Monday, February 9, 2015

In My Mailbox This Week

Okay, I am not going to lie, I get fun mail at least once a week. There are several reasons for this ranging from some subscription boxes I currently have (Birchbox, IPSY, Studio Calico, and Stylebox for Jamberry) to the magazines my boy's receive (this was something I requested as Christmas gifts: BEST IDEA EVER).

This week though, I was extra excited about my mail box arrivals. Two items that I ordered to arrive in December (hopefully), arrived this week. Both are printed materials who had issues or delays in printing compounded by the port strike and weather issues.

First, My Intentional Home Daily Journals arrived. 

I ordered these on Black Friday. There is one for me and one for my six year strong Bible study co-leader. She is super organized, so it is the perfect gift for her. I yearn to be organized, so I am excited to put it into practice.

Isn't it gorgeous?!?!?!!!!
(buy here)

Oh, I love the little areas and the explanation in the front of why each section is there.

 They came in cute little bags, and there was a bonus for the wait.

I cannot wait to fill this little book out for The Cuban Cowboy as his Valentine's gift tonight. I think it will be a great thing for him to keep in his travel bag as a reminder of my sincere devotion when he travels.

Then, my THRYVE magazine issue three arrived. This was BEYOND exciting. I loved the first arrival, but seriously I am all about this magazine. 

In fact, I am considering sending in a portfolio to become a featured writer (prayers for that).

Thryve is a new (Third quarterly issue kind of new) Christian publication aimed at women. I was introduced to it when Bonita of posted a photo on her IG. I recognized my friend Aurora of on the cover immediately, which led me to find out what this magazine was all about. I order that issue in digital copy, and I just knew that I needed a dead tree version the next time around.

Well, the magazine is phenomenal (GET YOURS HERE), and the gals in charge are absolute dolls. I mean they are sweet as pie. Though the arrival is a tad later than December, there were constant updates regarding the delay often to reassure all customers that they were not forgotten. And, for the delay they gave free access to the digital copy while printing issues were resolved. This means I have read portions of the magazine already, but I am ecstatic to dig deep with the real deal. Additionally, they sent coupon codes to some of the awesome handmade shops run by the sponsors of the magazine. 

Then, when the real deal magazine arrived, The Dwell Journal was included (swoon). 

This journal is a guided means to internalize and take notes on the articles in the magazine. Best idea EVER!!!! I am very pleased. It was ALL worth the wait.

I will order from both companies again, soon, I am sure.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cost of Clutter

Items cost money. Storing them costs money. Maneuvering around them when they aren't properly stored costs time and peace. Is it worth the cost?

These are some of the issues that Kathi Lipp raises in her Clutter Free challenge. 

One thing that is encouraged is taking time to log all new purchases with their purpose and place of storage. Such a smart plan. It forces you to think about what you are bringing into the home. Is it a necessity or an impulse purchase (that Target One Spot is dangerous as far as impulse buys go). 

I enjoy that this book doesn't just address getting rid of items, but discovering how to boy covet and desire more than is actually needed.  We live in a fast paced society of fast fashion, fast decor, and fast trends. This causes people to want more and accumulate useless objects. If we take time to consider purchases, then clutter can be diminished to some degree. Contentment in what we have is key. 

This is only one of several ways the book addresses the issue. 

Okay, so now to my progress. I fell behind while ill, but I made up for it by doubling up on items the next two days. The last clutter free related post left us with 143 items. 

I have since purged an additional items 457.  

This brings me to the Grand total of: 600 even (I could not have planned that number if I tried).

The break down is as follows:

Wednesday (New years Eve), I rid our house of 69 items. I did so by tackling the sock drawers in my bedroom dresser and grabbing misplaced and broken items as I saw them throughout the house. They went from this:

Sorry for dark photos, it was around 10 at night I got to this. You can see that the drawer is stuffed though.

To this as the result:

Tights drawer

Now there is space in this drawer. Pretty. Socks are bulky and take up space. Ridding myself of my least favorite socks gives me room. I moved my gloves and leg warmers to a different drawer in the closet, which also gave additional space. Fantastic!!!!

Then on Thursday I purged 45 items throughout various areas of the house and two of the cubbies from my large Ikea square shelving system in the office (my target area).

Friday was only 29 items, most of them were from Christmas items I sacked while putting away Christmas til next year. I did end up with one if my Christmas containers completely empty in the end, which is awesome.

I am a bit behind on the specific challenges as I play catch up from the sick days this week, and from just enjoying hubby's vacation time. However, now that we are into a more normal week, I have been able to go into overdrive, especially since husband headed back to work. His vacation was such a blessing though.

So Saturday was one item tossed out (thank you dogs for eating the toy) before celebrating The Cuban Cowboy's birthday at Travel Town in LA, followed by a date to Mimi's Cafe and the movies for The Hobbit (love gift cards).

Sunday was a rest day with zero items.

Monday was the best day yet!!! I got rid of a total of 102 items throughout. I caught up on the kitchen drawers that were part of the challenge. 

