JOY – EMPTY NESTS – AND THE NEXT SEASON

Hello friends.

 

When I started blogging I wanted to be so light and airy and positive and uplifting, and hopefully I’m achieving that.  But also there’s real life.  Homes aren’t perfect, rooms aren’t perfectly decorated or clean and organized all the time.

I know this sounds negative, but I don’t want it to be, I want it to be thought provoking.  I’m at that next season, where for the most part the kids have scooted out and it’s just me, hubby and the pets, (2 dogs and 2 goats!).

Every day is new, full of possibilities, and adventures, but slowly and insidiously lately my days have been wrapped in emotions, a roller coaster of highs and lows.

Joy - Empty Nest

Do you have days like this?  If you do, then can I give you a cyber-hug.

We get up in the morning because … we have to go to work, eat, clean house, etc.

We do all these things all our lives because we have a need to feed and clothe and house ourselves.  But what are we doing for ourselves. Just us.  Things that bring us joy?

Joy Empty Nests Next Season

Do you know what brings you joy?

Joy.  Happiness.  A contentment on doing a particular task.

Joy, Empty Nests, The next season
Photo – Ancientbests.co.nz

Usually we’d say something like our family, friends, home etc., But what about just for you?

It’s all so confusing.  What will make the next years fulfilling, exciting, joy-filled and worthy of me.  Because it’s time to think ABOUT ME.

What do I like to do?

No idea – and that is scary.

Besides I realize (sadly) that some of the things I might have liked to try my now 60-year-old body is no longer capable of.  Mentally, too I’m finding that I can no longer multitask like before. Days where I juggled many balls seem to have evaporated.

So what does that leave me with?

Growing old in a rocking chair.

Hibernating?

Giving up?

That would be so easy and in truth the reality of that is tempting.  But it is also so sad.  Life doesn’t need to be sad.  For most of us life is a series of ups and downs and sometimes debilitating, and it would be easy to focus on the bad.

Joy empty nest the next season
Photo – pinterest.com

At this stage in my life when I’ve sort of left a major career, hubby is now retired too, it’s kinda scary and the thoughts of what next keep nagging at me. What do I want to do? What will fulfil me for the next 20-30 years?

For most women we put ourselves last for a majority of years.  Our children/families/work and home lives come first, our thoughts and needs come in a low pecking order on our lists of must dos.

We’ve hardly stopped all these years to actually consider that.  School runs, jobs, home, elderly parents, there was no time for us and if there was, guilt struck at the time we were taking away from our family and everyone else.  They all came first.  Now don’t get me wrong. I believe that to be absolutely true.  They should come first, especially your children.  You’ve brought them into this world, and it’s our responsibility to guide them until they leave the nest. Mind you being a parent never ends, the role of guide and listener is still happening even now they’re in their 20s.  Maybe that’s a time when we’re needed more so.

Photo – Pinterest.com

 

However, physically and spatially we now have time, and sometimes if we’re lucky a little bit extra dollars to go round.  It’s like moving house to a new neighborhood.  The people around us have all changed.  We’re used to our fellow co-workers, etc, now they aren’t a part of our everyday lives, so what will fill that gap?

So what if you now, for the first time have to think what you’d like to do – and shock horror, scary stuff – you can’t think of anything.  It’s like… so what am I/who am I/ what makes me happy?

Take time to list things you thought you might like to try.  Even if it was waaaay back.

Mine was:

Floral art

Growing herbs

Painting furniture

Joining a women’s group of some sort

(Thinking about) Getting fit!

Trying new recipes

Travel if I can.

See more of my own country

Learn to crochet

 

Do I want to start a business?  And why would I?  I’m 60 years old, it’s kinda time to rest surely?

But does that mean I’m not valuable, not capable of trying.  Of course not, but the commitment, the challenge, the effort, time etc, is that what I want now in my life?

When I read blog posts and see the lovely homes and everything just so, that little green devil in me gets loud!  I love the rooms, admire the talent, but I am a little bit envious too.  I see these vital women working hard to create beautiful homes, lives so full and active and I wonder where my life is taking me and why and how and oh so many questions.

Do you have those too?

As a semi empty nester you think you have so much time, but after years of raising a family and now not needed so much, it’s more about what’s next.  What do I fill my life with now?

One thing I think we must be thankful for as we age is that we are able to actually do that.  So many can’t Some also don’t have the good health to be able to be as vital as they once were or want to be.  Today give those around you who are not as fortunate in this vitality, a hug and compassion and encouragement.

