Tag Archives: life

Let’s Talk Laundry: Part 1

In high school I was one of those kids with laundry (both clean and dirty) – and everything else all over the floor of my room. I thought it was cool.

Oh yes, I did. I also thought that I knew right where everything was.

Right.

I no longer make such claims.

It did get a little better in college and in my single days, mostly because of positive peer pressure from my roommates.

In more recent years I have not done very well. Check out this before pictures from when I cleaned out my master bedroom closet:

For many years I was pretty good at washing the clothes, but then they would sit in a crumpled mess in a basket or a pile on a bed or couch. Clean, but very wrinkled. And do I seem like the ironing type to you? 

Mmmmm……no.

I finally got fed up with that nonsense and realized that I should not take the laundry out of the dryer unless I was folding it that instant! So for about a year I folded things as I took them out of the dryer. Big success!

Now I am brave enough to take them to another location and fold them right away.

One of my recent goals has been getting the folded clothes put away! I have clean, folded clothes, usually in baskets, sitting around.

Here’s what I’m working on:

  • I try to put my folded clothes on my side of the bed and Mr. RSS’s on his side, and we each put our own away. That works pretty well when I do it.
  • Ella (7) can put her clothes away – I just need to remind her.
  • Gabe (5) can’t reach his drawers very well, so I need to either keep doing it myself (and actually do it instead of leaving them in baskets), or get him a step stool, or something. The other problem is that one of his drawers is broken and if you pull it out too far, the whole drawer falls out – so we need to fix that.
  • Anna (1.5) All she wants to do is open any drawer she can get to and take everything out. Then possibly cram some things back in. Next, she likes to close the drawer on her finger. She obviously needs some work in this area! 😉
  • Cleaning out and organizing more of the closets and dressers will make this easier.

I’m also working on keeping up with Mt. Laundry, which has become a landmark in our basement…until now.  I  have some great before and after pictures to show you, but I’ll save them for later in the week. Oh the suspense!

What are your laundry successes or challenges?

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We have power!

I am very happy to be sitting here with my laptop, the lights on, drinking tap water, air conditioning working, the hum of a refrigerator in the background, and a safe family. The dishwasher should be running right now, too…. I’ll get to that soon.

Hurricane Irene took out our power (and running water) for 5 full days (Sat.-Thurs.). There is a lot I could say about that, but overall I feel thankful.

Thankful that our family is safe, and our home is not damaged.

Thankful for kind neighbors who gave us access to one outlet on their generator, which kept our sump pump going and kept a lot of water from entering our basement.

Thankful for my husband, who worked hard to prepare us ahead of time. Including thinking to fill our outdoor trashcan with water in case we needed it to be able to flush our toilets. We filled the tub before the storm for the same reason, but it turned out that we needed that extra water!

Thankful for disinfecting wipes, baby wipes, and antibacterial wipes!

Thankful for children who took it all in stride and enjoyed playing with flashlights.

Thankful for friends who let us come shower, hang out, play, do laundry, and plug things in at their house. They also gave us extra bottled water and ice.

Thankful for other friends (also without power, like us) who treated us to a  picnic (take-out) dinner at a park!

Thankful for another friend who invited us to come and stay at her house Wednesday night. I felt like we were at a fancy hotel! With power!

Thankful for my parents, who let us eat dinner at their house for 2 nights in a row. And my dad did most of the cooking and cleaning up! Awesome!

Thankful for the opportunity to be grateful for things like power and running water. Many people in this world live every day without these luxuries.

I am praying for those who are still struggling with damage and loss from this storm.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures this week, but I thought I would share a few. Some of these were taken with our cell phones.

Boiling water on the grill to make coffee and tea.

The kids made a good ol' blanket fort.

I did remember on Wednesday that I should take a picture of my kitchen island for the hot spot check up. This week's picture is bound to be better!

The kids played driveway hockey with Daddy.

Crews working to fix the power lines right around the corner from our house. Yay!

 I’m hoping to be back on Monday with a regular meal plan post!

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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!

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Filed under Menu Plans, Motivation

Seeing the clutter with new eyes | Dinner guests

Well, I have a cleared island, and a mostly decluttered kitchen and living room, but I’m not that happy about it.

