31 October 2012

Day 30: 31 days of purpose...detours

I started off the 31 days of October with a clear purpose in mind:  get organized to be able to take holiday orders for a little happy.  My thought was that we'd get the website up and start slowly.


I love God's sense of humor, don't you?

A few days in, a friend invited me to participate in the holiday shopathon on 10/20.  That jumpstarted things quite a bit--instead of focusing on the website, for several days we focused on the "look" of a little happy.  I'm pretty happy with how that's turned out.  I was on the wrong track with my original idea of orange and white--while those will be our signature colors (you gotta say it with a Steel Magnolias accent!), our website and "stuff" will be whimsical and colorful...not crisp and businesslike.

Because silly makes me happy.  And our logo?  Makes my heart smile.

As of 10/30, we haven't accomplished our major goal of October:  to get the website up and running.  Let's see how 10/31 goes--I haven't given up hope, yet!

The other area where we're running behind is business cards...we printed some throwdowns for the event on the 20th, but as soon as James finishes the website we'll use some of those elements for the business cards.  I can see them in my head, but we're going to have to make time for a mini photo shoot before they can happen.  I'd like to have them by the 10th, when a friend has a show and might feature some of my stuff if I can get it around...we'll see!  First things first.

An interesting side effect of all this purpose?  Being convicted about STUFF.  Specifically, all of my teaching stuff that was crowding my work closet.  So I cleaned that out last week and spent some time organizing my work stuff.

Oh!  Why did I get convicted about my work stuff?  Well, that's a funny story.  One day I woke up and decided I wanted to clear the office of unnecessary clutter.  It had turned into organized hoarding, friends, and that room was just...too much.  Too much STUFF.  Too little purpose.  I had an ulterior motive:  I'd like to move a little happy's heat press out of my room.  I don't mind the table with the Silhouette and vinyl in here, but that press is just too much.  So, I needed a place to put it.  And James' corner has been on the to-do list since last Christmas.  And the kids are older so a lot of the toys in the office weren't ever even used...once I got a mind to get to work in the office, stuff started flying off the shelves.  I've sent several bags to Noble's preschool teacher, and a sweet teacher at the Christian Academy here in town who's starting a PreK/K program this year has literally taken two very large carloads off my hands.  Seriously.  And I took a Pilot FULL to Higgins Branch a couple of days ago.

Convicted, people.  So, once I get past some work stuff that I've let pile up because I'm me and I can't work when I'm not organized...well, then it'll just take about 10 minutes to rearrange the office and move my press out there.  Looking forward to that next week!

Part of the problem with James' desk corner was all of his photo equipment that would just sort of pile up.  Once I got convicted about cleaning out my work stuff and putting it in the hands of people who can use it (Oh!  I also took a car load to PPCD storage for Cyndi to add to our library--that felt great!), I realized how much space in my work closet was wasted on stuff that was just hanging around for whatever reason.  And man, was there a lot. of. stuff.  I'm a pack rat by nature, friends, and I tend to put away any little shiny thing just in case I can use it later.  Pack rat + preschool teacher = hoarder.  Bleh.

It felt soooooo good to get rid of stuff.  But even though I'd cleaned tons of stuff out of my work closet and--get this--cleared HALF of it to make space for James' equipment, there were still boxes and boxes and binders and piles of paper in the closet...we had receipts and bills and who knows what "on file" since 2003.  In the interest of full disclosure, very little was actually filed prior to 2010--it was mostly piles of paper we'd thrown in boxes in lieu of filing and organizing.  In a word:  it was a mess.  Another word?  Embarrassing.  And yet another?  Humbling.  And sickening.  And encouraging.

I hadn't even opened some of the boxes since we tossed them up on the highest closet shelves when we moved in six and a half years ago...those boxes were a symbol of years of mismanaging our money and not even having the decency to be organized about it.  We went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University in 2009 (this Friday is our anniversary, as a matter of fact!), and because we were so sick of ourselves and our bad choices, we took to it like fishes to water.  We weren't drowning in debt...but we were pretty close.  Looking back now, I cannot believe all of our credit cards.  I saw bills with balances of several thousand dollars, and we'd pay the minimum of a couple hundred bucks each month while still using the cards...it was pure craziness.  We were wrong, no way around it.  That's another post, I know, but it was hard to revisit that place in our lives.  I don't even think it was that we were trying to keep up with the Joneses...we just didn't tell ourselves no.  I won't say FPU or changing our habits was easy, but it was LIFE CHANGING.  If you have any doubts at all if you're doing right by your money and your future, I urge you to check out Dave Ramsey.  That's my PSA for today.

Anyway, it was time to let that stuff go.  But, all those bills and receipts, all that personal information...I had no choice but to go through every single thing and shred everything that had personal information on it.  It took over a week, if you're counting, of a few minutes here and there, because of course life didn't stop because I had a project I wanted to complete.  Anyone else?

This would have made me laugh if it wasn't so...sad.

So here's what I ended up with:  8 bags of shredded STUFF.  8 bags of years of disorganization, mismanagement, denial, bad habits, overspending, underplanning...8 bags of reminders of people we never want to be again.  8 bags of habits I never, ever want my children to model.  What?  There are only 5 bags in this picture?  Oh, yeah.  That.

Because I'm me...somewhere between bags 6 and 8, I realized I was no longer wearing my cross ring.  Earlier I'd lost a ring pushing down the shredded paper, and I thought, nah, I'll just be more careful.  My rings have just been flying off lately, and I've thought several times about putting those groovy ring sizers in them until I figure out what size I really need.  Hmm.  

So, bags 6-8 are sitting in the office waiting for Mason to come over and bring his metal detector.  :)
And them I'm going to load up my car and take all those bad memories to recycling.  Update:  sweet Heather brought the metal detector over in between drop off and Masquerade parade.  No ring.  :(

30 days ago, I had no idea what we'd accomplish this month.  I had no idea that we'd be here today--but man, it feels good to have so much STUFF out of the little green house!

No comments: