Play Date Clean Up | Before and After!

A couple of weeks ago I invited my MOPS group over for a play date. Doing things like that is a stretch for me, mostly because my home is not usually ready to be seen by the outside world. But I love having people over. I love connecting with people and having good conversations.

And I think it’s important to connect with people in person, and not just through email or Facebook.

I also know that inviting people over motivates me to clean.

I focused on the main floor of our home, which includes our living room, kitchen, and powder room. I was just hoping that there would be no desire or need for the guests to explore further.

I took lots of before and after shots, so here we go:

Before:

After (Yes, there is some hidden clutter here. I’m sooo sneaky.):

Before:

After (This project was done by the marvelous Mr. RSS.):

Living Room Before:

Living Room After:

Closet Area Before (This is actually taken mid-clean-up):

Closet Area After (This is one of my favorites!):

And I promise I didn’t just jam everything into that closet!

Before:

After:

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen After:

And if you are looking for a yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffin recipe, my friend Kristen over at The Fugal Girl can help you out!

The play date was fun!

Reflections:

  • Starting early was important, and helped a lot! Of course, things weren’t perfect, and I acted like a crazy lady for the last hour before they arrived. I know if everything was maintained better, that would make it much easier…. we’re working on it… slowly… and that’s OK.
  • I didn’t know where to start, so I just started by the front door. It worked.
  • I tried to focus on having some cleared horizontal surfaces. I learned this from my sister, and Rachel over at Small Notebook wrote a nice post on the topic. Any cleared surface really helps!
  • I want my home to be welcoming, not scary. I think I achieved that goal.

Other Updates:

  • I swept the floor while I was on the phone this week, without even thinking about it. Strange, but good!
  • I’m thinking about an experiment where I make myself go to bed at 10:00 PM for an entire week no matter what and see how it impacts my productivity.

I’m linking up with Orgjunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing!

 

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Hot Spot Check Up 5: Kitchen Island

Here’s the picture for today:

Not great, but of course it has been much worse.

I generally like to keep things light around here, but I have to tell you that I’ve had a tough day today. I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed.

I’m doing  a little better now. I’ve been praying about it all – that is so good for me. My sweet husband is a great encouragement to me, too. And I had some chocolate cake and tea (see pictured above).  Now I need some much needed rest. And I do have hope for tomorrow. Starting with right priorities, then one bite at a time, one step at a time. And not in my own strength.


Hot Spot Check Up 4: Kitchen Island – and a picture question

Here I am at the 4th week of my kitchen island hot spot check up, and as much as I didn’t want to start it, I actually don’t want to stop! If you want to catch up a bit, here are links to the first 3 weeks:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3 (scroll down for the picture)

The whole accountability/public humiliation thing seems to work for me, so I’m going to go another month and then maybe move to a different spot. We’ll see.

Sometimes I have really quirky blog ideas. Like maybe giving my kitchen island a blog of its own. Sort of like a 365 blog, except that I post a picture of my kitchen island every. single. day.

Quirky? Yes.

Crazy? Maybe.

A little obsessive about my kitchen island? Probably. Just a little.

Today I’m going to show you 2 pictures, both taken at approximately 10:09 AM yesterday. I often seem to have this debate with pictures that I take for the blog. When the light is low (indoors plus rainy day in this case), should I use the flash or not? Which picture do you prefer here:

Without flash:

With flash:

Sometimes I don’t have much of a choice because I can’t get the camera (a digital point and shoot) to focus in low light, but here I at least caught one shot that was decently focused. And then there’s the “flashy” one.

Either way, the kitchen island is not bad, eh? I’m happy with it.

And by the way, I’m feeling really motivated to do some fabulous before and after pictures sometime soon. I’m craving some big impact somewhere around here. There are lots of places to choose from!

I’m linking up with Works for Me Wednesday, over at We are THAT Family.


Hot Spot Check Up 2: Kitchen Island, and Thanks! (I’m talking to you!)

Time to check on the island! I decided that I would give myself a deadline and take a picture at 10:00AM today.

Just for fun, I took a picture last night at 10:00PM. Here it is:

Let's just say we really know how to fill up space around here.

And here’s today’s “official” picture:

Better than last night, not better than last week.

 On a happier note, I’m celebrating 6 months of blogging, and what I really want to say, is…

Thank You!

Thank you for reading!

Thank you for stopping by.

Thank you for commenting!

Thank you for your encouragement, your advice, your comradery.

Thank you for putting up with me!

I am blessed by you!

I have learned so much in these last 6 months of blogging, and you, dear readers, are a big part of what keeps me going! 

Thank you for sharing a piece of your life with me.  It means a lot.

What would you like to see in the next 6 months? Is there an area/topic you would love to see me tackle? I would be happy to hear if you have ideas or requests for future blog posts.

And if you want me to just keep trucking along doing my thing, that’s good too!


Hot Spot Check Up: Kitchen Island

I do love my kitchen island.

And I love to put stuff there.

Lots of it.

Everyone does. If you came over, I bet you would put something there.

It’s a big clutter hot spot for me. It’s a nice big flat space and it’s just out of the reach of our 1-year-old. It’s a  great work space. It’s just begging you to put something there.

The problem is that too many somethings are put there and not cleaned up and put in their proper place, and then other somethings get put on top of those, and so on and so forth…

The status of my island makes a big difference in how my home looks and feels. My post Island Watch 2011 gives a pretty good summary of how bad the island gets – with pictures of piles of clutter.

I am going to post a picture of my island every week for the next four weeks (I think every Wednesday) to help me keep it under control. It looks like it might work, because I stayed up last night and cleared it off.