Can you guess why?

A bunch of the clutter was just moved to a different location.

What is it about guests coming over that changes the way I see? I suppose I see the clutter through their prospective eyes.

We had friends over for dinner on Tuesday (Yay!). So, I started thinking about cleaning up over the weekend.

I got a bit more serious and actually worked on it on Monday with the kids. It seemed like we accomplished quite a bit.

We cleaned the kitchen floor!

And the kids liked it!

 We decluttered and organized the children’s books in the living room!

We eventually got rid of that dirty sock, too.

We moved some of these books to another room, put some in a give away box, and put the rest in one red box that we keep in the living room (you can see it by the fireplace in a picture at the end of the post).

We cleaned out and organized the shoes, etc. that were pouring out of the coat closet!

Yes, most of those shoes were mine! I admit it!

We took most of them to the bedroom closets upstairs, and one pair is heading out the door. We are trying to just keep 1 or 2 pairs each in this closet.

That empty spot is for one pair of my shoes. Just one!

 Monday night I even made a ‘To Do’ list for Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I spent the day working on decluttering and cleaning (and of course making dinner), but it seemed to be going very s-l-o-w-l-y. At about 3:00, I realized that there was clutter everywhere. I was seeing clutter and dust that I hadn’t noticed in….months. It was worse than I thought.

Around 4:30 I started doing bad things with clutter. You know. The crazy desperate clean up. Throw everything into a container and hide it somewhere!

Trash, papers, toys, food….all together in laundry baskets in my husband’s office . Oh joy!

Hiding clutter. Nice.

 And check out this before picture of our fireplace.

There really is a fireplace behind there. For fun, look for Christmas items still there in August!

A lot of this is evil paper clutter that I thought surely I would sort through and organize if I put it right there in the living room!!! Nope. Apparently not.

This next picture shows the recycling that went straight from that pile out the door!

This recycling was just sitting with the other clutter. You know, just hanging out.

And now for the “After” picture. The “After-hiding-a-bunch-of-the-clutter-in-another-room” picture. Let’s try to get excited…

Still not perfect, but much better than before!

I know from my past that I really need to dig into those laundry baskets and boxes soon and not just ignore them. At the same time, I need to maintain the order that I have. I’m not expecting it to be easy, but I am going to fight for it!

By the way, we had lots of fun with our guests!

Do you know what else is fun?

I told them about my blog.

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing.

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Filed under Before and After, Clutter, Declutter, Kids

We took a little vacation

Going on vacation is such a treat, but the getting ready to go part can be really stressful. It’s taken me a long time to realize how much time I really need to get ready to go. I know that the more I work on this whole simplifying thing, the easier it will get, and ultimately it will not take quite as much time. Here are some snippets of how things went this year.

I knew that I was behind on laundry, so I planned to catch up with laundry 2 days before we were leaving, then the day before was scheduled for packing. That kind of planning is progress for me!

I didn’t get to all the laundry the first day, so some of it got bumped to the packing day. I usually sort all of the laundry on the bed and then pick out which items to pack. It sort of works.

I think organized people must pack directly from their closets and drawers. Maybe I should try that sometime. Like when I’m all caught up on laundry and it’s all organized and put away. That could happen.

I had to get my suitcase from the bottom of the stairs, where it has been living for the last several months leading a double life as a baby gate.

Look at that! We found another area to declutter!

Guess what the fabulous Mr. RSS did to get us ready for our trip? He cleaned out the minivan! We were getting ready to spend about 9 hours in the car, so this was very helpful!

Before:

After:

I actually forgot to take the “after” picture until after the trip, so I’ll allow you to be impressed that this is the after clean-out and after road trip picture. 🙂

I tried an idea I read about in this post over at isavvymom about hanging a bag on the back of the headrest to use for trash. Great idea!

We left for the trip only 4 hours later than planned. That’s progress for us for sure! All of those last-minute things to grab or take care of take so much longer than it seems like they should! Next time I’ll plan more time for all of that.

And of course we had a great time on our trip!

How does packing for a trip go for you? Do you have any favorite tips for packing or road trips?

