Monthly Archives: April 2011

Looking at the bright side

A rainbow outside our house! If you look closely, you might be able to see that it is a double.

 And here is one more where it sort of looks like our house is at the end of the rainbow:

I'm just going to go with this as a symbol of hope for my house. OK? Good.

 I was talking to my friend and fellow blogger, Kimberly today about how things keep getting in the way of my decluttering progress.

Today I spent a huge chunk of time dealing with a pharmacy, a health insurance company, a dental insurance company, an HR dept., and a dental office. (I’m sure some of you are cringing with me.) Most of this was over the phone during my prime time for getting things done: nap time. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but it had to get done and figured out.

There might have been a touch of discouragement and complaining. Maybe a hint of it.

Well, my wise friend said something like, “Well I think that’s great! Look at all the stuff you got done!” She totally turned around my perspective! I had been looking at it as wasted time, but really I was actually being productive and getting things done!

And then instead of feeling discouraged, I felt encouraged and motivated to get more things done! Sweet!

And if you are wondering about my paper sorting progress…there’s progress…stay tuned.

How are you finding the bright side in things lately?

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Filed under Motivation

Why is paper clutter so hard to deal with?

Paper clutter does involve thinking and making decisions, but all clutter does, doesn’t it? I can’t figure out why it’s so hard. Maybe some of you can give me a lightbulb moment with your insights in the comments. Anyway, I think it’s one of my biggest struggles with clutter.

I have been trying to deal with these three containers of paper clutter for a while now, and I’m just not getting it done.

 But I’m not giving up. I’m quite certain that won’t help anything.

Now, to “celebrate my successes,” I did go through one container during my first paper clutter week with Project: SImplify, and I finally emptied that white laundry basket of papers. See?

I really thought about taking a break and moving on to a more “exciting” decluttering, but I think it will be good for me to finish those other 2 containers before moving on. (I actually do have other containers of older paper clutter around the house, but I’m going to let those wait for another time.)

I think maybe I need to look at where all of my time is going, and  try implementing more of a schedule (Yikes!).

OK, one step at a time….here I go…trying not to get too overwhelmed with it all! I hope to report back soon with 2 more empty containers! Paper clutter, be gone!

By the way, one of my recent goals is to prepare simple healthy dinners for my family. I like cooking, but cooking has been taking up too much time in my day, so I’m trying to simplify. It seems like simplifying dinner will give me more time to work on all of this decluttering. I’m thinking about posting some of my simple dinner successes. Interested?

Is paper clutter hard for you? If not, what kind of clutter gives you the most difficulty? If you know why it’s so hard, you get imaginary bonus points.

18 Comments

Filed under Declutter, Paper Clutter

How to clean out disgusting leftover food containers from the fridge -or- Ridiculous Procrastination

What you will need:

  • disgusting leftover food containers from cleaning out the fridge
  • determination/bravery
  • sink/dishwasher and soap
  • garbage disposal/ trash can/compost bin

Helpful and recommended:

  • the ability to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose
  • rubber gloves and scrub brush
  • nice smelling candle
  • open windows/doors
  • baking soda and/or lemon peels

The Steps

1. Prep work: Learn how to waste food.

2. Clean out the refrigerator and put all of the disgusting containers on the counter by the sink.

The reusable containers are mostly in the back in this picture and hold old (some very very old) leftover food.

3. Plan to clean them out. Sometime soon. If you really like them to be extra mega-mold-disgusting, procrastinate:

  • Try to wait until both the sink and the dishwasher are empty on a trash collection day, during nap time for little ones, when you are well rested and the laundry is done.
  • Secretly hope that someone else will clean out the containers for you.
  • If you have understanding friends coming over, just leave the containers there.
  • If you are having a family birthday party for your son, put the containers in a trash bag and hide them on the back deck.

I am not kidding.

4. When you are finished procrastinating, (For example, when a new babysitter is coming over on a nice warm day and you are afraid she will find the trash bag of disgusting moldy food containers on the deck) get out your supplies and your determination.

It does not matter if your candle is from the wrong season, just use it!

Can you feel the determination and bravery represented here?

5. Work quickly!  Breathing through only your mouth(to avoid the dreaded odors entering your nose), dump/wash/scrape the stinky moldy food into the disposal/trash/compost container.

6. Wash the containers well with soap and water, and/or run through the dishwasher. (Maybe even twice if there is a lingering odor. It happens.)

7. Wash the sink well, clean the disposal with baking soda and/or put lemon peels down it. Take out the trash or compost container.

8. Continue nice smelling candle and open windows/doors until necessary.

9. You did it! Good for you! Don’t let this happen again! DO NOT repeat!

11 Comments

Filed under Cleaning, Food Waste, Funny(I hope), How To

Project: Simplify: Clutter (well, some of it) is OUT of the house!

This past week was the last week of Simple Mom’s Project: Simplify, and I was working on getting things OUT of the house and some paper sorting.

Here’s a before picture of the clothes and toys:

And now:

Don't worry. I didn't declutter Gabe. He was just sleeping during this photo. :-)

Most of it was sent off to Goodwill, but I decided to try to sell these fun shoes. I checked on eBay and they seem to sell really well there (even used). I have been saying that I want to try selling stuff on eBay for a long time, though, so let’s say if I don’t have them posted by the end of April, I should just donate them.

I should add that even before the above before picture, I took about 10 items to my favorite consignment shop to try that out. I’ve only ever bought things there before, so I thought it would be fun to try selling.

I didn’t get as much done on the paper sorting. Here’s the before picture:

I finished about half of one basket:

Here’s one of the things I did instead of sorting papers:

Happy Birthday, Gabe!

