February FlyLady Zone Decluttering

Hello again friends,

Last week I delved in to my experimenting with the FlyLady system and how I started to declutter by FlyLady zones in January. Today I’m going to quickly go over my decluttering results from February. (Spoiler alert – it’s nothing too impressive…)

Zone 1: front porch, entry & hallway, back stairs, downstairs hall, & garage

In the first week of February, I only managed to spend a couple minutes going through the shoe rack in the front hall, and 1 pair of slippers left the house. (And zero photos of the process or item.)

Zone 2: kitchen & dining room, and my “pantry” storage in the basement

For zone 2, I only went through one drawer this month, but I got rid of 4 items from our pots and pans drawer.

Zone 3: main floor bathroom, basement bathroom, & laundry room

I don’t know that I did any targeted worked in this zone in February, but as I’ve said before, that’s okay because we will get to this zone again next month.

Zone 4: master bedroom & closet, kid bedroom, office, & the hall linen closet

Last month I felt a bit like I was cheating because I was using my kid’s items as my decluttering for this zone, and I am doing the same thing again this month, but at this stage in his life, I am the one managing his stuff inventory, so his clutter is really my clutter… And once again, I didn’t take any photos of the process either.

From my kid’s room we decluttered 3 sets of pajamas (6 pieces) + 2 individual pajama pieces + 3 pairs of shorts + 7 shirts + 6 random toys.

I also decluttered 1 basket from my office, making a total of 25 items from zone 4 this month.

Zone 5: living room & basement rec room

In the living room, I went through our basket of puzzles. I had a friend who was starting a new role working with young kids, so she had asked if I had any puzzles that we could part with, so that was the motivation for this declutter…

We (I did work with my kid on this one to get his opinion on what could stay or go) managed to get rid of 4 puzzles to my friend, and then found another puzzle that is missing a piece and a few pieces that didn’t have puzzles to go with them. (most of these puzzles came as hand-me-downs, and some were even the puzzles that I played with as a kid, so missing pieces and/or puzzles makes sense…) Grand total out the door: 5 puzzles + 3 random pieces = 8.

February Decluttering Total: 1 + 4 + 0 + 25 + 8 = 38

Decluttering Total for 2023: 74 + 38 = 112


My FlyLady Experiment

In the last year or two, I have not been reading many blog posts, instead, I seem to be consuming YouTube videos…

I don’t even remember how I got to the Secret Slob channel on YouTube, but I think it was probably a random decluttering search (I often procrastinate my own decluttering by watching others do it). Anyway, watching her videos led me down a rabbit hole, and also introduced me to Diane in Denmark. I love both of them. Both of them use and promote the FlyLady system of keeping your house clean and your life in general in order. I like that both of them have altered the FlyLady system to match their own needs. (If you don’t know about the FlyLady system, keeping it really really simple, it’s a method and schedule for keeping up with cleaning your house for those of us that struggle with it.)

Since going down that rabbit hole of FlyLady content on YouTube (there is lots!), I did start working on the baby-steps of the morning and evening routines. I took the advice of the Secret Slob and Diane in Denmark and created my own version of the routines. I can’t say that I’ve been perfect, or even really successful or consistent, but I seem to be doing enough often enough to be making a bit of a difference. My stepdaughter even mentioned that things seemed to be cleaner… So that was nice!

Now that I’ve been working on those routines for a while, I want to progress to the next stage, which is the FlyLady zone cleaning. I have been sort of working on this off and on since last spring some time, but I wanted to start in earnest with the beginning of the new year. Of course, the FlyLady does say that you don’t start with the cleaning, you actually start with zone decluttering because “you can’t clean clutter”… So I will really be zone decluttering, not really cleaning…

My Zones

The Secret Slob has reorganized her zones because the original FlyLady zones didn’t cover all the rooms in her house. I decided to follow suit and this is how I have organized my zones:

  • Zone 1: front porch, entry & hallway, back stairs, downstairs hall, & garage
  • Zone 2: kitchen & dining room, and my “pantry” storage in the basement
  • Zone 3: main floor bathroom, basement bathroom, & laundry room
  • Zone 4: master bedroom & closet, kid bedroom, office, & the hall linen closet
  • Zone 5: living room & basement rec room

So, of course, I had to put that in my bullet journal for easy reference…

And just to quickly explain how the 5 zones work each month, they are done during the partial weeks that occur at the beginning and end of the month, so then zone 2, 3 & 4 get the full weeks in the middle of the month. The idea is that zone 1 and zone 5 are spaces that are either smaller, less cluttered, less dirty, or are cleaned during your regular daily tidy or weekly home reset.

