[Destination]: Clean Laundry

I still have intentions of doing some sort of organizing today; however, if I don’t get to it, I’m not too concerned.  An impromptu pillow fight that started out between my husband and the girls and then turned to just me and my four-year-old was just the medicine that was called for today.  It reminded me that, while it’s important to keep your home clean and only have what you need, it’s more important to have a pillow fight with your kids.  We laughed, ran into each other, stole each others’ pillows, and had a great time.  Our hair was a mess and we couldn’t stop smiling.  I’ll take that joy any day.

I know it sounds weird, but while I’m decluttering and removing the excess from my life, I’m slowly finding that I’m able to enjoy all life does have to offer even more.  In a recent post of mine, I listed a few physical and emotional things that clutter and excess can actually cause you if you don’t get a handle on it.  Depression, anxiety, weight gain, and a serious depreciation in our quality of life have all hit me pretty hard in the past.  I just never realized how much damage they were actually doing at the time.  I used to sit and think that this was just the way that I was.  Maybe depression and anxiety were just a large part of who I was.  

Just over the past five days, I’ve found that this is definitely not the case.  When I’ve said that I breathe a little easier now, I mean it.  I have more control over my life than I’ve ever felt that I have.  And it’s the little things like doing a load of laundry every day (and folding and putting it away), and straightening up and putting things back where they belong that has brought peace to my otherwise chaotic-feeling life.  Every donation bag I put into the back of my van provides a little more satisfaction of where my life is and where it’s going.  Clear thoughts, clearer vision, and happiness in the blessings I’ve been given…that’s the direction of this destination.  And I’m moving closer every single day.

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[Destination]: Less, Part II

So, a spending freeze means different things to different people apparently.  When I first decided to take on this challenge, I meant let’s spend $0 for 31 days.  Of course, both vehicles had to go into the shop yesterday for some expensive work, but at least we’re safe on the road.  Necessity.  On Tuesday night, I got a phone call from my dear husband saying that he had read my blog (he was away at a business conference), and he was excited to take on this challenge with me.  He didn’t ask details.  He didn’t question my motive.  He was just excited at the thought that he might have to work less.  🙂  Who wouldn’t be thrilled by that?

The other morning, after he got home from his conference, I was making pancakes for the kids for breakfast.  I used the very last of the Costco-sized vanilla we had in the house.  Dear Husband immediately looked at me and said “Guess we need a trip to Costco for vanilla.”  I looked at him with a rather puzzled look and explained to him that we would just have to do without vanilla as it wasn’t what I considered a “necessity”.  I found out then, that spending freeze to hubby meant something very different than it did to me.

It’s been very difficult for me not to pack the girls in the car and head to Ikea or Target for a shopping spree, especially with all of the organizing and cleaning out that I’ve been doing.  I have many grand ideas right now for how to add some storage to our newly remodeled powder room, a small linen closet in our bedroom that I just cleaned out today (pictures to follow), and a change in decor in our dining room.  I’m making a list for when this spending freeze is over!  Of course, it will need to be in bits and pieces.  But, boy, do I want to just go and spend, spend, SPEND!

While it’s testing my resolve, I’m sticking to my guns so far.  Hopefully, I will remain determined throughout the rest of these 31 days (only 27 left!) and keep on cleaning out and reusing things that I already have in my home.  Fingers crossed!

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The past three or four nights have been pretty restless at my house.  Not only is the baby moving more, my youngest daughter is currently waking up at strange hours of the night and staying awake for 2+ hours at a shot.  Needless to say, I’m exhausted.  Today, I wasn’t going to do much of anything.  The girls watched a few movies, and I was just planning to rest and hang out.  That did not go as planned.

Every day this week, I’ve been determined to do one load of laundry, fold it, and put it away all in the same day.  So today, I changed the beds and washed the sheets.  Not really a big deal, but I got it done even though I wasn’t going to.  As the day moved forward, I was putzing around thinking about what organizing I could do today that wouldn’t take a lot of effort.  I started by going through my daughter’s closet shelf.  It was being used as a random storage area for stuff that did not have a home.  I only got through a little bit of that before nap time (hers, not mine), but nonetheless, I did some.  When I finally put the clean sheets away, I opened the linen closet in the master bedroom and cringed.  What a mess!  The proof is in the pudding:

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How on earth did I even know what was in there?  I’m pretty sure I found a Sham-Wow in the very bottom of the closet as well.

