Posted in Cleaning, Clutter, House


The phrase decluttering is so passe, don’t you agree? 🙂

I am SLOWLY going through my house. Some things, like my own personal books or board games or my clothes, I can just go through, make decisions about and get rid of (or box up if I’m keeping).

However, the kids’ outgrown toys, my husband’s books, the kids’ books….these are beyond my purview and need intervention from the aforementioned people who own them. I’m asking my husband for “15 minutes” at a time. We’ve done most of his office bookcase. I’ve made one visit to the Goodwill and will go again today. There’s just SO MUCH STUFF.


Jim and I have been married for 21 years. The kids are 15 and 14. So that’s just a LOT of STUFF. Thankfully, the “getting rid of” has been rather painless. They are past the toy age, and much of it they have no problem saying good-bye to. Except stuffed animals. I bought three bins with locking lids and each of the kids-who-care-about-stuffed-animals (i.e. not Ethan) gets a bin to fill up. If they end up in the basement or attic of the new house, and then from there move on with my kids, hey, that’s fine. I brought a bin of Barbie stuff when I got married. Because my future daughters and I were going to play with it. Right?!

Nope. It’s going on a Facebook for sale site today “Vintage 60’s/70’s Barbie clothes and accessories” and if someone wants them, Great.I’m NOT hauling it to the next house.

Funny how the idea of actually packing something and bringing it to a new home is enough to make you question whether something is actually worth keeping!

We’re tentatively saying we’d like to have the house for sale by May 31st. It really just depends on how quickly we can accomplish the massive “to do” list. Thankfully we hired a house painter, so that’s on HIS list instead of ours! With the exception of the kitchen, office and upstairs hall bath, every single room needs to be painted. That’s a LOT of rooms! And too much time given how much else needs to be dealt with.

I’m off to load up the SUV with the next round of stuff going to Goodwill!

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Cleaning, Clutter, Health, Kids, School, Sick

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday


1. You know we’re one sick family when I bought SIX boxes of tissues and five are already open and 1/2 used up. I’m on day 14 and still coughing like crazy. I just popped a cough drop in to try and help and pondered this question: What exactly IS menthol-eucalyptus and why did someone put in something we suck on? It’s not as if it tastes good. And I still cough. But for some reason we keep sucking on cough drops.

2. A year ago we were trying to figure out public or cyber school for two of our older kids. We are now at the same place for our younger child, with the added twist of a gifted IEP. The public school has a program whereby Catie would be “enriched” four times per cycle (not sure what a cycle is). She would wake up at 5:45 or so to make the 6:35 bus to start school at 7:15 and finish at 2:15 and be home by 2:40 when she would start homework. Snow days, sick days, problem students–these would be a part of her life. Cyber school would be 90% gifted, with the exceptions of gym, music, health, art and tech ed. We would have the option of having her do it fully cyber or 1/2 cyber and 1/2 classroom. Classroom sizes have an average of 11. It would mean driving 35 minutes each way 2x/week one week and 3x/week the next. She would learn at her own pace, at her own speed, with her interests highlighted, and no dealing with troubled kids. I’m on the fence. Seriously. Stay tuned for updates!

3. Having triplets, it’s been very interesting (to say the least) entering puberty. Laura, being the girl, is definitely leading the pack in height, weight and general heading-towards-adulthood. One son’s voice has changed but the other’s has not, but his facial hair is starting to show up instead. Acne–whew! Acne!! Growth spurts! Stinky bedrooms! We’re in for a bumpy road the next few years, I’m thinking.

4. All four kids received rather substantial monetary gifts from various relatives. To the extent that, I went onto ebay this week and won three Nintendo 3DS’s. We started out with the plain DS, bumped up to DSI’s, but I was NOT willing to fork over the fundage necessary for this ladder rung. All totaled including shipping, $322 for all three. Ethan, being completely uninterested in handheld games for obvious reasons, is spending some of his money on I Love Toy Train DVD’s and most likely Braille books.