During the week of each zone, the idea is that you spend 15 minutes a day decluttering or cleaning in the zone. It’s nothing crazy, and you won’t be able to tackle everything in the zone, but if you get some things done this month, when zone 1 comes around the following month, you’ll be able to work on the things you didn’t get the month before, and eventually, if you are consistent with it every month, the spaces slowly but surely get cleaner.

(If you are confused, I’m not really going in to detailed explanation right now, it does take a bit of time to wrap your head around all the ideas of the FlyLady system, but it does eventually make sense… I promise that I’ll explain more as we go along…)

January Decluttering Results

Zone 1

With the chaos of the new year, and the fact that we also had a bit of a holiday over the new year’s day weekend, I didn’t get any work done in Zone 1 in January… moving on…

Zone 2

I definitely didn’t do 15 minutes every day, but I did probably spend the equivalent total time over the course of a few days going through drawers in the kitchen.

First, I tackled the plastic wrap/aluminum foil drawer. I did not get an exact count of how much I decluttered, but it was mostly a large quantity of elastic bands and plastic bag ties that left the house…

The second drawer was the drawer where we keep placemats, napkins and candles. And a few other random things…

I managed to declutter over 30 items from this drawer. I also made the conscious decision to start using our candles regularly and we have been doing that quite a bit since this declutter. The candle collection has definitely decreased.

The third and final drawer that I tackled during this round was the tupperware or storage container drawer.

I forgot to take a proper before picture, but it’s hard to do because these are all used so often, it is rare for them to all be clean and put away at the same time… Regardless of my lack of documentation, I did to a big declutter and took 26 items out of the drawer to be either recycled or donated, depending on their state.

Zone 3

I spent some time going through two bathroom drawers, but I don’t know that I actually decluttered anything, but I rearranged some things and organized things (like moved pens and notebooks out of the bathroom and in to the office). So I don’t have a count to add to my decluttering total for this zone.

Zone 4

I feel a bit like I cheated in this zone in January. I went in to my son’s bedroom and went through his drawers (don’t have any pictures of it though). In total I took out 12 pairs of boxers that were too small, and 6 pairs of pants that were too small or worn out. So that’s a total of 18 items to add to the decluttering total.

Zone 5

I abandoned decluttering for the time that was assigned to zone 5 this month. It’s okay, I’ll get to it eventually. (the zone comes back every month!)

January Decluttering Total: 30 + 26 + 18 = 74

Decluttering Total for 2023: 74

Happy 2023!

Happy New Year!

Hello internet friends!

(Yes, I realize it is February, and not really close to the new year, but it was just the lunar new year too, so I can maybe say that’s what I mean?)

It has once again been way too long, but I won’t stress about that too much. In my last post I gave myself permission to do away with perfection, and so I’m going to try and walk-the-walk, so to speak, and publish a post that is definitely not going to be perfect…

When the new year is approaching, I always get excited at the idea of a fresh start and setting new goals. (It was December when I started this blog, way back in 2014…) This year was no different. The end of a year and the beginning of the next always gets me thinking, dreaming and planning. And this year I was fortunate to be on a little weekend getaway for the new year with my husband. (Without the kid too – thank you to the in-laws!) This gave me more time to relax and ponder where I am in life and what things I might want to work on or improve. While I was exploring these thoughts, I started to think about blogging again. It has basically been 5 years since I stopped blogging regularly (if I’m totally honest, I was never blogging regularly, but I was at least putting in a reasonable effort at it). It pretty much lines up with when my kid was born. I guess the extra time that I used to have for myself to do creative things and blog has been taken up by caring for him and doing things with him.

But blogging has always been something that I want to come back to. I always really enjoyed it and it was a great way for me to express myself creatively, while also giving myself motivation and accountability to get other tasks and goals done. So as we move in to a season of life where my little guy is starting to be able to do a few things for himself and is also getting in to activities and playing with friends, I am going to try and take those snippets of time that I am getting back, and put them back in to blogging.