Photo- Pinterest

Something I read recently about smiling, inspired me, and made me stop and …well, smile, and be grateful.  I also remembered that advert on TV where a person smiles as she passes another in the street, then that person smiles at another going passed in a bus and so on?  The smile is contagious.  This simple advert makes me smile and I think the knowledge that my smile could benefit someone else’s day, is awesome.

I’m out to find my pot of gold …. My joy, my reason, my fun. And smile!

Photo – askideas.com

It may be a business, it may be going to floral art classes or creating a myriad of life experiences and adventures, but it will be mine.

So I choose to turn today’s sense of overwhelm into a positive (hence this post) and smile at everyone from the lady at the bakery as we chuckled about giving in to the chocolate cake and the shop assistant who recognised me at Bed bath and Beyond (oops obviously I’ve been shopping too much).

So stop and smile and be grateful for today. And yep, smile and smile and smile.

And because you can’t stop smiling at this little girl, my first grandchild.

 

Happy days

Jane

 

 

4 STEPS TO CLEAR DUMPSVILLE FOREVER

Hello friends,

I hope your week is going well and you’ve managed to carve out some YOU time for yourselves.  It’s so important that we get those few minutes to recharge.  For me, I became a grandma last year, so now I can “legally” have nana naps – woohoo.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

But there is always something to be done around the house.  Do you have that room or space in the house that is always DUMPSVILLE, no matter how hard you try to keep it clean and organized?

Does it look like this?

Photo – DailyMail.co.uk

Please say you do, even if it is just to make me feel better and that I’m not the only person in the entire world that struggles with this. Why is it that we can keep a beautifully tidy and organized house (okay, mostly, sort of) except for that one (or more) spots that is constant chaos?  It’s like little gremlins follow us around the house and dump stuff.

So let’s start with the 4 steps to clear dumpsville forever.

For many of us it could be any of the following areas:

Mud room

The kitchen counter

The dining table

The front entryway

The garage

The home office.

I hate to admit it, but our front entryway and the home office are dumpsville at chez nous.  I try hard, I really do.  I put out containers, baskets, have family meetings about where they drop all their stuff the moment they enter the house – but does it work – nope nope nope.  It does not!  Is it any wonder my hair is grey!

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo- Stagemyownhome.com

It is so frustrating, the front entry table has keys, torches, dog leads, flowers (yes I try to make it look pretty), bits of paper, mail, newspapers, folders from hubby’s meetings.  It’s all there, layer upon layer.  Then there are the shoes.  Sneakers, boots, sandals, crocs!  We live in the country and mud is not my best friend, so with dogs and family members coming and going in and out, the front entrance is a bit like a railway station. Always busy, always cluttered. Dumpsville. Certainly not the elegant entryway I envisioned.

Then of course there is the electrical boxes that are for the security and the thingy that is in the roof.  Excuse me, I’m not too technical! That technical stuff is an eyesore, I mean why couldn’t the builders put it just around the corner, or for goodness sakes’ even on the opposite wall.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

(apologies for the bad photo, really wouldn’t photo well)

 

So how do we clear Dumpsville forever.

I see the entrance dumpsville as being a two-pronged journey of considerations – Form and Function.  Below is a series of four steps to clear dumpsville forever.

 

STEP 1

Form of course is the pretty stuff, the making it look pleasing to the eye, but without function, without knowing what you need at the entryway, what systems, and tools are necessary to keep the place reasonably clutter free, then no amount of pretty lights, mirrors and ornaments are going to make a bit of difference.

First up answer a few questions?

Where do you enter the house?

Is it via the garage? Is the front door, or off a deck somewhere?  Which of these spaces is your ‘dumpsville’?

Which problem area are we talking about – is it the entry for visitors, or for yourselves?

Once you’ve determined which area (or eeek, maybe it’s both) then you need to work out what/and how you use this space.

 

STEP 2

Analyse what the entryway is used for. What MUST you have there, that are necessities, and probably not negotiable?  It could be one or some or all of the list below.

  • Shoe storage
  • Key storage
  • Mobile/laptop charging station
  • Mail drop off
  • Viewing yourself in the mirror before leaving
  • Dog leads
  • Homework station/school bags.
  • Storage of coats/hats etc.
  • Handbag dumping ground
  • Umbrellas
  • Torches/walking canes.
  • Briefcases/work bags/workout gear.
4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo – hgtv.com

STEP 3 – the function

Shoes

Are you a shoes in the house, or off at the front door?  If it’s remove the shoes, then where are you going to put them.  Because the reality is, family do not take off their shoes when they get home and take them straight to their bedroom – and if they do, what’s your secret and can I come and live at your house!

