Category Archives: Motivation

Love by Decluttering | The Master Bedroom Project – Update #1

I’m decluttering and organizing The Master Bedroom this month as part of my Love By Decluttering project. And I’m so thankful that Laura from I’m an Organizing Junkie is doing a 29 Day Organizing Challenge this month, too!

I started out the project by procrastinating for several days. Great start, eh?

Then I realized that I really needed to get moving and do something. Anything. Just start.

It really helped knowing that I told all of you that I was going to do this project and that there are deadlines in Org Junkie’s 29 Day Organizing Challenge. Laura is one smart lady.

So I set the timer for 15 minutes. This is something that I have learned works well for me. It’s not overwhelming. I can do something to help that room for 15 minutes.

I decided to start with the mega pile on my side of the bed.

I moved 2 laundry baskets with Anna’s clothes to her room, and I started picking up the rest of the clothes that were in the pile and putting them in one of these places:

  • Dirty laundry pile
  • In the closet (Brilliant, I know)
  • Give away or sell bag
  • A pile to go to the kids’ rooms
When the time was up, I wanted to keep going, so I reset the timer. And this is how I’ve been working over the last few days. I find a 15 min. slot and set the timer. Sometimes when it goes off I just keep working.
When you look at the before pictures of my mega clutter pile, it looks like my main problem is clothes. Not entirely. Here’s what was under the clothes:
There’s a lot of paper clutter there, mixed with a bit of other miscellaneous clutter. Not paper clutter again! Grr.
After I took this picture, I moved one already-sorted paper clutter box next to the desk (not in the bedroom), a recycle box moved outside (Yay!), and a shred box moved next to our broken shredder in the kitchen (hmm…).
As I was working, I put aside some other things that did not belong in my bedroom. Here’s a picture of some of the things I found:
The Free box is left over from our yard sale. Then we have old balloons, toys, snacks, school papers, and a small stick.

Some Analysis

I cleaned and decluttered this exact space 11 months ago. So now that I see what has piled up in that spot over the last 11 months, I can work on analyzing the situation.

What has been working in the closet area

  • Hanging up clothes on hangers. For some reason, I’m pretty good at this.
  • Organizing the clothes by type and color. I really like the look of it, which matters when you have an open closet. Also, I’ve  been able to keep up with it fairly well.
  • I like those shoe racks/shelves. As long as I don’t block them with clutter, they work well.

What isn’t working? What are the problems and possible solutions?

Problem #1: Using the master bedroom to hide clutter from around the house.

Possible Solution: The only thing I can think of is get rid of all of the clutter and keep up with maintenance so that I have nothing to hide. That is a solution over time, and one that will take a while to implement. Maybe some of you have another idea to add?


Problem #2: Laundry baskets with clean laundry

Possible Solution: Keep up with putting laundry away as I do the laundry. Remind/help the kids to put away laundry. Maybe I don’t go to bed until the laundry is put away?


Problem #3: Clothes that have been worn, but aren’t actually dirty and could be worn again (e.g. sweaters or jeans). That was what most of the clothes in the pile were. Either that, or clothes I tried on, but then decided to wear something else that day. And a few of the “I’m too tired to do anything but throw these clothes in this pile as I fall into bed.”
Possible Solution: No more limbo-land. I must make a choice. It’s clean or it’s dirty. Either put it away or put it in the laundry pile. I’m actually really happy with this idea! Why didn’t I think of it before?

I’ll be back next Friday with Update #2!

How are your decluttering projects going? Do you have any ideas or insights for me?

I’m excited to be linking up with the 29 Day Organizational Challenge over at Org Junkie!


Filed under Declutter, Motivation, Time Management

Love by Decluttering

I’ve had this happy little plan in my brain for the past month. This February I’m going to focus my decluttering efforts on places that I know will be most meaningful to my husband. The reality is that he is thrilled with any decluttering project that I do. And of course these decluttering projects are good for me, too. Good for the whole family, really.

But I have in mind some places that I know would mean a lot to him. Don’t we all have areas where the clutter just gets to us more than others? Places where a clutter-free, peaceful environment makes a bigger impact on our day? Decluttering my purse doesn’t really impact him that much. I have a little list of projects that will.

I was going to list them here, but since he likes surprises, I’m only going to tell you (and him) about one for today.

It’s a big one.

The Master Bedroom.

And to make it extra fun and motivating, I’m going to participate in a 29 day challenge that Laura over at Org Junkie is doing.  The bedroom will be a month-long project.  I also plan to do at least 2 other projects during the month. You will just have to wait and see what those might be.

Do you have anyone you want to show love to by decluttering? It doesn’t have to be a spouse. It could be your children, your parents,  or a friend who could use some help. Just make sure that the decluttering is a welcome idea. We wouldn’t want to force decluttering on someone who doesn’t want it!

I’ll be back tomorrow to show you some before pictures for my big bedroom decluttering project!


Filed under Declutter, Motivation

5 Tips for Finishing What I Start

I’m doing dishes. My tendency is to leave just a few things unwashed.

I’m reading a book. Then I leave that one and start another one, never finishing the first.