So, what do I have planned? Well nothing too exciting, but I’m going to try and aim for one post a week. And it will mostly probably be about my dabbling in the flylady system (if you don’t know about it, it’s sort of a system for household/life management and organization). To start, I will probably just use the blog as an accountability partner and post about my goals for each week and the results from the previous week.

And with that, I will leave you this week and come back to you next week with my summary from January…

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It’s hard to blog…

Hello internet friends,

I’ve got something to admit… I find blogging hard… Okay, let me rephrase that a little… I find that the perfectionist in me finds blogging hard. I want my posts to be well written (never going to happen) and to have interesting/worthwhile content (also not likely). So, even though I always have a list of ideas for posts, I can never seem to get a post published… That is because all these ideas generally require me to complete some sort of task outside of the blog, and not only that, but it also generally requires me to document that task. Because of that, one of a few things normally happens to those tasks… either I procrastinate the task until I have enough time to document it “properly” as I do it (which never happens), or I just work at the task piecemeal and never document it, or by the time I think to document it I feel that it’s already so far gone that it’s not worth it anymore…

So, that’s basically what’s been happening over the last few months/years. I’ve had lots of ideas, I’ve been working on all sorts of projects and habits, but nothing has been documented enough or to my “standards” to allow me to blog about it.

The other side of it is that I sometimes feel pressure to be making this blog my life or my job or whatever… And honestly, as much as I’d love to get paid to write about the projects I do around my house, I am not about to quit my well-paying and enjoyable job to “sell” myself online. It’s just not me. But I wonder if that pressure (be it real or just in my head) has held me back from just being my normal flawed person here on the blog… I wonder if it has created this sense that my posts need to be worthy of being on a professional blog to be posted…

Anyway… all this to say that I am hereby giving myself permission to let go of any pretense that this blog will ever be a money making venture. I am giving myself permission to publish posts of half-finished, not perfect projects, and to post things that I didn’t think to document until I was either done or mostly done, because if I want to share it, I should!

So hopefully I will be able to get some posts done in the near future and get back to posting more regularly… with imperfect, but real, content.

Let me know if there are any other previous post topics that you’d like an update on…

P.S. Back in the spring of 2021 I was doing the mins-game… I abandoned that, so I won’t bother trying to finish that specific challenge up… but I have been doing lots of decluttering and I have a lot more to do, so hopefully I’ll find a way to post about my haphazard decluttering…

Level Up My YNAB Budget

You may have been expecting another Mins Game post today, but I’m still working on that… So I’m going to start on another topic that I haven’t touched on in a while… my finances! I haven’t done a financial update post in a long, long time… (Last one was June 2018.) But don’t worry, I haven’t stopped budgeting or using my beloved YNAB (You Need A Budget)… So today I wanted to give you a small update on how all that is going…

Note: this post is not sponsored in any way, I just really love YNAB.

I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise to anyone who has been reading my blog for a few years that I love YNAB. It’s a budgeting application that really speaks to me. Originally, when I started using it, it was a software that you purchased (one time purchase), and it used your own drop box account to share the budget between different computers or mobile apps. In recent years, they have moved to a web based app with an annual subscription fee, but you were still able to continue to use your one time purchased software if you wanted. And so I did, because I hate being pushed in to annual subscription fees…

But… Last fall, I decided to finally check out the new app (I think I was actually forced to because a new operating system on our home computer was no longer compatible with the older version that I had been using). They offer a free trial (34 days – so you can go through a full month – and if you use my referral link to sign up we can both get a free month!), which I did before I committed. I exported my existing budget data, and transferred it all to the new app… I didn’t want to lose any of the historical information stored in the years of budgeting that I had done. I will admit that there were some hiccups in the transfer, and the first month in the new app I have purposely noted that it is the “transition” month because there were some messy things I had to do to get the numbers to line up. But… since that process was done, I really liked the new features, and also appreciated that the synchronizing between devices was seamless. It was “supposed” to be before, but there were always weird things that didn’t mesh well when inputting on the phone app, then looking at them on the computer program…

Anyway, fast forward to last month, and I’ve been using the new app for a while, things are going pretty good. I figured I knew what I was doing with the app. I was using it well. We have been through a few changes in our finances, had some large expenses and gained some new debt, had some variable income… We are coming out the other side now, and things are starting to settle out, and then… BAM! I found the YNAB youtube channel… And man, the game changers that I have learned in the last few weeks of watching their videos… It’s not that I was using the app incorrectly, it’s just that there was so much more that I could do. And so I wanted to quickly go over some of those things and how they are helping me get ahead with out finances.

