Trying the Rule of Five

I just read an article about how clutter affects women and can cause depression. Although I don’t think I’m depressed, I do have clutter. I know that my clutter sometimes makes me feel overwhelmed and pressured.

Here’s one suggestion that I want to try. They said: Adopt the Rule of Five.
5 five pixabay

How the Rule of Five works:

“Every time you get up from your desk or walk through a room, put away five things. Or, each hour, devote five minutes to de-cluttering. At the end of the day, you’ve cleaned for an hour.”
Since my desk is one of my worst clutter spots, I’m going to try applying the rule of five to it. I’m ready for a break and want to go get a late evening snack in the kitchen. First, I’ll look for 5 things on my desk to take care of. Then I can have my snack.
How about you? Do you have a favorite clutter-busting technique?
Other articles by Virginia Allain on decluttering:

Coping with Reading Addiction

How to Cope with Reading Addiction

If you love to read, do you know when reading becomes more than just a pastime or hobby? Has your reading crossed the line into addiction? Here are steps to assess this and also to help you cope with your reading addiction.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1

Answer these questions to see if you are addicted to reading.

  1. Have you tried unsuccessfully to cut back on your reading?
  2. Are you preoccupied with thoughts of the book when you are away from it?
  3. Does reading help you escape from your problems?

These are similar to questions used in surveys by the American Psychological Association to determine internet addiction and gambling addiction.

Addicted to reading? Here’s a stack of books for you.

Step 2

Actually, being a book addict isn’t the worst thing in the world. I, personally, would like to see more “book addicts”. Wouldn’t you rather have addictive personalities turned onto reading rather than to drugs? Just imagine, if teenagers after school couldn’t wait to get a book instead of seeking out their local drug dealer.

If they were reading addicts, few people would try to change their behavior or ask them to get therapy. Reading, even in large amounts, is generally viewed as a positive activity. Everyone would admire such a wide background gained through reading.

Step 3

At what point does an addiction become a problem? When an addiction disrupts a relationship or leads people to commit illegal acts or to spend too much money, then it definitely is a social problem. Some people try to hide their addictions. They realize their behavior, whether it is excessive drinking or drug use, is not socially acceptable. Addictions are a problem if they affect your health or keep you from performing your job.

Here’s a self-test to take: Make a list of problems associated with your reading. Do you still recognize your family members when you pull yourself out of a book? Have you gone into debt buying books? Does it make you anxious when you don’t have an unread book on hand? Do you sneak out of work to visit a bookstore or library, just so you can be surrounded by books? How many book groups do you belong to? Do you resist switching to an e-reader because you crave the smell of paper as you read?

Step 4

I probably would be classified as a binge reader. Sometimes I go weeks without reading, while at other times I devour several books in a row. I might read late into the night, not able to put the book down until the very end. I know I’ll be sorry in the morning when it is hard to get out of bed. A novel is sometimes so compelling that I just can’t tear myself away. Reading a really good book creates the desire to read more.

How would you classify your reading? Can you stop if you want to? Is it just social reading so you can discuss the book with friends and the book club? Is it compulsive reading that you can’t stop doing? Do you escape into a book then have a hard time coming back to the real world? Is it hard for you to go to sleep at night if you don’t read for a while first?

Step 5

I hope therapists never label it as a psychological disorder. Libraries would become those dens of iniquity where the reading addicts get their fix. Librarians would face prison terms for providing books to addicts. Books would carry labels warning “CAUTION: this book could lead to addictive reading”.

Step 6

Maybe a ten-step program could be developed. People would attend the weekly meetings, stand up and say, “My name is ___, and I am a compulsive reader.” When they felt the urge to read, they could call another member who would help talk them out of it.

Until that time, enjoy reading as much as you want.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try setting a timer when you start to read. Force yourself to put the book down and spend an equal amount of time with the family.
  • Consider dropping subscriptions to book-of-the-month clubs. Get library cards instead at all the libraries within a 50-mile radius.
  • Addiction to books and reading can start at a very early age. Be alert for signs of it in your toddler and young children.
  • Write book reviews for Amazon or other sites. It serves as a way to keep track of your reading. Also when you reach Top 100 Reviewer status, authors will send you free books to read and review. Family and friends may accept your excessive reading as it has a purpose (beyond entertaining yourself).

