Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Kids are sick, quarantine the house

Rather than continue on my tidying journey the weekend before last, my 8yo came down with a stomach bug. The not-so-fun parts of being a parent is nursing your poor kid who is miserable and you have no control of taking that misery away. Plus, not only are you waking up at every sound in the night that could possibly be vomiting, you actually have to get up 9very quickly) for said vomiting. Once I make it through all the fun of washing linens and wanting to dip my kid in a vat of sanitizer you brace for the inevitable.... you're going to get sick too.

So I did. That following Tuesday morning...

Pretty much.

Finally back on my feet Thursday morning, woke up feeling like a human being, both kids and hubby were feeling good. Hustled through as much work as possible, then hustled to catch up with house stuff as my poor hubby looked exhausted from doing everything (and dealing with me being whiny), inlcuding the kids school obligations I committed to. Oopsy.

When we got to Saturday and nobody else in the house was showing signs of illness, I wanted to throw a party. Phew. Children are petri dishes.

Kevin Bacon twirl time.

So this past weekend I was able to get back to my tidying.
Sorted through books and movies I don't care to watch or read over and over. The library was very happy to receive them and I was happy knowing other people would get to enjoy them rather then let them sit on the shelf and collect dust.

Throughout this week I am downloading our cd's collection and will be donating the cd's. Sorry music industry, but cd's are so 2004.

Check out my past blogs on tackling a house full of crap here, here and here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tidying - Books & Paperwork

I'm still chugging along with the tidying momentum. The husband tackled his clothes last Saturday and what took me all weekend took him two hours. Not because he had less stuff, his t-shirt collection puts mine to shame. He didn't linger and look longingly at an item and go, "but...". He just opened up a bag and started throwing handfuls in....
Me: "You need any... help... dear..."
Hubby: "Nope. Done."
What the heck man.

Knowing it would likely take me a full day to contemplate books I thought tackling the 2-drawer filing cabinet would be a cinch. So Saturday night I began purging paperwork.

First: All manuals and electronics boxes that fit in my cabinet. I keep all manuals; bunk bed instructions, vacuums, weed wacker, roof racks, etc. Like I'm going to pull that manual out and look up my problem... No! I'm going to google it and watch a video of how to fix it, or call the company I bought it from... Easy purge, bye-bye manuals.

Second: Old bill records; electric, gas, phone, etc. I have a "just paid" folder and once I pay a bill I purge the last one, because I have record that I have no outstanding balance. I tend to slack off on this, but cleaning up that folder was easy.

Then: all Roth/IRA just keep the Year End Results, no need to keep quarterly reports. Paychecks, I keep only one year on file, until taxes are paid and then done (now all my paychecks are electronic so no more of that). Obviously keep loan papers, unless you have a paid off paper. My favorite file is the "paid in full" one. Any medical paperwork that's no longer relevant. Tax papers are recommended to keep the last 7 years worth, the last few have been electronic so just a few older files. Insurance, yearly coverage is good to have, but got rid of all the expired, because its expired. Purged expired warranties.

There are quite a few lists online of paperwork to keep on file.
In the end my hands were exhausted from shredding, if you own a shredder your smarter than me...

This cat would have shredded papers faster than my hands and it would have been more fun...

The hubby went through his books Saturday night while I tackled paperwork. Majority of the books are his, my collection is graphic novels, comic books, Harry Potter, vampire porn and a few random classics (The Last Unicorn and early 1900's Etiquette for Women... y'know, the good stuff).

Sunday morning we finished up books. This was challenging as I started to re-read books while making decisions... So I spent 2-hours reading and then back to it. Then reading... then back to it... sigh.

The questions I constantly had to ask myself while sorting books was; would I read this again?, could I get it from the library?, could I download it on the kindle app if I wanted to read it again?

Most of the books went to the library donation box.

We actually got the kids to sort out the board games Sunday! Many of the giveaways board games are because the kids have outgrown them. We will donate them to the local elementary school my 8yo goes to. I was surprised how easy it was for the kids to pick and choose what they no longer enjoy playing. A tiny breakthrough for when I start trying to talk them into the tidying of their rooms...

Next Saturday I hope to tackle my cd's, download the ones I listen to over and over, donate the rest and my movies.

