Health Tips For You

So I found the water information graphic online and it’s a helpful reminder about why we need to drink water.  today I noticed that my ankles were a bit swollen – in the past when I start retaining water in my feet and ankles it’s a real good sign I’m not drinking enough water.

I read that water wakes you up better than a cup of coffee.  It also helps to relief headaches and makes your skin look younger.  Many of us look for the “magic” pill that will make us healthier and better but I know for a fact that I don’t drink enough water which in reality is a magic drink.

The next graphic I found is about stress.  I am always stressed out.  It’s the OCD driving me and the stress compells me.

This is a helpful reminder why I need to manage my OCD and my anxiety.  I notice the impaired cognitive performance as I forget words and things (not adhd related).  I also have high blood pressure, become sick extremely easy and have a fat tummy.  My blood sugar goes wonky and crashes low.  So there really is a lot of truth to the above.

Below is an amazing water bottle.  I bought two of these through the fly lady store, one for me and one for my daughter.  I was a skeptic.  As soon as it came in the mail I put a couple ice cubes and some water in it and let it sit for hours.  I took it into the car and let it sit.  I then took it inside and placed it on my dresser and went to bed.  Ice in the morning.  no sweating on the outside.  always cold on the inside.  it is simply the best water bottle out there.

The Neverending Day

Today was very good and very bad.  Have to say though that I am feeling pretty positive.  i’m finding that i’m hesitating a whole lot less than I used to.  i can give you a hundred and fifty reasons why i can’t do something but not one reason on why i should do something.  now, i find that i just do things (more so than before).

Today I was out with a family enjoying some time at a park.  it was going really well until the other mother brought out a jar of pink maggots used for fishing.  She was letting her children play with maggots.  So started off good – ended very bad.  Luckily a different mom had disinfectant wipes.  At that point it really didn’t matter that the wipes weren’t meant for hygiene purposes the contamination factor was off the charts.

The day got better – had a lovely visit with another family then to the office to try to do some paperwork.

I got a screw in my tire.  I pulled over to the side of the road and started to change my tire.  It was in a bad part of town but instead of offering assistance the people called the police on me.  so bizarre.  I really don’t understand people. I mean really – why call the cops?   I couldn’t get the lug nuts off as the shop had tightened them too tight at the last visit.  I needed help and fortunately I know some pretty fantastic people.  Tire changed out and off I went home.

I did manage to stop in at a thrift shop today and am quite pleased with my purchases.

I found a pair of Skechers Cali Mary Jane shoes.  Normally I wouldn’t go anywhere near used shoes but they look like they were barely used (if at all) and the material can be cleaned easily and sprayed with disinfectant.  $5 – can’t beat that.

I also purchased three books.  I’m really excited about the first book as I’ve been wanted to buy this one for awhile but haven’t.  The Girls Guide to AD/HD by Beth Walker.  bought it for $2.  Really looking forward to reading this book.

Book Description:

