See Sue? See Sue Simplify?

Hello!  Welcome to my little (and I do mean little right now) corner of the web!  Pull up a chair.  Just move that pile of stuff in the chair to the table over here.  Make yourself comfortable.  Well, as comfortable as you can be as you sit in a less-than-clean, very lived-in space.  I read all the posts about how you shouldn’t apologize for your messy house, but I’m not sure if that covers this level of mess.  So, I will go ahead and apologize to you.  I have a vision of a cleaner, more beautiful space in which to house my family and host my friends.  But, that vision seems to be needing some glasses about now.

So, here I am!  I am Sue.  I am a nice (at least people tell me that), relatively capable (I did get a Masters Degree after all), and hard-working (I have one and a half jobs and I help out at my DD’s school, lead her Girl Scout troop and all kinds of other things), 49 year-old, mom of one.  I also struggle with remembering all the things I have to remember for work and home, with being motivated and having the energy to do all I need to do at work and home when I do remember it, with knowing how to best take care of myself, my family, my house and everything when there are so many messages bombarding me on a daily basis telling me how to best parent, best be a homemaker, best manage people at work, best be a wife, etc., etc.  Yeah.  That’s me.  I am Sue.

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See me there?  Now, check out my blog and my venture into simplifying!  See Sue Simplify.  That is what I plan to do here.  I plan to take all those many messages I’m bombarded with and get to what really needs to be DONE and only what NEEDS to be done.  I don’t need to label everything in my house.  I don’t need to spend 1000s of dollars on a closet organizer.  I don’t need to redecorate my entire house.  Well….maybe I do need to do that one.  I can’t afford to redecorate my entire house.  I know there are things I CAN do.  I know there are things I WON’T do.  I know there are things that I absolutely NEED to do.  This blog will be about those things.  Wading through all the craziness that is “simplifying” is not at all simple.  There is decluttering.  There is minimalism.  There is meal planning.  There is organizing.  There is planning and calendaring.  There is life balance.  There is cleaning.  There is “sprucing up”.  There is redecorating.  Sigh…So. Much. Stuff.

Wading through all the craziness that is “simplifying” is not at all simple.  There is decluttering.  There is minimalism.  There is meal planning.  There is organizing.  There is planning and calendaring.  There is life balance.  There is cleaning.  There is “sprucing up”.  There is redecorating.  Sigh…So. Much. Stuff.  So, join me here on my journey.  Perhaps something I do will spark something inside of you.  Perhaps you will just join me as a cheerleader (I will need those) or an expert advice giver (I will take that) or you will go along side me as a participant.  Any of those is great!  We need all sorts of people in our lives and I want all of those.  I’ll even take the naysayer (although if you tell me that I need to label everything in my house, we may have to agree to disagree).

Please consider following along.  Join my email list where I will catalog some of my favorite simplifying resources and review products and services that you may be considering yourself.  I may even tell you a sad or funny or sad and funny story here and there.  I promise to make it worth the look!  And you’ll only get it once every two weeks.

From here, I begin my journey to a simpler, calmer and more joyful life.  I’ll start with that pile of stuff you had to move to sit down.  Relax though.  Your job is just to see me simplify!

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Five Minute Friday – Support

Well, I’m a little late for this week’s Five Minute Friday, but I still wanted to be sure to participate.  This week was a busy one and I kind of fell off of my “stay on task” train and ended up getting run over.  But, I have hopefully climbed back on (because this next weekend I work all weekend, so there will be no pulling myself up and climbing back on. If I get run over this week, I’m pretty much laying on the tracks for the remainder of the semester.  I need to remember that this week as I get distracted or exhausted and think about not doing what needs to get done.  Now that that is out of the way, on to this week’s FMF – Support.

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Support is something I feel like I DO very well, but I don’t accept as well.  I am someone who is always looking to help others in their endeavors.  This is especially true if I feel like I have some knowledge they do not.  I think this is a big reason I became a teacher.  I love advising students.  I love being able to support them in reaching their goals. Unfortunately, I often refuse or ignore or just plain miss out on support from others. Last semester, I got an email from my supervisor at work telling me she wished I would have reached out to let her know that I was unable to attend an event because of a conflict with my DD’s school events.  I had simply asked a TA to cover for me prepped the script for her and not thought much about it.  And when I received the email, I immediately got defensive.  But, as I read the message over for a third and fourth time, I began to realize that my supervisor didn’t want me to feel like I had to prep a TA to cover for me when she could have easily done it without me preparing her and writing a whole script out for her.  She was offering me support and telling me to ask for it in the future.  But, when it first was given, I could not even see the support through my defensiveness.

