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Time to Tidy Up: Only Keep Stuff You Love

Time to Tidy Up: Only Keep Stuff You Love

OnlyKeepStuffYouLoveI’ve learned a lot this week, but the best thing so far – it’s ok to throw stuff away.  Really, it’s ok.  Even if that stuff is a gift from someone you love.  It may be a wonderful gift that had great intentions, but over the years, that gift sat on a shelf and collected dust.  It’s taken up a piece of real estate in your house and over the years you can’t seem to part with it since it was a gift.

You know what I’m talking about – that candle that you burned a few times and then you stuffed it in the very back of your kitchen cabinet because you got another one you liked better.  Or, it’s the quilt that someone made you as a wedding present.  While the quilt is lovely, it doesn’t match the decor of your house, or even of your guest room, so it’s been sitting in a box for 15 years.  Or, maybe it’s that collection of items from your favorite sports team – the mugs, light-up beer steins (and you don’t even drink beer), hats, coasters, posters, soda can cozies, tickets from games you have attended, and on and on – while you love this sports team, you may not love all the gifts you are given year after year with their logo plastered on it.

I know how you feel though – being stuck with a gift and feeling like you have to keep it just because you love the person who gave it to you.  In Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she says, “Too many people live surrounded by things they don’t need ‘just because.’”  Most people have no idea how much space these things are taking up in their homes.

For me, I’ve seen this truth to be true – I can’t believe that in my already orderly (or so I thought) house I found 16 bags of things just taking up space that I didn’t want anymore, and I’m only just beginning.  The question to ask yourself when sorting through gifts is “Does this spark joy?”   Simple as that.  You have to remember that gifts are just things that are used to convey someone’s feelings for you – and after they have given you the gift, the gift’s purpose has been fulfilled.  Think about that.  It’s so true and my mind is blown.  This makes me think about gifts in a whole new light – both gifts I receive and gifts I give – honestly, it makes me want to try a lot harder when I’m giving a gift to someone.

While some gifts are hard to part with, others are easy to discard.  You can part with that engraved china plate you got as a wedding gift that has sat in a box for your entire marriage.  Yes, it was a gift, but do you even remember who gave it to you?  This happened to me yesterday.  We tackled our storage room.  This room holds a giant pile of boxes that are old grade school papers, trophies from Awana, diplomas and awards from DECA and FBLA, Coca-Cola collections, M & M collections of everything you can dream of shaped, stuffed or imprinted with an M & M on it, wedding gifts, old cards and letters, etc.  It was intense.  I can’t believe how much we threw away!  We had so many empty boxes that we had saved and intended to use for shipping gifts to people.  Silliest thing ever, because we maybe ship 3-4 boxes a year!  We had enough boxes and shipping materials to ship boxes for the next 20 years or more!  Not only were these boxes taking up a ton of space, so were all the boxes of momentos.

We spent 5 hours working on this room and have made some great progress, but we still have a long way to go.  The funny thing, I noticed my attitude change over the course of the day.  I was super excited to get started on the room – I loved seeing all the things we were able to discard and haul to the trash.  Once we started unpacking my M & M collection and my box of unexpected photos from college, I started to get really stressed.  I didn’t know what to do with this stuff.  I panicked.  We kept going and I had to walk away for awhile.  I was getting totally overwhelmed.  There were boxes overflowing with packing peanuts,  piles of sorted item we were going to donate, and piles of discarded items.  Just walking from the storage room to the the stairs was like walking through a mine field.  We cleared a path and I set aside all my momentos to deal with at a later time.  The photos and special memory items are the items you sort through last.  Thank goodness, because I like to take photos of everything!

I unpacked boxes that have been packed since I moved into my house 10 years ago.  I had boxes of decor items that don’t match my current house and honestly I didn’t even remember I had them.  I found a really cool set of metal lamps that I really like, but have no problem selling instead of keeping.  In fact, I’m not only donating items, but finding a lot that I can sell on VarageSale.  I have listed over 100 items since I’ve begun my tidying journey and I’m loving the extra money that I’m making.

I’m super proud of my husband as well, he loves to collect stuff and tends to have multiple collections of things,  let’s see, there is the Coca-Cola collection, the Star Wars Lego collection, and the Broncos collection.  I tend to look at these things as ways to collect dust, which drives him crazy.  He thinks I’m boring because I don’t really collect anything.  Yep, we are a perfect match!  He did make some great decisions on things he was willing to part with and we have big plans for our storage room.  We are going to add some shelves and I’m so excited!  Our compromise, I have to find a place to display his Coke collection because he unpacked it all!  I still have to figure this one out.  :)

Needless to say, I survived the day, we still have a ton to do, but we made a huge dent in our stuff that I’m super proud and excited.  As I work through the whole house, I’m finding that I have a ton of storage totes and bins that I no longer need – as I’ve discarded most of the items that used to be in them.  I’m also loving reading Marie Kondo’s book because there are just times in your life when you just need someone to tell you it’s ok to throw stuff away.  I also feel relieved that you really only need to keep stuff that you truly love.  How is your tidying journey going?

