Friday, June 26, 2009

We're back!

Greetings! We're back home, but a bit overwhelmed with laundry, unpacking and post-vacation kid-crabiness. I'll post more when we are settled!

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's time (almost!)

We have been counting down FOREVER until our vacation - and it's just about time! We are leaving at the end of this week for a trip to Walt Disney World!

We're driving (from PA!) to Orlando with the 3 kids. It's going to be, um, interesting for sure.

I am knee-deep in luggage and up to my eyeballs with "to do"lists! So every free minute is taken up with packing and planning!

This is also my last week of work. I've been doing childcare for 3 years, and it's time for me to move on. My last day with all the kids is on Thursday.

Life will be very different for me when I return home - I will be home full-time with just my children. I can't wait!

When I get back, I will pick up where I left off with decluttering and organizing my home. Unfortunately I have to return my library books this week, so I have to finish my review of It's All Too Much in July!

Have a great end of June - and be prepared for some Disney pics when I get back!

It's All Too Much - Part II

Okay - I promised Part II - the FAST method to cleaning and decluttering. Here it is:

This is your "kick start" to cleaning. Make it quick and dirty - no lingering to make tough decisions now. Walsh tells us there is 2 types of clutter -
  • Lazy clutter - unfiled papers, junk mail, magazines etc.
  • Stored treasures - grandma's pot holders, baby's first pair of shoes, etc
We not even going to touch the stored treasures at this point - just go after that lazy clutter. And we're going to do it FAST
  • F - fix a time
  • A - Anything not used for 12 months
  • S - Someone else's stuff
  • T - Trash
This is simple folks! Set up a time to do this - whether it's a whole weekend or 15 minutes every day for a week. Just pick a time and stick to it - nothing else happens in that time (turn off the phone, the TV and *gasp* the computer!).

If you haven't used it for a year, it's time to let go of it. If it belongs to someone else, it's time for them to reclaim it. And if it's trash, THROW IT OUT!

Things that you decide to KEEP, find a place for them. Trash - be sure to get it to a trash can ASAP so it's not tempting you to reclaim it (renting a dumpster may be helpful if you are taking a weekend to declutter). Make arrangements for others to pick up their items - or make arrangements for charities to pick up donations. Do not let anything "out the door" come back into your home!

if you plan on having a yard sale, do it as soon as possible. And be sure to not allow anything that doesn't sell back in your home!

Told you this was EASY!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book Review - It's All Too Much

I am reading It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. It's a very easy read with a few attempts at humor along the way. I am using this book at a guide to declutter my house this summer, so I thought I would share some of the highlights with you too!

In Part I - The Clutter Problem, Walsh addresses why clutter is a problem for so many people. In fact, he even includes a "clutter quiz" you can take (I was a "Clutter Victim" - suffering from some clutter problems, but still able to dig my way out). Americans are suffering from a "clutter epidemic" - we have too much disposable income and the MALL has become the "new town square." There is a huge emotional cost associated with too much clutter (like embarrassment) and Walsh promises to give us a step-by-step guide to overcoming the clutter problem.

Think you have a good excuse for using your kitchen counter as a storage shelf? Or keeping your cookbooks in the guest bathroom? Or filling your child's playroom with so many of his outgrown clothes that he hasn't found his Hot Wheels in months? Walsh goes through a list of the top 9 excuses, and shows us that we are really only fooling ourselves.

Why we keep things
  • "I might need it one day" - it's smart to think ahead to the future, but clutter can "stop us from living in the present." (He specifically discusses those of us who keep clothes a size or two too small - just because we *will* lose 10 lbs soon!).
  • "It's too important to let go" - These are things that have sentimental value (Grandma's tea towels), family history (your child's first pair of shoes) or mark personal achievements (all of your cheerleading awards from high school). "Clutter makes us forget what's really important." (Have you ever not had family over to visit because your house was too messy?)
  • "It's worth a lot of money" - Things with a great perceived value are sometimes the hardest to get rid of, but "Clutter robs us of real value" when we live in a messy home filled with things we don't use.
  • "My house is too small" - There is nothing wrong with wanting to better your situation and have a bigger home someday, but you can't live for the next house. "CLutter steals our space."
  • "I don't have the time" - Sure, we're all busy, but think of how much time you'll save if you are not hunting for keys, permission slips or other lost items.
  • "I don't know how it got like this" - "Clutter takes over" - for some reason, we hand control over to our things. Take back the control!
  • "It's not a problem, my husband only thinks it is: - We must communicate about clutter issues. If one person perceives it as a problem "clutter jeopardizes our relationships."
  • "It isn't mine" - Other people's clutter robs us of opportunities that should be ours. Stop storing things for others - reclaim your home!
  • "It's too overwhelming" - It IS overwhleming, but the result of being clutter-free is a HUGE emotional benefit. "Clutter denies us peace of mind."
Walsh encourages us to "look beyond stuff and imagine the life you could be living." Picture your ideal home. Do you have a romantic get-away in your Master Bedroom? A Family Room that encourages the family to work and play together? Think about how you want each room to be used, and be sure to communicate this with others in your household. If you aren't on the same page about how you want to use your Family Room, the list of "necessary items" will be vastly different!

So - that's Part One of the book. Are you ready to declutter?

As I read some of the excuses for clutter, I could feel myself getting embarrassed! I have said so many of those excuses time and time again! I have given some thought to the life I want to live too - I want to be a stay-at-home mom to my children. I want the freedom to have at least half of each day to playing and enjoying being with my kids. I want weekends and evenings to be reserved for family time. I want my kitchen to be ready to prepare healthy meals for my family. I want my family room to provide entertainment and relaxation for the whole family. I want the living room and dining room ready to entertain any surprise guests, and I want the dining room table available so that I can sit with the kids and help them with their homework.

Our basement playroom is where the kids can play, movies can be watched and Craig and I carry out any office duties (bill paying, filing etc). The master bedroom will be a relaxation sanctuary - no toys, no storage! my closet will only hold clothes that fit me now, so that I don't need to waste 20 minutes trying on clothes every time I get dressed!

I have a plan in place! Tomorrow I will blog about Part II - which gets into the FAST way to clear clutter. It's a great way to start and results are immediate! I can't wait to start (even if I am a bit short on time until after our vacation). Who's with me????

Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Catch-Up!


My busy week is over - and I survived! Here's a quick run-down of what we've been busy doing:

Maddie had a birthday party at home last weekend. Big parties = big work! i am glad all of the kids' birthdays are past for another year!

My Brownie troop had it's last meeting for the year and ended with a sleepover at our local zoo. It was a lot of fun, although I didn't get much sleep. We took a hike, met some animals, toured the zoo and got to pick apart owl pellets!

We added on to our garden. This is the "during" shot - the after shots will come later!

the bummer news is that I had to ground Ryan. As in, take away toys, no tv, no privileges at all. He inked up my bedroom - tableclothes, lampshade, dresser, clothing etc. I'm done being mad about it. I just hope we did the right thing with the punishment for him.

So it's been a long week. i have some things I want to post about before vacation - hope I can find the time! Oh - Maddie snapped a photo of me & Craig the other day - she didn't do too bad of a job!