Friday, April 29, 2011

Clothes Rotation

It seems to be that time of the year.  Our weather is still raining and cold, but yesterday it did warm up a bit and the kids wanted to wear shorts after school.  So it's time to pull out the spring/summer bins and play live out of them till the weather officially stays warm! 

Over my medical leave, I did purchase some extra bins as the kids clothes do not fit in one tote anymore.  Now we have four totes that I switch out our seasonal clothes.  It makes it easy for the kids to just go into their tote and grab whatever they need and not have to dig through the others stuff.

I left the totes on the landing leading up to the attic.  Not because it worked for us, but because my storage room is destroyed and there is no way I could get them in!!  However, right now with the weather being fickle, it is a good solution.  It does me no good to move all their clothes right now.  I like to wait till right before school is over so that I can sort through outgrown and worn out uniforms- (usually the last day of school so Paige doesn't see).  This way I am not storing any uniforms that I could give away or donate.  Plus it lets me see what they will need for the next school year.

This doesn't always work to my advantage tho.  I have already pulled some of Paige's shorts out for her to wear to softball practice and she must have had a growth spurt because they are 70's tight on her!  I need to pull them down and go through them.  I think there are some size 8's that got stored away by accident.  Most of what I bought her for the cruise were size 10/12's and had a little extra room in them.

Jeffrey Michael definitely outgrew a lot of his summer shorts.  They were actually getting rather small on him in the fall.  Luckily, I get some hand me downs from my girlfriend.  Hopefully some of the shorts he was given will fit him to get him through the end of school. 

The only problem that I do have with my system is getting a system together for storing the outgrown clothes till it's time to sell on ebay or send to the consignment store.  I'm ok if the outgrown clothes are in the current season as I can just sell on ebay or bring to the store.  I should get a separate tote for outgrown things. 

My husband and I don't switch out a lot of clothes.  Mostly we just switch shorts and jeans and have another tote for sweatshirts and sweaters.  For us it's a matter of going through our clothes to see what is just worn out or something we bought and just never liked.  Jeff does have a lot of t-shirts but he did go through those not that long ago.

Maybe Sunday will be a good day to clean out closets and go through the totes.  I think a spring shopping trip is in the future!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Cleaning Challenge

I know, I know.  I just posted about joining too many challenges and here I am- announcing that I'm a glutton for punishement and joining another!

I ran across 31 Days to Clean Challenge and couldn't resist.  We'll see how this goes!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring Weather

The past week has been busy getting ready for Easter- I have a ton of pictures to post and stories to share!
Unfortunately the weather has not been the best.  It seems as though the Weather Channel keeps showing the same weather map every day- rain and high winds!  Oh to see some sunny warm weather! 

I am waiting to see Noah and the Ark float by my window any moment.  Hope you are experiencing a nice sunny spring.  If you are - please send it our way! 

Off to work, hope to post some fun Easter pictures tonight!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all on this most Blessed Day!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bathroom Literature

I don't know about you, but when I use the bathroom, I like to get in and get out.  I'm not one to spend a lot of time, well, you know.   My husband on the other hand can spend a lot of time "reading".  So much time that if it weren't for our lone toilet in the basement, we'd all be in trouble.

Because of his habit of reading in the bathroom, I had purchased a nice green container to hold all his magazines and books.  Seemed like a good idea.  But we know how it goes in my house with baskets and containers!  They just become dumping grounds for everything.  This became true in the bathroom.  Magazines and books just got dumped and all jumbled.  Which left to many of the covers being ripped and bent.  Not very good for books!

This is the view from the throne-

Nice view from the throne

This view is a better shot of the mess.

Jeff's subscription to Runner's Magazine ran out and he wasn't interested in renewing it.  Most of the issues are from last summer/fall.  The only book he is currently reading is the one on top 1984 which he brought home from school.  The others have just been sitting around from months.  Jeff's dad reads a lot and then gives them to Jeff.  He reads many, but others just take up space. 

Since this has just become a wasteland of old magazines and books, I decided to remove it from the bathroom.  Normally my wastebasket sits right in front of it but I had it downstairs soaking. 

Now that the larger container is removed, the wastebasket looks kind of lonely.  But I like it better.  It makes more room in that little area.

I like the view better from the throne now. Although now I am really anxious to paint the vanity.  Actually, I am ready to gut the whole bathroom, but I'm not sure Jeff is all that ambitious!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Basket Case

It seems as though our house guest may have found new housing.  So far it's been nice and clean!