For ages 12+. This guide explores the good stuff, not-so-good stuff, normal stuff, brain stuff, and truthfully, the stuff that isn’t in any other book out there on AD/HD. Really! So what makes this book different? It is funny, honest, and written especially for girls, not for their parents. It presents all the must-know information about AD/HD in a style that girls in junior, middle, or high school will understand and want to read. An important first step is to get to know how AD/HD affects girls in particular. They might be some combination of dreamy, forgetful, emotional, messy, depressed, talkative, distractible, or fidgety. They might also have trouble starting and finishing homework and chores, falling asleep and getting up, or fitting in with peers. Recognising this mix of characteristics, the book presents information using three different girl characters – Maddy, Helen, and Bo – each with a unique personality and combination of AD/HD traits. Maddy, Helen, and Bo cover all there is to know, including: What AD/HD is like for girls; How the AD/HD brain works; How puberty compounds problems with AD/HD; How counselling, coaching, and medications help; How to deal with emotions from anger to anxiety to depression; What advantages there are to having AD/HD; How to cope with school and homework; How to get along with family and friends. Armed with this knowledge about AD/HD and the unbeatable advice found in this book, girls will be ready to accept the impact of AD/HD and decide how they are going to deal with it. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! This guide should be essential reading for girls, but also for parents, counsellors, teachers, psychologists, and anyone who knows a girl with AD/HD and wants to understand her better.
Can’t wait – I know I’m no longer in school but I’ve felt that this book could really help.  After all – i’m a dreamy, forgetful, emotional, messy, talkative, distractible and figety type of gal!
I also found Simplify Your Space:  Create Order & Reduce Stress by Marcia Ramsland.  $2 but got it for free.  book special i was not aware of.  I’m really hoping I like this book but I’m not sure.
For starters, the previous owner jotted some notes in the book.  With that aside, the layout of the book is lovely however some of the diagrams look cluttered – I guess I’ve been reading about minimalism for so long that a “normal” desk with “normal” amount of items looks positively overwhelming to me.
The third book I bought was actually not for me but for my “father”.  I bought him 2×4 Projects for Outdoor Living by Stevie Henderson & Mark Baldwin.  Now he is either going to love this book or it’s going to collect dust on his shelf.  I love this book for him though because it gives several woodworking projects that I could see him building and using.
Things got better once I got home.  Told my husband about what happened with the tire and he started to get depressed.  I try to talk him out of it but who knows?   I told him the lawn needed mowing and he said he had planned on it but was too depressed so I asked him if he wanted me to do it.  He said he’d get to it eventually and I said that I could do it.  He stated that he didn’t feel like getting it out of the shed (tight squeeze with yard sale items).  I said I would get it out of the shed and he said if I got it out then he would do the rest.
At this point I figured it was a nice day out and that I was going to clean the vehicle.  It was a nightmare (closely resembling the dungeon family room).  I pulled together my supplies and headed out.  I also recruited my daughter to assist.  We pulled everything out of the vehicle including the trunk and piled it on the lawn.  Then I started using my rubba scrubba to brush off the seats and the floor while my daughter cleaned the windows with windex.  I sprayed the upholstery with a mixture of water, sun oxygen and dawn dish soap.  I didn’t think my solution was working as the seats looked filthy but then I looked at my rags and they were disgusting.  The dirt was coming up but there is still quite a bit there.  My hands were filthy but I continued to work.  So did my daughter.  She begged to wash the outside so I pulled the car washing bucket out of the shed and we handwashed the vehicle.  My husband was shocked as I NEVER do this.  In the 12 years he has known me I’ve never voluntarily washed our car.  ever.
Our neighbor came out and invited us to dinner.  Spaghetti with meat sauce.  Without hesitation I said yes for us and then offered to wash her car.  two vehicles washed in one day and I’m still alive.  Life is good.
We ate out in my lovely gazebo.  It was nice chatting with another adult while the kids ate and chatted amongst themselves.  We then started a fire in our new fire pit – our yard sale incentive prize.  (only $48 at walmart which meant we also could buy the Weed Eater Gas Trimmer and an expansion for Talisman).
The fire was lovely – we made smores and poked the fire with our sticks and we were sad when the wood had burnt up and the fire puttered out.
My husband also has our garden planted.  It’ll be quite lovely once the plants have gotten bigger.  He fenced it in to protect it from the wildlife.  My flower pots are also doing well.
Far left is full of poppies (yes it’s overcrowding but i feel they all deserve a chance at life), middle is wildflowers and the right is marigolds.
Left is zinnas, middle is herbs and the right is catnip.  The remaining three pots not pictured are doing well also.  Our berry bushes are also starting to develop fruit.
and my daughter playing in her sprinkler (holding her nose) with my outside oasis in the background.

My cleaning supplies

I have made the switch to more natural cleaning products.  This is a huge step as my favorite section in the store is the cleaning supplies.  I could spent an hour in that section alone carefully reading each label to find what product would vanquish dirt and grime from my home and magically make it clean dream.  What I’ve learned is that there is no product that will magically make your home clean (unfortunately) and most cleaning supplies really bother either my respiratory system or my super sensitive skin.

I’ve started making my own all-purpose cleaner.  I use it to clean, disinfect and deodorize my home.  I’ve found it to work particularly well in the bathroom.  For whatever reason I’m still hesitant to use it in my kitchen.  It works incredibly well on soap scum, especially those bath crayons.  They are incredibly hard to remove from the walls if you don’t wipe off immediately.  The vinegar solution removed the drawings where the harsher chemicals did not.

  • 1 spray bottle
  • Vinegar
  • Water

It’s important to stick to a 1:1 ratio so in other words 1 cup of water to every 1 cup of vinegar.  Now I really hate the smell of vinegar so I bought Orange Essential Oil through and I add a few drops to the spray bottle with the vinegar water solution and this really helps get rid of most of the unpleasant smell.

I’ve also stopped using the harsh chemical scrubs.  In its place I have a container full of baking soda.  This is particularly useful in the kitchen.  Our counter tops stain extremely easy so what I do is dump a small pile of baking soda on the stain and then add water slowly until I have a paste.  I then use my scrubber until the stain is removed.  You can even let the paste sit for a while on the stain and it’ll come up easier.

When our dryer was broken we added a cup of vinegar to every wash load to help soften up the clothes.

One of my favorite cleaning combinations has to be vinegar with baking soda (baking soda volcano anyone?)  This is particularly useful for the toilet.  You dump about 1/4 cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl and then add 1 cup of vinegar.  you let it sit for at least 15 minutes then scrub and flush.  very easy.  This combination also works incredibly well as a drain cleaner.

I use the vinegar, water, essential oil combination to clean glass and mirrors.  The first time I cleaned the bathroom using nothing but the vinegar, baking soda, water and essential oil my husband commented that the bathroom never looked cleaner to him.

For the kitchen I have started cleaning with baking soda and have switched to Dawn dish soap as a gentle all-purpose cleaner.

I figure that if it is gentle enough to use on wildlife to remove oil then it’s gentle enough to use around my daughter.  I use this to clean counters, the stove, the hood, inside and outside of the refrigerator, the table and cabinets.  I also use this to make homemade bubbles for my daughter (and me) to play with

Homemade bubble solution – gently mix the ingredients to prevent foaming.  distilled water works best but any water will do.

