Craft the Life you Want…Start with Organizing Your Sock Drawer

The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.

 

-JoshuaBecker

It was November 1998. Tom and I had just listed out the household items that we were dividing between the two of us. We were getting a divorce. He got the leather lounge chair with the matching ottoman, the good blender, and our best set of knives. I kept the master bedroom furniture, the new sofa, and the dishes we got for our wedding 13 years prior. He took the new Acura. I kept all of my flea-market treasures. 

He moved to an apartment and signed off on the deed to the house we had owned together for only 3 months.

We had moved to my hometown with the renewed hope to start a family there. But over the course of 3 short months, that dream disintegrated. It wasn’t our first marital separation but it was destined to be our last.

Good Advice

I went for coffee with fellow Sidetracked Sister, Judy, to hash out the recent events and get sympathy. 

I don’t remember much of our time together, but one comment turned out to be profound and prophetic.

Whining about the fact that I was NOT looking forward to living alone, I didn’t want to be divorced. I liked being married, even if that marriage wasn’t perfect. I actually wished that I had someone in the wings that I was interested in that I could pursue a relationship with. But I didn’t.

Envisioning snuggly nights with my golden retriever watching rom/coms and sharing popcorn, I figured I would just hunker down, work on giving my new/old home a facelift and continue to throw myself into my career. 

Judy listened to my grumbling and responded that “we weren’t that kind of people”. She contended that we WERE the kind of people that wholeheartedly devoted ourselves to whatever and whoever we committed to at that time. We didn’t overlap relationships. We are faithful and dedicated until the end. But…(and this is the thing)…

When the relationship IS over, it’s important to clean out and create space. Space for new interests, new activities, new people.

Clean out and create space

So, when Tom moved out, he took a small U-Haul of stuff. He cleaned out his dresser drawers but left random junk in the walk-in closet. That was where I went first. 

I removed everything that was specifically his and then some. Old wire hangers. Emply Rubbermaid bins with missing lids. Cardboard shoeboxes filled with random shit.

I left drawers empty.

The closet empty.

His shelf in the bathroom–empty.

So here are 4 suggestions to consider when you are in a transition period of life:

1. Get rid of the paraphernalia of BEFORE

I followed this rule when I retired from teaching last year. I had 30 years of books, games, and STUFF that I had personally purchased for my classroom or stolen from home. Did I want to haul it all home again or move it to storage in our garage? NO!

How about selling it at a garage sale? Well, I’ve been to numerous garage sales held by retired teachers and been overwhelmed and thankful by the amazing resources they were getting rid of for dimes and quarters. Precious books, learning games, and classroom decorations being sold for pennies on the dollar. Those women had put in a LOT of work for only a few bucks! This is not how I wanted to spend my time purging my stuff. So… 

I saw an opportunity when a young woman (who was one of my past student teachers) contacted me to offer congratulations on my upcoming retirement and offering to help move my stuff.  In gratitude for her offer, I gave her 99% of my personal book collection and anything else that she thought she could put to good use. I figured that she could give the materials a good home at the private school where she was beginning her teaching career. 

Instead of my garage filled with boxes of children’s books taking up space and getting old and dusty, I was able to help someone get a little ahead.

2. Leave space

Just because you have room after purging…it doesn’t mean that you have to fill it. Case in point: When I taught 6-year-olds, I NEEDED two drawers for socks. I had socks with pumpkins, elves, candy hearts and smiley faces, tights with butterflies, and even rainbow striped leggings thrown in the mix.

In the year since leaving teaching, I didn’t wear any of these. They all went in the trash and I organized the remainder Marie Kondo style (folded into a square packet and stored upright). These fit in one drawer.

The other drawer is empty.

And that is okay.

3. Start small

Transforming ANYTHING can be overwhelming. Sometimes even the thought of beginning can be tooooo much. Take my kitchen for example. Right now, I’m sure that there are unopened boxes of couscous and year-old bags of unused stuffing mix in the back of my pantry. The shelves that make up the space are deep, too deep. They are able to camouflage and conceal numerous cans of mushroom soup, a wok, empty unused canisters, and dozens of other unknown items. But this space overwhelms. this is NOT where to start!

