Cleaning & Organizing

Deep Clean the Kitchen

Deep Clean the KitchenDeep Clean the Kitchen

Spring is coming, so come and Deep Clean the Kitchen.  I am coming to the part of my life that I don’t know if I’m washing or hanging out.  So much has gone on since last November, I can’t keep anything straight.  A couple of days ago, I decided I was going to touch every part of my house.

My goal is to see what needs to be painted, fixed, organized, and cleaned.  Can’t stop.  Won’t stop.  Until I am done.  I am determined.  Totally in control.  #notincontrol #wildlyoutofcontrol #muststop #OCDrunningwild  I can and will do this.

Needs to be Fixed

My vent needs to be replaced.  That and the ductwork needs to be fixed.  As I was cleaning the kitchen, I kept hearing a meow.  I thought it was Karen but she was nowhere in sight.  As I looked around, my kitten Lonnie, was in the floor vent.  I have no idea how she got there, but I took out the vent and fished her out.

Also, I want to get a new trashcan.  I hope a larger one with a lid.  There is no good place to put a trashcan in my kitchen.  I currently have it by the window, but it is too small and I just want something nicer.  There is a board that goes under my cabinet that needs to be put up.  Another that is up but needs to be nailed down.

We bought new windows for the house and they didn’t put the kitchen window up correctly.  That is on the to-do list.  Painting the laundry room door.  I would like to redo the decorations in the kitchen.  Sadly, I have no clue how to decorate.  One drawer needs to be fixed.  The trim needs to be repainted.  There is a light fixture that needs to be fixed.

I would love to sit down and catalog my recipes.  This is something I want to do for my kids.  Also, it is nice to organize and find things I haven’t cooked in a while.  It is a goal to write a cookbook.  My other mom has asked me for a long time.  I get it started and then stop.

Detailed Deep Cleaning

These are the things I do when I deep clean.  First, I wash the big window, inside and out.  I get some compressed air to get the corners of the windows.  They can be nasty.  My garbage can is right there, so I take that opportunity to clean the outside and inside of it.  Then, I go ahead and wipe down the walls, the baseboards, and the door to the laundry room.  Next, my vent is there, so I get the vacuum and suck out all the dirt from the vent.  Also, I extract the kitten that is crawling up inside the house.  This time, I noticed dirt, on the floor, underneath the vent.  I get that all cleaned up.  Last, I clean out the china cabinet and dust it.

From there, I move to the pantry.  I clean the door.  Then, I take everything out.  What is still good and we won’t eat, I put in a box to donate to a blessings box.  Throw away what needs to be thrown away.  Then, I organize what is left.  Wipe all the shelves down and put it all back.  My rolling island is there, so I cleaned it off and wiped it all down.

Moving on Over

From there, I get to the fridge.  I clean the floor and the vent on the bottom of the fridge.  Then, I pull everything out.  Combine what I can and throw away what I need too.  I take all the shelves out and clean each one.  Then, put it all back.  Next, I get in the freezer.  My icecubes fall on the bottom, so I have to get all of those out.  Then, I organize what is in there.  Oh, when I do my pantry and freezer/fridge, I write things down.  Later I will use that list to meal plan.

I clean off the top of the fridge.  Then, I put baking soda/water together.  Just enough water to make a paste.  I rub that on the rust spots and let it sit while I move to the drawers.  I only have 3 drawers, so it isn’t an issue.  Take everything out, wipe everything down, use a toothpick to get out the little crumbs.  Oh, I throw away the nasty dishrags, if needed.  Then put everything back.

Once that is done, I wipe down my fridge.  The baking soda leaves a film on the fridge but it DOES get the rust stains off.  It is quite amazing.  I bought some stainless steel spray.  Once I spray that on and wipe it off, the residue from the baking soda comes off.  I do that for all of my appliances.

Deep Clean the Cabinets, Dishwasher, and So Forth

I clean out all of my cabinets, reorganize, and wipe them all down.  This time, I threw away all of Hunter’s old cups.  He doesn’t need them and they were nasty.  I unloaded the dishwasher and ran an empty load.  I sprinkle in some baking soda.  Then, I add vinegar to the rinse cycle.  That cleans the inside of my dishwasher.