  • 1 cup Dawn dish soap
  • 10 cups water
  • 10 drops glycerin (bought in the pharmacy department)

I also keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide handy but don’t use it often because it can stain.

While writing this I googled green cleaning and found this wonderful website – Apartment Therapy – 25 DIY Green Cleaning Recipes for the Whole House!  The only note of concern is their use of Borax.  I used Borax in my homemade laundry soap but this product isn’t necessarily safe to use frequently.  (classified as a poison – known to cause respiratory and acute eye problems.  also may be concern about reproductive problems) so use with caution and use gloves when using.  Here is 20 Mule Team’s MSDS.

For carpet cleaning I’ve also skipped using the carpet shampoos and just add vinegar to extremely hot water to the machine instead.  It works great.  Before I use the carpet cleaner I sprinkle baking soda over the entire carpet and let it sit for about 30 minutes.  I then vacuum the carpet in several directions.  This makes the carpet cleaner work better as it’s not getting clogged on dirt that could have been avoided.

Cleaning Tools –

I love Fly Lady products.  I bought the purple rags and these work great.  They clean easy enough too as I just throw them into the laundry.  I’ve accidently dried these with fabric softener like a million times (on the flylady website it says detergent only).  I use them until they are dirty and then rewash them.  It hasn’t made a noticeable difference to me.  They are nice though because they are large, have two textures and are purple.  I use them for about everything.  I have cheaper rags as well that I bought at walmart.  The other set has a mesh scrubby side.

I also have the Rubba Scrubba. – I’ve used this on my blinds, the furniture, for dishes and more.  On my wish list are the Rubba Swisha for the bathroom and the dish brushes.  gotta admit I’m glad that I own this as it helps but it feels awkward in my hand.  I’ve also really gunked this up and then struggled to clean it (think long hair or grease – yuck).  It always comes clean though and I haven’t been able to break off any of the nubbies yet so it’s a quality product.

The Rubba Sweepa is my favorite Fly Lady product.  I LOVE THIS!  The handle feels flimsy but again – I have not broken it yet.  I manage to break everything.  This helped me tons when my daughter was going through her phase where she was hitting herself in the head because she couldn’t get the sound of the vacuum out.  I quickly bought this and it has helped.  She no longer has the vacuum problem but with my husband sleeping nights it helps me when my carpets need a quick clean up.   It also helps me clean up my bunny’s hay mess.  It was a life saver (and vacuum saver) when we had two dogs.  I would use this before I vacuumed and my vacuum stopped clogging up.

We bought the Fly Lady mop.

and extra mop refills.  I like the mop but love the clothes.  I will sometimes use the clothes without the mop because they are super soft, big and work.  I like the dry mop part as it really collects the dirt and dust.  I’ve even recommended this to others.  my husband helped me pick this item out from the fly lady store but he continues to use the swifter with disposable wet clothes.  He says certain things are too dirty for reusable clothes.  My OCD agrees but my logical self shakes my head with this statement.

Sounds Great so Now What?

Now the problem is – I can’t bring myself to get rid of the harsher cleaners that are under my kitchen sink and in the laundry room.  I also can’t seem to part with all my air fresheners.  I cling onto them because 1. I spent good money on them, 2. I might need them someday, and 3.  it feels wasteful to get rid of them.  I put a few out in our yard sale but there is quite a bit more that are stashed in my cabinets.

Some before glimpses

I know it’s not much in the way of before pictures but I’ve been looking for before pictures for some of the rooms.  I don’t have any before Fly Lady pictures inside the house because we lost our external hard drive and I of course didn’t have things backed up and I was also very careful not to take pictures of the clutter.  I used to be very good at stashing clutter if I knew people were coming over.  I think this is how my family room got so bad.  I think this is also how “hidden” clutter got so bad too.

Here is the corner of the living room on a “good” day.  It is decorated for Halloween (spider webs and witch cat).  We’ve already decluttered quite a bit by the time this picture was taken as this book shelf used to house much more video games.  There also used to be another shelf – yes – two shelves hanging out on top of a coffee table blocking our second entrance to our home.

This was considered really good to me.  Since this picture was taken we’ve gotten rid of the wooden box under the table, the table, the book shelf and a good number of items included in this picture.

Leave it to my daughter to have some of the best “bad” pictures.  The picture below is a good example – the left side of the picture shows the box spring “hidden” behind my dresser and the tall piece of furniture on top of my dresser is the 9 bin rack that used to be full of clutter.  There used to be two of these 4 foot tall mirrors chilling behind furniture in my living room.

Below is a self portrait my daughter took.  It’s completely normal to have two coffee tables right next to each other right?  This room also had two couches and a recliner for a family of 3.  if you look you’ll see that the tables block the usage of one of the recliners on the couch.  this picture was taken on a very good day.  notice the paper lanterns?  not party decorations – every day decorations.

Wow – this is after I found and started following Fly Lady.  This was good.  Notice the television ontop of the television?  yeah – (heavy sarcasam) i tricked ya with the busy quilt right?  there is usable floor space so this definately was a good day.

My couch – on a bad day.  In the past this is what you might find if you stopped by unannounced.  I would say I was in the “middle” of reorganizing.

if these pictures have shocked you into a state of shock here is the after pics blog link.