5. I have said before that I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). One of the more annoying side effects of this is hair in places that a woman doesn’t want it–for me, specifically, it’s my chin and upper lip. I pluck literally every day. EVERY DAY. So, with Christmas money in hand, I’ve made the first of six appointments at a laser hair removal place and am hopeful that plucking is not in my future. They were conservative with my condition, though, and said that future treatments will most likely be necessary. The weird part about the time leading up to my appointment is: no tweezers. I have to SHAVE. With a RAZOR. It’s very, very odd doing something to my face that I have previously only seen my husband do!

6. Inspired by A Slob Comes Clean, I finally went through my wardrobe–dresser and closet. Pants that don’t fit. Tops that are too snug across certain part of my anatomy. Bathing suits I will never wear again. They are ALL heading out the door for donation. Suddenly I have plenty of room in my dresser. Jim has more room in the closet (I have a tiny section because I don’t have many dress clothes. Jim is the clothes horse in the family!) It feels GREAT.

7. Here’s a tiny view into my brain-deadness: Yesterday I heard the microwave beep. I was on the living room floor folding laundry and told Bennett and Laura that whoever put food in, it was done. Both denied it was them. I tried to think of what I would have set the timer for, but came up empty and just kept folding. We watched an HGTV show together. Eventually I got up and went into the kitchen and found THE POT OF WATER BOILING THE EGGS I HAD PUT THERE ABOUT AN HOUR BEFORE. It was down to about a half-inch from the bottom (from being an inch above the eggs when it started). The eggs were still fine for egg salad, but I wasn’t about to eat them out of hand like I normally do. See? Brain dead. There’s just nothing left up there except the kids’ medical histories and the occasional hair appointment. If you want to keep your brains intact, people, do not have children!

Posted in Cleaning

Starting at a 5

I am a professional organizer. I am also a recovering slob. Yes, they can coexist. I’m GREAT at helping people declutter and organize, coming up with a system to keep them on track etc. Myself, well, I CAN and HAVE done it, it’s just something I’m not great with on a regular basis.

About 6 months ago or so I don’t know what happened.  Really. I think I may have started to read a blog (A Slob Comes Clean) and that kind of helped. We moved the playroom downstairs (and a whole bunch of toys) and that kind of helped. I started running the dishwasher almost every night and that kind of helped. I moved out of the office and into the now-schoolroom and THAT kind of helped. It wasn’t one thing. It wasn’t overnight. And I’m still not perfect.

But I’m better than I was!

The title is part of a phrase I used to my mother in law this morning. I’m hosting Easter, which used to mean a week (or a few really brutal days) of massive cleaning. I started at zero and had to climb my way to company-ready 10. Now, though, for all those reasons listed above, plus others I’m sure, I’m starting at 5. It’s just easier. My desk still is a mess, but since it’s a smaller desk, it’s a smaller mess. And since I’m in the school room, the floor still is clean. The kitchen usually just needs to be mopped (because I’m still lousy at that one!) and maybe have the range cleaned up a bit. But the piles and piles that used to sit on the peninsula just aren’t there. I’m making sure the table gets tidied up most days. I’m keeping on top of the living room. Does it get messy? You Bet! I have three kids who inherited my slobiness (Ethan’s pretty tidy) and tend to leave things wherever in the house they get put down.

When my MIL asked me to host it wasn’t an overwhelming thing. I didn’t hesitate to say yes, because it really is just tidying and running the vacuum. Well, OK, I have to clean the bathrooms because I have three men/boys in the house and Euuuuuuu!

Still. A 5 is way easier than a 0. Trust me on this!

Posted in Change, Cleaning, Clutter, House, Me, Organizing

A Door Makes a Difference

I’ve been in the new “school room” for four weeks as of today. Yes, it has it’s downsides (e.g. when Catie decides to sing along with Adele’s Skyfall with headphones on–for the 14th time), but there’s one HUGE upside that I didn’t anticipate.

I’m tidier. Really!

