Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 16 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 16 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life. Challenge 16 - Organize your desktop and surrounding surfaces

I didn't get in a full hour on this project, but I made a ton of progress. School items were returned to their spots. A small pile of papers went to the burn box while a much larger pile went in the recycle bin. I haven't completely finished clearing it off, but I am now able to push the keyboard back and have a surface to write on again. I'll post pictures this weekend after I finish working on it.

The desk drawers are actually in really good shape. I just straightened them the other week when we worked on drawers. I do need to take my to be filed folders downstairs to the filing cabinet still. Hopefully this weekend.

Day #15 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 15 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life. Challenge 15 - Organize Your Keys I don't have any loose keys laying around, so I decided to check the keys on my keychain. The van key, front door key, and church keys required no checking because I use them fairly often. That leaves 5 more keys. As it turns out, one works the deadbolt on the upstairs back door. One works the doorknob of one of the basement doors. (Apparently I have no keys for the two downstairs deadbolts or the second doorknob.) One works for the shed. That leaves me two unidentified keys. I'm guessing one is for DH's camper shell. The last key I have no idea, and I can't think of anywhere else to try it. I guess that means one can come off of my keychain when I figure out which is for the camper shell.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day #14 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 14 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life. Challenge 14 - Out with the outdated information. Remove old magazines, newspapers, newsletters, etc. We don't get many magazines, but I came up 3 catalogs and one outdated magazine to recycle. We also don't get a daily newspaper. The one's I buy on Sundays go straight to the burn box for the wood stove once I've taken out the coupons. I love tasks that take under 5 minutes! :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day #13 - 30 Days to a SImpler Life

It's day 13 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life. Challenge 13 - Edit your projects. The details -" Today, examine all of the projects you have not completed. To locate them, look into files, inside drawers, in closets, and under the bed. As they surface, make a list of things you promised yourself, or others, to do. Divide the list into Big Projects and Small Projects. See how many you can come up with in 30 minutes. Then ask yourself, "Which projects can be jettisoned? Which are a burden? Which ones are totally unrealistic? Which ones am I willing to start today? Finally, drop one project from your life and box up all its paraphernalia. You know what we are talking about --- paint sets, knitting needles, unread magazines, and plans for building a dome-shaped doghouse. Finally, place the supplies to be recycled in the trunk of your car. (30 Days to a Simpler Life, p. 81)" Here is my list of current projects: 1. Cross-stitch Christmas stocking for youngest - I have put way to much time into this already to give up now. I will finish it this year. 2. Crochet blanket for DD2 - I've worked on this one on and off for like 4 maybe 5 years now. I have all of the squares done. They just need to be put together. I'm really hoping to be able to give this one as a Christmas present this year. 3. Photos - I have so many photos that I need to do something with. I want to scrapbook, but so far have only purchased one pack of paper. I'm watching for albums and page protectors to go on sale, but otherwise this one's staying on the back burner until I've finished the two previous ones. Here is a list of things I've promised to do: 1. Hem up a pair of pants for DH - These are already pinned. It's just a matter of pulling out the sewing machine one day and finishing. 2. Copy standardized tests and mail in. - Must do. 3. Start packing up winter clothes and pulling out spring ones. I hate rotating clothes, but it's really one of those unavoidable biannual projects. My plan is to start as soon as 1 and 2 are finished. 4. Continue working on simplifying. Ongoing at a pace of a little bit each day. 5. Searching for used fall curriculum - Ongoing at a pace of a little bit each day. 6. 52 books in 52 weeks - Ongoing in spurts. I'm a little behind, but still hanging in there. There's my list of projects and promises. My goal is to have 1 and 2 of the second list done before the end of the month, so I can focus on the rest. I don't really have any to jettison, but I have promised myself not to add anything else until some of these are finished.

Day #12 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 12 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life. Challenge 12 - Simplify Your Mind I confess. I completely ditched this one. I couldn't think of something that makes me grumpy or angry. There are things that my children do that would qualify, but I know it's a matter of training or acceptance. No list needed for those. As for DH, I've just learned to be honest about some things and ignore others that aren't important (like putting away the sugar and creamer when he's finished his coffee. Annoying at times, but not worth fussing over.) I did manage a little of simplifying over the weekend. My mom was visiting and had a hard time opening the drawer under the oven. I apologized and mentioned that I was planning on getting rid of the two pans for mini muffins in the drawer since I never use them and they jam the drawer fairly often. My mom took them because she has to make smaller muffins for Dad's type 2 diabetes and hadn't had a chance to buy new pans. In the end, it was perfect for both of us. My drawer no longer jams, and she has enough mini-muffin pans for baking.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day #11 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 11 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life

Challenge 11 - Create a minimalist environment in one room

Alright I'm gonna cheat a little bit on this one and pick the dining room. It has one table, six chairs, a small flower arrangement, the chandelier, one large picture, and 2 small pictures. No clutter. No surfaces to clean. I know the challenge says to take down the pictures, but they're staying. We just put the large one up a few months ago, and I would much rather someone walk in and notice a picture than walk in and see a bare wall all smudged up from the kids that really needs painted in the next month or two.