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Mins Game – Days 13 to 19

Well… I guess that month is done… And I fell off the Mins Game wagon again… And the blogging wagon… But I’m not gone for good. I really do want to get in to consistent posting, and also really want to get through this Mins Game.

So now I’m just assigning random days when I find time to do the decluttering… Let’s see where we got to lately…

Day 13

As we get in to bigger numbers of items, I am finding it harder to take a single picture of the items, as I find things in various places around the house, it is better to take the picture and put them in the donation box right away. If I wait… then it gets messy… and then I might lose motivation or forget which items are leaving… So there will probably be multiple photos for each of the “days” going forward…

Day 13 items consist of 2 old yearbooks (don’t worry, I kept my copy – these were spares because I was involved in the creation of the book), a tray, a bag of bath goodies, 4 gift bags, a photo frame, a cutting board, a drink tray, a box and a wire shelf. 13 items. Done.

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Mins Game Days 6-12

I’m continuing on with the mins game… still working on getting things out of the house… Today I’ll quickly go over the things that I’ve gotten rid of over the last week…

Day 6

Found a box of random kitchen stuff that we don’t use in the garage. 2 cutting boards, 2 plates, and 2 cups.

Day 7

More random kitchen stuff that we don’t use. 4 bowls, a knife, a can opener, and a cup.

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Mins Game Revisited

I have recently discovered a blog called Living with Less by Brittany who feels a bit like a kindred spirit when I read her posts. For the month of April she is doing the minimalism game. I have done this before, though it took me longer than a month… But I’ve been slowly decluttering stuff as we recover from the mass relocation of all our basement stuff for the basement renovation that I mentioned in my last post, so I thought it would be fun to join her.

In case you need a quick refresher, the minimalism game (or mins game for short) was created by the minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus) and basically entails getting rid of one thing on the first day of the month, two things on the second day, three things on the third day, etc. By the end of the month you have removed nearly 500 items from your house!

Brittany is planning on doing her challenge backwards, starting with the 30 things, and working downwards, but I am sticking with the traditional increasing count.

The other catch is that you are technically supposed to get it out of your house by midnight of that day… I am not sticking to that because that would mean a trip to the donation center or transfer station or whatever EVERY DAY! I do not have time for a special trip every day, but I will be sure to get the items out of the house before the end of the month. I may be selling some of these items too, so it might take a bit of time to get a buyer…

Anyway, I realize I am posting this after the beginning of April, but maybe you can join us with your version of the mins game challenge? Let’s get started going over the things I have gotten rid of so far…

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March 2021 Update

Hello my online friends… It’s been a while… again…

This post started initially as a draft in the Fall of 2020… And I never finished it, so it sat in my drafts until I started looking at it last month… And it has taken until the end of March to actually hit publish on it…

But, I have decided that one of my goals for 2021 is to once again return to blogging. This may start with a simple monthly update, but hopefully I will be able to go back to my multiple postings a week schedule eventually. I need the motivation and external accountability to help me tackle the projects and goals on my ever growing list.

So that all being said… How is everyone? What has happened since my last post?

On my end, it feels like nothing has happened since then… but at the same time it feels like everything has changed… Does that even make sense?

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2020 – De-frumping Goals

I had started this “postpartum” fitness plan post back in May or June of 2018 when I was thinking it was time to get fit after having my baby in March 2018… I never posted it… And I never finished it… Let’s just take a quick read at what I was going to say…

It’s official… I can no longer use the excuse of being pregnant for my extra weight… And now that I’ve waited the appropriate 6 weeks (okay, it’s more than that… but whatever…), I can get started on getting back in shape…

Of course, as with every new project, this starts with a spread in my bullet journal.  For my initial spread, I took to pinterest for ideas and found this one:

I believe I actually did make myself a version of that in my bullet journal at the time… I’ll have to dig back in to that book…

But that was over a year ago… almost 2 years ago now… And I never did “get back in shape”…

“But round is a shape…” Yes, yes, I can always find excuses for being overweight and sluggish, but I want to be healthy, and my current weight is not healthy for me. So, as I mentioned before, one of my themes for 2020 was to “de-frump.”