Resources

Find a library near you

(Written by Virginia Allain, former library director)

Remembering Mom Reading to Us

vintage mother reading clip artRead to Your Children –

Reading to children is so important. Not only does it allow you to bond with the child, but it teaches them how to pronounce words and expand their vocabulary. They will also learn how to read and to spell words as they get old enough to follow the text on the page as the story unfolds.

My mother read to us often when were quite young, and I grew up loving words and loving books. All my siblings did as well and became lifelong readers. It’s a tradition passed down through generations. My mom (Gail Lee Martin) remembered her parents reading aloud to her and her sister after dinner. They gathered around the table with an oil lamp in the center to listen to the stories.

Today’s world is a bit different, and books are now available on reading devices, and when you’re traveling, these are awesome. You can bring your child’s favorite books along with you without having to pack bulky, heavy paperback and hardcover books.

The Kindle and other reading devices are ingenious! Take it with you anywhere you have to wait, like the doctor’s office. Read to your children today and every day!

This poster is from Zazzle Vintage Fairy Tale by YesterdayCafe.

Free Kindle Fairy Tales to Read to Children

Fairy tales from around the world thrill a child with new adventures and exotic locales. Best of all these vintage tales are free for download on the Kindle. Below are the links to get these fairy tale books from Amazon.

Check the price to be sure it hasn’t changed, then click to BUY the book for $0.00. Amazon will send you an e-mail confirmation that you have bought the book for free. It’s easy and you’ll have new stories to read your child each day.

Reading to your children will help their imagination to blossom as they create characters in their heads that go along with the stories. Most of these lack illustrations. Generally, the illustrated versions for Kindle cost 99 cents or higher.

The Blue Fairy BookThe Blue Fairy BookView DetailsFairy Tales Every Child Should KnowFairy Tales Every Child Should KnowView DetailsGrimm's Fairy StoriesGrimm’s Fairy StoriesView Details

The month of May is Get Caught Reading Month so let’s all participate by reading a good book and by encouraging our children to read as well. 

 

Take Time to Really See Insects

It’s summer and it’s likely that we’ll have some insect encounters over the past few months and into the fall. Your first instinct might be to reach for a flyswatter or some insect spray. I have an alternate suggestion for you.

Not all insects are out to sting or bite you. All have a role to play in our environment, so if the small critter isn’t attacking you, leave it alone.

Photo by Virginia Allain

The picture above is a dragonfly. These are fun to watch as they zoom and swoop over a prairie or around a lake. They are catching and eating mosquitoes and other small insects. Please, don’t kill them.

Photo by Virginia Allain

The caterpillar above might seem a bit bizarre, but take time to view the unique clusters sprouting from its body and the burgundy colored racing stripe down its side. Don’t pick this one up, as the spikes have an irritating effect on human skin.

Read up on the little creatures you see in your yard and you’ll have a new respect for them. The caterpillar above transforms into a small silk moth called the Io Moth. The moth is fairly nondescript until it spreads its wings. The underwings have a large black dot on them with a colorful background.

Photo by Virginia Allain

So, this is an ant hill. Probably you’ve seen these hundreds of times but never really looked at one closely. Again, this is another chance to observe nature right in your backyard. Look at the textures and shape of this ant hill. I found it fascinating.

Our mother, Gail Lee Martin, taught her children to observe and respect nature. That’s a good legacy to pass along to your children. For the future of our planet, we can’t just kill off everything that isn’t human or isn’t a pet or isn’t something that serves as food for humans. All creatures perform a role in balancing nature.

I hope you’ll take a little time this summer to observe the insects around you. Yes, some are harmful to you or to your garden, but you want to adopt a live-and-let-live philosophy for the most part. Use the flyswatter and the bug spray sparingly.

A Hitch in Her Git-Along

I remember Mom using this funny, old-fashioned saying a number of times. I’ll bet it goes back to Grandma Ruth and even earlier.

Perhaps it originally referred to someone who limped or had difficulty walking. Then over the years, it came to mean someone who’s acquired an impediment to forward action. For example, when someone campaigned for mayor but received some bad publicity, you could say, “that sure put a hitch in her git-along.”

mom sayings

Things Mom would say

Slower than molasses in January – When it was cold, molasses congealed enough to be hard to pour. This phrase was used to prod a kid who was dragging their feet about completing a chore or was slow getting ready for school in the morning.

Hold your horses – Don’t be in such a big hurry. Wait a minute.

Burning a hole in your pocket – Mom said this to a kid who couldn’t wait to spend money. Maybe it was money received as a gift or it was our cash prizes from the county fair.