Funny thing is – these aren’t even pictures of the room at its worst.  I guess I really have come a long way!


Number of things in my bedroom

last night I couldn’t help it – I counted the items in my bedroom.  We recently had our yard sale and removed a bunch of items from all areas of the house.  Earlier yesterday I started putting things away and taking things out of our bedroom that didn’t belong.  To me – the bedroom feels mostly comfortable.  I wish there wasn’t random cords hanging out on the floor or the piles my husband leaves out on the night stand but I can think of worst things.  When we moved into our home I purposely chose the smallest bedroom for our room instead of the biggest.  My husband didn’t initially agree with me but I said that we had a lot of stuff and if we took the biggest room (our family room) that our bedroom would wind up full of stuff.  I said to him that all we really needed was enough room for our bed and our 2 dressers.  He agreed but mostly I think he agreed because it wasn’t worth arguing with me over this.  Over the course of the two years in this home we’ve removed quite a bit from this room.  There used to be an extra bed in here – the mattresses stashed behind our dressers.  There used to be tons of stuffed animals, lots more clothes.  There used to be a bin rack ontop of my dresser with 9 bins all full of stuff.  Slowly but surely since I found Fly Lady my room has emptied out.  She always says that this room should be the cleanest in the house.  That this room needs to be comfortable and relaxing.

What I found to be slightly depressing is the sheer number of items in this room and it’s not even a fully accurate count as there is a load of laundry in both the washer and dryer.  There are 522 items in our bedroom.  522!  that’s crazy.

Interesting breakdown of items:

  • There are 4 pieces of furniture in our bedroom.  Two dressers, a night stand and our bed.  I counted the bed as 3 items as it has a frame, a mattress and a box spring.
  • There are 14 items hanging on the walls/ windows.  This includes 8 picture frames, a set of three hooks behind the door for my necklaces, the blinds, the curtain rod and the blanket we use as a curtain.
  • There are 75 hangers.
  • I have 100 items that are = 95 items are accessories plus 5 items to hold accessories
  • 121 = 92 items of clothes belong to my husband plus 28 hangers and 1 dresser.
  • 193 = 144 items of clothes belong to me plus 47 hangers, 1 hook and 1 dresser.

In our clothing count I also included all of our undergarments and shoes we keep in our bedroom.  I found it slightly distressing that is have almost 200 items related to clothing and I often feel like I don’t have enough clothing.  Isn’t that silly?

I broke the room down into sections – the bed area contains 34 items.  We don’t have a linen closet so we have to store the sheets under our bed.  Storing them in totes keeps the sheets clean – free from dust and pet hair.

Top tote is bedding for our daughter’s bed and bottom is our bed.

The nightstand area and the long, short dresser mostly belong to my husband.  92 items in this section plus the 47 pieces of jewelry tucked away in that little jewelry box.  Yes – a tv in the bedroom.  Don’t really know why we have it as we never use it.  (maybe a dozen times)  I hate tv in the bedrooms.  my husband on the other hand wanted it.  the nightstand drawers contain about 20 items of his.  the dresser is full of his clothes.

the room is small but the furniture fits and we have enough room to walk around comfortably.

Here is the closet that we share – each of us has about 3 feet of space for our hanging clothes.  The closet contains 123 items plus 75 hangers.  my husband’s sweaters are neatly stacked, his dress shoes are in the shoe box.  The two red totes are mine.  The one of the left – useful items.  It’s full of my winter tops.  The one of the right?  13 items that probably do not need to be kept but they are my just in case clothes.  You know – the just in case I decide to wear a buttoned blouse, just in case I need my suit, just in case.  The only thing in there that I really love is my little black dress.

fortunately I’ve purged enough that I can hang up most of my clothes.  I’ve also gotten to where I love all of the clothes that are hanging up.  Each item makes me feel good when I wear it.  The laundry basket on the floor hold our extra blankets and our daughter’s throw blankets.  We keep her extra blankets in our room because if they were in her’s she would use ALL of them.

My dresser area hosts 151 items.  There are more items in this small section than my entire living room.  Crazy!  The first floral box holds about 10 items belonging to my husband.  The second holds 22 accessories that I love.  Hiding behind the door are my necklaces and scarves – 30 items.  The drawers contain my undergarments, my pjs, my t-shirts, jeans and other clothing items.  I try to keep the items on top to a minimum but it doesn’t always work out that way.  When I’m not careful this area is a MAJOR HOTSPOT!  It attracts clutter like crazy.  Ideally the top would be as pictured:  deodorant, perfume, hair brush, change jar, ereader, 1 pair of shoes, flashlight, 2 floral boxes, 1 medication.  I hate the stickers on my dresser but can’t seem to remove them.  I guess that is my task for a lazy day with not much planned.  Any suggestions on how to remove stubborn stickers?

I love how my necklaces are tucked away but easily accessed.  none are expensive but many are special as my husband made some for me.  I adore my long necklaces.

I also love my floral pins and my bangles.  The knitted hats make me happy too!

So here is the big picture!  I love how comfortable it feels.  I love the pictures on the wall.  I love how small it is.  I hate the walls and feel like they need to be painted.  The carpet is also old and faded but both will do for now.  I love that my dog and cat both came in while I was taking pictures and both are pictured below.  I love my comforter and am happy with our decision to get rid of the head board and never bought a foot board.

