Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm Back!

Last week was even crazier than I thought it would be.
Between 6pm on Friday and 6pm on Saturday I was home for a grand total of 45 minutes.  Although I did meet up with my family out of the house for about an hour in there. 
It was intense.
And I dropped the ball on the 40 days.
And now I'm playing catch up.
While it's not the point I was trying to make to myself (about being consistent) it's a useful one none-the-less.  If I hadn't been blogging about this (even though I don't know who might be reading this) I think I would have quit.  I would have determined this an exercize only for more organized people, people without little kids, people who were anything but what I am. 
But I can't improve if I'm not willing to change myself, right?
Even once I stood back up I put off writing this post.  I thought I could once I had completely caught up.  But eventually I realized that I couldn't wait until 'everything was perfect'.  
So it's not an A+ by any stretch, but here's what I've got.

Day 10: office shelves - I picked one shelf/bookcase, my lia sophia stuff, and went through it.  Most of the shelf just needed tidying up.  What I really went through was my files.  I was holding on to a lot of records that I didn't need.  So I let them go. Yay!  Point for clean me.

Day 11: closet, my clothes-went through them and filled at least half a garbage bag.  The pack rat side put a few things in my sewing box (read: large skirts and such that screamed "but I'm a large piece of fabric, upcycle!").  Point for the pack rat.

Day 12: closet, my shoes-pseudo-fail. I started through them but didn't finish.  Then I left the bag of shoes out and the kids so kindly put all the shoes back.  Fail.

Day 13: John's side of the closet-I shouldn't have included John without letting him know (sorry!), but he was so sweet.  I pulled a few piles out of the closet and he went through them, but we certainly didn't get to everything.  All the time I spent away this week meant time he had the kids and couldn't really work on his lesson plans.  So it's a meh on this one.

Day 14: dresser drawers-kinda weird here. I hardly use the dresser.  Right now it's strictly for intimates, and it seems I don't 'pack rat' there.  So I'm not sure how this one ranks.

Day 15: toy bags-failed.  I haven't touched them.

Day 16: my bookshelf-I read at night.  And my little bookshelf has gotten overrun.  And I went at it.  And I even have a picture!  Not the greatest, but this is what I pulled from my shelf.

3 boxes and a trash bag.  All on one little shelf.  I didn't get a shot of the shelf before or after.  But I ended up with the smallest of the boxes to take back to my little shelf.  Point to the clean me!

Days 17 and 18: entertainment center tops and inside.  This was yesterday and today.  And it didn't happen.

The biggest question I had to ask was 'Do I keep playing catch up or do I start on today and pick up the lost days as I go?'.
I've decided to start on today.
I can't change yesterday and I can't do a whole lot of good fussing about it. 
So I'm going to change today.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Hi guys-
sorry I didn't post last night...and I'm not exactly posting tonight-just a quickie.  I promise I'm doing my 40 bags!  This week is just getting a bit crazy-so the posting of said bags might start to clump.  I usually do the majority of my 40 bags (cleaning and posting) in the evenings.  I had a meeting tonight, and will be busy Thursday night, Friday night and all day Saturday (minus an hour here or there).
While this week is going to get super crazy I'm kinda excited for it.  Making it through this week without cheating (aka skipping or combining days) then it means I can really do this!  Because, for me, this expedition isn't just about cleaning out my house, it's also about becoming consistent.  Consistency (especially when it comes to housekeeping) is a challenge for me.  For years I've told myself that I'm just not good at it, not capable of it, not whatever.  If I can do this then I can prove to myself that I can.  Whatever it is, I can.

So this week will be crazy,

but I'm excited!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pack Rat Papers

Yesterday I rolled up my sleeves and went after our office desk.  I learned two things.

1. I should have set aside a week for that desk.
2. Having a 'no kid' room is asking for massive clutter.

No joke.  That office has become the 'it needs to be out of the way/hide it from the kids/I can't loose this/I have no clue where to put this' room.  It's ridiculous.  I would show you a picture but I'm a little embarrassed.  Maybe I'll take one now and when the room gets together I'll show the before and after shots.
The first thing I tackled was this:

I guess I started there for two reasons-because it's been on the office chair (the only office chair) for more than a few weeks and, well, it was on top of the massive office mess.

