Friday, March 13, 2015

Under The Sink Is Organized!

Honestly, there's not much of a difference other than some rearrangement. But I did manage to find some things to trash. Everything below my sink is pretty much cleaning supplies. I'm wanting to make some all natural cleaners to replace the chemical ones in the near future. I already have a few recipes I've found. I'll be sure to share them as soon as I make them and can review them. Anyway, here's the before of my cabinet:
  This was actually taken in the middle of the cleaning because I forgot, again. But you can still get an idea of how disorganized everything was. The only thing you can't see is the old 'system', if you can call it that, of my bag storage. I had smaller bags crammed into one gallon sized bag. It was so so annoying to work with. You can see the new system in the after picture:
Well, you sort of can. I just hung up a string with two nails. You can use command hooks for the same effect. I just used what I have. I grouped my bags by size, folded them in half and attached them to the string by clothes pins. I also color coded the pins with sharpies for a quick recognition. I used a cheap ziploc bag to store my scouring pad and pot scraper to get them off the sink. I also did some more work to my upper cabinets.

See the wall behind the dishes? I found the cutest contact paper at Big Lots today for 2 bucks. I also found a cute fabric shower curtain for $8. Hopefully I can put that up tomorrow. We have to install our old shower rod first. In this picture you can also see those anchor bowls I mentioned earlier. They look so much nicer than the stained plastic containers beside them, don't they? I also hope to fix the problem of Mr. D's plates and bowls. I ran across some plastic plates that clicked together at Target a few weeks ago. I think they were .75 cents each, or for two. Something like that. I have no idea why I didn't grab some at the time. I just hope they still have them when I go back tomorrow lol I'm going to do the rest of my cabinets with this paper, hopefully this weekend. If not, then sometime next week. I was also thinking of lining my silverware drawers with this if I had enough. Either way I'll take pictures of the finished product.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My kitchen feels and is looking so much better!

It actually feels good to walk into my kitchen now! Before, when I'd walk into my kitchen, I would feel so stressed and overwhelmed. Now it's refreshing, and I haven't even done the bottom cabinets yet! I cleared the clutter in my silverware drawers and gained some MUCH needed space. I can actually open the drawers without a fight from all the junk lol I also cleared off the top of the dresser. My goal for the dresser is to eventually get rid of my ancient microwave. I actually just bought some glassware storage bowls in preparation for that. Plus, the set was only 10 bucks. I couldn't pass it up! I actually forgot to take a picture of them, but they're anchor brand. They are microwave, oven, fridge and freezer safe. Much more versatile than plastic containers. And healthier too!
Anyway, back to the dresser. Here is what it looked like before:
And here is the after:
I got rid of that ugly green bowl and put a smaller, prettier, wire basket in it's place. I thought about removing a basket all together, but I need a place to put my fruit and things where I can see them so that they will get eaten. The binder you see is my recipe binder. And I put the last bit of Mr. D's cereal in that jar because an almost empty bag of cereal rolled up is just an eye sore. The stuff on the microwave found a new home in my top cabinets where there was free space. Just clearing and organizing this small spot has made the difference in my kitchen. Probably because this is the first thing you see when you walk into my kitchen other than the table lol Now for the drawers. I had a lot of useless crap in there that I was keeping for the 'just in case' scenarios that just never happened. And I'm pretty sure that if they haven't happened in the past four years, they won't ever happen LOL The before picture:
See all the junk in the left drawer? It was so disorganized and full it was a hassle to close or open. After:
Much better, right? Now a few things have found a new temporary home. The rest when to the Goodwill box.The only things that found a new home were the attachment pieces to my hand held mixer, turkey baster and cork opener. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep my mixer or not which is why their home is temporary. The turkey baster will probably end up in the trash since it has cracks. Which I'm assuming were caused by being crammed into that drawer :-( It's alright though, because it only gets used on thanksgiving and can easily be replaced by my ladle. I love that thing haha.
Over the weekend I'm going to tackle the lower cabinets and maybe my linen closet, if I'm feeling brave lol And I might rearrange my top cabinets. We'll just have to see!

