Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Once I Start to Slow Down-I Stop

This seems to happen whenever I take a break from the normal routine...I just STOP. Here we are, post-Christmas, looking at the New Year, and I don't even know what day it is. My routine and tidy house are in dismal shape. My husband is off again tomorrow and I'm eager that we don't have anything planned but some family time.

One of the reasons I started this blog, was so I wouldn't FORGET what I was supposed to be doing. Visiting here today is a big reminder!

The house is in complete disarray, every room seems to suffer from lack of anyone actually picking anything up off the floor! Yesterday, I thought, "I ought to pick up some things off the floor", yet I totally lacked the desire or discipline to do so. My motivation to do anything remotely related to normal life has momentarily vanished. I'm wading through empty boxes and the cats toppled all the delicates off the mantel at 2am this morning, creating the loudest crash I've ever heard! I thought it was a million Legos breaking on a tile floor.

All I want to do is take a nap.

And so for the 64th day, I have failed. Since failure is unacceptable, I'm failing FORWARD. It's OK to continue pressing on toward my goal even if it's oozing into 2014, because that's the only option I have at this late hour. I'm trying (sorta) to get a grip on how things should go as we crossover into 2014. There's today, tomorrow (we're putting away the Christmas decorations tomorrow, I can't wait!) and then Thursday and Friday. I'm seriously considering taking Thursday and Friday OFF and doing something fun. What would a day OFF look like, exactly? That's an interesting thought. That would then bring the weekend and then Monday plans and my Mom has surgery on Tuesday. Then possibly the next Monday, we could get back to routine, even though it will already be January 13th.

We did install Sarah's plushy shelves this past weekend and put up the shower caddy, both long term residents of the "to-do" list.  This is good, for Sarah's room, providing a place to put the plushies! That in itself could be inspirational!

So as I consider the next few days and weeks, I think it is going to be OK to pace myself and focus on what I can do to find my way back to my normal routine and my tidying schedule. I also feel anticipation that 2014 is going to be a wonderful year for us, full of love and purpose.

Freedom is...starting again to complete the tidying process in 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013

These Dark Gray Days

The last sunshine I saw was on December 23rd (see above)...it is now December 30th. I'm sooooooooo happy we're on this side of winter solstice! Though the days are getting longer, I won't really start to notice until the first of February...and these dark, gray days grate on my soul through the new year. Sun, sun, come out and play today...

Monday, November 25, 2013

My New Disciple

Now that the master bedroom is blissfully finished along with the office, attic, back patio, barn and shed, I'm moving on to the last of the last.

This afternoon I finished what I do believe is MY LAST BOX. (deafening applause) !!!


I rocked that box...and it was a toughie! Lots of paper and random stuff. Just started sorting and delivering the sorted stuff to where it belongs. I only had two items that went to giveaway, the rest was relocate and trash. Whooooh!

It is now time to put my education to the test...I've gone through all the steps in my learning process except for the last step...training someone else. But alas, I don't have to wait long for a new disciple! My daughter needs my help and now that I am a PRO, I truly can be of help to her.

Here's what we're up against:
Like me, my daughter has too much stuff. As I've been purging stuff and growing my soul, she has stayed pretty much the same. Now I can help her purge and grow! She LOVES to sort and organize and I am so full of hope for her...I know with a little bit of help, she'll be off and running with the tools she needs to limit her stuff and keep it organized. We'll all have a new life of freedom in this area of tidiness!

Her bedroom needs to be emptied. We intend to use her room for "storage" and the playroom (which is really the living room), for her "play" space. There is an "extra" room, which we call "Fred". It contains my husband's books (aka-library). Unfortunately, Fred has been overrun with bags of Sarah's stuff. So we have three rooms that need attention...Sarah's room, Fred and the playroom.

When this project is finished, the only areas remaining to clean will be: all the bookshelf cubbies (I've made great headway!) and the pantry. I think I'll do some fine tuning before I close out this blog, identifying any areas where I don't feel freedom, making sure that I am indeed free-and finished with this project (not including maintenance).

So, tonight I stepped into her room...when we moved in March, we got rid of her dresser. We need to first get really solid on where her clothes go. Then I think we need to actually remove everything from her room and sort through her books and what she wants to keep on her shelves.

We looked online for some ideas on organizing stuffed animals. I had a new thought while standing in her room tonight...why not use clear bins that can be stacked and stored in her closet? Then she'd be able to see what she has, the boxes help us put "like" things together and maximizes space. Hmmmm.

The goal is for the playroom to be EMPTY. That means dealing with the Lego collection and clearing the rug and eventually making sure the cubbies are purged and pretty.

We are so close! Yet we still have a lot to accomplish.

Next steps:

1-decide where her clothes go
2-remove everything from her room (except her clothes)
3-decide on some things that go back in her room and place them conveniently

She wants a bean bag for her room so she can have a "reading nook". If the bean bag comes as a Christmas gift, we'll have to make sure that the space on the rug stays clear so she can actually enjoy her nook. Since she uses the Kindle a lot, I don't know that we'll even have to put up a light. I'm starting to get vision for what things are going to look like in there and I've been preparing her for months for the reality of having to get rid of a lot of stuff. She'll be so relieved and happy to know what SHE has and where it is!

We're also planning to put shelves up around her ceiling for her plushies...can't wait, I think that will be awesome storage! She doesn't like the idea of her plushies being squished in a box...they can't breathe in there, you know.

