2015 De-clutter My Life Day 4/5

The past two evenings I have plowed through a lot.

I went through my pots and pans, and got rid of the ones I don’t like cause they aren’t non-stick.

I went through my spices and condensed them down but still have some work to do there. I want a spice rack for in the cupboard, more glass containers and labels.

I went through my tablecloths and serving dishes. I had to go back later and get rid of the nostalgia items I couldn’t part with the first time. I still have a lot of serving dishes so will weed out further after my party next week. That will highlight what I use and what I just hang on to and should get rid of.

I went through my jewelry and nail polish. I got rid of items I never wear and dried up polish.

I went through my shoes and clothes. I was only able to part with 4 pair of shoes, but I did well on the clothes. Anything that doesn’t fit or makes me feel gross got the toss. Worn out items were disposed of, as were things I never wear because I just don’t like them.

Finally, I went through my bags and parted with the purses that were worn out or I never use.

I now have 9 bags to haul to Goodwill! The list is slowly getting checked off. I ended up with 25 items (added a few in process) on my list and have 6 left to complete.

Remaining Items:
1. Toiletries
2. Cleaning supplies
3. Craft supplies
4. Souvenirs
5. Knick knacks (that will be tough)
6. Knives (I went to replace my knife block with a magnetic strip)

Then, in another month or two I will go through the list again and see if there’s stuff I kept but should have parted with. I want to live in a school bus someday, so thinning down now will hopefully make it easier when the time comes.

2015 De-clutter my life Day 3

Today I tackled a big portion of the kitchen (all I have left to sort are pots/pans, serving dishes, spices, and cookbooks). I am at times saddened by how hard it is for me to get rid of stuff, even if it’s a duplicate (can you say three sets of measuring cups and spoons plus glass liquid ones…really?!?) I was able to give up one set but really should give up another.

I did start gaining steam and the cabinets I got to are orderly and not over crowded, so that’s good. Not sure how I will ever reduce down to bus living… Baby steps I guess.

I now have 5 grocery sacks of stuff to donate to Goodwill too!

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The top is before and the bottom is after. Not a lot of change. A few duplicates gone and organized better, instead of separated by cooking v. Baking, it’s separated by utensils v. Gadgets.

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Again, top before and bottom after.

2015 De-clutter My Life Day 2

Today (May 8th) I headed to the linen closet and the bookshelves.

I cleaned out a few sets of twin sheets since we now only have a futon that fits them and it is only used maybe once a year, one set seemed like enough. Besides that, we have a double bed, a queen bed and an in between futon that fits double or queen sheets. I have three sets of queen and three sets of double – 2 for each bed sounds about right!

Next I went to the magazine shelf. I had gone through them a few months back and only saved a handful then. I was able to toss a few more tonight.

The bookshelf was hard. I got rid of a few books that we will never read, but in reality, I couldn’t fathom giving up most of my books. I will have to de-clutter in the kitchen, craft and clothes areas of my life.

Tonight I filled about 1 paper grocery bag, so my donation pile has grown to 3 bags and I’ve completed 6 of 22 categories.

I wasn’t quite ready to settle in for the night, so I tackled one of my biggest frustrations – the mail pile. It seems like we get a ridiculous amount of mail. It is sifted through for highly urgent things like bills and the rest piles on the table and eventually other flat surfaces nearby. I finally sorted the giant pile tonight. I have a lot of filing to do now but at least it’s all in one neat spot. The kitchen table is bare and the mail sorting system is set up for yet another attempt.

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The mail sorting system (I got this idea from a Better Homes and Gardens article):

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First the mail carrier delivers a lot of paper.

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It’s put in the inbox on the counter, or…

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It gets recycled in the basket immediately under the inbox

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Then it is sorted into “personal stuff to deal with” “immediate action items” “action soon items” or…

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Bills are put in the family finance binder for payment, other items are filed in binders or put in the “to file” box to be stored away in the filing cabinet.

Simple, right? Nope, I just can’t get it to stick.

2015 De-Clutter My Life Day 1

I recently read this great post, 20+ Things You Can Get Rid of Without Even Missing. It is a super simple, but really helpful, list peppered with humor to make the tasks seem less dreadful. You can read the complete list linked above.

Over the next two weeks I plan to tackle 22 things (some from the list and some of my own). I want to get through the clutter before my birthday in less than 3 weeks. The big 35 is nearing!

Tonight (May 7th) I cleaned out:
1. Glasses/mugs
2. Vases
3. Office supplies/greeting cards

We currently have too many mugs to fit in the cupboard. This process was a lot harder than I thought. I am way sentimental. However I persevered, and can now easily get mugs in and out of the cupboard and there are still plenty of mugs for the three people that live here.

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Then I moved on to glasses. A large number were in the dishwasher but I did sort them and get rid of a few gross plastic cups and such. I may need to revisit the cupboard after the dishes are put away.

