Hurricane Report (and not just inside the house)

I’m blogging from my phone today because Hurricane Irene hit us and our power has been out for 29 hours and counting.

Thankfully, we are fine and there was no damage at our house. However, there are a lot of trees down in the area along with a lot of power lines.

So here we are. At this point I’m thinking it’s just like we are camping in the woods in a big fancy cabin. Just not fancy enough to have power or running water.

It is definitely helping me to appreciate electricity and clean running water, which I take for granted most days.

Our menu plan is pretty much up in the air at this point. Dinner tonight was grilled hot dogs, carrots, Sun Chips, and watermelon.

Other no-power foods we may be eating include canned chicken or tuna (perhaps made into salad), turkey sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, raw veggies/fruit, and anything in the freezer that can be grilled.

There will need to be a big refrigerator/freezer clean out when this is all done, of course. It’s actually good for me to be forced into such things.:-)

And you should have seen how hard I worked to catch up with dishes and laundry as we prepared for the storm.

I hope the rest of you on the east coast survived the storm well!

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Where to start decluttering? 7 questions to help you (and me) figure it out

Let’s just be super clear that I am not currently a decluttering expert. I am a person on a decluttering journey. I have a long way to go, but I have been making progress.  Today I have some advice to share as someone who has struggled with clutter for as long as I can remember. It can be very overwhelming. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

Here are some questions that can help you figure out the best place for you to start decluttering, or figure out what to work on next. I have used all of these questions at one time or another. Often more than one at a time. See which ones motivate you to get started. Or just pick one and go for it!

1. What bugs you the most? Is there an area that is just driving you crazy?

For me:

2. What will make the most impact? Pick a room/area where you spend a lot of time, or the first room when you walk in the front door, or areas that guests will see.

For me:

    • Living room – the first room you see when you walk into our home
    • Coat closet
    • Bathroom
    • Kitchen

3. What will save you time in the long run? Get ahead of the things that make you fall behind. Would you be more efficient in the kitchen if you had a clear counter with  no dishes in the sink, and a refrigerator where you can actually find what you need in 5 seconds or less? Oh yes!

For me:

    • Paper clutter 1, 2 – Too much time spent digging through piles of papers just to find that one very important paper that I need!
    • Laundry/clothes – You gotta love digging through laundry baskets or piles for that one shirt.
    • Kitchen island – Having a workspace ready saves me time!
    • Refrigerator/pantry

4. Is there an area to declutter that would bless someone else in your home?

For me:

    • Car – Mr. RSS cleaned it out the last time, but I know it would bless him if I can keep it clean!
    • Living room
    • Bedroom

5. Is there an area to declutter that would bless someone outside of your home? Declutter and give things away to people who actually need or want them!

For me:

    • Clothes
    • Baby stuff
    • Toys
    • Kitchen
    • Basement – Oh wait until you see more of my basement!

6. Is there an area that will save you money, or potentially help you earn money?

For me:

    • Coupons – sitting around in piles isn’t helping so much
    • Toys and other clutter that could be sold
    • Refrigerator/pantry (wasting food = wasting money)
    • Paper clutter  – This can keep me from paying late fees (Grrr!) or missing a check!

7. What can you accomplish in a short time to get a taste of success? Pick an area you can finish in 15 min. or less. Start small.

For me:

    • Cookbook shelf
    • Bathroom vanity
    • Kitchen counter
    • Pick one drawer or shelf in the kitchen or bedroom

After writing this out I think my next new project will be the kids’ rooms/clothes. That is driving me crazy, it will save me time, and it can bless others!

How do you decide where to start decluttering? Do any of these questions help you? What will you declutter next?


Looking at the bright side

A rainbow outside our house! If you look closely, you might be able to see that it is a double.

 And here is one more where it sort of looks like our house is at the end of the rainbow:

I'm just going to go with this as a symbol of hope for my house. OK? Good.

 I was talking to my friend and fellow blogger, Kimberly today about how things keep getting in the way of my decluttering progress.

Today I spent a huge chunk of time dealing with a pharmacy, a health insurance company, a dental insurance company, an HR dept., and a dental office. (I’m sure some of you are cringing with me.) Most of this was over the phone during my prime time for getting things done: nap time. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but it had to get done and figured out.

There might have been a touch of discouragement and complaining. Maybe a hint of it.

Well, my wise friend said something like, “Well I think that’s great! Look at all the stuff you got done!” She totally turned around my perspective! I had been looking at it as wasted time, but really I was actually being productive and getting things done!

And then instead of feeling discouraged, I felt encouraged and motivated to get more things done! Sweet!

