Art Journal Goings On

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April 18th – Mr. Brown and I took my 2 eight year old nieces out for a day in the booming Kansas City. For the first time! We’re not the babysitting types. It was quite the experience… May 1st – Technically unrelated, but applicable just the same.

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May 6th – Old news on this blog! See https://offhourgold.com/2015/05/21/tidying-up-clothing-etc/ May 31th – After 3 weeks of cancer treatments, my Dad ended up spending a couple weeks in the hospital. Hopefully not an experience he’ll be repeating, but it did show me that I’m blessed to have a Dad that is so widely respected and genuinely loved. Also, the Oncology unit of the hospital was lovely, for a hospital unit!

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Tidying Up: Miscellaneous Madness


I’ve come to the dreaded MISCELLANEOUS category.

Let me just warn you fellow MariKondo explorers… This category seems impossible to complete all together and in one go. Do not attempt.
How do I know this? I know this because it took me 1 week to sort through 1 section of the Miscellaneous category! I cannot imagine gathering up & sorting everything that falls under this category in one shot (this is practically everything you own if you think about it). I cannot imagine looking at a pile that includes cotton balls, paper plates, candles, thread, food, hot glue gun refills, and make-up. Seriously, my heart is beating faster just thinking about the chaos.

Shake it off Jennifer! It never happened.

Ok, let me calmly describe my process for plunging into the Miscellaneous category.

1) Decide that pressing on in one shot is madness

2) Create multiple sub-categories:

Hobbies, Décor, Media & accessories, Health & Beauty, Cleaning Supplies, Food, Kitchenware & Small Appliances, Furniture, Household & Survival supplies

3) Sort each category

4) Walk through each room to catch any leftovers

Just in case this sub-category business is causing mild panic for my readers…

You mean we have to read 10 posts on boring Miscellaneous junk!

No judgement here, that’s what I’d be thinking. In the coming weeks/hopefully not, but maybe months, I’ll make my way through this Miscellaneous jungle, and report back when I’ve reached the halfway point (to keep motivated), and then again at the finish line. Hobbies is done as of this past weekend! Small victories!

I hope everyone is having a good week! My next sort through will begin this weekend…think of me…

Capsule Wardrobe 101 : Summer Playlist

Summer hasn’t officially begun just yet, but in Jennifer’s Capsule Wardrobe-land, it started last week.  And things in Jennifer’s Capsule Wardrobe-land are officially running behind.

I can’t say I’m super-surprised, this seems to be a running theme in my life thus far, but I’ll admit I’m a bit disappointed.  The plan was to shop for new summer staples during the last two weeks of May, and be ready to show off the complete wardrobe in the first week.  As things stand now, as I type this post, I’m still trying to track down items on the list!  I really ought to have known that I’d need more than two weeks.  I’m incredibly picky, and my body shape has its own issues when confronted with the standard shaped clothing stocking the store shelves.  I came to accept this fact years ago, so it’s not as traumatic as it once was, but it does mean that I need more time shopping than the average bear.

So that’s the situation.  But, I’m going to share what I have anyway!  Why not, this blog is a place of learning, and I think this is a good lesson to record.

Spring Capsule Recap:

I was fairly pleased with my first capsule to be honest.  I know that it included a bit too many clothes, and at the end of the season, I chose several pieces to “discard,” i.e. sell or donate.  There were also a few hardworking soldiers that didn’t make it through their tour of service, and that was mostly my fault.  I’ve realized that I’m a bit careless when it comes to doing my laundry, and when you add to that a husband that needs to wash his Army uniforms (with yards of Velcro), you end up with battered clothes.  In future, I’ll try to think before I wash!

Summer Capsule:

If you’re counting, there are 38 pieces in my capsule (including shoes this time!).  Still above the common 30 to 37 items, but an improvement over 53 just clothing items… right?  Like I said, I still haven’t found a couple wish-list items, so the end number will probably be closer to 40.  And that’s A-OK with me 🙂

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Tidying Up: Paper Purging

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Throughout my Tidying Up process, almost since I first decided I would take the purge plunge, I have dreaded the “Papers” category.  Honestly, using the “Does this spark joy?” method didn’t seem to have much application to papers…  I feel like this is fairly obvious, right?  Most of us don’t keep papers because they bring joy to our lives, we keep them because we’re trying to be responsible adults!  Now, there are some cases where people hang on to a surplus of papers out of some obsessive compulsive disorder, but I didn’t feel like I was one of those people.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I’m more likely to throw out papers that I should be keeping!

I also dreaded this category because Marie Kondo’s advice on how to deal with it is summed up in this statement:

 There is nothing more annoying than papers.  Throw them all away, unless they are absolutely necessary.

Ok….?

After purging the previous categories, I’d say that this is my first real roadblock with the KonMari method, but I don’t think that it’s really Kondo’s fault.  Kondo is from Japan, so the papers necessary for her clients in Japan are different than the expectations here in the US, or for any other country.

So what did I do?  I Google-d it, just like any sane person would do.

I landed on Suze Orman’s site, and followed her guidelines for the papers that I had at my disposal…hee hee, disposal…

A n y w a y…  I didn’t really have that many papers, so by following Suze’s advice, I was able to feel good about what I was able to discard.  I’d have to admit, that in itself sparked a bit of joy!  Most of my “joy” came from knowing that I hadn’t been discarding too much all along to be honest, I’m definitely not the paper hoarder.

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I also went through my magazines, which I had left out during my Books category purge by mistake.  This was a bit more difficult.  I ended up discarding ALL OF THEM.  They had served their purpose.  The hardest to rid myself of were my lovely Country Living UK magazines…  When I lived in Scotland, I had a subscription and absolutely loved it.  I looked through them multiple times, and even tore out enough pages to fill 3 binders.  I brought the binders home to the US, and even paid the extra money to have 2 years of the magazine delivered to Kansas.  It helped me to feel more connected to the life that I had left behind, and it was a hard decision to let them go.  I still haven’t been back to Scotland, and somehow felt like I needed to keep these magazines to remind me how important it is to return.

What really helped was a minimalism video by Light by Coco where she said that when you discard things from an important era in your life, it doesn’t mean that you are betraying the memories.  It doesn’t lessen the experience because the experience and memories are separate from any material things.  That was so helpful!  I think about Scotland everyday, and I didn’t need the magazines to remind me.

So, as I used to say in Scotland, sin agad e!  There you have it!  Papers, done.  Next stop, Hobby supplies!  Eeek!