Sued51's Blog

{September 23, 2013}   Is Living Small More Work or Less?

I’m not going to surprise you with my answer: more immediate chores that take less time. Does it equate to the same thing? I don’t know; I’m still in the discovery phase. I’m discovering that the chores are different, but are still there none-the-less. In a small place the chores are more immediate and cannot be ignored. This is what I’ve learned so far:

1. There’s a reason for that old saying: “A place for everything and everything in its place.”  Right now, I feel like I live in a thrift shop. It feels like my place looks messy, even when it is clean (still too much stuff), but if there is anything left carelessly on any surface, it seems to scream, “Put me away!”

And the corollary to #1:

1a.  You have to clean up immediately. I have always kept up with scooping the cat litter, even in a big place. But in a small space, the chore is immediate, or it smells BAD! Not only do I have to scoop immediately, but I have to get it outside to the dumpster right away. Also, although the number of dishes involved in the preparation and consumption of a meal for one person (and two cats) is a quick clean-up, I don’t have the space or the number of dishes to allow them to sit around dirty. I’m phobic about bugs so I want everything clean, clean, clean!

2. You have to go out of your way to recycle. Though my carbon footprint is smaller, it is less convenient to recycle when you are in a small place with no place to store up the recyclable bottles and cans. At my house, I could store them in the garage or under the porch until I could take them to redemption. As an apartment dweller, if I decide to go for a “can walk,” my route has to include a walk to the redemption machines at the local grocery store. When I first moved, I had noticed all the recyclable cans in my apartment dumpster and was amazed at people throwing out money! When I first saw them, I wished I could climb in to collect them, but now I understand why they are there. Too bad.

3. You can’t fit every gadget into a small space so you have to be creative and simple. I have a basic sink; there’s no vanity top for putting things down on (like putting on make-up, mixing up dye for my hair, etc.). Instead of putting the stuff on the toilet, I discovered the tray system. I take it out when I need it and put it away. Similarly, I don’t have a clothes drying rack, I have a small expandable curtain rod for my tiny shower. No big vacuum…a corn broom has to do.

small sink

Sink without vanity

small sink with tray

Sink with Tray

And under the bed, behind every piece of furniture and door, lurk the things you need, but don’t use often…but at least you don’t have to see them.

You can deal with anything with ingenuity, creativity and good cheer!

{January 10, 2011}   Lists, Lists, and More Lists

I’ve spent a lot of time since New Year’s day writing lists or thinking about writing lists — daily lists, weekly lists, and monthly lists; lists of things my husband wants me to do, lists of things we need to get done as a couple, and lists of things I want to do.  I’ve tried to mind dump approach, but it seems endless.  I’m trying to figure out what I have to do and what I can cut out, but there’s too many important things (well, they are important to somebody in my life, whether it is my husband, me, or my mother…).  Is it making me feel like I can make a plan and set goals?  Is it making me feel like I get organized?  No, so far it is making me panic more — I don’t think that’s how it is supposed to work.

I know that I have to do something.  Right now my days off seem to disappear in a fog of small everyday tasks such as making meals, doing dishes, emptying wastebaskets, reading emails, scooping the cat box, folding laundry…on and on and on.  And all the things I SHOULD be doing to combat the panic and anxiety — meditation, prayer, exercise — I don’t fit in because all they do is eat up more time!  (Although, exercising gives my brain a jumpstart, but that ends in my adding more to my lists.)

As I have been helping my mother go through the piles of paperwork my father accumulated, guess what we’ve found a lot of?  Lists.  I’m sure it did help him get some stuff done.  I also think that he would often misplace his list and have to make a new one.  But the bottom line was, bless him, he didn’t have the energy or the time to accomplish everything on his lists; I know he wanted to, desperately, but he knew his time was limited.  Unfortunately he didn’t do some of the practical things he should have done.  (You can learn a lot about a person by looking at their “to do” lists.  Like me, some of his lists were just random thoughts or ideas about creative projects; he was imaginative and needed escapes from reality.)

I DO understand you can’t get caught up on years of being behind in a few days, so I’m making progress with some small steps.  I’ve cut back on my groups on LinkedIn and I’ve “unfriended” some people on Facebook, in an effort to cut back on emails and distractions that are simply unproductive.  (I wasn’t really “there” for those people or things anyway.)  And I continue to make lists — eventually the lists will force me to see what I don’t want to face: that I HAVE to narrow my focus and lower my expectations of myself, despite the initial pain I will feel about giving up some things.  Life really is short and the phrase, “No pain, No gain” (as has been said about working out or dieting) applies here as well.

There is no “Superwoman” and there’s a reason they haven’t made a “Wonder Woman” movie yet.

et cetera
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