The next project on my 52 weeks list, was the basket on top of my microwave.  I don't have many drawers in my kitchen, so I can't waste any for junk.  But as we all know, junk has a way of creeping in anyway!

That's what happens with this basket.  I bought it to hold the garage door openers. Our garage sits way in the back of our property and the previous owners did not put a switch in the house.  We have four remotes.  Overkill in my opinion.  Corralling them in a basket was my answer.  Except other things kept ending up in that basket.

Doesn't look too bad

When you enter my home from the back door, it's one of the first things you see.  It's not horrible, just messy and annoying to me.

It looks much worse from this angle!

I emptied everything out on the table and grouped items in piles.  Most of what was in that basket were items that belong in the garage like golf tees and balls.  My husband has a habit of not emptying his pockets after golfing until he comes in the house.  Of course he doesn't empty them in the same spot.  So I try to round them up to be brought back out to his golf bag.  But I do miss some items and when I find them in the winter, I have to admit, I'm the lazy one and do not want to go out to the garage in the snow!

I can't blame it all on Jeff as there were some items that belonged in the basement and the kids rooms.

Some items were just things I stuffed there out of the kids eyesight until I could put them in the donation box (will be posting on that soon).  But when you don't see them yourselves, you forget about them!

It only took a few minutes to separate all the items and put them away.  Now my basket is empty except for the remotes and a black cylinder. 

One remote sits out so my son can reach it!

Much better sight to come home to.

I'm not sure why I kept that black cylinder.  I've already gotten rid of it! 

Looks so much better.  I hope that I can't stop the dumping ground that it usually becomes!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

If you give a mouse a.....

I woke up this morning with high hopes of catching up with some of the cleaning challenges that I have been trying to follow.  

I wanted to clean my windows this week as part of Toni's weekly challenge, but the weather wouldn't get above 35 degrees and we had so much rain.  Today it did not rain and it started to warm up, but we had 30-45 mile wind gusts and there was no way I could open the windows to get the outsides of them done. 

So I turned my attention to Iheartorganizings 30 in 30 days challenge.  My living room is very minimal, but we did have a mess where our Wii items are stored.  My son did go through the games and choose 2 to sell on eBay.  I also got rid of some candle holders that I bought at Dollar General years ago.  The paint keeps flaking off of them and I'm no longer in love with them.

I then went into the kitchen to work on the awkward cupboard.  Instead of the doors being on the front of the cupboard they open from the side which faces our eating area.  It's a nice size cupboard, but awkward to get to.  So I store the dog and cat's food, placemats, and infrequently used kitchen items.  It looks liked this-

This is really hideous.  There were even dark black soot marks on the shelves.  Really needs a complete overhaul.

This top shelf held mostly placemats and kitchen items that rarely got used.  My organization tool was the shove method.  I just shoved stuff wherever I could.  Lovely isn't it?

The bottom shelf held the dog and cat's food, treats and medicines.  The bucket holds cat food as I feed Chester and the outdoor strays.  It's easier to tote around outside in the pail.

As I started to remove the items from the shelves, I was horrified to see this....

What you can't see it?  Let's get a little closer shall we.

Ummm..yah.  It's what you think it is.  Mouse droppings!!  Chester has been poking around the cupboard a lot, but I thought it was for the food.  Well, I guess I wasn't completely wrong.  Just a different food choice than his normal dry cat food. 

I emptied out the cupboard on the floor as I didn't want to put anything on the counters or table.

This is the side view of the cupboard.  If you sat on that yellow chair, you would face the doors of the cupboard.

As you can see, this was a very frequent visitor to the cupboard.  He/she was probably using the exposed hole (it's been there since we moved in- it has the pipes that go to our upstairs toilet). 

Horrifying!  Look at all the dirt and doodoo!

Disgusting and embarrassing!

I think it was storing food in this corner for return visits!!

This hole is on our to do lists for this week.  After I scrubbed the shelves and walls, I went and found some metal screening and super fine steel wool. 


After- I hope this works!

I'm hoping that the metal will deter the little mouse from trying to come back to the cupboard until Jeff can seal it up better.  Because today is Palm Sunday and we were having my dad over for his birthday dinner, I had to put back the items that I wanted to keep storing in this cupboard.  I washed all the linens and washed all the platters and other kitchen items and found them new homes in the the dining room cupboards.