So, since I’m organizing and cleaning out, I pulled everything out of the closet and started from scratch.  I was able to get a full trash bag of donations together, and I succeeded in organizing/making this area look a little nicer.  This is just the temporary fix until I’m allowed to add some baskets or some other cute things in there to make it look even nicer.

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I was thrilled that this only took a total of 15 minutes!  Even though I wasn’t planning on doing anything specific today, I still got something accomplished.  Getting closer to having everything in my house have it’s own home.

[Destination]: Clean Fridge!

I’m so excited to be cleaning out my house.  It’s so refreshing!  And, trust me when I tell you, this is completely uncharacteristic of me.  For those that know me, you’re probably wondering who has taken over and where the real Michelle has gone.  Don’t worry…it’s still me.  I’m just on a quest for that ideal sense of sanity.  I’m inching closer each and every day.

So today was Clean the Refrigerator Day.  I really hate cleaning things out/organizing/cleaning in general, so this project was looooonnnnngggg overdue.  Here is my before picture:

ImagePretty basic refrigerator.

To start, of course, I pulled everything out and loaded up my small kitchen counter and dining room table. 

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It really is amazing how much we can actually fit into our refrigerator.

ImageSome things I had no idea we still had.  Scary.

Once everything was out of the fridge, I started pulling out all the shelves and drawers.  I wiped down the inside of the fridge, and then washed and dried all of the shelves and drawers.  All in all, this project took a full 2 hours of my morning.  Once everything was cleaned, I got rid of (my favorite part) all expired or downright yucky food.  My trash can is full…again.  Then, I figured out a much more desirable organizational strategy for my shelves and how to stock them.  This was the end product:

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Ahh…I literally breathed a sigh of relief.  I can see what’s in my fridge!

What a difference!  Now that I can see what we have, I’ll better know what we truly need in the future.  Hopefully, we won’t continue to buy 10 salad dressings at once, which mean we’ll use what we have…which means we’ll save money!  SCORE!

When was the last time you cleaned out your refrigerator?  Even just got rid of expired items?  Don’t let it go too long!

 

 

[Destination]: Sanity

Wow…I am really terrible at this whole blogging thing.  Oh well; things have been busy, and my life has been utterly disorganized.  Such is life.  However, I’m searching for some sanity, and I’m slowly on my way there.

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I am determined to get my life/home in order before this next baby comes.  We have too much stuff, so in order to get my life on track and not feel so overwhelmed, I am simplifying…everything.  We finally completed the renovation of our downstairs powder room.  Now that it’s finished, the entire downstairs looks uniform and has really come together.  Check that one off the list.  It has also inspired me to begin a spending freeze.  Not because it cost a ton of money to renovate a small powder room (not that it was cheap either – it was a total gut), but it put things into perspective.  In order to prepare for the reno, I had to clean out the ginormous cabinets that were in there.  For about the five-hundredth time.  It felt great to get rid of stuff, but it also reminded me of how much of the same thing we often accumulate.  When I don’t know where stuff is, the common thought is that we don’t have any; therefore, I must go buy more.  Well, I have more than enough of just about everything.  Hence, the spending freeze.  But, what does that actually mean?

For the next 31 days, I am purging things, organizing things, and cleaning things to find out what I already have.  This includes food.  I’ve already inventoried my pantry and freezer.  Now, I’m going to make meals from whatever I currently have (I’ll buy some necessary staples as needed like milk, eggs, bread, and fresh fruits and veggies), and eat through some of the excess that we’ve acquired.  And I’m not kidding when I say excess!  You should see the lists I wrote for both areas of my kitchen!

I got this idea from Living Well, Spending Less, a blog that I really enjoy following and have taken a lot of tips from already.  Ruth has done a great job of showing just how to accomplish the goal of spending $0 over the next month, and I’m looking forward to giving it a shot.  

I’m also looking forward to the sanity that will come from all of this simplifying.  Her other tips have been really excellent and helpful as well, but I haven’t yet put them into full practice.  I’m ready to let go of the excess and everything else that results from it.  Call it nesting, call it crazy, call it whatever you want…but think about a few things that you could get rid of that could cause you a little less chaos and a little more relief in your own home.  Give it a shot; you’ve got nothing to lose!