February Follies (aka Fast-Forward Fridays)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe best laid plans of mice and men. Except I can’t blame mice or men in this case. I can’t even blame the clutter cats. They’re only mascots, after all. I can only blame myself. For this crazy challenge.

Design your own challenge, I said. Set up your own steps, I said. It’s only four weeks, I said. You can compete with yourself, I said. It will be fun, I said.

OK, enough ranting. 🙂  It’s really not that bad. And I still believe most of those things, except the one about four weeks. There are only two left.

The reality is I fell off the Fast-Forward-Friday express. On the left, you can see one example. Fabric sorting did not happen last week.  In fact, most of my decluttering challenge seemed to have died in the water this week. But have no fear. I have a plan. And I have something else — perseverance.

But one thing I have known since before starting this (rather ambitious) challenge is that no matter how well thought-out plans and ideas are, unexpected events always interrupt the “ideal” plan. But the one thing that I’ve put into practice in the last 18 months that’s helped more than anything is perseverance.

So just like any other plan or project, there were some glitches in this system. In this particular case, I wasn’t expecting two extra doctor appointments this week (with accompanying bus trips). Nor was I expecting to have to adjust what I can do physically. But, that’s life. Things don’t ever always go according to plan. On the good news side, I did make a lot of progress on work-related tasks.

Before I made a practice of perseverance, I would sort of let things go. I would call the challenge a good try, but it “just wasn’t meant to be,” at least not this month. But I’m determined not to give in to that cycle. I can persevere by doing one simple thing: pick up where I left off and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

As you can see in the list below, I have a lot of fancy footwork to do to catch-up, but rather than defeating myself with my attitude, I’m going to see just how much I can catch up. If I don’t make it all the way, I will still be much closer on celebration day (February 28) than I’d be if I gave up now.

So here is the 2nd Friday update (a little late):

List of Daily Tasks
  • (green – on-time completions for week 1;
  • purple – early completions;
  • blue – on-time completions for week 2;
  • red – missed items – scheduled for catch-up)

    Clutter Cats

    Clutter Cats

    • 2 – Middle shelf
    • 3 – Lower Shelf
    • 4 – First Metal Drawer
    • 5 – Second Metal Drawer
    • 6 – Three wood drawers (FRIDAY)
    • 7 – Hanging Clothes
    • 8 – Printer Cabinet (2 shelves)
    • 9 – Printer Cabinet (other 2 shelves)
    • 10 – 2 bookshelves
    • 11 – 2 bookshelves
    • 12 – 2 bookshelves
    • 13 – 2 bookshelves  (FRIDAY)
    • 14 – Fabric
    • 15 – Other quilting and craft supplies
    • 16 – black ottoman

By persevering, I can keep my spirits high and just continue on. Getting upset with myself for not keeping up is not productive. That frame of mind would only serve to give me a “reasonable excuse” to explain away my lack of progress. Perseverance helps me to continue on, even though the results may not be exactly what I hoped for. But who knows? Just as setbacks are often the result of when things don’t go according to plan, sometimes unexpected breakthroughs can also come. So I’m going for progress.

I’ve also made some really significant discoveries about myself, but that’s for another post. See you in a few days with another update. Anyone else?

92 days until 60!

 

The Clutter Cat’s Follow-up (Fast-Forward Friday Challenge)

When I gave you my Wednesday update on my clutter challenge for Fast-Forward Fridays, I was two days ahead. My progress looked like this:

 

Two Cats

The Clutter Cats

List of Daily Tasks (green – on-time completions; purple – early completions)

  • 1 – Top shelf of closet   
  • 2 – Middle shelf
  • 3 – Lower Shelf
  • 4 – First Metal Drawer
  • 5 – Second Metal Drawer
  • 6 – Three wood drawers  (Fast Forward Friday)
  • 7 – Hanging Clothes
  • 8 – Printer Cabinet (2 shelves)
  • 9 – Printer Cabinet (other 2 shelves)
  • 10 – 2 bookshelves
  • 11 – 2 bookshelves
  • 12 – 2 bookshelves
  • 13 – 2 bookshelves  (FRIDAY)
  • 14 – Fabric
  • 15 – Other quilting and craft supplies
  • 16 – black ottoman

Since I was two days ahead on Wednesday, I shared my choices for what I could do the next day.

