The Surprising Thing That Simplified My Meal Planning

Simplified Meal Planning

As you know, we’ve been sorting and going through items to make our living and spaces more intentional {If you don’t, see here}. Though this topic, meal planning, isn’t a typical space organization system you can create in your closet or basement at home, it does affect your space for the positive, as well as other components of your life.

The idea…

Here’s the scoop.  This idea will revolutionize how you think about meal planning.  How many times do you rummage for the items in your pantry or your groceries for inspiration of your next meal?  How many times do you have the discussion that begins with…So what do you want for dinner tonight…? Having to make this decision each night is an ominous raincloud over the day’s events. Solving this quandary isn’t as complicated as we want to make it. We can live simply by living with less. As home chefs, we often feel pressure to create an original feast every meal or like we must have every restaurant option on our home menu.  If you browse Pinterest for meal planning ideas you’ll see pin after pin sharing hoards of collected recipes in one place.  “52 Weeks of No-Repeat Meal Plans” “75 of the Best Healthy Recipes” “101 Cheap and Healthy Meals”  It’s no wonder people (myself included!) get overwhelmed.  Having a set number of recipes that are favorites, healthy, and budget friendly is the key.  That’s it, did you catch it?  Simply rotate your favorite recipes!

The perks…

I have around 10 recipes that I use frequently. Most of my meals are low-carb, budget friendly, can stretch for 2 meals, and take less than 30 minutes to make. You can see how this saves me a lot of time, effort, and space.

  • – I don’t have to figure out if a new recipe to try will fit into my family’s healthy eating style (& tastes). I know that these recipes work for us because I’ve done them before.
  • – I don’t have to calculate how much money this recipe will cost me before I go to the grocery store because I’ve done it before. In fact, I can double, triple this recipe to fit the number of guests I’m cooking for and know immediately how much a dinner party will cost me.
  • – I don’t have to cook as often. Since I’m planning ahead, I have the meal ingredients on hand, can double the recipe, and save myself hot cooking time (and extra dishes) in the kitchen.
  • – I don’t have to cook as long. I know the recipe. I simply don’t have to follow a recipe because I can remember it in my noggin. However, if you are one of those people who has to follow recipes, you can tape, attach, magnetize, the recipes to your most convenient surface, like the inside of your pantry door.
  • – I don’t have a chaotic pantry and fridge. Because I don’t need all the ingredients in the world, I know where the ingredients go that I most frequently use. This has a domino effect on the space-time continuum, not really but it sounds cool for saying it saves space and time. I can find things quickly; I can create a shopping list faster; I can clean out my fridge easier because I use most of the stuff in there completely and don’t have to keep checking dates of expiration.

The boredom…

I know you are thinking, don’t you get bored with only 10 recipes? To be honest, yes and no. If we solely depended on cooking those 10ish recipes, yes. If I factor all the church events, friend’s homes, and work luncheons, we don’t get bored at all. Oh, and you can go to a restaurant too. One beautiful thing to realize is our 10 recipes is the norm, which there are always exceptions to. My favorite exception is cooking for a date night. I’ll break out a new recipe and spoil us. Don’t forget you are in control, and you can always change your recipes out. If you find that you just don’t want to make it anymore, don’t. You aren’t married to your recipes, you can sub one out for a fresh recipe off the bench. Just like mixing metaphors, mixing your recipes up is your choice.

Meal Planning Made Easy

Kid’s Bedroom Organization Tips from Barbara Reich

As a busy mom, how do you have time to keep your child’s bedroom clean? If you’re in need of some order in your life, look no further! HooplaHa has teamed up with professional organizer Barbara Reich, who is also the award-winning author of Secrets of an Organized Mom

With more than 15 years of organization experience, Barbara’s mission is a simple one — help keep your life as fun and enjoyable as possible, without the stress of dealing with disorganization. In this short video, Barbara shows you how to tackle your child’s bedroom with quick tips on how to maintain closets, dressers and bookshelves.

If you can’t view the link above, go here.

Check out the rest of our Live with Less series too!

