Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dunlap Love

My friend Kaylyn is super crafty and makes some wonderful and beautiful things.  God has been working on her recently to use her talents in a way to serve those in need around us, specifically orphans.  She recently put together a blogspot for her business, Dunlap Love, and has outlined what she plans to do with her creations and the money she makes.  I'm so amazed by her godly heart and desire to serve, so I wanted to share with all of you.  (You can also find her on Etsy!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kid's Toys

I promised Brenda over at Unsolicited Advice, that I'd put up some pictures of my toy organizers.  This is one area that I've actually gone and spent the money needed to get things somewhat under control.  I still need to do a few things to get it totally workable (one of which would be to figure out how to get a 3 year old to help me clean up more...) but we're doing pretty well with it.  I did a bit of reorganizing as I was taking these pictures, it was needed and is going pretty well, so I like the set up right now.

We do have a "play room" it's our sunroom/porch, but I have it set up for the kids.  Yes, I was a preschool teacher so the urge to create "centers" runs deep in my blood :).  I didn't actually segment things off, but we do have a general flow to the area that I really like.

Play Room/Porch:

These storage shelves are some of my favorite things.  I LOVE them :), but they do hold a bit too much for my kids at this point.  When all the bins are dumped (which is about 4-5 days a week around here) Abigail gets too over loaded to help clean.  I went through yesterday and cleaned each drawer out about halfway to have fewer toys in general circulation.  Doesn't seem like they've noticed yet ;).  The majority of our toys live out here.

I also have this storage box in the living room:
 It's sort of my catch-all for things that don't fit into a nice category in the bins outside or in the kids' rooms.  We have video game items in a basket on the right, but the left is basically where I dump toys if I don't feel like (or don't have time) to sort them out to their proper areas.  Some of the bigger things do live around the outside.
And, just for perspective, here's how the area flows together.

In the kids' rooms, I don't really keep very many toys (at least, I don't think I do!).  My kids love to be around the action so only rarely do they even want to go play by themselves.  I used to keep more in their rooms, but they would only drag it out to the living room.

Abigail mostly has the toys that are too old for Nathan.  He would either tear them up or choke on them.

And Nathan gets the toys that are really too young for both kids.  :) I just put these in here, though, so he's quite curious and ready to undo my work.

And that's it!  I've tossed a lot of toys, we don't keep ANYTHING broken,  and I sell old stuff and doubles regularly at consignment sales.  We're still working on keeping it all put away (I cleaned for these pics, lol) but we at least have a place for everything even if not everything stays in it's place.  Also, I'm working on tags for the bins so anyone cleaning up will know where things go.  Hopefully that will be the last piece needed for this particular area.  :) It would be nice to have one actually done.

Friday, April 15, 2011

One Down, One to Go

I finished the coupon declutter...sort of.  It's all put away and contained at least, but I really need to take some time to go through and toss the expired ones.  Sigh, another day.  For now, I'm going to TRY to simply focus on the fact that at least the clutter is hidden away a bit.  And I have enough space to put new circulars away, so the clutter should stay away for at least a little bit.  I don't have a ton if extra space, though, so tossing old coupons may quickly become a priority.  Anyway, here are my after pics:

The yellow folder on the left is where I threw all my loose coupons.  Not ideal, but at least if little hands grab it now, they won't scatter all over the floor.  Eventually I'll find homes for the binders and other things that are just sitting there, but for now, this is better than in was!

Oh, and if you were wondering all those coupons went here:
I'm thinking about getting an accordion file to hold them that way I wouldn't be chained to the filing cabinet every Wednesday when I'm clipping for grocery shopping.  It might work, but it's also another thing to buy, and I don't have the money right now.  :) Eventually I'd like to have my home all spiffy and organized in cute ways, but until I can afford that I'm trying to just plain get it organized.  In whatever ugly/functional way I can.

New Nap Time Ideas

I've been doing the same thing day after day during naptime a la "The FlyLady".  Clean kitchen, declutter for 15, daily mission, flip laundry, 15 min computer time, one item from the WHB, etc. (I posted on that here.)  But it has all become kinda boring.  I never feel like I'm getting anywhere and that for me becomes a problem.  So I've decided to consolidate a bit and see if things will work better.  Here's the new plan (just for nap, the rest of my day is pretty much the same right now):

Sunday: Planning
Monday: Yard Work/Car clean out
Tuesday: Cleaning
Wednesday: Menu planning/Office items
Thursday: Free
Friday: Organizing + Mop Kitchen/Dining Room
Saturday: Usually with family, but if I'm home I'll probably add another cleaning or organizing day, whatever needs to be done most.

It's been kind of a rough first week, but I'm going to try this again next week to see how it works.  I like that I'm not doing the same thing everyday, but I did notice I got a bit more sidetracked this week.  Especially Wednesday.  Sitting at the computer for "office work" is never a good idea if you don't have a plan.  Which I didn't.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

OYOL Week 14 and Misc. Thoughts

 I've been working since the year began to declutter my home and get rid of the excess that's just sitting around and over all I think I've been doing pretty well.  I've noticed now that some places are getting cluttered because the organization within them is not working.  For example:

This cabinet isn't bad, but I can't get to the back and it's hard to get new stuff put away.

