Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 30 - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

We did it!  We made it to day 30 of the 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge!  You should all be so proud of yourselves!  Even if you didn't get rid of 30 things you should still be proud of what you did get done.  Every little item that leaves our homes brings us closer to our goal of having an organized and, more importantly, peaceful home.

I recently read this definition of organizing - "It’s about creating a productive lifestyle that results in clarity and order, which leads to feelings of calmness and peacefulness." - Alejandra Costello.  Isn't that what we all want, to feel calm and peaceful in our own homes?  There are enough outside pressures on us that our homes should be our sanctuary against the world.

I am now going to show you the last thing that I have decluttered for the month of April.

This is an old, purple sweater that I did not even wear once this past winter along with a sweatshirt that I also did not wear.  It doesn't show very well in the picture but the sweater is starting to pill and I really don't like how this particular sweatshirt looks on me.  So into the donation box they go!

That's it for April!  I have decided to continue this with a Yahoo group that I belong to.  A friend has decided to do a "Fling One Thing a Day in the Month of May".  I love that title!  So please don't stop flinging simply because the challenge is now over.  Keep up your momentum and keep flinging!

I want to add that I am so proud of all of you!  When I started this little blog not too long ago I had no idea that anyone would want to read it.  I am absolutely amazed at how many people have not only read it but also commented!  Not everyone commented here on the blog, some commented on Facebook and others on my Yahoo group.  It is astounding how many things were either donated or tossed from your homes!  You all made it so much easier to make the time to sit down each day and write my blog posts, so thank you!  Later this week I will be going back to some before and after photos of some of the areas that I have organized in my home.

I have one more challenge for you today.  I want you to reward yourself for a job well done.  Sit down and read a book or a magazine, give yourself a manicure, take a bubble bath, order in pizza for the family so you don't have to cook tonight, something that makes you feel special.  You've worked hard this month and you deserve a treat!  Mr. P. and I are going out for dinner tonight as my reward for a job well done.

What have you decluttered today and how are you going to reward yourself?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 29 - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

It's now day 29 of the 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge!  Only one more thing to go!

This is what I decluttered today.

Even more candles and candle sticks.  I have a small dressing table at the top of the stairs.  I thought that the only thing in there were the Christmas decorations that go on that table during the holidays but when I looked there were also these things in the drawers.  Since I had forgotten that they even existed I'm pretty sure I can do without them!

What have you decluttered today?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 28 - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful weekend!  I'm still busy here trying to organize my office.  I'm almost there!

This is what I decluttered today.

These are books that were in my small cupboard that I showed you the other day.  They are both books that I read for my Online Book Club.  I really enjoyed them both and I'm now going to give the to others to read and enjoy.  I have to tell you that I really love participating in an online book club.  It is all done in chat form and you can sit and relax in your pajamas while discussing the latest book.  If you are interested in participating please check out the link here.  It's run by my friend Ana and I'm sure she would love to have more people participating.

Now back to my small cupboard.  Just as a reminder, here is a picture of all the stuff that I took out of it.

None of that went back in.  Instead I decided to use it as a place to store all my professional organizing books and binders.  If you look at the top of the photo in the middle you can also see a jumble of cords.  This is because we would charge some of our electronics on the shelf above this cupboard which meant that there were cords running everywhere in this corner of  the room.

This is what it looks like now.

I even managed to save the bottom shelf for a charging station.

Mr. P. drilled a hole in the bottom shelf and we were able to feed the cord for a power bar through it.  Now we can simply close the cupboard and our things charge out of sight.  I also have a spot beside the iPad for my camera to charge however, I had to use the camera to take the picture.  I decided to not charge my cell phone here simply because it is tucked away and I would forget it even more than I already do.

We are getting so close to the end of our 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge!  What did you declutter today?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 27 - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

Only three days to go!  Have you gotten rid of 30 things yet this month?

This is what I am getting rid of today.

I have seven magazines that need to go out the door.  I've already skimmed through them to see if there were any recipes or articles that I wanted to keep and the rest are being donated.  They are still in good shape and not very old so I think that someone else will enjoy them too  - even if they are missing a recipe or two!

