Friday, October 14, 2011

Wishing for a modest middle?

Found this really cool tank thing through the Life in a Shoe (Kim) blog. I could so use this on a windy day. Even the "around your neck" covers don't cover you in those instances and sweet little 10 month old sweethearts love to take the blanket off. Been there, done that. I want to win one of these amazing little boogers.

Now, I'd not send my husband to this website as their are ladies in modest middles and a bra...just a little warning.

You know - these ladies would make the big big bucks if they had a "modest little middle" - a slimming nursing tank top. Just sayin'.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Decluttered: Linens

I finished my linens today. Though I'm glad to be done with that, I'm throwing in the towel on the bootcamp. Like I said before, I am cut out for the work that is going to be required to become a minimalist, but I feel like I must have victory over at least one area or I'm not going to be able to keep going. The motivation is not going to come when I open up the middle closet of Pete's office (where the linens are kept). The motivation is not going to come when I open up my junk drawer, since I never open the empty one. Get what I am saying? I'm not feeling very victorious at all because everything, seriously EVERYTHING, is chaotic around my home in terms of clutter. No one room has been tackled. There is no sanctuary to retreat to when I'm feeling completely overwhelmed - even though I have been working on the bootcamp for over a week. So, I'm going back to the beloved CCC - Colossal Clutter Cleanup - an old favorite.

I wanted so badly to love the bootcamp and I'm sure it would work well for someone who has hidden her clutter in drawers and cabinets throughout the house. Tanja is a fun writer and I like her blog topics. But she doesn't have a large family and let's face it, large families do things differently. I don't have my clutter all tucked away neatly. My friend at church does. Apparently she shoves stuff in drawers and closets. Mine sits out (and you saw the closet, so you know it does go deeper).

Anyway, she offers a refund if you aren't satisfied. While I hate to ask for a refund, I did, because honestly the method just wasn't working and $20 was a lot to pay for something that was not going to continue to help me. There is stuff on every flat surface of my house. Yes, I have minimalized junk drawers, personal care items, and socks - but none of those things were in sight anyway.

So, you are tired of hearing why I'm calling it quits on the bootcamp and now I'll reveal my pared down linens.

These are bath towels. Just bath towels. About 10 minutes after taking this photo and dividing everything up I found 5 more in another cabinet - for a total of 34 bath towels. There are 8 of us in the house. I think it's fair to say that we have too many towels. It's no wonder that I have trouble getting the children to reuse them and am constantly washing towels.

That's Brason holding a yardstick. Adding the 5 additional would have made this pile about 1 1/2 yards high.

Pile on the left are towels I am keeping in the house. Pile on the right is for the camper.

Kitchen towels. Pile on the left is for home. Pile on the right is for camper.

I was really perplexed as to how many towels to keep. After reading a couple of blogs about the subject here and here, here are the decisions I came to:

  • 2 towels per person is more than enough. I will wash a load mid-week if necessary. (Funny story. After finally figuring out how many towels we should have I started splitting things up to find that I had various colored towels in pairs. Apparently this had already been decided at one time.)
  • 1 towel per person in the camper is all that we can conceivably dry out each night while we are camping.
  • 7 kitchen towels for the house. I will wash a load mid-week if necessary.
  • 5 kitchen towels for the camper because I seem to use more of them there and they don't dry out as quickly in the smaller quarters.
  • I had other towels, washcloths, and rags that I sorted through - kept what was needed, donated a few things, and trashed the others.
  • I'm going to convert all of my kitchen towels to white towels at my next shopping trip. I love bleach. Don't hate me if you don't think I'm being very green or crunchy or whatever.
  • I will transfer my house kitchen towels to the camper and ditch the camper ones.
  • Eventually I would like to convert our bath towels to nice white towels. Maybe in January during a white sale or something. This was actually Pete's preference, we have just never done it.
I feel like I have accomplished something. I wish it were more and if I were doing this the CCC way, it would be. We are leaving for a camping trip on Thursday so I'm switching gears to take care of camper stuff and getting ready. I'll be making my CCC plan Thursday. For the record, I could have made it through real bootcamp - as long as they were methodical and organized.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Decluttered: Closet

Well, I was supposed to go through linens today. I went through a lot of linens, but I had to unearth them from the middle closet first. So, if I'm going to dig it all out, why not go through it. Right? I'm about to be a bootcamp flunkie because I'm not liking it much at all right now. The parts of my house that I actually see are not getting any better while I'm making bigger messes from drawers and closets. Should I push through? Not sure. Really not sure right now. I didn't even make it all the way through the linens since technically that would include towels, washcloths, and kitchen towels. I'll tackle the rest of those tomorrow along with more clothes.

