Productive and preparations

Today was a very good day. I’ve been bit by the spring cleaning fever. I know it’s only February, but I live in sunny Arizona and it’s already 70 degrees. It feels like spring.

Following on the success of Thursday last week, I decided to again try to make Preparation Day a bit easier. Fridays are so busy and I want to be ready for the Sabbath, rather than rushing into it.

So, today was a mix of completing chores that would make tomorrow easier and doing some serious cleaning that hadn’t been done in awhile. Let’s not try to figure out how long it’s been since I’ve mopped my kitchen floor… I also started working on the filing, trying to eliminate the giant pile of papers that migrates between my desk and the kitchen counter. It has been reduced to a height of only 4 inches, as opposed to the original 12!

After finishing all the housework (not that housework is ever finished) I decided to work on my quilt. I spread it out on the floor and spray basted it. Wow. That was hard. I thought it would be easier but I think it was too big of a quilt to be ideal for spray basting. I had a really hard time getting the wrinkles out of both the batting and backing. Several times, my hubby and I had to peel part of it apart and redo it. But, my quilt is finally basted! Now to tie it.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. My living room is tidied, my fridge is cleaned out, and all the dishes are washed and put away. Tomorrow should be easy. Right? Right.

Preparation Day

Ah, today was so much more relaxed compared to normal. The only chore left is to clean out the litter boxes shortly before sundown. I am definitely going to take note of what I moved to Thursday and do it again next week!

I even had time today to iron the backing I sewed together yesterday. I laid the quilt layers on the floor and watched a tutorial on how to use the basting spray. But then I decided that it would probably be better to wait for my husband’s help to use the spray. We don’t have hardwood floors so I can’t tape the quilt down and will need help keeping everything flat.

Hopefully we’ll be able to baste it Sunday morning so that I can start tying it all together! When I knew that I couldn’t finish this quilt by Christmas, I started procrastinating. Now it’s February and I’m still not done! My goal is to get this quilt tied, the border attached, and the quilt mailed by the last day of February. There’s no reason why I can’t get it done!

And just for fun, here’s a photo of my kitty trying to bury himself in the clean towels. Silly Bruno!

Preparation for Preparation Day

Fridays are a big day for me, my busiest. I like having the house super clean for Sabbath, which means clean sheets, fresh towels, a spotless kitchen, etc. Also, sometimes we do part of our grocery shopping on Saturday night which means I need a complete menu and shopping list by Friday at sundown. Normally I’m rushing around an hour before sundown, trying frantically to finish everything. For me, a clean house is necessary for true Sabbath rest.

This week I’m trying something new. As I went about my housework today, I tried to think of additional things I could do that would save me time tomorrow. Things like vacuuming and sweeping have to be done on Friday afternoon, but other things can be completed in advance. So, today I…

cleaned out the fridge
wrote most of next week’s menu
completed 3/4 of the laundry
emptied the dishwasher

Tomorrow, I still have to…

wash sheets and towels
clean out the litter boxes
finish menu and shopping list
scrub down the bathroom
wash dishes used on Friday

Hopefully I notice a difference! If not, next week I’ll try cleaning the bathroom on Thursday and do a quick wipe down on Friday. I also need to work on completing our menu and shopping list earlier in the week so it’s not a last minute chore.

I hope everyone else has a great Preparation Day!

First Preparation Day of the new year

Today is the first Friday of 2011, thus the first Preparation Day of the year. I really enjoyed beginning 2011 with the Sabbath last week. It was a great start to a new year, a chance to spend the day with God.

I like to peacefully enter the Sabbath rather than breathlessly sliding into it. Most weeks, I am not prepared for the Sabbath in advance and spend the last half hour before sundown rushing around. That is something I am trying very hard to change.

This morning, I woke up at 6:30 and had Bible study. Then I got to work. Before breakfast, I had already scrubbed down the bathroom, cleaned the kitchen, and vacuumed the apartment. Then I exercised, ate breakfast, and wondered what to do with the rest of my day! I spent a lot of time studying Japanese, working on a menu for next week, and a few other things.

But now sundown is in 40 minutes, dinner is in progress, and the house is clean! It’s a great feeling to realize that I don’t have to rush to be ready for the Sabbath. Having an entire day to rest and spend with God is such a blessing! I know I’ve said it before, but it’s true. If anyone reading this is interested, try setting aside the entire day to go to church, rest, and spend with God. He will bless you for the time you spend with Him!

Sabbath is almost here!