Once that is all done, I take a butter knife and run it along the edges of my sink.  Sometimes, I will fill the sink up with bleach water and let it sit.  Drain and wipe.  Looks so shiny when it is clean.  Also, gets the smell out of the pipes.  I will wipe down the backsplash and the counters.

Then, I will run Martin (my robot vacuum).  Other than him getting stuck under the fridge, it is pretty darn good.  He can run while I wipe the barstools down.  The very last thing I do is either mop with a regular mop or I run Irene.  She is my robot vacuum cleaner.  I love them.

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Stress Organizing Food Areas

Stress Organizing Food Areas

Stress Organizing Food Areas

It has come to almost the end of our meat. We bought a whole cow last summer, and it is dwindling. It makes me sad. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to buy stuff in the market. It is so much healthier to know what your cow has been eating before you feed it to your children. Anyway, back to the topic of me stress organizing food areas.

When I had three kids, I would buy in bulk. I would always have two flats of different vegetables, canned goods, seasoning, etc. Now that I have more than the average amount of children AND my children are enormous…life is different. If I had space, time, energy, and money, I would still be stockpiling. Alas, I don’t have any of those things.

Pandemic Changes Things

Now that the pandemic is rampant, things are limited. The things that are limited to buy could be toilet paper, cleaner, or food.  The pandemic does make you take stock in what you have and becoming a bit more inventive. Also, less likely to waste food or throw things out.

I had these thoughts after the ice storm as well. We did make some changes in some areas. Now is the time to make changes in other areas too. Luckily for me, I was raised by frugal parents and grandparents. I’m not afraid to try something. Making bread, cakes, muffins, rolls from scratch is normal. Alfredo sauce can be made and not bought. Spaghetti sauce, seasoning combinations.  It is all trial and error. My next goal is to learn to make my pasta. My mother in law did that, and she gave me a pasta maker to use. Now is the time to use it!

In Cleaning Out and Organizing

Refrigerator, everything has a place. I can easily see what is what.  Fresh veggies, I can make side dishes. Fresh spinach, I can put in anything. It takes on the flavor profile of what you are cooking.

I had a MASSIVE influx of baby carrots. There was some I had bought, and then the school brought food for the week.  There are a lot of cherry tomatoes, fresh broccoli, celery, and carrots. The broccoli, I stockpiled till I had a decent amount. Last night, I made a Chinese stir-fry with round steak (from our cow) the broccoli and even used the cherry tomatoes. Big Daddy is not fond of those, at all. If you chop them up smaller and saute them, he didn’t even notice.

Sadly, the celery, I can’t get anyone to eat. Not even with peanut butter on it. We did not waste the celery. A couple of kids tried to eat them, but we had so much that it was almost like torture for our kids. We fed those to our chickens, which in turn, gives us eggs. Does that count?

As for the Carrots

We all eat them in salads. Also, the kids like to eat them by themselves with a bit of ranch. I will snack on them.  A couple of days ago, I made some carrot cake muffins. I could have made a cake or a loaf of bread.  Yet, muffins freeze well.  The kids have been eating them for breakfast. It is a super simple recipe that I have used for years. I will try and remember to post it by Monday. That used up a ton of carrots. I may make more and freeze it.

Freezer Organization

For my freezer, I have the one that pulls out from my fridge, a big chest freezer, and then our old refrigerator we use out in the garage. In the kitchen freezer, I utilize the two big bins.  I put ice packs, Berbere, Tumeric, Yeast, or sweets. In one side bin, I put meat for supper. For instance, when I buy sausage, shrimp, fish, etc. On the other side, I have all the kids frozen lunch items.

In the freezer in the garage (the refrigerator one), we keep extra bread, french bread, buns, or things that I bake. My big chest freezer is where we have our beef. Then the little rack has odds and ends. For instance, we have two other packs of round steak, stew meat, steaks, etc. The base of the freezer has our patties and ground beef.

