Twelve months of experiments: March 2018

My goals for March were to go to bed at 11:00 instead of 11:30 every night and to continue my goal from February of reading a bit every day. There’s not a ton to say here because it wasn’t overly successful or enlightening.

I said all bets were off on an earlier bedtime for writing nights, and that was most definitely the case. However, with two posts a week and another evening for chorus rehearsal where I unfortunately don’t tend to get home much before 11, it was hard to build a habit with only four of seven days per week. I’ll keep trying to go to bed earlier on nights that I can.

I did only finish one book in March, but I’m partway through a few more so I’ll be able to add more to my completed list soon.

On to April!

April experiments

I’ve got two things I want to do this month: targeted decluttering of specific areas (four of them, so I can do one a week) and actually getting out of bed on time in the morning.

Decluttering goals

1. Desk

I’ve got a fantastic desk that’s large enough to both use as a desk and also house the clutter knick-knacks I like keeping around my room (if you’ll remember, I’m a six-year-old who likes fun colors of things). I’ve also been writing blog posts while sitting in my armchair in my living room. Why, you ask?

No matter how many times I clean off my desk, I’m up against the law of nature that says any empty space must immediately attract clutter (yes, I know this means I’ve got too much shit). And since it is a large desk, that’s quite a bit of surface area just calling out for various papers and things to be placed thereupon.

Decidedly not ideal for blogging or much of anything else besides also cluttering up my mental bandwidth

The goal? Not only clean off my desk but to keep it clean so that it becomes my new default working space. My armchair is super comfy, but it’s pretty horrible for my posture to be sitting there for hours at a time typing away on my laptop. Curling up there to read since it’s the best place in the apartment for that is most definitely still fair game though!

2. Bookshelf

My bookshelf has been a constant source of tension since I moved to this apartment because I have too many books need a larger bookshelf for my books. In the meantime I’ll just continue to double-stack them, but it’s definitely an imperfect solution.

I was just recently forced to go through all of my books: last time my mother was in town, she brought up a box of books of mine that had been missing since I moved out of my dorm room before studying abroad my sophomore year of college. My parents recently cleaned out their downstairs and in the process somehow unearthed this box from wherever it had been hiding. I gave it up as missing for good a number of years ago, and considering I only had my favorites with me at college (also lol I thought I’d have tons of time for reading for fun), I went ahead and replaced those books with used ones.

So in going through the box I had to decide which copy I’d keep of the books I now had duplicates of; in some cases the used replacement copy I’d bought was in better shape than books I’d had since middle and high school. Especially since I tend to reread some of them every year, my favorite books get a lot of love! I also had to decide if I wanted to keep the books in that box that I’d forgotten about and did not replace, if I wanted to keep any of my textbooks (art history, yes. Most of anything else, no), and which books already on my shelf I was going to let go of to make space for my newly-rediscovered books. After much consternation, I’m happy to say this was the result:

One day those sagging shelves are going to collapse under the weight…

My bookshelf is looking gorgeous these days (although all of those library books still continue to stress me out. Must read more!), but I use the top of it for my jewelry, hairpins, and personal care products. Care to guess how that looks?


Yeah, that’s on the list of areas to declutter and organize.

3. Tupperware

The subset sitting out of my counter (I’m surprised my roommate hasn’t strangled me for it) and not in the cabinet

Enough said.

4. Nightstand and set of drawers

Two more surfaces that I periodically clean off but don’t seem to be able to keep clear for too long. Ideally I’ll eventually get rid of that little plastic set of drawers, which is a holdover from my college days, which means I’ll actually have to do something with the things there instead of moving them from one place to another.

Morning goals

My second goal for the month is to actually get up when my alarm goes off. Well, my second alarm, anyway.

I’ve fallen into a horrible habit of grabbing my phone first thing and scrolling through social media and email for ridiculous amounts of time (or just snoozing my alarm for a few cycles). By the time I actually get out of bed, I have to rush around getting ready, eating breakfast, and making sure I take my lunch with me. I’m already a fast walker, but I have to pick up the pace to make up for some lost time.

There’s no reason for this. There are some mornings where I legitimately don’t remember either snoozing or turning off my alarm, so when I do wake up 20 or so minutes later out of a dead sleep I am forced to rush around to get to work more or less on time. But despite my constant tiredness, those mornings are fairly rare. Most mornings I’m awake by the time my second alarm goes off but still have to rush because I just couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed. ?‍♀️

I’m not harboring fantasies that getting out of bed with my alarm will lead to me being able to leisurely eat breakfast, linger over a mug of coffee, and possibly fit in some meditation or a quick workout in my room before I leave to go to work. My alarms were purposely chosen to go off at a time that gives me enough time to get ready in the morning without running around, but that aren’t early enough to give me extra time. I’m not waking up earlier than I have to—at least for now.

