What I learned in September


Every month my sister Emily writes a “What I learned” post. She opens it up for others to join in and I’ve realized that those posts of hers are some of my favorite. So this month, I’m joining in!

Here are the things I learned in September…

1.I have a really bad habit of never really finishing putting stuff away.

I clean everything to 90% and I’m realizing it’s that last 10% that brings the joy of whatever it is I”m doing.

Like if I’m cleaning off the kitchen counter. I’ll take ten minutes to clean it up and wipe most of it off, but still leave the cutting board and the water pitcher out and instead of taking the last 25 seconds and making it all the way clean–I just leave it. And stuff begets more stuff so in 10 minutes there’s more stuff there. Instead, I’m trying to clean things ALL THE WAY. It’s magical because it looks better, and people are afraid to mess it up with their junk so they put their own junk away instead. Boom!




2. Monday Morning Deadlines make me want to die.

Two weeks ago I had two monday morning deadlines. One was my fall house tour that had to be published at 6am, the other was a big fat meeting with my CPA at 9am. Basically that meant I worked all day Saturday and Sunday–after working Monday – Friday the week before. I HATED myself for allowing me to have to Monday deadlines. And that’s exactly how I learn to have really specific rules for myself. I will no longer choose to have Monday morning deadlines for things I have to prepare hard for unless it’s 100% necessary.


3. Making bread makes me feel like Woman of the Year

I’ve been making bread off and on for years by using the simple method in this book. The boys like it as much as cookies. And taking a freshly baked loaf of bread out of the oven turns any hard day around instantly.

4. If two unrelated ladies had a baby together…

Last week I watched a movie called Leap Year. All I could think about was the lead actress, Amy Adams and how much she looked like both Jenna Fischer and Anna Duggar at the same time. My sister is actually the queen of seeing similarities like this.

anna bradyJenna & Anna Duggar on the left // Amy Adams on the right


5. Paying Attention

Last month after reading Emily’s What I learned post. I decided I wanted to join in. Once I decided that, I found myself paying better attention to things. And even though my “what I learned in September” list isn’t all that impressive, I really like the practice of paying attention to what I learned and I hope to do it again! Maybe next month I’ll actually learn something that helps other people, not just realizing all my feelings about stuff!


  1. Isn’t that Amy Adams? From Enchanted, Julie and Julia, Man of Steel, etc?

  2. I think Anna Brady is the character’s name in Leap Year. Amy Adams is definitely the actress! Love your blog!!

    • oh YES< duh! So many Annas! AMY ADAMS. Duh, I really probably should automatically know that--I need to learn my movie stars better! changing! Thanks everyone!

      • That’s hilarious! When I read this post in my email and saw the pictures, the first thing I thought was “Yeah, she looks a little like those two (more like the top picture than the bottom one), but she looks EXACTLY like Amy Adams!” LOL

  3. Oh, AMEN on the putting stuff away! I still haven’t gotten the knack of 100%, but maybe your post will help me be more aware of it! I spent about an hour last weekend clearing off all my kitchen counters (the household dumping ground), making a pile of “my stuff” that needed to go somewhere else. Guess what, MY pile never got put away. :O

  4. Nester,
    I agree with the 90%/ 10% observation, I find it takes 90% makes a big difference but the last 10% makes you feel “happy”. The full 100% seems to last longer too.
    Sometimes it is surprising just how fast you can get 100% done.

  5. Yes to doing things all the way!!! I notice now how often I get 90% of the way through something/anything and then am ready to move on to the next thing. It’s a little irritating. Baking bread sounds like a wonderful thing to do in the Fall. I read a tip somewhere to never schedule meetings on a Monday and have been trying to follow that. Love Amy Adams and Jenna Fischer but never noticed the resemblance before. Happy October!

  6. I discovered the 100% clean when my kids were in High School. My motto: Clean begets clean and messy begets messy!
    When I left the kitchen/house perfectly clean, everyone seemed less likely to come in and dump their stuff. It’s a great way to live… but sometimes hard to actually get it done! :)

    Loved this post. I’m gonna be more aware of what I’m learning in October.

  7. i am so w/ you & everyone else w/ the 90/10%! thanks for sharing & giving us a sense of camaraderie as we all strive to clean up the complete 100%. even if we don’t always accomplish, at least we realize that when we can, it’s so worth it!

  8. I loved this and now I want to join in!!! I am a 90% person all the way and that lingering not done 10% makes me nuts– and somehow I still do it. I’m taking this fall as “Finish your stuff fall” to work on a bunch of home projects that have stalled at that last 10%. Also I love the movie Leap Year, now I want to re-watch it. I love your blog and your house projects- they inspire me. Keep up the good work :)

  9. OGM, I can so relate to #1. I do it all the time. I recently decided that I was going to replace one bad habit with a good habit, this just happens to be the “bad habit” I choose first. I recently read that the #1 reason highly organized people are organized, is because they do things now. So instead of almost finishing a task, I’m pushing myself to finish it now before I move on.

    I like the idea of a monthly check in regarding what you’ve learned, great idea!


  10. Yes, to putting stuff away! When I take the time to clear my kitchen counters, my whole house feels so much cleaner and organized (even, if it’s not).

    I love Emily’s link-up and sometimes participate. But, some months, like September, go by in such a whirl that I forget to take note and then can’t think of anything to share. I must remedy that and pay more attention.

  11. LOVE that you linked up this month! I agree, once I started linking up it was amazing how much I realized that I learned in a given month.

  12. and Amy Adams looks just like Isla Fischer!

  13. I recently read a blog post (I have forgotten which one) and the title had me intrigued. It was something like “the ONE thing /one word you must do to be clutter-free” or something to that effect. That one thing was ……….FINISH. I find that I get something out and work with it, but I don’t clean it up when I am done. Finish means putting things up and cleaning up completely, not half way.

    Thanks for the idea of noticing what I learned. I am in a bad phase right now of doing a lot of messing up….I need to pay attention and learn from all my mistakes.

  14. and bonus, we like reading the lists…maybe in an effort to learn vicariously? :)

  15. That 90/10 tidbit reminded me of an article I read a while back about “completing the cycle” in whatever you do, basically finish whatever you start- be it laundry )wash it, dry it, fold it, put it away), making meals (make it, eat it, put it ALL away and do all dishes, clean counters, etc). Here’s the article- I had to really dig to remember where I saw it! :)
    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/try-complete-the-cycle-and-see-how-much-less-you-have-to-pick-up-221322 This mantra- complete the cycle- has really helped me keep up with things around the house! :)

  16. I’m the same way with putting stuff away. Press on!
    I love the lookalikes. Yes, your sister is queen of that. ;)

  17. Quite Interesting post, I enjoyed this post while reading. “what I learned”, that is a superb title..!!

  18. I love that doing this has reminded you to pay more attention. I found that during the times I’ve kept a thanksgiving journal I’ve definitely paid more attention to what has brought me joy each day.

  19. Did you know that Amy Adams appeared on- I THINK- season 1 of The Office? Michael refers to her as “Pam 2.0”. Which is typical Michael, of course. But they really do look similar. That is all.

  20. I do the 90% naturally and easily. That other 10% though…yikes! I have to force myself to do that part of each project– it almost becomes a project in itself. I actually ask myself, “What will it take to consider this project/ task COMPLETELY DONE?” I am always surprised at how much I have consistently been leaving undone. It explains so much about my house and my life…

  21. Come on, Stop!

  22. Too bad we must return them.

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