Simple, effective cleaner with just 2 ingredients that works!

I know I know, it sounds like a pitch to get you to “click here”, but really it works! I can’t stand the smell of chemical cleaners, or what it does to my home and the environment. Some, however, are easier to give up than others. I’m not proud of it, but I still have a container *whispers* of comet cleaner in the cabinet. Recently though I found a great alternative and almost everyone has these two items in their homes.

Baking Soda and Dish Soap

I just use a small container to mix baking soda and enough dish soap to make a paste.

Use any scrub brush or old tooth brush with a little water and just scrub. It took no time at all to get the tile from the “before” to the clean “after”.

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Decluttering, anxiety, and hoarding

I’m really pleased with the number of people that have been decluttering along with me in my little facebook group, but it occurred to me today that we each see “clutter” differently. There is the extreme of clutter, known as hoarding, that we see on TV shows like Hoarders. Then there is another extreme where someone sees one or two things out of place and to them it is clutter. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, but I want my little group to be for everyone! It may take years of following the calendars for a hoarder to complete their great declutter, but one day at a time, one item at a time, they will see a decluttered home too!

I don’t mean to make it sound easy, because I know first hand it isn’t. I have never hoarded to the extent we see on TV, but I do think of myself as a recovered hoarder. It was something I learned from my mother. Every time I would try to part with something I would hear her voice in my head (and sometimes over the phone) telling me to keep it, or not to get rid of it unless I could get what I paid for it, or to bring it to her house and she will keep it “safe” for me.

My younger daughter, who is doing GREAT with decluttering, also learned to hoard, sadly from me. She also has diagnosed anxiety issues, so that greatly contributed to the problem. We tried a variety of approaches to getting her to let go of stuff, but it simply just took time. Thankfully we had the time to wait. Her bedroom use to be in the finished attic, but after dealing with cooling and heating issues, she moved downstairs and after painting and making that room hers, she has only allowed into that room the items that are important to her. The rest remained upstairs, in what we call the attic room. The past several months, she has been working like crazy to declutter that room. She is down to just a handful of boxes that she wants to keep and the rest is on it’s way out the door.

I want everyone to know that the beautiful after pictures people share could be after years of working at decluttering. I don’t want anyone to feel discouraged that they aren’t there yet… because I KNOW with hard work and time, you will get there! I see it in my house and with my family and it IS possible. We have lived in this house 8 years and it has taken most of those to get to where we are today.

If you feel overwhelmed with the decluttering… ask a friend or family member to help. Remember to take it slow. When you look at a room of stuff it IS very overwhelming, but one item, one box, one bag at a time, you WILL get there. Our homes may never be in a magazine, but with each piece of clutter that leaves, we will feel lighter, happier, and more at peace in our spaces :) You ALL are doing any awesome job!

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Today we start the master bedroom declutter!

365 Days to Declutter!  The Great Declutter of 2015!

Today, February 2nd, we start with the bed! Grab February’s Calendar here. Strip the bed and put on clean sheets, get anything that doesn’t belong in the bed out (you would be amazed how many people sleep with books and clothing in their beds), replace old yucky pillows, and get ready for a good night’s sleep before we really start tackling the “big stuff”. Part of our journey with decluttering, is to create a better lives for ourselves and our family. Getting a good night’s sleep is important to make this journey a success.

Tomorrow we work on our own nightstand, clear away all the clutter that has accumulated on top, clean out the drawers or baskets underneath, and throw away any old medicines you have hiding in there :)

The 4th we tackle any storage that is over our beds (like those headboards that double as bookcases) and any shelving we may have on the walls of our rooms.

The 5th we work on any or all of the following… desk, vanity, or make-up station. Did you know that make-up goes bad? Make sure you aren’t holding onto anything that can harm your skin.

On the 6th we tackle the cedar chest. In our bedroom we have two, one for Hubby and one for myself.

Then Saturday, the 7th, we attack those boxes!!!!

I’m very excited to get my room done. It was looking great, it was our peaceful retreat and then the holidays came and the room’s calm went.

Any special plans you have for your room once it is decluttered?

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Nourished By Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph – A Search for Health, Happiness, and a Full Night’s Sleep

When I was given the opportunity to read and review Nourished, I hesitated. While I love reading, I’m a very picky reader because my time to read is very limited. In the end, I decided I liked the title and what I had read about the book, so I read it and I am SO glad I did! This is definitely a MUST READ book!

Becky and Rachel are a mother and daughter writing team that make you feel like they are old friends. I really appreciated the honesty they both shared. It is never easy to admit our faults or have some one we love point them out, but because of that honesty, I really felt I could connect with what they were writing.

