Friday, September 30, 2011

It's killing me!

The 30 day bootcamp deal is killing me. Not because I'm not cut out for the work involved. Oh, no! I am. It's just that she is going about it so differently than I ever would - and probably why I have failed with the major decluttering task up until this point.

She has you categorizing things - junk drawer, music CDs, underwear drawer, shoes, etc. And it is quite possible that some people think like this naturally. I'm not one of those people. See... the above assumes that you have all of your music CDs in one spot. Your shoes... in your closet. Your socks... in your sock drawer. I'm not one of those people, either.

The way I would do it is like this:

"Today I am going to declutter the laundry room". I walk into the laundry room with three things. 1) laundry basket (keep), 2) box (giveaway), 3) trash bag (duh!). Starting at one corner of the laundry room I dig through the pile finding a shoe with no match, a folding metal chair we use when guests come over, an old kids apron from Home Depot building days, and some safety swimsuits (you know, the floating kind). I decide to keep three of the 4 because I don't know if we still have the other shoe or not and if we do... why would you get rid of a pair of shoes a younger sibling could wear.

Then I move over to the freezer and discover that everything in there is great but we need to defrost it. I need some towels on the floor to defrost it. I start to sort the towels out of the dirty clothes and discover an overflowing mound of clothes that need to be sorted and washed. I sort the clothes and realize at the bottom of the pile is that shoe. Go back to the laundry room find the original shoe, try it on the owner, and discover it doesn't fit. Try it on the younger sibling. Oh, it will work in about 3 months. Go put the shoe in the closet. Wow. This closet is a mess. What are these dirty clothes doing in here? Grab the clothes, head to the pile. Big pile of towels? Oh, yea - for the freezer. You see?

So, even though it is killing me, I'll keep going with this thing. It seems to be more successful.

However, we don't seem to be dealing with the stuff that is spread out all over the house. We seem to be digging through drawers and cabinets and closets. While it looks like I really am making some headway, all I can see around me is clutter clutter everywhere.

Through all this I am realizing how debilitating clutter really is to me. It is absolutely paralyzing. I was thinking about it today, actually. We have all these bookshelves in our living room. I really love them. I love all the books but sometimes things start coming off the shelves and there is no room to put them back. So the stuff gets put on the floor right next to the bookshelf. No one thinks much of it at the time, but as you probably know, clutter begets clutter and sooner rather than later we have a major malfunction - a large pile.

At this point all I can see IS a pile. I can't see what's in the pile because the pile itself is so overwhelming to me. Totally overwhelming. Like depressing type of overwhelming. In order to escape that feeling, we end up leaving the house and sometimes we come home with more stuff to fix that feeling. It's a horrible vicious cycle.

But the 30 day bootcamp deal is working because it is forcing me to find that junk that I need to find anyway. I had to sort through the entire laundry basket of socks today to find Pete's socks so that I could cull them. I have avoided that dumb sock basket like the plague.

In the process my plan has been altered a bit - or at least added to. I will continue the 30 day plan and then I will go back through the house with The Joy of Less plan - as she goes room by room. I needed it in babysteps because I think the room by room thing would have killed me worse. Technically you can only be killed once, but you get my drift.

Even more profound, I'm seeing how those hoarders end up on TV. I will not end up like that. My thinking has to change. That's why they make them deal with it instead of sending in a crew to pick it all up. They have to see their stuff for what it is and then they have to make changes in their heart and thought process to keep it from getting that way again.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Come, Follow Me

Matthew 19:21

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

This was so cool, I just had to share. Last night I was reading Miss Minimalist's blog and she had a post on Minimalism and Religion. Now, if you will remember,  I said that I felt like a lot of us Christians were missing the boat on some of these issues.

She used the above reference and then several other instances and quotes from other religions. She's not a Christian, however I think she made a very good point.

Jesus was saying here "get rid of the stuff in your life that you have put above Me." That's what I am aiming to do - getting rid of the stuff in my life (excess material possessions and overeating) that has been an idol for far too long.

So, check this out...

This morning I was reading Made to Crave (note to self, go back and update the post about reading disciplines with current book selections) and she cites this exact verse! No joke. See - it's not just about the stuff or the food, it's about putting Him first and not being hindered by our self made idols.

Pretty cool, huh?!

Decluttered: Underwear Drawer

I try to cull this area down pretty often, but it was on the plan and I'm following the plan... so I did what I was told to do. Paige has been working on laundry so I had warned her to be looking for randomly placed undergarments (read: underwear that was in a load with other things) so that I could go through it all at the same time and see what we were really dealing with. I really should get a handle on this area and put all my undergarments together or something, but I don't - and probably won't.