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Filed under Before and After, Declutter, Organization, Time Management

Island Watch 2011

This is Elizabeth with Ready Set Simplify reporting. We have been following this story since March of this year. The disaster on Kitchen Island has been an ongoing struggle for its inhabitants.

Here’s a shot of the island we dug up from January 2011:

Here you can see the disaster continuing to unfold in March:

Here’s the situation by the end of May:

But it looks like things are changing on Kitchen Island.  Help arrived recently from Kristen from The Frugal Girl. She knew of the disastrous situation on the island, and offered to help. Here’s the story.

———————————————————————————————————————

OK, I’m losing the reporter bit, partly because I just really need some exclamation points! (See?)

So my friend Kristen offered to come over and help me declutter. Because she’s super nice, and guess what? She actually likes decluttering. We chose the island for obvious reasons! Kristen is not just frugal, she is a lean, mean decluttering machine!

As far as method goes, I think I would say we just picked up each item and made a decision about it. Seems simple, eh?  For some reason, I just couldn’t seem to do it myself. I think it’s the overwhelming factor. Having a friend there really helped!

This is the recycling just from that day!

And Kristen took these things to Goodwill for me (awesome):

Here we are together! Kristen’s daughter. Lisey gets the photo credit on this one:

If I look a little shocked/dazed in that picture, it’s because this was right in front of me:


Photo credit: The Frugal Girl

Woo hoo!!! Is that exciting, or what?!!

Here I am enjoying my island:


Photo credit: The Frugal Girl

Thank you Kristen! By the way, Kristen posted  a picture of our somewhat spontaneous walk to the beach  when we were finished with the decluttering.

Do you have a daunting decluttering project? Getting help from a friend is one way to get it done!

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Filed under Before and After, Cleaning, Declutter

Weekly Cleaning Schedule – Week 1 Report + cake

Are you ready to hear how my first week or so of having a cleaning schedule went?

This is a condensed version of the cleaning schedule I was attempting:

Monday – Friday
– unload dishwasher
– 1 load laundry
– 15 min a day(timed) cleaning/decluttering  in 1 room or area:
– 5 min. (timed) focused on paper clutter
Saturday
– unload dishwasher
– 1 hour of cleaning/decluttering in needed areas
Sunday
– unload dishwasher

Here’s the story. I started the week by making a handy-dandy document with the cleaning schedule  and the ability to keep track of what I was accomplishing. Great, right? But then I couldn’t print. We’ve been having printer issues. So I decided to use a handy-dandy piece of scrap paper to jot down how I was doing instead.

Here’s how it went:

(I put the successful cleaning days in bold!)

Saturday: I really meant to do it!

Sunday: Dishwasher unloaded in the afternoon + a load of laundry!

Monday: I did it all!!! The 15 min. of timed cleaning was spent in the kitchen

Tuesday: OK, I know I did the dishwasher, and then I lost my scrap piece of paper(Grrrr), so the rest is from memory. I think I did everything on this day, too!   

Wednesday: nope

Thursday: ummm, hi.

Friday: Unloaded the dishwasher, did some cleaning for sure but forgot to time myself, no on paper clutter, yes on laundry

Saturday: Super busy day because we were celebrating all of the spring birthdays(kids) in the family at my house. So we had 7 adults and 4 kids here in the afternoon/evening. Dishes were unloaded, and there was certainly lots of cleaning, Mr. RSS and the kids did most of the cleaning because I was still finishing this My Little Pony cake:

Rainbow Dash

For this little birthday girl:

Happy Birthday, Ella!

Sunday: Dishwasher unloaded, check!

Monday: found my scrap paper on the island, 1 load of laundry and that’s it for cleaning. Fun day with friends at their community pool, though. : -)
I also want to add on this Memorial Day, that I am so thankful for those who have fought for my freedom. So thankful.

My 97 yr. old grandfather (a veteran), helping little Anna

So I accomplished my goals 50% of the time for my first week. I’ll take it! And the good news is that Mr. RSS fixed the printer, and now I have my schedule posted on the refrigerator! And now I’m off to eat a piece of cake…. Yum. Cake.

I linked this post up with Life As Mom’s Birthday Cake Round-up!

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Filed under Cleaning, Declutter, Time Management