I do harbor fantasies of leisurely breakfast and time to gather my thoughts before I run out the door for work, but I’ll leave waking up earlier for a later experiment (and, you know, for FI life). Right now I’ll settle for not feeling horribly rushed and starting off the day feeling like I’m behind.

20 Replies to “Twelve months of experiments: March 2018”

  1. These experiments are awesome! I definitely know what you mean about feeling rushed in the morning. I give myself a ton of time in the morning because I am a lingerer(?) by nature and I hate being rushed. As for all your decluttering goals, you know I’m on board with those! I’ll be cheering you on from Canada!

    1. Hahaha in theory I super LOVE the idea of being able to linger in the morning. But I just don’t want to give up the sleep that would require me to do that! ?

    1. Agreed, because I’m definitely someone who feels mentally stressed out by clutter. I’d love to be able to hear myself think at my desk again!

  2. Decluttering the table… yeah that never lasts more than a couple of days around here. Good luck with that one… And I’ve actually taken to seriously downsizing my book collection. Now that I mostly read on the kindle app, I’ve decided to keep only my very favorite books. I still have a number of shelves full, but not multiple full bookshelves like I used to.

    1. You hush, I’ve already done some letting go of books! I have a ton of childhood favorites that I’m never getting rid of, so I’ll just have to deal with those space implications!

      Ugh, I know it’s a constant struggle. I’m hoping if I move my laptop into my room and put it on my desk that’ll limit that amount that can accumulate there again.

  3. I love the experiments, sounds like you’ve been making good progress. You have inspired me to start tidying a bit more, my dining table has become basically a dumping ground….

    1. I’ve got the same problem with the little table inside my door and my dining room table, but those are out in space shared with my roommate so there’s a limit to how much they can accumulate. Which is why my desk is such a mess!

  4. Can I be your buddy with the going to sleep early one? I feel like my sleep habits are taking over my entire life! I usually get up at around 8:15, but don’t leave the house until after 9am. I would love to be someone who gets up at 6am, does blog work, then goes to work. Right now, I don’t have a great system for the blog stuff, and something needs to be done about it.

    In terms of decluttering, we try to do it every few months, and leave boxes outside of our building for people to take. We don’t buy a lot of stuff, but somehow the clutter keeps happening. I also just listed some old clothes to sell (after months of procrastination), so I feel pretty great about that!

    1. Yeah, let’s be buddies! Also full disclosure: I’m replying to comments at 11pm when I should be in bed. But I also got home from rehearsal half an hour ago and it’s usually about an hour after I get home that I can go to bed (read: my heart rate has slowed down from my speed walking!).

      People in my neighborhood do the box out on the sidewalk thing, too, and it’s time for me to leave one of my own. I’m also taking books to the Little Free Libraries people have around here. Yay for listing old clothes!

  5. My desk is also a mess. I have a huge oak table–HUGE–and it’s just a clutter magnet. I never use my home office, even though I got it a new rug and slipcover for the couch (I have a couch, dammit) last year. At least once a week I plan to work in there but end up in the living room, on the regular couch, over and over. It’s dumb.

  6. My desk is messier than yours – haha! Let’s have a mess-off

    And you’re bookcase shelves are bending down, that happened to me too. I took everything off and flipped them around to counter the bend. Now they’re bending again.

    Lastly, if you crack the nut on how to actually get in bed on time drop me a PM and let me know what worked 😉

    1. Hahaha since I’m trying to make it useable, I’ll gladly let you win the desk mess-off!

      Aw come on, where was that advice when I was rearranging my bookshelf and had a bunch of the book on the floor? But that’s a fantastic idea to flip the shelves around, and I’ll have to do that soon.

      Lately my secret to getting to bed early or on time has been exhaustion. Not the best method, I know!

  7. I’m a chronic two alarm person as well, though I’m trying to change that! I feel like being more productive in the morning will just help out in general with my energy levels throughout the day.

    That’s awesome those books made a return! Though definitely does not help the clutter haha.

    1. Exactly, it feels like starting the day off accomplishing things would be better overall for your energy levels than being tired and feeling behind! I don’t know that I’ll ever get rid of the second alarm though because there have definitely been days where I didn’t remember turning off the first alarm and was saved by the second one #exhaustionproblems

      Hah I’m glad too, and for the most part I’d already replaced them so there weren’t too many added to my shelf ?

  8. As I type this comment out just shy of midnight I am painfully aware of my failed attempts to go to bed at a decent hour. I fall into the same trap of getting home late. There is something about coming home and getting straight into bed that I just can’t seem to get on board with. When I get to bed at a decent hour it makes getting out of bed in the mornings so much easier.

    Hopefully you will be successful with your sleep experiments this month!

    1. Yeah I need some time to unwind before bed if I get home late, especially since I’ll usually have been speedwalking home from the metro. And here I am commenting past time for me to go to bed while you’re so right about getting to sleep at a decent time making it easier to wake up in the morning.

  9. I do the same thing with my alarm–just enough time to get ready for work and out the door. I don’t need to sip my tea leisurely, I need sleep!

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