Thursday, February 2, 2012

Living a Clutter Free Life ~ 2

Well now that you have looked at how much space you have in your house to store things you probably have the Space Bags commercial running through your head. You know "too much stuff, not enough space." But that probably isn't true, trust me, I have lived in some TINY houses, and no matter how small they were we have found a way to store what we needed to in a way that was organized and logical.

The first house that DH and I lived in was a 500sq ft two bedroom home in England. It had fit him just fine, bedroom for sleeping second bedroom filled with wardrobes, because closets don't exist in England.... at least not in most places. But when I moved in keeping everything put away proved to be a but of a challenge. I struggled with finding a place for my clothes, for my cooking supplies, the kitchen wasn't real big on cabinet or refrigerator space. It's amazing how much more cabinet space you need when you eat more than Hamburger Helper. Even with the tightness though we never had clutter everywhere. We had what we needed and nothing else, there was no room for lots of stuff we "might use again someday" or for pretty things that only came out once in a blue moon.

Living in our tiny house after my years in dorm rooms really helped turn me from the clutter bug I once was into someone who not only doesn't mind organization, but who thrives on it. After a stressful day I can frequently be found taking everything out of a closet to reorganize it and get rid of anything that I don't really need. This is probably hysterical to my family and my first roommates who had to deal with the cluttered messy me.

Anyway back to the matter at hand. Now that you know how much room you have it's time to pare down your stuff until you can fit it into the space that you have available. I like to look at things in three major categories. 1) Use Frequently, 2) Use Seasonally, and 3) Sentimental. So the first step is to divide your stuff into those categories. You can either pull everything out and actually separate them into the three piles, or you can do this step mentally. The next thing that you need to do is look at each pile. Do you actually use these things or did you buy them with the intention of using them and never have. For example the kitchen. I own 7 Mix n' Scrapers this may seem like an excessive amount, but since I frequently have 4-6 of them in the dishwasher on any given day, they are the right amount for me. Because of this though, I was able to get rid of a large number of my wooden spoons. They looked nice, and every kitchen is supposed to have one right? Wrong, if you don't actually use it you probably don't need it. This method is most effective for evaluating your frequent use pile.

For the second pile, the Seasonal one, you can look at it in terms of amount of use each item gets, but also if you really love it. For seasonal clothing, you need a winter coat, and a swim suit, but how many of each do you really need? For example I live in Las Vegas, so I need 1 winter coat, but a couple of lighter ones. I also need like 3 swimsuits because in the summer the girls and I are in the water When I lived in England I needed multiple coats, for all sorts of weather and various amounts of rain, but didn't own a swimsuit at all. Be realistic about your lifestyle and climate. You might adore cute winter scarves and hats, but if you live in a desert where it never seems to get below 50 you probably don't need 30 of them.

For seasonal decorations, well this is one of my problems. In my dream house I would have a fully changeable house with a neutral background and changeable accessories for every season. However, I just don't have the room to store pictures, throw pillows, curtains and other decor for every season and holiday in my house. So I have limited myself to the room that I have available. I have just enough Christmas stuff to decorate the house I live in, if we move to a bigger house in the future AND have the storage space to handle it, I will probably get more.

Wow, this post has gotten WAY longer than I intended. So break time for today. I'll be back later with a little advice for how to deal with sentimental stuff. One of the hardest areas to declutter in. Until then smile!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hodgepodge and Pinterest Surprise

1. It's that most wonderful time of the season! Do you complete your own returns or farm that job out to the professionals?

We always have professionals do them. However after I had to explain some of the terms to the "pro" we worked with this year I am thinking that I should probably just save the money and do them myself next year.

2. This next question comes from Kansas Bob...he posed it in his response to something I asked in an earlier Wednesday post and I asked him if I could add it to the Hodgepodge some day. Today's the day....
Which do you think has changed you more-love or pain?

Pain, absolutely. Almost all of my defining, life changing moments have been related to something painful. However I think that they have helped to mold me in a good way and that it because I have a foundation on love. I was able to work through the difficult times in a way that made me a much stronger person.

3. Tangerine Tango has been named color of the year for 2012. Your thoughts? Would I find this color anywhere in your house? How about in your closet? If not, will you be adding this color to your life in some way in 2012? If you're not sure what tangerine tango looks like click here.

NO, I have seen this color and the answer is NO!!!! A thousand times no. I am not an orange person with decor or in my wardrobe. However I do LOVE the Benjanim Moore Color of the year Wythe Blue, which happens to look amazing with Tangerine Tango. (Picture from this blog)

4. Are you a collector? What do you collect and does it get admired, used, and/or dusted regularly?

Somewhat, used to collect tea pots and I still have them in my dining room, but I haven't acquired any new ones in years, so I am not a current collector of anything. I really don't know what I would want to collect right now, or what I would do with it once I had it. I am not a "stuff" person, if it doesn't have a purpose I don't see the need. I do love decorative things with function, but no tchokeys for me.

