Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School Habits

Although in lots of other parts of the country kids went back to school today or last week, my kids still have another 15 days until the bell rings. 

A new school year is a great time to establish new habits, which is the topic in episode 26 of my favorite podcast Happier. The hosts, Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, and Better Than Before) and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, a TV writer, talk about selecting a word for this "new year." 

My word for the 2015-2016 school year is FINISHED. As in, done or accomplished. That's how I want to feel about all of the items on my "to do" list and, even more importantly, our house.

Because there are so many other things that I want to do with my life, like take piano lessons from the lady across the street or bake cookies for all of my neighbors at the holidays or just plain get to know some of the people who live near me better. And yet for too long I have lived with things being off. Not quite done. Messy. As if that was something to look forward to, or maybe I just dreaded it so much that I put it off again and again.

Anyway, I got super motivated last week and checked off all of the errands on my "to do" list--I mailed a card to my cousin in Canada, shopped for school supplies, dropped off dry cleaning, replaced a broken plate at World Market, donated a box of stuff, visited the library, and even bought macarons. The craziest part? It only took two hours! Considering the box of stuff had been sitting in the middle of our kitchen for three weeks that seems like a huge win!

And if you follow me on Instagram, then you may have noticed a lot of projects got done around the house this weekend, too.

This was project one: installing the upper cabinets. We re-purposed this cabinetry from our kitchen demo last fall--it had been a peninsula--but had been waiting to mount the upper cabinets on the wall. It took one trip to Home Depot and less than 30 minutes on Friday night to put it up. You can see a few more pictures of our kitchen redo here and here.

We had some flooding earlier this summer in our lower level and took that as an opportunity to replace the very old tile in the laundry area. 

We went with a very simple (inexpensive) white vinyl tile from Home Depot. My husband had to order a tile cutter to finish the job and he got it all done Saturday. 

Project three was washing the windows. They were/are FILTHY. Like, can't see out when the sun is shining in. That bad. I had gotten a quote from a company in the spring to do all of the windows, inside and out, and clean the tracks for $200. Which, after a few more months of not being able to see out of the grimy windows, felt totally worth it. 

Instead, though, my husband talked me into doing it ourselves. He washed the back windows on the first level Sunday morning while I cleaned the window tracks. It looks amazing and really wasn't that hard. I can't wait until our new squeegee comes so we can do the rest!

By Sunday we really had some momentum going. I cleared off the kitchen counters while cleaning the window tracks.

Then we put everything back in a way that felt more intentional. We hung this shelf (that I've had for a year) and did some styling. The art says "This kitchen is for dancing" and is from here. I love that the glasses are up and off the counter.

We also organized the laundry room, laying down a rug, moving in a bookcase that my son has outgrown (but has amazing cubbies for storage!), and adding my new, thicker ironing board cover.

Finally, we worked outdoors. I don't have a photo, but I will give you a hint of what we did. See the burning bush next to the front door from last fall's One Room Challenge(TM)?? Gone, girl.

Does a new school year feel like a time to start over to you? Will you pick a word to help guide you? Share what your word is in the comments! I'm excited to see what other people are working on.  :)

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love to read what you have to say. ~Carrie


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