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Little Things to Make Life Better

Last weekend, when I was visiting my parents, I realized that there were some things dissatisfying me about my life. I’d had feelings to that effect for a while, but I think it took stepping outside of my day-to-day and being elsewhere to help me put a finger on them.

After thinking, talking with Micah and talking a bit with my mother-in-law, I think I know what to do next.

First, I’m starting a project this week to get some order in the apartment. We’re living like grad students and I doubt that we’ll ever be featured in some home catalog. That’s fine, I want my apartment to feel homey, not awkward.

But besides keeping it from getting dirty, my organizing has been sporadic. I want what my mom had…a place that’s pretty neat but doesn’t turn people off by being unusable. This comes from a combination of wanting to invite a couple friends over on Wednesday and feeling like I couldn’t want them in our house and then visiting my parents.

My stated goal would be: To be able to have anyone over without feeling embarrassed about the state of the apartment.

I think it’s doable…the apartment is quite small and we have no small children running around. It’ll probably mean dividing the place up into sections and straightening a different section each day…as well as being more conscientious about picking up after myself.

I don’t want to feel limited. And I’m happier in an organized atmosphere.

Second, I want to market myself better.

Between everything I’ve learned blogging (thanks in particular to my M-Network friends who’ve been quite helpful) and everything I knew before and things I’ve learned on my own time because I want to…I’ve learned a fair amount about blog setup and even design.

For the blogger who knows very little about WordPress software, web design, etc, I could be quite helpful in helping get their blog off the ground, assisting in difficult blog transfers (I’ve helped some people whose blogs wouldn’t auto-import), finding plugins, tweaking themes (I’m working on becoming a theme designer, but that’s still in progress), and more.

But I don’t really market that here. I do get periodic requests from readers or bloggers, and I sometimes advertise my services on craigslist.

It seems like having a more focused page with everything I offer would be quite useful. I could point people to it and it might bring in more clients. I love when I get a chance to do web stuff, so I think I’d find it personally-fulfilling as well as…budget-fulfilling.

I’ve written some of that information down and I have a basic site setup, I’m just stalled. As my MIL put it, I’m finding the “head space” for it (she’s an awesome psychologist and great at helping people talk through stuff). One thing that I think I need to work on is the whole art of the cover letter, introduction, etc. I have some darn good qualifications, but I always feel uncomfortable putting myself forward…impostor syndrome strikes again.

So my goal is: to find the head space and get the site finished by the end of May.

And a bonus goal is to get finished starting a new blog I’ve been working on for kicks (and experience). I have it all set up and a number of prewritten posts, I just find myself getting stuck when I want to press “Publish.”


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda May 19, 2008 at 10:41 am

For the record, you apartment felt homey and welcoming to me. 🙂

Vered May 19, 2008 at 10:55 am

I think your decluttering goal is not only attainable, but very reasonable. Clutter makes me moody, so I definitely agree that an organized space is a great idea, especially if it would make it easier for you to have friends over.

Re: marketing yourself, YES! Of course! You write a popular blog – why not use this platform to tell your readers what you can do. I have a WordPress theme that I tweaked, but once in a while I go back to the theme designer and pay him to make changes. These are very small amounts, but I’m sure they add up (they add up for me too!). I would be delighted to ask you for help next time I need something like that. But to do that, I needed to know that you DO offer these services. 🙂

Fabulously Broke May 19, 2008 at 11:24 am

Sounds to me like you’ve got 2 great goals in place

#1 is v. important for organizing… and as for #2, that’s also commendable!

David Carter May 19, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Didn’t know you were such the expert at wordpress. I was thinking about changing servers for my blog and will keep you in mind if I run into any problems. My server seems to have a lot of downtime for maintenance which I am not happy with. Its hard when you are starting out as a blogger and even harder when ur host sucks.

Mom@wide open wallet May 19, 2008 at 2:45 pm

On the cleaning issue… have you ever checked out flylady.net? She has a really easy system that works great. I started using it about a year ago and my house is company ready most of the time.

Nancy May 19, 2008 at 5:47 pm

I have to stress flylady.net, as well. Marla is a great person and has made it possible for a lot of us to get ourselves and our homes in order. I think FlyLady can help with both your goals.

mamacita May 20, 2008 at 12:29 am

I would love to see some WordPress tips on your blog, as well.

Frugal Chick May 20, 2008 at 1:00 am

I feel you Mrs. Micah. I feel happier too when my house is somewhat organized.

As for your business idea, I think that’s wonderful! You wouldn’t believe how much time I spent figuring out my blog and I so wished there was someone I could pay to do it for me. Good luck!

mrsmicah May 20, 2008 at 8:10 am

@Mom (@WoW) & Nancy, thanks, I’m checking flylady out. 🙂

Funny about Money May 20, 2008 at 9:39 am

Lordie! That Flylady has more energy than seven of me!!!!

Hey, Mrs. Micah–I’d hire you in a minute to help with increasing my blog’s readership. There’s a bunch of things i need to figure out that i’ll bet you know how to do. Figure out how much you want to charge and lemme know. 😉

Kathryn May 20, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Your stated goal is to be able to have company over….so I have a suggestion on a good starting point: The bathroom. If you can get into the habit of every morning (after the last person’s out) taking just 2 minutes to make the bathroom company ready. Usually this is a “swish and swipe” routine (another great idea from Flylady.). Swish the toilet, then put away anything out on the counters and use a wet towel to wipe the mirror, shower, counter, sink, then the floor. Make sure there’s a clean hand towel (and enough paper on the roll) and you’re done. Then no matter who comes through your door, at least you know you can offer them a presentable restroom. It may not be the first thing company sees, but it’s the one you’d be most embarrassed about if it weren’t presentable.

Heidi May 20, 2008 at 2:10 pm

I tried to “fly” for awhile, but she’s just too much for me, so I take a few of the tips I learned at flylady and pull them out when I need to organize my space.

This is completely unfrugal, but lately I have been seriously considering hiring someone to do real cleaning once a week. Knowing that someone will be in my home helps me keep things picked up and uncluttered, and the thought of coming home to a sparklking house on a periodic basis would really bring a lot of joy into my life. Really. Joy.

If you want a blog makerover project, I love to know your rates – I need to redo BankerGirl and don’t have the time to get it done myself…

My Small Cents May 20, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Well I’ve tried Flylady, but like the others found her to be a bit too much. Her who insistence about putting your shoes on first thing every morning just doesn’t work for me. I just read Confessions of an Organized Homemaker (I’m going to do a review of it next week, with info on the specific changes I made thanks to it) and I’d be happy to pass it on if you want it.
I’d also like to second the request for blog help, specifically WordPress design. I’ve been muddling around for a while and it seems to be taking me in circles!

Carrie May 20, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Your goals sounds exactly like what happened to me after I visited my MIL’s home over Christmas. I came home and went crazy organizing, cleaning and ahem replacing the carpeting. Four months later and the place is still clean though! And I went into full gear marketing my Group ad business as well. For me I think the biggest shock was seeing how my apartment looked when I had not seen it for several days. I didn’t realize how messy it was.

Susan May 20, 2008 at 8:29 pm

Ooo… I loves me a clean home! 🙂 That’s my (and the Husband’s) goal for this Memorial Day weekend coming up – clean and organize the house! 🙂
Good luck in your house cleaning endeavors!

And the blog design venture… very cool indeed! I say go for it! You can play with my site; it desperately needs a “face-lift.” 😉

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