Week 41: Useful planning, little friends, prospective decluttering.

#14 Mise en Place and Weekly Planning

Yee-haw! My sister Poppy, who appeared in the podcast episode about Scheduling and Planning, gave me some solid advice about planners.

She reccommended having a 6-month planner, and then suggested a few things to make it efficient and something I would actually use.

Well, I am pleased to report that I am getting towards the end of my 6 months, and now setting my sights on making my second 6-month planner.

It’s been incredibly useful as I try to keep track of our family life (who needs to be where and when and who is picking them up), the classwork I need to do for the program I am taking, and the schedule I need to get it done by, what I need to do for the podcast, and that infamous Wool is Cool project I am doing with the boys’ school. Not to mention my musical endeavors, which include several Christmas concerts, and our Small Group which meets at our house every two weeks. Oh, and my mise en place and our meal plans for the week.

See!!!! This planner really can do anything!

#1 Connect better with the scalawags, according to their Love Languages

Well. This was a week. My youngest’s teacher was out most of this week, and as is wont to happen, in a country that tries to nationalize education, but leaves the details up to city-level bureaucrats who have no idea what they are doing or why, there was no substitute teacher.

Keep in mind, however, that schooling is obligatory in France starting at 3 years old, but unless you can fork out 11€ per child per day for a school lunch and child care between 12PM-2PM, then you have to pick up your child. They can’t just take a lunch to school. Nope.

So if you don’t already have a job that can afford the 100€/week just for two measly hours a day, then you can’t really even imagine finding an employer who would take you on, knowing that you will be absent for more than two hours in the middle of the day.

Sorry, I was almost about to rant there. See how I stopped myself?

Anyhoo. I decided on the second day that I would do a friend, who has no other childcare solution, a solid and invite her son (who is in my youngest’s class) over for the morning on Wednesday so she could go to work. While I waited on Wednesday morning outside the school, I came across the mom of another of my littlest’s buddies, who seemed a bit frazzled. So I said to myself, “Eh. What’s the difference between two and three?”

So I invited him over, too.

So yes, I had three little boys, only one of which was mine, on Wednesday morning, which was, officially, the longest three hours of my life.

I’m not complaining. I performed my role dutifully and even enthusiastically. I mean, sometimes, the Golden Rule really really stinks, because it costs us something (in this case my sanity), but as they say, virtue is its own reward.

All that said, my youngest was so happy to have friends over without his big brother around to direct operations. I don’t think I could have handled it if the eldest had been there.

But this really did speak my youngest’s love language: he got some quality time with his buddies, in his own home. He got to show off his toys. His mom (that’s me) made a cake, and we all went to the park and it was something he and his buddies will remember as, I suspect, a really good day.

#15 1€ or less CPW for each individual item, less than 0.20€ per item globally

This illegible (to anyone but me, I suppose) little goal, meant that I was to make every effort to wear everything in my closet enough that each individual item would be at 1€ per wear and that the global cost per wear (CPW) would be twenty cents.

We’ve already established that the second part is done, and yay, has stayed there in spite of a few additions here and there. (Yes, I did buy a few thrift store winter dresses, and I do not regret any of them. But at 3.50€ per dress, they’ve made little impact on the global number.)

It’s really that first part where I am getting tripped up. I have a few things…things I bought years ago now, that I didn’t wear often enough at the time to get their money’s worth, and today, I just don’t love them anymore. Why are you keeping them around, then Lily Fields? you may ask.

For absolutely no other reason than that, in my twisted little mind, “they haven’t paid for themselves yet.”

After all this time I’ve spent inventorying, and studying my reasons for shopping, and actually decluttering…I seem to have a really hard time letting go of something that has almost no sentimental value (or if it does, the sentiments aren’t great).

So, I have a tiny little goal to get to a point where, with these items, I can say “Thank you for your service, you may retire now,” to these items.

Episode 54: Shopping Hiatus Sing With Your Feet

Talking points: Breaking the cycle of shopping addiction; contentment hunting; being a good steward; the Dopamine Loop; finding motivation to stop shopping. A big thank you to Seven Productions here in Mulhouse France for the use of the song La Joie as the intro and outro to the show, as well as Matt Kugler, whose new album Aventura is out now on all the digital music platforms, who sang it and to Claude Ekwe, who wrote it.
  1. Episode 54: Shopping Hiatus
  2. Episode 53: Curbing Our Impulses
  3. Episode 52: What Should I Wear?
  4. Episode 51: Wardrobe Choices
  5. Episode 50: Decluttering Your Closet

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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