I’m writing a blog post. I have 45 posts in draft form right now.

In fact, I just looked over and realized that I had just started to sweep the floor when I decided this was actually the best time to start writing this post. So I left this:

It’s one of those things about myself that drives me crazy! It’s really only in the last couple of years that I identified this problem. And that’s a good place to start in moving towards a solution, isn’t it?

I think the underlying problems are: distraction, procrastination, and lack of self-discipline. Oh My!

5 Tips to help me finish a task:

1. Visualize the completed task and persevere to the end! I did this last night with the dishes. There were just a few things left. They needed to be hand washed. I thought about how much nicer the counter and sink would look if I just pushed through and finished those last few things. I did it!

2. Reward myself for finishing a task. Instead of having a snack in the middle of a task, wait until it is finished. I’ll tell ya, I seem to get so hungry as soon as I start working on a task I don’t enjoy! Chocolate should be involved here.

3. Break up large projects into smaller tasks. This is hard for me because I seem to like BIG projects, but I think it will help. Using a timer is one way I do this that works.

4. Turn off distractions. The computer is a HUGE distraction for me. It’s also a fantastic resource. So let’s say I’m organizing the pantry. I might stop after just getting started so that I can look up articles and pictures showing the best way to organize the pantry. One hour later (with checking email and helping small children along the way), nothing is done! I’ve known for a long time that I need to turn the computer off sometimes, but now it’s time for action!

5. Keep a list. When I’m working on a task, if I think about another task that I need to do, I will write it down on a list instead of switching tasks. That way I don’t have to worry about forgetting the 5 other tasks that pop into my head while I’m trying to sweep the floor.

And now I’m off to finish sweeping the floor!

Further Reading:

Finish what you start (I’m an Organizing Junkie)  This really resonated with me when I read it. And if you struggle with feeling like you work all day and get nothing accomplished, you must see the video she has in this post.

Do you struggle with finishing what you start?

I’m linking up with Orgjunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing!


Filed under How To, Motivation, Time Management

Hurricane Report (and not just inside the house)

I’m blogging from my phone today because Hurricane Irene hit us and our power has been out for 29 hours and counting.

Thankfully, we are fine and there was no damage at our house. However, there are a lot of trees down in the area along with a lot of power lines.

So here we are. At this point I’m thinking it’s just like we are camping in the woods in a big fancy cabin. Just not fancy enough to have power or running water.

It is definitely helping me to appreciate electricity and clean running water, which I take for granted most days.

Our menu plan is pretty much up in the air at this point. Dinner tonight was grilled hot dogs, carrots, Sun Chips, and watermelon.

Other no-power foods we may be eating include canned chicken or tuna (perhaps made into salad), turkey sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, raw veggies/fruit, and anything in the freezer that can be grilled.

There will need to be a big refrigerator/freezer clean out when this is all done, of course. It’s actually good for me to be forced into such things.:-)

And you should have seen how hard I worked to catch up with dishes and laundry as we prepared for the storm.

I hope the rest of you on the east coast survived the storm well!


Filed under Menu Plans, Motivation

Where to start decluttering? 7 questions to help you (and me) figure it out

Let’s just be super clear that I am not currently a decluttering expert. I am a person on a decluttering journey. I have a long way to go, but I have been making progress.  Today I have some advice to share as someone who has struggled with clutter for as long as I can remember. It can be very overwhelming. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

Here are some questions that can help you figure out the best place for you to start decluttering, or figure out what to work on next. I have used all of these questions at one time or another. Often more than one at a time. See which ones motivate you to get started. Or just pick one and go for it!

1. What bugs you the most? Is there an area that is just driving you crazy?

For me:

2. What will make the most impact? Pick a room/area where you spend a lot of time, or the first room when you walk in the front door, or areas that guests will see.

For me:

    • Living room – the first room you see when you walk into our home
    • Coat closet
    • Bathroom
    • Kitchen

3. What will save you time in the long run? Get ahead of the things that make you fall behind. Would you be more efficient in the kitchen if you had a clear counter with  no dishes in the sink, and a refrigerator where you can actually find what you need in 5 seconds or less? Oh yes!

For me:

    • Paper clutter 1, 2 – Too much time spent digging through piles of papers just to find that one very important paper that I need!
    • Laundry/clothes – You gotta love digging through laundry baskets or piles for that one shirt.
    • Kitchen island – Having a workspace ready saves me time!
    • Refrigerator/pantry

4. Is there an area to declutter that would bless someone else in your home?

For me:

    • Car – Mr. RSS cleaned it out the last time, but I know it would bless him if I can keep it clean!
    • Living room
    • Bedroom

5. Is there an area to declutter that would bless someone outside of your home? Declutter and give things away to people who actually need or want them!

For me:

    • Clothes
    • Baby stuff
    • Toys
    • Kitchen
    • Basement – Oh wait until you see more of my basement!

6. Is there an area that will save you money, or potentially help you earn money?

For me:

    • Coupons – sitting around in piles isn’t helping so much
    • Toys and other clutter that could be sold
    • Refrigerator/pantry (wasting food = wasting money)
    • Paper clutter  – This can keep me from paying late fees (Grrr!) or missing a check!