#PinIt Pin Party 3-13-15

PinIt Party

Welcome to the #PinIt Pin Party!

 

Welcome!!  Now who is ready to have some fun!?  I love seeing all the creativeness that is submitted to our #PinIt Pin Parties each week!  Ya’ll are a talented bunch! From recipes, to holiday decor, children activities and more!  Last week, I especially enjoyed the St. Patrick’s Day and Easter submissions.  Life is definitely worth celebrating and holidays are a great reminder to not only celebrate but to be with family. Do you go all out for holidays, too?  I’m pretty pumped about Pi Day tomorrow!  We’re going all out at our home!

We had a terrific turn out last week and hope to have you join in the fun this week. Before we begin, let’s check out the MOST CLICKED submissions from last week’s Pin Party! We just LOVE these…

 

 

 

{Simply CLICK the image to #PinIT}

Meet Your Pin Party Hosts

{Be sure to check out the hosts and follow them on Pinterest!}

 

Jen
Jen from Pin-n-Tell

Visit Jen’s profile on Pinterest.

Dawn
Dawn from Pin-n-Tell

Visit Dawn’s profile on Pinterest.

Meagan
Meagan from Sunshine and Sippycups

Visit Meagan’s profile on Pinterest.

Ashley PinIt
Ashley from Embracing Homemaking

Visit Ashley’s profile on Pinterest.

Jessica
Jessica & Nellie from Butter with a Side of Bread

Visit their profile on Pinterest.

 

JOIN THE PARTY!

We encourage all bloggers to join our pin party and link up any post from your blog or Pinterest account that you would like to share.

To make the party even more fun, remember…

  • By linking up at our #PinIt: Pin Parties, you are giving us permission to feature your submissions on our social media outlets and be considered to be featured as a Pinner of the Week… with a link back to you of course 🙂
  • We will be monitoring the submissions, checking them out and pinning our favorites!
  • Be sure to visit and PIN or comment on at least 2 other links. Let’s spread the love.
  • We would love it if you spread the word about the party on social media or by adding our button to your site.
  • Please only link up to your blog posts or pins. No affiliate posts, sponsored posts, ads or products. If you have an Etsy shop, we would LOVE to feature you in our Shopping Saturday posts so please be sure to contact us!

Need more incentive to join in and #PinIt? Every week, some lucky participants will WIN fun prizes and get featured on our site! Whoo hoo!

Here’s how you can be a part of our Pin Party: Simply insert the URL for your PIN or Blog Post, so that we can showcase your creativeness! This party is open to any FAMILY FRIENDLY posts or pins. We will be monitoring the submissions, checking them out and pinning our favorites! So, be sure to #PinIT!

Let’s introduce our fans, and everyone on Pinterest, to your great posts, pins and creativity.

Have FUN!


5 Travel Tips + a Giveaway Ends March 20th

Spring is finally here, and I’m teaming up with Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus to share five travel hacks that you’ll love, along with a great giveaway offer. One lucky winner will take home a Travel Pack from Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus valued at $150 (including a $50 Target gift card!)

Five Travel Hacks You’ll Love

Five travel hacks you'll love (especially #2) - and a giveaway!

1. Roll; Don’t Fold
As you pack, roll your clothes instead of folding them. You’ll be able to fit up to two times the amount of clothing by rolling them as you would by folding them.

2. Pack your “Iron”
And by iron, we mean Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus. The 3 oz travel size meets airline standards. Slip it into your carry-on bag, and with a simple spray, you’ll be wrinkle free all trip long. (It’s also a great fabric refresher if you have to wear your clothes more than once on vacation.) Click here to read more and grab a coupon.

3. Bring an Empty Water Bottle
After you get through security, several airports have filtered water stands to fill your bottle. You’ll also find that most airport cafes will gladly fill your water bottle as well.

4. Snap a Picture
If you’re checking your luggage, snap a picture of your suitcase contents before you leave the house. If the airline loses your luggage, you’ll be able to use the picture to prove the value of the contents.

