Progress pictures!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am actually making progress in my home. I was looking at some photos from when I first got back from Europe, and I can’t believe the difference.

Remember the table of despair? It’s gone. Well, by “gone,” I actually mean it is folded up and waiting behind my bedroom door to be carried down to the garage. But it is ready to go! Here’s the Before:

Here is that same location, After.  The living room rocker is currently in our room because of the whole moving-furniture-for-Greg thing. Ultimately, it won’t live there. Disregard the tied-together drapes, too… I do that to let more light in since these are stopgap curtains from our old house. Yeah, we’ve lived here for seven years. I haven’t decorated a single thing since we moved in, just made do with stuff we had around at our first house and some big pieces – like these wardrobes – picked up on Craigslist.

Lest you think that I just hid stuff out of sight of the camera, let’s look at another angle! Remember this photo from a few weeks back? It’s the Before:

Well, here is a new look for you! Sorry about the whole day-photo versus night-photo thing, but I just ran up and snapped this, and it is already dark out. It does give you a nice reflection of the other side of the room, though!

Pretty impressive change, no? Both of these photos were completely unstaged, too. Believe you me, I would have done some serious staging otherwise, so that you think I have at least one iota of decorating style. I do not… but I would like you to think so. Maybe someday, instead of Before & After Clutter photos, I’ll be using these as Before & After Decorating photos! there’s a fun thought!

xo – Lori

Daily Check-In:

I’m grateful for Pinterest, believe it or not! I actually pinned some things today. I am very proud of myself for figuring it out. Finally!

Mission check-In: Lighten The Load

I’ve got stuff. Not like I used to have…

The guest room closet. Now emptied and used by Greg. I wish I could say I got rid of everything, but I still have about half this stuff.

But yeah. I still have a lot of stuff at home. Here, in my temporary Croatian apartment, not so much… but still too much for Ryanair. So every time we have to pack up to fly somewhere else, I have to get rid of stuff once again.

Today’s category, “Lighten The Load,” has been the theme of quite a few posts on this blog, and I am sure will continue to be a focus in the future. (Yes, I know I shouldn’t capitalize the “The,”* but it looks prettier with the other categories that way. Here, I’ll fix it for you, just once:)

Beautiful. Orderly. Clutter-free. Just saying those words makes me happy. Seeing them in action will make me even more so.

First off, a couple of disclaimers. I have a lovely home, and I know it. It’s larger than we need, and I know that, too. We were able to sell our former home and move up into this one at just the right time, market-wise. We were incredibly lucky. I am as grateful as can be, just to be able to live there.

I guess I just want to be able to live up to it. Keep it neat. Keep it clean. Decorate it in a simple, classy way. Not have piles of stuff “in process” all over the house, ever again. Not have to constantly explain to people about how I am just getting ready for the next garage sale, so please excuse the mess.

Keeping my home orderly and clutter-free will benefit me in so many ways:

  • More time to do things I want to do;
  • More time to spend with people I care about;
  • More space, since it won’t all be filled;
  • Less stress, since I’ll see clean, neat spaces;
  • More money, since I will not buy things I don’t need;
  • Finally being able to feel like a grown-up who lives in a grown-up house.

Of course, making it beautiful will help me keep it orderly. When something is just how I want it, I am much more likely to keep it that way. It’s like FlyLady’s shiny sink: it spreads to the rest of the kitchen, and then to the rest of the house.

In the meantime, in all my temporary European dwellings, I will continue to keep things lean and mean. And also clean. It’s good practice for when I get back home.

* The The is an 80’s band! Just saying…

Daily Check-In:

I’m grateful! for all the years that I thought David was an incredible cheapskate. Actually being here, living the dream we saved up for, really makes me aware that not nickel-and-diming ourselves into debt was so worth it.

Perhaps the streets ARE paved with diamonds…

I am traveling in Europe for six months, and I brought one pair of shoes. One. (In fact, “brought” may not be the right choice of words, since they were the very shoes on my feet when I boarded the plane.)

The MS has made the nerves in my feet all wonky, and most shoes cause me to have all sorts of weird sensations. This particular pair, on the other hand, has made my feet happy.

Sadly, I am probably going to have to give them up. Not because they are frumpy – I have long ago given up style for comfort. Not because they are scuffed to within an inch of their lives – that’s never stopped me yet.

But the soles are absolutely shredding.

I don’t blame the shoes. They are Kumfs (now called Ziera Shoes, by the way) and they are fabulously well-made and supportive and comfortable and everything I could want in a shoe. But when you wear them every day and you have one foot that drags on the ground, they tend to wear rapidly… and on one foot more than the other.

We wandered around Brussels yesterday in search of a replacement pair. It had to meet my strict criteria:

  • Has to go with everything, since I don’t want to cart two pairs around;
  • Has to be cushiony and supportive; and
  • Can’t make the foot feel weird.

That last one is pretty subjective, I know.

The wandering led us to a shop marked “orthopédique,” which sounded promising. Using my five words of French and some gesturing, I was turned over to a colleague who spoke a tiny bit of English and was able to direct me to a possible shop. The shop was indeed possible; the shop assistant spoke lovely English; and they had a number of shoes that looked promising.

I turned down a pair that looked like gold lamé, but otherwise I was open to anything I thought I might be able to walk in. After trying on a zillion pairs, I settled on a pair that looks a lot like the old ones, but in grey.

I left the black pair in Brussels when we left this morning.

I don’t know why I get sentimental about things. I’m the girl who cried when I sold my camper van, who reminisces about every item that goes in the Goodwill box (“Oh! I got this stationery in college!”), who clings to items that have absolutely no beauty or utility (I have a plastic sign that says “Fried Zucchini” from my high school job at Carl’s Jr.). I know these shoes are inanimate objects, but they have been my constant companions these past three years and have gotten me through the last two months of travel single-handedly. I am committed to letting things go, however, so I dropped them in the garbage can and then covered them with leftover potatoes, just in case I suffered from any remorse.

So begins the era of the grey shoes. May they be just as trusty as the black ones! (They did give me a blister on my first long walk today, but it was three miles with no socks – all my socks were black, so I left them in Brussels as well and now need to go shopping – and I will cut them a little slack until I break them in.)

One last look at the black shoes (which is really a picture of the view from our apartment window – isn’t it gorgeous?):

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! that our flight was on time and went safely, and that our new landlord picked us up from the airport. That was a very pleasant surprise. He is a charming gentleman who speaks English well and is all helpfulness.
  • I’m lighter! by those black shoes, and also by the entire telescoping handle assembly of the red suitcase. Once Vueling Airlines broke the wheels and axle off the bag, the handle was no longer needed as the darn thing doesn’t roll. I told David to bash it off with a hammer. Why don’t I think to take photos of these sorts of events until after the fact?