Next I tackled the vases. I had enough to start a small florist shop. I trimmed the collection down to my favorites (the ones I always grab anyway), plus I never get multiple bouquets at once. Actually I rarely get one…

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Finally I tackled the office supplies and my vast supply of greeting cards. I sorted the extra supplies, got rid of some junk and paired down my greeting cards to ones I might actually send. Amazingly my office supplies weren’t too out of hand. I’m not sure I need quite so many envelopes and folders though, I may get rid of a few.

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Tomorrow the de-cluttering continues with…

1. Bed sheets
2. Books
3. Magazines

The books will be a tough one😦

2015 Projects – New Heater

Well the plan for March was to replace the rotting deck, the weather was awesome until the first Saturday I was actually home, and then the rains hit. I had a back up plan though. We have been intending to replace the old living room baseboard heater with a wall heater since buying the house three years ago.

First, I made a temp heater just in case because I had to shut the power off to all the heat in the main part of the house. I made a clay pot radiant heater. It’s actually pretty snazzy!

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Then, I ripped out the baseboard heater. That was the point of no return…. It was kinda scary.

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Unfortunately the wiring came out of the wall on the far left side of the unit, and I wanted to put the wall heater to the right under the window. So, I put in a junction box and ran wire over to where I wanted it.

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Running wire through existing walls is a pain. I cut the main hole for the heater next to a stud.

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And then another hole next to the stud between my heater hole and my junction box.
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After bashing the back of my hand once, I finally got the wire pulled through.

I installed the metal box, connected the wires and ground and screwed the cover on! It was a little scary flicking the breaker back on, but it all worked great!!

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Now I need to patch the holes and touch up the paint, install a baseboard and the digital thermostat.

2015 Organization – utility closets and under sinks

Now that my new shelves are up, it’s time to get a little better organized. Cleaning out and re-organizing all of the hard working but little loved storage places. Storage is very limited in my 1974 ranch so I need to make the most of every inch.

First closet I tackled was the entry closet. Technically it’s a coat closet but we use it as a utility closet. Yuck that duster is gross…

Used the inside of the door to hang long narrow cleaning tools.

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The closet is also home to the vacuum and 7 boxes of stuff to keep but not actually use. So I put the lighter smaller boxes on the shelf over the water heater. The games used to be there but it is a tough place to access so the never used stuff makes a lot more sense there. Sadly the three heavy boxes had to stay on the floor, but the stack is now short enough for me to hang a bag of extra paper bags over. I bought a belt hanger from Ross and hung a re-usable shopping bag from it.

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The vacuum takes the final floor spot. Above the vacuum I used a rubber coated ladder hook to hang all of my re-usable bags. They are much easier to grab now compared to being wedged behind the garbage under the kitchen sink.

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To the right of the vacuum I hung two more ladder hooks to hang the ironing boards from.

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The small shelf space left above is for the iron and a tub with all of the general cleaning supplies. Safely out of reach for little people but easy for tall folks to grab as needed.

The linen closet was my next challenge. I was able to move the frequently used towels, tp and extra toiletries to the new over the door bathroom shelves leaving more room in the linen closet.

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The upper photo is the master half bath – it has baskets of non-shower extra toiletries and tp. The lower photo is the hall bath – it has extra bath towels and wash cloths and of course tp.

The lower open area has a shelf with bathroom cleaning supplies and tubs for light bulbs, batteries, extension cords, etc. The floor to the right houses a basket of extra shower toiletries, old towels and the rag basket hung on a hook in the corner.

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The upper shelves are for the games and puzzles – much easier to reach (Tay and I have pulled out a board game twice since moving them), the extra blankets and extra sheets (these are stacked by size but I may put each size in a basket for a cleaner look).

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Under the tiny bathroom sinks was reserved for frequently used items.

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Finally the medicine cabinet and back of the toilets got some sprucing.

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The master bath got cleaned up enough there is nothing on the tank!


The hall bath (which has very limited storage) got a good cleaning!

That’s it for January! Tune in next month for more projects and hopefully some more organizing!

2015 Projects – Over Door & Window Shelves

This year I have begun my own Happiness Project based on the book ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin.

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One of my ways to be happier is, “only take on two house projects a month, and complete them before beginning any more.” That is a major challenge for me as I am full of ideas that I want to create but lose steam before I’m done, then I have unfinished projects weighing on me and annoying my husband, Rod. The other piece is enjoying the process of the project instead of just the starting of the project.

My first two projects are related. Build three shelves – one for over each bathroom door to store extra towels and toiletries in my very tiny bathrooms with no closets, and one over the window in the guest room as a display for Rod’s old cameras , currently sitting in the garage, and as a curtain rod to block out the bright street light when we have overnight guests. Both things I have been planning for months and serve very beneficial purposes when done!