Becky and Rachel are from different age groups, in different phases of life, and handle things, like clutter, in different ways. Their differences make it easy for a wide variety of people to see themselves in them. Rachel is in her 30s, chasing an active little boy. Becky is in her 50s, enjoying her grandchildren. Rachel likes things organized and Becky is ok with things a little messy. Each one shares her journey with us to being happier, more organized, and accepting of who they are and what they look like!

My favorite section of the book is about clutter and how to tackle it. Right now I’m tackling the clutter in my house, along with just under 2,000 facebook friends, and I found Becky and Rachel’s stories of decluttering inspiring! I literally laughed out loud when I read “My goodness, I’ve kept those three M&Ms in the zipper pocket of my purse for two months, sure they were painkillers. Whaddaya know?” That was said by Becky, who at one point in the book references Erma Bombeck, one of my favorite authors. Becky, I think Erma would have loved you!

The book offers practical advice that both ladies are actually using, not just offering to readers. I really like the “$1500 secret”. Implementing just that one thing has made me a happier person. No, I can’t give away the secret, but it is written out in the book just waiting for you to read it.

Becky and Rachel take turns writing and their name is above the section they have written to make it easy to know who is saying what. The book really feels like a conversation. Becky and Rachel going back and forth and the readers along for the fun afternoon of visiting.

Nourished: A Search for Health, Happiness, and a Full Night’s SleepPick up this book today and find friendly experiences from Becky and Rachel about nourishing your spaces, routines, body (there is an excerpt from the book written by Rachel here, about her body and pink pants), and self, relationships, and your spirit and everything in between. Also be sure to check out Becky and Rachel’s Blog, which has sections about each wonderful lady, many recipes, and lots of fun. Rachel also has a blog called The Nourished Mama.

I have been given the opportunity to host a giveaway for one book! Please use the form below to enter.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same price on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Free Herb Kindle Books – 1/25/15

It’s that time of year, that I’m thinking about the summer garden. I’m hoping this year to add a pretty full herb garden. While searching on amazon for books, I found some really nice looking free herb ones and thought I would share :)

These are all, for the moment free, but amazon prices change quickly, so make sure you check before you purchase!

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February’s Decluttering Calendar is here!

365 Days to Declutter!  The Great Declutter of 2015!

February’s room is the master bedroom! We started in the kitchen, because we need to nourish our bodies to accomplish the great decluttering of our homes. We now work on the bedroom, because we need to rest our bodies to have the energy to work on the great decluttering. Get February’s calendar here!

If you are just now joining the challenge, awesome! Come join us on Facebook, join us on Flickr, and check out what we did in January.

January’s calendar
What does ESQF mean?
What is RDPD?
Where do I find all the posts so far? Here!

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What to do with the “keep” stuff

365 Days to Declutter!  The Great Declutter of 2015!

The question came up on the Facebook page, about what to do with stuff we want to keep. Ideally, everything has a “home”, a place where it belongs and can always be easily found. The idea behind decluttering, is to rid our homes of all the excess. This amount is different for each person and depending on the space we have to use. I realize it is much easier said than done to downsize to the point where everything fits.

For all the “keep” stuff that has a home, put it in it’s place. For “keep” stuff that doesn’t have a home, you need to make sure it is really something you want or need to keep. Is it something you use all the time? Then you need to find it a good home where you can access it easily. Is it something you use just on holidays? Or something that is sentimental? Maybe off season clothes?

I wish I had all the answers, because it would make decluttering my home easier :) But I don’t. Here are some suggestions I can offer…

Decorative boxes – small items can be stored in decorative boxes and placed in different rooms on tables or dressers. I use a small decorative box to hold letters that students have written to me over the years after they took one of my classes.

Under the bed storage boxes – this would be good for off season clothing. Just make sure you love the clothes enough to store.

Pillows (click to read full post with pictures) – Yep this idea is a bit different, but I do think it is very creative. Instead of storing food or wash clothes, store off season clothing inside decorative pillow cases. Maybe extra sheet sets can go in a pillow case too! Even baby clothes you are saving to make into a quilt or for your future grandchildren can be stored in decorative pillows.

Extra closet – do you have a closet in a guest room? This would be a good place for storage, particularly seasonal items that you don’t need all the time, but do need easy access to.

Attics or basements – as long as these spaces are free of mold and moisture, this is a good place to organize items on shelving. Just make sure these are things you really want to keep and you aren’t just putting the items there to get them out of the way or to avoid making a decision on.

