the good" in this broken and scary world.
Since moving into the farmhouse and sharing our journey online, I've had so many people contact me wanting a fresh start.
"I am so jealous that you get to start over."
"Seeing you put the new house together makes me want a fresh start for my house."
"I wish I could empty out our house and start again."
This opportunity to go through every single thing we own and make a decision about whether or not to keep it has been pretty amazing.
Add to it the fact that I get to decide exactly where it goes in the farmhouse, and I am feeling pretty good about our "fresh start".
For now, just hold off on bringing anything new into your home.
Deal with what you have.
There will be plenty of time to buy new things after you've gotten rid of everything you don't love.
2. Set an end date.
This one is something that many people don't think about, but it helped me immensely last summer when I went through and did my big house purge and it's helping now as I put the house together.
Find a date to work towards and mark it on the calendar.
For me, this year, that date is July 25th.
We are hoping to take the girls on a little lake vacation starting on the 26th and I don't want to leave one thing in the house undone.
I want to leave the house all peaceful and put together so when we come home from vacation, it's still all peaceful and put together.
3. Tidy by category.
This phrase is taken directly out of Marie Kondo's book called "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up".
By the way, I just looked and the book is on sale on Amazon right now for $9.89!
As I came across any photography-related items in the rest of my tidying endeavors, I put them into a box labeled as such.
I did this with all of my miscellaneous categories and dealt with those boxes when I got to that category on my list.
I left a few blank boxes for you to fill in your own random categories, but if you're like me, you'll need more than a few boxes! Feel free to start your own list on another piece of paper or the back! Don't overthink it!
4. Don't start organizing until you're done with several categories.
The temptation is there to start putting everything away before you're done with the discarding process.
From personal experience...don't do it.
Purge first...then organize.
Otherwise, you'll get one area completely organized and find something later that would have fit there so much better.
5. Think in "stations".
I have started to think about my house in terms of where certain things happen.
This has really helped me to get organized and to stay organized (for the most part).
When you begin to think like this, your house starts to organize itself.
Out in the mud room, our beach towels are now housed with the sunscreen & goggles...far away from the bath towels that they used to be stored with in the old house. It just made sense to have them there, instead of taking up valuable room in the bathroom.
When you've done enough categories that you feel like it's time to start some organizing, make sure to keep this "station" mindset.
6. Go quickly!
Don't think too much!
When you pick up an item, ask yourself, "Does this spark joy?"
If it does, keep it! No questions asked!
If it doesn't spark joy, but it's something you need...keep those things too. Toothpaste doesn't really spark joy for me, but I would sure like my family to continue brushing their teeth!
Go with your gut instinct about things.
Try not to think in terms of what you "might need someday".
If it's something you could borrow or replace pretty inexpensively if you ever "need" it again...throw it out!
Donate it, trash it, or give it away to a friend.
Get it out of your house, as soon as possible!
7. Decorate intentionally.
Put your belongings into categories and go through each category, ruthlessly purging items that you don't love or need.
Organize the leftover items into functional stations throughout the house.
Keep the decorations you love and start to think about what other items you might add to your decor collection.
This isn't something you have to do immediately.
I prefer to check Hobby Lobby every month or so and scour their clearance aisle for things that spark joy for me.
I hardly ever spend over $5 on any sort of decoration for my home.
And when I do, it must be a joy-sparking item that I know will fit perfectly into my home!
These two items were joy-sparkers the moment I laid eyes on them!
The United States map that now hangs in the playroom cost me $39.99 on our mini-vacation to Pawhuska, Oklahoma and it was so worth that price!
Every time I look at it, my heart leaps for joy!
In fact, yesterday when I hung it in it's home up in the girls' playroom, I couldn't stop smiling!
I feel the same way about my Farmhouse sign from Hobby Lobby. It's $22.50 now on Hobby Lobby's website! I spent $27.00 on it because it was originally $45.00 and I had a 40% off coupon. Again...so worth the price!
She has a specific order that you are to go in to make the system work and she promises that for those people who have gone through her entire program, she has seen no rebounds. Once I started this method, I was hooked. It became an obsession for me last summer and I flew through the decluttering and organizing tasks associated with several categories.
I was really making good progress.
Near the end of the summer, I was nearing the end of my KonMari journey. I still had a few categories left to go through.
And I stalled.
Right there in the first week of August, with the items sorted and ready to be tackled, I stalled.
I just left the sentimental items piled in a box, put the holiday decor back into the garage, put the tub of electronics into a cabinet in the laundry room, and took the teaching supplies back to my classroom storage closet.
I had made amazing progress and when I started working at school again, I just lost the momentum to continue!
The house stayed clean and organized for the first few months of school, but once we hit second and third quarter, I started losing control. Again. I rebounded.
Sure, we didn't own as many items as we did prior to my first KonMari round, and we were more careful about our purchases now, but still...it was just a little unfinished.
Fast-forward to this last spring.
Our buyers contacted us and we began to make plans to move. I was still exhausted by the end of the school year and unfortunately didn't have it in me to start another KonMari round before school got out.
In dealing with the house sale and purchase hiccups and trying to get the closing all worked out, I haven't even had a chance to start yet.
But guess what? It's coming.
I'll be starting my second round of KonMari this next week while we still have two weeks in the current house.