I found this exercise to be interesting just like the living room experience though I was extremely surprised and how high the number was.  I would have never guessed that there was still 522 items in this room.  I wonder if this means I’ll need to purge down more.  I like the pictures because it helps me to see that everything can be in it’s place and look good.  It helps me see how much I’ve been able to declutter.

The master bedroom was always such a sore spot for me.  We had so much stuff in our first place but it looked good.  Our bedroom had so much storage and we had it full.  When we moved south our spaces were small and we always had housemates so much of our items were kept in our bedroom.  When we lived with husband’s parents for a while everything we owned was either in our bedroom or our storage unit.  it was so hard to rest.  it was so hard to sleep or relax or feel like a grown up.  we were drowning in our stuff.

I love our bedroom because it is relaxing, restful and organized.


Pleasantly Exhausted

Today was a successful yard sale day!  the beginning was questionable as it was super wet and very chilly.  we were determined however because my husband had taken the time off of work and we had no other choice but to go ahead or else wait until next month.  the ad was paid for, the signs were up and the items priced.

here are the positives –

  • 1/2 the shed is still full of items to be gotten rid of but nothing was brought back into the house except empty totes to be filled with more unwanted clutter and items that belonged in the house.
  • I got the opportunity to spend the day with a fantastic person and got to meet lots more wonderfully interesting people.
  • I got to see my mom! and my daughter got to spend some lovely time with her as my mom helped us out by taking her to a birthday party at the skating rink.
  • we made enough money to purchase our fire pit plus extra – we are thinking A/C unit as I detest the heat (the gazebo was already purchased with pre-sales and a lovely anniversary giftcard from my wonderful sister).
  • my daughter made a whooping $50 plus by selling her items.  This means she is able to purchase all three items on her wish list – a stuffed Club Penguin puffle toy, Kinectimals for the Kinect and a water table.  a super duper positive is that these items take up sooooooooooooo much less room than the items that were sold.  LOVE IT!
  • my daughter was able to receive her new bike from us today – we offered her a deal she couldn’t refuse – we pre-purchased a new bike for her – larger than her current bike, fancier too with sparkly streamers coming out of the handle bars – no training wheels and in her favorite colors no less.  We put this in the shed.  We purchased her a 6-month Club Penguin membership.  then we offered her $1 per item that she put into the yard sale to be put towards these two Shiney, enticing prizes that she couldn’t refuse.  She earned both with flying colors.

Tonight I’m sitting in my home – it’s messy and things need to be straightened and put away but it feels SO much bigger.  Clutter makes spaces smaller and crowded.  Declutter is the best way to make a small home bigger.  I can twirl and dance around in my family room should I so chose.

There is so much space and I’m in a little bit of shock, a lot of bit of awe and all over relief.  this is going to be so much easier to clean.  this will give me more time to have fun with my family!  how happy is that!

today i was also able to joke about things with the people that i met and the people i spent time with today!  it felt good – joked about my OCD (as it’s not crippling me – thank u Dr. L and the medicine that’s working), joked about me, joked about life.  it felt good to laugh and just be happy.

today i spent the entire time outside.  this is HUGE!  6:30 – 8pm setting up then 8-4 yard sale then 4-9 dinner and games in the gazebo.  all day and i’m still alive and well – (with the exception of a sun burn).  all day outside and i’m still happy.  life is good.

pocket full of money to buy what we really want, 100’s less items in my house so clutter banished, and an enjoyable day.

tomorrow i think i’ll spend 15 minutes cleaning up the kitchen, 15 minutes in zone 1 (the entrance, front porch and dining room) and then relax and enjoy time with my daughter.

Fly Lady’s habit for the month is drinking water so i’m going to give this a shot – maybe more water will help with my on-going health problems (multiple UTIs since February) and give me a glowing complexion.  Did you know that drinking water can help you lose weight, helps you get rid of headaches, makes you look younger, relieves fatigue better than coffee and can put you in a better mood?  there are many incredible benefits from this “simple” act.

I learned this years ago and it still sounds true – do you know how much water to drink per day?  many people know the 8 glasses of 8oz of water.  I learned that you should take your weight then divide it by half (200lbs divided by 2 is 100).  there you have the daily fluid ounces.  so the 8×8 makes sense if you do the math.  An average person of 128 pounds would need to drink 64 ounces per day.

Here is a great water calculator that I found!  It equaled my above method for determining water requirements.

Number of things in my living room

I’ve always been fasinated by people who are minimalists.  If you’ve read any of my blog you’ll know that I’m more of a hoarder than minimalist but I have the desire to downsize.  Just out of shear curiousity I decided to count the number of items in my living room (in a non-compulsory, imperfect way).  I’ve worked really hard in my living room and have gotten it to a place where I am comfortable in it.  We’ve gotten rid of tons of stuff from this room.  It feels open and usable which is the way a living room should feel.

I did not count the little area that is just off of the living room though it may be considered part of the room?  I don’t know.