Even though this cupboard opens up in a really odd area, it is nice and large and holds so much.  I just don't want it to hold any critters!!

Jeff's solution was to get a mouse trap.  But I can't do that.  I had a mouse as a pet when I was in college and I am hoping that he/she will just leave.  I don't think I have the heart to kill it. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

April Goal

I started this post on April 5th.  It's now the 15th.  Sheesh, I'm really late!

This month I wanted to work on getting my hands dirty outside.  I may have over estimated the weather this month.  We'vehad so much rain and even snow that there were very few times I could get outside to do any spring cleaning.  My daffodils really multiplied this year which made the flower bed look so sunny.

Just going to have to see how the weather is this month as to whether or not I will need to extend this goal to May.  At least my office is getting organized!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More office work

Since posting my accomplishment on organizing my maintanence manuals, I realized there was only one hot spot left on the right side of my office.  My filing cabinet.  I had cleaned out my files last year, but over the holidays I seemed to just be content to pile papers on top of it.  Sad I know.

While I would like to replace this filing cabinet with something a little nicer, I haven't found one yet that was in my budget and I liked.  Truthfully, I haven't been looking very hard.  It's not high on my list of wants as it is functional just not as neat as the portable hanging file holder that I sit on top of it. 

The portable file holder used to be for my Girl Scout information and worksheets.  Since I stopped being the leader, I've re-purposed it to hold files that I use on a more regular basis.  I do need to go through those files and edit out a lot of them as I switched all my medical EOB's, bank statements, and investments to paperless.  I love going paperless. 

The top drawer holds Jeff's Cross Country team paperwork and his administration papers for work. The bottom drawer holds paperwork/receipts for our rental homes.  Since there isn't much in each drawer I have thought about just getting a few nice portable file holders.  I do have space in the closet to hold them and it would free up some floor space in an already small room.  Something to think about.....

Buried underneath all those papers is my postage scale.  A couple weeks ago I posted some things on Ebay and everytime I went to use it, that pile of papers would tumble to the floor.  The last time it fell, I just left it there on the floor and began to separate the pile into categories and then filed them away.  It only took about 30-45 minutes.  I even found papers that were meant to be shredded.

Now I can easily use my postage scale-

I even cleared out some room in the top drawer.  It now shuts all the way!

Now my filing cabinet is nice and neat and fits in well with the bookshelves.  It really looks so nice.

Only found one set of papers that Jeff and I need to work on.  I left it poking out the top so that I don't forget.

I debated on moving the scale to another location and placing a basket there to hold papers that needed to be filed.  But that seems silly to pile it when the folders are right there.  It doesn't take all that long to file them away and hopefully I will just get in the habit.  I only get a few papers a month that need to be filed away so it's only my laziness that's causing a problem.

Now that I've tackled that side of the office, I really need to organize the other side.   

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Running in circles

I feel like I have been running in circles the past few days.  Lots of things going on and no time to think.  I am hoping tonight I will be able to post about some of the projects I've been working on this past weekend.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Keeping up with blog challenges

Well, we all know how my Bible in 90 Days Challenge turned out.  I am definitely going to try this again.

I read so many blogs.  I love them.  When I first started going on the internet in the early 90's, forums were the big link to connecting to other people interested in the same topic.  I would spend hours late at night (cause that's the only time my dial-up would stay connected!) reading and talking to other people.  It was so fun.

Then blogging became easy with the development of free sites.  This is even better than the forums!  Though it may be too much of a good thing for me.  I love reading blogs and learning about other people.  It's my form of people watching.  Did you ever do that?  Just sit somewhere and watch people go by and make up stories about them and their lives.  I used to do that so much when I was in college. 

Anyway, now I don't have to make up lives for other people as blogs give me a little peak into their worlds.  But the problem is that I love to organize - I am putting together a post about all the books I have on organizing.  You may have noticed some of them from my office pictures.  Therefore, most of the blogs that I read are about organizing.  And with that come all the cleaning and organizing challenges.  Of course I want to participate in them all!! 

Which leads me remember that last month I wanted to work on simplifying.  Not just my house but how I am living my life.  So I am sticking with 52 weeks, Toni's challenges, and Jen's challenges.  There are so many other fun ones out there that I want to do but it's getting to be too much trying to follow as each challenge may be asking to work on a completely different area of my house.   See I am doing better.  The first step to change is to realize there is a problem, right?  Now where is that damn bill organizer??