5. BYO Blanket
Blankets on airlines are hard to come by these days – and they’re not always washed between flights. If you tend to get cold on planes, or you’re going to be flying overnight, pack your own blanket to stay comfortable.

Enter to Win a Travel Pack from Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus

One lucky winner will receive a travel pack valued at $150, including a travel tote, a Tervis Tumbler, Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus and a $50 Target gift card.

Giveaway ends at midnight on Friday, March 20, 2015. Open to US and Canada.

Complete the form below to enter. Good luck!

Declutter Game $100 Prize! #LiveWithLess

Declutter Game

For those who haven’t been following along with our Live With Less series, we had a game last month and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we really enjoyed it.  It was surprisingly fun and so freeing!  Congratulations, to Ashley M. our winner for February!

I had just planned on doing it one month but at the end of the month I looked around my house and I honestly couldn’t tell that I got rid of a thing!  I haven’t missed anything and my house is still cluttered.  Maybe some of you don’t have an extra 400 and some things to get rid of again this month but I know some of you do…and I hope some new faces will join us.

For those who participated last month, I’ll save you some reading and say that the rules are the same.  For those who are new, welcome!  All the details you need are below and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Declutter game - $100 cash prize!

A game that will hopefully end with everyone owning less stuff and one winner walking away with a $100 in cash!

The game is a simple one.  For the month of March, you will need to get rid of one thing on the first day of the month.  On the second, two things.  On the third, three things….and so on.  Clothes, toys, tools, junk, decorations, etc.

This is your mission should you choose to accept it!  It starts off easy but it will soon get trickier.  You can do it!!

Because we’re already a little behind you can make them up at anytime through the 7th.

How will I choose a winner?  We’re all winners by getting rid of our unwanted belongings but I’ll choose a winner from the people who take pictures of their discarded items each day and do one of three things 1) Share them on social media and tag them #EmbracingHomemaking and #LiveWithLess, if you’re not active online 2) Email the pictures to me at MrsAshleyWalkup@gmail.com or 3) Share them in our Live With Less Facebook group.

Q&A

  • – If you skip a day are you disqualified? No, but you may only skip one day at a time.  Two consecutive skips will disqualify you from winning but you’re welcome to continue playing.
  • Can you work ahead?  Yes, try to only do one or two days ahead though.
  • – Can you track my shares on social media?  Yes, if you use the #EmbracingHomemaking and #LiveWithLess hashtag I can track them.
  • – How can I make sure my emails get delivered to you? Okay, so no one would really ask this but for my sanity, could you please put #LiveWithLess Day 1 in the subject line?  Thank you!
  • – How do I make up the days that have already passed?  Simply take a picture of one item by itself, two items by themselves, etc. until the 7th, when you should be caught up.  By then you should have a total of 28 items being trashed, donated, or set aside to sell.
  • – If I share pictures of my junk in the Live With Less Facebook group will all of my friends see it?  No, not unless they are in the group.
  • – Will you be sharing the items you’re getting rid of?  Yes!  I’ll be posting them in our Live With Less Facebook group daily.  Forgive the bad quality pics, this is going to be a quick thing every day.
  • – What if more than one person makes it to the 28th?  That would be wonderful and I would choose a winner at random using random.org.
  • – What if no one makes it to the 31st?  Then I’m keeping the money for myself and going to the spa! 😉

A Side Note:

Have you been selling some of your items that you’re tossing?  I’ve been selling some of my unwanted things online and have been shocked at the money I’ve made.  So far this year, I’ve pocketed just under $800!  ….and I haven’t missed anything I’ve sold!!!

Who’s ready to play?  I hope you’ll join me!  This is more fun with friends!

If you’re just now joining us and want to catch up on past posts you can find them all linked here on the intro post to our Live With Less series.

Declutter Game – Prize $100 Cash!

Declutter Game

For those who haven’t been following along with our Live With Less series, we had a challenge last month to completely clean a small space in your home.  You can read more about it here but the gist is we separated our space into sections and worked on it a little at a time.  I was excited about it but I found out that that process overwhelmed many of you.  I’ve been there before.  Many times.