Yoga

I've been thinking of picking up yoga for the past few months. Kind of half heatedly really. But I figured simplifying my life meant more than just clearing out junk and owning less. Now I'm not the type of person you'd see at an actual class. That's just way to uncomfortable for me. So I did what any person would do, and turned to good 'ole YouTube. I wanted something for COMPLETE beginners. I've never done anything like yoga so I wanted to start from the top. I found this channel and I like her speed and style. She has a video for beginners that has the basic poses and she breaks it down for you which you can find here.
I just started this morning. My intention was to get up at 7am, but that didn't happen lol Apparently I hit the snooze button to many times and ended up waking up at 7:40am. My kids normally wake up around 9 so I didn't have as long as I was wanting, but I got up and did it anyway. I'm not going to lie, I was tempted to just go back to sleep and try again tomorrow lol
I have a bad habit of that which is why I'm hoping this blog will help keep me on track. Being a stay at home mom is both easy and hard. It's easy in the since that I can do things at my own leisure, but that's where the hard part starts. It's tough to find motivation to wash dishes, again, Or to do laundry, vacuum, pick up toys ect. over and over. Imagine being at your job 24/7, 365. No weekends or holidays. It eventually drags you down into a rut. I need a change in attitude, and I'm hoping yoga will help me with that. Plus, my son Mr. D seemed to enjoy watching the video as I was doing it. He decided to wake up early today lol He kept asking what I was doing and laughing at some of the moves. Perhaps I can get him to do it with me in the future. That would be really cool. I don't have a mat or anything, just my floor. I'm wanting to do some yoga every morning for at least a week to see if it's for me before I buy anything. She also has a 30 day yoga challenge that I'm wanting to try. But being new, I want to take my time and really get the basics down for going any further. Lets see if I can keep it up!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The First Step

Well, technically it's more like the fifth step since we've moved lol. But it was the first step in consciously clearing through my things with a goal in mind. I started with my bathroom which may seem like the worst place to start to some. If you remember though, I told you that our bathroom is the size of a closet so it's really not that bad. I don't have a picture to show you, but the medicine cabinet is home to creams, cotton balls, q-tips, scissors, tweezers, lotions, pretty much everything but actual medicine. And the cabinet under the sink is filled with our towels, wash cloths, and toilet paper. We don't store our medicine in the medicine cabinet anymore because I found out that it's actually a bad place for it. This came from the University Of Denver Colorado website:
"Most medicine should be stored at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees, and kept away from moisture as it can make them less potent before their expiration date. This is especially true for tablets and capsules. For example, a warm, muggy environment can cause aspirin tablets to break down into vinegar and salicylic acid, which can irritate the stomach. In fact, salicylic acid is the active ingredient in facial chemical peels. So, you can imagine what it could do to your stomach if you ingest it.
Instead, keep medicines in a cool, dry, secure place out of a child's reach -- perhaps in the kitchen, powder room, or linen closet. If the bathroom is your only option, keep the containers tightly closed. If you store medicines in a kitchen, keep them away from any hot appliances.
Medicine that is improperly stored usually becomes less effective and rarely can become toxic. Follow these tips to prevent danger:
  • Store drugs out of children's reach.
  • Keep medicines in their original container and tightly closed.
  • Cotton can draw moisture into the container, so remove the cotton plug immediately when you receive a new prescription.
  • When you take a drug, check the expiration and replace any medications that are expired.
  • Never use a medication that has changed color, texture, or odor, even if it has not expired.
  • Throw away capsules or tablets that look questionable -- stick together, are harder or softer than normal, or are cracked or chipped.
  • Ask your pharmacist about storage instructions."
  The main thing that I did in the bathroom was throw out everything expired and put all the extra hand towels and towels in my Goodwill box. How many extra towels do you really need? lol Since my bathroom took a total of 10 minutes to do, I decided to move on to the next issue for me. The kitchen. I'll admit, the kitchen is going to be a tough one for me and I'm pretty sure it will require repeat purges until I get it how I imagine. But I just couldn't put off my main cabinet any longer. It's literally a visual irritant to me. Family and friends always comment on how nice it looks, but for some reason it just bothers me. I do have pictures for this part, but I don't have a picture of the cabinet at it's beginning. In the past months I've been decluttering and rearranging it and after today's purge, this is where it's at:
   Oh yeah, my top cabinets don't have doors LOL Which is another motivator for having clean looking cabinets. They were meant to have doors, but everyone said it looked more open without them so we decided to leave them that way. But as you can see, this side is far from being what I envision. My goal is to have it streamline. With matching colors, clear, white, stainless steal and my clear blue dish set. Obviously the sippy cups and sponge bob bowl have to stay haha But hopefully I can find another home for the sippy cups and use the sponge bob bowl as an accent piece maybe? I'm wanting to get matching stainless steal bowls and matching Pyrex bowls. Or maybe just stick with stainless steal bowls and nix the Pyrex all together. I suppose it just depends on what I find. Another drive to simplify this cabinet is the fact that it is the only space I have to store my glasses, bowls and plates. The rest is used for food storage as you can see here:
  And that's it folks. My entire work space other than my small kitchen table. Beside the fridge is my stove and beside that is the doorway into the kitchen. Behind that awesome high chair you see is the backdoor. I have it blocked off because of the construction. I also have a small dresser beside the high chair that is used for more food storage and to hold my microwave and a few other things. I'll post pictures of it when I decide to purge my silverware drawers. Which just might be tomorrow since they really need it. I've also been on the lookout for prettier ways to store food and bothersome items, such as tupperware lids. I've come across some pretty good priced jars at TJ Maxx that happen to have chalkboard paint labels. They were both $2.99 each. Total score right? I've been using them to store my rotini pasta. They hold a full 16oz box with a little bit of room left over. I came across this awesome idea to store tupperware lids on the The Kitchn. If you've never heard of the site, go there now. Seriously. There's a lot of awesome stuff on there. And no, I'm not being paid to say this. Our Epic (Almost) A-Z Guide to Organizing Your Kitchen is the post where this idea comes from.
It's just a cereal box that I cut to fit my cabinet and and lids and spray painted it. I only had two colors on hand. Black and teal. Obviously teal wouldn't have looked right, so black it was LOL You can see it in both pictures. I think it serves it's purpose very well. And since I cut it short, it's easy to take down and get the lid I need. Well, I suppose that's it for today. Hope you had a good one :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

