Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Would you like some help decluttering?

If you had told me when I started this blog that I would become the tidy, minimalist person I am today, I would’ve laughed in your face. Ask my parents; ask my siblings. They will tell you that I have never been a tidy person. I didn’t care if my bed was made. I didn’t care how long I let the dishes sit out on the counter. I didn’t care how much stuff I had stuffed in my closet. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a total slob, but I definitely was under the impression that my creative, whimsical nature couldn’t be bothered with the organization and maintenance of all my many boxes of random things.

Well, folks, I have changed. And at this point, nearly 18 months into my new tidy lifestyle, I think it’s safe to say that the change is a permanent one. 

Turns out I actually really like tidying. I do it automatically now. All of my things have a place and for the most part, they all stay in those places. I won’t say that my cleanliness is perfect. My bathroom counter tends to stay a bit messy and my jeans sometimes sit on the floor overnight, but that’s a far cry from the giant piles of dirty laundry that used to creep into the corners of my room and the endless array of knickknacks that once cluttered up my bookshelves.

The thing is, now that I’ve dramatically downsized my possessions, I’m finding that my love of tidying has outgrown the actual amount of tidying that I can do. That is to say that I’ve physically run out of things to tidy. There are, after all, only so many ways you can rearrange your closet.

So with that in mind, I’ve decided to look elsewhere for decluttering opportunities to satisfy this new urge. And this is where you all come in. If you have a tidying/decluttering/organizing project that you need a little extra help tackling, would you be willing to let me try helping you? I’m definitely not a professional organizer and I don’t have any kind of certifications in this area. I don’t know if the approach I used will work for everyone, but it has certainly worked for me. And I would love to tell you more about how I made this lifestyle change and hopefully help you change your life too. Just think of me as a tidying mentor/coach person.

For now I just want to dip my toes in the water and see if this tidying stuff is as much fun when I’m helping other people as it is when I’m doing it for myself. Eventually, if I like doing it, I might try to earn some type of certification and turn it into a side business or something. But that’s a little farther down the road. 

Also, I have no idea what to charge for my services in this area, so I’m just going to leave that up to you. Propose a project to me and if you have money and want to pay me for it, that’d be cool. I can tell you that anything I earn from this will go directly toward paying off my tiny house (since I had to borrow money to build it). But if you don’t have money to spend on this, and you just need help, that’s fine too. I am here for you, and I'm just looking for some experience.

A few final notes: 

1. This offer is primarily for Bay Area people, but if you live somewhere else and have an extra room I could sleep in for a week or so (or even just a couch I could crash on for a few nights), I’m open to that idea too, depending on who you are, where you live, how well I know, how annoying your kids are (kidding, mostly), and what kind of project we’re talking about. 

2. I am not sure how soon I'd be able to get started, since I still don't know the exact date of my upcoming move to California. But I figured I'd post about this now to let you all think about it and so that we can start setting up tidying sessions for future dates. I'm guessing I'll be settled in from the move and ready to get started working at the beginning of November, but I could possibly do something earlier than that if you're up against a deadline (like you need your house to look good before the neighborhood Halloween party).

3. If you are interested, send me a message on Facebook or comment on this post. I'd love to schedule a time to chat with you about your needs and figure out if I'd be a good fit for your project.

4. I am generally a nice person and I would never force you to give up anything you truly love.

Final disclaimer: I very much dislike this sell-y type stuff. I am genuinely doing this because I think it will be fun. That's how much I'm into tidying these days. But I hope no one reading this will feel put off by it. And the most important point I want to make about all this is that I don't think you're a bad person if your house is not tidy. This blog is a no-judgment zone. If you are happy with your current level of tidiness, that's awesome. More power to you. But if you're unhappy with your house/room/apartment or how much time it takes you to keep it clean and organized, I think I might be able to help you with that. And I think I would enjoy helping.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

No more TV?

That's right, people. I am currently living through a dearth of television. Ever since my mom failed to renew our family Netflix account a few weeks ago, all I've been able to watch is Youtube. That means no movies, no shows, nothing but vlogs and late night comedy sketches.

It's been . . . interesting. If I weren't about to move home to my parents' house where they have an actual television with an actual DVR, I'd be seriously looking into my online subscription options. I don't want to own a large television myself or pay for cable. But in spite of my ultra minimalist lifestyle, I'm not a total Mennonite. Not yet, anyway. And I still want my TV shows. (No offense, to actual Mennonites, of course. I really admire many things about your lifestyle.)

Granted, there is some great stuff on Youtube. And I have definitely enjoyed the extra time to live my life without the temptation to binge rewatch Stranger Things. So I wouldn't say that the loss has been entirely a bad one. But I will definitely be happy when I can get back to my regularly scheduled programming, as it were.

What am I doing to in the meantime to make life bearable?

1. The New York Times Crossword Puzzle.

I treated myself to a one-month subscription to their app, and I've been loving it. I'm even getting the Sunday puzzles done, which is really saying something. Of course, it helps that you can reveal letters and words and check your answers. And Google helps a lot too. But I try to do as much as I can on my own before relying on cheats.

Though I will admit to some heavy cheating this past Thursday when the puzzle clues were all anagrams. It was a nightmare. And I like anagrams.

