A clean organized bathroom puts the day into a rhythm.
This room starts your day and ends your day.
But we still tend to let piles grow here.
You have drawers in your bathroom.
Put like stuff together.
Medicine can be placed in one drawer.
Girl week stuff can go in another.
Hair stuff can live together.
Stuff you use every single day (deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, comb) can go together in a drawer.
They do not need to sit by the sink.
You are allowed to have a clean surface.
Same thing with the bathroom closet or cabinet under the sink; washcloths on one shelf, towels on another.
Do you really need more towels than can fit on one shelf?
I bet not.
Pick your favorite color.
Keep those, give away the rest.
Do not keep stuff just because you have the room to keep it. Let your stuff breath.
Your morning will be calmer, your evenings will be sweeter.
…and that is a gift you can give yourself,
I love mailbox surprises.I despise mail.
This does make sense.
It really does.
Surprises are cards and packages, sometimes a jar of cookies.
Mail is everything else.
Mail shows up more then surprises.
The mailbox can be a constant source of clutter and an sneaky source of stress.
One October, I spent a portion of my lunchtime calling yesterday’s mail to get off their list and unsubscribe to junk. I was on hold for several minutes with each one so I could eat at the same time, making this process a little less painful.
I remember it being October because several customer service representatives informed me that I would be off the list today, but that it would take 60-90 days to completely stop receiving mail from them.
I looked at it as a Christmas present to myself.
There are apps now to help with this task. If you know of a good one, please share in the comments below if you have found a good one!
It is some work, but it is worth it.
You will greatly minimize your paper clutter,
It will also allow more room to be available in your box for surprises.
And that is super awesomeness.
This is my sister’s genius idea.She has a superhero power that enables her to stretch a dollar and make it two, while at the same time, spring cleaning her kitchen.
She is onto something.
Here is one of her tricks…
For the month of February, she does not grocery shop.
Let me explain…
She still makes her growing family almost every meal they eat but only uses what she has in her pantry to do so.
This delicious idea saves them a bunch of money.
This fabulous idea prevents a lot of packaged food from expiring.
This crazy idea pushes her to experiment and tryout a bunch of Pinterest ideas.
This genius idea sneakily cleans a part of her house that a majority of us would like to close the door and not think about.
From what I understand she “shops” from her pantry weekly and takes the stuff she wants to focus on and work with, over to a cabinet by the stove. From there she picks and chooses what she will create today, making soups and casseroles, snacks and treats.
Her Pinterest boards are pretty amazing.
She admits to one loophole. She can buy something from the grocery store in order to make a dish but the bulk ingredients have to come from her pantry.
She does the same thing with her freezer.
Then BOOM she is already ahead of the game when it comes to spring cleaning.
Now, if I ever figure out how she is able to buy 27 large bags of M&M’s for a total of 27 cents with all these coupons and code words and secret handshakes…
I’ll let you know.
I have form a group on Facebook called Decluttering for a Cause. It is open to the public and you are welcome to join.
I will be sharing a helpful tip every day in Febuary on simplifying your home. Some of the big posts I will also share on this blog.
Here is one strategy I shared last week…
Is your closet ready to barf? No really…is it so full that you can’t see the floor? Does it cause constant anxiety in the morning?I am guessing you are nodding your head right now. I can’t see you, but I bet you are agreeing with me.
So I think we found a good place to start.
Trust me on this one, it will improve your whole day by beginning with a clean and organized closet.
My closet use to look like it could barf at any moment.
I had so much clothing, I had to pack it into seasonal tubs and spend an entire afternoon at the beginning of the season unpacking and repacking my closet. Even with half of my clothing in storage at all times, I still had to push and pull things out of the way every time I did laundry to get my clean, wrinkle free, clothes into the closet again. It never failed, every time I pulled something out of the overflowing closet it needed to be ironed, again.
I was pretty fed up with my closet not being able to breath and even more so when we moved all of our belongings 3 times in one summer. In other words, I totally understand where you might be coming from right now.
So here is what helped me pare down.
It is the most time efficient decluttering method I have come up with for cleaning out closets and minimizes having to make a bunch of decisions right now.
I put 3 boxes on the floor of my closet marked, Donate-Ask Someone-Keep.
Then I turned all the hangers backwards so they hooked from the back to the front. Then everyday I wore whatever I felt like wearing. During the day I had to decide if I really looooved the outfit I was wearing.
Did it scream, “MAGGIE!!”
Did it fit right? No really, does it fit right, RIGHT now or did it fit right 10 years ago?