I really don't let too many magazines build up in the house.  I get four issues a year of Victorian Homes magazine, which I love, and that is the only one that I keep.  Since I live in an old Victorian home, I can always find renovating and decorating ideas regardless of how old the magazine is.  I will occasionally pick up Martha Stewart's Living and Rachael Ray's Everyday magazine.  I love Martha's perfectionism and I love Rachael's recipes. 

But neither of these magazines stay in the house long, a couple of months tops.  I then flip through and see if there is anything I want to save.  I place any recipes into my recipe binder (below).

Sometimes I put the recipes that I want to keep into sheet protectors.  Sometimes I just glue them onto sheets.

I have even taken a page right out of a cookbook and then donated to rest of the cookbook to charity.

I used dividers that had pockets in the front so that I could have a spot to keep all the little recipes that I had gathered throughout the years.

But just because they are all organized into my binder does not mean that I don't have to go through them every now and then and weed out the ones that we never got around to trying and probably never will.  In fact, this is a job that I am going to have to do again soon.

Do you have any magazines laying around that can be either donated or recycled?  Take them with you to the doctor's office so that you have something germ free to read and then leave them there at the end of your appointment.  Do you keep the whole magazine for just one or two articles or recipes?  It's alright to cut out what you want to keep and let the rest go.  Try reading your next magazine with a pair of scissors handy.  Cut out what is interesting and let the rest go. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 26 - Spring 20 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

We are so close to our goal!  Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel?

This is what I decluttered today.

I decided to clean out a cupboard in my office.  This is where I usually store all my candles but you would not believe how much stuff I got off of three little shelves!

Here are the empty shelves.  I forgot to take a before photo.

Not everything in the pile left the house.  I moved the votive candles near the front door because we only use them when we sit out at night on our front porch.  A few emergency candles went downstairs to be stored with our oil lamps that will also be used in an emergency.  I moved the Christmas CD's to another area and I still have to go through the magazines.  I plan on using these shelves for a charging station and some of my professional organizing materials.  I hope to show you the finished product tomorrow.

I actually had a lot of tea lights and votive lights and instead of getting rid of them, I am going to make a commitment to actually use and enjoy them.  I love sitting out on our front porch in the evening, wrapped in a blanket if need be, with the candles burning all around.  It's nice sitting up there and quite often one of the neighbors will drop by for a visit.  It's too bad that front porches have gone out of fashion.

Do you have any extra candles around?  Why not light a couple tonight at dinner?  Even if you're only having  grilled cheese or hot dogs, why not let you and your family enjoy a little ambience at dinner.  Just don't forget  to blow them out when your done!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 25 - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

Welcome to day 25 of the Clutter Buster Challenge!  We are so close in reaching our goal of one item a day for 30 days!

This is what I decluttered today.


This is our old camera and an attachment that will keep this camera afloat should it fall into the water.  I'm not sure why there is this kind of attachment to this particular camera since it isn't waterproof.  If it falls in the water it's pretty much done for anyway.

We have actually gotten 2 cameras since using this one.  Mr. P. recently bought me a new camera and kept the one I was using for himself.  This one has been sitting around for a couple of years and now it's time to get rid of it.  It was taking up much needed space in my office.

Do you have any old cameras that could be donated?  Or better still, do you still have any old film laying around waiting to be developed?!   I can remember finding mystery film laying around and had no idea what kind of pictures we would get when we took it in to be developed.  More often than not it was about six months worth of pictures starting with Christmas and moving on to Easter and maybe some summer vacation  shots all rolled into one.  Sometimes from two or more years earlier!

I have to admit that, while I love digital cameras, I kind of miss the old canisters that the film rolls came in.  They were great for a lot of things like sending lunch money for the kids, packing pills for travelling or saving little screws in the junk drawer.  However, the convenience of digital more than makes up for missing film canisters!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 24 - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

We are down to our last week of the Clutter Buster Challenge!  Only seven more things to go and we can look back and be so proud of all that we have accomplished!  You can do it!

