Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Organized Simplicity, Week 10 in Review & Wrap Up

Okay, altogether now...WHEW!!!  How are you feeling??  Do you have a simpler home than you did ten weeks ago?  I'm quite certain that you do, even if it's not exactly like you want it to be.  You have started, and that is the most important part.  After all, the road to simplicity is a journey, not a destination.  This is an on-going process that you have begun--but after this ten-week start, you are well on your way.

I hope these posts have been helpful to you as you've navigated your way through the Organized Simplicity book.  Even though our class is officially ending, these posts will remain here, so feel free to go back through them as you complete this round of decluttering, cleaning & organizing or as you start round two somewhere down the road!  This is my second round in the past year, and I know there will be other rounds to come in the years ahead!

This week's assignment is just to wrap up the class by reading the final chapter of Organized Simplicity.  That's it!  It isn't an official assignment, but I think a family celebration might also be in order as you celebrate all that you've accomplished during this time!

I'm curious to know a few things--you can leave your answers in the comment section:
  • What is the best thing you gained from this book and class?
  • What was the worst thing about this book and class?
  • What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in your house from the past ten weeks?
Thanks for letting me be a part of your journey!  Be sure and come back to visit me here again.  Now that I'm in the groove of posting at least once a week, you never know what might be coming next!  Blessings to you!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Organized Simplicity, Week 9 in Review

We are coming into the home stretch!  (Can you tell I've been watching Olympics for two weeks?)  Tell me:  what was the easiest part about decluttering, cleaning & organizing your master bedroom and closet?  What was the hardest part?  I'm anxious to hear about how it went!  For me, for whatever reason, the master bedroom has never been a clutter-magnet.  But I do know that is one clutter hot spot for some people.

Another question I'd love to hear you comment on is this:  what did you think of the wardrobe guidelines that were included in this week's chapter?  Were they right on?  Totally off base?  Were they helpful?

We have one more week to declutter, clean & organize, and then one week to wrap up everything!  Wow--can you believe you've made it to this point?  I am proud for all the progress you have made and hope you are proud of yourself as well!

As we focus this week on our entry ways and coat closets, I am reminded of a tip I read once that I thought was very insightful.  Since the entry way is the first impression most people get of your home, you want it to look nice, clean, clutter-free and welcoming.  The suggestion was made to walk out your front door, closing it behind you.  Then turn around and walk back through your door with fresh eyes and see what your guests see when they initially come into your house.  Is the view what you would want it to be?  And if not, what kind of changes can you make that would give the impression you want to give when someone first walks into your home from your front door?  Also, can you view another room from your entry hall?  If so, are the visible areas also clean, clutter-free and welcoming?  Maybe those questions can help you this week as you seek to make your entry way a positive first impression.

Our assignment for this week includes:
  • Read Chapter 15
  • Finish memorizing Matthew 6.19-21
  • Declutter, clean & organize entry ways and coat closet
Have a great week, and I'll see some of you Thursday night for our Mom's Night Out!  Mexican food and Mom's Night Out--just can't beat that!! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Organized Simplicity, Week 8 in Review

If you are reading this, then you survived decluttering, cleaning and organizing your kids' rooms--good for you!!!  Was it as bad as you thought it was going to be?  Or was it worse??  Tell me about it in the comments section--I want to hear your stories!!

I spent this past weekend in Houston for the Texas Home School Coalition convention and was so blessed to be there.  There were fantastic speakers and tons of exhibitors--I really had a great time there!  I went to a session about juggling life and homeschool, and one topic the speaker covered was decluttering and its importance in helping us manage the chaos that can become of our homes.  She shared a definition of clutter that I believe came from a book called "Clutter's Last Stand" by Don Aslett: clutter is anything that takes more from us than it give to us in practical use and enjoyment.  That's certainly not earth shattering to us at this stage of our study, but I thought it was a different way to look at our clutter and yet another reason to get rid of it!!

This speaker also shared a method of dealing with the emotional things we have in our homes that make the decluttering process more difficult (again, I think this idea came from the above book by Don Aslett).  The recommendation was to have a box when you are decluttering that is your "emotional withdrawal" box.  Anything that you just can't part with because of emotional ties goes into that box, and when it is full, you seal it and date it.  Put it away in your attic and leave it be.  After six months, if you can name even one item in the box, you are allowed to open it.  Otherwise, to the trash it goes.  A good friend might be especially helpful in this situation who can challenge you and help you make those decisions that seem tough because of the emotions tied to those items.

The assignment for the week ahead takes us to our master bedroom.  This might be your easiest assignment, or it might be your hardest.  It does involve your closet, so that in and of itself might be quite a mountain to climb.  But you are up to the task, I just know it!