Does it fit my lifestyle right now? …meaning does it work with my current job and how I like to spend my weekends…right now.
I had to decide before lunch and depending upon that decision, I knew if it was going into the Donate or Keep box when I took it off in the evening. I left the Ask Someone box for clothing I wanted to give away but knew someone specific who might like it.
In the beginning I tried to sell clothing at an consignment shop and did make a little money, but honestly it was not worth my time and energy.
Once each box was full I washed them in their own load and either took them directly to Goodwill, photographed them and sent it to the person I thought might want it, or in the case of the keepers, I hung them in my closet. The clean keepers were hung back up facing the right way. I forced myself not to wear anything turned around the correct way until everything else in the closet was worn once.
By the last few days of the month, I just took everything that was on a hanger still turned around and put it in the Donate box. I was really dying to re wear some of my favorites by then.
So let us start with the closet today.
Happy February Folks! It’s going to be a lovely one!!
I wanted to invite you too! It is open to the public and will last for the 29 days we have in February. I am going to do my best to share a bunch of tips and strategies for simplifying the clutter in your home.
I have had several people email or message me on where to start simplifying the physical clutter in their home, so I am wrapping this up as a little gift to you, to help you on your journey.
Obviously, I have taken minimalism and simplifying to an extreme in my own life but my intent is not to make you a mini me.
I am not going to make you give up your tv or your microwave but I will challenge you to clear some space so you can fully live in the rooms of your home.
The locals joining the group can donate items to the rummage sale at the end of be month to benefit a family who lost everything in a fire. If you are not a local you could pass your treasures on to a thrift store in your area.
So if you are looking for an extra push this month to declutter some troubling areas of your home, join us on Decluttering for a Cause on Facebook.
Cheers to taking control over your stuff.
Cheers to not letting your stuff control you!
I own eyeliner.
She owns “perfume”.
Both are stored in this room.
So I guess it is appropriate to can call it, “The Make Up Room”.
It is also the home of the dragon.
The dragon is really the water pump that gives out a roar when we turn the water on in the morning.
We chime in together, “Good morning Dragon” when she first makes her presence known.
She has become our friend.
Cubby gets one side of the closet and I have the other. The baskets were handmade by my sister and I, and hold our underwear, socks, leggings and other wearables that can not be hung up.
Slowly, I am replacing the plastic hangers with antique wooden hangers.
Wooden hangers create charm.
Wooden hangers make my clothing look adventurous.
So, there you have it. This is where we keep our clothes. I will never go back to owning more clothing than what I can wear in a week. It simply does not make sense to do otherwise.
Cheers to less decisions in the morning.
Cheers to the same about of laundry.
Cheers to dragons and other mythological creatures that live it the corners of dark closets everywhere.
Cubby works hard at school to complete several worksheets and homework assignments daily.
She brings them home.
She shares them with me.
We place them in a box under the kitchen cabinet.
Then, when the urge hits us to draw, we have the backsides of a zillion papers to choose from!
Some in COLOR!
Do I keep every single worksheet,
every single homework assignment,
every single drawing she has ever produced.
That would be silly.
We hang and rotate a few of our favorites in the house but when new favorites are created, we take the old ones down and put them back in the box in the kitchen.
A few of her drawings have really tugged on my heart strings. I will admit, some hang in our tiny house a little longer then a week. I am sure every mother has their version of them. With these treasures, I take a quick photo of them and save them to a digital file on my computer.
Just a few.
Just a few of my ALL TIME favorites.
My plan it to add them to a digital book at the end of each year. When Cubby is older, I will give her a copy of the file to reminisce and share. If she wants to print them, it will be ready for her. If she chooses to travel the world with all she owns in a suitcase, she will have a flash drive to pull out on homesick days…or whatever the newest digital saving device is a decade or two from now.
Hopefully this will create a balance between the extremes. When she moves away from home and starts her life independently she will have the drawings of our large heads with lop sided eyes and super long squiggly arms, hugging each other. She will have the note she wrote the Tooth Fairy explaining why her missing tooth is somewhere under her grandparent’s deck. She will have her first A+ Spelling Test that prompted a happy dance from Mommy. The drawing of her fairy friends and their home will be hers again. And the note of warning she gave Santa, to not let his reindeers track mud into her grandmother’s home, will be safe. They will be hers. She will have all these things without me burdening her with a trunk full of tubs and boxes of paper. She will have them digitally or printed off in one book as a childhood keepsake.
So what do we do with all the papers now?!