Some suggestions:

Baskets, boxes (try ones with lids, because hopefully you can close them off and not see a pile of shoes.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo – Pinterest.com

Wire baskets with liners, but then they might need washing from time to time – and that’s extra work and if there’s one thing we don’t need – is MORE WORK

A shoe tree hanging inside a closet (if you’re lucky to have one).  The same ideas can be used for those of us that have mudrooms and come in via the garage.  Little cubbyholes/boxes etc., for each person – their name on it – just so there is no confusion!

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo- Lesinform.com
4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo – bestproducts.

What about a shoe tray?  A metal or wooden tray, with a small layer of stones that will be your ‘drip catcher’.

 

Paraphernalia – umbrellas, canes, etc

An old stone crock, bullet case *** Narrow cane basket.  All these can be used for this type of storage, and be pleasing to the eye and be payoff for the aesthetics.

 

Coats/scarves/hats/gloves

Baskets/hooks/coat racks are all alternatives for these items, even a trunk or chest at the front door, can be used for storing out of season coats and winter accessories.  Hooks are particularly good if you don’t have a large entryway, or closet.  You can even if needs be use the back of the front door.

Make it a feature using hooks that go with your décor style, glossy glass, brass animals, old fashioned school hooks.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo- a selection of hooks from Pinterest

Most often we have a table or console of some sort at our entryway, or if no room, then a narrow shelf.  Use a six inch ledge, it’ll be big enough to hold a container for keys and you can screw in some hooks to the underside for hanging bags, scarves etc.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Photo – Pinterest.com

What else do you dump in this spot?

Keys – grab a pretty container, box, basket, try and shop your house .

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

are some I’ve gathered from around my house, the idea is to create great storage and organization, along with form, so that it’s pleasing to the eye too.  Hopefully pretty might increase the odds of practicality and the family use it and keep it clearer.

Phones:

If you’re going to use this space as a charging station, then create something a bit different.  Use even an old shoebox, covered in wrapping paper, holes at the back for the cords, and an extension cord, and hey presto you’ve got a place to hide your phones while they charge, plus contain all those dratted cables.

Want a great Youtube video for a charging station and entryway.  @bemyguestwithdenise.com

 

Mail/Papers:

Again this accumulates.  I’m sure there is a paper gremlin around who magically doubles the amount of papers in these spots overnight.  It just seems to mushroom.  If you are not a person to deal with the mail as it arrives, then a box/basket again is a good collating spot.  Better yet, a box with a flip lid so that the mail and papers are hidden.  Yes, I know we’d all like to be super organized, but reality is that it takes time/effort and repetition to create a system of opening mail and assigning designated spot for it straight away, so if that is beyond you right now, and that is absolutely fine, really it is, it’s not about perfection, just trying to get things in order, slow is okay.  Baby steps.

Another reasonably cheap storage item for papers is a magazine holder.

Handbags/School bags

Again hooks come to mind for these, though briefcases can be a tad heavy.  But schoolbags are great to hang on hooks as are handbags, but if hooks aren’t available or an option, then what about a cubbyhole system.  An old bookcase laid on its side, with a few pretty baskets (or not) can be used as a storage option for those bags, plus shoes and hats/gloves etc.  One solution for many problems – got to be good!

 

Dog Paraphernalia.

Again baskets, bins, anything that you think is easily reachable and easy to put away again.

That’s the thing with storage, if it’s awkward or difficult to access or use, if the lids don’t open or close easily, or if it’s too small for the items it’s going to hold, then it won’t work in the long run.  So whatever option you choose, make sure it’s the appropriate size and workable for how you want to use it.

 

Step 4

Now what?

Great!  You’re all organized, those pesky things are taken care of.  Function is all sorted.

So what about form?  What about the pretty side of this task?

Hopefully you have been able to use storage items that are pleasing to your aesthetics.  Don’t worry if they’re not the right colour scheme.  A bit of chalk paint or spray paint can work wonders.

A lamp – the soft glow of a lamp on in the evenings, especially at the front door, adds mood lighting

Mirror – great to be able to check yourself before you open the door to visitors.

Artwork/photographs – this is where you can go to town so to speak.  It can be a piece of your own art, get splashing with a few colors and a canvas one afternoon.  Or maybe you can do a photo wall of your children’s art, family ancestors and current members, unusual postcards from your travels, a piece of vintage clothing hung up.  Anything and everything can be used for art work.

 

And great for hiding things as I did here with a great suggestion received from a friend Smillie Henderson on how I could hide those pesky electrics.

A Hat!

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever
Of course i bought the baskets too, I mean, wouldn’t you?

I grabbed these 3 straw hats at the thrift store for about a dollar piece, a few Command hooks, and hey presto it’s done, the electrics are covered and hopefully it looks rather artistic (well not just plopped there like they really were).