Here's the before (I have strategically blurred the contents to prevent you from viewing things you shouldn't view, while still giving you an idea of volume of contents):

It doesn't seem like there is a whole lot there, but it's really more than we need and there was plenty to get rid of.

Here's the pile I got rid of. Not bad, eh? Pete was really easy to "co-hearse". All I had to do was twist his arm and threaten to not do laundry ask him what he wanted to keep. (seriously, that's all I had to do - ask him!) 

And here's the after (with properly blurred garments):

Now, I will just say that I'm a bit perplexed by Tanja and her list of maximum amounts of items to keep. It made me feel like I was the minimalist in this scenario. Her "good rule of thumb" list includes a maximum of "10 pairs of socks, 5 undershirts, 10 bras, 10 pairs of underwear, and 5 pajamas or nightgowns." Now I'm as behind on laundry as the next lady with 6 kiddos, but seriously? Some minimalists want to only keep 100 items (I'll never be this extreme) and according to this list that would only leave you 60 items to live life on. Hmm.

You will notice a very small amount of socks in the drawer above. I don't wear socks. Even in the winter, I rarely wear socks. I used to wear flip-flops until I realized that I looked extremely odd to everyone else. Hubby works from home and wears boots on Sunday. We share the short socks. I use them when I workout and actually have to wear tennis shoes. And there are more socks than this that just haven't been paired up. I was really feeling against pairing up socks just to go through them and give half of them away. I'll work on that tomorrow as the area to declutter will take me all of 3 seconds. Shoes. I have 4 pair and already know I'm giving away one pair of them because they don't work well when I have to walk to the car on our country driveway.

In fact, I think I'll tackle shoes, socks, and tshirts tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Decluttered: Personal care items

Here's what we are dealing with. The down and dirty - or up and clean depending on how you look at it.

Now I did not pull out every bit of everything we have that would be considered personal care. One example would be nail clippers. I didn't pull those out until I looked back over her list. At that point I found out that we had 3 pair of baby nail clippers, 3 pair of regular nail clippers, and 2 pair of toe nail clippers. I decided to cull down to 1 baby pair, 1 toe nail pair, and 2 regular pair.

And it is quite possible that we will not need any hand soap for the next 9 months to a year....

Aveeno lotion... at least a year!

Toothpaste... a few months.

I kept a lot but I put all the extras together into one bin in the laundry room. I donated a few items and trashed a whole 1/2 a bag. It's heavy, too.

Decluttered: Junk Drawers

I turned them back into their purpose - utility drawers. No junk allowed!


It's hard to see in this photo, but there is A LOT of stuff here. It filled a large laundry basket. Crazy. I haven't tackled this area in years and I just kept throwing stuff in the drawers when I didn't know what to do with it. In our home, everything does not have a home. But it will...



Yes, that IS an empty drawer you see. Isn't it grand!

Now I did relocate some items that I was not quite ready to part with. I moved a bunch of pencils back to their home in the school area, but for the most part what you don't see was either trashed or donated. I kept so many mechanical pencils and pens.. and permanent markers.. because we really do use them. Until I can get everyone on board with putting back what they get out, we will need this many.

Live Life Uncluttered

I started a new blog to journal my thoughts and progress on minimizing our stuff down to the necessities and a few extras as well as my journey to declutter excess weight from my body.

You can see it here:

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Purpose for Minimizing

It looks as if many "minimalists" saying minimalizing (or minimalising, depending on where they are located)  instead of minimizing. They mean the same thing but minimalizing would have the context that you want to become a minimalist. While that is the jist of what I am going for, that does not encompass my goal per say. My goal is God driven and I talked about it briefly in a post on my other blog.

Unfortunately I don't know many missionaries, so that didn't take me too far as an example of which to draw from but I am finding minimalism to encompass what I am trying to accomplish. But minimalism comes with its context of new-agey stuff that I'm so not about. Yet, these people have something that a lot of Christians are missing. Not in terms of their eternal life or the reason for their very being, but walking out contentment in a material sort of way. Many of us are missing the boat on this issue.

I needed a little guidance on a how-to get this decluttering thing done. I've read flylady and I'm not talking about a general get rid of some stuff sort of way. I'm talking about the nitty gritty, down and dirty chunk the stuff sort of reality. So with my hobby money this payday I purchased  the 30 Day Clutter Bootcamp. That's what I have been working on the past few days. She doesn't got into why to get rid of the stuff so much as to how to get rid of it, breaking things down into baby steps for the easily overwhelmed. That's me!