In recyclable bags, that is in there is where I organize all the other things. When things fall to the bottom, the food ends up freezer burnt and wasted. One bag has all our frozen veggies.  Then, in another bag, we keep our bulk chicken that I have broken up into baggies. There is one bag that has some odds and ends. My son in law has a few things stored up. I think the last one has ground meat that I have cooked and refrozen for another meal. We also have a little shelf area that has freezer meals on it.

Pantry Area

My pantry has five shelves. On the top shelf, I have broken it up into two different baskets and some clear canisters. I think I got them from Dollar Tree. One basket has junk food/sweets/things my son in law buys and hides here. Another basket has all my leftover flour, sugar, almond flour, teff flour, and such. Then, in the canisters, I have open bags of flour, sugar, etc.

The next shelf has my suppers organized. When I make out my grocery list, I see what I have on hand.  From there, I work my suppers around that. So, on that shelf (for the next ten days or so), I have my suppers planned out.  For instance, I am making Brunzi Baseball Casserole, green bean casserole, and corn. I have all the ingredients for that in one area. Then there is pizza where I put all the ingredients for that, etc. Doing this helps me use up what I have and not overbuy.

On the next shelf, I keep a container with packet mixes (when I buy premade packets), our bread box, and our extra canned stuff for me to use for the next round of meals. That way, I will always know what I need to use up and incorporate every week.

The Rest of the Pantry

The third shelf is all things for the kids and paper products. They know that if it is on their shelf, it is free for all to eat. There is always a variety of breakfast, lunch, and protein items.  The fifth shelf has some appliances, sauces, condiments, and oils.

I Hope This Helps

Hopefully, this helps you get some ideas on how you can utilize the areas of food storage. More importantly, to not overbuy. Just buy what you need. If you want to stockpile, that is great. Buy one thing for now, if you are a smaller family, and one for later. For our family, I buy three now and three for later.

Be creative with your menu and be open to adding things before they sour. If you don’t have chickens, use the leftover food and compost it for your yard! Also, if canned foods you KNOW you are not going to eat, donate them to a local food pantry!

Have fun! Please, be safe, wash your hands, wear a mask. It’s a germy jungle out there!

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Digital Organization: Phone

Digital Organization: Phone

Digital Organization: Phone

It is a new year and a fresh start. So, why hold onto things.  We all need a new beginning from time to time.  To me, organizing is freeing.  So, as I purge/donate/organize my life, I will let you know what I’m doing. Maybe it will inspire you. So let’s begin with Digital Organization: Phone.

My phone is NOT my lifeline.

I try not to carry it into places with me, and I don’t obsessively scroll for hours. It has been becoming more and more apparent how addicted we all are to our cell phones. It is sad.

I sit in places and look around. Everyone has their nose in their phones. Scrolling, endlessly.  People are always comparing themselves to others.  They do this because, in the little squares of life, everything seems perfect. Therefore, we fall into the trap of never being enough.

In Christ, you are enough.

Text Messages

The first thing I do is work on my text messages. How many times do you see a text and think you have responded.  Then you realize you didn’t respond to that message.  I am so guilty of that. Every night, I go through them and respond to what I need to. Then, I put in my calendar what needs to go in there.

Next, I delete all my text messages. If it is something important, I will copy/paste it into a “Note” app.  From there, I will transfer it from my phone gallery to my tablet.  I am pretty diligent about deleting my messages daily. The visual clutter drives me completely insane. I get overwhelmed.

Next up, I go through my contacts.

Delete delete delete. I have very few numbers on my phone.  There have been moments where someone has randomly texted me. I ask who they are 🙂 Most of the time, I have a general idea of who it is.

Then, I go through my apps.

I delete the ones I do not use or have never used. It takes up so much space. Organize the apps you have. On my “home” screen, I have my garage door app and a calendar. That is it. For the rest, I take the icons off my home screen. Again, visual clutter irritates me. You can combine apps into folders on your home page. In combining, you can streamline what you see.

Digital Downloads

When I check my email, sometimes I have to download something. Go through your files to find the downloads file. Delete that mess. You don’t need it.  All it does is slow your phone down. 

Digital Phone Pictures/Music

Pictures I transfer to my tablet, then I delete them off of the phone.  I do not store music (except for what a friend sends me).