After photos:

I may be in need if bags. I think I have extras in the laundry room. Fingers crossed.

I also tackled another portion of my target area: the office. It is much improved.


 I haven't really been counting trash, but in the office much of the clutter is paper work/trash.
Therefore, I did count it in here as I threw most of it I in this awesome Target paper bag. Paper bags are great for recycling. I always ask for them at the local Super Target. Most of what left that green cubby was paper items, then I placed scrapbook items that had less adequate homes into the cubby instead.

Then today, Tuesday, started out a bit slow, but ended in 187 items out the door!!!!! Top number thus far! Plus, I caught up on the purse challenge and today's challenges that I received in my email, one of which was that high traffic area catch all, which I showed a photo of the first day.
Just in case you have forgotten:

 Now it looks like this:

Purse: this is my purse of the week. Mine tend to stay fairly empty because I use other bags, but this time it got crazy in my purse. 

Why is there a candy bar in there? 


 Then I attacked two of my bathroom drawers at separate times today. I have been saying I would do it for about a year now, so I am glad to have it done. 

The before mess. As you can see I had already begun to sort when I took the photo. 
The after result. 

Drawer two only has an after:

Why do I keep things like empty perfume bottles? Crazy woman.

My oldest little Monster also got rid of 24 items from his room to make space for his Christmas gifts. I thought it was a good job.

 Overall things are going slow and steady, which I think is best for long term improvement.
If I think about the cost of leaving the clutter, which is where I began today's post, I think about the forgotten Olive Garden gift card I found today in the catch all.

I also think about what my husband mentioned, that things look like they are supposed to. How many fights has it cost us over my own guilt for the clutter if he mentions its existence? These fights could have all been avoided if things just looked like they are supposed to. When did clutter become normal?

Are you decluttering? 
How is your progress? I would love to hear.

You can always join the challenge and grab a copy of the book.

*I did receive a copy of the book for review c/o Kathi Lipp and her publishing team.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Small and Simple Holidays inspiring a New Year

Happy New Year!

I wanted to start the year by reflecting back on this past holiday, especially since it inspired my one little word for 2015: SIMPLICITY.

This year we wanted to keep things small and simple around here for Christmas. This included the idea of only buying four gifts per person (want, need, wear, read) and buying as much handmade or small business items as possible (I also think that American made is a bonus way to support our economy here in the states).

Much of my Black Friday shopping supported this endeavor. And though not all if it was for gifts for others, most was holiday related. These non-gift items included materials for my December Daily album from Freckled Fawn, Studio Calico, items from, scrapbookdailydeals

I also got some planner stickers from It's planning Time 

and labels for the boys items from Mabel's labels.

Handmade is awesome! It truly is. This year I purchased many handmade items and items from small businesses.
These atomic brooches from The Crave Yard and thank you brooch from Australian artist Ella Mobbs who founded the brand Creep Heart
She sent it with this super awesome print I ordered for our home as a shared gift for me and the Cuban cowboy.
 We are going to be redoing a wall with art in the very near future. Be on the look out.

I also got some cute small business clothes for the boys. First this awesome shirt from Pow Wow Prints, a California based clothier.

It came in this bag, which will make a great cross body bag once I add a strap.

I picked up this Warrior Poet (love this brand) shirt also on

From California brand Lil Lou Lou, I bought this cute cowboy top. 

I know that is more than two shirts, but for the wear and read we did multiple items in a single box.

For me, we went down to the PUG (Pinup Girl Clothing) Yardsale a few weeks back and snagged two items. 
Spanish Fan Dress
Dolores top in White (orange room makes it look orange. Sorry) 

Both are made in the USA. It is also extra great to support so many California brands.

Another way we brought in small businesses to our Christmas was the mantel.
 I purchased some prints from Lovely Lines Design and this awesome string art from Crystal at Thread Therapy (My mom got the same string art piece in a different color way as a gift).

Crystal also was the artisan behind our 2014 Christmas ornaments. They are so perfect.
And we have two of each design. The boys both chose snowflakes. I wrote their names and the year on the back. 

We were lucky enough to even be able to bring the idea of small into the read area of our gift giving with this recently published children's book Thank You, Frankie: How God Used a Kid and His Sandwich authored by the daughters of our pastor and illustrated by the woman behind Eisy Morgan. 

Not only did my RolyPoly get a copy, but my SILs little girl, and I am sending one to each of my cousins in Idaho for their households.

Since, I am now an incredibly lucky lady who sells Jamberry, I did gift some Jams to a few little ladies in my life and a cousin. I am my own small business after all. 

Further ways we incorporated small was by purchasing a scarf and some book marks from the global gift fair held at our church at the beginning of the month. These items are handmade around the world, and ALL proceeds go directly to the artisans.

Roly Poly got a big boy mattress from grandma so we could convert his bed. 
So I made (or am almost done making) a quilted comforter for him. It is made from his swaddling blankets.

Finally, I ordered these cute bible study journals from Intentional Home for me and a gal pal. 