-empty playroom, no boxes hanging around, all storage in kids' rooms
-tidy bedroom with ALL her stuff stored in her room
-Fred will contain only books

-rearrange and relocate the Legos
-clean mantel
-purge and organize all the plushies and various accessories strewn all over rug in playroom
-empty bottom cubbies (10) so they are ready for plushy play
-sort through bags in Fred and relocate
-empty Sarah's room
-put all of her stuff in her room (no storage allowed in Fred nor playroom, must all fit in her room)

AH. I can see it and taste it. Here we go!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

FINAL TIDY Master Bedroom

WOW! I did it! I thought it was going to be really hard finishing up the master bedroom! I know what I have and where it is! Fantastic! We are loving all the FLOOR SPACE now that totes and tubs have been gone through and removed. I never took before nor after photos of the master, oh well, sure wish I had photos!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Two Step Process Day 4 of 64

I'm doing what I don't want to do and it is exhilarating!

Today I worked in my bedroom...so surprising, there's still a bunch of stuff to deal with! I got together a trash bag, giveaway bag and a relocate box. My goal is to have it tidy enough to vacuum all the carpet at any time!

I had a revelation...once the box was gone through, only HALF the job was done. The relocate box needs to be "relocated", taking all those things out of the bedroom and taking them to where they really belong. Funny how I never realized this is a TWO part process! I think I've been going through stuff for a long time but I've been sorting through and then NOT putting some of the sorted stuff AWAY!

I wanted to stop after about an hour. My endurance is low. So I'm pressing on to do MORE HOURS. I've been disciplining myself and now is time to strengthen myself and go deeper, taking on much more so I can get to freedom with this tidy business.

I kept going and going and did way more than I planned and was also surprised that it took so long to do so "little"!

Of course, somehow, things get MESSY while CLEANING UP!

The pantry is right outside our bedroom, and some groceries got dumped in our bedroom since the pantry isn't organized! We have canned food on the floor! I took on too much, because when John came home, we worked on the pantry together (and now there's a bunch of stuff all over).  I needed help and he got a little "possessive" of "his" pantry!!! We accomplished a lot working together, though!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Turning to New Ways Day 2 of 64

This is the living room that we call the playroom. It has many boxes that were never dealt with after moving. No one gets to use this room because it is full of stuff.

Today was one of my days to working on tidying...day 2 of 64 to be exact. I did not want to do this today, but I know doing what I don't want to do is what it is going to take to reach freedom. It was really hard to get started.

I got to work doing what I thought was best, but when my husband came home, we had a huge discussion. After listening to him and being willing to let go of my own ways, I think he's right. I'm going about this all wrong.

I'm going to take a completely different course over these next weeks. Here's what I have planned:

-four boxes...trash, giveaway, keep, relocate
-start with my stuff and have Sarah help me as I go through the process of weeding through my last boxes and the pantry
-then we'll work on her stuff together...and then I'll be done

My friend Christi suggested I have her participate with me first and watch how I work through the challenges. She loves to sort! I think she'll do just fine once we start her stuff.

I need to accept the inconvenience of being "in the process of tidying". I need to let go of some of my own ideas about how things should be because they are self-centered. An hour ago I was very discouraged, but I can see how I can move forward with new vision. Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Final Tidy Countdown Day 1 of 64

I'm ready to be done. I mean, I'm ready to take action to be done. By December 31st. Done-done.

I mapped out all of November and December, identifying which days I'll be able to devote to the final tidying tasks. There are 64 days until Dec 31st and many of those days, I can tell, I won't probably get to tidying for various reasons. I sense the Lord has a deadline on my final tidying and the end of the year is it. So I need to make this happen.

I made a list of a few spots that I think will be the most difficult and I'm going to do those first. I remember moving and doing the garage first, what a huge relief it was when that was actually finished! It motivated and propelled me because all the other tasks were small compared to the garage.

I quickly made a notebook with the lists and calendar. I'll be focusing (and taking ACTION) over the next two months so I can finish by December 31st.

Reviewing "Freedom Is":
-knowing what I have and where it is...(see below)
-maintaining with quick daily pick-up and tidy (we are already implementing this on our daily chores, each day is assigned one room and we tidy that one room to the best we can right now, we've come SO FAR, most of the rooms are actually quite tidy on a daily basis)
-embracing "what's next" for my self-education (as I enter this "final phase", the Lord is speaking to me about laziness and being willing to take action and discipline, it is really good! I'll look forward to some in-depth word study at the first of the year)
-being unencumbered to help my kids' education (what a delight that will be!)
-completing long term dangling projects (the list is down to:
help Sarah with room
go through cubbies
get rid more stuff
go through plushy boxes
clean playroom/other final tidy)
ALL THE OTHER PROJECTS are completed! Of course, I've started a list of "new projects", but those are new and I haven't procrastinated any of these. I think it is reasonable to have an ongoing project list. In the next couple days, I need to make the Thankgiving pillowcases which we decided to do a couple weeks ago and bought fabric (the kids LOVE their pillowcases)!

It is quite exciting to see that my "Freedom Is" list is really coming along and not too far from completion!


the most difficult:
-Sarah's room

This room is going to be awesome. Need to go through the bags of stuff. Be brave.

Sarah's room:
I need to help Sarah let go of some things. She needs me to do what's going to be best for her, not just what she WANTS.

Actually, things are looking quite good. Just need to make a list of the cubbies which need attention and finish the job.

Hmmm. I bought special boxes for the Legos for the other house. They just don't work here. I need to brainstorm some ideas.
-boxes to slip into attic, easy to retrieve
-maybe wheeled carts to fit in Dan's closet, easy to roll out when want to use
-could stack some smaller boxes behind Titan table in flop room
-what to do with large plates/storage for completed sets?