However, I did make it through the middle closet. Now this is just the once over. There are a few more things to get out of there, but this was the major stuff.


Paige uses this as her closet... the linen closet... the dress up clothes closet... the closet with the door which was removed from another get the idea. Pete told me he knew it was bad because he kept throwing things in there. Shame! lol


Paige went through all the stuff in that plastic bin on top. To the left of that is the sheets that I am keeping plus one throw blanket. The white bin has most of Paige's shoes in it. She got rid of one pair but the rest she really does wear regularly - even white after labor day! Shame! (I'm shaming a lot of people tonight, huh?) The silver bin has dress up clothes. She cut that in 1/2.

Here's the evidence of what I parted with. I also had one full bag of trash.

You might be wondering what I kept.
  1. We have 5 twin beds, 1 crib, and 1 king. I kept one fitted sheet for each twin plus one extra for accidents. If we have two sick children at one time, they will go on the floor. We don't put flat sheets on the twin beds and haven't for years. I donated them last year, I believe. I kept 3 crib sheets. We go through them more often with leaky diapers and such. Two sets of king sheets. We always tend to change our sheets right before going to bed - which makes it pretty difficult to wash, dry, and replace them. I'm saving myself that headache. 
  2. I put fleece tie blankets into the camper - one each for the younger 4 children.
  3. I put a fitted sheet for each bed in the camper plus a blanket for the queen bed.
  4. Actually, I didn't put anything in the camper - I sent the helpers to the camper with the loads. Brason (7) held the flashlight.
  5. I parted with a lot. There was simply too much stuff, evidenced by the pictures!
  6. Josefina stayed as did her clothing. This was a special gift and reminder of the Lord's provisions one Christmas for Paige. It was gifted to us by another family whose daughter had gotten years of use from it. Noelle will get it when she is old enough to take care of it and not brush it's hair. My mother-in-love replaced it's head once. A week later Paige brushed the hair out. I could have died. I'll replace the head soon - I bet they retire her soon.
  7. There are various other bits and pieces in the closet but everything is something we are using or will use - like the lamp up there. I'm going to repurpose that on my nightstand!
My hubby made it through Marine bootcamp. Surely I can do this. I know I can, but not sure if I want to. It's seriously making a bigger mess, I think. Do I need a bigger mess? I'm also missing things, pieces. Like I know there are more dress up clothes and blankets. Ugh, I don't think I want to think about it. Just have to do it for another day. That won't be the end but it will be another day.

Goal for tomorrow: kitchen towels, dishcloths, bath towels, hand towels, washrags, more of my clothes.

Reader Question: Which book?

I had a question via email from an e-friend who is also following this blog. With her permission, I'm posting her question and my response. I thought it might be helpful to someone else.

From R.I.:

Christine, I have kept up with your journey thus far.  I am encouraged!  Thank you!  My house isn't  to terribly cluttered but I have some hot spots that are about to drive me insane!  I was looking over both books, the bootcamp and the Joy of Less.  Which one do you recommend?  I really like the bootcamp "idea" because my mind works like yours does.  Reading your post the otherday about the laundry room made me laugh because it was me!  To get started did you really need the other books you suggested or would the bootcamp one be sufficient?  Thanks Christine!

My response:

The more I’m doing the bootcamp, the more I dislike it – but I’m committed, so I’m moving forward. Here’s an example. Today I’m supposed to work on linens. Well, my linens are buried in a middle closet. I have a huge box of them, but honestly I have to clean out the whole closet to get to them. We have just been washing sheets and putting them back on. Therefore, I don’t intend to keep many of the ones in the closet, but I still have to go through them.