Instead, I began with the glasses cupboard. I took everything out first. Then sorted glasses onto the bottom shelf, liquid measuring cups and mugs on the middle shelf, and wine glasses and small cups on the topmost shelf.

I purged all plastic cups and mugs with advertising. 

Are you feeling the momentum as the success builds?

4. Break a big job into smaller tasks

I was at my mom’s house and noticed that the counter was covered in items that used to be in the nearby secretary. The same items were there for several days. Unmoved. Untouched. Unorganized.

When I asked my mom about eh mess, she said that she just needed to organize the items before re-storing them. Sounds good, but she looked frustrated. 

I began sorting into piles of paper. Pens/pencils. stapler supplies, rubber bands…Little piles and a lot of garbage.

Then I tested the writing instruments. Out went the dry ones, the crunchy fine line markers, and pencils with hardened rubber erasers. The remainder easily fit in their black storage cup. 

Little bits. Pile by pile. Categories were made and sorted. Junk was discarded and homes were created for shnibbles of rubber bands, paperclips, and thumbtacks.

And so…

It’s been over 20 years since Judy and I talked about making space in your life for new things. What I’ve discovered is this: The best time to purge and organized is during times of transition, times of change, times of growth. 

What are you holding onto that you need to let go of?

Where can you create space for the new?

How can you break a big organizing job into smaller, manageable tasks?

Whether you are looking to begin a new chapter in life, looking for love, trying to lose weight, or jump-start a new business…begin by getting rid of the stuff that no longer serves you.

Maybe you need to let go of a relationship. Maybe it’s time to move on from that pair of green socks with dancing leprechauns or that coffee mug that your real estate agent gave you that boasts “Home is better with Ray Renolds!”

Clean out and don’t forget to leave some space. 

Who is Lisa

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Be True To Yourself

love youselfWhile we are all trying to improve ourselves and make the most out of our lives, one thing that we must keep in mind is to be true to yourself.  Following what society expects or desires you to be or to look like or to accomplish does nothing for you if you don’t agree with those expectations.  All you end up doing is frustrating yourself.  Here are 5 things to consider when trying to fit into society’s expectations and also be true to yourself.

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To Meditate or NOT to Meditate

Meditation is supposed to be a wonderful way to relax, come to terms with your inner self, help relax your body, help your mind focus,  blah, blah, blah.

Well, you know what?  I have found meditation to be a huge waste of time.  I have tried, really, I have tried! 

Comer on inner peace...I don't have all day!

Come on inner peace…I don’t have all day!

(I know people around me would sa I HAVEN’T really tried,(see here) but that is just not true.)

My introduction–and conclusion–to meditation was a couple of years ago.  I went to a meditation workshop with my sister.  Inside a church, on a Saturday was the destination for the day (ALL day mind you)..  We were to sit in a pew, a hard pew at that.  To begin our day, there was a speaker for a short time. Then we were to sit. and. meditate.  This consisted of clearing our minds, relaxing, centering (this means controlling and balancing yourself), not talking, sitting quietly, and, well, MEDITATING!!!!

So…I have a hard time meditating.   It was a BEAUTIFUL, mild, sunny day in January for that workshop. The fresh snow was pearly white, and it was just a  gorgeous winter day.  

We were supposed to sit and be quiet for a whole morning, afternoon, AND into the night!  I just couldn’t do it.  Sometime in the early afternoon I told my sister I had to get outside or I might crack up, or at least have a nervous breakdown.  My energy level was at a high, I needed to move and do something, anything, and I felt like I would run a marathon.  

Unfortunately, when I try to meditate my brain just won’t shut off. I understand that  the goal was to develop my psychological well-being. Its a calming thing to do. Unfortunately, to me, it felt rstless, like I was wasting time. I would rather do just about anything other than just sitting,immobile, trying to clear my mind. 

Give me a book, that would work.  

Paint a wall, that would work.  

Weed a garden, yes, that would work.  

I guess I will have to call one of these activities my type of mediation.