I left this theme purposely vague because I wanted to allow this goal to change over time, and also to give myself some leeway when making the goals to cover a lot of different aspects of my “frumpiness”… And with the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic adding anxiety and throwing curve balls at everyone’s regular routines, giving myself some leeway is probably the best thing… Ultimately, though, the goal is to get fit and healthy…

So, after all this discussion… Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. At the beginning of April, I thought it would be a great time to start my new goal… I started writing this post then, but got sidetracked by life, and am now just coming back to this post to finish it… Anyway… I’m going to try and make these goals cumulative, so I’ll start with one or two habits or goals each week, then add on to them the next week. I’m going to start simple to get myself started with some easy successes.

April De-Frump Goals:

Week #1: (April 1 to 5) Go to bed by 10:30pm on weeknights & brush my hair every morning.
The better sleep I get, the more energy I’ll have and the better I’ll be able to tackle other aspects of my life. And I know brushing your hair every morning sounds like a given, but honestly, my hair is so straight that I don’t often *need* to brush it, and normally when I get out of the shower I just throw the wet hair in to a messy bun and forget about it. I think that putting a it of effort in to my hair will make me feel better about myself and my appearance, even if I’m not actually seeing anyone really…

Week #2: (April 6 to 12) Get up at 5:30am on weekdays & take my vitamins every morning.
If I want to have any time to myself before the little monster wakes up, then I’ll need to get up before him… He typically wakes up around 7am, sometimes we can push it to 7:30am, so a 5:30am wake up time will give me some time to be productive, either on stuff around the house, my personal goals, my blog, or to get some work done. Also, I have totally fallen off the wagon of taking my vitamins… After years of being good (especially while pregnant and breast feeding), I’m not even sure why I got out of the habit… But it’s time to get back in to it.

Week #3: (April 13 to 19) Go for 2-3 runs & drink 8 cups of water a day.
I’m going to try getting back in to running in the mornings. Since I am not “single parenting” my mornings anymore, I can totally get up early (hence the 5:30am wake up goal) and get out of the house before anyone else gets up. I think that getting some early morning exercise will help my mental health along with my physical health, and will probably help me be better focused when I sit down to work. And I’m *pretty sure* that I am drinking the required 8 cups of water (mostly in tea form) a day, but I haven’t been tracking it for a while, so I want to get back in to that too…

Week #4: (April 20 to 26) Wash my face and apply moisturizer every morning.
This is another one that might sound like an obvious one to most people, and I do wash my face most mornings, but I rarely put moisturize on my face… And I’m not getting any younger, my skin could use all the help it can get to keep from getting too wrinkly as I get older, and my moisturizer has sunscreen built in, so as we approach summer, it will help keep my paleness from getting lobster red sunburns.

Week #5: (April 27 to 30) Don’t eat anything after 9pm.
I’ve heard that not eating after a certain point in the evening can be very good for your health. I believe this is probably true for multiple reasons, but for me, the big one would be that I never eat anything healthy late in the evenings. I have heard 8pm to be the magic time, but honestly, the little monster’s bedtime often bleeds close to 8pm these days, and I typically need/want to have a bit of a snack after he’s gone to bed so I can actually pay attention and enjoy whatever it is I am eating… So I’ve picked 9pm for my time. If I’m still doing the 10:30pm bedtime, it still gives me an hour and a half between my last food and bedtime. That should be good enough to mostly digest the food…

Of course, setting goals means a new spread in my bullet journal:

Of course, now that it is midway through April, probably best to show you an updated version of the page:

These goals have been created with the assumption that we will be remaining in this current social distancing lock-down until at least the end of April, which I’m pretty sure is pretty safe to say based on all the news I’ve seen.

What do you think of my goals? Too simple? Too complicated?

Daffodil Photo by Anthony Young on Unsplash