This month I want to do something a little more fun and a little less daunting – let’s play a game!

Declutter game - $100 cash prize!

A game that will hopefully end with everyone owning less stuff and one winner walking away with a $100 in cash!

The game is a simple one.  For the month of February, you need to get rid of one thing on the first day of the month.  On the second, two things.  On the third, three things….and so on.  Clothes, toys, tools, junk, decorations, etc.

This is your mission should you choose to accept it!  It starts off easy but it will soon get trickier.  Just think though, this is the shortest month of the year.  You can do it!!

Because we’re already 4 days behind you can make them up at anytime this week.

How will I choose a winner?  We’re all winners by getting rid of our unwanted belongings but I’ll choose a winner from the people who take pictures of their discarded items each day and do one of three things 1) Share them on social media and tag them #LiveWithLess, if you’re not active online 2) Email the pictures to me at MrsAshleyWalkup@gmail.com or 3) Share them in our Live With Less Facebook group.

Q&A

  • – If you skip a day are you disqualified? No, but you may only skip one day at a time.  Two consecutive skips will disqualify you from winning but you’re welcome to continue playing.
  • – Can you track my shares on social media?  Yes, if you use the #LiveWithLess hashtag I can track them.
  • – How can I make sure my emails get delivered to you? Okay, so no one would really ask this but for my sanity, could you please put #LiveWithLess Day 1 in the subject line?  Thank you!
  • – How do I make up the days that have already passed?  Simply take a picture of one item by itself, two items by themselves, etc. until this Saturday (the 7th) when you should be caught up.  By then you should have a total of 28 items being trashed, donated, or set aside to sell.
  • – If I share pictures of my junk in the Live With Less Facebook group will all of my friends see it?  No, not unless they are in the group.
  • – Will you be sharing the items you’re getting rid of?  Yes!  I’ll be posting them on Instagram and in our Live With Less Facebook group daily.  Forgive the bad quality pics, this is going to be a quick thing every day.
  • – What if more than one person makes it to the 28th?  That would be wonderful and I would choose a winner at random using random.org.
  • – What if no one makes it to the 28th?  Then I’m keeping the money for myself and going to the spa! 😉

A Side Note:

Have you been selling some of your items that you’re tossing?  I started selling some of my unwanted things online and have been shocked at the money I’ve made.  So far this year, I’ve pocketed $550!

If you have any questions or if I missed something please let me know.

Who’s ready to play?  I hope you’ll join me!  This will be more fun with friends!

If you’re just now joining us and want to catch up on past posts you can find them all linked here on the intro post to our Live With Less series.

Organizing the Playroom Like a Pro

Organizing a playroom like a pro

I’m excited to share this post written by Barbara Reich, Professional Organizer & Author, “Secrets of an Organized Mom.”  I think you’ll love it!  I’ll turn it over to her now.

The playroom. We all know it’s an integral part of our children’s lives, but it’s also that scary room with the clutter, the unidentifiable pieces, and the funny sounds that emerge even when the kids have been asleep for hours.

You do not have to fear your playroom. Just because this is a creative space for your children does not mean that it’s a room without rules. Think of your playroom as a classroom. From the earliest days in preschool your children are taught to clean up. Home shouldn’t be any different. Before you can instill these classroom like philosophies in your home you need to set up the infrastructure to make it easy and natural. Here are some easy rules and steps to follow to help make your playroom a livable space in your home.

Group like things together: Walk through the room and begin to group like items together. All of the small animals, all of the matchbox cars, all of the Barbie dolls, and all of the puzzles should be grouped together. Use clear plastic boxes or labeled bins to store the small items that are grouped. This enables your child to find the toys more easily and is more visually appealing than having them scattered all over the room.

Group small toys in clear plastic drawers that slide out. Little hands have a hard time opening boxes with lids, and this provides a sense of order to the little animals, card games, and super hero figurines that young children love to collect.

Label toy containers with both the name of the toy and with a picture. If it works for your children at school it should be no different at home.