Mark Hamill said it best... Noooooo!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tidying the closet; my love for shoes, bags and clothes

Continuing my journey to being tidy in 2016 and minimizing my possessions to what truly brings me joy... This weekend I started with clothes, shoes and bags. I've always said I want to be a minimalist but I love shoes, bags and apparently clothes... I'm one of many people out there, that looks in the closet and just sighs, unable to make decisions, trying on multiple outfits to only go back to that one that I always wear.

Last week I wrote about my 2016 goal and the book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up" by Marie Kondo, the author suggest a certain order to go through your items. Clothes and things that resides in a typical closet is the first task.

Every night after I finished work, taking the kids to their activities, or running errands I would knock out a little time to gather all the clothes, bags and shoes in my room. By Friday I had a pile of stuff growing out of the corner of the room. My closet and "inner storage closet" still un-looked at... I was starting to get scared of the task at hand and embarrassed at all the stuff I had accumulated...

My bag collection was almost waist high...

Deep breaths...

I collected all the clothes randomly placed in the house. I had no idea I was hording clothes in multiple rooms; jacket and shoes in the back door closet, snow pants and snow gear in the basement, bike clothes spread throughout the bike/mud room, bags... everywhere.

Starting out I separated summer clothes, since it's winter this made going through these items easier. Then onto tops, bottoms, specific clothes for; work, events, fancy pants, gardening, sleepwear, exercise, etc. Narrowing it down to only the items that make me happy. I had no idea I had accumulated 8+ pairs of padded bike shorts... I could make a quilt! Or I could donate them and hope they make someone else happy.

Note: One of the rules is do not put seasonal clothes in storage. Just organize it in a way that makes  sense. So my summer clothes are residing near the back of my drawers and my winter near the front, but all of it is visible. I admit I have a chest in my hallway where I decided to store Halloween costume stuff, since we make costumes every year and the 13yo is getting into cosplaying. I broke the rules a little there.

In the end I was able to narrow down my bags to a small pile, my closet is clutter free and easy to see what my choices are. I used to set out the same clothes I'd worn the day before on a bench in the room everyday so I didn't have to go in my closet and face it. This week I found that I do not dread opening the door to my closet. All week I've put my things away and I'm less worried about the clutter around me so I can put more focus into getting my work done.

Clean Closet bags craft table
Look at that small pile of bags & open space in my closet and craft area!

Because I work from home and my craft area is right next to my desk I had to tidy that area as well, or it would have sidetracked me all week. I purges sewing items that I will not use, cleared random scrap material that are basically useless and organized my pegboard, patterns, buttons into jars, etc.

The next step is suppose to be books, but I cannot do that without the hubby. He is on-board with the tidy program but needs to finish making a magazine before he can think about it and finish reading the book. So I'm going to tackle paperwork this weekend, because that's one of my areas of expertise in the house. I might get to Cd's, but I don't want to do to much at once. This is therapeutic process for me as well as a tidying process. No need to stress, one step at a time.

Sign-up for my blog and get tidy in 2016 with me!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Back to Blogging and 2016 tidying adventures

Hello Blog!
After a hiatus from blogging, I'm back. It's a New Year and although its snowing and cold outside (boo! hiss!) I am looking forward to the adventures this year brings. Right now I am about to embark on the adventure of tidying! I am actually very excited about this.

I've started off 2016 by reading this wonderful book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up" by Marie Kondo. This book is a guide to decluttering your home and Marie is a Japanese tidying consultant. The overall point I took form this book is to surround yourself with the things that bring you joy. I am generally a tidy, organized person, but have never been able to stop having to pick-up my house or stop obtaining stuff. It has been an endless cycle for years. Needless to say one of my 2016 goals to declutter my home and lifestyle so I can really focus on what brings me joy. This book has the tools and tips to try and make that happen.

the life-changing magic of tidying up by marie kondo

Since I am not a fan of the winter cold, its the perfect time to tackle this project. I will be locked in my house enjoying warm beverages for the next 2-3 months. Rather than sit on my arse and add another size to my waistline, I shall tidy!... while eating chocolate...

loose leaf tea & paper-rock-scissors-lizard-spock a combination for success

Step one.
Ask myself why I want to be tidy... then ask why of that answer at least three time.

Example; I want to be be tidy so that I am not distracted by the need to pick up or clean the house every weekend.
To take that energy and put it towards being more focused on the things I enjoy.
To spend more time giving myself & kids experiences, enjoying and furthering my skills with hobbies, and read more.
To live a happier life.

