Category: Decluttering

What Clutter Can Do

Right now I’m lounging on my couch holding a sleeping babe and listening to my other two having fun playing in their room aka making a big mess. I’m cringing with every loud noise I hear from them dumping out another box of hot wheels or little people. I’ve already put up 100 large LEGO blocks and hid the box of alphabet blocks. Those tend to just be thrown about. With every crash I think of how bad I want to go in and do another purge of toys.

I found a journal from two years ago right before Eleanor was born. Almost every time I wrote, I wrote about how much I needed to clean and it was always the same things. I never made any progress no matter how much I straightened and cleaned. The messes were still there and so was my frustration.

I am so glad to not be in that place anymore! It’s easier to keep the house straight and I’m usually more ready for people to visit. Surprisingly, I’ve realized that I love bright colors in my decor more than I thought. There was too much going on in my house, there was no room left for bright and pretty. So I found myself drawn to more neutral decor because my mind craved the calmness it provided.

I also have more room to pursue more creative projects. It was as if I couldn’t concentrate or even commit to doing something because I didn’t have the mental capacity from all the clutter in my physical space. Even if I wanted to make something for myself, I often never even got started on it.

In addition to getting rid of clutter, we got rid of a lot of what houses clutter! For instance, I had a ladder bookshelf on the wall next to my piano that had a lot of books and several knick knacks and pictures. This was actually the first thing that I decluttered back in August. I had been feeling for a while like there was too much in the house like on the walls and there was too much furniture that went all the way up to the ceiling. So when I got back from my trip to Dallas and I walked in the house and the first thing I saw was that bookshelf holding just a lot of things that I didn’t even care about, I took everything off and got rid of it. I kept about half the stuff that was on there and donated or threw away the rest.

We’ve gotten rid of several pieces of furniture since then and have had to find places for anything we wanted to keep. It’s crazy to think about how much we had in the house just to hold everything. Although we have gotten rid of so so much, it feels like we still have the same amount. But only because in addition to decluttering the small stuff, we also decluttered the big stuff that held the small stuff.

It feels like our house is still bursting at the seams with stuff. I’m not sure if we’ll ever get finished or if decluttering is going to be a lifelong process. I hope not because I am so weary of throwing so much in the trash. I am weary of feeling so wasteful and hopeful that our consumption will continue to slow to almost an end.

Plans for the yard!

First off, I love being outside. Maybe not all the time, but since I spend the majority of my time inside with the three littles, I especially love my time I get to spend outside now. I’m ready now to get the yard in order, specifically the front of the house. Also, my potting bench that my dad built me is super cluttered and I need to clean that up.

My biggest focus right now is the front bed and the flower bed I’m attempting to build. I want to get some pine straw to neaten everything up and also to use a deterrent for weeds to keep growing. I have huge elephant ears in the bed, Kevin loves them! And at one point I planted garlic and it keeps coming back. This past week I noticed some garlic stalks coming up again!

I’m just going to let both of the plants grow and see what happens. I’m hoping that they can both grow there this year and when the elephant ears die out when it gets colder again, then I can harvest the garlic. I just have to keep Kevin from weed eating it all down. If I keep the bed weeded, then he won’t have to weed eat it. We’ll see how all that goes.

I’ve always dreamed of having beautiful flower beds blooming and I’ve slowly been collecting bulbs from friends who have divided their flowers in the spring time. I like doing it this way because I have an extremely hard time making decisions on what to get and I don’t really know what I’m doing. So when somebody gives some bulbs away then that is one less decision for me to make.

The past several years I’ve always focused on gardens and doing big things. Those were my dreams, though! Since we’ve been decluttering and cleaning up, that has slowly moved to us doing things outside as well. The more we do, the more it clears up for me to focus on the basic things that need tending to.

I’m still going to plant and grow a couple of herbs and vegetables this year. I love growing my own food even if I don’t always eat it. I’ll probably just grow them in pots on the porch, Kevin hates having to mow and weed eat around all my projects. So this year I’m trying to make it where he doesn’t have as much to do in the yard.

I’m looking at it like you have to start somewhere and where I already started needs a little attention. So now it’s time for a restart and spring is a great time to give everything a little TLC.