Perhaps I should explain what this box is.  When I was in Nebraska (in July) my mom said I could go through it and pick out what I wanted before she tossed it.  It's mostly filled with family home evening stuff, read: lessons/activities for kids to teach them about faith, sharing and all that good stuff.  Now I'm a pack rat so the idea of tossing all this potentially fabulous stuff just killed me.  Never the less, I've been trying to learn to let go-so I decided just to skim through the box. 
While in Nebraska I started in and found a few cool things.

Really cool things.

Top two favorite finds:
A letter from my dad to my mom from before I was born.
A letter from my aunt (who died while I was in high school) to my mom.

My skimming stopped there. 
No way could I bear to miss any other gems like that.
But there was also no way I'd get through it all while in Nebraska.  So my sweet, loving, understanding and patient husband piled this box into the back of our minivan (frankly risking an enormous mess every time we opened the trunk) so I could finish sifting through it.
And then I let it sit untouched for weeks . . . fine, months.
But yesterday I finally pulled it out.

An empty box (Yay!) and four piles.  Toss (the big one!), keep, read closer and send to mom.
Then I went through my piles again.
I read through my 'read closer' pile and pulled out the stuff I really wanted and then sat down again with my keep file.  I pulled a Clean Sweep-ever seen that show?  It's on TLC.  They empty out a house (well, I think it's actually 2 or 3 rooms) onto tarps labeled 'Keep', 'Toss' and 'Sell' (for a yard sale they do at the end of the show).  When they get everything out they dump the toss pile and move the keep sign to the empty tarp and start all over again.  So I did, too. 
Maybe that doesn't sound so special to most people, but to a pack rat that's a pretty big deal. 
Perhaps I'll dive into my pack rat psychology theories sometime, but for now just trust me.

And I'm quite proud of myself.  Out of all those papers I've been hanging on to I've left myself with this:

On the left is my keep pile and on the right is stuff to send back to my mom.  Nothing as special as that first time, but a few letters, pictures and some notes us kids wrote to her when we were little.  Don't know if she'll want to keep them but I thought it would be a nice pick me up to read how much your kids adore you:)

Now, I wish this was the end-but not quite.
The last three nights my 20 month old has decided to wake up at 11pm and stay up until about 2:30.  While he was up I wasn't able to do much of anything with my papers and by 2:30 I was wasted . . . and left them on the floor.
Thankfully my keep and mom piles were separated enough that they didn't mix, but this is what my toss pile looks like right now.

This mess is about 6 1/2 feet by 4ish feet (thank you John for laying on the floor so I could better guestimate!).
"But it's Sunday night" you may be thinking.
Well, I'm a huge fan of Sunday being a "day of rest".  Perhaps you think I've lost it, or have completely missed the point.  But for today I was happy to let my kids rifle through the pictures (and there are plenty of cute, wholesome pictures in there). 
Tomorrow I'll throw it all in the box and ask John to carry it out to the recycling for me (it's heavy, I swear!).  Then attack the shelves in the office. 
Okay, fine, I'll be honest with myself.  There are four bookshelves in the office.  I'm not going to get to all of them. 
But I am going to start.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ye Olde Spice Rack

Alright, I don't have a spice rack.  Although I found I do have way too many spice bottles (canisters? jars?).  First thing I decided to get rid of was this:

While I rather like it-I love wood, it's really nice having my wooden spoons right there and it spins (John's favorite feature) I've decided it's time to let go.  I'm not very good at keeping things organized and having spices in multiple places really isn't going to help me much.  It's a shame, especially as it was a wedding gift (ouch).
I pulled out all my spices and found I have a number of duplicates.  With some mixing I got down to only two sets-I still have two containers of nutmeg and two of sage.  But by the time I got the spices back in I found a lot more room and moved stuff from one cabinet to the next.  In the end I was pulling stuff from 8 different cabinets!  I took before pictures...but not of 8 cabinets. 

not the best before an after picture.
It's too bad because I managed to fit way more stuff in there.  And, of course, pull out my '8th bag':)
I re-organize 3 other cabinets, but the pictures are about the same as these.  But I did (practically) empty out two other cupboards!  Which is good because I need a little more space.

Why else?

Because of this guy:)

I should know better, but I sent him to the store with a grocery list that included "chocolate". 
I didn't say what kind or how much.
Just chocolate.