Thoughts

Put your phone down and talk face to face. Do this while you make eye contact. Engage in society to make a difference. There was a time before cell phones.  One could go to Walmart without everyone knowing.  In the beginning, I spent WAY too much time on my phone. It was a novelty. I remember when Facebook began, and I was enthralled.  Sadly, I also missed out on my children.  My nose was so far up my phone that I couldn’t see the humans standing before me. They are so much more fun.

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Bathroom Purge and Organization

Bathroom Purge and Organization

 

I cannot even believe I’m going to show this Bathroom Purge and Organization.  Who knew you could have so much stuff in a tiny little area.

First Things First

When you are getting ready to clean a space, first clear out all cabinets and drawers.  Then, you can throw away what is expired or empty.

Be Prepared

To be grossed out, embarrassed, shocked, and a slew of other emotions.  I mean, how many feminine hygiene products does one girl need when she doesn’t even have a uterus?  For me, they were on sale.  Also, I had a coupon.  Maybe in my mind, I thought I was spontaneously going to regrow my uterus.  You know, like a starfish regrows a leg.

Note

If you can, consolidate things.  I had about five bottles that were 1/2 full of lotions.  Once combined, I now have three full bottles.  I had about four bottles that were 1/2 full and twelve little travel-sized things of baby shampoo.  Once done, I ended up with two bottles.  If you can consolidate to use it up, do it.

Donate

If it is unused, donate it to a women’s shelter or a food pantry (they take things other than food).  I had twelve bottles of Neutrogena face wash because I had coupons.  Sadly, it breaks my face out.  I tried to let my girls use it.  It breaks their faces out.  So, why keep it?

Am I a hoarder?  Maybe.  Donate if you can.

Medications

When medication is outdated throw it away.  I mean gathering it all up (if it is prescription) and taking it to your local law enforcement officials.  They have proper ways of disposing of, safely, of prescription medication.  Be wise.  I would, often, flush it.  Then I read that that was not safe.  Now, I take it to the people who can handle it effectively.

Never Ever

Use your husband’s beard/mustache trimmer on your dog’s butt.  Or, if you do, take it OUT of your bathroom.  There is a 100% chance you will forget you shaved your dog’s butt.  Then there is the possibility that he will reuse it on his face.

He will not be happy.  Not.  At.  All.

Oops.

In the End

Once everything is empty, purged, or donated, you have the perfect opportunity.  Use up your leftover cleaner and clean the crap out of everything.  I still need to take a straight edge to the soap scum in the shower, but all in all, it is a thousand percent cleaner than before.  It is a nice feeling to organize, throw away, donate, clean, and traumatize your spouse.  Here are the results of a 2-day process.  Oh, I found a charcoal face mask, so ignore what you see in the mirror.

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Addictive Personality, OCD, or Both

Addictive Personality? OCD? Both?

Addictive Personality, OCD, or Both

Honestly, most people who know me well would say that I do have an addictive personality and OCD.  I’m not super bad with either but it could easily get out of control in a heartbeat.

Sadly, addiction runs in my family.  I am totally aware so I am super mindful to stay far far away from drugs, smoking, and alcohol.  There are other types of addiction that can be just as bad.  Sex, porn, overeating, etc.  Addictions can come in all shapes and sizes.  It does not discriminate in regards to your biological identity, your color, social status, ethnicity…it just comes up and bites you in the butt.

Accountability

It is good to have people in your life that can hold you accountable.  Jerk a knot in your tail, as my mama says.  My sisters, my mom, dad, and especially Big Daddy can help keep me in check.

Today, however, I went unchecked.  My Gmail account has stated, for a while, that I have exceeded my limit.  I went to send an email and it would not send.  So, in true fashion, I started off simple.  I got rid of the spam emails and I emptied the trash.  That didn’t work.

I Saw the Beast Determined to Win

Next, I went through my email folders and got rid of things that were not pertinent.  That didn’t help either.  I hit the “manage” google drive and there it all was.  In all of its glory and magnitude.  So.  Many.  Pictures.

Not just pictures but videos, kindle books, documents, and more.  It has taken me a month of Sundays to try and figure out how to get my stuff from my google drive to my computer.  Then, from my computer to my external hard drive.

