January Progress Report

When I was in high school, there was always talk about “senior-it is”- the tendency to blow off responsibilities and forget due dates during the final year. I think I have a small case of a similar ailment though I don’t know what to call it- declutter-itis? I’m so close to being finished but I need to remind myself that I’m not.

In other words, I totally forgot that I didn’t do a progress report for January. So here it is.

Objective 1: To create a home which contains only things we need and love.

What I accomplished: The majority of purging is done. I still find things here and there, and last week I earmarked a large number of books for donation. There’s a donation box sitting downstairs, waiting to be filled. Right now there are only one or two things in it but I expect that to change. Slowly. For the past year, most things almost presented themselves to me- items without homes, or things we weren’t using. Now I need to look a little harder, but I know I can get rid of more. I scheduled a small donation pickup for next week- one to three boxes. I’m still working my way through the baskets of junk throughout the house but it’s taking longer than it should. A little burnout is definitely happening.

Grade: A-

Next Steps: I still have hope for the garage. At the suggestion of a few readers, I brought things into the house to sort when it got cold, and I could still use this approach. But we’ve gotten down to some larger things, like a couple broken air conditioners left behind by the prior owners. So I think it’ll be spring before this space is completely done.

My closet, which is in Emma’s playroom, has stayed neat. But the rest of the room has fallen into chaos. With the exception of clothing, it’s been a while since I’ve gone through her things. She’s done a good job of choosing things to donate, but she still has a lot of stuff she’s no longer playing with. It’s a spot that’s ripe for purging.

Objective 2: To implement routines and habits to help us manage our time, our house and our health.

What I accomplished: This part is still a struggle. If I don’t take a little time every day to walk through the house, stuff begins to accumulate on flat surfaces. Putting things away is a much quicker process now that we own fewer things.

This project has given me a new appreciation for the size of my house. We really use nearly all our house, which can make those spaces more prone to getting messy, but it can also make it likely that those spaces will stay neat because it just takes a couple minutes to clear off the coffee table. It helps explain a little how Emma’s playroom has become such a mess, because she hasn’t been spending a lot of time in there, so the mess isn’t getting on anyone’s nerves.

Grade: B-

Next Steps: The family division of labor was put on the back burner for no good reason, but I need to make a it a priority. Emma has become very good about helping to put things away, but it’s tricky because she wants to do what she wants to do without direction from me. She tends to balk when I tell her to do things, so we need to work on a list together.

Objective 3: To improve the quality of family mealtimes through better planning and organization.
I’ve been making monthly menus for several months now, and it’s been working so much better than making menus one week at a time. For a long time I struggled to get into the habit of writing a weekly menu, and the idea of planning for a whole month seemed so ridiculous, but it’s worked. This is definitely my longest meal planning streak.

Grade: A

Next Steps: To keep up the habit, which is not my strong suit. I was a couple days behind this month so I need to devote the last weekend of this month to putting together the menu for next month. Having theme nights has also been a big help from a planning perspective, though this month I tried to be a little more detailed, like specifying fish tacos for one of our Taco Tuesdays. I’ve also saved copies of all the months I’ve done so far, for reference if I’m at a loss for ideas.

Objective 4: To utilize free time more mindfully, individually and as a family.

I’ve rethought this objective a lot over the past year. My initial vision involved weekends spent visiting museums, visiting the city, and discovering fun things to do in this area. Since we’re not from here, there are still lots of places in the region we want to check out. And I know we will but I’ve also learned there’s a lot to be said for having a nice relaxing weekend at home.

What I accomplished: I think I accomplished a lot, by doing only a little. Instead of attempting to fill our free time with activities, I see now that any time we’re together is quality time.

Grade: B+

Next Steps: To find a balance. It’s great to be home without any agenda but I’d like for there to be more togetherness. It’s going to be very, very cold here this weekend so the three of us have already decided we’re going to stay home where it’s warm, but usually that means we’re all doing our own thing. I’m hoping to maybe watch a movie together or play some board games.