Out of these four, I think Sarah's room is the most difficult, then playroom, then cubbies and Legos. I'll start tomorrow on Sarah's room.

IN PROCESS-go through cubbies (I'm REALLY close to being done!)
IN PROCESS-help my daughter purge and organize her room
-go through several bags and boxes of plushie accessories and organize (in Fred and in playroom)

DONE-finish taxes
DONE-finish quilt (gift)
DONE-finish handmade napkins (gift)
DONE-finish a huge crochet project (gift)
DONE-finish handmade pillowcases
DONE-another afghan (waiting for yarn to arrive) {the yarn arrived, afghan 80% finished!}

Flop Room/Desk
Master Bath
Master Closet
Dining Room
Dan's Room
Sarah's Room
Main Bath
TV Room

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Video Game Shelf

When we moved, we put a chair in this corner and a box and bins...it was a jumbled mess. I thought Daniel would enjoy organizing his video games, consoles and controllers and I knew I would enjoy having this area organized.

We assembled the shelf together and he immediately got to work putting things where he liked them. He apparently likes Oreo on the lower left shelf, ha! No one tells that cat what to do!

The TV room is officially tidy! I'd like to put a lamp behind John's chair (IKEA floor lamp is in its box in the office waiting to be assembled) and some art/photos/kids' projects on the walls...oh, and I want to apply some Fray Check to the edge of the carpet, but that's on my "new to-do list" and I can do that after the final tidy. Nice work, Dan!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Playroom Boxes

I want to get through all this stuff in the living room (we call it the playroom). This has become the dumping area...contains mostly stuff I don't know what to do with and Sarah's plushy stuff.

I didn't take a photo, just dove into the boxes. Wow, I actually accomplished something! The room isn't done, but I feel terrific that about half of the stuff is dealt with...I have a looming sense of dread about what to do with Sarah's stuff. But...I'm going to put off that feeling until after we go through it together. Maybe she'll let go of more than I expect.

TV Room update...I purchased a shelf to house the video games and controllers, tucked the Rock Band drums up in the attic, easy access but out of the way. Once I put together the shelves, that room will be d.o.n.e.!

IN PROCESS-go through cubbies (I'm REALLY close to being done!)
IN PROCESS-help my daughter purge and organize her room
-go through several bags and boxes of plushie accessories and organize (in Fred and in playroom)
-another afghan (waiting for yarn to arrive) {the yarn arrived, afghan 80% finished!}

DONE-finish taxes
DONE-finish quilt (gift)
DONE-finish handmade napkins (gift)
DONE-finish a huge crochet project (gift)
DONE-finish handmade pillowcases

TV Room
Flop Room/Desk
Master Bath
Master Closet
Dining Room
Dan's Room
Sarah's Room
Main Bath

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Locator Notebook and Attic FINAL TIDY

This seems a little fussy and perfectionistic for me to be posting, but I'm totally excited about it. Enter...The Locator Notebook. Each and every room will have a little map showing what's in the room and where it is located within the room. {In a really sick way, this reminds me of the 5S program my husband used at a previous job, and I remember how much we joked about how they were expected to diagram and inventory their desk drawers}. This is precisely what I'm doing-funny! The notebook concept sends me over the moon and I have to pinch myself that I can actually DO this! Less stuff means I know what I have! I remember reading about a home organization idea using bankers boxes and having a card index system to tell what's in each box. I never could do that...until now! (Maybe I could index the cubbies when I get there...naw, better yet, get rid of what I don't use!)

Now that the office is tidied and several additional items are stowed in the attic, I'd like to NOT forget about what is in deep storage. Better yet, I'd like it to take under two minutes to retrieve the cat carrier or suitcase or...where did I put the box which holds last year's taxes?

I've never had an attic before, though growing up we did have a storage room with a door which was very attic-y. Back then, I didn't realize it was attic-y, but now that I have my very own real life attic, I can indeed verify the likeness.

I don't like the idea of an index file, so I thought a visual map would be good to put up in the attic, so anyone venturing up there might be able to actually come back down with what they were looking for in the first place (before they froze or cooked to death or slumped over in pain from trying to keep from standing up straight).

So I got things moved around the way I like them and made a map. The map is going in my "Locator" notebook AND a copy is hanging in the attic in a page protector from a post. The Locator notebook has three pages already...the attic map, the office map of the lower cabinets and drawers, and the office map of the upper cupboards and shelves. This is the second iteration of this map, the first map got lost!

What makes me giddy (besides the cool new notebook) is that it was EASY to find a pin and a page protector and hang the map in the attic! No searching or stumbling to find these needed items! I think it is super geeky to post a photo of my "attic map" IN the attic, but there's a sense of completion that makes me really happy. I'm enjoying this FINAL PHASE of tidying and this certainly does give me a great sense of order and freedom. "Knowing what I have and where it is" constitutes "tidiness" and freedom with my stuff.

This is just a huge big deal for me...to know what I own and to be able to find it. And have it stored in a way that makes it accessible. This has been my heart's desire for YEARS. I remember cleaning the garage in our first house (1100 sq feet) and wanting so badly to "know what I had and where it was". I think that would have been about 1998!

I would say the attic partially correlates with the garage at the old house. And since we don't have a garage at our new house, this final tidy really does count as the garage (astounding)!!! This weekend, we're planning on tidying the outside shed and micro barn, too. Those count toward the garage as well, but they are extremely simple to tidy. The patio is tidy, but we want that stuff in the shed or barn, which will empty the patio, making IT very tidy! Last weekend's POURING DOWN RAIN prevented us from completing that task.

