2014 Resolutions: Successes + Failures


Oops! Was that recyclable? :/

Well, it’s officially been a full month since I started my New Year’s resolutions. So far, there have been some major successes…and failures.

To start the new year off right, just like the rest of the world, I set a few goals, or rather “resolutions,” to help me grow into the person I envision myself to be over the year. I wish I could write a quick update and say that I was fabulously successful in every area this month, but that would be a lie–and perhaps disheartening to people reading this. I’m certainly not perfect, and although I am a goal-setter by nature, I don’t always reach or exceed my goals.

Goal #1: Start out the year with a TV-free/wheat-free week.

This was a smashing success, thankfully. ;) I can look at our kick-off goals and put a big, fat checkmark under “success” when it comes to this goal. I’ve already written about our reasoning and experiences here in case you’re curious.

Goal #2: Throw out that junk!

As a quick reminder, my theme for 2014 is Cleansing–in all areas of my life. I’m tackling the big categories month-by-month (with a break once Baby #2 comes along, of course!). January was about cleansing our house of stuff. I’ve always been very impacted by my surrounding environment (Ryan, too); I suppose that’s part of the creative side of me. Thus, not only do my surroundings reflect my mental state (the nickname “The Talie Tornado” isn’t for nought), but my mental state is subsequently impacted by my surroundings. That pile of untouched mail on the kitchen counter? Eats away at me. That ugly picture hanging in the hallway that was meant to just be a temporary placeholder? Makes me sad every time I see it. That junky junk drawer filled with, well, junkMakes me feel icky even when it’s closed. Now, don’t misunderstand me–this DOES NOT mean that we have a perfectly-perfect home…or anything even near that! Really, more so it means that most people live by the “out of sight, out of mind” motto and can totally ignore things that they dislike in their visual environment. Me, on the other hand? I’m more “out of sight, on my mind” and dwell on the uglies in my surroundings.

Now, back to my Spring January Cleaning.

When we moved to Amityville over a year ago, we cleared out our parents’ houses and our storage unit; it was the first time we had everything we owned under one roof. And man was it a lot of stuff! For the past year, we’ve been schlepping boxes and junk piles here and there, trying to ignore the fact that at least half of it was of no use to us anymore. I set out this past month to finally rid ourselves of that “half.” How did I do? Um, I think “so-so” is the best evaluation.

First, the successes of cleansing our home. I made an enormous effort to clean out the little nooks and crannies of Amityville bit by bit this month. Drawer-by-drawer, closet-by-closet, cabinet-by-cabinet, I tackled the main living spaces of our home on a daily basis. This meant post-bedtime, with toddler-in-tow, and in my precious alone time I was a cleaning-out fool. I managed to hit every major area in our main living space, although today I noticed that it’s already time to redo the junk drawer again. Overall, I feel pretty proud of how much I cleaned out and organized in these hidden places.

Next, the failures. The BIG failures–the garage and basement. Like most people, these two areas are the secret dungeons where our unnecessary crap goes to die. I was able to make some progress in both areas, but I met a lot of challenges this month that kept me from actually completing them. First, I need Ryan to help me. Half of the crud is his and a lot of it is too heavy for me to handle on my own. Since he had a HUGE project due this month, his time was accounted for down to the second and cleaning was low on the priority list. I worked in small increments here and there on my own, but at some point I found myself just puttering around, walking in circles around boxes labeled “Ryan’s Stuff.” The second challenge was the weather. It was a crazy month for temperatures and precipitation here in Georgia, and since both the garage and unfinished basement are practically outdoor spaces, I was limited in the opportunities I had to get work done without getting hypothermia. (I’ll be darned if I was going down into that basement with negative temperatures outside!) The end result? There’s still a LOT to do!

I’m bummed that the garage and basement aren’t where I hoped they’d be, but I’m still determined. Really, all I need is two days where Ryan is available and the weather cooperates and I know we can get it done. January might be over, but I’m not counting these failures as losses quite yet! ;)

Goal #3: Begin our year-long 2014 resolution–RECYCLING!

And then there’s recycling. {insert sheepish grin}

Every year I choose what my parents would call a “tree hugger” goal (thanks, Mom and Dad). In the past, these resolutions have pretty much all become permanent changes in our lives, from no paper towels (we’re a rag family) to organic groceries. One thing I’m ashamed to admit that we’ve never fully adopted into our routine? Recycling. I made an attempt when we lived in the townhouse, but with very limited space, I moved my bins to our back porch, only to get a letter and fine from the HOA for having “trash” outside. That experience was quick to stop my efforts! Once we moved to Amityville, I meant to get our recycling bins set up in the garage right away, but remember our junk-filled garage problems? Yeah, that excuse worked well. I wanted 2014 to be different, and since our sporadic recycling was a point of embarrassment for me, it seemed like an easily-achieved and noble goal, and it still is…when I get around to it!

I have no big excuses for why it’s been a WHOLE MONTH, and I haven’t yet started recycling. Mostly it’s been due to laziness and forgetfulness. Our recycling can’s been full all month, but I keep forgetting to bring it to the curb! (We have a loooong driveway, so it’s a chore to drag even our trashcan all the way down and back.) Plus, since January was also “stuff” cleansing month, it wasn’t the best or easiest month to draw a line in the sand about recycling. How do you properly recycle fabric scraps and old paint brushes? Beats me!

So I get a big, fat “F” for my recycling efforts (or, rather, lack thereof) this month. But 2014 has only just begun! Monday is trash day, and I WILL finally empty that recycling can for once! I am giving myself a pass when it comes to cleansing the basement and garage; that stuff either gets donated or trashed, no buts about it. By the end of the month I’m hoping that recycling has become a natural habit for our family and not the insurmountable goal that it was this month. ;)

As for my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions? Well, the best thing I can say is, “We’re working on it…” (And that’s good enough for me!) :)

1 Comment

  1. February 2, 2014 / 1:46 pm

    The majority of plastics picked up by “Recycling” are actually being shipped to China to be put in landfills (which is a way bigger carbon footprint than just being put in local landfills). It might be worth it to do some research on your local recycling provider, to see how they are actually “recycling” it! If it turns out they are pulling the old switcheroo, you won’t feel so bad about not doing it! hahah ;)

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