About My House

Let me tell you about my house. It's a three bedroom one bath house built in the 40's. The rooms are pretty nice, but with tiny closets. Meaning we are utilizing our dressers to every extent. It's especially hard for my husband and I. Our bathroom is literally the size of a closet. LOL There is just enough room for a tub/shower combo, toilet and a cabinet sink with a built in medicine cabinet. The sink makes it feel so closed in which is why we will be putting a pedestal sink back in, eventually. There is a floor to ceiling linen closet and a coat closet as well, and that's the only storage space in the house. My kids have their own rooms, but currently share a room because of our junk. It's embarrassing really. So the third room is currently the toy/junk room. There are so many toys that they all can't fit in the room they sleep in. And the worst part is that I've already donated two tubs of toys. The big tubs you'd store blankets or something in that you can get from Walmart. And I still have one tub and about four diaper boxes full, plus the toys that won't fit in boxes or tubs.
The living room is awkward at best because it's the common point between the bath/rooms and kitchen. And the kitchen is a whole story of it's own. It's a good size, sort of. The only problem is that there is only one stretch of counter and cabinet space, which includes the sink. In total, I have 8 feet of top and bottom cabinet and counter space. It's tiny. Three cabinets on top, and three on bottom. Well two and a half on top because the middle cabinet has to be short to allow for head room over the sink. Oh, and no drawers. Not yet anyway because they have to be built. See, our house is what you'd call a fixer uper lol. We had to build the kitchen cabinets.
Our house is my childhood home and it's seen some bad times. And took a beating over the years as a result. Now we're here to bring it back to it's former glory plus some. What used to be the back porch is currently under construction to become our new 10x16 ft awesome kitchen. My father is a general contractor so we will be doing everything. Most people find remodeling to be overwhelming, but I grew up around it. It's fun and you get to design and make everything the way you want it. But one downside for us is that the new kitchen is being built on free time. Making it a long work in progress. But that's alright for me. It gives us time to do everything right and time to buy the fixtures and everything at our leisure. We already have the counter top, which is garnet. Now I'm not the type of girl that has to have everything high end. My father is the one who found the piece at Lowes. Apparently it was part of a display kitchen that they were getting rid of so he was able to get it for cheap. It's a 10ft solid piece of garnet which is what helped form the dimensions of the new kitchen haha. We also have the cabinets in storage. They were a display kitchen from Lowes as well. We get just about everything from Lowes and Home Depot. And with him being a contractor, he gets special deals. Being friends with the managers also helps ;-).
So I'm not only battling with our junk, I'm also fighting tools and aesthetics for the house. I've got most of the tools down to the basement. The rest are tucked away in the junk rooms closet. The other thing in the junk room is the doors for the house. The doors we have now are fine, but they don't match and not every door has a handle. Which is okay with me because that means I don't have to worry about little hands locking themselves in rooms haha. But still, handles are really nice to have and look better too. The doors are waiting for my father to hang them. We tried our hand at hanging our closet door. It's up, but it won't shut right. So it will have to be rehung, says my dad. He gave us an A for effort but said not to hang anymore haha. And that's my house :)

The Beginning

I'm starting this blog mainly for my own benefit. As a way to keep myself on tract. I've recently discovered the Minimalist lifestyle and want to give it a try. My family as a whole has a TON of stuff. And probably 95% of it is just filler. Meaning it has no actual purpose other than to fill up our closets, rooms and pretty much everywhere it can. One of the biggest issues is toys. Being a mom of two little ones comes with challenges, further complicated by relatives buying junk toys from thrift stores constantly. Don't get me wrong now. I do appreciate the fact that my family obviously loves my children, but come on. If it's broken, just don't buy it!
The next biggest issue is my stuff. Oh yeah, I have a lot. And the sad thing is that I gave a LOT to Goodwill when we moved. And I mean a lot. Like a few car loads. It's ridiculous. And most of the things that went were handme downs from family members cleaning out their closets and garages. Things that I don't need at all but I have to take because 'it's the polite thing to do', according to my grandmother. So this blog will hopefully be a valuable tool for helping me slim down our possessions. And hopefully it will be life changing. Something positive that I can pass down to my children. To live simply and focus more on life, instead of stuff. Because we all know we could use more life and less stuff!