I have completed the attic and the office. They are officially TIDY. I know what is in them and where everything is (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yay !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Fffffffffffffrrrrreeeeeeeeeedom. Thank you, Lord!

TV Room
Flop Room/Desk
Master Bath
Master Closet
Dining Room
Main Bath
Dan's Room
Sarah's Room

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dining Room Floor Restored

Today, the wall got textured and painted and the floors restored. Ah. THAT feels so good. How long has it been? We discovered the leak on Tuesday, August 27th, so we've been a month in limbo with the dining room disassembled. I'm pretty excited to move the Expedit back into the dining room again!

I've been feeling so terrible about the water damage...just made a mess and made more work for our landlord.

The wall looks like new and we're ready to put our bookshelf back in place. I'll probably wait until Monday, just to let everything cure properly. The black plank wasn't as dark before the finish was applied, so I'm hoping it will lighten. So grateful to have it all fixed again...would never know there were holes cut out of the wall!

The bookshelf is damaged...I'm not quite sure what to do about it...maybe flip it upside down and put the blackened, water damaged part on the top. Only half of the base is damaged, I don't see any point in trashing the bookcase. But the black is pretty ugly and I'm really not sure about stability. Need to think on that...

I'm only going to put necessary things back into the cubbies, which will give us a FINAL TIDY on the dining room! Maybe next week I can post that!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


This might be one of my favorite posts so far...and unexpectedly so, because I wasn't planning on tidying the office today.

When we moved in, I surrendered the office to my husband and kids. The master plan was to use it for John's game collection and a place for a second computer. And storage.

Over the past six months, it has turned into a dumping ground catch-all, family IT department and film sound stage...but there was nowhere to move! (Sounds familiar!!!)

I had some inspiration to clean out the office today...oh how I wish I snapped a before shot! The room is transformed! I forgot how big it is. The inspiration to clean it out stemmed from the idea I would be moving my nail table into the office to make more room for my sewing machine in the flop room.

During staycation, I finished a quilting project. I've pieced quilt tops, but have never made a quilt sandwich with binding from start to finish. I have aspired to do so, and completing this quilting project birthday gift, I felt inspired to do a real quilt. Sarah loves to use the sewing machine as she feels inspired for various projects. I think she'll do even more sewing with the sewing machine out (it's home has been the master bedroom, but no one likes to go all the way back there away from the family activity center that is the flop room, kitchen and office just to sew...and it is a major deal to get out the cutting mat and iron, it would be nice to centrally locate all of those things).

I had the sewing machine by the nail table and the cutting mat and ironing board on the bar in the kitchen. I've been debating learning longarm quilting by taking a class at my local quilt shop, but when I boiled it all down, it made so much more sense to somehow figure out how to do it on my own sewing machine. So I set to work to figure it out and figure it out I did! In order to make it comfortable and efficient, I need to add a small table to the left and back of my sewing machine to support the weight of the quilt or blanket and thus the need to move some things around. So I was thinking if I moved the nail table to the office (there's a perfect spot), then I could create a sewing corner that could be easily accessed anytime I could carve out some time for quilting. And it would be accessible to Sarah anytime she was inspired...and it might even inspire her just being out!

Since cleaning up from my quilt project, I've been wanting to find a place to keep the cutting mat (it has been living on the bar making it unusable for kitcheny things). Previously, it's been squished into a closet since we moved and really needs a good home. Once the office counters were cleaned off (I pushed through dealing with a big stack of frames and random stuff from moving) I noticed the second computer bay (which doesn't have a keyboard tray) would be ideal for the cutting mat. And then noticing a nice space for the ironing board to live (I fetched it from behind the master bedroom door) I realized I had a nice permanent cutting and ironing area (how EXCITING is THAT!?). So the idea to move the sewing machine (instead of the nail table) into the office made me realize how convenient it would be to have everything "sew" close!

I actually feel like I have my own sewing room now! I love that the tile floor is easy to keep clean and is a perfect spot for basting my quilts! I can do it all in this room! There's plenty of light and plenty of room to store upcoming projects and the placement makes it super easy to cut and iron and sew all in a close space!

So that was unexpected, to turn the office into a sewing room (without really impacting the kids' activities which are using the second computer and making movies). I tucked the card table along the drawers used for long term storage so it can be set up anytime...and put away when not in use. The sewing area can be expanded for larger quilt projects by setting up some soon to be purchased 3' or 4' folding tables. My son has more space for using the small tv and album ripping turntable now that many old cords and various things have been stowed in drawers and cabinets. The room is USABLE! And my husband can still see and get to his beloved board games. Daniel wanted to put up some posters to liven up the wall-looks awesome! I love looking at the vintage Star Wars poster that's been rolled up for years. After going through the stack of frames, I remembered the birthday gift from my dear friend...and I found the perfect spot for it!

I love that Sarah will have a good five feet of counter space with a few drawers underneath for her crafting. I'm hoping she'll decide stash her glue gun in one of the drawers and use this space instead of the kitchen and dining room table...it would make our lives a bit more tidy if she would do that. If not, that's fine. But she could have a designated space if she wanted. And here we agonized over getting rid of the eight foot counters when we moved...this is so WAY MUCH BETTER! I know what is in every drawer and cupboard. And did I mention there's a few EMPTY cupboards and drawers!?

Even though we're in a new house, this space would probably translate as the sunroom in the old house. It's like having a FINAL TIDY in the sunroom! Fantastic!

What a fabulous feeling! I think I can say that "I know what I have and where it is" in the office! THAT really is freeing! Just thinking about this actually gives me butterflies and a tear in my eye...a tear of JOY!