5. February is National Heart Month...besides a green salad what is one tasty heart healthy dish you like to prepare?

For my whole family? I would say roasted veggies. The girls love veggies when they are roasted. For me? Hummus. I love it and it can be made in so many ways. My current favorite is an easy one with a southwestern seasoning in it.

6. When was the last time you had car trouble?

It's been a while since we had any major car trouble, years in fact. The closest thing that I can think of to trouble was the windshield cracking in a nice straight line all the way across on our way to church on Christmas Eve.

7. Have you been more demanding on yourself lately or less? Is that a good trend?

A little of both, which I guess is a good thing, I tend to cycle.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Wow, Holy Pinterest. I had part of one of my blog posts pinned the other day and it has been nuts. I went from about 20-30 views per blog to over 100 with the pinned blog at over 500 in one day. It is not even something that I came up with on my own, I saw it and loved it so I wanted to share it with friends. But holy cow does it make me feel like I need to be churning out more quality stuff.

Living a Clutter Free Life. Part 1

I am not a clutter bug, well not really. I am not as clean as DH, but I am most definitely cleaner than your average bear. I'm not saying this because I want a big fat pat on the back, I'm saying this because I have a lot of people who ask how I do it. What are my methods for decluttering if there is clutter and for keeping the clutter down in the first place. I've written on this before, a few years ago, but I figure it never hurts to revisit something useful. So here it is. The start of my short series called Living a Clutter Free life.

Today I am going to start with a basic, something that is so basic that sometimes people forget to do it. Figure out how much space you have! It sounds simple, but so many people forget to do this. No matter how organized you want to be, you cannot organize into a place that you have too much stuff for. It's the problem of too much stuff in too little space that causes the piles of overflowing things in the wrong rooms.

So before you start to buy your fun little organization totes, or print off all of the nifty labels you see on pinterest you need to see how much room you are working with. Say you are organizing your pantry. Look at the number of shelves you have, How tall are they? How Deep? What will you be storing in there? Once you have an idea of what you are working with you will have an idea of what is a realistic goal.

As you can see, this pantry is a place for food, toiletries, appliances and other cooking supplies, as well as some random toiletries. They have long, fixed shelves that are not very deep. They have too many things for the space that they have, or they have the things stored incorrectly.

So the first step is to step back and look at the space that you have to store things in. It's fixed, so that is what you have to work with.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fab Ab February.

Ok, so who's with me? I'm starting the Fab Ab February Challenge that is all over pinterest tomorrow. Who is doing it too? If you don't know here is what it looks like. Thanks to this blogger for setting it up.
will do!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

February Meal Plans.

I figured since I went to the trouble of creating these full meal plans each month, I might as well start sharing them. Now I realize that the meals are all extrememly healthy, or exactly what I want to encourage families to eat. However they are a mixture of healthy and family favorites. So that's what you get. Now I've got to figure out how to insert the correct kind of document into the blog to share it with you. This should be fun. I hope that this all worked out. As the week goes on I will link some of the meals to the recipes that I use for them so that you have access to that. Enjoy!

Day Breakfast Lunch Snack  Dinner
Wednesday,          February 1 Oatmeal Peanut Butter and Honey Granola Bars Sloppy Joe's , Corn on the Cob
Thursday,          February 2 Biscuits Peanut Butter and Honey Hummus,      Veggie Sticks Rolled Hot Dogs
Friday,                February 3 Cinnamon Toast Peanut Butter and Honey Gold Fish, Fruit, String Cheese Chicken'n Rice Green Beans
Saturday,               February 4 Cereal Quesadillas Gold Fish, Fruit, String Cheese Pancakes      Bacon                 Fruit Salad
Sunday,                February 5 Oatmeal Mac and Cheese Trail Mix Meat Loaf Broccoli         Sweet Potato
Monday,             February 6 Muffins Peanut Butter and Honey Trail Mix Chicken Tenders Green Peas      Rolls
Tuesday,            February 7 Cereal Peanut Butter and Honey Granola Bars Princess O's
Wednesday,                February 8 Cinnamon Toast Peanut Butter and Honey Trail Mix French Dip,       Green Beans
Thursday,          February 9 Oatmeal Peanut Butter and Honey Gold Fish, Fruit, String Cheese Pizza
Friday,               February 10 Cereal Peanut Butter and Honey Granola Bars Hamburgers,   Tater Tots, Crudites
Saturday,             February 11 Biscuits Grilled Cheese Trail Mix Orange Chicken, Rice                    Stir Fried Veggies
Sunday,            February 12 Pancakes Hot Dogs Jello Chicken Helper            Peas                  Crescent Rolls
Monday,             February 13 Muffins Peanut Butter and Honey Jello Pork Loin,     Roasted Veg
Tuesday,           February 14 Oatmeal Peanut Butter and Honey Trail Mix David's Choice
Wednesday,           February 15 Cereal Peanut Butter and Honey Gold Fish, Fruit, String Cheese Leftovers