Kids Clothes

Having a system for sorting through clothes that the kids have outgrown and having a plan for what to do with them was not something I thought about until Finley was at least a year old. Even then my only solution was to toss anything that he wasn’t wearing anymore into a diaper box and to store it in his closet. Since then I have sorted through those boxes once. And I put size labels on the boxes so I could keep them somewhat organized.

With Eleanor’s clothes, they were mostly sorted by size, by the time I figured out I needed to store the clothes, I realized to go ahead and sort them from the beginning and I would never have to go through them again. Game. Changer. I donated 5 boxes of Eleanor’s clothes this past month and it felt so good to pass them on! And get them out of the closet and house. There are two boxes of her clothes left that didn’t get donated with the rest. I made the mistake and got caught up in looking through the clothes and got sentimental about them. I didn’t have time to go through them like I needed to that day so I closed those boxes up and put them back in the closet. I will definitely look through them later and hopefully I won’t be feeling as sentimental then as I did that day.

I haven’t given anything of Finley’s away, mainly because we have Jake now! I have to sort through the boy clothes I have. And reorganize because apparently I did not do a good job sorting the clothes the first time. Some of the boxes are going to a friend who has a little boy several months younger than Fin. I love the idea of giving to others but I always talk myself out of it by either convincing myself that they don’t need it or that they wouldn’t like anything I have to offer. I was not prepared for the insecurities that accompany motherhood and it has been hard dealing with all these feelings.

Jake has grown out of his newborn clothes and it’s time for me to pack them up. And I am so much more prepared this time around. Third time’s a charm! I have another friend who is going to have a boy this summer that I’m planning on giving these clothes to.

When talking about giving away all the boy clothes, people often question why I’m not saving them all for Jacob. It may seem wasteful to give them away when I know I’m going to have to buy more. But the main reason is we really don’t have a lot of room to continue to store everything we think we might need in the future. Also, many of those clothes are hand me downs from a friend that we desperately needed during a hard year for Kevin and me. So I would like to pass those on the same way but also half of the clothes aren’t really a style I would pick out myself. So it’s very possible they would just sit in a box while I get clothes that are more my style to put on Jake.

Keeping in mind that my goal is to keep as little clothes as I need should help keep me motivated to stay on top of the clothes situation. And as time passes I’m sure I’ll get better at my methods for sorting and organizing baby clothes whether I donate, give to a friend, or even put them in a weekend consignment sale.

Hitch Goals No. 5

Oh I totally forgot to post these yesterday! I’m still keeping my goals simple, infant and all, pretty much planning for something I’ve had in mind for a month or two by this point. I love a new month because I feel inspired to get up and make changes that I’ve been putting off or do a project I’ve been thinking of.

  1. Declutter and restyle bookshelf. I’ve been staring at this bookshelf in the corner of our living room for two months now and all I can say about it is that it needs work. I haven’t been able to bring myself to get everything off of it and figure out how I want to do it but this month I’m going to do just that!
  2. Start a stretching/get moving routine. Pregnancy is hard on the body. Caring for three small children is physically demanding and my body is tired. I need to fix this somehow.
  3. Fix up yard. Spring is coming!!! I cannot wait!! Every year I try to do too much with the yard. This year I’m doing a basic fix up and not much more. I’m not going to be able to stay away from growing my herbs and tomatoes.
  4. Cook more vegetables. I’m in a rut again with figuring out meals and I know we need more vegetables. Now that I think about it, I felt this way around this time last year and I started a whole30 as a way to challenge myself to get more creative with meals. I feel stuck right now with the kids, Ellie eats anything and everything on her tray except chicken, Finley only wants meatballs and bacon. Kevin eats pizza and spaghetti. And I want chicken based meals so I’m trying to figure out a compromise. Mainly for myself because I’m the most reasonable of the four of us.

I think I can get those done. And I’m excited about all of it. Here’s to spring coming!

Thoughts on a Thursday

It’s been a while so I thought I would just write about some things that have been happening around here with us and some of my thoughts I’ve been keeping to myself. It has been a quick month, after all, February does have 28 days. LOL!

The days have been very long, I feel like it has rained more days than not this month. It reminds me of one of my semesters in Starkville when it rained for at least 20 days straight. It was pretty miserable to be honest.