This is what went out the door this morning.  It was all picked up by the Diabetes Association.

It felt awesome getting all of that out of the house!

Today I have been working in my office.  This is what I decluttered this morning.

I believe the pads of paper have been breeding in the cupboard like rabbits!  I found yet another cell phone (that makes 4 so far).  There was a large pile of old credit cards and store cards that I shredded along with an old cheque book for an account that I no longer have and some permit forms for town hall.  Town hall can store there own permit forms, thank you very much!

I didn't count but I think I exceeded the 30 items today alone!  My office is on it's way to becoming an organized, peaceful place where I want to do paperwork.  Well, maybe want is too strong of a word.  Just as long as it's not so disorganized that I procrastinate doing the paperwork until there are mountains of it!

Is your desk clear?  Are there some things that can be decluttered from your workspace?  Just don't forget to do it in babysteps.  Especially if it is all overwhelming.  Just one drawer or shelf at a time and pretty soon the whole office is organized.  I'm looking forward to sharing with you my office transformation.  I made sure  I took plenty of "before" photos.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 23 - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

Welcome to Day 23 of the 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge!  Today I went above and beyond the call of duty.  Today I decluttered 43 things!

Yes, more pens!  Seriously, how many pens can one person accumulate?  Apparently, quite a few!  The pile on the left is for the garbage since they don't work.  The pile on the right is in the donation pile - which is getting huge and is being picked up tomorrow!  In the centre I had some stickers that I used to put on the calendar whenever I remembered to exercise.  I haven't exercised in a while so obviously a sticker was not motivation enough.  There is also a staple remover and a date stamp that hasn't been used since July 15, 2007.  I could tell the exact date since, well, it's a date stamp!  I think this may be it for the pens, I hope.

I also wanted to show you my finished product for my Menu Planning Calendar.  I finished it this morning and I can't believe how well it turned out.

I even have a column for lunch ideas.

I bought a small tackle box from Walmart to store the extras.

I kept some blank magnetic paper so that I can write in some meals.  At some point I can take them out and transfer the ones we want to keep onto the computer and print them out so that they look nice a neat.

I've tried menu planning so many different ways.  I tried writing it on the calendar but the calendar ended up looking so messy.  Besides there was always that one meal that we never got around to eating - in my house it was usually meatloaf.  I would add it into the next week's meal plan (since I already had all the ingredients) and, for whatever reason, it would get skipped again.  My calendar started to look like all we ate was meatloaf and we hadn't had it once!

I also tried writing it on a piece of paper but that paper would get lost and if the paper got thrown out then I would have a hard time remembering what was planned for the rest of the week.  I tried online programs such a Cozi for my menu planning but I could only access it from my computer and not from any other device like my phone or iPad.  Turning on the computer to find out what needed to be defrosted for dinner was a pain.

I'm hoping this new calendar will help make meal planning easier.  That's the thing about organizing systems, if you find that one way isn't working for you and your family, it's time for a change.

Do you menu plan?  Share with us some of your tips to make it easier.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 22 - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

Sorry the blog was a little late today but I was busy trying to attempt a project that I saw on Pintrest.   First I'll show you what I decluttered today.

You may be wondering what all those paper are for.  These were my very inefficient way of menu planning. Each Thursday I sat down and tried to think up a menu for the week.  I would write it down on a sheet of paper and then I would save that paper in the hopes that I could then look over the sheets at a later date to help me figure out yet another meal plan.  It wasn't working out and because I stored them in my desk, it made my desk look messy and unorganized.

Then I saw this awesome idea on Pintrest.  Megan, the author of a blog (here) created this amazing, month-long meal planner using magnetic paper and a magnetic, white board calendar.  I didn't even know that magnetic paper even existed!

This is what I've done so far.

I bought a magnetic, white board calendar.

I made up a chart of all the meals that we eat on a regular basis.  I even colour coded them!  And let me tell you that this was not easy for me.  Being as computer challenged as I am I actually had to teach myself how to use Microsoft Excel.  Thank goodness for Youtube!

I made sure that I added in days for eating out and for leftovers.