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

 

Console table:

Actually anything can be used, even a chest of drawers, great for storing stuff!!!  I’ve used a marble slab atop an old Singer sewing table.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

Plants/live or faux.  Nothing looks better than a bit of ‘life’ on a vignette, and with this one style I used a faux topiary purchased a few years ago in Hawaii, yes I travelled all the way home with 2 of these in my on board luggage!

Really, the world is your oyster in how you style your entryway, whether it’s a styled crowded look or sparse, the most important aspect is function.  Get that right and you’re on your way to a great looking entryway.

4 steps to clear dumpsville forever

What are you doing in your entryway?  What are the hazards and problems, and how have you solved them?  Leave a comment below.

 

Until next time.

Happy days

Jane xxx

 

 

 

 

 

WHY I WANT TO BLOG

Life Seasons, Blog Journey

Hello there,   

 

 

 

 

I’m so pleased you joined me today, a rather auspicious day as it’s my first blog post.  As a wife, mother, employee (I work night shifts), homemaker and general try-to-do-it-all gal, you’re probably wondering why I want to blog.

Life Seasons, Blog Journey

Well, I could say it’s just because… because it’s a creative outlet.  I was a fiction author for nearly 20 years, but as the years crept by and particularly as life threw hard stuff at me, the death of my mother, realizing I’m getting older (okay, so I know that’s inevitable but you get it.) it also made me think about what I wanted to achieve over the next 20-30 years or so that I have left, or how I wanted to live my life.  With fiction writing and publishing there are deadlines, stress, always the thought of the next book etc., and I decided I didn’t want that stress any more. Oh, I still plod along and write a bit, but my butt no longer sits at the computer from 9-3 daily plodding away.  I started thinking about life’s seasons and this particular season – empty nest – well for about six months only – till a daughter moved back home.  Along with my eldest moving back home, I’ve a husband who has just retired, another daughter who has made us grandparents and all that involves, plus I want to get out and about, do things, see things.  So this is my next season in life.

One of the things I absolutely love is decorating, and not with tons of dollars, but simply pottering about tweaking things, moving them around (cue family rolling their eyes at me – SHE’S AT IT AGAIN!).  I love to try and organize and always say I’m a would be perfectionist who doesn’t quite get it right.

And that of course brings me to that other realisation.  Okay, I turned 60 this year.

A rather daunting celebration as I wonder where the years have gone, but it also made me question things.  As I said to my sister ‘you’d think at this age, we’d have our stuff (or crap) together by now.

Like weight wouldn’t bother me.

Like I’d be better organized, budgeter, fitter, healthier, dress better, and all those things that go through my mind as I look at my most recent wrinkle in the mirror.

But no it seems life is playing a trick on me, it doesn’t happen like that, or please don’t tell me I’m wrong and it’s only me that feels like the roller coaster is still full throttle.

But one thing that age does give us, is the understanding that ‘’so what?”  So what if we’re a bit overweight, so what if we’re not very organized, so what if we went out with a hem held up by staples or cellotape, so darn what!  It doesn’t matter.

Life Seasons, Adventures,

What matters is that we enjoy life.  That life has seasons and we realize we can make those things better – if we want to, and only if we want to.  We should be happy being who we are, how we are.  I’m not saying there’s always room for improvement, but what I am saying is that we don’t need to be perfect, because we ARE PERFECT just the way we are.  Right now.  Not when we’ve lost 20lbs, or colored all the gray in our hair.  And speaking of which I’m letting all the color grow out, so right now I’m a motley red and gray combo.  I’ve even had a compliment on it LOL.

So whatever your season of life, whether it’s in your 20s and starting out on your career, or in your 30s and playing wife, mom, single parent, along with the hectic career, or the kids have grown a bit – more independent now and then there’s the empty nest (a whole other blog post), right now, today is perfect, you are perfect. I am perfect – well mostly LOL.  We may want change, and that’s okay, good even, but don’t think we’re any less than we are because we NEED to FIX SOMETHING.

I’ve decided to choose things that I’d like to change.  To pick one at a time, but not put extra stress on myself. And to be kind. Love myself.  You should too.  We should all give ourselves a hug every day.  Say kind words to ourselves, not belittling ones, and then embark on the journey WE want, doing the things WE WANT TO DO.

And that’s what this blog is going to be all about.

HOME, FAMILY, DECORATING, ORGANIZING, INTERESTING INTERVIEWS WITH WOMEN FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, AND JUST GOOD OLD LIFE STUFF.

Join me on the journey and subscribe to my email list, you’ll get a blog post twice a week, it’ll be a fun and adventurous ride .

 

Happy days

Jane

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