I have done approximately two decluttering projects since my last post, I cleaned up the two overcrowded drawers in our china hutch and I sorted most of the children’s clothes. I’m so happy to have those things done, it will make my life much easier. The top drawer now contains the craft supplies for the kids(and me): colors, pens, coloring books, etc. and the bottom drawer houses extra paper, mail supplies, and a couple of other things that I use to help run the household. It’s been 3ish weeks since I did that and for the most part it has worked. I can’t say it’s the most efficient for sorting mail and such since the mail has piled up again. I think it’s important to note that it is strictly important mail. I’m pretty diligent about sorting the junk mail out from the time I bring the mail in the house.

I donated 5 boxes of Eleanor’s clothes and also took two boxes of Finley and Eleanor’s clothes to a consignment sale that’s going on this weekend. This took several hours because having a system for sorting through clothes that the kids have outgrown and having a plan for what to do with them was not something I thought about until Finley was at least a year old. I’ve been fine tuning my system and figuring out the best way for me to handle kids clothes and it gets easier every time I have to do something with the clothes.

Life with two toddlers and a newborn is just not easy. As Jacob gets older, I’m slowly starting to venture out to do a little more with all three. Honestly, I’m tired of sitting at home. But going out is really exhausting. Jake doesn’t really like when the car isn’t moving so car rides are not always as enjoyable as they once were. And I’m trying to figure out a nap schedule with Jake. Half the time when he starts crying because I’m not holding him I can’t pick him up as soon as I want to so I have to leave him crying a little while.

I keep reminding myself that this is just the first phase, it’s not going to last. But goodness it’s hard and the days get soooo long. Especially when I’m solo parenting it.

The sun has been out for three days now and Kevin got the yard mowed so we have been spending time outside! The kids love being outside, I do too, and it makes the biggest difference in our day when we get to get outside. Before he mowed, I didn’t want to take them out because it was just a mess and a hassle. The clovers came up to Eleanor’s knees and there was just a mess everywhere. I can’t wait to get back started with a garden and some pretty plants and flowers. I love growing things and I’m super looking forward to it!

That’s about all I can remember right now. I had several more things going on in my head but I got interrupted from this post about 75 times today so it’s a miracle I kept a good flow going. One day I’ll be more consistent with my posts. I’m just rolling with the flow right now and doing things as I can get to them.






Hitch Goals No. 4

Our first month with three babies has passed! I’ve had a good month with my babies and I’ve enjoyed snuggling with my precious newborn baby Jake! Since I basically took the month off from doing anything, I feel like I kind of got more done and I’m ready for this next month! I still want to ease into the month but I can’t stay cooped up and alone in my house with the kids for much longer. Life just won’t let me. Also a husband who likes to go and do stuff won’t let me either. But I’m happy as long as I’m with him!

We actually got a good bit done around the house this last month, bathroom renovation started(!!!!), I can’t wait to keep up our momentum.

  1. Focus on play-based learning. I’ve started following some Instagram accounts that have all kinds of activities for playing with the kids. I haven’t done any of them yet, but the more I get the kids to play with their blocks and color and play with puzzles and magnatiles, the more ready I get to transition to doing the more hands on activities. Confession: I really just want to sit in the couch and cuddle Jacob while I play on my phone.
  2. Spend more time reading my bible with the devotionals I got for Christmas. I got a couple of devotions and memoir type books and I started out reading them pretty good but then I slacked off and eventually stopped. I think it is hard for me because I didn’t have a consistent study time before kids and now mornings are difficult because they are so full. It’s ingrained in me to do “word before world” but in my head since I can’t sit down with my bible and study books and spend 30 minutes before taking care of kids I feel like it is useless to do it. I’m planning to do it differently in February. #juststart
  3. Declutter bookshelf and paperwork. So the bookshelf won’t take much time to do. Basically my plan is to take everything off the shelves and restyle them. I’ve been eyeing the dang thing for a few weeks now and I just haven’t put forth the effort to do it. The paperwork is a different story. At the beginning of this year there was five different spots that had random paper clutter everywhere. Before Finley’s birthday party, I cleared out two spots. A large dresser drawer in our bedroom (what? why even??) and then also the pile of paperwork that is almost always on the counter and the slots above our key rack. Clearing up these spots made a huuuge difference, the countertop looks a hundred times better and I also had another drawer to store my leggings and yoga pants in. So now it’s time to get to another part of the clutter: the china hutch and small filing cabinet.