My goal for the rest of this week: More paper sorting!!!!! Yay!!!!! (I’m trying to feel the excitement.)

If you would like to see more decluttering from this last week, check out Simple Mom’s Project: Simplify week 5 Results.

11 Comments

Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Kids

Simple Fun

Our friends came over after church on Sunday, and while the husbands were watching a hockey game together, the rest of us took a walk to a park. I am so glad the weather is getting nicer! I need more of this kind of simple fun.

Fun on the merry-go-round. There's Kristen with all the kids.

Ella inspecting a beach find

Sometimes I need to remind myself that fun doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.

What do you like to do for simple fun?

6 Comments

Filed under Kids, Priorities, Simple Fun

Project: Simplify: Getting things OUT the door and paper sorting

This is the last week of Project: Simplify over at Tsh’s blog, Simple Mom. And this week we get to pick whatever project/hot spot we want! Sweet!

I was really tempted to pick a new spot (I have plenty that need decluttering!), but I decided the best thing would be to finish up some of what I have already started.

Tsh’s post announcing the hot spot is really good. I felt like she must have read my blog and she was speaking to me on several points, especially what she said about working quickly.

So I picked 2 projects from previous hot spots:

1. Actually get the clothes, shoes, and toys that were bagged and boxed up from weeks 1 and 3 OUT of the house!!

I know my son looks like he is in pain, but really he is just saying cheeeeeeeeeeeeese.

Why is that last step of decluttering so hard for me? I think at least part of it is deciding what exactly to do with it. Should I give it to a friend? Who? Should I donate? Where? Should I sell some of it? How? I need to just make a decision and take action!

Theoretically, this should not take much time once I make a decision! I think having the deadline of doing it this week will help!

2. Sort the rest of the paper clutter that I gathered.

I’m not saying that I’m going to get it all filed and taken care of this week, but I want to at least sort the 3 containers of very miscellaneous papers. What I learned from the one container I sorted in week 2, is that most if it can be recycled and doesn’t need to stay in my house, sitting around causing me stress.

The 3 containers to sort:

Gabe really likes to be included, as you can see!

And I still have my sorting boxes all set up, with papers there waiting for new paper friends to join them:

 Are you working on a decluttering project this week?

Do you have a hard time getting decluttered stuff out of the house?

I always like to hear your advice/ideas, too!

As usual with this project, I hope to post results on Friday or Saturday!

16 Comments

Filed under Clutter, Declutter, Goals, Paper Clutter

Project: Simplify: The Refrigerator is looking better!

I wanted to post this earlier, but ended up going on a date with my husband instead! Yay for date nights!

Here we are finishing week 4 of Simple Mom’s Project: Simplify! One thing I’m noticing about myself is that I may have a habit of biting off more than I can chew on these projects. My goal was to clean out the refrigerator/freezer and the pantry.

I just didn’t get to it all, but I did make really great progress on the refrigerator. I have the main shelves and drawers looking good! And I am happy about that. I WILL plan to get to the rest of it soon, but maybe in smaller, more attainable goal chunks(Do goal chunks sound gross? hmmm).

Refrigerator before:

Refrigerator after:

This is some of the yucky behind the drawers:

Clean!

 

Very bad yucky drawer:

Do you see how there are yucky paper towels in there? That’s because I noticed that something was leaky and yucky a while ago, so of course I stuck a paper towel or two in there to soak up the yuck so it wouldn’t get on the new food I was putting right on top of this yucky food. I know. It doesn’t make sense. And I’ve done it before, too.

But here is a clean, happy drawer!

I am ashamed of all this food that I wasted, and I will try not to follow my Ten Ways to Waste Food in the future! I don’t really want to show you this next picture, but I am trying to be honest here, so this is how my pile looked at the end of this week’s project:

And here’s a nice happy clean shelf!

If you would like to see more refrigerator (and pantry) transformations, check out Simple Mom’s Project: Simplify link up.

18 Comments

Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Declutter, Food Waste

Ten Ways to Waste Food

Well, I’m still working on cleaning out my refrigerator and pantry, but I was inspired to write this post in the meantime. I hope to be back by Saturday night to post some great after pictures of the refrigerator and pantry!!

10 Ways to Waste Food

1. Never clean out your refrigerator. It’s scary in there.

2. If you see that something has been around a while and needs to be eaten, take it out and look at it. Think about what you could do with it. Then, put it back in the fridge so that you can think about it for a few more days. Repeat.

3. When you come home from grocery shopping, just push everything in the refrigerator to the back and put the new stuff in the front.

4. If something is on sale, or free, but you have no idea what to do with it, grab it!

5. If something in the pantry is near its expiration date, THINK about eating it soon, or donating it to someone who will eat it. When you notice it again and see that it has now expired, feel guilty. Every time you notice it for the next few years, feel even more guilty.

6. Don’t make a menu plan. Don’t you dare.

7. Buy lots of things that you wouldn’t normally buy or eat. Hey, it looks interesting and maybe even healthy!

8. Don’t make shopping lists, and definitely don’t take inventory of what you have before grocery shopping. Who has time for that nonsense anyway?

9. Store leftovers in opaque containers. DO NOT LABEL.

10. If you already have a type of fresh produce, like strawberries, and you buy more before the first container is done, just go ahead and eat the newer ones first. The newer ones look so much fresher and tastier! I’m sure you’ll go back to eat the older ones later in the week.

Do you have a favorite? Do you have one to add to the list?

I’m linking up with The Frugal Girl’s Food Waste Friday.

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31 Comments

Filed under Food Waste, Funny(I hope)