Use adjustable shelving that conforms to what you need to store. Over the years, the size and shape of your children’s toys will change (while clothes get bigger, toys get smaller), so make sure your shelves can adapt.

Clutter will expand to the space you allot to it. Instead of focusing on how much more space you need, consider how much more space you’ll have if you discard the toys that are broken and are missing pieces, and the gifts your children have never used.

Throw things out! If there are pieces missing or something is broken get rid of it!

Organizing and the spirit of giving go hand in hand. Ask your child to think about what toys s/he has outgrown and may want to donate to children who are less fortunate.  Begin a tradition of purging several times a year (before birthdays, holidays, and the end of school). Not only does it teach your child about giving to others, but it results in extra shelf space before big influxes of toys.

About Barbara Reich:

Barbara Reich is a nationally recognized organizing expert who has appeared on the Today Show, Inside Edition, Fox News, and New York 1 and has been featured in the New York Times, New York Post, Real Simple, InStyle, People StyleWatch, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens, AARP Magazine, and O Magazine among other publications. She is also the author of Secrets of an Organized Mom.   She lives in NYC with her husband, teenage twins and dog. More information about Barbara and her organization can be found at ResourcefulConsultants.com or on her Facebook Page.

How to Declutter a Room Step by Step

Our kitchen is the hub of our home.  We spend a lot of our time eating there, fixing meals, doing crafts, and homeschooling.  It’s no wonder that it’s a place that collects stuff.  Mountains of stuff.  Unreal, embarrassing amounts of stuff.  To put it mildly, it’s horrendous.  It stresses me out and overwhelms me.  Please tell me that you can relate?  It’s so overwhelming that I don’t know where to begin.

The main problem is the clutter on the counters but I also have drawers and cabinets full of things we don’t need.  It’s embarrassing to have friends over.  You can only use “the kids were sick last week” excuse for so long…especially when they can see that the amount you’ve collected took much longer than a week to accumulate.  Sigh.  I know that homeschooling and spending time with the kids matters much more than a perfect house.  I remind myself of this daily but if we had less stuff our “dirty” would be a lot less, well, dirty.  It would be easier to clean regularly and I could actually do a 15 minute clean before someone comes and be satisfied with that.

Fair warning, this is going to be a long post.  Feel free to go ahead and grab a cup of coffee and a pen and paper.  Okay, let’s get going.  This is my game plan for my kitchen and you can adapt it for the space you’ve chosen to tackle this week and next.  I’ve created a sample two-week clean up plan that I’ve broken down into smaller chunks of time.  This can be tailored to your needs and schedule.

First things first: Clear the sink of dishes.  We’re really good at this one so I’m giving myself a little break here but if this is an area you struggle with do this first.  Every evening from the start of this project until your room is the organized kitchen you’re envisioning, I want you to clean out your sink.

If you’re cleaning your bedroom, make your bed.  If you’re cleaning your laundry room, clear off the tops of your washer and dryer.  Whatever room it is you’re cleaning, try and have one place that’s neat.  Having a that sense of order will motivate you to keep on keepin’ on.

The second thing: This is important – turn on some music.  Do it!  It always makes otherwise mundane tasks kind of fun because who doesn’t love to dance along to “Uptown Girl”? ha!

Now we plan!

Grab that pen and paper that I mentioned earlier.  Sit in your room of choice and look around. From your spot, survey your landscape.  Try to take a note of things you could tackle together in groups.  On your piece of paper write down the different groupings of things that you’re seeing.  This is my kitchen list:

Trash
Kid’s clothes/hair bows (In the kitchen?  Yes, unfortunately.)
Make-up/beauty products to review
Bills/paperwork/receipts
On top of fridge
Glasses
Food in cabinet
Under the sink
Pots & pans
Tupperware
Measuring spoons/bowls
Above the stove
Under the stove
Drawers
Cookie sheet cabinet

Whew, that was longer than I thought it would be. Now turn the paper over or grab another sheet and order them in the order that you’ll take them on. If you have trash in your room, keep that at the top of your list.