I have a couple of other things in mind, but I am not sure I will get to them so I’ll just let those be a surprise if I get to them!

Busy Week Last Week

So my plan for a slow down in January did not happen last week. We started our week off by going to Hattiesburg on MLK day. We had no idea it was holiday and there were people everywhere and it was a very aggravating experience. With Kevin’s work schedule and since none of our children are in school yet, we don’t really keep up with holidays and it always throws us off when we try to go have a fun slow day.

We went to Home Depot to get flooring for our bathroom! We haven’t done anything to the bathroom and it is just not a very nice or pretty room in the house. I’m just gonna go ahead and say it was awful. So Kevin spent the week partially gutting the bathroom and then laying down flooring and putting the toilet in! This bathroom is the only one with a bathtub so we couldn’t take everything out, but we did get the flooring and toilet replaced and now we are working on a design for the vanity. I’m not sure what I want and I don’t really like what Kevin wants to do. #marriage amiright?

We both ended up with dentist appointments and I had to do an extra grocery shopping trip. On Saturday we had Finley’s birthday party so in addition to all the stuff we were doing last week, we were also getting ready to have people over. The craziest thing though, we didn’t really have a lot to do thanks to all the decluttering we’ve been doing! I kept remembering two years ago to Finley’s first birthday, I started cleaning and getting the house ready a month before the party. A month! I can’t believe that I thought it was reasonable to take that long to get my house ready.

I want to take this week to get back to a slow routine but I have a root canal to be done and Kevin has a follow up to do with the dentist too. Plus we have like 38482838 more decluttering projects we want to tackle. Maybe we can get to a few of them, hopefully.

Trying to Beat my Procrastination Habit

There’s a few things I want to do this morning that I just can’t stop thinking about. The biggest thing on my mind right now is my drawers of paperwork. Ughhh. And this would be a good morning to go through it all, my mom has the kids. So really, that’s probable why I really want to do it. But I have something else that I need to do first and I really do want to do it! It’s just going to require a little bit of project prep up front that isn’t quickly done so I’ve been putting it off.

I’ve been asked to make a baby blanket out of minky fabric. I am super excited because I want to make more things and everything I keep looking at and dreaming of doing tend to be on the more difficult side. I am a big dreamer after all. But this minky blanket is the perfect simple project to get back into sewing which is really something I want to do.

I think because it is so simple and will not take me very long to do, it is easy for me to procrastinate getting started. Procrastinating is something that I am a professional at doing. However, ever since having kids, I’ve been working at being better at not procrastinating. I’ve been changing my ways y’all. it hasn’t been easy and it has taken hard work, but with every thing that I do right away, I am one step closer to being a doer. I have noticed that if something won’t take a lot of time then I have the tendency to put it off.

The problem with this habit is that it often results in generally adding to the daily clutter that I’ve been battling. I’ve realized something else about myself, too. The easier it is to do something, the more likely I am to go ahead and do it. My goal for my house right now is to streamline all of my daily tasks and make everything easier to do because then I will actually do it.

This is why I try to run my dishwasher every night. Doing this results in a small load which literally take me maybe 3 minutes to unload and put away. And then this task is done and the dishwasher is ready for the dishes from the next day.

This is why I try to do all my laundry in one day. I wash and dry all of the laundry in the house usually on Monday. It doesn’t always get put up in the same day, but it is done. I know a lot of people do one small load a day, but that just doesn’t work for my brain and I just put it off until I have a huge pile of dirty clothes and we are almost out of clean clothes. I’ve learned from that my brain works better for laundry when I treat it as a project.

It’s weird, I know, because that’s the opposite of how I treat doing the dishes. But I use the same dishes pretty much every day and if they don’t get washed in the dishwasher then I’ll have to handwash and that’s just not something I can do right now. I have enough clothes to last me a week and I’ve also realized more of what I don’t wear and what I do love to wear.

Something else that helps me is keeping my kitchen table and countertops cleared off. It helps me think clearer and also makes it easier for me to do small projects. Which is why I am feeling the pull to decluttering paperwork this morning instead of sewing a super simple blanket. To do that I am going to have to get my sewing machine out, find the thread, find my rotary cutter, etc.

Oh well, I’ve rambled enough about this for this morning. Time to get started and get done! I’ll time myself to see how long it will take me to do it from beginning o end.