Public Service Announcement

PSA:  If you do not have an external hard drive, get one!  I save NOTHING on my computer anymore.  This is a simple solution to what can be really scary if your computer crashes.  It is small, portable, and easily fits into a fire safe box, safety deposit box, or safe.

Anyway, I have been OBSESSED about lowering the amount I had and not buying more storage.  Literally, I have worked on this for weeks, as I have had pockets of time.  Today, I tackled it all.  Bit by bit.  I chipped away.

Too Much

There was so much stuff from 2015…I can’t even.  By the end of the night (almost 10 pm), I have it all transferred over to my computer.  I even have extracted them all, deleted the stuff that I didn’t need, and organized what I do want.

The Transfer to Completion

Now, to transfer it to my external hard drive.  My obsession (addiction to completing things) is finished, for now.  I did cook supper.  Thankfully, it did not burn.  I ignored my kids, but they played games on the same table.  My mom, I spoke to her twice and told her that I was eating a 1/2 block of smoked gouda, wearing my hussy shorts, drinking a coke, taking a Tylenol, and finishing this task.

She wished me Godspeed.

It.  Is.  Finished.

Hallelujah, the color has come back to the world.  I no longer see all things in gray.  It.  Is.  Good.

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Operation USE IT UP Underway

Operation USE IT UP Underway

Operation USE IT UP Underway is going down! Have you ever thought about your cleaning supplies? What all do you have going on in there?

Let us focus on your pantry, fridge, freezer, and other places you store food?

I am embarrassed about what I see in these areas of my life. Seriously, embarrassed.

Looking around, I see a lot of stuff I have that is just useless, and I bought a bunch because I had a coupon. There are also things that, sadly, I forgot that I had, as well.

Focus Squirrel Girl, Focus

Just focusing on my bathrooms is going to be a beginning for me. My first goal is going green in all areas of our lives. The secondary objective is to minimalize those belongings because, in reality, we do we need three hairdryers, thirty-five sets of sheets, or five hundred bottles of dried up nail polish? Focusing on one area at a time is helpful for me. I tend to have squirrel moments. 

Bathroom Tips and Tricks

Tame Your Squirrel:

One way to tame my squirrel is by diffusing my Squirrel Blend recipe from doTerra. It smells so good and keeps me moving right along.

Laundry Basket:

Another trick I use is I get a laundry basket. I put it in the bathroom with me. When something needs to get out of the bathroom, I throw it in the basket. I take the basket downstairs, and I have each kid get their stuff out of it and put it where it belongs.

Using it all up

Let’s say I have eight bottles of facial cleanser that I bought because I had a coupon. Now, let’s say that I have tried the facial cleanser. Then, I realize it is merely not my jam. Now imagine that I have given my daughter’s facial cleanser. The facial cleanser breaks them out. Now visualize that seven brand new bottles of facial cleanser. There they set, in my bathroom, and no one can use them. That’s where DONATING comes to play. Take it to a Needline, a church food/hygiene pantry, a women’s shelter, or find a friend who likes this brand and gift it to them. The point is to get it out of your bathroom. I know that I will never use this. Honestly, I refuse to throw it away. 

Makeup:

Recently, I went into our local department store, and I received a free makeup makeover. It was so much fun. There is so much I do not know (or care to know), but what I did find out is that makeup can go wrong. Yes, I’m aware that you probably already knew that, but I didn’t. So, I bought my “colors” of makeup, and I came home, and I threw away a lot of my old, broken, or nasty makeup that I already had. I also threw the makeup brushes away that I had for ten years. I figured if I invest in new stuff now, I would remember to clean my brushes.

Medication:

Do not keep expired meds. I don’t care if they are antibiotics, cold/cough meds, antacids, or tubes of cream. Please, look at the dates and get rid of them. There are expiration dates on the product for a reason. These medications can lose their efficacy and could harm you. Be wise. We are going all-natural with our medication choices. I will be posting on our medication journey tomorrow, so be sure and come back!