OnlyKeepStuffYouLove

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January 16, 20170 commentsRead More
Time To Tidy Up: Hello 2017

Time To Tidy Up: Hello 2017

TimeToTidyUpI’m happier than I should be that 2016 is over.  I have no regrets about leaving that year behind me.  It wasn’t a horrible year, it wasn’t a great year, it was just a year and I’m over it.  I’m happy to welcome 2017 and have high hopes that it’s going to be epic!  While I’m trying not to get ahead of myself or of what the Lord has in store for me this upcoming year, I’m still feeling very intrigued about what lays ahead.  Last year was an “off” year for me.  I struggled a lot with my emotions, my overall body contentment, and mostly with my sense of overall purpose and direction in my life.  Heavy stuff huh?  Yeah, I know, and it was hard to wallow through it all.  I feel like dreams I had built, toiled over, and angrily suffered through were laid to rest, friendships were built and lost, days of pounding my body in the gym were accomplished with not much gain, and I registered defeat in more ways that I want to count.  I learned that God doesn’t always write out His plans for your life on a neon sign, clear as can be, so you don’t mistake it – He just asks that you trust Him even when you have no idea what is going on.  I was in that space so many days this year that I found myself doubting who God is and if He really is there for me – and in all my days on this earth, I have never doubted God’s love for me.  Now do you see why I’m read for this year to be over?

I learned something else about myself that I’ve never seen before – I don’t function well in chaos.  I get stressed out really easy and it doesn’t take much for me to go from “good mommy” to “crazy-stressed-angry mommy” when the situation becomes overly chaotic.  When I get stressed, I instantly go into overdrive of trying to de-stress – I clean my environment, I yell, I get mad at my kids, I start making lists, little things out of place make me yell even louder, I demand that my kids pitch in and help me clean, I just turn into a crazy person trying to tidy up and ultimately calm down.  A classic example is everyday when my older kids get home from school.  They come in the door and set their backpacks in the middle of the floor of the kitchen and start unpacking them, wanting to show me everything inside – the craft they made in class, their math test, the art project they are working on, their spelling homework, etc.  All while my youngest (who has been home with me all day) is vying for my attention as well, wanting a snack, drink and to show me anything he can find at that moment to show me, plus he is usually singing a silly song about stinky farts at the same time (lovely – huh?).  While all this is going on, I usually have music playing in the background (yep, because I’m crazy) and am trying to prepare a snack so we all can re-fuel before starting homework.

This mom does not smile through all of this, nor do I patiently listen as they show me items, or do I calmly ask them all to sit at the table so we can eat a snack.  I try to take a deep breath, then my heart starts to beat faster as I get more and more stressed by all the chaos of kids, dishes, dinner prep, laundry, homework, shoes in the middle of the floor, backpacks not hung up, etc and I end up yelling and throwing a mommy tantrum trying to get everything back to a normal stress level.  This is so dumb.  It usually puts the kids in a bad mood and me too and then we all spend more time trying to repair our attitudes towards each other.  By this time, it’s 5pm, and I’m stressed and starving and all I want to fix my sour mood and chaotic feelings running through me is a brownie.  Yep, I love brownies – but you all know that.  I’ll make dinner and simultaneously whip up a batch of brownies.  You see where I’m going??  It’s a horrible downward spiral.  Chaos and stress are detrimental to me and where I’m going in life.   I know I can’t eliminate all the stress in my life, I mean seriously, I have 3 kids, life is going to be stressful, but I can help identify the stress triggers and work at fixing them.

A very dear friend of mine told me about a book she is reading, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo.  This book caught my attention because I love to organize and I love the feeling of a tidy house.  I love to discard stuff, sell it, and move on.  My house is usually very tidy – but it could be so much more simplified.  I’m totally hooked on this book.  I’m only about 40 pages in, but I’m hooked!  I’m going to spend the next couple months reading this book, doing what it says and tidying up my home, heart, and my life, and I plan to blog about as I go.

In her book, Marie asks “Why do you want to tidy?”  When you can answer that question you can begin.  For me, I want to tidy to because I want to have a clean and orderly house so that I don’t feel stressed out by my environment.  If I’m not feeling stressed out by my environment I can pay more attention to trying new things, having more fun with my family, eating healthier foods, getting better sleep, and overall being a better wife and mom.  I do believe that all of these things can be accomplished by having a tidy home, because your home is so much more than just the place to lay your head at night.  As a mom, it’s my work – it’s where I put my time and energy, it’s how I make money, it’s how I prove my worth, it’s who I am at this point in my life.