On day 1 she has you make a master plan. Below you will find my master plan straight from the pages of my iPad. I'm calling it the Master plan, because I'm working for my Master - The Lord Jesus Christ - and the things that I am doing here, I want to be glorifying to Him alone. Maybe some of this will be encouraging to you.

I want to continue to declutter because the visual chaos is constantly distracting me and I rarely feel peaceful and calm when at home. It seems I am always organizing but really I am just moving piles from here to there. I get rid of a lot but not enough. The idea of living with just what we need is very calming to me - like when we are camping. My biggest life goal is to enjoy every day the Lord has given to me. To have moments of pure laughter and full service to Him.

These are my problem areas:

  • kitchen counter
  • homemaking supplies - gardening, canning, etc.
  • cookbooks
  • photos and memorabilia - not the photos themselves, just 15 shots of the same thing
  • cleaning products
  • blankets
  • scentsy bars
  • clothes - too many kids clothes
  • sheet sets
  • audio cds/ seminars (I decluttered those here)
  • notebooks
  • self-help books
  • curriculum
  • baby clothes
  • hair bows
  • things I want to do "someday" (though someday never comes because I'm constantly visually overwhelmed)
  • personal care products
  • first aid items
  • organization boxes
  • supplements and medicine cabinet stuff

interjecting something here: this is not and "idealist" sort of mentality. This is about the way I am bent and the things I enjoy. 

  • light colored walls
  • quilts in each room (and time to quilt)
  • room for lots of scrapbooks (and time to scrap) for all of us to look at
  • empty spaces so my eyes can rest somewhere
  • vintage and lamplighter books
  • clear kitchen counters with a scentsy warmer on the island
  • 8 mason jars for drinking lined up all in a row on the island
  • a vase of fresh flowers on the table
  • laundry room with laundry baskets for dirty clothes
  • light and airy rooms with natural light filtering in
  • white refrigerator (we need to replace ours very soon!)
  • hardwood floors and little to no carpet

Action plan:

  • I want to declutter 6 days per week; Sundays off to enjoy The Lord's Day & a board game with the kids
  • My goal is to reduce our stuff by 50-75% depending on the area/category
  • I would like to be finished with the declutter in 3 months
  • priority is kitchen, the clothes, closets, music
    so I had to give up my priority for actually getting things done because this is not the order that she does things in the book.


  • wait on maintenance until decluttering is done
  • purchase purposefully from now on

Things have to change - they must be different.
Living life simply leads to living life freely.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Decluttered: Music and Audio CDs

Granted that most of our music is on mp3, but this was a sizable stack and most of it we didn't even listen to. A couple of these are DVDs. 

Here's what we got it down to. Then I went through iTunes and deleted the things that we had gotten rid of so there was no illegal duplicating.

We have quite a huge collection of audio seminars and radio shows. Here's the ones we decide to part with. Along with 2 of those CD binder book deals.

Not bad for an hour of work.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Purpose of Blog

The purpose of this blog is to journal two aspects of my life - 1) the desire to bring my body into obedience to the Lord by releasing 60+ pounds and 2) making our home a place of calmness and clutter free living. Uncluttering my body and home.

Living simply so that I can live freely.

stuff gone for good

I have many notes started for a book that I intend to write - Minimizing when your Maxed out. I'll not go into that right now. This needs to be a short post so that I can get on with what I am intending to do.

In the last week I have decluttered 2 large van (we have a 12 passenger with the back seat out) of stuff from our house. "What was it," you might ask. I have no idea. I can distinctly remember getting rid of a 12 qt. roaster I used once and a quilt (I scanned it for posterity's sake before sending it on its way). The quilt was given to us by the local quilt guild when our 7 year old had his tubes put in 6+ years ago. It was sweet, but too small for anyone to use.

Here are a few pics of the piles I have made and toted promptly to the van for transferring to the Mercy Closet (at church):

Much of the motivation to rid our home of this large amount of stuff came from this great mini-guide from Simplify 101. Then I started getting really serious and started thinking "minimalism" and bought the book The Joy of Less.

The thing is... I'm so not finished and that is why I have started this blog.

In Him,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Quilt Reveal: Kimbo's Quilt

I finally uploaded my camera full of pictures and at the very top of the stack were pictures of my sister's quilt. Well, the quilt was technically a gift for her and Brady - for their wedding. Let's be honest. It was for her, from me. I love Brady but I don't think he gets goo goo gah gah over quilts. I knew my sister would. There are 24 fabrics in here plus the border. Kimbo picked 15 of them via a fat quarter set. It is a full size quilt.