 So I end up with things here:

 And here.  Especially on grocery days.  I eventually get them put away, but only after a good 45 mins of resorting.

Another area is my couponing.  The files are currently so full they are busting and so I haven't put any more away leaving me with this:
 And this:

I'm hoping to get one or both taken care of tomorrow for my Week 14 OYOL (decluttering).  I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

OYOL Week 13- After

Well, we were really busy this week, so my "after" generally looks about the same, if not worse, as the "before".  One of my friends was holding a consignment sale this week and I helped out with it a lot.  Sooo, yeah, not much going on at or with the house.

I've found that I like sharing the dirty details of my home with you guys, so I've decided to post a few more.  Partially to make Brenda feel better, too :).  I'll admit that the pictures I took for the before post I tried to really focus in on the spots that give me the most trouble, so here's a view of the full, in action, version ;)...

My kitchen after grocery shopping and cooking dinner:
(Sorry for the crooked picture)
 Good news is after only ohhh, 3 hours or so I finally got it cleaned.  Not straight cleaning though, I got distracted by two little faces that wanted me to play ball with them.

How could I say no?

I've been trying really hard to keep on top of things, though.  My goal is too not let my mess go past the end of one day into the next.  So I do try to get things mostly straightened before I quit for my night and over all I've been pretty successful so far (I also don't beat myself up if it DOESN'T get done).  It's helped that I've started looking at it as just something the needs to be done (as in "it's basic maintenance that helps my house run smoothly"), not as something I have to get done (as in "bleh, I can't believe I have to do this again").  Attitude really does make all the difference.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Bit of an Epiphany

I've realized (again) the importance of discipline in my life. It's amazing the far reaching impacts of a disciplined life. Whether it's gardening, weight loss, or housekeeping, being disciplined is a major component in all of them. I love The Biggest Loser and one of the things I've learned from the show (as well as my own weight loss journey) is that you have to work hard to get the weight off, but then not as hard when you are at the maintenance point. In the same way I'm realizing that I have to suck it up and just DO the extra housework needed to get to excess out of my house before I can get to the maintenance part. Once the habits are in place and the clutter is gone, housework won't take as long. But it still needs to be DONE, it can't be neglected all together. This is where I normally fail at diets. I lose the weight, and then quit weighing myself, neglect the healthier foods, and get lazy about my exercising. So the weight creeps back on. In the same way, I spend hours straightening, decluttering, and cleaning things only to sit back and let it go right back to the state it was in before. What I need to do is to put the hard work in, but then stay disciplined on the basic pieces of maintenance that allow me to keep that lean, clean house. It all ties together in a super simple way that just blows my mind :).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

OYOL Week 13- Before

I seem to have missed a few weeks in here... :) I guess I got sidetracked and distracted, so I'll be going back over those.  I started trying to redo my home management binder, and like a true perfectionist, it's taking a lot of my time right now.  My thought was to redo that binder and separate out the menu planning stuff into a new binder and have it all coordinate and look nice together.  In theory it sounds good, but in actuality it's not coming along very fast.  I probably need to got back to work on just getting the basics of my menu planning down and then work about making it look nice.

I've also discovered many, many new blogs about decluttering, cleaning, organizing, the whole nine yards and I've been spending a lot of time perusing those.  Lot of good ideas, but not a great use of time.  I really need to work on DOING and then pick up maybe just a few ideas at a time.  What can I say, I'm a dreamer :).

I did successfully cook big batches of two dinners.  One was a pork roast, which Kent will eat, and the other was a Black Bean Chili, which only I eat, but they have successfully been frozen and reheated without complaints, so I'm thrilled with that!

Anyway, on to Week 13.  This week we're tackling our main clutter spots.  I can tell you right now what mine are without even walking through the house.  Honestly, right now my entire living room is cluttered because I'm taking a break from tagging some outgrown kid's stuff for a consignment sale that starts Thursday (yikes, only a day and a half left!  I need to get moving!),  but overall I've been doing a fairly good job keeping the our house picked up and straightened.  These are just the spots that I can't seem to get rid of (if you follow FlyLady, these are my "hotspots").

They are:
                                         My counter next to the door we come in and out of.

 My "laundry chair".  The place where all good laundry intentions go to die.  Seriously, it's like once it's on the chair, it's good enough.  :) At least this time I've actually folded it, usually it's just a pile.  Also, you can see another of my projects behind the chair where we're trying to pick a new wall color.

                    Computer desk.  The top but the shelf under it could really be included as well.

And lastly, the laundry basket in my room.  This one just frustrates me, it's been there since we moved in last June and it's really just a catch all that sits there and I never take the time to go through it an MOVE the dern thing.  If I could get this cleared out I could actually have a mostly clear floor.

I have a few other spots that come and go depending on life at the moment, but these four are the most consistent that I deal with.  (Opps, just reread Brenda's blog and we were supposed to only pick our top three.  :) Oh well, I'm close!).  I'll work on decluttering these this week and get some "after" photos.  The tough part is that I really just need to stay on top of these spots so that they don't come back every time I turn around.