TV Room
Flop Room/Desk
Master Bath
Master Closet
Dining Room
Main Bath
Dan's Room
Sarah's Room

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Good News

We celebrated Oreo's 1st birthday this weekend, he's bushed. Ha hahahaaaaa.

Today was good, trying to get back to our routine after having all those unscheduled staycation days.

Looks like the drywall will be repaired next Wednesday (that's the good news). So here's what my next few days look like:

-tonight is grocery shopping
-tomorrow pack and load car
-Friday through Sunday camping
-Monday we'll do our first "Monday Chore Day" and get the bathrooms, vacuuming and weeding all done in one day and doing our routine
-Tuesday is doing our routine
-Wednesday visit friends and landlord will fix drywall
-Thursday and Friday routine days

Next week is going to be a great time for me to get back on track with our cleaning and schooling routine as well as my health routine (which I've been off for awhile). And now that many projects are completed, I can spend my energy toward the final tidy phase!!!!!!!! I'll be working on picking up!

Of course, I've started a new projects and tidying list, but I won't start those until these are done. :)

Next week:
IN PROCESS-go through cubbies
IN PROCESS-help my daughter purge and organize her room
-go through several bags and boxes of plushie accessories and organize
-another afghan (waiting for yarn to arrive)

DONE-finish taxes
DONE-finish quilt (gift)
DONE-finish handmade napkins (gift)
DONE-finish a huge crochet project (gift)
DONE-finish handmade pillowcases

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Dining Room Floor


We've had the fan on 24/7 for about 10 days. The cardboard is covering where the landlord cut holes in the wet drywall. I thought it was the shower leaking, duh, it was the water dispenser! After 13 years, it sprung a slow leak. It wasn't leaking at the old house and I don't think it was leaking for more than a few weeks. The floor looks so much better! We feel horrible about creating this damage, it just makes me sick. I'm eager to have the floor nice and dry, the drywall fixed up and be able to return the Expedit to its proper position. By default, I'll have to organize all the cubbies! YAY! And find a new place for the new water dispenser!

The bookshelf has some damage, but we're going to leave the damaged part on top instead of near the floor, I think I'll put something up there so we can't see the black water damaged edges. I'm just so glad we caught it when we did so it didn't get any worse!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Seven Pillowcases Finished

The pillowcases are all finished!!!!!!!!

I did have to add a quick project, I found more fabric that belonged to the napkins, so I finished the last napkin and made a sweet little table runner with the last of the fabric. I'll give those to my friend this week.

Washed the quilt, turned out SO nice! I love the drape and feel. I would like to make myself something like that!

I can't believe it when I look at my list! I did have to add another afghan, though this one will be a lot smaller...long story, but I'm actually looking forward to it. I've ordered the yarn. There's a possibility there might be another, as well, but those will go quickly and it will give me even more time to listen to more Ranger's Apprentice!

So what is left is going through the cubbies and helping Sarah with her room and plushy stuff. AWESOME! This is really exciting!

As I cross things off my old project list, I am starting a new project list. But there's always things to do and these fresh new projects aren't weighing me down. I have a new outlook on projects and I'm being very careful not to add things that I really don't need to be doing (like making myself a cute quilty blanket)!

Status Update:
IN PROCESS-go through cubbies
IN PROCESS-help my daughter purge and organize her room
-go through several bags and boxes of plushie accessories and organize
-another afghan (waiting for yarn to arrive)

DONE-finish taxes
DONE-finish quilt (gift)
DONE-finish handmade napkins (gift)
DONE-finish a huge crochet project (gift)
DONE-finish handmade pillowcases


Next week is going to be really good...full speed ahead on these last (big) projects!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Returning to Our Routine

Staycation was good, but I still feel derailed because the Expedit is in the hallway. It will be so nice when that all gets back to normal (soon)?

Tonight I'm working on the pillowcases and listening to more Ranger's Apprentice. The crochet project is DONE (la la lallaahaalalaalaaaaaaaaaaaaaa)!

IN PROCESS-go through cubbies
IN PROCESS-help my daughter purge and organize her room
-go through several bags and boxes of plushie accessories and organize
-finish handmade pillowcases
DONE-finish taxes
DONE-finish quilt (gift)
DONE-finish handmade napkins (gift)

DONE-finish a huge crochet project (gift)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Staycation CONTINUES

This has been so good!

We are going into week two of our staycation...it might get extended even further, we'll see. Here's where we are:

IN PROCESS-go through cubbies
IN PROCESS-help my daughter purge and organize her room
-finish a huge crochet project (gift)
-go through several bags and boxes of plushie accessories and organize
-finish handmade pillowcases
DONE-finish taxes
DONE-finish quilt (gift)
DONE-finish handmade napkins (gift)

Wednesday (tomorrow) is a busy day. Thursday we're babysitting for the first half of the day and the second half, we're going to my Mom's to paint two walls for her. Friday will be another day for projects. I'm feeling REALLY good about getting free of these dangling projects!

Sarah loves to celebrate holidays, special occasions and birthdays. The next event on our calendar is Oreo's first birthday. Yes, the cat's birthday. Today Sarah made him a special catnip-filled pillow. Oh my word, Shadow is already onto it! She finally wrapped it and HID it! He'll be receiving it in a couple weeks. :)

I'm feeling ultra motivated now that a few things are finished. Ah, just thinking about the hooks being up, the taxes being DONE, and a few projects brought to completion makes me feel R E A L L Y good.

I just didn't realize I don't have to live like this...I've always had so many things in process and always starting new things. I'm excited about the prospect of FINISHING many of these projects and perhaps WAITING to start anything new (though I already have a list going)!