The pattern is: Yellow Brick Road by Terry Atkinson.

Notice the beautiful "heartstrings" quilting. It is a beautiful turquoise thread. I had it longarm quilted by a friend of mine from the quilt guild and notated that information on the label as well.

I used a sew-in colorfast printer fabric for the label. You can design your own and make a sort of pocket that you then can hand sew onto the back of the quilt. I found the tutorial here.

Kimbo and Brady both loved it and it stays on the foot of their bed. I loved making!!!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Life Disciplines: Reading

A few years ago, I remember my friend, Brandi, trying this idea. I decided to try it without much success. I got bogged down and couldn’t recover. In a recent discussion with Brandi, I realized that she was trying it again. One of the things that she reiterated was that she was not going to get bogged down. If she missed a day, then she just moved on and picked it up again the following week.

All that said - onto the subject of this post.


Do you have shelves and shelves of books that you want to read but never get to? Possibly you have a mile-long (or close) list of books that have been recommended and you want to check them all out. Maybe you have a burning desire to regularly visit the library for yourself, not just your children.

Therefore we come to the discipline of reading non-fiction books that can be used by the Lord to teach new and practical skills for living while glorifying Him.

I believe that the Bible is the ONLY book that is 100% true and 100% God inspired. I do not feel there is an equal, nor do I feel that there is a book that can accurately and effectively teach as well as the Bible teaches, since the Bible is NOT just literature. That said… I do think that God uses His people to effectively write books that reiterate His truths and give help in practical aspects of living. Likewise, I believe that God uses non-believers to write books that we can read and learn from. We must use discernment in anything we read. Basically books are great, but should never be used above of or in place of God’s Holy Word.

I love this quote from Charlie "Tremendous" Jones - "You are the same today you’ll be in five years except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read."  So I say that you should be extra careful of what you spend your time reading!

So, here’s the “how to”. Each day of the week I am reading portions of books; one book each day. Currently I am trying to read 1 chapter in each book, but that may fluctuate depending on the depth of the book and the material it covers. This is done after I have my daily Bible reading and prayer. I am currently in 3 differently Bible studies, so I am spreading those out over the month.

I snagged Brandi’s “days” and I’ll share them here along with the books I am currently reading in each of the categories. These “days”/categories made sense to me. I renamed them to be me-style and added the last one. The links go to amazon, though we usually buy our used books through I like their pricing/shipping structure better.

Growing in God
Growing through Marriage
Growing through Parenting
Growing through Health
Thin Within (one “day” per week)
Made to Crave *I changed direction here because I just needed something different.
Growing through Homemaking
Just Because
*I'm not "recommending" these books. I have only read one of them all the way through before and even that one was read at a very different time in my life. 

Brandi reminded me that life is not a race and neither does it matter how quickly we get through the books we have on our shelves. Since non-fiction books are general thinking material, I thought this would work out best for me and my ADD brain to not get bogged down and hyper-focused. And I simply must remember to just keep moving past perfectionism.

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picture from:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I’m reading Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund. This is the next to last paragraph of the first chapter. I loved it and posted it on facebook. It’s so good. Think about it.

“What have I learned in these last six years? That Spirit-motivated disciplines facilitate the Christian walk. Oh, I'm not discounting all the warm feelings along the route, when I've sung Jesus-songs and held hands and the rest. But our sensuous age forgets that feelings come and feelings leave you, but the disciplines of life are what get you to where you want to go.”

So much of what I do or don’t do is based on feelings. I don’t have any really good disciplines. I want to, but I don’t. Or do I really want to? Honestly, probably not. Living based on feelings is easier, but it does not bring glory or honor to God.

Discipline is hard – even more so if you have to discipline yourself or if the Lord has to discipline you. I’m going to try to work on a series about disciplines – either as I come to them in the book or ones I think of on my own or learn about from other people.

It would probably be a good idea to take this as a heeding to continue to teach our children disciplines so that things aren’t so hard on them when they are grown and away from home.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Free Wordart

I'm going through some old files, cleaning up pictures, simplifying memory life. I came across these and thought I would share them. I think they are probably on this blog somewhere previously - when I was really into digital scrapbooking. But not necessarily easily accessible now. They are yours if you would like them. No need to give credit, I just don't want them to go to waste.

All of them are downloadable through this link:

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