My desk used to be in the office (still the office, it’s just now Jim’s and not mine). Lots of reasons for moving, but I’m fine with it and mostly don’t begrudge Jim his locking door. Being in the office,  I knew I could close the door on my mess. I could shove mail in there and forget about it. I could not file for six months and still be fine BECAUSE OF THAT CLOSED DOOR.

Enter life change of desk in the VERY open school room. No doors in the two doorways. I even bought a new, smaller desk with some Christmas money. LESS ROOM FOR JUNK.

This has, thankfully, forced me to organize, declutter, file, put away and generally be much more tidy. I don’t have a huge Ikea desk to sprawl paperwork all over. I want to keep the floor neat and not full of “to do” piles.

And after four weeks of living in here, I’m finding I’m mostly keeping on top of things. I have a clear hanging file thingy with three slots (long term, medium term and keep on looking at this because it needs to be dealt with!) It keeps stuff off the desk, but easily accessible. My printer is on a low filing cabinet with paper in a special 6-drawer organizer under it.

I’m LOVING it. Organization ROCKS.

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Addiction, Cleaning, Job, Kids, Thankfulness, Vacation

1. Two posts in two days! Aren’t I impressive?!

2. My tale of woe for today: Today is the first day that all four kids are off. Ethan’s school district always starts late and ends late. So for a week on each end I’m dealing with wanting to stay up late and having to get up early. SO, today is the first real day of summer vacation. I could SLEEP IN PAST 6:00. No rushing to get anyone out the door. Jim would even put the dog out for me (which I always do since I’m the first one up). Ah, bliss. Only notsomuch. 3am. I wake up because someone went to the bathroom (side note, does deep sleeping ever come back once you are a mom?). 3:01am Laura comes in because she had a bad dream. She’s almost 11. My tolerance for this is getting lower. I rub her back for a few minutes and send her back to bed. Am awake for awhile, but eventually fall asleep. Wake up around 4:30am. Just because. Go back to sleep. Wake up around 5:??am because of the garbage trucks. Shut the window, go back to sleep. 7:20 or so KNOCK, KNOCK. Wake up out of a sound sleep. Laura wants to come in and lay down with me. Any other morning in creation I would have been fine. This morning? NO WAY. I admit to not being the kindest, lovingest mother in my response to Laura. She leaves. I lay there, wide awake, wondering if I should give up or try to fall back asleep. A few minutes later, the door opens and in comes Catie to snuggle. NO! I asked for one day! ONE DAY.

I got up. I told Jim what his daughters had done. He gave me an “awww!” I’m going to renegotiate for another morning.

3. Morale of the story: lock the door and sleep with earplugs. Or don’t even try. Low expectations never disappoint.

4. Changing gears, I have said I want 2012 to be a completely sober year. I’m halfway through and things are looking okay so far. There have certainly been twinges, there have been temptations, there have been moments where the goal was less important, but so far I have chosen obedience and sobriety. It’s been GOOD.

5. A friend of mine and I are doing a Home Reboot with SarahMae. With summer vacation the house generally nosedives. I really, REALLY don’t want that to happen this year. However, I know myself very well and if I don’t have someone to hold me accountable (and this friend is my addiction accountability as well!), I will definitely not follow through. So far I’ve tackled the upstairs bedrooms and am currently working my way though the laundry (changing seasons of linens on 5 beds makes for a lot of blankets!) and the dreaded office. Today I’m determined to clean the stove and oven (which is a 4.5 hour cleaning cycle and makes the house smell) and continuing with the office.

6. Jim has been between contracts now since March. It’s been very challenging around here. Two expected contracts never came to fruition. Not that we are in any marital difficulties, because we aren’t, but I understand why money trouble is the #1 reason for divorce in America.

