Visualize this

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Before, I  get rid of everything that does not bring me happiness and attempt to create order in our house (Phase One of Project Perfect), I must do something that is very important; decide what kind of home I want to create. In the lingo of 2015 I might even say how do I want to re-brand my house? What feeling do I want to have when I walk through each room of the house?

The challenge?  For my priorities to reveal themselves upon walking through our home. What does that mean? If a strange man walked through our home, before calling the police I might ask him “what kind of people do you think we are?” Right now, strange man would not be impressed. Messy, one-dimensional, narcissistic and boring people he might say. (How dare he insult me after breaking into my home?!) There is barely any art on the wall. The walls are all white. Everything does not have a place. The only thing up is pictures of our children and us. This is not an accurate snapshot of what and who I value in life.

What kind of home do I want?  One that splashes who we are as individuals and as a family into each nook and cranny. It will have art, from friends, and trips and relics of our life will be on display.  Portraits of people we love will be up. Maps, globes and items that reflect love of travel will appear over time. Art from our children. It will make me feel comforted. It will feel safe.

Why does this matter? For me the space I am in affects me tremendously. Not everyone falls into this category. A disorganized home makes me feel bad.  I believe the inverse of that might be also be  true. For me the ramifications could be major, if there is physical order in my life I am sure many other more important things will fall into place.

I have a clear vision for how Project Perfect will happen. As mentioned, my first move will be with my clothes. Next, books, then kitchen ware, bathroom products, papers, photographs and sentimental items. Though I have an order in which these things will happen this is also a dynamic process and an experiment.

One thing I want to do in each phase or challenge of Project Perfect is help someone else. Without jumping ahead too much, I got the idea of getting art for our house from a friend who is also an artist. Here is her website. She does watercolor and I love the colors she chooses.watercolorhttp://www.erikasomogyi.com/ERIKA-SOMOGYI

I am going to get in touch with her about choosing  a print to help us start the process so I can be inspired as I move through the “getting rid of stuff” phase.

How can you start your own home makeover, or re-brand?

Ask your self these questions:

1. What do you value most in your life?

2. How can those things, that you value most, be represented in your home?

3. How does your home make you feel when you walk into it?

4. How do you want to feel when you walk into your home?

These are key questions to ask yourself before deciding to clean up your home and make it a space where you can be the best version of yourself. See you soon!

doing what you’ve always done…

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 Cliches. You go your whole life brushing them off  until one knocks you on the head as an embarrassing epiphany.

“If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.” W.L. Bateman 
Is this even a cliche? This brilliance was written up on a dingy, laminated poster  at my job. Frightening really that something this obvious would give me pause given my age/years of education/life experience.  I actually got this little surge of excitement when I read it, as if I had access to something no one else did. I could apply this to my life and things could get better!  Why had no one told me this before? I did make sure to tell my four year old a few hours later.

  What is one thing that guarantees frustration and surges of irrational rage?   Trying to find things. I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty that those black tights I might need on a  Monday morning will be un-findable for at least ten, sweaty, very stressful minutes. Frantic searches will ensue as I wrestle  through confusing hampers of mismatched socks in poor light while my daughters shriek (with laughter?) upstairs. Even though we have no marbles, I imagine my youngest swallowing one during my swim through the hampers.  I find no black tights, settle for brown and convince myself that it will be a sophisticated, enviable color combination.

What I have just described is not a real problem. It is a  stupid nuisance that gets in my way everyday and even more stupidly prevents me from contributing to the world in the best way I can.    I refuse to have any more mornings where I search for socks while imagining my toddler swallowing small, hard objects. (Which is why I took that child/ safety and CPR class. It helped. And added to my list of things to worry about, like accidentally inhaling a popped balloon. And how no matter how good you feel about your car seat installation its probably been done wrong.)

