Hello September! I’m not sure what it is about September, but I’m always excited for this month to start. I come into this month with goals and plans and an excitement for the days ahead. Summer is my favorite season, so I’m always very sad to see it go, but I think a part of me feels that summer is a time for relaxing and enjoying life. The start of September though, is a time to jump back in and tackle our goals and dreams.
I’ve been making some great progress toward my personal goals this summer, so I’m excited to see what I can do to finish these last four months of the year out strong. How are you doing at knocking out your goals this year?
Today, I thought I’d share a few of the little things I discovered and enjoyed last month that made life a little more fun. I’m always on the lookout for new things that make life easier, prettier, or more entertaining, so when I find something, I’m happy to share. (This post contains affiliate links, see disclosure here.)
Little Thing Number one that is making me happy:
Beautiful Rustic Signs
I have entirely zero interior decorating skills. I’m always admiring everyone else’s home and wishing I had the ability to make my own home look at least half as beautiful and inviting. But alas, I have not been gifted in that way. I’ve come to accept that fact.
The walls in our home are mostly bare. The pictures and frames we do have out are from our wedding. Several people have commented that I really must have loved our wedding day. I did, but that’s not why our wedding day is the only thing on display in our home. I’m just too lazy and clueless to decorate with anything else.
My friend Kali recently opened a new Etsy shop with her family called 7 Hickory Lane. They sell rustic signs with inspirational quotes or fun sayings on them. Since I have no decorating skills, I don’t really know what my decorating style is. When I saw these signs though, I knew they were exactly my style.
I purchased this “Choose Joy” sign for my office and it is perfect. My office is exactly the place I need the reminder to choose joy. I really do enjoy my job, but every job has days that make you question your joy.
Because I was one of the first customers of the new Etsy shop, I also received a cute “Simply Blessed” sign. I set that baby on the window sill in our kitchen, right above our sink. How many times do you need to be reminded of how blessed you are when you’re scrubbing the caked on grime off your pots and pans? Can I get an amen?
Little Thing Number two that is making me happy:
Family Bike Rides
This has been the summer of bike riding for our family. I’m sure there will be many more family bike rides in the summers to come, but we have finally reached a point where we can all ride our bikes together and it is so much fun. If you still have tiny ones in your house, let me assure you, the day will come, sooner than you think, when everyone is old enough to ride together.
Our littlest one isn’t even four years old yet, so he’s much slower than the rest of us, but we’re still able to get out for a ride around the block together. I’ve also gone on a few runs with the kids tagging along on their bikes as well. This is a huge positive for me so I don’t have to push kids in the stroller if I ever need to take them on a run with me.
Little thing number three that is making me happy:
Have you tried ThredUp yet? I’m kind of in love. I really hate shopping in stores, it feels like such a waste of time. I spend so much time not finding what I’m looking for, but finding all kinds of cool things that I’m not looking for. There is always somebody blocking your path in the aisle that should be plenty large enough for everyone. And who in the world has time to drive across town to 10 different stores to get all of their shopping done all weekend long. No thanks.
ThredUp is essentially an online clothing consignment shop. They have a humongous selection of kids and women’s clothing in new and like new condition. We have received at least three boxes of clothes from them so far and I’ve been very pleased with all of it.
The other day my husband was driving us to church and I decided my daughter needed a few new clothes for school. I pulled up the ThredUp app on my phone, set some filters in the search feature, and then handed the phone to my daughter. I told her to pick her favorite items and add them to the cart. When she handed my phone back there were 6 dresses in the cart. I narrowed it down to three, added a couple shirts for my son, and checked out. A few days later we received our box of clothes and my kids have been happy ever since.
Is that not amazing? No driving across town, no wasted time wandering aisles, no pushy sales people, and I didn’t even come close to spending a fortune. This is how I like to do all of my shopping, through apps on my phone while going about my busy daily life.
PS – If you order through my referral link, you can get $10 off your first purchase.
Little thing number four that is making me happy:
I’ve been hearing about audiobooks for years. So many of the people I follow online swear by audiobooks and fly through massive amounts of books each year because they can listen to them while on the go. I ignored this trend for quite some time, but with all of our travelling this summer, I decided to take the plunge.
Why did I wait so long? If you’ve never listened to an audiobook, it’s like watching a movie without actually having to sit down and watch the movie. So far I’ve only listened to fiction audiobooks, so that is a good description. I am amazed at the quality of the readings on audiobooks. I always imagined they would have some boring, monotonous voice that you could tell was reading. I figured listening to someone else read would bore me to tears. But that’s not how they work at all.
The books I’ve listened to have been fascinating. I’m currently listening to Belgravia by Julian Fellowes and I have to say, the woman who narrates this book (Juliet Stevenson) is amazing! She uses a different voice for all of the characters and her range of voices is quite remarkable. If you loved Downton Abbey, you definitely should listen to this audiobook (the writer of Downton Abbey also wrote Belgravia if you didn’t catch the name).
I listen to audiobooks while driving in the car, cleaning up the house, and when I’m out on some of my runs. I’m most definitely hooked. I signed up for an Audible subscription (Audible is owned by Amazon). Amazon Prime members can get a 3 month trial with one new audiobook credit each month. Non-prime customers can get a 30 day trial with 2 free audiobooks. So it’s certainly a great deal to at least do the trial and see if you like it.
You can also download free audiobooks from most public libraries these days, so that is a great way to feed your new audiobook obsession as well.
Little thing number five that is making me happy:
Less toys and clutter
We are currently working on refinancing our mortgage. Interest rates are about half of what they were when we originally purchased our home, so we decided to take advantage. With a refinance they do an appraisal of your home to calculate several things, so you definitely want to get the highest appraisal possible.
We didn’t have the time or money to do any major upgrades or repairs to our home before our appraisal, so I went with the approach of remove as much junk and clutter as possible so our home at least looks really big and clean. Since I’m already working my way through The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I’ve made decent progress (see my latest KonMari post for evidence), but we still had lots of clutter lying around, mostly in the form of kids’ toys.
One day I pulled every single toy from every single room in our house and put them all in our living room. I put a couple giant boxes in the kitchen and got to work sorting and purging. I had the kids pick several items they wanted to get rid of and several items that they felt were “must keep” toys. Then, while they sat around playing in the ginormous pile of toys, I gradually moved things out and into the donation boxes.It was an exhausting and overwhelming job, but far more worth it than I even imagined. We tried to keep the kids from reviewing the items that went into the donation boxes to avoid any fights or tears. They noticed a couple toys that we allowed them to pull out and keep; but since they were mostly distracted by all of the toys they had forgotten about, they weren’t really paying attention to what was disappearing around them.
We now have a much more manageable amount of toys in our house and I am amazed at how much better the place feels. The kids play with their toys more often because they can find them. Our playroom actually stays reasonably clean because there is enough space to put everything away easily. And best of all, my living room doesn’t have toys stored along every spare inch of wall.
Of course both our kids have birthdays in the coming months with Christmas following soon after, but for now, I’m enjoying my peaceful home with a lot less toys.
Related: Here is the introduction post for my series on KonMari decluttering.
What is currently making you happy lately? Do you have any big plans or goals coming up this fall? Let me know in the comments.