Tuesday, July 24, 2018

When Others Complain

            Whether you find yourself for the first time completely overwhelmed with disorganization, or have always had trouble with keeping things orderly....

There will be complaints
                                Image result for complain meme

They might come from one person...or several.

When the complaints do come in...what is your reaction?

It's not a good feeling when others are unhappy or uncomfortable and its because of something you are doing or not doing..

You feel frustrated, sad, guilty maybe you feel a bit defensive.

Maybe the complaint came in the form of yelling and resulted in humiliation.

Maybe you didn't notice it to be a problem at all.

Recently my husband voiced his frustration about the state of our laundry room.

My first reaction was a want to defend myself and let him know that he too is at fault!

But I didn't.

 I did something that I ordinarily don't do. 

I listened and then I shared with him how hard its been for me.

I let him know that I too am frustrated, and tired, and sometimes I feel so defeated that there are days I don't even want to try.

I felt a bit embarrassed trying to explain why I now had so much trouble doing what so many can.

I did once.

I tried before.

I used to be successful at this.

and now I'm not.

I feel guilty.

About 20+ years ago (in the age of Mommy chat rooms on the very new Internet) a woman confessed that her husband was about to leave her because of the mess in their home. It seemed that since the birth of their babies their untidy home had become a mess of epic proportions. She had tried everything she could and nothing worked. She wasn't hopeful and she was sure divorce was imminent.

I remember thinking how can it be so bad that a marriage could end over a messy home? She was extremely lonely, sad and seemed overwhelmed all at the same time. How could her husband not see that it was much more than a dirty house? This young mom blamed herself and only herself and the shame of it all paralyzed her.

On the other end of the spectrum...I saw an episode of one of those hoarding shows and the Mother of the family blamed everyone and everything, but herself. She took no ownership in the problem. So it was no surprise to me that at the end of the show (when they have the big reveal) everything was clean, except around her favorite chair... there were already signs of clutter. Her family got the push to action, but I don't know if the mom did. Her own husband had moved out of the home long before leaving the kids to deal with the horrendous mess. I wonder how the Mom in the chat room fared. Did she get help? or did she and her husband throw in the dirty towel.

When things are really bad and you are buried in clutter it isolates you. The worst thing it does is force you and your family into a bubble of isolated secrecy. Kids can't invite friends over. Family get-togethers are far and few between. Extreme clutter can cause a family to be in a constant state of stress and unhappiness. 

Then there are the complaints...

The blame game.
                             Image result for the blame game

It becomes a lonely cycle of defeating shame  So If you find yourself in the middle of a complaint storm....

           When others point and clear the cobwebs to expose the mess beneath...

take a breath.

Try to hear what they are saying

Instead of reacting loudly and retreating.

Face this monster head on. Take ownership.

Have a conversation.

Share your heart and hurts.

Maybe you'll find an answer, or help. 

Maybe the veil will be lifted and you'll see how it affects others too. Maybe they'll see that they may also have had a part in it no matter how small. Or maybe after the talk they'll realize that you need their help and together you all can climb out and claim long standing victory over the heap.

And if the complainers still can't understand, or persist in the blame game until it feels like they can't see that they are talking to a real live person with feelings...

or can't see the progress you've made when you try... and say it's still not enough...

It's OK, they will. They might. and even if they never do...

Keep moving forward.

Stick with it.

Everyday try to do something to make it better. You will feel better.

Even if it's the tiniest thing that only you alone see.

Keep moving. Don't stand still and expect things to change. Move...even if its only for a few minutes at a time. You'll be surprised at what a few minutes can do.

Through one of the youtube channels I follow I found out about an app...30/30

                                        Image result for 30/30 app

You fill in the tasks bars with whatever you want to do. Then you select the amount of time you think you'll need to complete the chore.

It really helps to keep you keep on task. If you need frequent breaks then you just type in a rest period in every other slot. Rest for a few minutes until the alarm (of your choosing) rings. You could set it to be on a loop too.

Here is a Youtube video that shows you how to use this app.


I highly suggest this app. It's an incredible tool to help keep you on track. It is free to download from the App Store and I would love to know how you like it if you decide to use it.

And remember you can do this!

Have an amazing day!
Blessings, Joanne

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Discovering a new YT Channel and New LIFE

             Hello everyone...or hello to my one reader...LOL!!! Either way I am glad you are here.

