Sunday, April 30, 2017

Steps on this Journey to Minimalism

For years I have struggled with clutter and keeping an orderly home. Nowadays the house stays clean, and I can have guests over at the drop of a hat. Finally! But how did I get here?

First thing in the morning I put anything away anything left out from the night before.
I love waking up to a clean house!  For the last couple years, my routine has been as soon as I come downstairs, while the coffee is brewing, I put away the few items that the kids might have left out. Next I fill the sink with sudsy water for the breakfast dishes and any glasses from the night before. After breakfast everything gets cleaned up and put away, then we are ready for homeschooling.

I gave away all our books that we can get at the library. 
I have a weakness for books, but I rarely read a book twice, so they just sit on the shelf.  I used to to have two large bookcases chock full of books-plus boxes of homeschooling books that weren't being used.  Now I only have a few books, and the kids have a number of favorite books they own kept in their rooms.  All of  the extra homeschooling books and educational materials are going to a curriculum sale next week!  Our librarian has told me that they can get almost any book I want through inter-library loan.

I went through every closet and drawer in our house and gave away or threw away all duplicates, or things we don't need or use. 
Even though my house is kept clean, the closets and drawers were messy most of the time. Filled to the brim with duplicates of everyday items and stuff we weren't using or didn't need.  I went through everything! This took me about two weeks. I also organized and put all like items together.

I organized the Fridge
This is what inspired me to go through every area of my home. There was no rhyme or reason to where our food was placed in the refrigerator. I asked Sophie to label on post-it-notes things like eggs, meat, veggies, breads, milk and juice, and leftovers.  It only took a few days for us to put things in the right spot. Now leftovers are being eaten!

Every item has a home.
I didn't think this would ever happen. It was because we owned way too much stuff! The answer was just getting rid of it!  Now I can easily find anything in our home. And I know what we have, because we don't have too much.

Saying no when friends want to give us things, and not buying new things.
This is a new one, and it's a challenge!  Today after church a friend wanted to give me a couple pairs of shorts for Sophie. She does need shorts, but I knew she wouldn't like them. Normally I would have taken them anyway, and they would have sat in my closet for a while, but this time I said, "No thank you".  One day this week we went to our neighbor's play, and there was  also a book fair going on. Sophie really wanted a book, but I said, "No, we can get it at the library".

I have the kids put their things away after using.
This is taking some time, and I still put things away from them.  I'm trying to be more aware and remind them to do it. I know we'll get there.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Some Other Things We've Been Doing

We have been doing other things besides decluttering and organizing.

Sophie is working on her bullet journal.  Next to her you can see the 1000 piece puzzle we are putting together.

                                                                  I made an apron!

             We visited friends out in the country. Their animals greeted us as we got out of the car!

Christian learned Power Point this week.  He got an A+ on a project  he worked on for Theater, Cinema & Film  class!

Sophie made two pies for the pie auction at church. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Finding Even More Things to Go Through

 It is so freeing to get rid of the things we don't need anymore, that we will never use again, and to realize that I don't have to hold onto things forever. I can let them go!

                              I thought I was done, but I'm still finding papers to go through.

I threw away this pile of papers after going through my file box. Some of it I've kept since the early 90's! I organized the papers I am keeping. I took pictures of some special letters from friends and family before tossing. I did keep the cute cards that the kids made me when they were little.

I found this attachment for my sewing machine. It had never been out of the box, and I've had it for 17 years! I tossed it, because I know I'll never use it.

Here is a knot-a-quilt craft project that sophie and I started 6 years ago. I know we'll never finish it. And she was fine getting rid of it.

I really think I've finished going through everything now, but we'll see!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I never thought I would get rid of this....until today

My Mom and my grandmother made these for a craft fair over 20 years ago. I thought they were so cute, and my mom gave me one as a gift! Years ago it used to look nice in my living room, holding the crocheting projects I was working on. I never even considered getting rid of it-until today!