Bathroom Cleaning Products:

My daughter was deep cleaning her home one day. She texted me, in the meantime, saying that she suddenly started vomiting aggressively and that she couldn’t stop. Well, what’s a mama to do? I high tailed my butt over there to help her. I had no more gotten to her front door that I started coughing. Much like something was caught in my throat, and it wouldn’t dislodge. Once I opened the door, this fog hit me. I started coughing uncontrollably until I almost puked.

Come to find out, my daughter had bought/used every cleaner known to man. In her mind, if it is a name brand, then it is going to do a better job cleaning. NO. Just NO. We were inhaling boatloads of unnecessary chemicals. We all had headaches and were coughing. It was pitiful. We had to open her front door. Also, we had to open all the windows of the apartment. Also, we had to have a fan blowing out to draw this stench and chemical fog out of the apartment.

Once that happened, she quit vomiting, I quit coughing, and headaches subsided. All you need to clean with are these essential items: Vinegar, Water, Castile Soap, Blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid, OnGuard concentrate, baking soda, and any of these essential oils: Lemon, Melaleuca, Onguard. For more information on how I make cleaners or if you want the oils yourself to create your green cleaning supplies, be on the lookout for a post on Friday.

Organization:

Another tip is to go to the Dollar Tree or Dollar Store and buy those clear shoeboxes with a lid. Also, get some labels and a sharpie. I like to keep all “like” things together. I have all nail polish in a box, all toothbrushes/toothpaste, all travel-sized bottles in these boxes. Doing this has been a lifesaver, but only if you put the labels on them. I made the mistake of not doing that, and one of my kids pulled every box out, opened every box, and made a mess. All I was looking for were fingernail clippers.

First Aid Kit:

An organized, clean out, complete first aid kit is a must. You can buy premade ones at Walmart or on Amazon. You can also make your own. I do keep mine in a red bag to make it easier to identify in high-stress moments. Those moments can range from if a child throws a set of hedge clippers down from a tree and they landed point down on another child’s head to cut your toe-off while walking a pug or a head-on collision at the end of your driveway. You know, simple things in life 🙂

Donate, Throw Away, or Use Up:

Be sure and clean out your little shoeboxes. Throw away things that are old, broken, used, or not worth giving away. Donate if it is new. Help another person out. If you have a smidge of something, use it up, don’t waste it. Do not use a full product when you have twelve products that are 1/2 used. Use those products up and don’t be wasteful.

Operation USE IT UP Underway is going to happen. 

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Debt: Money Making Tip

Debt: Money Making TipDebt: Money Making Tip.  As I am decluttering my mind and working on my FACTORY RESET, I am also physically decluttering.  I do not know why my mind is working this way, but as I look at my attic, my garage, and just the stuff around my house…I think I do not want my kids/husband to have to go through all this crap and make decisions for me when I die.

Morbid, I Know.

Maybe, the older I get, the more I think about mortality.  My sister just lost her mother in law.  Granted, she was in her 80s, but still….it still hurts even though we know she is with Christ and would never want to come back to this Earth again.  Maybe it is the fact that my son took a nap and then woke up to our lives changed forever.  Maybe I just want to live a more minimalistic life.

I don’t know.

I love Jesus

Anyway, as I was decluttering my bedroom, I decided to go through my masses of books.  Bibles, school books, devotionals, kids books….so many books.  I read once, that your bedroom (couples bedroom) should be free of clutter.  Seriously, like have nothing under the bed.  Only peaceful things on the walls and no sign of your kids LOL…no pictures or anything.  Now, I can’t quite go that far, but I did clean out from under my bed.  Amazingly, I even vacuumed under there (nasty).

It was a blessing to give away 2 pieces of large furniture that we do not use.  I condensed the entertainment system to just a tv and our router boxes.  Lastly, I hung up some things on the wall.  I’m working on the closet.  One day, I decluttered and got rid of SO many things from the attic.  Finally, I organized all of that.  Now, I have this massive bookcase full of books and books in my closet.

Homeschooling

I have homeschooled for 18 years and I have decided to get rid of all my old school books (with the exception of the math books).  They are all gone.  Glorious day.  Next, I tackled that bookcase.  I kept all my Bibles and some devotionals that I matriculate to quite often.