What I found interesting is that there is a large number of items on the walls alone.  Including the two smoke alarms, the blinds and the curtain rod (no curtains) there are 20 items on the walls.  There are 13 picture frames on the wall.  It really doesn’t feel like that many items are hanging up. (TV is also hanging up – did not count the wall mount or the cords).

There is 6 pieces of furniture in my living room though it does not feel like this much.  There is the couch and recliner. There is also the gaming shelves and the television stand that doesn’t have a television on it.  Behind the couch is a folding table that we use instead of a coffee table (we started out with two coffee tables in this room – both gifts).  Behind the recliner is a folding child’s chair that my daughter loves.

The picture looks cluttered I know but it works for us right now.  Here is where the majority of our items are in our living room.  18 items for the game systems (if you count assorted cords as one item), 48 games combined for the systems, an all in one printer. a tv remote, 3 movies in their cases and then a small pile of dvds without cases, the two vases with my anniversary flowers and 6 candles (down from over 30 when I started).

Also in the living room is our pet section – the dog’s items (crate, bedding – 4 items, wicker basket with 10 toys and a sweater and a container of dog treats.) and then the cat’s items (her tower and 14 small toys inside).

If you include the rotating fan and the quilt over the recliner it adds up quickly.

  • 20 wall items
  • 6 furniture items
  • 118 assorted items (gaming stuff, tv stuff, vases, candles, etc)

Which adds up to 142 items total for one room.  crazy isn’t it?

I think what makes it not seem so bad is that 82 of these items pictured in the first photo and then 35 pictured in the second and these areas take up relatively little space in the largest room of our room.

I found this exercise to be interesting and eye opening.  I am happy with the items in this room.  There are cosmetic fixes such as minor patch work to the walls and a new coat of paint.  eventually we are going to replace the carpet and the trimwork to the doorways.  I could only imagine how many items were in this room before I found flylady, Clean House and then Miss Minimalist.  I don’t think I even want to know.  (two more bookshelves, a nintendo, super nintendo, 64, sega genesis, playstation 2 – tons of games to go with those systems, board games, and quite a bit more – as Niecy Nash would say – Mayhem and foolishness!)

Finished Living Room! (does the cat count in the number?)

I hope you enjoyed a personal glance into my progress.  No longer the living room of a hoarder.  Look at all that floor space!!!!!!!

Zone Cleaning the Master Bedroom

So zone cleaning in the master bedroom is increasingly difficult but I don’t mind so much.  My husband definitely needs his sleep too.  I did do some work in it today.  I finally bought a lovely comforter for this room.  When husband and I got our first place together we bought a lovely blue comforter that both of us enjoyed.  Through the years it became worn and tattered and we needed to let it go.  It felt so hard to buy a new one because we are often the fortunate recipient of other people’s unwanted clutter.  They mean well but we often cannot say no but most times the items are not our style.

Give you an example – we were using a brightly colored quilt covered in Macaws!  YUCK!  It would annoy me so our other options were a bright pink down comforter (also a gift) that crinkles when we move or our patriotic quilt (a purchased item I love but not for our bedroom.  It’s our picnic blanket and living room blanket.)

I was shopping at Aldi and found the quilt set below.

I have to say even though I’m not drawn to floral patterns I fell in love with this one right away.  I bought it and it looks lovely on my bed.  I decided that the comforter in my daughter’s room needed to go as well so we went shopping for her.  The current one was given to us and was closer to her style when she received it (pink with princess design) but over the years has become stained from us allowing her to have crystal light at bedtime.  After several stores she decided that she wanted the same quilt that we purchased so I went back to Aldi to pick her up the same.

So today I made our bed and put freshly laundered sheets on.  It smells lovely now and feels great.  I pulled the two totes out from under the bed and took inventory.  We’ve purged down to two sets of sheets for our bed with the matching pillow cases.  Our daughter has three complete sets of sheets and mismatched pillow cases.  We’ve kept two flat sheets that don’t go to either bed but I love them.  One is a lovely pink and white checkered sheet that i have used for a picnic blanket, a table cloth, a make shift play tent and more.  The other is a lovely blue and green floral sheet that is a perfect summer coverup when a blanket is too much.

besides the bed we each have our own dresser and husband has a side table with two drawers.  I cleared husband’s dresser top off to two picture frames, a jewelry box, a vase, his tv and dvd player.  My dresser top still needs a little work and I need to purge through my drawers.  Closet needs a little work as I need to go through my clothes still.  Fortunately it’s a small closet – about 6 feet wide and only slightly deeper than our hangers and we share so I only have about 3 feet of space plus the shelf.  There are two small totes of seasonal clothes and husband’s dress shoes on the shelf.

on the floor some work is needed.  there is a large tote full of dvds that I would love to purge by half but need husband on board with this and then there is a large basket full of blankets.  There is also a GINORMOUS piece of thick glass that came with the house.  It’s so heavy I can’t even move it out.

On my to-do list is to convince husband to go through his drawers, flip the mattresses to staple the lining back in place on the box springs and finish sorting my clothes.  I believe it’ll take 30 minutes total to finish.


On a completely different topic –

Here is what I found at Aldi that I bought for my daughter.  This ball is 4 foot 3 inches tall when inflated and is super amazing.  (ad picture below).  We took it up to mom’s house and I let her play with it.  Super, super awesome.