The bathroom shelves – I had old laundry room shelves piled in the corner and brackets I bought a year ago. I cut the old shelves to size (1″ hang over on each side of the door frame to attach brackets). Then I sanded and primed the bare wood shelves.

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The guest room shelf – I bought 1 1x8x6, 1 piece of Narrow trim, two cheap wood brackets, and 1 2″ by 1/2″ board to beef up the brackets. I glued the brackets to the additional support boards and the trim around the edge of the shelf like a lip. Then I glued and screwed the brackets to the under side of the shelf. Next I primed the whole thing.

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Then, 3 coats of gloss white paint.

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As I was hanging the shelf by screwing it into the studs, I was lazy and didn’t pre-drill the holes in the brackets. I should know better… I cracked one of the brackets and had to glue and clamp it.

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And finally the guest room shelf and curtains are hung. It’s merely waiting for the camera display.

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I have spent hours sanding and painting and caulking but cannot get a good finish on the bathroom shelves, so I decided to decopage one side to hide the flaws on the most visible underside.

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Both bathroom shelves hung and the first two projects of 2015 are complete!! That feels good. Two things I have wanted done for a LONG time. Now I get to organize my linen and utility closets and under all three sinks🙂

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Small goals!!

It’s been a while since I posted to this blog, so thought I’d take a moment to share my baby steps to organization.

I like order, but when chaos overwhelms, it can be hard for me to battle back to order. So, I have decided to start taking the chaos on one small, easy to complete task at a time.

First, I have a daily reminder set at 9:30pm to update the wall calendar. I use a dry erase board that is in a central location to list the events of the day. My goal is to take 1 minute on my way to bed to keep this up to date. Tonight = success.

Next, there are many small areas that grate at me but tackling them all at once is an impossible monster. Instead when an area really draws my notice, I take 10-20 minutes to purge and organize (note: these must be small areas that can be COMPLETED in less than 20 minutes). This is not a nightly task, but a frequent task.

This weekend I tackled the hall linen closet. I got rid of old sheets that are not needed and straightened all the shelves. I feel so much better when I open the door now. Plus, it’s in an easy to maintain state!

Tonight, I cleaned out and organized the fridge. It looked so full I couldn’t determine what was even there, but now it’s got room to spare and all visible food = less waste.

Next I want to address the mail/paperwork problem. Everything needs a home in order to keep on top of the paper flow through the house.

That’s all I will plan for now, but hope to keep purging and organizing one small chunk at a time to de-clutter and add peace of mind to my home!

Self Love and a Makeover

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On my journey over these past several months, I have learned that a key piece to balancing my life is to love and value myself and my time, in addition to loving others and valuing their time. I often feel torn and guilty when I take time for myself and therefore do not feel rejuvenated when I am done and return to my family. Even as I write this I have to battle back the twinges of guilt – am I being vain and selfish taking time for me?!? Being so concerned with a makeover? The answer is NO!

A friend and I decided to have a makeover weekend. We made hair appointments at a “Fancy Salon” and started pinning haircut ideas followed shortly after by new outfit ideas. We shared back and forth for weeks and I started taking a couple extra minutes in the morning to pick out my ensemble for the day. I noticed that I felt just a little more confident, had a tiny bounce in my step.

This past weekend was the big weekend. We walked into the salon and I told my hair dresser that I wanted a haircut that would frame my face in a way to mask my round jaw (an issue I have had with myself since I noticed it trying on glasses with my sister in grade school). The hairdresser, Lu, proceeded to mess with my hair and chit chat pleasantly. A while into the cutting process she stopped and asked me, “who told you that you have a round face?” I confessed it had been something that has always bothered me. She responded that when she saw me come in she thought I’d look
Cute with a pixie cut to show off my face. I could have hugged her. That one comment lifted my spirits and made me feel good about me, and it made me think that maybe I am sometimes a bit too hard on myself. I am usually a compliment deflector, but for some unknown reason, this stranger was able to break through my shield and she touched my heart. It felt warm and I am thankful for the brief moments we shared!

The next step was clothes shopping. It started off rough. I found myself judging the clothes I tried on in terms of “if only i looked like this, or that was a little different.” And for a time I didn’t want to keep trying stuff on. Luckily the warm glow left over from my hairdresser combined with the love of my friend and my daughter who were with me, and a little positive self talk got me back on track. My focus shifted from “if only,” to feeling comfortable with the now. Instead of caring about the number or letter on the tag, I started to pay attention to how I felt in the clothes – I kept the ones that made me feel good and tossed the ones that were uncomfortable. In the end, I ended up with a nice selection of clothes that make me happy when I slip them on.

Yesterday as I was out and about town on my holiday, I found myself smiling more and even interacting with people (even strangers) I came into contact with. I know it’s not really the makeover that made me feel a bit more like me, but my attitude and rediscovered confidence that comes with accepting and loving myself.

This is yet another small step on my life journey, but it sure is nice to feel a little bounce in it!

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Before & After

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