I feel like I'm coming into a new season...a season of freedom. Thank you Lord, I'm looking forward to it!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Staycation Day 5

We've made good headway in Sarah's room! We emptied out all the stuff that was on her floor. It is soooo wonderful for her to see her floor, the beginning of good things.

On Day 2 of our Staycation, we discovered the water dispenser in the dining room had been leaking. On the h.a.r.d.w.o.o.d floors. WOW. We had to empty and move the big Expedit, relocating it to the playroom/living room and hallway! That kinda took the wind out of my sails. BUT it certainly is going to help me finish the cubbies for that Expedit! It might take a week or two to get it back because the floor has to dry.

We haven't had my family over for dinner in YEARS. We hosted my Mom's birthday tonight and had a great dinner on the patio and a campfire, what fun we had! I need to blog a bit about entertaining...it used to be so difficult, but having everyone over was really pretty simple since the house is pretty organized and tidy. We needed to do a little picking up so we could vacuum, but everything else was ready to go (except for the cooking, of course).

As of Sunday night, here's the status on my projects:
-finish a huge crochet project (gift)
DONE-finish quilt (gift)
DONE-finish handmade napkins (gift)
IN PROCESS-go through cubbies
IN PROCESS-help my daughter purge and organize her room
-go through several bags and boxes of plushie accessories and organize
-finish handmade pillowcases

I gave my friend 16 handmade napkins for her birthday LAST YEAR. I actually only gave her TWO and had intended on finishing the other 14...soon. Well, I just finished them! Hooray!

Another project was started in July for a different friend's birthday and I just completed it. I made a quilt with cheater fabric for the top. I've made patchwork quilt tops that I've sold on Etsy, but never have made a quilt with the batting and backing and binding. I gave it to her without the binding and then told her I needed it back so I could finish it(!) I started hand-stitching on red bias tape, but it was really ugly. I went to a local quilt shop and received instruction on the binding. I learned how to quilt using YouTube, but the binding was kind of beyond me and I needed someone to show me. Ah! What a difference THAT made! I decided to remove the bias tape and made my own binding and attached it. It is NOT the world's most beautiful quilting job, but I'm proud nonetheless!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Staycation Day 1

Last week I was thinking about the unfinished dangling projects and several other things I just don't seem to get to.

We've been pushing ourselves since we moved and all of us need a breather. Enter "staycation".

The kids and I are going to take the week OFF. Well, not entirely, chores must be done and the projects attended to...here's the list:

-finish a huge crochet project (gift)
-finish quilt (gift)
-finish handmade napkins (gift)
-go through cubbies
-help my daughter purge and organize her room
-go through several bags and boxes of plushie accessories and organize
-finish handmade pillowcases

I doubt I can finish everything this week, but I'm going to make a huge effort toward it all.

I've schedule our weekly meals to include...get ready...FROZEN MEALS! Yay, I won't be cooking dinners this week at all.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tax Return 2 and 3

This is really a GREAT feeling! I meant to take photos of the checks, but they got deposited before I got to it.

We got back the other two checks...$$$! We no longer have "the taxes" on our "to-do" list!!!

But the most satisfying part, which feels a little surreal, is that we are CAUGHT UP. The first ten years of our marriage, we did our taxes every year. Then somewhere along the line, we didn't and fell behind. We've been limping along for the past ten years having this project constantly hanging over our heads. If we had a weekend with nothing planned (rare), and we had a moment to breathe, inevitably one of us would say, "we could do the taxes".

I feel like I've shed a huge burden. And got paid for it!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tax Return 1

I'm in SHOCK!

We received one of the three tax returns back...that was really fast!

Yippppppeee! Not only am I excited about the $$$ we got back, but the fact that it is DONE!

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Hooks Are UP

The hooks have been on the "to-do" list since March 1st...and today was the DAAAAAAYYYY!

Organized the shoe shelf, and wait for it, the best part is I put our "shower shoes" and "beach shoes" that we take camping or to hotels in the back closet in a bankers box-PERFECT! LOVE having a shelf for electronics (iPods and Kindle) and a shelf for my purse and camera, along with a spot for me to put things that are "in process", like lists or checks to cash when I go to the bank.

Worked outside on the back patio, yay, that's getting picked up, too!

LOVE having all the coats off the floor! OH, and the brooms, dust pan and Swiffer all got a nail, so they are hanging up off the floor-AH! To the left of the door, I hung the hats and visors and those lower hooks are Sarah's.

Did some pinning of boot trays and after all was said and done, I'm going with the cheapest (Target $4.99) because it is the right size, can't wait, it fits right under the coats. Muddy and stray shoes can get tossed on the tray and the tray will be super easy to clean...love that!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Seven More Cubbies Tidied

I needed a place for my daughter's glue gun, my LOL stuff, my word study books, put the trash bags in a cubby near the recycle box, got the Vitamix off the counter into a cubby and labeled a few others. I'm using the cubby spaces for NEEDS because these cubbies are so easy to access. As I find I need a place for something, I clean out the cubby, label it and insert organized items. I just added 7 more! That's a total of 15 done out of 75!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Window

The front window was single pane and sucked all the heat out in early spring. I assume it was difficult to heat that room in the winter, with the heating registers right under the window!

Today, there's a new, beautiful vinyl window!

In order to get ready for the replacement, my husband had to clear out the rest of his boxes of books. Look at the floor! I'm totally inspired to do what it takes to get this room EMPTY so the kids can play!

Sarah's stuff needs to be purged again...she has about five large trash bags full of boxes and things for playing plushies. We need to go through all her stuff and get rid of a lot of that, since she doesn't use it all. In my dreams, I see all that stuff on the bottom Expedit shelf, but I don't know it that's going to work...