Zone 3

This week’s zone is the bathroom and an extra room.  As I’ve said in a previous post the small bathroom is looking rather good.  It still desperately needs to be painted.  I really need to post a picture of the walls – horrid print.  For Christmas my mom gave us a new faucet set for the bathroom.  We really needed this as it’s difficult for my daughter to turn on and off the water.  It still sits on the floor next to the sink in the small bathroom as my husband cannot figure out how to turn the water off.  So maybe this will be similar to the beast – it’ll sit there till I can’t stand it no longer and insist that it be finished.

Flylady encourages people to swish and swipe in their bathrooms daily.  I found something that helps make cleaning the toilet very easy.  Lysol makes an automatic toilet bowl cleaner so that everytime you flush some cleaner swirls around and keeps the bowl shiney and clean.  Plus it makes the bathroom smell clean.

So this week I imagine that I’m going to have to work on the larger bathroom.  This will take some work – clutter is lurking under the sink, on the sink, on the shelves above the toilet, next to the toilet.  Bottles of nailpolish, lotions, hand sanitizers, cold medicines, tons of bandaids and more.  I am possible the least fussy girl there is about my appearance – never wear a lick of makeup and seldom do my hair or nails with the exception of my daily high ponytail yet I have barrettes and clips and headbands, make up and more.

So how does the big bathroom make me feel?  terrible.  I barely want to step into it.  Maybe by the end of the week this room will make me feel happy.

The Other Room

Dun dun dunnnn!  family room time?  I think not.  Not yet anyway.  I seriously want this room to look nice but I’m just not there yet.  Maybe when the rest of the house looks good I’ll have no excuse but to fix this room.  It’s embarassing though.  It could be on an episode of Clean House it’s so bad.  Fortuneately we wouldn’t qualify for Clean House even if they did our area because you need at least three rooms in CHAOS and we have the one with bits and pieces of foolishness elsewhere.

Bit by bit, piece by piece the house is doing better.  Once we have the yard sale it will be great (to be honest much of the foolishness in the family room is stuff for the yard sale).


Zones – Cleaning out the Clutter

The Flylady has broken our homes down to 5 manageable zones to help us keep our homes clean and clutter free.  You may ask – why do you need someone to break your home into zones?  just clean it when it’s messy.  Yes – this sounds like it would work but it doesn’t.  There are those people in this world who are organized.  They pay bills before they are due.  They have a planner that makes sense to them.  They arrive on time and they know where to find their things.  Followers of Flylady call these people the BOs of the world or the born organized.  I am a SHE – Sidetracked Home Executive.  a payroll SHE no less since I work outside of the home.  The executive functioning part of my brain does not work as well as it should (ADHD) so Flylady helps me out.

As part of my resolution for this year I’ve been working on the flylady zones

  1. Zone 1: Entrance/front porch/dining room – First few days of the month until the next Sunday
  2. Zone 2: Kitchen/ back porch/laundry room/pantry – First full week of the month
  3. Zone 3: Main bathroom/extra bedroom/kids’ rooms/craft room – Second full week of the month
  4. Zone 4: Master bedroom/bath/closet – Third full week of the month
  5. Zone 5: Living room/den/TV room – Last few days of the month from Monday until the first of the next month

Here is my update.  All but zone 5 have had two times in it so far this year.

Zone 1 – The entrance has definitely improved.  We’ve torn apart and cleaned out the dryer.  This was a huge fire hazard but it’s now safe for awhile.  My husband and I found a sense of accomplishment as we fixed our dryer ourselves.  It broke a few weeks ago.  My husbands first thoughts were that we needed to buy a new dryer.  I refused stating that we could fix it ourselves.  He reminded me that we were not mechanically inclined people.  I stated that there are tutorial videos online that walk you through the process.  He stated that we could have someone come in and fix it for us.  I refused stating that it would cost at least $50 just to have someone come out.  Finally this past weekend he agreed that we should try to fix it ourselves.  I went to

(so I’m feeling very sad right now – just finished writing a beautiful and long post and then posted it and this is all there is.  will rewrite later when I’m not feeling discouraged 😦 )

and we watched the videos and tore apart our dryer, cleaned it out real well and then fixed it.  The thermal fuse was bad.  It cost us less than $20 to fix our dryer and we gained a sense of accomplishment that the other two options would have never been able to give us.  I was so proud of us.

Our entrance outside has definately improved.  I’ve raked and fixed up the yard next to the house.  I’ve removed some of the clutter from outside and the beast of a table that was right next to our door is gone.

The inside entrance is improved.  We can actually hang our coats up now when we enter the house.  the summer items were moved out to the shed.  Cobwebs and grime were removed.

Our dining area rarely needs any extra help.  This one area we typically keep clean and clutter free.  We make it a habit to eat all our meals together as a family at the table.

Zone 2 – Our kitchen has definately improved but is still an area of need.  I could complain about our cabinets but I won’t.  We need to get on a daily routine to keep on top of the dishes.  There is some clutter but it’s not too bad in here.  My wish list for this area definately includes new cabinets and a paint job.  A pantry would be nice but we don’t have the room.  What would be helpful is a master list of what food items we typically use so that our cabinets are stocked and meal planning is made easier.

