One Bag Nation

Archive for September 2008

My daughter had a birthday yesterday and her birthdays are always hard for me.

At one point in the morning, when I was feeling particularly sad and tearful, I found myself straightening the placemats with exact precision, moving each one to be perfectly positioned on the table.

It suddenly hit me that I was creating physical order as a way to manage the clutter of my feelings about the birthday. So now the table looked great – and I did get some satisfaction from that. But the fact remained that my girl is growing up very fast and I feel really sad. Did I think the tidy table would make me feel better in some significant way?

I’m not a tidy, orderly person by nature; I have to work hard at it daily. I love the peace of mind that comes with feeling organized and having less stuff strewn around, but somehow I fall back on old habits all the time.

So, I’m wondering . . . for those of you who are naturally organized: do you feel like your need for physical order is an attempt to conquer messy feelings? Does it work?

And what about those of you who are striving to create more order? Are you hoping that you’ll rid yourself of unwanted feelings along with unwanted stuff?

I’d love to hear from you!


Two events conspired to make me think about some of the stuff I’m holding on to; the first is that my daughter is losing her baby teeth, and the second was a post by Rachel over at about Holding on to Sentimental Things.

So here are some things I’ve been holding on to and some thoughts about why I’ve been holding on to them:

  1. My wisdom teeth – extracted many years ago. Yes, they’re kind of creepy but they still hold a certain fascination and I think they’ll come in handy if I ever need to keep evil spirits away.
  2. A little wooden box in the shape of a heart given to me by my high school boyfriend. I haven’t seen him since 1980, BUT we became “sweethearts” in 6th grade; it was an on again/off again thing all through junior high and high school, and when he gave me that little box I thought it was the sweetest, most romantic thing EVER, and I guess I still do!
  3. The “Italian Mood Cube” my Mom gave me hundreds of years ago. I can’t come up with a good reason for this one, but it doesn’t take up all that much space . . .
  4. My mother’s wedding dress, not a traditional gown, but a totally chic 50’s cocktail dress. Given the state of my mom’s basement, the dress is much better off sitting in mine . . .
  5. The tassle from my college graduation mortarboard. I was the shortest one in my dorm so I was at the beginning of the line – that’s all the tassle meant!! I guess it conjures up lots of happy memories – not of being short, but of college days.
  6. My Cambridge Italian Dictionary, held together with masking tape and rarely used anymore. I keep this to remind me of another time in my life when everything was still ahead of me and I dreamed of an exciting and glamorous international career.
  7. My Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School cookbook, given to me by my Mom in 1985 and held together by even more masking tape. I still cook from it regularly and see no need to replace it until it becomes unreadable. I was green when green was just a color.
  8. My husband’s first pair of baby shoes. This is a complicated one; I think that the fact that his parents saved this stuff (we have baby clothes too) tells me how much they loved him, and how much they longed for a baby, just as we did.

So what about you? What’s in your closet, cupboard, basement or under your bed that you hang onto for sentimental reasons?

I recently posted about SimpleMom’s Daily Docket. I love the hour-by-hour feature and the box for writing daily MIT’s (most important things), but I decided to try and design my own version more suited to my particular needs.

I wanted the following features, all in one place:

  • MITs for three categories: my job, household/personal and blogging
  • my To Do list for the week (I think/plan that way and need to see my weekly list in one place)
  • hour-by-hour plan (I sometimes go back and compare what I actually did – very interesting!)
  • daily To Do list, which includes the tasks in my daily routines

Using SimpleMom’s Daily Docket as my inspiration, I sketched for a while and finally came up with a layout that works for me and fits on an 8-1/2″x11″ sheet of paper. Then I somehow figured out how to upload it so you could take a look . . . every day is a technological adventure for me so this is a great accomplishment!

The only potential drawback to my version is that you have to rewrite your weekly To Do list every day, but I actually see this as a benefit. I can cross off anything I did (great satisfaction!), be reminded of stuff I still need to do, and have room to add tasks as they come up during the week.

I’ve been using SimpleMom’s Daily Docket for a couple of weeks, but I’ve only used my customized version for one day so far – today! I have a nice fresh sheet printed out and ready for tomorrow and I’ll keep you posted about how it’s going.

In the meantime, head over to SimpleMom where she answers a clutter and organizing question posed by my alter-ego, Vintage Mommy!

No, I don’t have a magic wand or a pot of gold down there, though I suppose either one could be lurking among the piles . . .

A clean, organized habitable basement would give us some much-needed breathing room in our home. My daughter – who may well be a creative genius as Vered suggested 🙂 – needs a LOT of space for her many horribly messy clever projects; I would like some space for scrapbooking and other crafty pursuits; and my poor husband just wants to claim some small corner of the house as his own.

We have plenty of room for all this and more. We don’t have extra money to spend on home improvement projects right now, but cleaning up the basement is free – and we might even make a little cash from selling things on craigslist. In the spring I made quite a bit of progress with cleaning and organizing down there, but mostly just in my infamous “holiday room” – and I swear that WILL BE FINISHED before Halloween!

I seem to have lost my stride over the summer, but I really have to find the motivation to push through my resistance, get back at it, and keep at it, until the job is done.

How about you? Do you have a project you need to tackle that would make a significant difference in your quality of life? If so, maybe we can inspire one another!

You probably thought I was going to go all political on you . . . but no, it’s just time for a theme change here at One Bag Nation.

No particular reason, I was just in the mood for something new. As I’ve gone through older posts, I’ve noticed that the photos aren’t always formatted as well as they were with my old Rounder theme; my apologies to those who are seeing those posts for the first time.

I also wanted to announce that I plan to post at One Bag Nation just twice a week for a while, probably on Tuesdays and Thursdays-with an occasional Wordless Wednesday when I get inspired. My new job and my new blog (Vintage Mommy), along with school and other family commitments are keeping me very busy, and the first step on the journey to order, serenity and peace of mind is knowing when to say enough!

Thanks everyone!

I posted this yesterday on my other blog, Vintage Mommy.

I imagine that most of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the terrible news.

It’s all still so vivid to me; my husband and I were visiting the east coast for a 10th wedding anniversary party at my Mom’s house, and we were anticipating the birth of our daughter, who was due at the end of September. We were sitting in a little cafe on a beautiful sunny morning having breakfast when we began to hear reports of what was happening.

I must have already been feeling very vulnerable (an impending adoption will do that to you) because I immediately burst into tears – and at that point we had no idea how terrible it really was.

The next few days were tough, as we waited to hear when and if we could fly home, keeping in touch with our birthparents and trying to reassure them that we would indeed get there in time for the birth – and listening in horror as the whole story unfolded.

We finally went to the airport, hoping to get a flight out on Friday, September 14. The night before the flight was so scary; I stood in the shower and sobbed – fear, sadness, anger, grief, shock, more sadness and more fear . . . it was all coming at me.

My husband and I had to separate at the airport. He had been traveling on business so we were on different airlines and we had to figure out how to get home separately. I’ll never forget saying goodbye to him; I’m still queasy and tearful at the memory.

By incredible luck (and the magic of cell phones) he was able to get on my flight at the very last moment. When I spotted him coming down the aisle of the plane, I was completely overwhelmed. A very, very kind woman sitting next to me listened to my whole story – which of course paled in comparison to the pain and unbearable grief others were experiencing that day and for many days to come.

Tonight I’ll light some candles in the windows – as I did seven years ago – to remind me of all I have to be grateful for (starting with that little girl) and in solidarity with those who are still grieving.