The other books…just collected dust.  I didn’t read them and there they sat, helping no one.  Someone else could get some use out of those books.

Fantastically enough, I donated 98% of them to our local library.  The other books, I sold on a website called BOOKSTORES.  You put in your ISBN number and then they give you a price they will pay.  It is free shipping (on a refund of $35 or more) and money in your pocket.  Not a lot, but it is better than taking up space and collecting dust.

DVD Collection

As for the mass of DVDs that I had and didn’t want anymore, I sold some of them on DECLUTTR.  They also provide free shipping (no minimum refund).  All you have to do, for both sites, is print off the shipping label.  I ended up making almost $80 on stuff that was taking up space.  I took a van load off to the local consignment shop, so I will, hopefully, make some money with that. All the extra money is going towards debt!

It feels SO good to have this stuff done and gone.  The more I declutter, the more clear my mind is.  Isn’t that crazy.  Just too much.  My kids have too much and they have SO much that they don’t even know what to do.

Kitchen and Living Room

I have finished the kitchen and the living room. The pantry and the laundry room are done.  I have done my bathroom, my van, and the attic.  I think I have the garage left, the downstairs bathroom, and the kids’ rooms’.  Onward and upward….tomorrow, I shall tackle the school closet and the game closet.  If I have enough moxy, I will work a bit in the garage.  Everything is in the middle of the garage, I just do a little bit at a time because it is hotter than Satan’s armpit outside and I don’t like to sweat.

Happy Decluttering!

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Why Does It Feel So Good

Why Does It Feel So Good
Why Does It Feel So Good

Why Does It Feel So Good when I consolidate things in my house? I mean, I feel like I’m almost euphoric. There are about a bazillion little bitty trial size hand lotions in my bathroom. Sadly, I also have seven large bottles of hand lotion. Consolidate! I threw away a trash can FULL of little empty containers, and let me tell you, friends, it feels.

GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!

There may be something wrong with me. I’m not a clutter bug. I do not collect things (I was a huge couponer, and I still have bottles upon bottles of conditioner, lotion, floss, and mouthwash.) I do have a goal, though, and this goes along with us saving money. I’m going through our household cleaners, and what I had, I’m replacing them with all-natural things like baking soda, vinegar, castile soap, Onguard, and essential oils. I’m using what I have until it is gone, and then I make more because I already have bought the bottles.

Bathroom

As for my bathroom, I’m doing the same thing. I’m forcing myself to use lotion more, to use all the leftover deodorants, soaps, conditioners. I have a habit of running out of something. Then I put it on my grocery list, run to the store to get it, and realize I had an abundance already. What a colossal waste of money.

The days are OVER, I tell you! O.V.E.R. It is time to use it up before I buy. Then, maybe, if I can do well at it, I will start couponing again. Any excess will only be the things I need or what I can donate.

I may not even be able to sleep because my mind is thinking of “what else can I consolidate and organize.”

I think I may need therapy.

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Organizational Tip Let's Talk Pictures
Organizational Tip Let’s Talk Pictures

Organizational Tip Let’s Talk Pictures. In my quest to get my life together, my next thing to tackle is my pictures. Good gravy, I have a billion photographs. My mother-in-law is HUGE into scrapbooking, so she has given me lots of books, pages, stickers in hopes that I would scrap all these pictures. I have not had time.

A Few Books Already Done

In my defense, I do have a baby scrapbook for each of my children. Also, I have one large scrapbook for each of them as they have gotten older. I also have a baby scrapbook of Big Daddy that his mom made for him and one for me that I made. There is also a wedding one and another random one. So I have done scrapbooks in the past. I’m just not in a season to do them regularly.

Attacking the Masses

One day, when I was cleaning out the masses of crap in my bedroom, I came across a drawer. The drawer has not seen the light of day in about ten years. There were MASSIVE amounts of old, loose photos just hanging out…not hurting anyone….just there. My OCD said, let’s pull out some of those scraping gifts from my sweet mother-in-law, and I will make them look fantastic. My other side feels like I have no time for this mess. Then, I shut the door and move on. Neither side won.