Friday, July 12, 2013


Freedom is...knowing what I have and where it is AND completing long term dangling projects. I've labeled this post "2013 dangling final tidy". Yes, we actually have ARRIVED at the LAST phase of complete tidiness! I'm expecting it to take a couple months to finish up everything and come into freedom. It brings tears to my eyes and joy to my grateful heart! From messy to marvelous!

Part of "freedom" is to "know what I have and where it is" so I'm going through each room and getting to know what I have and where it is. In this process of going through each room (a FINAL time), I'll be doing some rearranging, purging and possibly purchasing. (Why not make it easy and call it Positioning, Purging, Purchasing?!)

POSITIONING: I want to have the things I use accessible and everything else into a storage mode. It doesn't have to be tucked away in the attic, but labeled and contained. When we moved, some things got stuffed onto shelves and never properly situated, now is the time to do organize (especially the pantry).

PURGING: Now that we've moved, I want to get really sleek, getting rid of stuff we just don't need to hang onto. Our lives are 1000% improved since we offloaded a ton of stuff during the move (thank you Christi!!!!) and there's still more that can go.

PURCHASING: There are a few items I feel that would help us stay organized or help us in one way or another. I've been keeping a list of things, so now as I go through our final phase, this may be the time to purchase these items. I could us a reading lamp in the tv room and a shelf for inside the frig, for example.

Today I had the idea to put a label under each cubby and use this method to tidy up the shelves. I can easily do a cubby label anytime, so I grabbed my daughter and taught her how to use the label maker with me. We made eight labels and stuck them on the shelves that were easiest to organize and purge. Then we took a few minutes and tidied each cubby! Nothing else goes in these cubbies which are now labeled (besides the contents that belong there). There's a shelf in the dining room and two in the playroom. Now I have eight cubbies (out of 75-that's over 10%!) that are DONE and labeled. I have another 10 or so that are ready for labels, but I can do that another time. It will be fun to see all the cubbies colored in soon!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Taxes One More to Go

I'm kickin' up my heels! We have two of the three years D O N E! I can breathe, it feels SO WONDERFUL! The last one I'm working on tomorrow, we'll get them in the tax program tomorrow night and we'll get them in the mail Saturday, right on time for the deadline! WAHHHOO!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Finishing the Taxes

Freedom is...completing long term dangling projects. This week, I am working to complete a HUGE dangling project, THE TAXES. We have been dragging our feet for YEARS to get caught up and this is the time.

Yesterday, I got the box out (for one of the years to be completed) and sorted through it. I'm not sure why, but my heart was racing as I went through the box. All these receipts are a reminder of times I'd rather forget, but I am going to press on. Thank you Lord for this sense of urgency and desire to jump in. I keep thinking of how awesome it will feel when it is done. Deadline to be in the mail: July 13th (Saturday).

(photo taken in Langley on Whidbey Island)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Freedom Is...

I've been at this tidying business a long time, since July 28, 2011, to be precise.
I want F R E E D O M. Freedom continues to call and I want to answer!

My friend Christi sent me a message after the move reminding me that true freedom is worth the effort of obedience to the Lord and to go all the way, cooperating with what He wants to do.

Truth is, since the move, I haven't been cooperating. Cooperating is a deliberate action. I've been "floating" along, allowing myself to be distracted by many things and not being serious about getting free. The very act of moving in March has given me a measure of freedom (thank You Lord!!!) but I'm not finished. I've been enjoying this new partial freedom, but He has more for me.

Today, I got out my "tidy house" notebook. Sometimes I need to "meet with paper and pen" and write down some things which often helps me pray and get clear on my next step.

As I was seeking Him this afternoon, the Lord led me to some particular steps. The first being to DEFINE FREEDOM (with regards to a tidy house) and then a few other steps for the afternoon. I'm going to spend time EVERY AFTERNOON in pursuit of freedom (just like with cooking).

Today's steps:
-define freedom (done)
-write it down (done)
-type it out (done)
-post it where I can see it (done)
-meet with the notebook every day like I did with cooking (ok)
-make map to keep in notebook and label with areas to clean (done)
-clean desk today (to do)

I'm realizing as I type, that the real substance of freedom in this area is "what's next"...I will be able to move on in my self-education (and life!) to the next thing that the Lord has waiting for me. Freedom also has a component of being more available to my children, being not held back by having to clean my house. Intrinsically, it also involves peace of mind and how sweet that is! So I'm going to deepen my definition...


Freedom is:
-knowing what I have and where it is
-when this is true, daily maintenance will be simple with a pick-up and quick tidy
-embracing "what's next" for my own self-education
-being completely free to assist my kids with moving their education forward
-completing long term dangling projects

Now, to clean my desk with all of this in mind!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Unpacking Update

I'm really doing SO MUCH better!

I've been looking forward instead of back and we're making headway with our morning routine.

Each morning we tidy...I keep adding an area, until we get to the point where everything is getting a tidy once a day. Today...the bar, the dining room floor and table and the tv room.

I have several projects that have been hanging over my head...I think I'm going to put them here to help me remember. It also gives me a place to celebrate the victory of finishing them!

-sew remaining napkins for friend
-crochet afghan 1, afghan 2, bed scarf
-put up hooks 1, hooks 2
-taxes 1, taxes 2, taxes 3
-put up heart frame on wall
-apply magnetic paint, edit & put up photos for photo wall
-Sarah's room00
-room measurements map for landlords
-sofa cleaning
-quilted table runner for friend
-sew kids' unfinished pillowcases
-put up wall decorations

These photos are from Sunday. Gramma came over for Mother's Day (I'm entertaining!) and brought the most awesome bubbles!