7. What can you accomplish in a short time to get a taste of success? Pick an area you can finish in 15 min. or less. Start small.

For me:

    • Cookbook shelf
    • Bathroom vanity
    • Kitchen counter
    • Pick one drawer or shelf in the kitchen or bedroom

After writing this out I think my next new project will be the kids’ rooms/clothes. That is driving me crazy, it will save me time, and it can bless others!

How do you decide where to start decluttering? Do any of these questions help you? What will you declutter next?


Filed under Declutter, How To, Motivation

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?


Filed under Motivation

Project: Simplify: I’m doing it!

Tsh over at Simple Mom is doing a decluttering project called Project: Simplify and I’m going to join in! She is picking one hot spot a week (for 5 weeks) for us to declutter and organize.

This is just the kind of thing I need to stay motivated and inspired! There is something very motivating to me about doing a project alongside someone else. I always work better that way!

So, even though I’m really working on my own, knowing there are bunches of other ladies all over the world doing the same thing really helps me! And there’s an accountability part with before and after pictures!

The first thing she challenged us to do was to develop a family purpose statement. It totally makes sense to me that my home should follow along with our family’s priorities and goals. We may want to flesh it out a bit more, but here is what we are starting with:

 As a family we will seek to glorify God by enjoying Him through our thoughts, words, and actions.

And I think my five reasons for simplifying actually work along with this. That makes me happy! 🙂

Sooooo Tsh just announced today that this week’s project is working on our wardrobes/closets. I was really really REALLY hoping it would be something else! My closet area was one place that I really wasn’t sure I could handle posting a picture of. It’s scary. For real.

It’s one of the places I usually (maybe that should be “always”) put off because most people never see it.

But I’m going to do it !

Here are 2 before pictures for today:

My, my, my... I have a lot of work to do.

Oh dear. Maybe you shouldn't look!

OK then! Off I go! I think you have a pretty good idea of what I’m in for!

Are you joining me in Project: Simplify? Or are you working on decluttering another area of your home?


Filed under Declutter, Goals, Motivation, Priorities

5 Reasons why I want to Simplify

This is a "Before" picture just begging for an "After" picture!!

 These are not in any particular order….

1.  I have too much stuff! If I declutter and get rid of stuff, it will be less stuff to take care of, clean, put away, organize, etc, which will give me more time to do things that are really important. And maybe someone else could really use some of the stuff that is just sitting around here! (OK, this is sort of 2 or 3 reasons in one.)

2.  I will save money. Things are getting broken from being stepped on. I won’t waste food  because it is lost in the refrigerator. I won’t buy things twice because I can’t find the first one I bought. I won’t get a fee from a late bill payment because I misplaced a bill or just forgot in my disorganization.

3.  I will bless my family.

4.  I will be a better example for my kids and will be able to teach and train them in this area so that hopefully they won’t have these same struggles.


 5.  I will bless others. I will be more likely to invite people over, and will have more time to volunteer and help others.

What are your reasons for simplifying? Do you have any to add?


Filed under Goals, Motivation, Priorities

Instant Inspiration

ONE organized shelf!

 I didn’t plan to do this, but look! Last night I was cleaning up the kitchen a little (super-inspired by Mr. RSS who was a dish-cleaning rock star). Excellent!  

But when I went to put the cookbooks away I couldn’t get them all to fit and the shelf was a mess with about a 3 inch stack of misc. recipe printouts, receipts, and sales flyers sitting on top of the disheveled cookbooks.

Normally, I might have added the cookbooks on top of the stack of papers, or maybe  just stack them on the island, or a stool or something.

But I was instantly inspired!

I said to myself, “No! Not this time! I will clean this ONE shelf and make everything fit or I will get rid of it!

It’s just too bad that I wasn’t inspired to grab my camera before I cleaned it up, because I love before and after pictures! Doesn’t everyone?

The best I could find to get a little “before” peek, is this one from Christmas, but you can’t see the impressive stack of papers on top of the cookbooks. But you can see 2 of my cute kids and some other messy stuff. 🙂

Super cheese smile from my boy.

Then scroll back up and look at that beautiful shelf! Much better! I threw some things away (or recycled), filed (sort of) some recipes, one cookbook moved to Mr. RSS’s office, and one is ready to leave the house!

I do think I could get rid of a few more cookbooks, but I think this is very good for now. If they all fit on one shelf, I am happy!

Where do you keep your cookbooks? Do you have a bunch or just a few?


Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Motivation

I take no credit for this

Nice! Just don't look at the rest of the room 🙂

Pretty good, eh? Mr. RSS(ReadySetSimplify – that would be my hubba hubby) did this! We sort of have this rule, or at least we used to, that the last person up makes the bed. Neither one of us have followed our rule very well, but sometimes we surprise each other with this nice treat.

Ok, he might surprise me more than I surprise him. If we do keep this rule, it works out well for me because these days I’m usually the first one up. 🙂

By the way, I have some posts brewing on priorities and um, making a plan to do this simplification thing. I do need some kind of plan, don’t I? Besides starting a blog? LOL

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Filed under Goals, Motivation