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.

Family room resuscitation

Whew! The family room came back!

You may remember a few weeks ago when the family room looked like this:

We had started bringing stuff up from the basement in preparation for Greg moving in and our big indoor garage sale. Speaking of the indoor garage sale, as that day got closer, the family room looked like this:

We had tables set up all around the room, and – by the day of the sale – furniture filling the center of the room. All the furniture was sold (hooray!) and we’ve taken seven carloads of stuff to Goodwill so far. The morning after the garage sale – before David delivered the sofa and the chairs – the family room was looking pretty empty:

But not for long! Once the sale was over and done with, we needed to get all our furniture out of the basement so that Greg could move all his furniture in. That meant that, for the first time in seven years, we were going to have a TV on the main floor. I don’t know if I have mentioned this, but we are cheapskates, saving for the big expenditures (like our upcoming trip to Europe) by passing on the smaller expenditures, like a flat screen TV. Thus, our TV is a monstrosity, and it was about to be introduced into this space. That looked something like this:

Up from the basement: our green sofa, red armchair, old Pottery Barn coffee table and end tables (which we set the TV on) and a cabinet that held our turntables in the basement. The turntables are relegated to being stacked in the massive TV cabinet, which we decided not to move upstairs as it would have overwhelmed the room. David spent most of that day setting up all the electronics, bless his heart. (I am SURE I am not allowed to use that phrase, but Q is not looking over my shoulder, so I thought I’d throw it in.) The old hide-a-bed in the foreground of the picture is gone now, as are the white chairs – thank you, Craigslist! – but we kind of liked having an L-shaped seating arrangement, so we decided to put the loveseat that had been in our front room in here, like this:

See the little white clock by the TV? That’s there so Q can keep track of her screen time easily. To the right, beside the TV, there’s the turntable cabinet! It now holds the Wii and Playstation controllers and games, including everyone’s favorite:

Singstar! I love karaoke, but nowadays I tend to sing in the privacy of my own home. And also at the parish BBQ at church. And any time I can get anyone to go out and sing with me. Which is never, but luckily I have close personal friends and family who like to come over and sing. The cabinet also holds the bare essentials of my DVD collection:

No explanation needed here! All the other DVDs we did not sell at the garage sale are still downstairs, but these were needed up here in case a quick fix was necessary. But on to more shots of the family room! The corners by the fireplace look like this:

On the coffee table are my lovely flowers from Little Ina, as well as a gorgeous painted box we got in Budapest and a Polish pottery box from Deb:

Last, but not least, here is a shot of the whole room:

I didn’t put all the usual stuff back up on the mantel; I am not sure if I will, at this point. I have the antique needlepoint that was passed down by my stepmom and a couple of pieces of Quinland’s artwork. It’s not really balanced, but I haven’t decided what I am going to do yet. David just walked into the room as I sit on the couch blogging and said, “Isn’t it wonderful to live in a beautiful house again?” The upstairs isn’t beautiful, but this room and the front room sure are. I’ll show you the surprise we have in that room in the next post!

Daily Check-In (for Friday, since I missed it):

  • I’m grateful! for a seat on the bus, even when I left work late and had to board at the peak of rush hour. I love having that time to read, and it’s hard to read standing up. Plus, I had my lovely daffodils in a big bag with other goodies, so I would have had my hands full.
  • I’m lighter! by a big pile of posters from KLC and Park Street Video days.

Christmas Countdown #3 (4 days late) = Let it snow!

I know, I know.  It’s actually the day after Christmas, but I have a lot of ground to cover.

With snow.



I would have told you that my Christmas decorating style was haphazardly nostalgic, made up of things I have acquired over the years.  However, this photographic Countdown journey has uncovered some trends.  In addition to angels and Santas, I apparently have quite a bit of snow and quite a few snowmen.


I am not sure if this pattern is specific to me, or if all Christmas merchandising centers around these three images.  Either way, I’ve got a little snow-thing happening.


Even David’s traditional Christmas sweater has a snow motif.  You know the holiday season is here when he breaks this one out.  It’s an annual tradition that is older than Quinland.

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! for the chance to have Sunday-plus today (also known as a three-day weekend).  We named it this a while back, because Sunday afternoons come and we have never accomplished half of what we wanted to get done.
  • I’m lighter! by four boxes of fabric and craft stuff – SO FAR.  I have not yet begun to purge the closet in Greg’s room!  I’m quite proud of myself.