I don’t know why I am this way.  I don’t think my students are incompetent or slacking who ask me for help with a paper or a project.  I see them as resourceful and responsible.  Why can’t I see that in myself when I need support?  Why can’t I ask for it more often instead of trying to do everything I can to not ask for it, not accept it and definitely not NEED it.  That, my friends, is exhausting.  Hiding out in the shadows of need rather than letting light shine through support is just not how I want to live my life any longer.

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As a step towards realizing where and when I need support, I am taking the Start-Up Guide for Online Writers.  I feel like I have things to say that are worthy of writing, but I don’t have much of a direction at this point.  So, I’m going to take the support and run with it!  The class is available for only $19 through the 19th and then the price goes up.  So, jump in if you’re looking to improve your skills!

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The Girlfriend’s Guide to Old Age?

Affiliate links included.

If you’ve never gone through a pregnancy, the title of this blog post may not sound familiar.  But for those of us who have had children, I’m sure most of us at least heard of, if we didn’t actually read, The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy.  There are a few other Girlfriend Guides now.  An expected addition: The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood. The books were supposed to deliver the “dirty truth” about pregnancy or as the subtitle says, “Things your doctor won’t tell you.”  When I saw this Washington Post story about a new book coming out, I immediately thought the description sounded like the subtitle could be “Girlfriend’s Guide to Old Age”.  And what a welcome read it is for me as I approach 50: Aging: An Apprenticeship.

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The book’s premise is genius and so very needed.  And the contributors are amazing.  Judy Blume taught me how to grow up and now she can give me some advice on aging!  I personally can’t wait to read it.  And right now, it is free if you Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial!

Aging seems to mainly be dealt with in commercials.  We have the menopause commercials, well covered by this NY Times article.  We have the phone commercials, where people over 55 or 60 can’t figure out how to work iPhones so they need special, simple phones.  We have media portrayals of frail and confused older people.  Or we have media portrayals of older women playing younger women because who wants to REALLY be 50 or 60 years old?  Or, we just don’t see older women much at all.  That’s one reason I love Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel.  They have numerous older men and women on their channel.  None of them are frail or confused.

So, I look forward to reading this book and seeing what lessons I can learn as I enter my apprenticeship next year.  Anyone want to join me and have a conversation later?

 

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Five Minute Friday – Work

I am joining Five Minute Friday again this week.  There are some exciting things over there in the coming weeks.  Check out the teaser for those this week.  And join in writing about “Work”

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Work.  It is something that I feel like I do so much of, but still not enough of.  I work at a lot of different things – teaching, keeping my house clean, keeping my daughter on track for activities and school and trying to keep up with current events.  And I do feel like I work quite a bit.  Yet, I don’t have what I want to show for that work.

For example, this week, I cleaned the kitchen and living room early on Thursday morning, during a thunderstorm (that woke me up at 4:30 a.m.).  The house looked nice when I left for work that day.  Now, both rooms are pretty messy again.  I also worked quite a bit on different projects for work.  But, I still have a long, long to-do list.  Luckily, my trip for this weekend was cancelled today, so I now have a day at home tomorrow to play some catch-up.  But, what if I didn’t have that?  I would come home and be behind, despite all the work.

The conclusion I’m coming to is that I have to stop viewing work as being able to be “completed”.  Nothing that I do is ever really complete.  It is simply done-for-now.  It will need to be done again in the future (sometimes as soon as the next day).  If I know that going in, perhaps it will not disappoint me so much when I don’t have much to show for what I’ve done.

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Work. Never complete. Just done, for now.

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Taking the Challenge – Get Rid of Magazines!

At the top of WordPress Reader when I logged in today was a post from Simplify-Declutter-Organize  (which, by the way, is everything I want to do in life at this point) offering up this Daily Challenge: Get Rid of Your Least Favorite Magazine.  It was like she could see my living room and the magazines spilling over the basket I keep them in onto the floor!  The challenge, as she put it out there, is just to get rid of the least favorite of the magazines, but I think I may have to get rid of more than just one type of magazine to really clear out my stack.

I get most of the subscriptions for free through airline miles, special offers online, etc. And I always think I’m going to read them, but they never seem to be prioritized in my life.  So, they pile up.  I’ve made it a rule that I have to clear them out every time they overflow the relatively generous basket I’ve allowed myself, but I’ve fallen behind even on that requirement and there are currently magazines laying on the ground below the basket (where they’ve slid out because the magazines are piled higher than the sides of the basket), there is a magazine on the side table in the living room (because I started reading it, stopped, but had nowhere to put it), and at least one on the couch that just came in the mail.  I love the IDEA of relaxing with a cup of coffee or iced tea and perusing the pages of my favorite magazine.  But, that idea never becomes reality for me. I read mostly online and I never seem to be able to take the time to read the magazines the way I would like to.  So, I’m going to take the plunge tonight and go through the basket.  I’m going to decide what I really want to go through (for ideas, inspiration, recipes, etc.), what I really want to actually read and what can just be put up on Freecycle to go to someone who will appreciate them more.  I will report back when I’ve finished!

