Assignment 4: Find a spot in your home that you rarely sit in that gives you a view on a room or area that you feel is especially problematic and spend 10 quiet minutes there. I liked the idea of this assignment a lot, and went into it thinking that Shawn and I could each do this exercise on our own and then compare notes. That's not exactly what happened. Working together: Here's what did happen - Shawn and I sat down to talk about the best way to proceed with the fresh perspective assignment. We debated which areas we found most troublesome, and how we might look at them differently. We talked about switching things up; he could look at my handbag storage issue, and I could look at the basement organization (an area on which he normally focused his attention). Then, a funny thing happened. While we were strategizing coming up with a fresh perspective, I had one all on my own. It wasn't in a quiet moment (as we were talking at the time), but I was sitting, and in glancing around, found myself looking at a problem from an angle at which I didn't normally consider it. Let me explain. We were sitting in the living room; Shawn on the sofa, and me at my desk. If I looked to the right, I was facing Shawn, but if I looked to the left, I could see through the kitchen, down the hall, and straight into our bedroom (or rather at, and under our bed). I couldn't even see my handbags on the door from where I was sitting, but it suddenly hit me that I could store them in a bin under the bed. And that doing so would solve several of my issues regarding the handbags. First and foremost, it would unclutter my door knobs. Second, storing the handbags lying down would elevate unnecessary stress on their straps. Third, putting them in a box would keep them protected from dirt and dust, AND away from the gnawing teeth of my older cat (the major reason that they're hanging in the first place.) And lastly, the handbags could be easily accessible, but not constantly visible. (I could even add the smaller bags currently housed in my closet to the bin, and free up extra space there!) Yay! Assignment 5: Select a good project from your list to complete this month AND take a few "Before" photos. It will come as no surprise to anyone that read my first week diary entry that we have decided to tackle our basement decluttering this month. True, it's bending the rules a little (in that it will take much more than a few hours), but it is the project that will make the biggest difference in how we live our lives, and the one thing we were determined to get taken care of this month. I also took "Before" pictures last week, so that part's already taken care of...
Working together: Shawn and I agreed unanimously on this month's project, so no negotiation was needed for this assignment. Assignment 6: Choose a piece of artwork to frame & get the process started for framing it. Choosing the artwork for this assignment was easy. Several years ago, I saw a framed print of a typewriter at Anthropologie that I loved. Sadly, it was out of my price range. After a little research though, I was able to locate the artist and his Etsy shop, where he was selling similar, but unframed prints. I was thrilled when Shawn surprised me with one on the following Christmas. Unfortunately, that was four years ago, and the print still rests on the bench I use for a nightstand, unframed.
This week, I finally measured the print. Thankfully, at 20"W x 16"H, it's a fairly standard size and it looks like I'll have several affordable options when framing it. I still need to decide on style and color, but once I'm ready, pictureframes.com seems to have the best and most affordable options. (Given our finances, purchasing the frame may have to wait until next month, but at least now I know where to start.) Working together: This assignment required limited discussion, as (even though it didn't make the "3-5 projects" for the bedroom), I had already listed framing this print as a project. We had also already discussed where to hang it once it was framed. (Although, while decluttering his armoire, Shawn came across the limited edition Shaun of the Dead poster I gave him. Had we not already talked about the typewriter print, a discussion may have been needed to decide between the two). Assignment 7: Plan Your Get-Together for the Weekend of February 1-3 Working together: A few days before Christmas, we had a small "champagne and dessert" soiree at our place. Unfortunately, one of our good friends had to work and wasn't able to make it. Therefore, for our February get-together, we've decided to invite her over for a casual evening of dinner and catching-up. I'll be out of town February 1-3, so we've decided to hold our event the following weekend. Since we're only inviting one person to our get-together, I've decided to use a piece of my favorite stationary to hand-write an invitation and send it by mail.
Assignment 8: Kitchen Organizing & Cleaning, Find a Recipe and Try it Out I'm afraid it's with the weekend chores that the impact of our combined illnesses was felt the most. We tried, but just weren't able to complete everything on our list this weekend. Our kitchen is pretty small, so we try to keep it as organized as possible on a regular basis. Shawn decluttered our pantry area a couple of weeks ago, so we were in good shape there. This weekend, we reviewed and tossed food from the freezer and refrigerator. We emptied out the cabinet behind the microwave, and decided to leave it that way (since it's completely inaccessible as it is). We decluttered the area behind the microwave, and checked that off our project list. We went through all of our mugs, glasses and tableware, and got rid of anything we don't need or don't use. We created "donate," "toss," and "keep" boxes and filled them accordingly.
We deep cleaned the outside of the refrigerator and the area behind it. We cleaned the inside and the outside of the microwave. And then, we ran out of steam... Saturday, I selected a recipe for Pasta Puttanesca that I wanted to try, so Sunday we went shopping for the ingredients.
Originally, we were going to go to Whole Foods to shop, and I was going to pick up some inexpensive flowers there. However, with our energy levels running low, we ended up going to the local grocery store instead. As I couldn't bring myself to spend ten dollars on the bouquet of dyed-blue carnations I found there, I did not buy any flowers this week. On the plus side, dinner was delicious and we enjoyed sharing it while watching Downton Abbey that night. Working together: Shawn and I worked together to declutter and clean the kitchen. We talked through issues and developed strategies for moving forward. While we didn't finish everything, we did create a list of the areas that need cleaning and committed to continuing to work on them. We often cook together however, I made Sunday's meal on my own. (It was a big football weekend, and Shawn had already done the majority of the heavy cleaning.) How did you do last week? Are you on target, or hoping to make up ground (like us) this week? (Images: Bethany Seawright)