And this is what that guy brought me:)

Two ginormous bags of mixed chocolate (snickers, kit kat etc.), yorks, 3 packages filled with hershey bars and a few bags of ghiradelli chocolate chips.
I think I'm set when it comes to chocolate:)

Does it get better?  I submit that it does not:)

Thanks, John :D

Thursday, September 15, 2011

6 n' 7

40 bags update:
yesterday I dinked around under the kitchen sink.  Surprisingly, I didn't find much that didn't belong there.  I moved a few things around and then helped John prep for a 7th grade lesson on the Preamble by utilizing my mad glue stick skills and awkwardly wielding a sharpie.
Today I went after the fridge.

Lots of random stuff.
Turns out-most of it unnecessary.

Earlier in the day I just took everything off and piled it up.
I knew I wouldn't to get much of it done until after the kids were asleep, you know, now that my sweet 19 month old has grown out of naps (seriously, does anyone else have kids who do that?!).

So tonight, after the kiddies went to bed, I pulled my pile onto the living room floor and went at it.  At one point it looked like this-

sorry about the icky pictures, I took them early morning and late at night-thus requiring the flash...I hate using the flash

But through a few episodes of Wings (thank you Netflix) I finished up my project and John finished up his lesson plans.  In the end this is what my fridge looks like:

No more papers hanging around.  No piles on the top.  I even tossed magnets that I thought were ugly.  That fridge top has only been wiped down maybe twice in the past 4 years!  This fridge needed a bit of tlc and I'm glad it got it:)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Well, What Do You Know (Day 5)

Today wasn't all that exciting '40 bags' wise.  Either that or it was quite fabulous indeed:)
The job for today was the kitchen closet, aka the water heater closet.  Let's just say it probably hasn't been all that safe the random stuff we've been keeping in there.  So today my plan was to sift through it all and find new homes for most of it.  But I forgot something-I totally did that a few weeks ago!  What do you know, the closet wasn't a mess at all!  Although I did feel a bit cheap for not having actually done something, so I went at the recycling instead.
We've got a 13 gallon trash can for it, but it is always overfilled.  When we can't balance the random boxes and cans anymore we start filling up diaper boxes.  Before I even stepped in the kitchen we had the trash can and 2 boxes filled with recycling all ready for me to take out back for the lovely recycling gentlemen.  Not what I was planning, but it definitely needed to be out of the kitchen.
We'll see what happens tomorrow when I check out the underside of the kitchen sink...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 4

Today I grabbed those random spots in my living room.  The gap between the couch and the wall, the little wall shelves and the ever important diaper basket.

This is our 3+ foot wide behemouth of a basket is where we store our diapers.  

While the corners here and there were mostly full of junk that needed to be tossed this basket needed to keep what it had.  This whole pile of diapers, though, just wasn't working.  In there I had 3 different sizes of diapers, swim diapers and two types of pull-ups (three, since the boy pull-ups were divided into day and night varieties).
Well first thing (after dumping the whole basket and making piles) was to yank the swim diapers.  It's probably still warm enough, but it's September...and I'm not blowing up that kiddie pool again.  Then I pulled the newborn diapers.  I'll need them soon(ish) as my next little one is coming in January...but the next youngest is about 19 months so I'd say I'm good without them for now.

It's not much-I added a box to help keep things divided.  We'll see if it will stay that way, especially as the kids get used to it. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Fabulous Husband! (aka Day 3)

Today there aren't any before and after pictures.  Wanna know why?
Because of this guy.

err..this guy!

Not only did I get to sleep in...and then read in bed...and then shower and finally come down stairs at about 10:30 (our kids tend to get up at 6:15) but when I got downstairs I found that day 3 (our living room bookshelf) was almost done.  He let me do the final bits and pieces, but that shelf is now empty except for two or three items, such as mail we need to put out on Monday.  This guys is awesome:)

Teaching Bub to ice skate.

Checkin' out the fish pond.
Daddy and Babe, when she was quite a bit younger.

Being a goober:)

My best friend.  My favorite guy.
Thanks, John-I love you:)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 2

Day 2---Utensil drawers!

Okay, so I didn't have a lot of stuff to get rid of in these drawers.  But I still did some good!

3 Drawers Before:

3 Drawers After:

A few things-I didn't have too much in the 'give away' bag, but I did have a grocery bag of trash.  But-I'm rather pleased with myself.  See those white boxes?  Well I work with Lia Sophia and have all sorts of jewelry boxes laying around.  (Isn't that such a great problem?  Oh darn, I just have so much jewelry I have too many jewelry boxes!)  Anyways, a friend suggested I use them to organize drawers-fabulous!  So I glued a few together and used them to help divide/organize!  Now that you're looking closer-see those batteries.  Yeah, they weren't in the drawers before.  They were here.