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I did it!  Well, not exactly.  But, I did clear out my basket, went through the magazines and took out my least favorite (which didn’t end up being many since I stopped my subscriptions to the least favorite a while back).  But, it was enough to make space for all the magazines in the basket and now I’m going to focus on reading through them and getting rid of them as I do so!  I love magazines, so I should allow myself time each week to read them.  And if I can’t, I should just get rid of them.  That’s the deal!  Thanks for the inspiration.  What about you?  Do you have some magazines to go through?

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Nothing is more simple than one thing

That title is a bit of a play on words, but I’ve found this past week that I need to focus on one thing at a time.  And really, nothing (other than nothing) is more simple than that. Let me explain.

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

I struggle with trying to implement new routines and habits.  In the past, I’ve tried to follow “plans” that included new morning routines and afternoon routines and evening routines and I could never stick with all of it.  To me, simple means easy for me to accomplish and something that doesn’t complicate my life.  So simplifying should not complicate things.  I do not need (nor will I use, realistically) a 25 item checklist for my daily routines.  So, this past week, I decided to focus on the one thing that makes me feel most stressed – my entry way/living room.

Our house has a very small entry way that leads directly to our living room.  These are the most used areas of our house (by far) and it shows. Whenever I get them clean and tidy I feel instant relief.  So, I decided that each day, I would make sure that they were just that – clean and tidy – at least once.  And so far, only one night has gone without them being so.  This singular focus has made me feel so much better about things. And because that room is clean and tidy (I literally pick up everything off the floor, vacuum and clean off the coffee table every single day), I’ve found that I have time and energy to do other rooms.  So, my dining room (which is visible from the living room) is clean and tidy.  My kitchen has been mostly clean and tidy (a couple of nights there were dishes left piled up, but they were always done the next day).  Even my bedroom is pretty clean and tidy.   None of that was on a list of to-dos for each day.  Only the living room.  But, just having that accomplishment motivated me to do more.  That and the fact that if a room is cleaned every day, it doesn’t take long to clean it.  Even my incredibly messy and dirty family can’t do that much damage in only 24 hours!  This leaves me time to clean other areas of our home.

So, if you’re struggling with keeping some long to-do list or de-cluttering 201 things this week or trying to implement a bunch of routines each day, maybe you just need to focus on One Thing for a week or two.  Pick the one that is most likely to stress you out or the one that makes you feel most exhausted thinking about it and then make a commitment to do that one thing and only that one thing.  Maybe it is laundry for you.  Make a commitment to do a load of laundry from start to finish each day.  Maybe it is doing the dishes and then keeping your sink clean all day.  Get those dishes done and put away each night (or early in the morning).  And maybe you too will see that spill over into other areas.  But, even if you don’t, you’ll have done the thing that will give you the most relief emotionally.  And I think most of this simplifying thing is all about emotion.  We want to feel the burden lifted and be able to breathe in our own spaces.

See Sue Simplifywith Only One Thing

 

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Five Minute Friday – Neighbor

I am joining the Five Minute Friday community this week. If you’re unfamiliar with them, check it out! It is a supportive, friendly writing Link-up that happens each week on Friday. The goal is to write for five minutes without editing or censoring yourself. Let’s do this!
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The prompt this week is “Neighbor” – here goes…

Neighbors are everywhere nowadays.  We have the traditional next-door neighbors, but we also have online “neighbors” who are near our space online, even if not in person. But, neighbor means more than physical or virtual nearness.  To me, neighbor means someone who is willing to help, provides a friendly smile, chats with you when you are out cleaning out your car (this happened to me this morning).  They are those individuals who play a “supporting role” in the drama that is your life.  We don’t necessarily hang out with them often (although some do have neighbors like this).  We don’t think of them as the first ones to call in an emergency (although again, some do have neighbors like this).  But we do depend on them to keep a look out, to let us know if things are going wrong (like when our neighbor let us know their backyard was flooding daily due to a leaky sprinkler we had no idea was in our backyard), to keep an eye on our kids when they are out playing, etc.

I have always wanted to live in one of those neighborhoods where everyone knows each other and has block parties.  But, I also like having some anonymity in my home space. Neighbors can be like family.  Everyone wants a close knit family until it starts getting itchy from the close-knittedness.  I would like to have a closer relationship with some of my neighbors.  At least know them by name, etc.  So, I may try to make getting to know my neighbors a bit more a goal for this Fall.

___________________________________________________________And the buzzer rings!

That’s it.  Five minutes.  Writing without judgment.  Enjoy!

Let's build gates, not fences.

 

 

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