Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The joys of a clear mind and a clear schedule

I did a lot of shopping while the boys were gone, and pretty much all of it was for me.  I looked at stuff for Jacob, but I'm not gonna lie, the vast majority of my time was spent bouncing from clearance rack to clearance rack looking for things for me.  My closet may look full, but it's getting to the point where a lot of what's in there doesn't fit quite right.  My post-pregnancy belly never went away entirely and all the bulk I lost while breastfeeding came back...and then some.  Despite a fairly consistent twice-a-week workout schedule that has, at various times, included a lot of running, some of my clothes are a little snug around the belly area.  Nothing a good pair of Spanx wouldn't fix (hence why they haven't been donated yet), but it's somewhat limiting.  In addition, I have a handful of older items that were purchased before the longer-shirt trend that we have going on now, and between general shrinkage and changing styles, a lot of those shirts are just too short for what I think looks good on me now.  I really need to do a major cleanout, but in the meantime I'm managing. 

I did find a handful of items during that weekend--a dress, a couple skirts, a shirt, a shrug (short sweater to wear with a dress I've had), and a bathing suit (!)--all on clearance, and they've been a nice addition to my wardrobe.  I'm trying to buy things with the mindset that I'm probably only going to get bigger, thanks to both a future pregnancy (no, nothing yet) and the inevitable decrease in metabolism that comes with age.  I'm not expecting to balloon, mind you, but despite my workouts I still see a gradual creep, if not on the scale then definitely in how things fit.  It's not ideal but I'm trying to come to terms with that and enjoy the body I have right now.  I have a feeling that once I do clear out the other stuff, it will improve my mental state considerably because I won't have so much guilt about not wearing things or frustration that things don't fit me anymore.  Maybe it'll make my mornings a happier place to be.

Another thing I did while the boys were gone was reorganize my jewelry.  I don't have much, and most of it isn't that special.  I have my wedding ring, of course, and a set of pearls that was Craig's wedding gift to me.  Most of the rest is your typical department store variety or worse.  I have a jewely box with a few drawers, one with old rings I never wear, and two others mostly filled with old watches, really cheap jewelry, or broken stuff.  Another drawer holds some of my fancier jewelry, like the jewelry I wore for my wedding, high school winter dance, and my friend's wedding.  But all my earrings were in a separate little silver box, and all my necklaces were tangled up on the rotating hooks inside the jewelry box.  Every morning I had to fish out earrings and untangle necklaces, and while it didn't usually take much time, it was annoying.  So, in another effort to improve my mornings, I made a mental note to ponder other ways to store my jewelry.

When my grandmother recently passed away, I spent some time going through all her jewelry and picking out a handful of pieces that I liked.  I don't think any of it is quite jewelry store quality, but they're nice pieces and they fit my style well.  I like having jewelry that reminds me of her better days, when she was always wearing a pretty necklace and pair of earrings.  However, adding those pieces clogged up my jewelry storage even more.  I pondered taking a cue from my grandma's organizational bag of tricks and use ice cube trays.  She had a few stacks of them in addition to her jewelry boxes, and it made sense.  They stack, everything's easy to see, and they're cheap.  I hadn't gotten around to looking for my unused ones (we have an automatic ice dispenser now), and I didn't really feel like going to the dollar store and buying new ones if I already had others around. 

In the meantime, I had this glorious weekend of alone time.  It allowed me to focus better while shopping, since I wasn't dragging Jacob along and I wasn't worrying about getting home quickly to relieve Craig from hour after hour of Jacob's sporting endeavors on the front lawn.  I could browse carefully, think about the clothes I was trying on, search high and low for my Mom bag, and ponder a little more clearly if the item I was looking at might be of good use.  It was really nice. 

On the same shopping trip to Target in which I bought my Mom bag, I wandered through the dollar section.  I found a couple short but sweet Berenstain Bears books for Jacob (one about amusement parks, one about cleaning up toys--both with an ulterior motive!) and then I came across some really cute but unorthodox ice cube trays.  The holes were round, about an inch in diameter.  The trays were clear plastic with either red or black accents on the handles and in the bottom of the holes.  There were 21 holes per tray.  On the spot it hit me that it would be perfect for jewelry.  I snapped one up and figured that for a buck I'd either make it work or find another use for it.

I took it home and separated all of my earrings into individual holes.  I left out my simple stud-type earrings, but found a perfect space for the rest.  Awesome!  Of course, the next time I went to grab a necklace I realized my necklaces were probably more of a problem...but I liked the earring storage too much to switch them out.  So...I counted my necklaces and made one more trip to Target, where I was lucky enough to snag the last two they had!  I figured my necklaces would fit in one and I'd get another for future overflow.

Here's the finished product:
Earrings in the red one on the top of the dresser, and necklaces in the black one still in the drawer
They stack nicely in my drawer, and it works perfectly each morning.  Even better, the bottoms of the cube holes are soft and rubbery, so they won't scratch my wood dresser. My other earrings are back in the silver box, and are now easier to sort through, and any necklaces that didn't fit in those tight spaces now fit nicely in the hanging section of the jewelry box.  It all may be a small, insignificant reorganization project, but it makes me happy every time I pull out or put away my jewelry. 

It's a simple thing and it's not like I couldn't have done it when Jacob was around, but having a clear mind and a lot of time on my hands made it so much easier to manage.  I was able to think about things and even figured out some personality quirks during that time, and it was pleasant to have the time and brainpower to think things through.  It's a luxury when you're a mom, and I'm happy I had the chance, even for something as simple as utilizing ice cube trays for storage. :)

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