I didn't know what to write about until.... I came across a YouTube mom. Her name is Mel and her YT channel is called For The Love of Sorted. I just started subscribing to her channel and I LOVE her!
You know why? She is so honest. She shows you her home at it's messiest and she still tries to keep up. She says that she shows the mess in order to help others not feel so badly or ashamed of their own predicaments. She is not only working on getting and staying organized but she is also working on her health and heart.

You gotta love that right?

Today is a beautiful spring day and I decided that it was the perfect time to scatter the roses from my Father-in-laws wake. If you remember I wrote about them here.

I decided (that even though they were drying so beautifully) I would not keep them. I would scatter them into the space where flowers will be planted and perennials would return.

They would be a part of that new life.

Just like my Father-in-law is part of a beautiful new life with God.

I miss him.

Monday, April 23, 2018


            What derails you?


You are chugging away, doing stuff, cleaning stuff...you finally feel like you have your mojo back.

You might even be right on track with the Fly Lady steps and CRASH BOOM POOF

Its all gone

You've been pushed off the tracks and suddenly that little engine that could...can't.

Why? What happened?

On Sunday my best friend got married. This is the first marriage for both her and her groom. He's 50 and she's in her forties. They both waited a long time, but it certainly paid off because they make a beautiful couple.

A few weeks before the wedding I had to take my own mom to the ER twice, my daughter had to come home from school because of a bad case of the flu, and my own arthritis was in rare form as it attacked my knees with a vengeance. I also had to work on a few extra last minute crafts for the wedding.

I was pooped.

What derails me?

Anything that is out of the ordinary.

Anything that cuts into the routine that I have established (or tried to establish...remember the 66 day rule for establishing a new habit?)

When emergencies happen...

      When things take my attention away from tasks at home

            It completely derails me.

Its like one moment, I feel like I have it all under control

     and the next I look around and I'm back at square one and sometimes (if I'm honest) minus one.

It makes me feel like a failure

It makes me feel like just giving up and calling a local real estate agent and selling the house with all its contents ...cheap.

But I cannot.

I have to face this head on.

I am giving myself one week.

One week to make sense of this place.

Sometimes dead lines are good...

Deadlines tend to light that fire and keep us moving especially if at the end of the time limit there are guests that are coming over.

You know what also lights that fire? Visiting someone else's home.

If I visit someone else's home (that seems to have I all together) well that makes you come back to your own and want to straighten it out big time.

So whatever it is that will get you out of the funk of failure...do it!

Give yourself a dead line. If you feel you cannot do the whole house in that dead line...its OK. Make the deadline for one area...one room.

Get yourself moving again in the right direction.

The goal is to keep moving forward.

Do not sit there in the wreckage too long.

Get up and move.

and before you know it...

That train will be back on track chugging away.
                          train GIF

       Well....here I go!

Friday, March 30, 2018

New Life

                    Hello there my dear Bloggy buds and Insta pals,

OK, I'm only assuming that a whole hoard of people are reading this blog. Wishful thinking really... I don't really check the stats.

But even if it's one person...that's OK. So it's just you and me Dear One.

It's Good Friday and I have always felt a bit sad on this day. I tend to think a lot about how it must have been to be there at the crucifixion. What was it like to Love Him so and see Him suffer so much? Sometimes it brings me to tears.

It's been a dreary day here and it fits the mood. I finally threw out the flowers from my Father-in-law's wake, though one arrangement was still so beautiful. 

I had a hard time throwing it out. I just didn't want to. I took it apart taking the almost perfect roses and placing them on the table. I was trying to figure out what I could do with them. What could I make with them?

and the answer is...

I will not keep them

I took a picture of the dried wilted flowers and I will admire them for a little while and then I will crush them and scatter them outside. They will become part of the backyard and when our annuals come up I will imagine that these flowers became part of the soil that helped them grow. I've learned not to keep everything...It helps to let go. Because by letting go something beautiful may happen.

New life

A new beginning

Life from something thought completely dead

Reminds me of Easter

And that my dear friend makes me smile

Hope it made you smile too

Blessings, Joanne

Monday, March 26, 2018

Getting Ready for the Week Ahead

                   As I write this post...it is Sunday. It was a beautiful day here today. It was sunny and in the 40's. Lately instead of going straight home after church I go straight to Aldis (discount grocery store) to buy some groceries and snacks for the week. You can't beat their prices for chips...while the regular supermarkets are charging over 4 dollars for a bag, Aldis  is charging 1.79. Its a no brainer. After lunch I usually sit down to work on my planner. I also plan what needs to be cleaned that week. I try to plan what I will be cooking for dinner too. Now that Easter is a week away the cleaning routine will have to be taken up a notch in case I have company.  It might look a bit like this.....