Declutter list

Think of how many days you realistically can devote 30+ minutes to this project between now and the end of the month.  I gave myself seven days then I separated my list into seven sections that should each take around 30 minutes to tackle.  If I didn’t have kids or if I wanted to work in the evenings I would have fewer sections with a longer time to work but I’m going to attempt this project during nap times.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  Make a plan that will work for you and your lifestyle.

Once you have your list, you have your game plan…or blueprint, of your future organized space.

Don’t skip making your list.  I know it sounds tedious and you think that you should just dive in and conquer but I’ve done it both ways and trust me, you save a lot of time by making a plan ahead of time.  Plus, it will feel great to check those things off your list!!

Gather supplies:

You know your space better than I do but here is a suggested list for this decluttering project.

  • – Trash bags
    – Box/tote
    – Kitchen timer {here’s my favorite kitchen timer}
    – Phone or camera
    – Coke/Starbucks frappucino…or something for a reward. 🙂

Executing Section One:

Set your kitchen timer for 25 minutes (or 55 minutes).  However long you have to clean, subtract 5 minutes and set your timer for that.  Turn on some tunes.  Grab your donate box and your trash bag and begin going through your first section.  Save sentimental items to review last.  Dooooooooooon’t agonize over whether or not to keep something.  I do this far too much so I am speaking from experience.  You’ll waste too much time and mental energy over-thinking things.  If it’s a question at all just keep moving.  As you’re removing trash, set any items that belong in other rooms outside of your current room.

After your timer goes off, stop where you are.  Grab your phone and spend your last five minutes taking pictures of the items you have in your donate box.  Take a picture of the box as a whole to stash with your donation slip if you plan to itemize.  If you want to try and sell some of these items take individual pictures now and if they don’t sell within two weeks donate them.  {If you’re in a different financial state than I am you may want to donate them all right away or try and sell them for a longer time.  No judging here!}

Go enjoy your Coke and if possible do something that is mentally relaxing.  Watch TV, read a book, go for a walk, etc.

Executing Section Two:

In order to begin sorting things, it’s best to start with a clean slate. Which means taking everything out of the cabinet (or desk, or closet depending on your location).

Take a damp cloth and clean the empty cabinet.  Enjoy the serenity of a clean space and try and only put back in what you will use now.  If you were at a store now, would you buy that item?  If not, toss it.  {When I say toss it, I mean remove it from your life by whatever means you see fit.  Selling, donating, giving to a friend, etc.}

Right away, toss extras you find.  Two sets of measuring cups?  Toss your least used set.  Two hand mixers?  Toss one.  Yes, for some strange reason I really have two hand mixers and maybe four measuring cup sets?  I don’t know how we collected so much stuff without noticing!

After sorting through the contents of your cabinet, begin putting things back into place.  Isn’t it nice to have another organized space in your home?  Pat yourself on the back and take a load off!

Execution Phase Three:

As you dive into the third section make a list of things you may need to help better organize your space.  New hangers, drawer organizers, shoe rack, etc?  Our goal through this Live With Less journey is to have less stuff.  My mantra to myself through this series is, “Would you rather have neatly organized junk or no junk at all?”  Out with the junk and in with organized stuff!

Don’t forget to measure your space before you shop!  An under the bed stowaway that won’t fit under your bed but has to stay upright and unused in the tiny walkway of your closet will do you no good.  Not that I would know from experience or anything! ha.  TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, IKEA, Home Goods, and Wayfair are all excellent choices for discounted and beautiful storage solutions.

Execution Phase Four & On:

You’re almost there! Aren’t you so excited?  You’ve done a tremendous job tackling the smallest clutter-catching space in your home.  Keep on keeping on and after you’ve completed all of your sections and shredded paperwork, donated/sold items, etc take a step back and look at your space.  Is your space functioning as best as it can?  Would your favorite pottery bowl serve you better as a fruit bowl that you can enjoy looking at daily?  Is that the best way to organize your spices? {btw, you can see my organized spices here}  Would it make more sense to have your glasses and mugs by the refrigerator or the Keurig?