Logic Wins

My logical brain sidestepped in and thought: “let’s kill two birds with one stone.” I pulled out those photos. Next, I began to separate them by the child. I put those separated piles into baggies and labeled them. Next, I pulled down my scrapping supplies, set up a card table, hollered for my two big girls, and let them at it. Was it as nice as I could have done? No, not really.

It certainly was not up to par with my pro-mother-in-law, but they stayed occupied. All my pictures are in the scrapbook with added cute things. Also, it all has my girl’s handwriting in it. I will cherish these scrapbooks forever because my girls created them. I smile every time I pull them down. These are some of my prized possessions.

Thankful for the Help

Once I got the masses of pictures done, courtesy of my girls, I had found more. They were on my computer. Over time, I have added new files under my pictures section. The main file is the year, and the subfiles include things like Christmas, Family, a file for each child, pets, misc, etc. Since there are dates on 99% of my pictures, I first sorted them out, via the computer, into the proper year.

I put them in the proper subfile, and from there, I went and deleted the duplicates. I kid you not, in 2015, I had 10000 duplicate pictures. So there was a ton of space taken up by having double of photos. I have not edited them because that is just not high on my “super fun” list of things to do.

Takes So Much Time

This process takes time, but I do it at night when I’m watching a movie or when the kids are outside. I do not put any pressure on myself at all. One thing I invested in was an external hard drive. I have not only saved my pics on a CD but also a flash drive. From the flash drive, I put them all on my external hard drive. Next, I delete them off my computer. Let’s face it, computers crash. My pictures were not going to crash with them. Sorry, Charlie. Not going to happen. Not on my watch.

Big Daddy and the children love to sit down and watch me sort things out and look through these pictures. It is fun. Also, it is a conversation starter for some of my kids. Take your time. Enjoy the views and memories. Remember to save them to multiple devices and always store them in a fire-safe box or safe in case of fires!

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Organizational Tip Tackle the Kids Artwork

Organizational Tip Tackle the Kids Artwork
Organizational Tip Tackle the Kids Artwork

Organizational Tip Tackle the Kids Artwork. I have a lot of kids. That fact is no secret. My kids like to color, draw, paint, make sculptors, and Sunday School creations. These creations come home every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday.

Tote Overload

If each of my kids has one tote per year of arts and crafts until they turn 18, there would be 126 totes. Remember, I homeschool and have chosen to keep everything from their school years. I would have 126 totes FULL of stuff that I would have to store in my attic, garage, man cave, or storage unit. That does not include all their baby things and toys. What I’m talking about is just artwork.

When I was going through my nesting phase, I came across about 30 containers with all this stuff. Sentimental things. Things I cherish and want to remember forever. Realistically, it was a bit of a fire hazard. I had Big Daddy breathing down my neck to throw these treasures away, and then I had my kids on the other side crying because when they saw something in the throw away box. They felt I didn’t love their art.

Quite the conundrum.

I had a couple of great ideas. Maybe three. I have a small wood chest my daddy made years ago. I also had a box that my mom got me when I was a child. The first thing I did was I went through the attic (and garage) ALONE. Second, I emptied my two chests and cleaned them all out. Third, I got binders. Two per child and put their names on them. I separated every paper and craft. So, each child had a pile.

Binder Help

The treasures that I would not part with, I used my three-hole puncher. Then I added them to that particular child’s’ binder. With the larger items, I placed them in my two chests. Honestly, that still left me with A TON of treasures. Once I had the binders and chest’s full, there was more. I had seven piles of things for each child. These were precious items, but I did not necessarily want to keep them (fire hazard, remember). I took out my camera, and I took pictures of the pictures. I downloaded those photos on my computer, and I gave each child a file. Those pictures are now on a flash drive, disk, and my external hard drive. I can look at them whenever I want.

This simple act cuts down on so much clutter.

I was able to keep their sweet drawings yet keep my sanity and live the minimalistic life that I love so much. Now I still have boxes of old toys, but I did part with 98% of them. Some things are worth the clutter. I was able to clean out an entire closet from the garage and free up all that space. It all went in the attic space where it is labeled and gone through. I hope this is something that can help others.

Good luck and happy organizing.

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