  1. I can take a day or two off.
  2. I can do the next task on the list.
  3. I can choose something else and poke holes in other parts of of the list.

Did you guess?

I did. I figured I would do either #2 or #3. More likely #3 because the next thing on the list was the hanging clothes in my closet, and that seemed like a good thing to leave for Saturday. #2 gave me options for where to jump in on the list but still make some more progress. My racing the clock technique.

Funny thing is that I totally surprised myself. I ended up going with the one I least expected and ended up taking two days off. I would have sworn I would have played ahead. But ok, I had a couple of days off. And it was so easy to do. Almost too easy.  I was a tad worried about losing momentum and having a difficult time starting back up. Especially, since Saturday’s task was going through the clothes that are hanging in my closet — the largest task so far. Two things kept me on task:

1) I’ve announced to the world I’m doing this, and I’d rather force myself to keep going than admit that I’m quitting.  😉

2) With my recent weight loss (it’s actually taken 15 months so far, but it’s worth it), it really makes sense to go through my clothes. I need to figure out what I’m keeping, what I’m altering, what I’m giving away.

I guess you could say I had double motivation for Saturday’s task. I will probably go through again as the rest of the stuff gets sorted out, but it felt good to clear things out and get them ready for donation.

Today (Sunday), I tackled two of the shelves under the printer “cabinet.” It was easier to do by leaving the computer off while I did it. Then I just got ready and headed directly to the coffee shop to begin my day. I got a bit of a start on the third shelf, making tomorrow a little easier.

OK, so I’m not ahead like I thought I’d be, but I’m keeping up. And really, that was the point of the challenge. It was to get out from under the clutter and disorganization, and so far, I’m staying on schedule!

Good luck to anyone else who is tackling something special this February. Let me know how you’re doing, and I’ll be back with a new update next week.

 

99 days till 60! It’s coming fast!  😀

 

 

It’s not too late to join in. Choose ANY challenge, big or small, write steps on the days left in February, and give it a go. And feel free to post progress in the comments below or write a post and link it here. We can cheer reach other on.

Happy February!

 

 

February’s Fast Forward Fridays: My Plan

 

I will admit, there is little that derails me faster than physical clutter. Too much stuff (even if it’s organized) is still too much. I need white space, even though it took me a long time to realize that.

At the same time, when I take on too much (my biggest weakness), the “too-much” stuff seems to take on a life of its own. I get behind on putting things away, and the problem grows and grows until I’m in the situation in which I currently find myself. Hard to start anything because I feel like I’m being buried alive.

So for me, the 28 days of February are going to give me a running start at sorting, decluttering, and getting only necessary things organized. The rest are going bye-bye. This is an important step on my way to our return to the US in July. Going from our lovely apartment to 4-6 suitcases is going to be a challenge. Time to at least sort through my personal mess stuff so that I regain some white space AND have less to do when it comes time to pack.

Remember, the trick isn’t to be perfect in your list-making, but to just plan something for the next 28 days (even if you plan a few break days in, based on your personal preference).

Without further ado, here is my list for February.

  • 1 – Top shelf of closet
  • 2 – Middle shelf
  • 3 – Lower Shelf
  • 4 – First Metal Drawer
  • 5 – Second Metal Drawer
  • 6 – Three wood drawers (Fast Forward Friday – Check IN)
  • 7 – Hanging Clothes
  • 8 – Printer Cabinet (2 shelves)
  • 9 – Printer Cabinet (other 2 shelves)
  • 10 – 2 bookshelves
  • 11 – 2 bookshelves
  • 12 – 2 bookshelves
  • 13 – 2 bookshelves (FRIDAY)
  • 14 – Fabric ❤
  • 15 – Other quilting and craft supplies
  • 16 – black ottoman
  • 17 – sewing table
  • 18 – kitchen table
  • 19 – files
  • 20 – files (FRIDAY)
  • 21 – music shelves
  • 22 – bedside table
  • 23 – ironing board
  • 24 – living room surfaces
  • 25 – catch-up; maintenance
  • 26 – catch-up; maintenance
  • 27 – FRIDAY
  • 28 – CELEBRATION

See you on Friday for our first check-in!  Hope you can join us!

 

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