Instead I decided to clean the dining room. I moved the table into the kitchen; cleaned all the carpet stains with Resolve; shampooed the carpet; wiped some of the smudges off the wall; cleaned the windows, light switches, and back door; vacuumed the dead ladybugs from the chandelier; and wiped it down. I also shampooed my bedroom and a small part of the living room. I think I might put a movie on for the kids and take a nap. Cleaning takes a lot more energy than simplifying.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 10 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 10 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life.

Challenge 10 -Knickknack elimination challenge

The challenge is to find and eliminate 10 knickknacks.

This is definitely not my best challenge. Knickknacks in my house can only be displayed in high out of the reach places. I have one shelf of Precious Moments on the living room wall and a few dolphins on the television cabinet. I don't want to get rid of any of these, so I went digging through the kitchen cabinet over the refrigerator to see what I could find. I only found one knickknack for immediate removal, which I put in my Goodwill bag. (Apparently I had already purged some of the other items that I thought might still be up there.) There are some Precious Moments figurines in the cabinet that I jotted down a note to sell over the summer on EBay. Downstairs I spied a small box from my grandmother's house, but it had something like 40 canning jars in front of it, so I decided it could wait until summer as well. So I spent the day shampooing the carpets in the older kid's bedrooms and the hallway and cleaning up in the office/toddler bedroom. There I did much better. I found a small shoebox sized pile of trash, a much larger pile of recycle, and several toys that I moved down to the consignment sale box.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 9 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 9 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life.

Challenge 9 - Organize your recipes

For the record, I don't really use a lot of recipes. The food we eat is very plain and simple. Most of my recipes are either breads or desserts.

I was short on time yesterday so I didn't completely reorganize my recipes. I sorted out my loose papers and tossed several recipes that we no longer use. I also typed up my favorite bread, roll, and muffin recipes and put them in my current recipe binder. Recipes to try or the ones I still need to type up went into a two pocket folder for now. I do need to start writing out some of the meals I cook to pass on to the girls, but I'll have to actually make the different meals to figure out the amounts I use.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 8 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 8 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life

Challenge 8 - Clean out the pantry or for a challenge do some serious streamlining in the kitchen

I been trying to do a better job of rotating my pantry items, so I was curious to see what I would find for this challenge.

Throw away - The tub of Crisco was 2 years out of date probably because I never use it.

Give away - I did find a few jars of baby food. My current 2yo took a long time to switch over to real food because he had a very sensitive gag reflex. I also pulled out some spaghetti to give away. Honestly after eating the whole wheat variety for awhile, the regular pasta just tastes nasty. It was free for me, and I'll gladly make it free for someone else.

Everything else is in date and something that I use, so I just straightened up a bit.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day #7 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 7 of 30 Days to a Simpler Life

Challenge #7- Clear the bathroom counter and clean out the cabinets and drawers

The bathroom drawers were no problem - I came up with a piece of plastic that had been wrapped around the bars of soap and a very dirty Q-tip. Otherwise, there really wasn't anything else that needed to go. (YEAH!! That means I haven't added any unnecessary items since I cleaned the drawers out a few months ago!)

One cabinet contains my cleaning supplies, which I had already cleaned at the beginning of the month. The other cabinet has a few miscellaneous items, but nothing that needs to go.

Now for the counter - Three items just wasn't enough for me. The soap dispenser, candle, and toothbrush holder need to stay. The large germ X bottle and DH's mustache trimmer also have to stay. (The youngest would play with the latter if it were moved down into the drawers.) I did remove a few miscellaneous items to their proper homes like the jug of carpet shampoo and a small pile of papers. Overall this was an easy challenge!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring is in the Air!!

How do I know spring is almost here?

It's not the warm weather...

Around here spring officially arrives when DH makes his first trip to Southern States to get ready to start the garden. In addition to replenish our supplies of starter potatoes and bean seeds, he can home with 4 lettuce and 4 cabbage plants. It will be fun to try something new this year. Hmm... I've feeling the need to start checking out library books for more ideas to try...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day #6 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 6 of the 30 Days to a Simpler Life

Challenge 6 - Check your wardrobe for items that have nothing to go with them

I don't really have any stray wardrobe items, so I opted to sort through the items in my chest of drawers instead.