In a cardboard box on the counter.  I feel better just looking at that drawer:)
In the end I didn't give away much (a can opener and a lock) but I'm so happy to have that battery (and junk) box off my counter!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 1!

Front Porch!



I don't know if you can tell-but there is one more stroller in the after pictures, but seeing as it was sitting in the drive way I figured it would be okay.  And see that grey car seat?  Yeah, not a kid seat but an actual seat from the car (after picture 1).  That should be gone soon, too.  We took it out of the car when we moved a couch and needed the space and just haven't gotten it back in yet. 
But part of this whole deal isn't just to organize but to get rid of a 'bag' a day right?  So here is what we're getting rid of:

 This is our give away pile.

This is our trash pile.  Okay, so technically the bike wasn't on the porch, but it needs to go too.  Alright, I know someone out there is thinking it isn't a bike, it's a trike-but if you want to be technical then take a look at that rear left wheel.  Oh wait, there isn't one!  Only two wheels.  Haha-so in my own strange humor it's a bike!

And I have a confession-these piles are still on our lawn.  I know, kinda defeats the point right?  But for today I maintain it's okay because a) I can't get the table to the recycle center on my own because I can't put it and the kids in the car at the same time and b) as I increase in my preggo-ness boxes like that are getting harder to lift.  So we may have to wait until tomorrow evening to get it all taken care of-but that's alright.  I'm pleased with myself anyways:)

40 Bags in 40 Days

Tuesday night I was at a relief society activity (read: church ladies' group).  There have been quite a few new families moving in lately we we had a get to know you activity.  We filled out surveys with questions like 'what superpower would you like to have?' and 'what is one skill/talent you would like to learn?'.  First thing in my mind-organization.  I started talking to a friend, Erin, about it.   First thing she said to do was to get rid of stuff.  Well the next day I found this!  And I thought 'perfect!'.  It's a plan and it's baby steps.
Usually I would want to do massive projects.  You know, completely empty the cabinets (or room) and put it back together piece by piece.  But, what do you know, that just doesn't seem to work with three curious little ones.  So I decided to go for it.  If you'd like to see the original list (and the blog I found it on-thank you pinterest) go here!

Oh-and I would totally want to fly:) 

The point-to piece by piece get stuff out of the house!  Where there is clutter there is a day.  On each day the goal is to remove at least one bag (some days the bags will be bigger than others) that will get tossed from the house. 
This is my list for the next 40 days.

40 Bags in 40 Days

1. Front porch
2. Utensil draws in kitchen
3. Living room shelves
4. Living room corners/baskets
5. Kitchen closet
6. Under kitchen sink
7. Fridge (in and on top)
8. Spice cupboard
9. Office desk
10. Office shelves
11. Closet (my clothes)
12. Closet (my shoes)
13. Closet (John’s side)
14. Dresser drawers
15. Toy bags (my room)
16. Bookshelf (my room)
17. Entertainment center-top
18. Entertainment center-inside glass doors
19. Ducky’s closet
20. Ducky’s room
21. My bathroom drawers
22. Babe/Bub closet
23. White room closet
24. Kid shoes
25. Under my bed
26. Upstairs closet
27. Downstairs closet
28. Lia Sophia shelves
29. Scrapbook cupboard
30. Upstairs bathroom
31. Game cupboard
32. High cupboards in kitchen
33. Laundry room shelf
34. Back porch
35. Low cabinets in kitchen
36. Downstairs bath
37. My car
38. Kitchen counters by sink
39. Kitchen counters by back door
40. Kitchen recycling/counters

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Boys

About a week ago we found out that we're having another boy!
While at first I (and John) thought it would be nice to even it out and have another girl. Plus John already knows what he wants to name our next girl.
A few weeks back all three kids got up in the middle of the night. I ended up with both boys on Bub's bed. Snuggled and sleeping under my arms, all wrapped up tight yet completely relaxed, were my boys. I remember thinking that-"me and my boys". And in that still moment I wondered-"all boys?". And the answer was yes:)

I love my boys.

My boys smile bigger than anyone I know.

My boys are completely genuine.

My boys overflow with love and sunshine.
Kisses pour out of my boys and feels like rain on a perfect spring day:)
My boys love football and running as fast as they can.
My boys love climbing and jumping.
My boys are superb cuddlers and give fantastic hugs.

I'm thrilled to meet my newest boy.

I love my boys.

I really love my boys:)