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Status: playroom, living room, dining room, basically sorted. They’re still untidy, but untidy with things we actually use, as opposed to unsorted piles. Much more comfy!

The front hall:
Organize socks/winter gear/bags/tennis stuff/etc into boxes/drawers.
Measure success by an empty bench and empty (but for shoes) floor!
Status: complete.

Child’s goal: clear out the Art Table (in the dining room). Status: success! He got rid of the YEARS of old drawings he had been saving, and we culled the supplies down to those we will actually use. Now there is space to actually draw at the table, which is handy in an art table, don’t you think?

Big project:
Have the children collect ALL their clothes from all over the house and sort them in the front hall. Treat these piles as a shop; be picky about what clothes will return to their rooms. Clothes that will have future use (for a different age, etc.) can go into underbed boxes.

Status: Complete! Except for the giveaway part. I’ve stockpiled all the good-but-we-don’t-want-it-anymores into a guest room. Out of the way is good enough for now! Nice that everything in their drawers fits them.

Aaahh–feels good, just like a nicely edited manuscript.

All right, I admit it: I haven’t made one bit of progress sorting the house this week. Instead, I made a great start to the next book.

Inspiration rarely does what I ask it to do, but so long as it does *something* I’m happy!

Summer resolutions continued: Not a bad start!

The playroom has been nicely upgraded, after two lawn-and-leaf bags of rubbish went out, and a big pile of giveaway (mostly the plastic flotsam of toddlerhood) shifted to the guest room for now. The remaining contents of the “toy room” and toy closet are now pared down and nicely organized, the playroom itself is now empty of toys except for the Lego and the Wii (both in regular use). Aaaah–I feel free!

This week’s project:

1) Collect all the toys/books/clothes/papers that are cluttering the living room and dining room; put them where they belong (library for books, toy room for toys, laundry room for clothes–yes, my kids leave their clothes all over, and, lastly, papers into rubbish/filing/my work pile).

2) Pare down the contents of the library (and playroom table, top of file cabs). Sort out the books that I won’t read again, or that my kids won’t read, into the guest room for eventual giveaway. Same with videos, DVDs, CDs, tapes (yes, tapes–for the rubbish, I suppose), puzzles and games. That should make enough room that what’s left can be properly organized on the shelves, instead of spilling over into piles and boxes as now.

About exercise, cooking and dressing up:

2 long walks instead of driving/bus.
1 workout session on the Precor (elliptical cross trainer)
1 workout session on Wii Fit Plus (expert bicycle–buckets of sweat, a real workout!)

Hair/makeup/nice clothes twice. I find this goal at odds with the exercise goal. Once I’ve dressed up, I don’t want to exercise and mess it up.

Cooking: not much. I cooked for the boys, but not for me. A couple of invitations out, so didn’t cook at home then.

Onward to week 2!

The evocative advice to “kill your darlings” can make writing better. Cutting the good-but-not-necessary leaves the necessary all the more clear. I’m about to try to apply this to my life.

Confessions:
1) My home is disorganized.
2) I have bad eating and exercise habits.

Since this is a “writing and publishing” blog, I will relate these to writing in this way:

My lifestyle working at home as a writer gives more opportunity for my sloppy habits to affect my life. As a writer, I sit too much. As a worker-at-home, I snack too much, don’t need to go anywhere each day, and my workspace and homespace messes blend together, becoming difficult to tease apart.

These are my summer resolutions, which I’ll keep track of here for the next few months. Let’s see how I do:

1) Cleaning out the old toys, clothes, dvds, books, etc. that we don’t regularly use. First job is the playroom.

We homeschool, so our playroom/schoolroom is in heavy daily use. Our younger one has transitioned from ‘toddler’ to ‘kid’ so there’s a lot we can get rid of now. I did do a cull last year, but we kept a lot of babyish stuff that the boys used imaginatively–they use plastic baby toys as spy equipment, rocket controls, etc. I applaud this creativity, but there is still just TOO MUCH STUFF. It’s hard to play in a mess. This is why I think of “killing my darlings.” It’s easy to cut bad writing that does nothing; it’s hard to cut paragraphs that do one good thing, like an evocative description or a funny joke, but if these paragraphs obscure the necessary stuff, well…

To make this easier, we’ll move all the proposed get-rid-of-stuff to a guest room. If we don’t miss it in a month, then I’ll give it away. Correlation: I always keep a file of “cuts” while editing. Knowing I can copy and paste something back gives me courage to be ruthless.

2) I want to exercise more and eat better. With the aim of incorporating frequent, small changes, these are my goals:

–Cook nice meals instead of grazing. (Grazing works great for my active, slim kids who loves fruit and vegetables. I make much more indulgent choices than they do.)
–Dress nicely, with some fuss over hair and makeup.
–Walk more frequently, instead of taking the bus.
–Make use of my home exercise equipment.

I don’t expect to do each of these things every day. I would be happy with each happening a few times a week.

I plan to check in at least every week with my progress.

PS–If anyone reading this wonders where my comments are–they’re mostly on Facebook, where I link this blog. But I’m happy to have comments here too, should anyone wish to play along with their own summer resolutions.

From “Envoy” by Billy Collins, a message to his just-published book:

"stay out as late as you like,
don't bother to call or write,
and talk to as many strangers as you can."