 It was a really nice gift, but it has certainly seen better days! The ribbon looks like it was chewed by one of our cats years ago, the outside looks very worn, and the inside cover is ripped.

                                                          This is what was inside it.

Here are some small weaving looms I bought at a homeschool convention years ago.  I pictured the kids and I weaving in the living room after the book work was done- it didn't happen.  I tired it a few times, I couldn't get the hang of it and it sat in this basket in the closet. I will sell these at the curriculum sale in a couple weeks.

Time to get rid of the basket-but  now I have a picture of it! I kept these. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I thought I was done

When I thought I had gone through everything in the house I saw this..

This is what I call the school drawer

This is everything laid out. Look at all those dried out glue sticks! And how many rulers do we need? Sophie has another one in her room.

These items I want to keep, but I will put them some place else. Ok, the magnet roll is one of those things I want to use "someday".  Maybe if I don't use it in a month, I will give it away.  We do use glue gun for craft projects, and we need those eye protectors for science experiments-but really, we never use them-even when the book tells us to!

Here is what I threw out. 

This is the drawer now!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

12 Things I had the Hardest Time Parting With

Here are twelve items from my home that I have hung onto for years, that I have finally gotten out of my life!

How long owned? 15 years Times used? 1 I got this at a Pampered Chef party. Why did I keep it if we never used it?  Because it's Pampered Chef!

How long owned? 20 years Times used? 5.  I got this when we first started homeschooling 20 years ago. I thought it was such a great idea to make my own games to reinforce what we were learning. I think I made 5 games with it.

How long owned? 10 years Times used? 0  My mother-in-law gave these to me around the same time. She is an amazing quitlter and I wanted to learn to quilt.  She did help me get started, and she and I made some cute quilted pillows together, but I never used these books. I kept them because, well, she gave them to me.

 How long owned? 11 years  I did get a lot of use out of this book. But since my Kitchen Aid mixer broke 4 years ago, I use new recipies for things like pizza dough, and I no longer need this.

How long owned? collected throughout the years  Why do I need so many tubes of cortizone????  I tried to remember the last time we used this, I think Sophie needed it once last summer. I kept one, and threw out the rest.

How long owned? 7 years Times used? 0 I was given this in a box of science paraphernalia. I thought Christian might need it for an experiment. Nope, he's never used it.

How long owned? 8 years Times used? 0 I bought a few of these, I used one, and this has sat in a drawer since.

How Long owned? 17 years These books have meant a lot to me. I have read them both twice. "Confessions of an Organized Homemaker" was the first home organizing book I bought in 2000. And "Sink Reflections" was purchased in  2006. It's time to pass them on.

How Long owned? 16 years Times used? not many I got this when my oldest was in 3rd or 4th grade. I thought it was the coolest! But realistically, my kid's preferred other ways for learning the multiplication tables.

How long owned? 27 years Times used? not many  I think I bought this the first year I was married. Sure I used it some throughout the years, but mostly it stayed under my kitchen sink, shoved in the back behind the cleaning supplies and bags. I certainly haven't used it in the last 5 years.  I thought everyone had to have one of these, even though I use the faucet to water my few plants.

How long owned? 20 years  I love these math blocks! I got them out of my favorite homeschooling catalog. I wanted to keep them for when I have grandkids someday! But they are missing some pieces, and my someday grandchildren can play with other things. 

How long owned? 17 years Why did I keep this? The kids didn't play with it that much, but I thought it was neat, so it sat in a drawer for years with the last remaining toys.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Decluttering and Minimalism

I hate clutter! It is overwhelming to me and causes anxiety. I can't focus and enjoy the moment when there is clutter around me! Some of my family members can't understand this. I used to move furniture around about once every couple of months. I said it was  because I like change, but I think it was mostly because it forced me to declutter!  I have battled with clutter all of my adult life-until two years ago. My three older kids had moved out on their own, then some life changing things happened for me.  As a result, Christian, Sophie and I moved into a small townhouse.  I sold and gave away most of our bulky furniture,  I went through everything we had, and after years and years of dealing with stuff, I was able to finally pare down and get rid of a ton of stuff that we didn't need. The kid's still had a lot of personal items, but it was  mostly contained in their own rooms.