They will not arrive for a few more weeks, but they were purchased for Christmas.

There were still some Legos, makeup purchases, binoculars, books, headphones that were purchased from mainstream retailers. However, as you can see, much of what we gave was focused on simplicity. This is something I want to focus on for the next 365 days.

Do you have one little word for 2015?

How might you simplify your life so that the richest treasures can shine through?

Have a great new year. I will be back tomorrow evening with an update on my Clutter Free Challenge.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Clutter Free: Counting

One part of the tasks that a reader is challenged to in Kathi Lipp's book Clutter Free is to get rid of 2000 items. I passed out when I first saw the number. However, I am up for the challenge. If you are up for one too, you can sign up for free HERE.

On my first day, which is featured in this post, I cleaned out 89 items. They weren't all from the area featured, but I got rid of them all the same. 

Since then I have purged an additional 54. Slow and steady people. My total thus far is 143. Not too shabby in my opinion. Oh, I didn't really count paper trash, although it is totally approved per the directions. I just do not have time for that.

On Saturday I tackled another peripheral area of paper storage, this sideboard in the hallway. I actually found that there was not as much paper as I thought, but toys that I find in the hallway and put in the green bucket to be put away later. You know because the boys' rooms are not four feet away. LAZY!!!! 

So I dove in. I took maybe 20 min (I always forget to do the 15 min timer part. It may put too much pressure on me.) This area went from this
This is a close up of the over stuffed bucket.

To this

29 items gone and many put in their proper places.

Sunday I was going to take a break, but the I went into my office, which is our cat room as well, to check on Patches. And I decided to take the quick, suggested 15 min to tackle one area of the room. I have been avoiding the room, even though I cleaned part of it out in October (the same part I tackled today). I think I really only took 5 -10 minutes on this area. It looked bad, but wasn't really.

 It's the under area of this desk that is going to be a hassle.

Here is the outcome. With 21 items gone from either this space or random clean up throughout the house today.
 Nice and simple. I do still need to do something more streamlined with that pile of photos, but that is for another day. At least they have a home for now.

Monday I was sicksicksick! So, I had to put off part of challenge two. I did the reading though. I did manage to get rid of 3 items in the morning, just three I walked by and was sick of seeing. 

The bonus of the day. That tray cleaned in day one served me yummy soup in bed. It couldn't have happened if I hadn't tackled it first, so SCORE!
As far as today, Tuesday, well we had an important errand to do. We had to pick up my mom and take her to San Diego. While we were there, we had to have lunch with our friends because we don't often get to make the two hour drive. So, although today's challenge was 30 items for the day, I am totaling 1. I am not ashamed of this because the reading for yesterday and today tackle the idea of spirituality and costs. Costs clutter can cause to our relationships with friends, family, and God. Therefore, I was not going to allow decluttering to cost me these things either (Plus, I am still a bit under the weather so the trip today has left me tired. Tomorrow is a new day. And I can tackle two places, if I so choose. Why not?

If you sign up let me know! Also, I will be giving a copy of the book away, so be on the look out in the Friday post.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Clutter Free-Intro/Day one

I love Kathi Lipp. She is so raw, real, hilarious, and God centered. I am blessed to have the opportunity to help in the launch of one of her latest works: Clutter Free.

Ya, that's a screen shot, complete with the current price

I am excited because this is such a great way to begin a new year (even if it be a few days early). 

Each Tuesday and Friday I will bring to you an update on the progress I am making. Today I am tackling the "why" of my clutter, which, truth be told, is in large part laziness. After work and chasing boys and activities and bible study, the last thing I want to do is organize and clean. Boo! However, it would truly make all those other things run more smoothly. 

Also, my biggest down fall is paper work. I just do not like it. Not one iota. So, I have been getting better at sorting and trashing (though there is still room for improvement). It's the stuff that I plan on " getting to later" that bites me in the behind.
 I have these awesome cubbies for these items, but they need to be cleaned out because I am very "out of sight, out of mind."

Since this is my problem area, I will be mainly focusing on my office/ studio. This is where I create, grade write, hide. Seriously though, I just cannot keep it under control. It gets better each year, but look at the room for improvement that still exists. Yea for goals.
It is extra messy during this holiday season because of wrapping and such.

The other spots are my "alternate" paper hoards that crop up here and there for no apparent reason other than they can. 
Hallway sideboard
Filing cabinet in room 
Under chest of drawers because I can
TV tray for mugs and magazines etc while into cozy bed
Entryway basket for mail
Kids supply area in dining room

Today was also the instructions for the first challenge, which includes taking only 15 minutes to tackle a single space at a time. I chose the TV tray pictured above for my first project. 

Let me remind you of the before.

Okay! Yikes!!!! Here is the after.
You can see the tray! It is amazing! Yay me. Yay Kathi for helping a gal out.

So, follow along. Buy the book and join in. Declutter your life so that you can truly enjoy it in a less stressful way.

 I hope that, like me, you get a head start on some of your amazing 2015 plans.

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