7. I listed Ethan’s pullups on Freecycle. Two different people came and picked them up. SO WEIRD, but SO AMAZING to not have a drawer full of them. To only keep a few “just in case”, which has not been the case since early May. He hasn’t even had an accident except for one day at school where he told the teacher he had to go, but they were outside on a cane lesson and couldn’t get to a bathroom in time. He’s had no accidents at home at all. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Posted in Cleaning, Clutter, To Do List

4 Inches

I measured the pile of paperwork that I removed from my desk, the kitchen table and the kitchen counter. Now, yes, it’s a little spread out, but at its tallest, it is four inches. FOUR INCHES of things I have deal with, one by one by one. Even if it’s just to move it to another pile. For “deal with immediately” “file” “for taxes” etc. It’s 2:39 in the afternoon on a Sunday. I’ll check back in an hour and we’ll see where I’ve gotten. I may even measure it again!

One Hour of Work Later:

A lot of trash thrown out, all filing separated (although not filed yet!), LONG To-Do list made, two bills paid, two Washington DC Field Trip paperwork filled out and money put into envelopes, and am about to start on the annual Medicaid Insurance online. Feeling MUCH better now that I at least know what is in the pile and most of what needs to be done with it. I t measured the “to be filed” pile and it’s 2″ high. None of the to be dealt with piles are tall enough to measure. Whew!

Posted in Cleaning, Health, To Do List

Taking a Quick Break

I’m in the middle of rearranging the furniture in the office. That would be my desk and two filing cabinets. And assorted items on my desk. Instead of my back facing the door, now my side will. This makes turning my head to see what devilment my little not-angels are up to so much easier. Plus they don’t have to look at my back all the time.


Oh, and I wanted to go on record as saying that I signed the paperwork at SnapFitness this morning. I am officially a member of a gym. Whoa. The undersides of arms are getting a little scared. They like all the flapping. I hate the flapping. HATE IT.

Posted in Cleaning, Clutter, To Do List

The Second Week of Freedom

Ok, that’s a little over the top, I’ll admit it.

But still…peace and quiet during the day cannot be overrated!!

Last week I didn’t do a whole lot but sit on my butt, relax and enjoy the peace. My reward to myself for surviving the end of the summer and the incessant “MOMOMOMOMOMOM” that I heard.

This week is a bit different. 🙂 I’m setting that timer for 15 minutes and getting things done, bit by bit. Going through things. Throwing things out. Cleaning that darn playroom. Just because I can’t stand it one more second. And hey, I found a book that Ethan has been missing and therefore crying over. THAT made it worth it!

I don’t know what it is about family being home that renders me incapable of getting things done, but I’m oh, so grateful that I make up for it when they aren’t around.

Posted in Cleaning, Clutter

Just a Little Bit

I volunteer with the Parkesburg Churches Community Outreach, which is an organization funded by many of the churches in our area to help out with those who need food, clothes, rent, etc.

With the economy taking the turn it has, there are more people needing help and less help to go around. It’s a sad but true fact.

PCCO is hosting a yard sale in a couple of weeks to raise money. Since no one ever comes to our neighborhood for yard sales, we gathered up four boxes worth of stuff and donated it to their cause instead. And all of a sudden the office (where I’ve been storing it all) seems SO MUCH CLEANER! I’m thrilled to be able to actually walk in here and maybe even get the vacuum in here as well!

What a difference decluttering can make!

Posted in Cleaning, Clutter

Organizing the Organizer

Let me go on record as saying that if any of my clients ever came over to my house, they’d throw up their hands in disgust and ask why in the world did they hire me?

Just like everyone else in the world, I have the best of intentions. I start out great. But then I have four kids who think there is a cleaning fairy (named Mom apparently). And I myself tend to “pile” wherever I see a flat surface.  And then I work, which gets me behind, which yes, I see the irony of completely.

I just began reading Organized Simplicity, which is off to a great start.  Maybe it’s the spring. Maybe it’s the fact that we are having a yard sale on April 2nd. Maybe it’s just that I’ve had enough and really want to purge/declutter/trash/you name it. I want to GET RID OF STUFF.

As I tell my clients, wanting to do it is really 1/2 the battle. The rest is just getting the time and keeping at it.