Our new home had simple furnishings, and it was easy to keep clean. There were large closets with nice shelving in them, and they were mostly bare. It felt wonderful!  But as the months went by, friends would give me bags of used clothes to go through. If it was for Sophie, she would go through it, grab a few items, then the bag would end up in my closet. Friends would give us  boxes full of stuff,  and soon all of our closets were full! 

I have been desiring to live more simply. I've heard about minimalism on some blogs, and last week I decided to watch the documentary called "Minimalism: a documentary on the important things".  Ten minutes in, I paused it and decluttered two drawers in my kitchen. First I tackled my junk drawer. It now holds some tools, batteries, a small bag of nails, a few flashlights, two sharpie markers. and one pair of scissors.  Next I went through a drawer full of measuring cups and spoons. I had collected so many over the last 26 years! I kept 2 sets of measuring cups, and two sets of measuring spoons. Plus an extra Tablespoon and one 3/4 cup. Then I watched the rest of  the documentary.

 Over the next four days I went through every drawer, every closet, and every nook and cranny of my home (except Christian's room which he keeps pretty neat), and only kept what we needed or wanted to use now-not someday! There are only a few things I am keeping  that I don't use: a delicate crocheted tablecloth from my grandmother, and the dress I wore to my son's wedding, and the kid's portfolios from each school year. My goal was to know what and where every item in our home is, and to group like items. One plus is that I found $94 I didn't know I had!  Four days, and one sore back later, I think I have accomplished it! Sophie even joined in! She spent one evening until midnight cleaning her room and closet. It is done!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

February & March Reading Log

Christian (16)
The Hobbit by J RR Tolkien
Saved by Angels by Bruce VanNetta
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Novelization by Alexander Freed
Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne

Sophie (11)
RubyLee and me by Shannon Hitchcock
Where you'll Find Me by Natasha Friend
A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
Bounce by Natasha Friend
Perfect by Natasha Friend
The Summer I saved the World in 65 Days by Michelle Webber Hurwitz
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Prisoners dilemma  by Trenton Lee Stewart
100 Inventions that made History

Books Sophie and I listened to on CD:
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April Daybook

For Today: April 17, 2017

Looking out my is sunny and warm. A beautiful spring day!

I am thinking...about the wonderful Easter day we had yesterday!

I am thankful....that Sophie is able to take horse riding lessons.

One of my favorite things....spending the weekend with all my kids!

I am wearing....jeans, a black long sleeve shirt and a pink sweater. 

I am creating....a Bullet Journal! 

I am reading...."Year of No Clutter" by Eve Schaub - I had read her book "Year of no Sugar" and I liked it, but I think this one is kind of boring. 

I am watching....The Voice on Hulu

I am listening to....The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Spear with my daughter, Sophie. 

I am take a road trip with my older boys this summer. We just started talking about it this weekend, so I'd better start saving!

I am learning.... bullet journaling!  It's a journal where  I keep track of every area in my life: menu plans, to-do lists, books to read, habit tracker, homeschooling curriculum, diary, monthly calendar... really anything!  You can be as simple or as creative as you want with it!
In my kitchen....One of my new habits is eating out as little as possible, so we are trying  to eat every meal at home. It takes more planning, but so far so good, and the kids are on board. Last week a few things we made were: crock pot chili, sweet potato burritos, beef stew,  fish with roasted brussel sprouts and butternut squash, and tortellini & sauce

In the school room....we're trying something new! For the last two weeks Sophie has been using a  Fun-schooling book by Thinking Tree.  She gets to pick books from the library on subjects she wants to learn about. Then each day she reads from those books and chooses her own copywork and spelling words from them. Oh, and there's lots of coloring and drawing, too!  She seems to be enjoying it! 

A recent photo:
At McDonald's with 4 of my kids after seeing Isaiah's concert last week.

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