I am so happy that today is Friday and that it is almost sundown. Aaaah, an entire day of rest. No worries, no work, no pressure. Just an entire day to spend in close relationship with God and with my husband.

Friday is rightly called Preparation Day. Luke 23:54 says that “it was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.” Amen and amen! Today was all about preparing for the Sabbath and I am very blessed with how much I was able to accomplish.

I followed my normal morning routine of Bible reading, exercise, and breakfast. Then it was time for work! I surface cleaned the kitchen, emptied the dishwasher in prep for tomorrow’s dishes, vacuumed, cleaned the cat boxes, scrubbed down the bathroom, wrote out next week’s menu and shopping list, wrapped the birthday present for tomorrow night’s party (my niece turned eight this year!), washed/dried/folded/ironed three loads of laundry, and picked up around the living room. Somehow, I also managed to squeeze in an entire hour of Japanese study!

The only thing I was unable to accomplish was preparing tomorrow’s lunch meal. It wasn’t a lack of time or energy but a lack of planning ahead and having nothing on hand to make in advance. It looks like we’ll be eating ramen after church.

Just for fun, here is Luke 23:54 in Japanese. I don’t yet understand all of this sentence (maybe 25%), but I’ll get there!


Cleaning out the closet

Thursdays are my day for working on our bedroom and the bathroom where the cat boxes are located. The basic cleaning didn’t take very long so I decided to tackle my clothes. Earlier this spring, I donated a pretty big pile of clothes but I knew I still had more that I never wear. Recent posts by Lara and Karen inspired me to be brutally honest and get rid of what I don’t need.

These pictures aren’t very good as I couldn’t back away from the closet far enough to get the right angle. Sorry about that! I tried my best. Here’s what the closet looked like if you’re looking toward the side.

And a Before photo looking straight into my half of the closet.

All the hanging clothes piled on the bed, waiting for me to try them all on and see what still fits. The bucket at the end of the bed contained all the winter clothes I packed away earlier this year.

The After photo looking down the closet. Doesn’t look too different.

Looking into the closet. I got rid of a lot of the clothes that were piled up on the shelf. All that’s left are my workout clothes and a couple pairs of pajamas.

My giveaway pile, plus there were two pairs of shoes on the floor.

All in all, I purged 28 items of clothing from my closet and 2 pairs of shoes. Most of the clothes are now too big for me. A couple of the sweaters are still too small, but they don’t meet my current standards of modesty. The sneakers are really cute but they are incredibly uncomfortable and I never wear them. Why hold on to clothes and shoes that I don’t wear?

So far this year, I have eliminated 169 pieces of clothing and 11 pairs of shoes from our closets. How in the world did I end up with so much and yet I still felt like I had so little to wear? Most of the clothes either didn’t fit right or I didn’t like them but it’s hard to get rid of things that you’ve paid money for. In the future, I need to be more careful that I only buy what I need and what I will actually use on a regular basis.

It feels really good now that all of my clothing fits into one closet!

Thursdays – Master Bedroom/Bathroom

Yesterday was not nearly as productive as I had hoped. I allowed myself to not feel guilty about it as it was my birthday. I’m 28 already! I think I finally feel my age. I’ve always felt older than my actual age. I spent a good portion of yesterday trying not to be upset that I’m 28 and childless, but I didn’t mind getting older. After all, 28 is just a number!

I don’t know why I did this, but I scheduled a visit to the optometrist on my birthday. My last eye exam was in 2006 so I was overdue for new glasses. She dilated my eyes and they also took photographs of the inside of each eyeball. Very cool! My eyeballs are healthy, though my vision is worse. Yay.

After the doctor’s visit, hubby took me to Chipotle. I had to stay in the car while he picked up the food, as the lights were bothering my dilated eyes. Then we came home and watched The Reading Room. I didn’t realize it was a Hallmark film, but it was quite good! After that, my eyes were really tired. It might not have been a good idea to watch a movie right after doing an intensive eye exam, but I sat far away from the screen so that I could actually focus on it. Reading anything up close was impossible. It’s very weird to lose your ability to focus on something within a foot of your face!

Today was much better for productivity. I forced myself off the computer, set the timer for an hour, and got to work. After lunch, I did another hour long session. I was able to wash the dishes, sweep the kitchen, vacuum the apartment, tidy the living room, make the bed, wash two loads of clothes, hang up one of those loads to dry, clean the cat boxes, sweep the master bathroom, wash off the counters, and scrub the master bathroom’s toilet. Whew!