Industrial Strength Bubbles:
6C water
1C corn syrup
2C regular Joy dishsoap
Disclaimer: I noticed a big yellow dead patch of grass near where the bucket was when we did bubbles!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Come On Over!

Something that started to happen after we gots the cats in December (because the house was tidier), was we started having people INSIDE our house again. This is nothing short of surprising and miraculous. We used to have friends and family over all the time (in other homes), we love to entertain...but since we moved into the purple/yellow house in 2007, we haven't had it tidy enough to have guests and just stopped having people over. 

In December, my sister and Mom visited to see the kitties, along with a few other friends.

Once we moved March 1st, we've had my sister, Mom, Gramma and many other friends over to our new house. One friend wanted to bring us dinner and stayed with her two boys, which qualified as dinner guests (even though I didn't have to cook)! My friend Christi has been able to stay the night TWICE (!) [when was the last time we had an overnight guest!?] and her family came for the day, which turned into a friend fest with two other families joining us for a campfire later. (Not to mention Christi's sister-in-law and her two teenage boys who stopped by for a slice of pizza and some playing with their cousins before the campfire)!

We had over 20 people over in the backyard! What?! At OUR house!?!?

I just had another family ask if they could drop by on Saturday on their way down south, YES! Another friend wants to come visit in July, my friend in a nearby state visited on her way home a couple weeks ago...I would have never wanted anyone to come to our other house!

Being free of my stuff has opened a whole big, huge new life to us and I'm so grateful for all the Lord has been doing for us in this area! I'm soooo excited to get even more streamlined, just think what great things might happen when I do!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


I've been really having a difficult time "getting back to our lives" since the move March 1st.

I feel like we've lived here forever, it so feels like HOME. And in the past, my HOME has been UNtidy! Here, we've been doing SO MUCH BETTER!

I have unpacked ALL my boxes. The remaining boxes are my husband's book/dvd/music collection. I have several areas which need some attention, but it is just fine tuning. Very exciting, but still much to do (pantry isn't quite right, need to hang coat hooks, need to move a table outside).

The Lord spoke to me (thank You Lord for this)...that I am not to be trying to "get back to my life or routine" because that life is "over". It is time to establish a new life/routine, instead of looking back to the old one. This now positions me to be listening, rather than trying to figure it all out (because I had it "figured out" before we moved). I've just switched tracks...


This is just such a relief for some reason. I feel released to move FORWARD instead of looking BACKWARD. Life is NOT the same, our rhythms are much different and it is just a different lifestyle, but with a lot of the same things we need to do.

This weekend, we cleaned for our Mothers to come for the day to celebrate Mother's Day. I didn't realize how messy the house had gotten over the past few weeks!

We've been busy getting the garden prepared, tasks take so much longer than I really think they will.


Friday, April 19, 2013

The Past Ten Days

The past ten days I've just fallen apart and slept a lot. I think I crashed from the intensity of packing so fast and moving. I've been unmotivated toward the last of the stuff...kinda like in the packing process, that last of the packing seems to last forever.

My husband has been unpacking his book and dvd collection, which brought many boxes back out into the playroom area. This has been discouraging for my unpacking process (since the playroom was really getting quite tidy!)


today I want to do ONE GOOD THING towards unpacking. Just one thing today on top of keeping life moving forward.

I've also been putting a lot of focus towards the outside. This weekend we're planting blueberries and raspberries, what fun it will be this summer to have fruit to pick. The raspberries we're getting from a local garden, so they will fruit and the gallon size blueberries I bought last weekend seem at least three years old, but we'll see this summer if they produce berries!

UPDATE Friday night: I got our bedroom really cleaned up! There's only two small boxes that aren't unpacked yet! Hooray!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Unpacking Process


Several shelves in the pantry are super tidy! I LOVE all the space in the pantry!

We no longer have a linen closet, so it has been "fun" to try to find places to tuck the sheets, towels and blankets.

Yesterday we worked on getting "the studio" unpacked of my husband's books and dvds. We removed about a quarter of the boxes so he could actually get IN the room and to work he went emptying boxes! Now he has some books on the shelves and we SEE THE FLOOR! But, alas,  the playroom area is now full of boxes again!  But these are the LAST of the boxes! I think he has more books than space...hmmmm.

I'm really pleased with my desk and love all the open floor in the tiled area.

Friday, April 5, 2013

TV Room and Desk

The TV room has looked this tidy for about two weeks. Since it is the only room truly all set up, we do our pick-up every morning. We are just getting used to picking up now, it isn't really a struggle anymore AT ALL. We never let things get out of hand like we did before and since we have less stuff (in general), it is way easier. I LOVE living like this, so light and free!

I thought today would be a good day to deal with my desk, but now it seems like I've made more of a mess! I did decide to move my desk from the front window to the backside of the laundry room and I love it here! I am getting rid of many things that I used to keep on my desk and it is soooo TIDY! I'm just putting stuff in the giveaway box that I don't really want-freedom! There's a lot of open FLOOR SPACE in this area which we call the "flop room" because we thought at first we'd put a big rug and the kids could "flop around", but it hasn't worked out that way. I now call it "the room between rooms"!

I am so surprised at how nicely the TV room has come together. We don't use it very often, except when we have friends and family over (a couple times so far!) and for weekend movie nights. It works great as a pass-through room instead of being wasted as a whole big room we never go into (like previously).

Unpacking is nearly done (I've been saying that for awhile). I keep moving things around trying to find the right fit. Today was a huge step forward.
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