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, Clutter, Kids

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. We’ve been back from vacation for a week now and I have to admit, I’m enjoying it more than I did the week away. That’s a pretty sad statement for a vacation, isn’t it. I guess we really ARE homebodies!

2. For years, Bennett, Laura and Catie attended Good News Camp, which is run by the same people who do Good News Club, an after-school Christian club. The camp is crazy-inexpensive and they’ve always loved going. This year, for the first time, Laura and Bennett were too old to attend. The director called us in the spring and asked if Bennett and Laura would be willing to be “jr counselors” in their kiddie camp, for 4-6 year olds. They were dubious, but I made the decision for them. Yes, they would. After years of receiving, they would be the givers. The first day both were rather nervous. When I picked them up, they were utterly enthusiastic, thrilled and delighted. They want to do it again next year. Let’s hear it for mom pushing the kids to do the right thing!

3. With summer and easier schedules here, my clean-out-the-clutter itch is back. In our schoolroom we have a large closet–as in double wide. It was originally a coat closet, then morphed into the catch-all for our then playroom. Then we put lots of shelves in it and it was lovely for a few years and then it became a massive mess again. Yesterday I went on a spree and got rid of a lot of things the kids just don’t play with, listing them for free on a Facebook group. We got rid of SO MUCH JUNK! Now, I also have a pile of stuff (like DSi’s) that I’m not giving away and that need to be priced and listed on the same site. But I’m loving the new look of the closet!

4. Reading up on the Christian Left. Not feeling like I’m fitting in lately with the right side of the fence, but don’t know that the CL is the right answer for me, either. I think I’m more a combination of both. It’s confusing being me!

5. The triplet’s 13th (!) birthday is in 6 short weeks. We’ve been saying for a couple of years that we would do the cellphone thing when they turned 13. I’m somewhat regretting that statement, but thinking that maybe it’s time to let them prove they are responsible enough for them.  AT&T’s new “no contract” thingy is surprisingly cost-effective for a family of 5 or 6 phones when compared to what we are paying now. Unfortunately, it’s also the massive outlaying of funds for the actual phones that’s just too horrible to contemplate. 😛

6. Speaking of responsibility, Catie is dealing with it right now. This week she got both upper braces put on and got her ears pierced. She’s still figuring out the eating thing–I never had braces so don’t understand why it’s difficult, but apparently it is. But she’s been doing great with the earring care. Twice a day she cleans them and spins them. So proud that I haven’t had to remind her once!

7. Just found a WONDERFUL program that lets you change your computer’s country of origin–Hola. Now, this might sound silly and why would you want to do it? But if you’ve ever wanted to watch a video from another country (Hello Sarah Richardson on HGTV Canada!) and couldn’t because it wasn’t your country, it’s VERY handy! I’ve been gorging myself on her new program Real Potential that we can’t see here in the States. WooHoo!

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 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 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, 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.

Posted in Cleaning, Clutter, Marriage, Me

My Life, New and Improved

So I’m up at the Hershey Feeding Clinic this week with Ethan. I leave the house at 7:10 in the morning and come home somewhere between 5:30 and 6:00 depending on the status of accidents and traffic lights. Oh, and how fast I speed on Rte 283.  Shhhh!

In between arriving and leaving my day is made up of 15 minute sessions with Ethan’s feeding therapist and then 30 minute breaks. Except for lunch, which is a longer break. I talk to the other mom and her son, I help Ethan put in videotapes, I get out and put away toys, I read a book and I read magazines.

Lots of magazines.

My mom dropped off 6? 7? magazines last month. Normally I flip through and then throw out pretty quickly. Instead those puppies sat on a speaker for weeks, just waiting for Hershey. Ladies Home Journal, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping…all women’s magazines chock full of recipes, quick tips on cleaning, fashion ideas and, oh, ways to improve yourself, your life, your home, your amount of clutter and your marriage.

Some of them have actually resonated with me. I look at the desk I’m sitting at, which once again just mocks me with the piles and papers and who-knows-what-in-the-world-is-actually-under-there?, and feel the urge to tackle it once again.

I hear my husband hint that maybe marriage counseling might not be a bad idea and wonder which of the wise suggestions about improving my marital relationship I should listen to. And put into practice.

The one thing I’ve noticed, though, is that I get all this inspiration 50 miles and over an hour from home. Once home, it’s very easy to slide back into the old routine. Which obviously, isn’t working so well. Maybe instead of just reading, I should take some notes. And talk it over with my husband.

Posted in Cleaning, Clutter, House

Bulk Trash

Twice a year a rather large trash truck pulls around to gather what is nicely called “bulk trash”.  These are items that, for whatever reason, do not fit in a trash bag/can but still need to go to the dump.

Item A: The loveseat in the playroom. When we moved into this house 10 years ago, the previous owner left behind a fair amount of things, a set of living room furniture being one of them. The sofa and chair went years ago to a family, but the loveseat stayed behind and has been beaten, ripped, playdo’d etc to death. It is not worth passing on. It is not worth donating to the Habitat Home Store. It is not worth anything except taking up space in a landfill.

Item B: The “Green Cabinet”. Years ago (and I mean YEARS AGO), Jim’s grandparents lived in a home and enjoyed their lives there. They were thrifty and handy and often Jim’s grandfather would build something instead of buying it. The Green Cabinet is like that. It was made to house a turn table/record player on the top (in a lower section), a VCR in the middle, and a TV inside it’s doors. 1) we don’t use turntables anymore. 2) we use DVD players AND VCR players AND a DirecTV receiver in this house so more room is needed. 3) We need to be able to access the back of the TV to plug in various and sundry handheld plug’n’play games. 4) It’s GREEN and very, very ugly. Could it be handed to someone else? Maybe. Although the multi-leveled top would probably get in the way. People just don’t use turn tables anymore, unless they are DJ’s and then I don’t think a green cabinet would be helpful to them. So into bulk trash it goes.

Halleluia. Now if we could just find a buyer for the Victrola Jim’s stepmom gave us 9 years ago I’d be thrilled. Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?