If you think that you could be motivated by my blog, I would just either use the list I am making on my blog or make your own list of things you want to cover each day. I would add days like “cookbooks”, “knick-knacks”, “kids clothes” (she covers kids clutter, but this is not the same thing), etc.

She doesn’t have a big family. I’m not sure if she has any children at all – so this is not a blow to her, just a preference for me. When you are dealing with a family, it is different.  If all of my linens were reachable at this point, it would not be a big deal. However, because I’m a clutter bug – they aren’t. That’s the problem! I was talking to my friend at church last night and she is doing the same thing at home, except she is doing it her way with no additional helps. When you are looking for all your school memorabilia to decide what you want to keep, you have to dig through all the various places you have put it to find it – that way you can see what you have and determine what you want to keep.

It is quite possible that you house isn’t anything as bad as mine, so the bootcamp might work fine for you.

However, if I were to pick, I would go with the Joy of Less because she really talks about why you don’t need as much stuff as you think you do (or did) and how to dig it out. I feel like she should have added more rooms, though. And of course anything would need to be tailored if the person had a small family, a large family, retired, etc. The lady that wrote Joy of Less is married with no children – but she has a lot of great ideas in there. She also covers some organizing aspects that the other doesn’t cover. Right now I’m just trying to pare down to the very minimum and then I’ll organize it later, but she talks about having modules and things like that – which I love.

From R.I.:

I kinda did what you're doing as far as paring down goes, a few months ago.  However, I feel like I need to do it again.  We got rid of probably 50% of our stuff.  But like I said there are some hot spots that need some attention.  I need to make a plan!  Thanks for your honesty on the book, I don't want to spend 20 if I don't have to.  I think that having children is HUGE in this.  I try to get this done and then have to change diapers, etc. etc. etc.  So then I get distracted!  HOwever, I know this needs to be done around here because like you, I don't feel peace in my home.  Plus, I want my children to be able to take care of their home when it's time!  My husband used to have problems with my housekeeping, but not anymore.  I have gotten better as far as housekeeping goes (cleanliness), but if I'm cleaning, I'm not decluttering and don't have time!  Such a catch 22.  So I guess a PLAN is what I need.  And the kids will be involved so I will spend time with them!  I want the house to be minimal so I actually have time to spend with my children doing fun things and not having to worry about what needs to be "decluttered". AND not feel guilty!  Which is satan!  UGH!  Thanks Christine! I must go plan!

My response:

To that I would say a hearty “amen and amen”. I want to spend more time with my children, too. While I know that peace comes from Jesus, I think that He has given us a perfect example of what we need to live when he depended on the Father for everything. When junk fills my home, I’m not depending on the Father – I’m depending on me. That’s not working out too well.

If you have a Kindle, iPhone, iPad, or are willing to read online, I would do kindle version of the book so that you don’t have to add one more thing to your home right now. Plan, be blessed, and then get into action! J Let me know how it goes as I’d love to hear your progress.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Decluttered: Socks, Shoes, and T-shirts

I didn't get much done today, but yesterday I did tackle the socks and t-shirts. More on that in a minute. Today I got rid of 2 pairs of shoes (one from me and 1 from Pete) and threw away 1. As in one shoe. I'm not sure where the other is. I haven't been able to unearth it from the closet yet. I guess I'll tackle that when I'm through with the 30 day bootcamp. Looking over the next 20 days or so, I don't think we cover things like: musical instruments, valentine's for next year's valentine's party, or gun gear.

Socks. Wow. Apparently by my own laundry habits (or lack thereof) I've turned my husband into a hoarder.


After: The bottom right socks are for Winter.

T-shirts. Before: (I basically took 3 drawers out of the dresser and dumped them on our bed)


I threw away 18 shirts and gave away 3. I'm serious. All of this with Pete's permission, of course. He actually picked what he wanted to keep and he didn't pick many.

Over the years we have figured out what we like to wear. He likes white t-shirts with a v-neck. So, he got rid of almost everything else except the ones he likes to wear outside of the house. Then he added Hanes V-neck white tshirts to the grocery list for the next time I go. Why do we keep things in our closet that we don't like to wear? I have no issues purchasing a pack of t-shirts even though he was happy to wear the other ones - because he prefers hanes v-neck. It's the little things in life that make life a little easier. Right?


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