Then I sat down this afternoon and studied Japanese for an hour. I’m going to implement another aspect of study. I was thinking this morning that studying Japanese is good. However, I need to start trying to read primary material. At first I thought I would try reading the Bible in Japanese. Unfortunately, that is way over my skill level. Next time we go to the library, I will check out some children’s books in Japanese. I think 3 sessions each week, 15 minutes each session, tacked onto my normal study time will be very beneficial.

My quiche is almost ready to pull out of the oven and then we’ll be finishing up this week’s episode of The Biggest Loser. I hope everyone else is having a great evening!

Tuesdays – Living Room

Tuesdays are my day to work on the living room/dining room. Our dining room is actually just an extension of our living room. The “dining room” contains my desk (in all of its messiness) and our kitchen table, which is my husband’s laptop desk. Sometimes I’ll ask him to move so I can sew there or we will play games on that table, but most of the time it’s covered in paperwork and a laptop.

Our living room has the game shelf, my husband’s main desk with his desktop computer, our printer stand, sofa, and two end tables. That’s it. We still live like college students and probably will for a couple more years.

Today I completed all the basic cleaning – the bar between the kitchen and dining room, dusted, vacuumed, and picked up. I was supposed to work on my desk for an hour but I got really shaky this afternoon and couldn’t do anything for awhile. So my desk remains messy until next week or until I finish a room early and have extra time.

Tomorrow I’ll be working on the spare bedroom. I’ve posted pictures of that room before, both clean and messy. Right now it’s messy because I pulled out everything that had been stored in the closet. The spare bedroom is our “storage” room and we really need to get rid of everything we don’t use. I can’t wait until we can move into a smaller apartment because we don’t need the extra storage.

Monday – Kitchen

I used to have a pretty decent housecleaning schedule. For some reason, I can’t find the paper copy and I never typed it out on the computer. I guess I’ll have to recreate it!

Mondays are Kitchen days. I still need to work out which tasks are weekly vs. monthly, but I started deep cleaning the kitchen this morning. I pulled everything out of the cupboards on one side of the kitchen, consolidated spices and bags of flour, threw away the outdated items, and wiped down the shelves and cupboard doors. That side of the kitchen looks really good now! Next Monday I will tackle the other side of the kitchen.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I’m going to designate as Dining/Living room day. Our game shelves and my husband’s desk are still pristine, which he is extremely happy about. My desk, on the other hand, is a huge mess. My main project tomorrow is going to be getting rid of all the clutter on my desk, throwing things out as necessary, filing the rest of the paperwork, and stacking the books neatly. I will also dust, vacuum, and clean the patio doors.

Hubby is at a client site right now, so I’m going to relax on the couch and try to finish The Well-Trained Mind. I’m really enjoying the book but I am ready to move on to something else! If I can get hubby’s computer to work properly, I’ll play a classical cd while reading. If not, I guess I’ll have to use my laptop to play something.

Hopefully hubby’s work goes quickly so we’re not eating a late dinner. If it’s late, oh well! Sub sandwiches are great at any hour.

Monday… on Sunday!

Today really felt like Monday. Our air conditioning died yesterday so hubby spent a couple hours this morning at the mechanics’ trying to figure out what is wrong. They needed to dig deeper into the electrical system and hubby had to be at a client’s office at 11:30, so we’re taking the car in on Tuesday. Hubby spent the rest of the day at a client’s office and is just now on his way home.

As for me, I spent a good portion of the day being productive. I closed my laptop and forced myself to work. Nice change! The laptop being closed actually keeps me productive because I know it’s off limits until my break. If the laptop is open and I’m connected to the internet, I will sit down for “just one thing.”

Instead, I ran a couple loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, cleaned out the cat boxes, and made this season’s first pumpkin pie! I’m really excited to taste the pie tonight as the recipe called for freshly grated nutmeg. I actually found a whole nutmeg at the health food store and grated it myself. I’ve never done that before! The fresh spices smelled really good.

With our vacation a few weeks ago, I threw myself off on the habits I was working on. I’m going to start over. As I’m familiar with these habits and just need to get back into the routine, I’m going to work on all three this week. Hopefully that goes well!

Habit #1 – All dishes washed, every day. (Day 1 – check! I’m so happy that the kitchen is clean, even after making a huge mess with the pumpkin pie. I spilled cornstarch all over the counter!)
Habit #2 – Both cat boxes cleaned every day. (I’m switching this habit from the morning to anytime in the day. I found myself more likely to get it done every day if I didn’t have to force myself to do it first thing in the morning.)
Habit #3 – Daily flossing. (Dentist appointment next month!)