So, why am I telling  you this? Because I have a strategy that I am excited about to stop doing what I’ve always done. Physical clutter clogs my brain and ruins my mood. I’ve always known this and never done anything drastic to change things. Having kids and clutter moves this brain-and-mood-ruin to the next  dimension. I read Marie Kondo’s book the life-changing magic of tidying up http://www.amazon.com/The-Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering/dp/1607747308 . This lady knows what she is talking about. She is kooky, very weird and I like her. She is the first person who ever convinced me that I really don’t need all that stuff. Read the book. Using her book as a rough guide I will be eliminating, downsizing, and re-branding my space as a place that I love where my marriage can thrive and children can be happy. Kondo’s advice though brilliant, is told as a non-parent so amendments will be made to help parents apply her method to their lives.  Kondo’s logic is if something does not give you joy give it away.

Terrified and excited to begin. Its time to get rid of that red, ruffled velvet coat I bought from Benetton in 2001.  Before pictures coming soon.

The magic of writing things down

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Perfection is a funny thing to imagine. For anyone really,  let alone a mom with two young kids. So I am  redefining this very loaded word.

For me perfect is: living deliberately and thinking about why you do what you do with the intent of always improving yourself and the world around you.  I’d like to take it a step further though and quantify this process. Project Perfect is my space to lay out monthly, yearly, even life long goals and make them happen one day at a time. If I’d wanted to do it alone I wouldn’t have started a blog. Within the Project Perfect community  I hope for collaboration with others to  carve out happier, healthier lives with less anxiety and more meaning. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I have way too much to be anything but happy and grateful. Anything less is pretty much inexcusable.

That is what will be happening here. Each post will focus on one thing you can do to improve your life. Once up and running there will always be long-term challenges occurring. Other times, like today I will just be sharing a helpful hint that can improve your life in a small way.

What am I doing now? 

Leave a small notebook by the side of my bed. Why?

1. To write down any thoughts or ideas that I don’t want to lose.

2. Write down concerns, anxieties and to dos. I call it a Brain-Empty. I like to empty my brain before going to sleep. It can be a to-do list for tomorrow, or a list of things that I need to discuss with someone, anything that is lingering.

Try it and let me know in my comments how it went for you.

Here is the kind that I use, it’s like a moleskin but its not. My brother’s girlfriend gave it to me.

http://www.monsieurnotebook.com/#prettyPhoto

In my next post, I will unveil the first big Challenge of Project Perfect. I am looking forward to getting started on it (and I know my husband and kids will be much better off as a result of it!)

But, for now go find a small, nice notebook that you can place next to you on your non-cluttered bed-side table.

The Beginning

IMG_3406 The moment I gave birth to my first child almost four years ago, there was an unexpected change in how I felt about everything.  Frankly,  it was a little distracting.   I imagined  when I gave birth I would eat, sleep breathe, baby—which I  certainly did–but there was this other ineffable lingering pressure to do something else. I finally realized–I could create the lifethat I wanted. Ideally a person would have this realization BEFORE having a child. The heart of Project Perfect is the need to live a less rushed life. Rushing  takes away freedom of choice and overall happiness and ultimately makes a person much less high functioning.  For me rushing  happens for two reasons.  1) Not planning ahead.  Weekday mornings. Two parents have to get to work, two small children have to get to separate schools. A minimum of four different meals in BPA free glass containers, back up outfits, half-completed, sticky projects and other miscellaneous items have to be crammed into the appropriate bags at the appropriate times.  This spells rush, chaos and frankly a little bit of hell. 2)The second reason rushing happens is trying to do too many things and not prioritizing which thing is the most important. As a parent, my brain rotates through roles and categories within my life. The Mom list,  the wife list,  the friend list,  the daughter list; each one of those to-do lists attached to them. I should vacuum behind the couch.  I should bake coconut-banana muffins for snack tomorrow. Instead, I decide to repot the half-dying jade plant on my cluttered counter. And then scroll through my unfulfilling Facebook feed. Why? Because things are  not prioritized and planned. Starting with Project Perfect this will all change. Not because things will be perfect. As I’ll talk about more later, my goal is to re-define perfection within the digital era. A time when there are so many images of “perfection” that our self-esteem can buckle after scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest. Project Perfect is about  flipping that dynamic upside down by examining our relationship with social media and the internet (ironic, I know) and not accepting your status quo until you are content and peaceful.