So here’s a picture of the kitchen island today:

Other Updates:

  • The kids and I picked up the kitchen and living room, we swept the living room, and the kids picked up the basement/play room/family room themselves. Yay!
  • I still need to clean out the fridge and finish the kids’ clothes project.
  • I still need to go through those “hiding” baskets and boxes of clutter. My goal is to get through one basket by Monday.

What is your worst clutter hot spot right now?


Seeing the clutter with new eyes | Dinner guests

Well, I have a cleared island, and a mostly decluttered kitchen and living room, but I’m not that happy about it.

Can you guess why?

A bunch of the clutter was just moved to a different location.

What is it about guests coming over that changes the way I see? I suppose I see the clutter through their prospective eyes.

We had friends over for dinner on Tuesday (Yay!). So, I started thinking about cleaning up over the weekend.

I got a bit more serious and actually worked on it on Monday with the kids. It seemed like we accomplished quite a bit.

We cleaned the kitchen floor!

And the kids liked it!

 We decluttered and organized the children’s books in the living room!

We eventually got rid of that dirty sock, too.

We moved some of these books to another room, put some in a give away box, and put the rest in one red box that we keep in the living room (you can see it by the fireplace in a picture at the end of the post).

We cleaned out and organized the shoes, etc. that were pouring out of the coat closet!

Yes, most of those shoes were mine! I admit it!

We took most of them to the bedroom closets upstairs, and one pair is heading out the door. We are trying to just keep 1 or 2 pairs each in this closet.

That empty spot is for one pair of my shoes. Just one!

 Monday night I even made a ‘To Do’ list for Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I spent the day working on decluttering and cleaning (and of course making dinner), but it seemed to be going very s-l-o-w-l-y. At about 3:00, I realized that there was clutter everywhere. I was seeing clutter and dust that I hadn’t noticed in….months. It was worse than I thought.

Around 4:30 I started doing bad things with clutter. You know. The crazy desperate clean up. Throw everything into a container and hide it somewhere!

Trash, papers, toys, food….all together in laundry baskets in my husband’s office . Oh joy!

Hiding clutter. Nice.

 And check out this before picture of our fireplace.

There really is a fireplace behind there. For fun, look for Christmas items still there in August!

A lot of this is evil paper clutter that I thought surely I would sort through and organize if I put it right there in the living room!!! Nope. Apparently not.

This next picture shows the recycling that went straight from that pile out the door!

This recycling was just sitting with the other clutter. You know, just hanging out.

And now for the “After” picture. The “After-hiding-a-bunch-of-the-clutter-in-another-room” picture. Let’s try to get excited…

Still not perfect, but much better than before!

I know from my past that I really need to dig into those laundry baskets and boxes soon and not just ignore them. At the same time, I need to maintain the order that I have. I’m not expecting it to be easy, but I am going to fight for it!

By the way, we had lots of fun with our guests!

Do you know what else is fun?

I told them about my blog.

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing.


Man on a Mission, Woman on a Journey

On Saturday, Mr. RSS was on a decluttering mission. Watch out. Don’t get in the way. The man gets focused and stuff is going out of the house!

He was moving so fast that I couldn’t get all the before and after pictures, but here are a couple of pictures of clutter loaded in the car, ready to go!!

BIG artificial Christmas tree, baby gear

Printer, TV, TV stand

It’s so interesting how different we are in how we declutter. We have the same goals, but the process is different.

 
Mr. RSS’s typical decluttering process:
 
  • Pick an area, or just pick stuff up that is sitting around the house (usually larger items)
  • Make quick decisions, move quickly, sort quickly(if required),
  • Get the stuff out of the house ASAP

He’s really about action, focus, impact. The end result is always great, but it can be a little crazy when he’s in his focused mode of decluttering! He doesn’t declutter as often as I do (of course he’s at work most days), but he does get a lot done in a short period of time. Sometimes he is tossing with such abandon that important things can get accidentally tossed, and I need to watch him closely to be sure he doesn’t toss one of the kids!

My typical decluttering process: 

  • Pick an area
  • Sort things
  • Decide what needs to go, pausing to think about each item
  • Organize and clean up
  • Put the clutter leaving the house in a bag/box/pile and place it somewhere waiting to leave the house
  • Take the clutter to the car and deliver

It’s not usually a fast process. I’m thoughtful about it. Too thoughtful, I think. I debate with myself. I get distracted. Sometimes I can complete a project in a day, but this process often takes days or months because I stop working on one project to start another one, or I just need to deal with daily tasks and responsibilities. But when the project is finally done, it looks great!

Since Mr. RSS moved the extra TV and stand out, I was inspired to get the basement family room/playroom back together. So check this out:

We started on the project about 5 min before this picture was taken. I brought the toy organizer down from the kitchen and dumped all of the (unorganized) toys/junk from the bins into the white laundry basket. We used baby wipes to clean the bins.

I got them started, then left them to work on the sorting/putting away and told them to get me when they were ready for me to inspect.

When I came down to inspect, they had made great progress. I helped them with finishing up.

There were a few things we just weren’t going to get done that day, and that was OK with me, because we were making progress. We did not get under the furniture. We did not get to this pile that was originally a decluttering pile of black trash bags, but that has changed over time and it now needs a project of its own.

Some things were added to that declutter pile, and here’s the trash:

And now the finished project!:

I know Mr. RSS and I are both learning a lot in this process, and I think we can really learn from each other. We balance each other in many ways, and I think we are on our way to being a great decluttering team!

What does your decluttering process look like? Is it different than others in your home?

I’m linking up with OrgJunkie’s 52 Weeks of organizing. Check it out for simplifying inspiration!