The chickens have almost shut down in this heat. I'm finding less than half a dozen eggs per day in the usual places. This includes the hay troughs and the few hidey-spots that I know about. Either they really have laid off the laying, or there is a growing stash of hard boiled eggs somewhere in an obscure thicket. Either way, eggs are getting harder and harder to come by. Rarer than hens' teeth, as it were. And I'm sad to report that I've lost a couple of chickens whose deaths can only be attributed to the heat. Yes, so far the temperatures have been less extreme than last year, and I'm really grateful, but it's still tough.
The hot weather has inspired me to stay indoors more and tackle some things in the house that have been dragging down my energy, attitude, and inspiration. Namely, the incessant and chronic disorder in my living spaces. My husband and daughter traveled to Austin this past weekend to visit friends and see some sights, and so I took advantage of the opportunity to tackle some of the most public areas. I got some peace and quiet, and could focus almost exclusively on each task as it came. For the past several months, the living room and kitchen have been such a pile of unfinished projects and unmade decisions, that I hated to have anyone come in the door. If you've come by for eggs lately and I left you standing on the porch in the heat, I apologize. It's much better now.
Armed with my new audio book, Unstuff Your Life - Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life Forever, by Andrew Mellen, I dug in. The title of the book makes a pretty big promise, but I've read enough of this kind of book not to get myself swept up in false hope about the prospect of a once-and-for-all fix. I'm also an organized person, deep down, and I recognize sound organizational principles when I see them. Mostly, I put the recording on just as some kindred-spirit-white-noise while I did what I know to do - organize useful items and pitch the trash. I'm even pretty good at letting go of old stuff, family stuff, sentimental stuff, when I can see that keeping it around just clogs up my life. I do get a great deal of satisfaction out of making Neatness.
And what do you know? It's a fantastic book. Better than any other de-cluttering book I've ever glommed on to. Andrew holds to the same two fundamental organizing principles that I do: 1) group like items with like items, and 2) establish one home for every item so that you can always find it. But it's in the details and the fleshed-out systems where Andrew shines. With encouragement and good humor, his book goes through every room in a typical house (including attics, garages, basements, filing cabinets dresser drawers, and even your computer hard drive) and walks step by step through what items should live in each of these spaces. In this way, he keeps your toes to the fire and helps you address one small pocket of chaos at a time, leaving a trail of peace and sanity in its place. If I go back and start at the beginning with this book - chapter by chapter - I'll have a scary-wonderful house when I'm done. But I spent the weekend just getting out from under enough junk to even begin the deep cleaning exercise. Sort of like cleaning before the cleaning lady comes. I totally get that.
|Andrew's baking drawer. Nice. All his drawers look like this.|
Now, if I can just convince my family that this is a good idea.
What spiffy organizing tips help you the most? How neat and organized should we be, on a daily basis?