I’m hopeful that God teaches me a lot about myself and the deep-rooted reasons why I do some of the same things over and over and expect a different result.  I want change, which is really hard to say, because I HATE change, but I’m ready for it.

Have you read Marie Kondo’s book?  What did you think?  What did you learn?

TimeToTidyUp

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January 3, 20170 commentsRead More
How To Get Your Family To Eat Leftovers

How To Get Your Family To Eat Leftovers

20151218_184051There is a simple solution to leftover boredom and it’s called…Mystery Dinner!  It’s been a really long week, Christmas is just around the corner and I’ve been sick with a terrible sinus infection for the last 14 days – so as you can imagine, this momma is tried and didn’t want to cook.  I realized that I had cooked quite a bit this week so we had a bunch of random leftovers. While I don’t really like leftovers all that much, I do like that they are  a great way to be economical and save my household some money.  You know me, I love saving 20151218_182101 money!

The average American household throws away a lot of excellent food, in the form of leftovers, just because eating out is a more fun, or because they just don’t like leftovers.  While I completely agree, eating out is a lot more fun, I do love coming up with a ways to save m20151218_182343oney and if eating our leftovers will do that, then I’m all for eating what’s left in the refrigerator. Tonight we had a bunch of things to choose from, but not enough of any one thing to feed us all, so I decided to have a special “Mystery Dinner” like my mom used to do when I was kid!  In fact, my amazing mother still has Mystery Dinners with my kids when they are at her house!  If you have never had a Mystery Dinner then you are in for a real treat!

All you need to do is get out all the leftovers and start coming up with some fun and mysterious names for each dish.  Add them all to a hand-written menu and call your family to dinner!  Have each family member choose a few items from the menu without telling them what they are actually ordering.  It can be pretty funny when their plate is served and it has some pretty interesting items on it!  I pulled out these leftovers from my refrigerator:  homemade chicken noodle soup, bow-tie buttered pasta noodles, Italian sausage and pasta sauce, edamame, taco meat, Mexican rice, sweet potato hash, chips and salsa, yogurt, and bananas.  Like I said, a wide variety of random stuff!  I started trying to come up with some menu items based off what I had and here is the list I came up with:

Main Dish:

  • Frozen Snow Balls - buttered noodles20151218_182427
  • Melted Snow Balls - buttered noodles with italian sausage and pasta sauce
  • Lily Pads - edamame
  • Shoveled Snow - sweet potato hash
  • Frozen Rock Canyon - nachos created from the taco meat, mexican rice and chips and salsa

Dessert:

  • Grassy Field - Key Lime yogurt with banana and a shortbread cookie
  • Sunset - Raspberry yogurt with banana and a shortbread cookie

I g20151218_182153ot everything warmed up then I called my family to dinner!  For special effect I made them go outside and ring the doorbell!  Once they came in, I escorted them to their table (which was just the regular kitchen table) where I placed a menu and a couple card games to keep them busy while I prepared their order.  I got my notebook and pencil and waited on them.  After reading the menu everyone just giggled!  They had no idea what was what!  It was a blast!  I allowed them each to pick three items listed under Main Dish to get the ball rolling.  When their food arrived they all laughed, a few were pleasantly surprised, and one was not happy at all about his Melted Snow Balls!  After they all figured out what each menu item was they asked for their favorite item as a second helping.  Next, they all wanted to order dessert and thankfully, everyone was happy about it!20151218_184328

Overall, the night was really fun!  We ate up a lot of our leftovers and I didn’t have to spend hours in the kitchen making a brand new meal.  :)  We saved money and also had fun creating a brand new family memory.  I can tell you, days later that I overheard the kids talking about how much fun they had at Mommy’s Mystery Diner and they couldn’t wait to do it again!  I dare you to give it a try – pull out those leftovers, put your creative cap on and have some fun with your family!  I’m so glad we did!

Have any of you ever tried a Mystery Dinner?  How did it go?  What did you serve?

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December 21, 20150 commentsRead More
Katrina’s DIY Tip – How To Seal Lots Of Envelopes Quickly

Katrina’s DIY Tip – How To Seal Lots Of Envelopes Quickly

HowToSealEnvelopesIt’s Christmas time and in my house that means I have a lot of Christmas cards and letters to send out!  While I love to write my annual Christmas letter, I really dislike licking all those envelopes!  It takes forever and it tastes horrible, unless you buy the yummy flavored envelopes and I’m too cheap to do that!

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I figured out how to do this.  One of the very first jobs I had was working in a mail room.  My job was to open and process mail, as well as send out a lot of high volume mailings that had a lot of inserts for each envelope.  All day long I would stuff letters and process mail.  It was actually a lot of fun!  I got so quick at this type of thing that I was able to read a book and stuff envelopes without even looking!

