clutter-busting challenge

clutter-busting-challenge1

Crystal at Money-Saving Mom is hosting a Clutter-Busting Challenge in which she is getting rid of {throwing away, selling or donating} at least 7 items for every single day of May. She is inspiring loads of others to do the same, including me! 

I already did a lot of clutter-busting last month when graduated from Purdue and moved from Indiana to California … the move was the fire-under-my-butt motivation to sort through my various papers, knick-knacks, books, clothes, kitchen supplies, etc. and decide what was worth taking with me. I ended up donating and selling everything except for the clothes, blankets, books, and important papers that fit within five suitcases and a few big shipping boxes. 

When I arrived home, I had another opportunity to clutter-bust: my bedroom at home {which my parents have been sweet enough to leave as-is during my time away… it hasn’t been converted to a home office, at least not yet!} There were books and papers and random STUFF that had accumulated during winter breaks and summers at home and that I hadn’t gone through in years. 

After a few days of sorting, I am proud to share with you the big pile of stuff that I am getting rid of! 

clutter busting

I took the clothes/shoes/purses to Goodwill and donated the books to my local library. Not only does it feel good to purge your life of unnecessary items, I also love imagining the person who will enjoy each item in its next life! 

Are any of you doing spring/early summer cleaning and organizing? I’d love to hear your success stories and tips!

You can follow along the entire Clutter-Busting series at Money-Saving Mom here: https://moneysavingmom.com/series/clutter-busting-challenge

year of kindness challenge: week 13

year of kindness button

Hi everyone! Sorry I’m a day late posting this — yesterday’s Foodie Pen Pals reveal bumped things back a day. Hope your week is off to a good start!

Last week was very exciting around here, as the Year of Kindness Challenge was featured on the amazing blog Money-Saving Mom! What a true honor! Welcome and thank you to all our new subscribers! 🙂

The Week 12 Kindness Challenge was to deliver something sweet — coffee, cookies, baked goods, etc. — to your local fire station. I baked a pumpkin pie from scratch and delivered it to the local fire station with a handwritten thank-you note:

pumpkin pie

week 12 challenge

thank you note

My dad sent me this note about his act of kindness for the week:

“Instead of the fire station I gave some yummy Limonera gourmet lemon candy chews to a policeman and thanked him for his service. (I did it at my running park as they tend to come in and circle around now and then and I was ready!) I could tell the gesture made his day…”

And here are some wonderful kindness posts by my new blogger friend Pam:

Some good things happened in my world this week:

  • my absolutely wonderful and amazing friend Holly came to visit me
  • another friend surprised me with homemade cookies
  • I received a ton of sweet emails and congratulations about the Steinbeck Fellowship, which I am completely thrilled and beyond words excited to have been awarded for this upcoming school year — I’ll be moving to San Jose in August!!
  • I reconnected with a few good friends, who I will miss dearly after we graduate in May
  • Karen Russell, terrifically talented author of Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove, came to speak at Purdue and was so insightful, kind, generous and funny. I greatly admire her work and it was a real treat to meet her!

Now, on to this week’s kindness challenge: give someone flowers. This could be a friend, sibling, child, parent, neighbor, coworker, or even a stranger. They could be flowers from the store or from your own garden. You could give them in person or leave them for someone as an anonymous surprise. Spread the springtime AND the kindness this week!

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn <AT> gmail <DOT> com.

Have a great week!
-Dallas

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year of kindness archives:
– week 1 challenge: donate items to those in need
– week 2 challenge: leave quarters & note at laundry machine
– week 3 challenge: write & send a kind handwritten note
– week 4 challenge: give hot chocolate to someone outside in the cold
– week 5 challenge: do something kind for a neighbor
– week 6 challenge: deliver valentines to a nursing home
– week 7 challenge: donate to a food pantry
– week 8 challenge: donate toiletries to a shelter
– week 9 challenge: post a kind note in a public place
– week 10 challenge: do something kind for a child
– week 11 challenge: thank someone in a genuine & meaningful way
week 12 challenge: deliver baked goods to a fire station

“make mornings matter” in march!

“If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.” – Mark Twain.

Source: Frog by David Wagner

Source: Frog by David Wagner

Happy Thursday, friends! How is your week going so far?

The always-amazing Crystal over at Money-Saving Mom is hosting a really neat Early to Rise Challenge during the month of March. I have been inspired by her posts, and floored by her {and other participants} wake-up times: 5:33. 6:01. 5:45. A.M.!!

Now to some of you, that is a piece of cake. That is simply routine for you. 5 a.m. and sunrises are a normal part of your day. {My mom is one of those people. Hi, Mom!}

But I have always been a night owl. Maybe it’s related to writing — I often feel more creative late at night, when the world is quiet and I am close to dreamland. {In fact, I titled my short story collection 3 a.m. because that’s when I was up writing many of the stories in the book!} I’ve read that we all have natural body rhythms as either night owls or early birds, and I am definitely in the night owl category. I often joke with my Gramps, who lives out in California, that he and I are on the same time schedule — we go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time; I’m just three hours ahead of him on the clock! 🙂

Still, I like to feel productive, and I’ve found my mornings often set the tone for the rest of my day. If I have a sluggish morning where I wake up, head straight to my computer, check my email first thing, and browse around on Facebook, it will soon be an hour later and I will feel totally crummy. Then I’ll be rushing to “get a start” on my day and very likely the whole entire day will seem like a giant game of catch-up.

If, instead, I wake up, drink two glasses of water, brew some tea and cook a healthy, hearty breakfast, and start the day with one chore I do not want to do or have been putting off — just do it and get it DONE so I don’t have to worry about it anymore — then the entire day seems sunnier, easier, lovelier. I feel on top of things. I feel productive. Even if the task I’ve been putting off takes me a total of three minutes, like yesterday morning, when I called the mechanic who I had been been playing phone tag with the entire day before. I called him first thing when I got up, was done with the task in three minutes, and felt a sense of motivation and accomplishment that carried me through the entire day!

To paraphrase Mark Twain’s quote from the beginning of this post, what “frogs” are you putting off? Think how great you will feel if you get them done first thing and then have the whole day to not worry about it!

Another thing that really gets my day off on a great, energetic note is to do a little bit of exercise first thing in the morning. One of my goals for 2013 is to stretch every day, and I feel so much better the rest of the day if I take a few minutes to stretch my legs and hips when I first get out of bed. I am also trying to motivate myself to get into the routine of doing my sit ups and push ups first thing in morning, before I hop in the shower and eat breakfast. I often feel too tired or busy to do them at night, but I really want to work on building up the strength of my core, and so doing my sit-ups and push-ups are important to me. For the rest of March — and beyond — that is a small goal I am focusing on!

How about you? How do you make your mornings matter? If you’re looking for inspiration, I love this post by Crystal: “15 Things You Can Do Each Morning to Make Your Day More Successful.” I think she gives great advice! And whether your morning starts at 5 a.m. or noon, this is a no-judgment zone! It’s all about what works best for you and your lifestyle. 🙂