Friday, January 29, 2016

Less is Best

Dear Mommies,

So how did the first month of this year treat you?

Were you able to make it through the winter weather (or for some parts of the country, weird winter weather)?

And how are your closets? 

Ahead of the spring cleaning and yard sale season, here are 10 steps that can help you thin out your closet and the kids' closets. Less clutter, can mean a happier home. Hint: Do this during nap time, toddlers watching adult closet clean may not end well (see: Find Me a Woman (Assent, 2014), pp156-57).

1.    Take everything out of your closet (you might find that missing Christmas present). Everything out. Dump on the bed or floor.

2.    Limit yourself to four piles: Donate, Keep, Clean & Store, Toss (in the trash).

3.    Keeping clothing for sentimental reasons equals cluttered closet. Be brutal—unless it’s something you’ll wear in the next 3 months, donate it.

4.    Speaking of 3 months—if you aren’t going to wear the item for next season—store it or donate it. Sweaters should be stored with cedar balls or sachets to keep bugs away.

5.    Yeah, keep your “fat” jeans, but not the skinny jeans. A woman’s weight fluctuates. Having a pair of “I’ll-wear-them-after-the-diet” skinny jeans may make you bitter and frustrated when they don’t fit. Let them go!

6.    Don’t be squeamish about tossing clothes in the trash. Goodwill, Thred up and other used clothing vendors, will toss immediately (or not even accept) any item not in good condition.

7.   Keep the basics. Think CJSSD — coat, jeans, skirt, shirt, dress.

8.    Shoes, belts and purses? Put them in a separate spot. Don’t deal with them until after you’ve made your decisions about what to keep and toss. If anything is missing, broken or frayed—toss it. Unless you have a reliable shoe repair store AND are worth it.

9.    Once you put your clothes in your piles—stick with it. If you change your mind once or twice, that’s okay. If you’re continuously moving items from pile to pile to pile, you need to be tougher.

10.  Do it by yourself. It’s okay to have a clothes shopping buddy, but not a closet buddy. It’s your body, your closet and your time. Things slow down if there’s more than one opinion that’s being aired about an ugly sweater.

The point about combing through your wardrobe in such a drastic fashion, is twofold. First you de-clutter, second, you refresh your closet.

Relax, Mommies, you’ve got this.

Monday, January 25, 2016

First, dream your dreams . . .

 Dream a little dream.

Dear Mommies,

So much to look forward to this year. I’m sure you're looking forward to your children’s milestones, birthdays, first words, first steps, school step up days and lots of other “Firsts.”

But what about you? I’m not talking about resolutions, which are in Mary Poppins words, “pie crust promises: easily made, easily broken.” The problem with resolutions is that they tend to focus on the negative—things we want to fix in our lives (e.g., lose weight). Or they are too ambiguous (e.g., I will be kinder to my mother-in-law).

I’m talking about your dreams.

Will this be the year you take up a cooking class, learn to speak French, travel to Seattle, knit an infinity scarf, decorate your bedroom--bottom to top, buy a big ticket item (not replacing something that’s broken), or start your own blog?

Dreams are different from resolutions or goals because dreams are held in our heart. They touch on our deepest desires. Fulfilling your dreams—big and small—requires planning and work. And sometimes saving your pennies.

Making your dreams is as hard as being a mommy. Here’s why:
1.    Nothing in a mommy’s life remains still for very long. Time is an friend and a foe. You want your babies to stay little and sweet. But gosh, won’t it be great when they’re out of diapers? Enjoy the journey to your dream. You can start a dream journal.
2.    In the process of making your dreams come true, you see them in the light of day. The flaws, the faults, the warts. You do your best to correct them. But sometimes the dream turns downright ugly. Give it a time out and then come back to it. You’ll both benefit from a breather. And you can always modify a dream.
3.    There are doubts and side effects. Once you begin to fulfil a dream, it’s hard to tell where it will lead and what the impact will be on your life. This is a little scary. But your litmus test question should be: Will my dream make me a better person? If yes, go for it. Even if it’s something as intangible as just being a happier person because you travelled to your dream destination.

No matter what, dreams are worth having and following. You should also teach your children to have some dreams. A child who dreams is on the path to a brilliant imagination.

Relax, Mommies, you’ve got this.