A Month of #projectsimplify


I’m finding it incredibly hard to believe that January is almost over, but being almost a month into this year’s One Little Word it seemed like time for a check in.

My word is simplify (and my hashtag for the year is #projectsimplify, because everything’s more legit if it has a hashtag), and a big part of that for me is organization and decluttering. I started the year with some little but important projects, like clearing out the food storage container area in the kitchen, clearing off my bedside table and generally cleaning up the bedroom.

project simplify plastic organization
I liberated a whole shelf!

It’s not 100 percent perfect all the time, but it’s much better than it was, which is great. I feel like I’m more mindful of the clutter building up now, especially in the places where we spend a lot of time.

Which, of course, brings me to my office, the place in the house I probably spend the most time and that is also the most wrecked most of the time.

clear bedside table
There’s a stock of books to review on the table now, but it’s still pretty clean.

The Way it Was

I didn’t take a before picture but you can probably imagine it: big piles of books everywhere, leftover yarn from the book (available for preorder now!) in every random place, bags full of yarn bits, knitting needles, more books, paperwork, anything from downstairs that I didn’t want to have downstairs.

A whole shelf was stacked with the girl’s artwork. The last of the Christmas stuff and some outgrown toys and books were piled in front of the attic door (have I mentioned how much I love a walk-in attic? It’s the greatest thing).

There were boxes that the books came in (and boxes still full of books), at least three bags of paper recycling, an overflowing garbage can and a mostly full garbage bag, too.

In a word, it was awful. Stifling. Embarrassing. Heavy. Dark. Ugly.

OK, that was more than one word. You get the idea.

Progress Not Perfection project simplify progress

I have, of course, long known that it needed to change. I would write about it in my morning pages (of course), say this is the week/month/whatever that I’m going to get it done. I’d do a little bit with great enthusiasm and then get busy with something else, or we’d have people over and I’d haul another load of random stuff up there, or the girl would have a day off from school and spread stuff all over the floor again.

I also knew that I made the mess and most of the stuff was actually mine, and no magic fairy was going to come sort it for me.

I don’t know if it’s the magic of the word simplify or the bout of springlike weather we’ve had lately or what, but I have finally taken some real action.

You can see the floor. All of it, pretty much.

And it’s clean. And vacuumed. I actually don’t remember the last time it was this clean, which is both sad and awesome.

clean desk
Yes, the desk is still somewhat of a mess. But it’s improved, too. I’m calling it a win.

Clearly there is still work to do. The bookshelves (and the desk) still hold too many books. The desk isn’t totally clean. I moved a lot of yarn and stuff into the guest bedroom to deal with next week, and I need to stay committed to that. Let’s not even talk about the closet.

But you know what? I still feel really good about what I have done.

And I want you to feel good about whatever you’ve done.

If you are making progress, on whatever, that’s a win.

If you’re changing something big in your life, whether it’s getting healthier (I’m working on that, too!) or changing your physical space or working toward a new job, it takes time.

A lot of that time is spent getting over the mental blocks that got you to where you are now. It can be hard to get past your past, even when you want to.

So let us praise progress, and move on to next month with renewed or continued enthusiasm to do what we need to do to have the lives we want.

What are you making progress on? I’d love to hear about it!

As for me, I’m going to wiggle my toes in some freshly vacuumed carpet. And recycle some old magazines.

Does your office need a pick-me-up too? Check out my article on Five Easy Ways to Make Your Office More Awesome.

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