And if you are wondering about my paper sorting progress…there’s progress…stay tuned.

How are you finding the bright side in things lately?


Project: Simplify: I’m doing it!

Tsh over at Simple Mom is doing a decluttering project called Project: Simplify and I’m going to join in! She is picking one hot spot a week (for 5 weeks) for us to declutter and organize.

This is just the kind of thing I need to stay motivated and inspired! There is something very motivating to me about doing a project alongside someone else. I always work better that way!

So, even though I’m really working on my own, knowing there are bunches of other ladies all over the world doing the same thing really helps me! And there’s an accountability part with before and after pictures!

The first thing she challenged us to do was to develop a family purpose statement. It totally makes sense to me that my home should follow along with our family’s priorities and goals. We may want to flesh it out a bit more, but here is what we are starting with:

 As a family we will seek to glorify God by enjoying Him through our thoughts, words, and actions.

And I think my five reasons for simplifying actually work along with this. That makes me happy! 🙂

Sooooo Tsh just announced today that this week’s project is working on our wardrobes/closets. I was really really REALLY hoping it would be something else! My closet area was one place that I really wasn’t sure I could handle posting a picture of. It’s scary. For real.

It’s one of the places I usually (maybe that should be “always”) put off because most people never see it.

But I’m going to do it !

Here are 2 before pictures for today:

My, my, my... I have a lot of work to do.

Oh dear. Maybe you shouldn't look!

OK then! Off I go! I think you have a pretty good idea of what I’m in for!

Are you joining me in Project: Simplify? Or are you working on decluttering another area of your home?


5 Reasons why I want to Simplify

This is a "Before" picture just begging for an "After" picture!!

 These are not in any particular order….

1.  I have too much stuff! If I declutter and get rid of stuff, it will be less stuff to take care of, clean, put away, organize, etc, which will give me more time to do things that are really important. And maybe someone else could really use some of the stuff that is just sitting around here! (OK, this is sort of 2 or 3 reasons in one.)

2.  I will save money. Things are getting broken from being stepped on. I won’t waste food  because it is lost in the refrigerator. I won’t buy things twice because I can’t find the first one I bought. I won’t get a fee from a late bill payment because I misplaced a bill or just forgot in my disorganization.

3.  I will bless my family.

4.  I will be a better example for my kids and will be able to teach and train them in this area so that hopefully they won’t have these same struggles.

Sweetness!

 5.  I will bless others. I will be more likely to invite people over, and will have more time to volunteer and help others.

What are your reasons for simplifying? Do you have any to add?


Instant Inspiration

ONE organized shelf!

 I didn’t plan to do this, but look! Last night I was cleaning up the kitchen a little (super-inspired by Mr. RSS who was a dish-cleaning rock star). Excellent!  

But when I went to put the cookbooks away I couldn’t get them all to fit and the shelf was a mess with about a 3 inch stack of misc. recipe printouts, receipts, and sales flyers sitting on top of the disheveled cookbooks.

Normally, I might have added the cookbooks on top of the stack of papers, or maybe  just stack them on the island, or a stool or something.

But I was instantly inspired!

I said to myself, “No! Not this time! I will clean this ONE shelf and make everything fit or I will get rid of it!

It’s just too bad that I wasn’t inspired to grab my camera before I cleaned it up, because I love before and after pictures! Doesn’t everyone?

The best I could find to get a little “before” peek, is this one from Christmas, but you can’t see the impressive stack of papers on top of the cookbooks. But you can see 2 of my cute kids and some other messy stuff. 🙂

Super cheese smile from my boy.

Then scroll back up and look at that beautiful shelf! Much better! I threw some things away (or recycled), filed (sort of) some recipes, one cookbook moved to Mr. RSS’s office, and one is ready to leave the house!

I do think I could get rid of a few more cookbooks, but I think this is very good for now. If they all fit on one shelf, I am happy!

Where do you keep your cookbooks? Do you have a bunch or just a few?


I take no credit for this

Nice! Just don't look at the rest of the room 🙂

Pretty good, eh? Mr. RSS(ReadySetSimplify – that would be my hubba hubby) did this! We sort of have this rule, or at least we used to, that the last person up makes the bed. Neither one of us have followed our rule very well, but sometimes we surprise each other with this nice treat.

Ok, he might surprise me more than I surprise him. If we do keep this rule, it works out well for me because these days I’m usually the first one up. 🙂

By the way, I have some posts brewing on priorities and um, making a plan to do this simplification thing. I do need some kind of plan, don’t I? Besides starting a blog? LOL