Zone 3 – The bathrooms have gotten better.  The main bathroom has been scrubbed and cleaned.  This was especially helpful as we were all sick last weekend.  It was easy to keep it clean and sanitized as the hard part was already done.  The large bathroom is another story – its part storage and full of pet stuff.

My daughter’s room desperately needed help the first time I wrote this – it was cluttered and a total nightmare.  I pulled everything out and put back only the items she loves the most.  Two and 1/2 totes full of items that will go into the shed until she is ready to get rid of them.  She was very happy when she saw her room.  There is a lot more space for her to play and to relax.   We bought her new sheets because as she has gotten older her interests have changed.  Her bed is now covered in monkeys and she is so excited.

Zone 4 – Our bedroom is better but needs more work.  Our bedding is all washed and smelling fresh.  I bought Purex lavendar laundry crystals that you add to the wash and the fragrance is long lasting.  It’s nice that all my blankets smell like my favorite scent.

I’ve gone through my clothing and pull out clothes for the yard sale.  My room still needs help though as the mound of clutter on top of my dresser is calling my name but it can wait.  I would love to paint my walls and add some artwork to this room.  I sold some of my books to buy my husband a television for the bedroom as his Valentine’s gift.  I’m trying to convince him though that it needs to be mounted to the wall so it’s not overwhelming the dresser.

Zone 5 – The living room this morning was easily my most favorite room in the house.  We removed a couch which freed up space.  We also removed the coffee table.  My husband mounted the television to the wall and we removed almost all the clutter.  We rearranged, we washed the walls and removed the cobwebs.  My husband and I fixed this room together and it was fantastic working with him on this task.  It was real nice.  We still need to rehang our pictures but the room is nice and comfortable.

We use this room frequently as a family and now there is much more space.  I don’t know yet what I’m going to use the space for.  My daughter has used the extra space to play.  She pulls out the folding table and sets up her toys and plays.  She then picks up and the table goes away.  She dances and puts on shows with the extra space.  My husband stretches out and relaxes with the extra space.  I don’t know – maybe I’ll use the Wii Fit now that I have the space.  Maybe not.

This room went from being my favorite to being a hot mess today.  At several points I just sat and stared at my daughter’s enourmous amount of clutter.  I wanted to shove it all away and be done with it but I stuck it out and put away most of everything.  There is one tote left to put away or store.  The living room has an extra piece of furniture now that it didn’t have this morning.  A 2-drawer night stand that has resided in my daughter’s room for years.  It has had a fish tank on it for years.  The fish tank is now on top of her dresser and the stand is in my living room – at least until I find a better home for it.  Also out of place in our living room is a black stand with a printer on top.  It belongs in the family room but that is not going to happen any time soon.

There is also a dragon hanging from the ceiling now.  It went from the family room to my daughter’s room.  Today it went from my daughter’s room to the living room.

Working through the zones has definately helped.  I need to start working on daily routines to make my life calmer and run smoother.

Flylady encourages people to blessed others with our abundance.  When I first discovered Flylady last January I purged tons of garbage bags full of stuff we didn’t love or need.  Purging since then has gotten easier in some ways and harder in others.  There is the “I may need it someday” and the “it’s still good” and then the “we just need to organize better” excuses to hold onto things we don’t need.

To get my husband to buy into it and purge some of the better items we had to have an incentive.  To get my daughter to buy into purging items I definately needed an incentive.  a yard sale seemed like a great way for us to have a major purge.  Last summer my husband and I picked out new items we wanted for our house and used this as our incentive to sell!  We chose to buy a new set of silverware and if we made enough lawn furniture with our yard sale earnings.    We sold enough that we were able to buy a decent set of silverware in a pattern that I love and a table and chair set with umbrella for outside.  My daughter wanted a game and a toy that totaled $50.  She had to sell her items so that she could purchase this.  It worked.

Our second major purge happened this Christmas.  My husband and daughter really wanted a PS3.  I told them that we could buy it if we sold things around the house to do so.  I opened up a photo album on a facebook rummage sale and we were able to purge and buy our family gift.  We also got rid of all our old systems and games (except for the Wii) and traded them in for games to go with our new system.

We are working towards our third major purge and I believe this one will probably be the last major purge we will have to do in a long time.  We are planning a yard sale in May.  My husband and I are working towards a fire pit and a screened pavillion tent for outside.  My daughter is working towards a game she really wants for the new system.  Our family room is a hot mess right now and there is a large section of it full of items for the yard sale.  I am hoping that once we have the yard sale that we can actually use our family room for what it’s intended for – a game room and a play room.  It will be a place where our daughter can do arts and crafts and that we can have board games accessible and game nights.

The purging is freeing up space.  Less clutter means less cleaning.  Less clutter means that it will be easier for us to paint our walls to make our house fresher and brighter.  Less clutter means that it will be easier to install new comfy carpet.  Less clutter means there will be more room to live, to relax, to play and to grow.  There will be more space to spend time with family.  There will be more time to spend with family.

Zone cleaning and removing clutter turns a house into a home.