  • I pulled out one pair of pants and an orange polo shirt to give to Goodwill.
  • I decided one of my nightgowns, a shirt, and a pair of shorts had reached the end of there lifespan and tossed them.
  • I also found 3 large t-shirts that I can't give away because they are fire station t-shirts from when I used to volunteer that I'll cut up and add to our depleted stash of rags.

It's not a lot, but it cleared up a lot of drawer space.

I did it!!!

I've been trying to figure out a time to exercise for a few weeks now, and it just hasn't been happening. If I do it early morning, the TV light wakes up Henry. The morning's filled with schooling and by afternoon there's housework and dinner. It was such beautiful weather yesterday that I REALLY wanted to go for a walk so...

when DH walked in the door I had just put the kid's plates on the table. I grabbed my shoes and favorite music, gave him a kiss, and headed out the door. Needless to say he was caught off guard but was a very good sport about it. He even had the kids do some picking up while I was out.

I walked mostly with a few intermittent stretches of jogging for about 3.5 miles (it's been awhile since I actually measured that route) and got back home in about 50 minutes or so.

For I long term solution, I think maybe I just need to be more flexible. One evening, one day on the weekends, and one afternoon when DH is off (he works 4 days) would give me 3 days a week to get out and walk. Surely I can squeeze in a short workout at least one other day a week.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day #5 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 5 of the 30 Days to a Simpler Life challenge

Challenge 5: Organize Your Closet

My first thought. Ugh! Anything but the closet.

Then I realized that all I had to focus on according to the challenge was the clothes. OK I can do that. Actually it's not that hard for me because I'm not a big clothes person so there are actually fewer clothes on my side of the closet than DH's.

I pulled out a skirt, a neon green shirt, a long sleeve teddy bear t-shirt, a short sleeve shirt, and a sweatshirt. The last two were showing some wear. The first three were all bought by my Mom who has different tastes than I do in clothes. I think the long sleeve shirt was the only one of those 3 that I ever wore. I also found a pair of shoes to pull out. I have plenty of hangers, and I don't feel the need to replace them just so that all of the hangers match. So after the inital groan, I finished in under 5 minutes; and I've started another small bag for Goodwill.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day #4 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's day 4 of the 30 Days to a Simpler Life challenge.

Challenge 4 - A Serene Bedroom

Part 1 - edit sheets and pillowcases

Piece of cake! I just cleaned out the linen closet a few months back. Truthfully I have two sets of sheets for each mattress in the house, 2 sets of twin sheets for our 2 air mattresses, and two extra old flat sheets that can be used for tents or catching messes when needed. Editing finished after just looking in the closet.

Part 2 - create a tranquil bedroom

We have no tv - check

We have no dresser only 2 chests of drawers - check

The wall only has 1 large and 1 small picture plus a calendar - I don't see the need to reduce these.

The bed has very few items under it. I did remove an empty shoebox and a calendar that I found under there. The puzzles (500-1000 piece) stay because Henry hasn't found them in that location.

I cleaned off my bedside table, the small table with the phone, and most of the top of my chest of drawers. It's not perfectly done, but it was certainly an improvement.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day #3 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's Day 3 of the 30 Days to a Simpler Life challenge.

Challenge 3 - Make a list of questions that will help you decide what to buy and what to forgo

or for serious simplifiers commit to buying no non-perishable items for the next 30 days.

Questions are easy:

Do I need it?
Can I accomplish the same result with something I already have?
Can I get it for less somewhere else?
Where will it be kept?

I think I'm going to have to pass on the no non-perishable items pledge because both of the girls have birthdays in the next couple of weeks, and I'll be looking for gifts for the boys once the girls' birthdays are over. We already buy a minimal amounts of non-perishables, so I'll stick with the questions for now and maybe try the 30 day pledge later in the year.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day #2 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

It's Day 2 of the 30 Days to a Simpler Life challenge.

Challenge 2 - Dejunk a drawer

Happily none of my drawers are in too bad of a shape. I decided to dejunk and straighten up the non-filing drawers of my desk. That was 4 drawers total. In the end I had a small pile of trash and a small pile of recycle. It's nice having clean drawers. Now if I could just keep my DC out, they would stay that way.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day #1 - 30 Days to a Simpler Life

I came across a great challenge from Fairy Tale Mama's blog to spend the season of Lent simplifying using the book 30 Days to a Simpler Life.

Challenge #1 - Fill a Shopping Bag of items that you no longer need/love

Since I was already in the midst of preparing things for consigning, I went a bit farther. By the end of the day, I had...

  • taken 65 items (mostly clothes) to consign
  • filled up a kitchen sized trash bag of clothes and other miscellaneous items for Goodwill
  • filled up my recycle bin with mostly unneeded papers
  • created a box of curriculum to list for sale tomorrow
  • began a new box of toys/books/etc. for consigning later as well as a smaller box for EBay items
  • and found 6 books which I need to return to the church library tomorrow