I did a paid survey several years back for Rubbermaid.  They came into my home and snooped around {with permission} in my kitchen cabinets and had me explain why what I had was where it was.  It was quite an experience!  I found myself saying, “I’ve never really thought about it before.”  Now is the time for you to think about it.  Don’t spend all day but think about different ways, possibly a more efficient way, to store your things.

Last but not least, clean your space.  Run the vacuum, wipe off the counters, dust.

Yay, you did it!  Enjoy your clean clutter-free space!

Okay so that’s it! Well, not entirely it, but with only a few hours of work a week you can get your room cleaned up so that you won’t be at all embarrassed when a friend makes a surprise visit.

Timeline

A rough timeline should look something like this:

Week 1 – Planning, trash, additional sections.

Week 2 – Buy any needed organizational supplies, remaining sections, cleaning, donating/selling.

This is absolutely doable, you just need someone to hold your hand and help you get over the feeling of panic you’re having.  I’m that virtual friend who’s holding your hand while simultaneously cleaning my own home.

One thing to remember about projects like this is that oftentimes things get messier before they get cleaner.  This is one of the reasons why it’s very important to work on things in sections.  Being able to see tangible steps along the way will help you combat the feeling of being overwhelmed.

If you don’t finish a section one day during your allotted time, it’s okay.  Give yourself grace.  As long as you commit to doing what you can and stick with it you’ll be okay.  It’s similar to a diet, except not nearly as excruciating.

Next week we’ll talk about how to keep things tidy going forward. I’m a firm believer that coming home to a place you love lifts up all other aspects of your life!

Join us in our Live With Less Facebook group to share your before and after photos.

WE CAN DO THIS!!

The Clutter Snowball

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Clutter Snowball - Great idea!

My husband has wisely made the correlation between Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and an effective decluttering method.  I’ll elaborate on the steps as we make our way through our Live With Less year-long journey but today I want to share how our proposed Clutter Snowball is similar to Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball method (Baby step #2).  Dave Ramsey’s method is very effective and we hope that ours will be too!

{By the way, I have to stop and say that I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover!  I know his plan well because my husband and I followed it to become debt free and we are currently on step 4.  We love it!}

Snowball

It’s called the snowball method because of how it works.  When you want to build a snowman you could bring handfuls of snow and pile them up in one spot but most people start with a tight snowball and roll it around the yard.  Why is that?  It’s because everyone knows a rolling snowball will build a snowman much quicker.

Big Snowball

Just like Dave Ramsey suggests paying off the smallest debt first I’m recommending that you start with the smallest space in your home to declutter first.  That’s why last week’s challenge was to clean one drawer.  For the next two weeks your challenge is to tackle the smallest section of your home but I’ll give more details on that tomorrow.

Clutter Snowball Method!

Here are the three ways they are similar:

– Behavior Modification – Both the debt snowball method and the clutter snowball method are designed to change your behavior.  Change your habits, change your life, as the cliche goes.  When you’re intentional about a goal and you have steps to reach it, you are 100 times more likely to succeed.  I know that you already have your goal in mind.  You can probably already visualize your home looking fabulous, can’t you?  I have those day dreams often.  I’m here weekly to help supply you with the baby steps.

– “Gazelle Intensity – Dave coined the term “gazelle intensity” after reading Proverbs 6:4–5, which says, “Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, and like a bird from the hand of the fowler.”

In other words, when you’re in debt…or when you’re in over your head with clutter, you need to work as hard to get out of debt as a gazelle works to run from a cheetah.

It’s possible to escape the cheetah but it won’t happen if the gazelle shuts his eyes and hopes the cheetah will disappear {like I’ve done a time or two with the clutter that surrounds me}.  It takes work, hard work, and a plan to outrun that cheetah…but WE CAN DO IT!

– Visual Change = Motivation – When you see change happening you’ll stick to your plan.  This is my favorite point!  I know that a few of you have already came to this conclusion on your own by the comments you’ve left in our Facebook group Live With Less and I just love that.