Cubby has kept me hopping. She gives me tips before bedtime on what to work on next and shares her thoughts on design at the breakfast table. She worries about giving one with a heart to a boy and which one should go to her grandma. Letting her and our trash, lead our creations has been a crazy, fun adventure!
If a stack of 10 uniquely made Valentines for $10 will make your heart smile, send me an email (email@example.com) with your address and PayPal account and I will send you our trash…I mean treasures. Shipping is free. If you live locally, we can drop them off to you this week when we are in town running errands.
Cheers to decluttering the paper in our house.
Cheers to teamwork.
Cheers to creating.every.single.day!
Monthly Trash Totals, The Challenge to Create 30 Toys in 30 Days, The No-Trash Project, Tiny House, Trash-Free Little Ones
One of my favorite 3 foot friends came knocking on my door early in January, with a detailed description of a dinosaur he needed as a nighttime snuggly toy. I know, how cute?!
How lucky am I?!
I quickly realized my knowledge of all things dinosaurs needed a refresher.
Thank you Internet!
I had him draw his idea out on paper while I set up the sewing machine and dug into a tub of fabric that was donated to me from a friend down the road.
We then set out to make the perfect little dinosaur, one limb at a time. Adjustments to the design were made.
…and actually, I was informed, a whole new dinosaur was created. Thankfully, he was okay with the new guy and erased parts of his drawing and redrew what I had made.
But then I was left with my first piece of trash for 2016; the plastic spool that held yards of thread.
It sat on the counter for a couple of days staring at me.
I stared back.
Then it hit me.
You see, I work at two elementary schools so I have access to a lot of trash cans.
A lot of trash cans with really cool stuff being thrown away.
I found this wooden thingy and brought it home. I set it on top of the plastic spool and before you know it a little person was formed. The hair is made from the wool strings found in the inside of a baseball that was going to be thrown away. The scarf and bow was created from an old tshirt that was found in my tub of scrap fabric.
I know I can find wooden spools of thread with cotton instead of a petroleum based materials, but I have not found them yet.
I know they are out there.
Until then, I am using up my stash of thread. This year my goal is to let my trash guide my art making. I could not be more excited for this fresh new year!
Cheers to toy making.
Cheers to zero trash.
Cheers to little kids and the joy they bring to life.
Triumphantly, I walked… no, I bounced… out of the local antique store with past-your-elbows-high GOLD gloves, purse and lipstick tube holder thingy…with a mirror.
Santa can not bring something handmade to a magic-believing 6 year old fashion girl.
Five dollars shorter and so proud of my find, I showed it off to anyone and everyone before I reached home.
I get kinda pumped when I hit the jackpot, especially when I walk in without the plan of striking it.
For those who know Cubby, they know that this has her name written all over it!
By the time I got home I realized that Santa could not get all the credit for this one. I wrapped it up in lace and put it “under” the tree from me.
The real me.
I ate a cookie or two, slept, called in reinforcements, and headed back out for Santa, this time with elves who like to shop local,
like to shop second hand,
elves who may not know it yet but,
hate contributing to the production of more waste by buying new plastic things.
Elves who surprisingly look a lot like me.
But this time- what do my wondering eyes should appear…
But a dress,
just the right size,
loaded with purls and shiny things!
Oh happy dance, as I pranced to the counter with my find.
I also handed over 3 books and set of pens and spiral drawing thingys that she specifically asked for after playing with an identical set at After School Care.
I HAVE NO IDEA!
They just jumped out at me when I walked by the booth marked 30% off.
Ask me if I have any idea how to create the intricate designs described in the inside cover of the box.
I HAVE NO IDEA!
…but one of my elves knows how, and cannot wait to show her.
Ask me how I was so lucky shopping second hand for Santa.
I HAVE NO IDEA!
Ask me how I handed the clerk $20 for all this loveliness and received money back.
I HAVE NO IDEA!
It must be the holiday magic.
Seriously, this kind of shopping is so much more fun than chainstore shopping, where everything is wrapped in plastic packaging.
When I arrived back home I hid my findings in the last built-in hiding spot in the tiny house that Cubby has not found. I also pulled out the two month old gem that
I HAVE NO IDEA
how I kept a secret from her for so long.
It is the big girl gift.
Wrapped in lace under the tree.
Two from me and three from Santa, totaling under $30. Christmas does not have to be about a million presents under the tree. It can be just about you and me and the excitement we share when we find the perfect surprise.
One step at a time.
Reducing our waste and finding beauty and joy in the process.
Cheers to using this next trip around the sun, to focus on caring for our planet a little more deeply.
Cheers to a fresh.new.year.