I then made magnets for the months.  I'm also adding in lunch ideas because I am the worst for not eating lunch and then end up starving an hour or two before dinner.  I've asked around for easy lunch ideas and I will finish up the board when I have at least 14 of them.  Tonight I will be spending a lot of time cutting these out but I think it will be worth it in the end.

Go check out Megan's site The Homes I Have Made.  I think she did an amazing job on this menu planning calendar!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 21 - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

Today is day 21 of the Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge!  I hope that everyone is enjoying their weekend.  Just because it's the weekend doesn't mean that we get to take a day off from decluttering one thing from our homes.

Today was a quick one for me.  It literally took seconds.

This is used to trim your pet's nails.  It's basically sandpaper attached to a battery driven rotary device.  My dogs hate it!  A quick and easy decision for a Saturday afternoon.

Do you have something that you can just grab and toss (either into the garbage or onto a donation pile)?  No sorting necessary.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 20 - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

For some reason I had a really hard time today trying to figure out what to declutter.  There are still plenty of areas in my home that need to be decluttered but I just couldn't figure out where to start looking.  After a few minutes of procrastinating I figured I would just go to the worst room in the house and pick from there.

My worst room in the house is definitely the storage room in the basement.  It is long past due for a complete overhaul.  When I went in I could see immediately what needed to go.  A few years ago Mr. P. installed a closet bar in there to hold all the off-season coats.  Many were hung there and were never used again.  I took 2 minutes to grab any coats that I knew hadn't been off that rack in at least two years.

This is what I got.

There are five big, heavy winter jackets in there and three spring jackets.  They are now in the donation box by the front door and will be picked up on Tuesday morning.  Not bad for someone who couldn't think of anything this morning!

Have you switched your closets over from your winter coats to your spring and summer coats?  Are there any winter coats that you own that you didn't wear this year?  Maybe they could bless someone else who may not be able to afford a good winter coat to stay warm.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day Nineteen - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

When you reach for a pen to write something and find that it doesn't work, what do you do with it?  If you are like most people (me included) you put it back and grab another.  Why do we do that?  Do we think the pen will somehow refill itself with ink and will magically work the next time we grab it?  And we will grab it again!  And then become frustrated because we can't seem to find a pen that works.

A few of my readers had said last week that they had been going through old pens to see if they work and, if not, they threw them out.  When I read that I knew that it was time to go through the pen holder on my desk.  This is the pretty container that holds the pens on my desk.  I have been having a hard time lately getting the lid to sit on it properly.

This is what it looked like inside.  Now you can see why the lid would not fit right!

It took 2 minutes to go through and decide what to keep and what to get rid of.  All pencil crayons went; we don't use them.  Also any pens that didn't work, coloured markers, some pencils and a couple of  nail files.

I opened a new box of pens and had plenty of room to drop them down in.

Now it is back on my desk and when I reach for a pen I know  it will work!

Do you keep your pens and pencils in one place?  Take two minutes from your day and go through them to make sure they all work and that only the ones that you would use are there.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day Eighteen - Spring 30 Day Clutter Buster Challenge

Day Eighteen!  Today's post is going to be quick since I still have so much to do on my to-do list.

This is what is leaving my house today.

I have these two beautiful, brass candelabras that I used to keep on the dining room table.  They were nice there but I don't really have a lot of other brass in the house and they are almost too ornate.  We eat at our dining room table almost everyday.  Our kitchen table only seats two and I kind of like sitting at the formal table even if we are just having hotdogs for dinner.  It makes things seem  more special.

But the candelabras were too tall to be able to talk over.  We had to lean side to side in order to have a conversation with each other.  They just didn't work in the space.  So they are now in the donate box which will be picked up by the Canadian Diabetes Association on Tuesday.  I love that I don't even have to drop things off!  They come right to my door and get them.

What do you keep on your dining room table.  Or if you don't have a dining room table, what do you keep on your kitchen table?  (Just between you and me, right now my kitchen table is covered with coats, backpacks and shopping bags.  I think it's time to do a quick pick up!)