Decluttering

Ok. I have started to write a post detailing our decluttering journey at least 4 or 5 times but I just cannot find any of them. I hand write all my blog posts first, mostly on loose leaf sheets of paper. Writing things down help me keep my thoughts together and somewhat organized. And currently I have like 4 other posts about decluttering that I’m hesitating to post until I can get an intro post of how we got started published. It sounds crazy, I know.

Decluttering and minimalism have become important actions to Kevin and me in the last half of 2018 and so far we have successfully carried these ideals into 2019. We really kicked off this journey (is there anything less cliche that I can call it?) last August. I had just gotten home from Dallas and was totally inspired by my aunt’s beautiful house. The day before Kevin came home from work, I had the morning all to myself because the kids were with my mom and I was looking around my house and at alllll the stuff we had and how I wanted to just toss it all.

So I thought, why don’t I do that? Why don’t I just get rid of that whole bookcase right there that I don’t even want? I spent most of the morning clearing that piece of furniture off and I even took the bookcase out of the house as soon as I had everything taken off. After that morning I haven’t slowed down getting stuff out of my house and I haven’t looked back since.

When Kevin came home, he didn’t even notice that the bookcase was gone at first. But he did notice that there was something different and lighter about our living room. I eventually pointed it out to him because I couldn’t stand it anymore.

Another catalyst we experienced was watching the documentary, Minimalism, by the Minimalists. I have kind of been on this minimalism journey and reading about it for almost 3 years now but it wasn’t until August that I made a drastic change. When we watched the minimalism documentary I was so thrilled that Kevin was finally interested in it, too! It helps when he is wanting to do the same thing as I am because he is such a get stuff done guy and then that makes me get stuff done, too.

So we started hardcore going through our stuff and we have come a long way and still have a long way to go. As of right now I know of 3 different drawers that have paperwork and mail that is just waiting for me to sort through them. I feel like I was kind of waiting for Jake to get here before I got started on all that sorting, and now that I am sitting here, I can just hear it calling my name.

So there we go! The beginning of our minimalism journey is now written and published. Now I can publish the other posts I have written. Some of them are from before Christmas but they have important thoughts that I want to be recorded so I’m going to be publishing them anyway. I don’t know why but I felt like I couldn’t talk about decluttering until I had done this intro of sorts. And decluttering and minimizing is such a big part of our life now. We are constantly throwing things away or putting in a donate box, and I need to be able to write about the process because I have lots of thoughts and feelings about it all.

Friday Ramblings

Right now I am still sitting in my bed at 9:00 am all thanks to my mom who kept my two big babies last night. Since I have now been over 12 hours home alone, I can kind of think straight again and I am all sorts of inspired to get stuff done. Of course as soon as I get up I’m sure my littlest will decide he’s hungry and I’ll have to take care of him! But that’s ok, motherhood is the best job ever and I love that I get to do it.

I’ve been sitting here in bed, cuddling my little Jakey and drinking coffee, and reading a new-to-me blog I discovered. It is a minimalism blog Be More With Less and now I’m all sorts of inspired to do some more minimizing. I should note that this happens often when my mom keeps the kids because then I can take a look around with clear, well rested eyes and see what in my house is too much for me.

I’m going to start with the room that Finley and Eleanor share because they have already thrown all their toys out of the toy bins and this makes it easy to sort through what they play with and what they don’t. Something I love about the kids is that they really love to play with the simplest of toys. We have donated so so many toys and I think we could donate half of what is left still. I’m trying to view their toys with practicality of what they actually play with instead of my idealism of what I wished they played with. Decluttering and minimizing is good to do, but if I try to stick to unrealistic expectations then it doesn’t really do much good.

As a dreamer and idealist this can be hard for me because I can see the potential in a piece of furniture on the side of the road or I will buy craft supplies for a project that I wish I did but in reality I’m not ever going to be a scrapbooker no matter how much I like the way they look or wish I did it. If I’m not going to use the supplies or redo the dresser, I shouldn’t bring it into my house. I’ve been working on changing that mindset in 2018 and the last six months I’ve been putting it into practice. 2019 started out with us taking a load of stuff to the local thrift store and in a week or two I plan to have another load ready to go.

I’m feeling all sorts of inspired to clean up this morning but right now for the time being I’m gonna sit here and cuddle my sleeping babe and drink my second cup of coffee.