Elizabeth: Fresh Start

Doesn’t this look like a good spot for some writing or maybe a nice nap?

The New York Times had an article the other day about five small chores to do around the house to get it (and yourself) off to a fresh start in the new year.

Some of the five–like unclogging the drains and cleaning out various filters–did not sound too appealing.  Actually, they left me feeling like I’d be more likely to get my year off to a cranky start than a fresh one.  The first suggestion, Deep-clean Your Bed, sounded like a good idea though, so I gave it a whirl this weekend.

“You know that feeling you get when you get into a bed with clean sheets?  This is that feeling times 10.” ~ from the article

I wash the sheets on a fairly regular basis and run the duster under the bed whenever I happen to notice the sun streaming through the window and bouncing off a layer of dust, but I can’t remember the last time I took everything off the bed and washed it–pillows, blankets, decorative shams and all.  Considering how much dust and whatnot was released into the air when I pulled the cover off the box-spring, I was probably long overdue for a deep cleaning.  The article even suggested sprinkling the mattress with baking soda and letting it sit for a while, to absorb any lingering odors, so I dutifully retrieved the canister of baking soda from the kitchen and gave the mattress a dusting.   While I was at it, I figured I might as well give the floor a good sweeping, tackle those cobwebs that had magically appeared in the corners of the room, and polish up the bedframe and night stands.

After about a million and a half loads of laundry and an awkward staggering waltz with the mattress, the bedding was all put back in place, fresh and clean.   When I climbed into bed that night, just as the article had suggested, I experienced the “getting into a bed with clean sheets” feeling times 10.


I’m not sure whether my home and I are now off to a good start for the year, but I did get a good sense of accomplishment (plus a great night’s sleep).  I’ll probably hold off on the “sharpen knives” and “clean the medicine cabinet” suggestions until I’m in need of another burst of “fresh start”, but the article got me to thinking about fresh starts from a writing perspective.

The beginning of the year seems like a good time to go through all of the writing projects that have accumulated over time and do a little weeding out, or at least sorting.  I don’t know about you, but I start lots of stories and whatnot over the course of a year.  Some are triggered by our Friday Writing Prompts, some are triggered by random ideas or pictures I’ve seen, and some are just ideas I want to explore.  The majority of them don’t get far, but they do pile up, leaving me with the feeling that I have hundreds of ongoing projects clamoring for me to finish them.

Hardly restful.

So, next on my fresh start agenda is sorting out the stories that have the possibility of turning into something (or that I really want to pursue) and filing away everything else.  If I was really bold, I’d throw away everything else, but I’m not quite ready to go that far just yet, so I’ll just stick with out of sight, out of mind for now.

There are also more than a few folders and binders full of notes, reference information, class assignments, and who-knows-what-else cluttering up my writing room.  Weeding through that could be a good fresh start project as well.  I already streamlined and organized the stack of images cut out of magazines and catalogs that I’d accumulated over time a few weeks back when I had repairmen in the house and I was banished to my library, but there is a lot of other stuff that could be weeded through and thinned out.

So, that’s my fresh start for the year.  When I’m done I’ll have a deep-cleaned bed, a limited number of stories/ideas that I really want to work on, and a binder full of images for when I need inspiration or help visualizing something.

Sounds like a win!

So, what have you done to get your year off to a fresh start (or are you still busy celebrating the end of the last year)?

10 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Fresh Start

  1. Love that picture of the daybed by the window. I’ve always wanted a house with a bay window. When I was a kid my grandmother had one with a padded window seat. It was the best spot for reading…

    We have a Sleep Number bed. Although I wash sheets weekly, and do the quilts and blankets and mattress pad every couple of months, it has a rubberized cover over the mattress-compartment that has to be air-dried. So I’m waiting for spring when I can hang it outdoors. Which I am more than ready for on several counts.

    • When we wash our mattress cover (similar to yours), I put it in the dryer for half-a-cycle, so it isn’t dripping, then drape it over furniture rubber-side-down. My need to wash it frequently outweighs putting it outside. Besides, dust blows constantly here, so that would defeat the purpose. #lifeinAZ

  2. Oddly, my “fresh start” has nothing to do with actual cleaning, but with the fresh start for our nation. After today’s inauguration (which I bawled through), I felt a comforting lightness in my heart. Time for the country to move forward, and time for me to face my story head-on. Nothing but good times ahead!

    • The only part of the inauguration I watched was Amanda Gorman reading her poem, through which I also cried. I read a couple news stories, as many as I could manage. And I am hoping for a more rational approach and better things. Already looking up!

    • I thought it was a great coincidence that my talking about “fresh start” coincided with our country’s major inaugural fresh start today. Suddenly there seem to be wonderful possibilities everywhere.

      • Oh my goodness, wasn’t the inauguration great? I wasn’t going to stay up for it, but then I did. I’m glad I did; I was quite worried about terrible things happening, and to know that nothing did in real time was so comforting!

        I loved the coats! The singing was very good. And yes, Amanda Gorman was amazing.

        I’m working my way through Biden Inauguration Commission’s Twitter feed; just got to the point where Tom Hanks hosts an hour and 42 minutes. I’m going to have to watch that after dinner.

        So much hopeful stuff! I saw Demi Lovato sing Lovely Day, and it felt so good! And there was a little snippet of Dreams paired to something . . . the Fleetwood Mac song. Now, that’s a good song to send to any friends or family who are feeling down about the election. “Loneliness like a heartbeat that drives you mad.”

        Biden and Harris call for unity and working together, for community. It’s really refreshing. I’m feeling a lot of hope right now . . . .

  3. I’m doing a fresh start on old writing projects, too, Elizabeth (more on that tomorrow!). Somehow, the clutter on my hard drive is about as bad as the clutter in my closets. I can close the door to my closets; somehow, the clutter on the hard drive is harder to dismiss.

    • I hear you on the hard drive clutter. I’ve been working on reducing that in respect to my day job. It is so easy to save files (and multiple versions of them), but then so difficult to find what you want when you want it.

  4. I have to say, my mind tends to let go of things TOO easily. There are about three or four projects that I really do want to work on and write. Dozens and dozens of things that could be polished or worked on, but they aren’t on my radar unless I go on a deep dive.

    I DO need to back up all my files, though, on the computer and on the phone. So, I’ll try to tackle that this week.

    For some reason, January is going at a very reasonable pace. I feel like I have a lot of time, instead of losing time and being behind every minute. It’s a nice feeling. I hope I can carry it into February!

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