This year I had a little over 200 cards and letters to send and I realized when I was sealing them all that I have a pretty quick way to seal a lot envelopes at one time – and my son suggested that he take a quick video and that I share it with my friends!  That is exactly what we did!  Here is a quick video showing how I quickly seal a lot of envelopes at one time: WATCH VIDEO NOW!

envelopoe_video

 

HowToSealEnvelopes

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December 8, 20150 commentsRead More
7 Steps To Keep Your Kid’s Clothes Organized

7 Steps To Keep Your Kid’s Clothes Organized

I have three kids, so we have a lot of clothes…we all know that kids grow like weeds and it seems like every time I turn around another one of the kids has outgrown one size and have moved on to the next size.  If you are anything like me, I’m sure you are scratching your head wondering what to do with the clothes or shoes that they just grew out of, while still considering if you should save those items for their brother or sister.  If you do decide to save the items, then how would you organize them?  How can you remember where you put them when it’s time for the next child to use them?  What system should you use?  Help!clothes2

Katrina to the rescue!  I have been there and totally understand how daunting this task can be, especially if you are trying to pinch pennies and be as economical as possible.  I’m no expert, but here is they system I have come up with over the years to keep my 3 kids clothes organized by each season and ready for the next sibling to use.

Katrina’s Organzied Kid’s Clothing System:

  • Step 1: Shop at Garage Sales.  I shop for 95% of my kids clothes at Garage Sales in the summertime and I try to buy for that upcoming year for the needs that each child might need.  I have an older boy, middle daughter, and younger boy.  In a perfect world, I want my boys to share as much as possible.  A lot of times this doesn’t happen because boys just tend to be harder on their clothes, but I try to pass as much down from my older son to my younger one.  There are a few items that my daughter can share from the boys as well, but usually she gets her own stuff – lucky girl!
  • Step 2: If It’s a Really Good Deal Buy It and Save It.  I try to buy stuff at garage sales only for that next upcoming year so I don’t have to organize and store as much stuff, but there are plenty of times that I run across a really great deal on something that I absolutely purchase and save for the next couple years before my child can use it.  A perfect example of this is a winter coat.  I found an awesome deal on a very warm winter coat in excellent condition for my daughter that was a size 5T.  When I found it she was only a year old.  But, I knew she would eventually grow into it and it was worth buying and saving until she was ready to wear it.  Be careful using this system, you can find yourself with a TON of stuff to store for the upcoming years and you have to be careful that you don’t forget what you have already bought.
  • Step 3: Save Boxes or Storage Totes.  Ever since my first son was born I have been saving his diaper boxes.  I would use them for all sorts of things, but quickly I realized how great and convenient they were for storing his clothes that grows out of.  If you don’t have diaper boxes readily available, then collect some storage bins, totes, or other boxes.  Diaper boxes are wonderful because you can store stuff in smaller portions and break down the contents by size and season.
  • Step 4: Make Labels.  This is VERY important!  I make labels for my diaper boxes.  You can make them however you want, but I have BOY labels that are blue and GIRL labels that are pink.  I made my labels in QuarkXpress and I have them   broken down from baby sizes like GIRL 0-3 Mths SUMMER all the way up to BOY 7 WINTER.  You can break them down into whatever options you want.  I also have a few that are for shoes that say SHOES 0-5 GIRL.  I print them on regular paper and then I keep a big stack of the various sizes my kids are in at that specific time in a little box along with a big roll of packing tape on the top shelf of my son’s closet so I have them readily available when I need to quickly pack up a box.diaper_boxes_clothes_labels
  • Step 5: Label Two Sides Of The Box. Make sure to print extra copies of your labels and label two sides of your boxes.  I put a label on the length and width side of every box so that no matter which way I have store my box you can see the label.  And make sure when you do store your boxes that you always store them with a label out so you can quickly know what is in each box.
  • Step 6: Have All Your Supplies Readily Available.  When my youngest son was a baby he had his own room.  I would put an empty diaper box on top of his dresser in the closet and I would tape a label to the box of whatever size he was currently in at that time.  Since babies grow of out clothes very quickly, as soon as he would move on to a different size I could quickly throw those items in the box.  This works out great when you realize that adorable onesie you loved will no longer snap and rather than try to figure out what to do with it, I would just toss it in the box.  Done.  Simple.  Easy way to deal with a problem especially when you are so tired with a newborn! Then once the box is full you close it up and store it, and start over with the next diaper box you purchase.
  • Step 7: If You Don’t Reuse Your Items, Then Sell Them.  I use this system for all three of my kids and since I only have one girl, I am able to sell a lot of my daughter’s clothes online to my VarageSale group or for your own garage sale.  Using this system it keeps all my clothes organized and very easy to grab sizes and resell.  It’s also great when a friend needs a certain size and season of an item and I know exactly which box to grab to find those things.  Plus, it feels great to be organized!

 

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October 31, 20140 commentsRead More