When we start small we can see the rewards of our work and that feeling of accomplishment is amazing!  Sometimes we’re even motivated to go and clean even more but if we’re not, that’s okay.  Cleaning out my linen closet made me want to clean out every closet in our home and donate even more trash bags.  I didn’t have time to do that this week but that’s okay!  Small steps are the way to go.  What if I had attempted to clean out a massive space only to have pulled everything out and ran out of time?  I would have had more of a mess than I started with.  I’ve done this before.  I became overwhelmed, threw everything back in it’s place, and left defeated.

Together, let’s take small steps this week to clean our smallest room or section.  If you haven’t divided your home into 12 sections yet, you can see this post for more information.  Tomorrow, I’ll be back to share a more detailed method for attacking that clutter filled small space but feel free to get started on it now if you’d like!

Do you like the clutter snowball idea as much as I do?  I hope so!  What is the smallest room that you’ll be tackling in the next two weeks?

Organizing a Linen Closet

This conversation is brought to you by Wayfair and my need to declutter!

I’m very excited to share with you my first success story on my year long Live With Less journey.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can read more about that here.

I started with an area that I was decently happy with.  A year ago I could barely shut the door on this linen closet but my sweet husband helped me clean it out while I was nine months pregnant and in hard-core nesting mode.  Here’s how the closet looked today before I decluttered and organized it.

Linen Closet

It’s not terrible but it’s FULL of too much stuff.  Things we don’t use and keep just in case… you know, in case twenty surprise guests want to come for the night.  Ridiculous!

First, I took everything out of the closet and started started piling up the items I knew I didn’t want anymore.  I tossed old throw blankets that I never used into that pile, an old down comforter my husband used before we were married, rugs I used in my house before we were married, and pillowcases with no matching sheets (Where did those come from?!).  All of the sentimental and useful afghans and blankets were added to the bottom shelf and the floor.  Then I took a look at the abundance of towels I had.  I kept enough hand towels to have one out and one in the wash for every bathroom.  I thought about the largest family that comes to visit us and I set aside one towel and wash cloth for each of them.  The rest went into the donate pile.

Check out my donate pile.  I’m pretty proud of it!

Donated Items

Next, I folded my towels nice and neat.  Then I grabbed two of my new baskets I ordered from Wayfair last week and threw my spare bed sheets in them.  One has spare sheets for our queen bed and the other holds spare sheets for our guest beds.  The kids keep their spare sheets in their closets.

Basket Organization

I used my last basket to store the towels and wash clothes that my daughter and son use.  Their wash cloths are smaller than adult ones and can quickly become jumbled.  This basket keeps them neat and tidy…or at least together and hidden. : )  I love it!

Linen Closet Organization

Here’s what it looks like now…at night.  I’ll have to take another picture tomorrow to show you when the lighting is better but I was so excited that I wanted to show you my progress right away!  Doesn’t it look great?

That’s not all!  I’m going to make labels to tie to each basket to label what’s inside of each one.  I have also ordered a new ironing board AND an ironing board holder.  This is a game changer!!  I’ve never had an ironing board holder before or even knew they existed really.  I have just always stored it awkwardly in my closet.  Those days are over because I bought an over the door ironing board holder.  It should arrive Wednesday and I’ll show you a picture then with my new, sturdy, non-wobbly ironing board hanging on the door of my linen closet.  The hanger even has a hook to store my iron.  I’m not sure if I’m conveying my emotion but I AM GIDDY with excitement.  My little organization-loving heart is happy.

If you’re joining me in this Live With Less journey here’s your assignment:

This week clean out one drawer (or closet if you’re so motivated).  Throw away, donate, sort, and organize.  One drawer, that’s it.  If  after you’ve cleaned one drawer and you feel like tackling more, go for it!  If not, no worries.  Oh, and I want to see your before and after pictures!!  Share on social media with the hashtag #LiveWithLess so I can follow along with your progress.  If you’re a member of our Live With Less Facebook group share your picture there as well to help encourage others in the fight against excess.

What drawer will you be cleaning this week?