Don’t spend it all in the same place – This was said when someone gave you money. The intent was to stretch it. It could also be a joke, particularly when it was a very small amount of money.

A lick and a promise – This meant to do a chore in a slapdash way or to tidy up quickly. The promise part was to do a better job later.

You ain’t just a woofing – I always thought this meant “you’re serious, you aren’t just bragging or making something up.” Guess the modern phrase would be “You’re not just blowing smoke.”

Tell me about some colorful sayings that your family used. Are the ones above familiar to you?

Cleaning by the Sign of the Moon

The Martins and McGhees used a website called My Family to keep in touch with all the cousins. They could post photos or chat. The site closed down a few years ago. It was great for such discussions as this one on the effect of the moon in inspiring cleaning and organizing.

Melba Lu (Gail Lee Martin’s cousin) Jan. 14, 2011 – Hello, family, thought I’d drop by and see what is going on with all of you! I am working on a new directory for our church, playing piano and cleaning SMALL areas.  The moon must be in the right sign for cleaning……

Cindy (Gail’s daughter) – Larry & I are working on revamping the office.   I’m cleaning out the closet, restacking books, moving pictures around on the walls, removed the clutter off the headboard of our bed. Let’s hear from others to see if they are cleaning as well.

Karen (another of Gail’s daughters) – Wow, it must be the moon!   I woke up today just raring to tackle house clutter!   (It doesn’t happen often, in my case.)   Nice to have the urge coincide with a day off, especially a day off that I’m not sick!

CJ (Gail’s sister) – I’m in awe of you guys. Haven’t seen the moon for so long, not sure what it could be inspiring me to do.

Gail Martin – Oh yes, it was the last quarter before the full moon and I talked to Susan the night before and she was cleaning her kitchen cabinets. While I spent most of that week cleaning out unnecessary emails and saving some to my back-up.   CJ, you don’t have to see the dang moon, just go with the flow and besides you were getting your meds organized, so yes, it was affecting you too.

wordle

Cindy (Feb. 1) – Wish that cleaning urge had stayed around long enough for me to have completed all my projects…..

Gail Martin – It never does. One week a month just gets you started, then a month later you have a whole month’s more stuff to work with!

So, what does it mean? I know Mom and Dad used the Farmer’s Almanac to plant their garden by the “right sign of the moon.” When I researched online, I found articles about How the Moon Cycles Affect Us. Apparently, it is the waning moon that inspires decluttering and wrapping up projects.

So, after a full moon, take advantage of the waning moon to tackle clearing out clutter or organizing at work or at home.

Keeping the Old Car Running

Gail Martin wrote this advice piece for the eHow website over 10 years ago.

The car is getting old, but there’s no money in the budget to replace it. What do you do? Here’s our experience of how to keep that older car running so you don’t lose your mobility. Ours has over 200,000 miles on it now.

Mom and Dad's old car

Here’s their faithful old car that lasted for years.

Ideally, you have some mechanical aptitude and can make repairs to the car yourself. This saves a bundle over taking it to a mechanic. My husband and son both taught themselves to fix most car problems we had. This is easier to do with an older car that doesn’t have lots of computerized parts in it.

clyde-repairs

Clyde Martin kept the family cars going for many years.

If you don’t have a friend who can show you how to fix things, look for a class through adult continuing education or a local community college. Something like a “powderpuff mechanic” or a “shade tree mechanic” course.

Go to the public library and ask to see their auto repair manuals. Usually, the Mitchell manuals or Chilton manuals are in the reference section or they might have it on a computer. Copy or print out the pages that tell how to fix your car’s problem.

Get the parts for the repair at the cheapest place, usually an auto salvage yard. If they don’t have the model or part you need in a junked car, then you’ll have to go to an auto parts store.

If you are unable to fix the car yourself, find a mechanic. Try to build up a relationship with one place so there’s less chance they will try to take advantage of you. Usually, a small mechanic’s shop will charge less than an auto dealership.

Tune up the vehicle regularly, so you don’t ruin it by letting it run out of oil or something else that’s preventable.

Keep some emergency repair items in the trunk. I recommend having some cans of extra oil, a charger to jump start the engine, and an air compressor that you plug into the cigarette lighter to reinflate a flat tire. It’s also handy to have a rug to lay on if you need to get under the car and some rags to clean your hands after a fix-up.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don’t raise the car just with jacks and get under it. We knew someone who was crushed this way.
car repair pixabay vintage advertisement

Vintage car repair advertisement from Pixabay