                                     Uploaded to You Tube by:  Chris Fleming             
                                                It makes me laugh every time

What are you up to today? What do you do to get ready for the week? or for company?


Monday, March 19, 2018

Timer Cleaning

                     Sometimes in life we are just plain EXHAUSTED.
                                               Image result for exhausted

        I'm talkin' BONE TIRED
                   Image result for bone tired  

                            and sometimes it lasts for a long time. 

I have some friends who suffer from chronic illnesses and yet a few more who live with the long term after-effects of Chemo. 
They try to keep organized.

They work hard at it.

The Fly lady says that all that is needed is 15 minutes a day.

Jen, from How Jen Does It says the same thing

Jen's home is beautiful

I'm not there yet.

 I am a breast cancer survivor and when I had my surgery I was left grateful to be alive, but also surprised that I couldn't do what I did so easily before. My dominant arm and hand were weaker than my non-dominant side. I dropped things repeatedly. My husband helped tremendously, but I wanted to feel normal again and that meant being able to care for my family. Eventually I started to figure a way to get started. Last year's arthritis appeared and it has made things difficult...not impossible. If medical issues or limited mobility make you not able to do things for more than a few minutes without getting tired, I may have something for you to try that may help.

Get a timer or use your phone or oven timer. Bring with you a small waste basket or garbage bag to throw out stuff immediately without having to walk to the trash can constantly.

Set the timer for 5 minutes.
Start on one side of the room and go clockwise. Going clockwise will stop you from getting overwhelmed and when you come back to the area you will know exactly where you left off. Pick a small area. I usually start at a counter and pick about two or three feet of it. Everything in that two feet will be put away and wiped. This includes the area above it. In 5 minutes that two foot area will be clean. When the timer goes off, set it for 5 or 10 minutes and sit, or watch tv or read. 

The purpose for this is so you don't get exhausted. This might sound silly or extreme for a person who is healthy and has all the energy in the world, but if you are someone suffering from an illness that makes it so hard to do things for a long period of time ...this could help.

After the five or ten minutes are up, set the timer for 5 minutes again and go to the next area.

What if you don't want to concentrate on just that room and want to clean a bit in other places too?

Thats ok, Make the circle wider to include a few rooms or the whole house. 

Work five minutes in the bedroom....then rest. Work another 5 minutes in the bathroom, then rest. Do a full circle and if you have energy and time go back to where you started and do another round.

The objective is not to get everything done. The objective to to do as much as you can without exhaustion. You will find that if you have a an incentive... A good movie or book or even a magazine to go back to when you finish those minutes of cleaning, it will help keep your motivation up.

If resting for 5 minutes isn't enough then make it 10 or 15. Just don't make it for too much because you'll get too comfy cozy with that book or show and want to turn of the timer for good. But if you need more time then take more!

You will find that maybe you didn't get to everything, but you did get to some. For someone who is having trouble with low energy and feeling badly about this new stage in your life, being able to finish something and not feel exhausted and defeated is a very big deal! Even if it's taken you an hour just to do the dishes or just a small section of the kitchen...YOU DID IT!

This helped me and so I really hope it helps you. Let me know.

Have a beautiful day and take care of yourself!

Blessings, Joanne

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Loss and Comfort

                Sometimes things happen that flips your world upside down. This happened this past week. Early Monday morning my Father-in-law died. He was in the hospital for a month and a half. On Sunday morning it seemed that he was feeling better and looking stronger, but that boost of energy was not to last. That night his three sons gathered around his bedside and prayed over their father. My Father-in-law was in so much pain. God answered by taking him home.

Its been a surreal week. It was like walking in slow motion one minute then lightning speed the next. There were so many people to greet and there was my poor almost 90-year-old Mother -in -law right in the middle of it. Anything "routine" went right out the window as we helped pick flowers and bought appropriate clothes for our kids to wear. There was no cooking and very little cleaning. My kids walked around with heavy hearts and my sister-in-laws and I helped our Husbands as they dealt with the loss of their father.