0MMMMMM

Who Is Sandy
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To Tan or Not to Tan

To tan or not to tan, that is the question!!!

TanningAs I sit here with my white legs, white arms, white face, white body, white everything looking like a newly plucked chicken, next to my Hispanic granddaughter with beautiful caramel skin.  I love caramel skin and in my next life perhaps I will have that gorgeous, flawless skin, caramel in color.  But, today I am reflecting back to the days when we actually tried to achieve, and did, but not without a little (a lot) discomfort and pain. Continue reading

No Bras Required – Ever!

bras source of strife

Age 18 – No Boobs!!

Bras have always been a source of strife in my life – being one of those people that really doesn’t require one completely.  (I’m the odd duck in my family in this regard)

 

Look at this picture!!  I’m 18 in this picture and you can see – I have NO BOOBS!!  Ha-ha!

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Bra Shopping – The Perfect 6 Step How-To Guide

I recently needed a change. I was feeling blah and stale. When I looked in the mirror, my middle-aged face, clothes, and body all looked tired. I smoothed my hands over my face. I ran my fingers through my hair. I looked at my self straight on and sideways. Then I saw it. The “girls” could use a lift. They were looking rather blobby and rounded. I think the terminology is “uni-boob”.   I decided that I would begin a mini-makeover from the inside out. That is, clothing-wise, with my undergarments–my bra.

I come from a long like of conservative, modest, and frugal women. My mom has never seen a new bra that can compete with the dingy, ancient one that’s held together with safety pins. Arghhhh.

Now, I have recently been intrigued by some interesting new styles and brands of bras out there on Pinterest and on Facebook ads.  But how do you buy a bra without trying it on first? (I have also never been able to buy a swimsuit–that I actually wore–without first trying it on in a store.) After analyzing strategy from the experts (my fellow Sidetracked Sisters) here are my 6 tips for a successful hunt!

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Changes are Coming – Time to Streamline My Life!

changesThe women in my life are facing many changes and it’s brought to mind the idea that to have the kind of life you want, you need to let go of what you don’t want in your life.  So it’s time to ask myself, what kind of life do I want and what do I need to let go of in order to obtain that kind of life?  

The first thing that comes to my mind is the clutter that I’ve accumulated since I moved out on my own.  I tend to be a pack-rat and my basement contains so much clutter. The storage room contains toys and games from when the children were little, ceramics that Grandma Is never got around to painting, old prom dresses, etc.  For whatever reason – I have a hard time letting go of the old stuff. By letting go of this clutter, I can make room for the new and simplify my home.  I’ve currently been cleaning up some of the paperwork clutter.  I’ve been shredded old documents that I’ve been holding onto dating back to 1986!!!  (Don’t ask me why I’ve been saving documents for that long!!!) Continue reading

I Was Sooooo Cute as a Child – What a Body!

body image

As a child, my body was an absolute bean pole, skinny that is.  I actually went to the doctor as a teenager to get something to help me gain weight.  He, of course, thought I was nuts, but gave me some kind of a prescription (probably just sugar pills).  He said, “Someday you will wish you were this way.”  Boy, was he right!

Then there is my hair.  I am old, so to speak, and I can truthfully say I have yet to find a hairstyle that I feel is me.  I can only keep trying.   I am still waiting for my prime.  I think it has come and gone, but one can only hope.  Some days, I can actually say “What the hell”, and then others it frustrates me.  I think that is normal for most people.  Well – it is for me.

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I Love Me – I Love Me Not!

What is something I love about me? And Why? Good grief. When someone asks me a question like this, my first response is “I have absolutely no idea”. Then when I get quiet and dig deeper, I find a thing or two.

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Want a Friend? Be a Friend!

BeingFriendWhen I was a little girl, I always felt like I didn’t have any friends. I was raised in a neighborhood of all boys. Play revolved around playing cowboys and Indians and other games that involved me being the only girl.  I must say since I was the only one with cowboy boots and a holster set, I often played a lead role.  I would pretend to be Roy Rogers or The Lone Ranger. Most of the boys were younger and smaller than I was so they didn’t argue with me. They followed my lead.

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