Cedar chest – are the items you are keeping sentimental? Create a cedar chest for each family member and keep the sentimental items for each person in their cedar chest. If the chest fills up, go through and see if there are things they no long wish to keep. This will keep all their special memories in one safe place. When they get married or move out, give them the cedar chest filled with their treasures.

Coffee table, end table – use coffee tables or end tables that have storage space built in.

Dressers – they aren’t just for clothing! We use a dresser in the living room for my Hubby’s dialysis stuff, remotes, and other things we use regularly in the living room. We also use to use it as a TV stand, but the TV is now mounted on the wall, making the top of the dresser perfect for holding the dvd player.

What creative ideas do you have for storing “keep” items?

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Added a box

365 Days to Declutter!  The Great Declutter of 2015!

Yesterday while working on my cabinets, I added a new box to my organizing set. It’s labeled “What is that?”. Often times I find things that I’m not sure what they are or what they belong to. Sometimes my family knows, but since they aren’t always able to answer my question of “what is this?”, I now just throw it into a box. This box also works for missing pieces. I often find a part of something, but I’m not sure where the rest is, so this box will be also used for missing pieces.

Now cleaning out this box on a regular basis will get tricky. The items you question will be easy, once a week ask family members what the items are that you can’t identify. The missing pieces, however, might take months to find what they belong to. Use your best judgement with this box and how you want to deal with it. If it were up to my Hubby he would just call it the trash can :)

How is your decluttering going?

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January 12 through January 16

365 Days to Declutter!  The Great Declutter of 2015!

This week we are going to work on our kitchen cabinets. Even though I love to cook, I wasn’t thinking much about the kitchen when we purchased our first home. It’s a nice kitchen, but small with limited counter and cabinet space. I often clean out my kitchen, so my cabinets aren’t too bad, but there is definitely clutter that has to go.

This is a great time to check dates on the boxes and cans. Donate food you won’t eat, but it still good for someone else to eat. Rotate your food so you eat the food that will expire first, now and the stuff with the later expiration date later. It’s also a great chance to wipe down the shelves, put in new lining paper, and scrub the outside down too.

Don’t have 5 days worth of cabinets to clean out? That’s ok, you can also RDPD.

My husband often complains that we have too many cups, so I did that cabinet first :) Here are my before and after pictures. These are all our dishes and cups.

This is probably my favorite cabinet. I love how the jars look! Our street has a problem… ants. It doesn’t matter how much you clean, every single house on our block, in the spring, has ants! It happened the first year we owned the house and we hadn’t even moved in yet! We purchased our house in March and didn’t move in until May, but in April, without any food at all, there were ants. Over years I have talked to almost every neighbor who lives on this block and they all admit that every April, sometimes May they have ants too. My husband found a great solution to them this year (I will share that secret in the coming months), but before he fixed the problem, I had carefully placed my staples in beautiful mason jars. It didn’t keep the ants from coming, but it did protect my food.

For those of you who want to plan ahead, here is the tentative plan for the year. There is a logic behind why each month is what it is, but you are free to work on whatever you like each month. February’s calendar will be out in the next two weeks.

January – Kitchen
February – Master Bedroom / Your bedroom
March – Spare room / Child’s room
April – Attic, crawl space, storage area
May – Entry way, living room, coat closet
June – Shed, yard, patio, deck, sunroom, outdoor toys, pool house
July – Basement
August – Family room, den, rec room, computer room
September – Garage, carport, catch up
October – Storage unit, bathroom
November – Dining room, guest room
December – This is a surprise for now :)

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Today’s task is to share

365 Days to Declutter!  The Great Declutter of 2015!

I want everyone to share their goal list with someone in their life. A friend, a family member, someone that will support you, someone who will encourage you, or simply someone you are excited to share your journey with.

I think this is important to our progress. When someone knows we are working on something, it keeps us motivated and more accountable. When I was posting my weight loss journey online, I was definitely losing weight faster than I am now and I think that is because someone was “watching”.

Tomorrow we start on our kitchen cabinets. This task could end up being harder then you think. Just because you can “make room” for something, doesn’t mean it should stay. Have you ever opened a cabinet and had things fall out on you? But you still justify keeping everything in it? I have decluttered my kitchen many times over the years and I know it is hard to downsize.

Tape your goal list to a cabinet and keep looking at it as you make tough choices. If there are four members of your family, do you really need 30 cups or glasses? If one of your goals is to eat healthier, could you donate anything that doesn’t fit within your new eating lifestyle?

Maybe it is time to rearrange your cabinets. I ended up using my smallest cabinet for our dishes and cups and then my bigger ones for food. This worked out great because we don’t have a pantry. Play around, see what works best.

Who did you share your goals with today?

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