2. Knorpp and South

You guys, I am obsessed with this family. You HAVE to check them out. They have nine kids, five of whom they adopted from China. They're LDS. And they're currently traveling around the country in an RV. They are basically the coolest people ever, and I want to be just like them when I grow up. Plus their kids are totally adorable! They post videos as they go, and it's so fun to follow their adventures. Big Youtube score.

3. Good, old-fashioned reading

I started rereading Little Women the other day and fell back in love with it. Such a classic. I also reread Louisa May Alcott's lesser-known first novel, The Inheritance. She wrote it when she was seventeen and it's fun as a writer myself to see her learning to put a story together. It's like hanging out with the real Jo for an afternoon.

4. Getting outside!

It's early fall here and that means that the temperature and weather are perfect for spending hours and hours outdoors. Lately when I leave the office for my lunch break, I've been having a really hard time convincing myself to come back indoors to finish working in the afternoons.

And of course, our sunsets are always gorgeous. That's one thing I'll definitely miss when I move to California.

I also managed to squeeze in one last summer roadtrip to Colorado a couple of weeks ago with one of my very best friends. That was a blast. I should've taken more pictures because we drove through some really pretty scenery, but here are just a few.

5. And of course, lots and lots of writing Tiny Talks 2017.

As much as I enjoy writing these books every year, I'm always so relieved when they're done. I will freely admit that one of the reasons I love having a deadline is that I know that once it's passed, I'll get to go back to being lazy and only writing when I feel like it.

Speaking of Tiny Talks, though, I actually do have a proof I'm supposed to be going through this weekend, so I should probably get to work on that.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Are you getting rid of EVERYTHING?

Blog! I missed you! I've been so busy writing Tiny Talks 2017 that I haven't had a spare minute for my blog in weeks. But the manuscript is done now (as of last night around 8:00 pm) and that means I'm going back to my normal reality.

And that means I'm getting ready to move to California, finally build a tiny house, start working remotely, and figure out what's coming next in my life.

In case you haven't heard yet or you were a little confused about the details, I'm currently planning to move from Utah to the San Francisco Bay Area at the end of September or beginning of October. The exact timing of the move depends on a couple of things. One is my tiny house, which I'll talk more about in a minute, and the other is a personal history project I've been working on with my grandma (not my history—hers). I've been helping her put together a book with some of her writings and photos and I'd like to get it at least mostly done if not completely done before I move.

To be clear, I am SUPER excited about this move. If I could, I would move tomorrow. But I also want to make sure that I act like a responsible adult and take care of the things that I need to take care of here before I go.

Now about my house. I am well aware that there are many people who would really love to know exactly when my house will be done and exactly what it will look like and how big it will be and all of that stuff. And let me just say, I am also one of those people. Heh.

I don't know for sure when the house will be done. The builder that I'm working with has had some unfortunate setbacks recently, and since I'm not on a tight schedule, I've just decided to go with the flow and let him take the time that he needs. For one thing, it's not like I have much of a choice. There's nothing I can do to make him go faster. And for another, this gives me more time to save up money to put down on the house, which ultimately will mean getting out of debt faster and that's a good thing.

As far as the design, I went through several rounds of changes and ultimately came back to my original idea, which will look something like this house.

I'm really excited about seeing how it all turns out, and I'll definitely post more updates and pictures as the build progresses.

I'm also really excited about sending it to The Hideaway in Ramona, California, for the first few months that I own it. The more I consider this plan, the better I feel about my decision. I think it'll be a great way to own a tiny house and have that security of knowing that I own something without having to worry about what to do with it in my immediate, still uncertain future.

In the meantime, I've been trying my best to prepare for the move and for my eventual transition to tiny living by downsizing some more. You would think that by now I'd have gotten rid of everything except the bare essentials, but you'd be wrong. I still have lots more books than I need, for one thing. However I have almost entirely eliminated the unnecessary craft supplies, bathroom products, and miscellaneous items. My clothes at least are close to being done. I'm actually down to three pairs of shoes at the moment after giving away a couple pairs of sandals last week. But I'll likely invest in another pair soonish. Four seems to be a good number: one pair of running/walking shoes, one pair of flats for church, flip-flops, and something casual like a pair of slip-ons. Right now I'm missing that last one.

In the photo above, you can see almost all of the clothes I currently own. I roll up my skirts and dresses and keep a drawer full of shirts, one drawer with socks and stuff, and another drawer for PJs and workout clothes. One of the nice things about working from home is that I'll be able to dress more casually (except when I need to be on a video conference call) so it'll be nice to be able to get rid of some more clothes when I don't have to dress up for work every day.

Since I didn't really answer the blog post title question yet, I guess I'll clarify that I'm not planning to get rid of EVERYTHING. But I honestly feel like there's a minimizing cycle where the more you get rid of, the more you realize you don't need all the things you've kept, and so that prompts you to get rid of more and re-evaluate again. I'm sure there will come a point at which I'll have to stop eliminating things, but I haven't quite reached it yet, and I'm not going to stop before then. It's really a great feeling knowing that things are just things and I don't need to plan my life around how much stuff I have.

Anyway, I could go on and on about how much I love getting rid of things, but I'll save that for another day. Like I said I'll keep you all posted about the house and everything. For people in Utah, I'm hoping to have a "tiny" open house sometime before I move away, so once I figure out the feasibility and date for that, I'll make some sort of announcement on social media.

And for people in California, I'm excited to see you all soon!

Hope you guys had a great Sunday and you're looking forward to a good week ahead like I am.