The kids lost time at school.

         Shopping was not done.
                Cleaning anything was last and not really done. The only chore I managed to do was one small load of laundry.

I did notice one thing. My Mother-in-law's house was tidy and clean as always. She has help these days but even so everything at her home was just as it always is. It was comforting to go there after the wake.

At the end of the night we would all go back to our own homes to prepare for the next day at the funeral home and there was my house in the same state that I left it in that morning.

It was not comforting.

There was the laundry that was left on the laundry room floor as I frantically searched for a black sweater to wash late the night before.

The vacuum was still in the middle of the living room and the craft room still had tons of silk flowers that were never put away from the centerpieces that I made just days before.

Those things mean nothing to me in lieu of the loss of a loved member of our family, but all together in front of us as we came home to try to recoup from the day's events...they meant so much. Having had a organized house to come home to would have felt comforting.

The funeral was just a few days ago and afterward the tradition is to go out for dinner with close family. I sat across from my sister-in-law and I noticed she was just as quiet as I was. The chatter around us was constant, but we said little. She looked tired and I imagine I looked the same. We knew this man for nearly 30 years. It hurts to say goodbye. We will miss him.

As we go back to our routines and try to help our Mother-in-law I start again trying to make sense of my world here.

As changes good and bad continue to bombard us day by day I do have the control of one aspect of it. I can make my little corner of the world a place of peace and love for my family and anyone who happens to come by.

                                      I can and I will

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I Flippin' Did It!!!

        I Flippin' DID IT!!

                       I have FINALLY caught up with ALL the laundry!
  I know I know...big deal right?

But it is a big deal. It is a really BIG deal! I have been trying to tackle that monster for a while now.

I wish I could show you what it looked like before, but since I don't want my sweet grandmother to turn over in her grave (and my own mom to cry uncontrollably from deep and utter shame) I just figured I would nix that idea.

                             It was bad people, bad.  I'm talking mountains of laundry. ALL OVER!

                             It was a giant prehistoric octopus with tentacles that claimed the whole area as his.

                                               and he wasn't going down without a fight.

                                                            Neither was I

                             OK, That's not really like me

                                                           This is more like it

                   I'm a fluffy Super Hero, but DAAAAAMN  I still look good!

I went downstairs to that laundry area and decided enough was enough.

My goal?

Get to the point where I'm doing just one load a day and the laundry room doesn't look like a bomb exploded there.

Sometimes you just have to dive in (or in my case belly flop) into the muck and fight.

That is just what I did.

But First...
                                     Image result for crying woman gif

Yeah, that's right; get it all out.

OK lets get to it.

This is going to take a while so make sure you have allotted time for this.

The next step is going to sound crazy but TRUST me.

Even if your laundry monster is in overflowing hampers and already sorted, take the laundry out and put in on the floor. The reason I write this is because if we have a lot of laundry but never can finish all of it...the clothes on the bottom of the hamper get neglected because the pile on top keeps getting bigger and taller.

If your laundry is in hampers, floors, bottom of the basement stairs

Do the same thing

But you are going to make separate piles

I made 6 different piles

1. Whites

2. Darks

3. Medium (for pastels or lighter colors)

4. Towels

5. Kitchen (kitchen towels and tablecloths)

6. Is for the pile of clothes that need special care Ex delicate Underwear, or sweaters that need a slower cycle

Instead of one giant Laundry octopus monster, you will have 6 small monsters to deal with and lets face it little monsters are cuter and much less intimidating.

You have your piles

Now get to it

Your mood is going to get considerably lighter and brighter as your piles start to gradually disappear...and they will disappear!

Keep plugging away, Take breaks. DO NOT start another big cleaning project.

As one load is done in the dryer fold it and put it away right away.

Each member of our family has their own basket, and because I got tired of sorting socks,  I have two baskets for socks ( one for black/dark  and another for white socks). Whenever anyone needs socks  they can go downstairs and find their own and put them away.

I have another basket just for towels and another for linens. We don't have a lot of room upstairs for all of the towel and linens. I keep the extras in these baskets and come down whenever I need to replenish the closets upstairs.

See more on my Youtube channel

That's all for now. Do you have any tips to share? I would love to read them!

         Keep up the good work Dear Ones!
           Blessings, Joanne

When Others Complain

            Whether you find yourself for the first time completely overwhelmed with disorganization, or have always had trouble with kee...