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Extreme Couponing II

5 Extreme Coupon Tips for Novice Couponers

Well leave it to TLC to turn Extreme Couponing into a series.  I guess it's better than all the little people and extremely large family reality shows they were bombarding us with.  It really is cool to see how much these families are saving.  But I still wouldn't want to store all that stuff.  To me it's wasting.

I used to really work at couponing in my 20's, though it was a whole different way of couponing.  I have revisited couponing recently just because I do like to save money.  Stockpiling to the point that you are storing things in your children's closets is just bizarre.  I like to donate to our church's food pantry and so some times if there is a good sale, I will buy to bring to the church.  Our family does not need 50 cans of corn, but the food pantry does.  It's almost greedy in a way.  Why do you need 35 bottles of antacids?  CA-R-AZY!
Plus all the time spent sorting, clipping, and shopping.  The one couple spent 5 hours in the store.  18 transactions!  Not worth my time.

Maybe I'm wrong to think this way.  My family is really blessed with so much from God.  So I try to pass it on.   Share the wealth.  Spend more time with my family.  Save money and not be wasteful.  Just don't go to extremes.

Uhh...spoke to soon.  New episode of Kate Plus 8 is next week.  I knew TLC would go back to their bread and butter!!

Maintenance Manual Binders

Yay!  Whoopie!  Happy happy joy joy!  I'm dancing in circles!

Last night I got my Maintenance Manual Binders done!  I took pictures that I am going to download later today but I am so excited that I had to write this now.

My manual binder and all the manuals that could not fit.

My inspiration for a manual binder was this-

My inspiration!

I found this manual folder in the garage of the first house we bought.  It contained all the manuals and receipts for all the appliances and upgrades to the  home.  Our first home was built in the late 1940's by the same family we purchased it from. I love Mr Rumbaugh's scratchy handwriting on the cover!  I left all the papers inside of the folder for the new owners, but took the folder.  I had made my own folder after finding this and so it was easy to add new manuals.  That folder is the same one pictured above.

I wanted to complete this task at the beginning of March, but things just kept happening and I kept putting it off.  In truth, I think I just kept making excuses as I thought it was going to be such a long tedious process.  I've been staring at it sitting on my office floor for so long.  Taunting me, quietly whispering to me telling me how hard it would be to work on it.  Mocking me each time I looked at it.  Add it to the other goals I've completely bombed!

Because I cannot locate my bill organizer, I have been going through my house and work office searching.  I had even taken pictures of it for a future post I had planned.  I think out of guilt at trying to become so organized and still losing the one most important item in my household, I threw caution to the wind and grabbed my pile.

All the extra manuals waiting to be added

I remade my bed (thank you Peanut!) and laid out all my crap supplies, put on Real Housewives of Miami Live Reunion.  I figured I could work on organizing and just listen to the show.  Heck, if any of you watched that train wreck last night then you will understand!  I removed all my manuals and started making piles of like items-  major appliances, furniture, small appliances, etc.  I think the Housewives were still shouting and fighting at each other over the first question as I finished that.  I swear it only took me about 10 minutes.  I did have to keep the kids toys/electronics manuals into another binder, explaining the plural on binders.  There was too much stuff. 

I didn't label the folders yet.  I may still tweak it a little.  Even though I thought I had taken the time to clean out old manuals, I still found a few stragglers to recycle.  I was going to continue using clear plastic sheets to corral them, but these folders work so much better.  I picked them up at Target and I have to say they are perfect.  I am so glad I grabbed 2 sets as I used the extra ones for the toy/electronic manual. 

Saving the old folder as inspiration

Love how you can see through the folders

Toy/Electronics Manuals

Much easier to find receipts or warranties

All in all, I was done with both manuals before the end of the show.  Honestly, I didn't even pay attention to the show much as there was so much bickering going on and it became annoying.  The best part of all was making a spot on the bookshelf to house my new binders.  Basically all I did was grab a couple books off the shelf and shove them on top of other books!  I may need to get rid of some of those books.  Haha!

I may make cute labels for the spines

Remember it used to look like this-

Look at those piles

And finally-

Look at all that clean space on the floor!

Best thing is the feeling of accomplishment.  It is a task that I put off for so long- for years actually.  Even though I didn't get it done by the March challenge over at Jen's, I may still link it up.