I have all my answers written down in a notebook with notes about that book. Yes, I took notes. I am that person. Taking notes about tidying. Once I don't need the notes I will throw them out. But the act of writing down what you want to focus on the most is important. I came to a few conclusions:
  • Spend more time learning to crochet better
  • Have more time to read more, play video games, and do the occasional puzzle
  • More time outside with less worry of a growing "to-do" list: canoeing, biking, camping
  • All of the above incorporates spending time with the kids
  • Have room to comfortably stretch every morning 
  • And! To have a clear mind to focus more on future endeavors
Step 1. Complete.

Follow my Instagram feed for the adventure of my tidying. How many hats do I own?... A lot.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Coldstone Creamery - Custom Cake

My daughter celebrated her 13th Birthday last month and wanted a special cake. I stink at baking, I can burn anything... She asked for an ice cream cake, of course we said sure. Sounds delicious to me. After a little research we found that Coldstone Creamery offers a create your own cake option.

If creating your own is a little too crazy, (my kids choices were interesting...) you can go with one of their signature cakes which look just as delicious; A Cheesecake Name Desire, Peanut Butter Playground, etc. All offering the same delicious mix of ice cream, toppings, candy mixed in, ganache or frosting, and cake.

I would have loved it Darby would have chosen the one of the signature cakes, but that's not what she wanted... She ordered a large round cake 8", cotton candy ice cream with coconut and rainbow sprinkles mixed in, a layer of red velvet cake, fluffy white frosting on top, with sprinkles and white & milk chocolate curls, and of course Happy Birthday Darby! written on it.

Needless to say with eight 13yo girls in the house the cake didn't last long.
I love that I can order the cake online, click the boxes with everything that we want, pay, set-up the day and time-frame to pick it up at my local Coldstone Creamery and confirmation email with all the details of what we ordered. The cakes are not "cheap", this particular concoction was about $35 which I don't think is to bad for an 8" large round cake.

I have an anniversary coming up.... might need a special cake...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Kawaii Monthly Subscription Box - July

There is something explainable about getting mail from another country. I love getting mail.. of course when its not bills, or ads. But something that has traveled from so far away is just that much more thrilling. The July Kawaii box showed up in late August, it had a long journey. It is the last of our 3-month summer fun subscription. Just like the May and June boxes it was packed full of fun goodies.


It seems like these squishy foods are quite the trend. They have been in every Kawaii box so far and they are adorable. This month's was a doughnut compact.

There were some great Back To School type items, pencils, a fold-out Rilakkuma post it note, a little box of stickers for sealing letters, glitter glue, and a fun key chain.

If you have a kid who loves to take you to the Japanese Animation store, this subscription might be a much better options. Not only do you get a box full of stuff for less than $20 a month, but you also get the joy of showing your kids how awesome snail mail can still be!

I totally forgot to blog about the June box, so here is a quick photo of everything. The best items, were the pink poop pencil sharpener and the little stuffed soy bean.

We will definitely be putting this subscription on the "don't get the winter blues list".

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kiwi Crate - August Box

We purchased a 3-month Kiwi Crate subscription for summer break and we are a little sad that this crate is our last one because it is our favorite so far. The August theme is "Day at the Lake", it came with a fish paper-lantern craft and 2 make your own paddle-boats.

The fish paper-lantern was easy and fun. It involved a lot of gluing but there was a general excitement about the end result. There is something magical about lights when your a kid... or a grown-kid, cause I loved the end result. It is only about 2 inches round, has a little light that will likely die within a few months considering how often my son turns it on. It also opened the conversation of paper lanterns, where they began, and what they are associated with in other counties.

It glows!!!
Each box comes with 2 "big" crafts, and then the booklet with side crafts, snack ideas based around the box theme. The second craft was make a paddle-boat. We were so excited it came with 2, so they can race and my 13yo was able to make her own an they could race them. Such a good big-sister.

The majority of this craft was decorating the sail and putting the pieces together. The rear paddle has a rubber band over it and you just twist it, set it in the water and let it go. Added bonus, the boats inspired us to take a trip to the lake.

Odin always enjoys the additional projects in the books sent with each crate; mazes, jokes, puzzles, snack ideas, easy science experiments, etc. After experiencing 3 crates, we will definitely be purchasing another Kiwi Crate subscription over winter when going outside has a limited time-frame and considering them as gift ideas for friends.

Check out the June and July crates.