My closet is one area that I have decluttered tremendously in the past year.  I mentioned earlier in the study that I no longer shop just to shop or because there is a good deal to be had.  With that mentality, it has kept me from continuing to add more and more to my already full closet.  I have fewer clothes in my closet now than I have had in years, and I really love almost everything in there.

Since we are on the topic of clothes, I want to share another story that I heard at the home school conference.  One of the speakers was talking about the importance of getting ready each day.  For starters, you and your kids will both feel better about yourselves and be more motivated to work if you are dressed and ready for the day--as opposed to staying in your pajamas.  She pointed out (and challenged us to test it out) that we will treat our kids differently if they have clean faces, combed hair and even a hair bow (for the girls)!  To me, an added bonus is, if you need to go somewhere in the middle of the day, everyone is already ready to walk out the door once shoes are put on, rather than having to rush around, comb hair, make sure clothes match relatively well, etc. before you can even head out.

She also shared that recently her mother-in-law had made quilts for her husband and his siblings made of pieces from their grandmother's clothing.  As soon as they opened their gifts, they immediately started telling stories about this dress or that blouse, represented by the pieces that had been sewn into a quilt.  She concluded by emphasizing that our kids will remember what we wear, so don't spend your life wearing ratty tshirts and sweats!

Maybe you can use these stories as you go through your closets this week and sort out the worn-out clothes and those that either don't fit or don't look good, and only leave behind those pieces that you love and that fit you well.  After all, life is too short to wear ugly clothes!  (that quote is also courtesy of the above mentioned speaker!)

This week's assignment includes:
  • Continue memory work on Matthew 6.19-21
  • Read Chapter 14
  • Declutter, clean & organize master bedroom
Keep me posted on your progress--we might should all have an open house at the conclusion of this class so we can all show off our accomplishments! :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Organized Simplicity, Week 7 in Review

How did it go in the bathrooms this week?  If there is a room in the house that can attract clutter in the form of half-empty bottles and containers, the bathroom is it!

Some of you have asked questions about homemade cleaners, and I wanted to share a little about this.  I have been trying various homemade cleaner recipes (including laundry detergent) for the last several years, and now there are very few cleaners that I actually buy in the store.  Homemade cleaners are so much cheaper and easier on the budget, as well as being safer since they don't contain all the toxins that many store-bought cleaners do.  My new favorite blog for homemade recipes from cleaners to skin care products is  She always has such good ideas that she tests herself before posting them, from easy homemade gift ideas to various homemade cleaners.  You can go to her blog, and at the top, there is a "Categories" button.  One of her categories is "Homemade Solutions."  If you click on that option, it will bring up a list of all of her blog posts that she has categorized under "Homemade Solutions."  You can scroll through them and see if you find any you would like to try.  I use her all-purpose cleaner, streak-free window cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and one of her laundry detergents and am very happy with them all!

For the comments section this week, share what you found the most of in your bathrooms that needed to go!  Was it too many travel toiletries (my issue!)?  Shampoo you bought on sale and forgot about?  Junk you threw back under the sink for another day that you finally had to deal with??

Okay, are you ready to tackle this week's assignment--your kids' bedrooms?!?  This assignment may be one of the more painful ones, but it's also one where you can see some drastic improvements and progress made once you are completely finish.  It may also be an assignment that is more easily tackled when you can have some time WITHOUT the kids!  It's easier now that my kids are getting older, but when they were smaller, I would wait and clean out their rooms at a time when they were not at home.  That way I was free to throw away what I felt like needed it and could put other things in the give away or sell pile that needed to go. 

If your kids are old enough, involve them in this week's assignment and take time to explain to them why you are doing what you are doing--too much stuff for not enough space, a crazy amount of toys that never see the light of day that could be used by kids who don't have much, excess clutter causes stress, or whatever your situation may be.  If they understand the reasoning behind what you are doing (and that you're not just being a mean mom!), they will be more likely to go along and be helpful.  If you begin teaching them now, before long, they will be voluntarily coming to get a trash bag and cleaning out their room on their own--believe me!  It happens! :)

As a reminder, here is this week's assignment:
  • Read Chapter 13
  • Continue memorizing Matthew 6.19-21
  • Declutter, clean & organize the kids' bedrooms
You can do this!!  Don't get discouraged if you have too many kids' rooms to tackle at once.  Choose the one that needs it most, and then save the others for a few weeks down the road when you are finished with the rest of the house!

Please let me know how you are doing and if there is anything I can do for you (short of coming over and throwing things away for you!).  Many blessings to you for another great, simplified week!