Catching Up

My Mental Health

It’s been awhile.  It’s been an interesting couple of weeks.  I’ve stopped taking the Strattera for my ADHD (been taking it for almost 2 years).  Been less and less effective for the past few months and I wanted to try something else to see if it would help me focus better.  the Strattera worked like a charm for my impulsivity and obnoxiousness but not so much for the focus and concentration.  Started on Adderrall.  Man, the onslaught of ADHD drama sent me for a loop.  I wanted to say tailspin but it’s not been all bad.  the Adderrall has some benefits but definitely doesn’t work like the Strattera.  some days i can barely live with myself.  it’s like i’m all over the place.  doing stupid things, forgetting things and my house is an absolute nightmare.  slowly but surely i’m stabilizing again but I really do miss the Strattera some days.

I smile more though.  Laugh more too.  it was like the Strattera zapped my humor away and my ability to appreciate the sillier things in life.  I may be a scatterbrained, impulsive fool but at least I’m able to enjoy things again.  The Adderrall is short acting which means I often forget to take it.  I lie to the doctor and tell him I’m taking it every day.  ADHD is so frustrating because part of being ADHD is forgetting things.  I don’t intentionally not take my medicine but the doctor often acts like I do.  Honestly I have better days when I remember it but that is part of the disorder – forgetfulness.  I was so afraid of taking the adderrall because i didn’t want to be addicted to drugs but husband and I realize that this isn’t the case as I don’t think about the medication and I don’t desire it or crave it.  It hurts my stomach, takes away my desire for food and forces me to focus without the joy of spontaneity.  hmm wait the last one is the desired result – oh well.

but i am happier.

The OCD has settled down for now.  I’m doing things and enjoying things that the FEARS would otherwise prevent me from doing.  I fingerpainted several times this month and wound up with it on my clothes and my skin and didn’t fall into a panic attack.  The panic attacks have mostly subsided come to think of it.  Almost all gone.  I credit a lot of this to my work with my therapist and the Effexor.  There is a bunch of bad stuff on the internet about Effexor but it has drastically improved the quality of my life.  The constant, ever present anxiety is barely present anymore.  I can only really recall three panic attacks since my last post which is quite impressive for me.  We bought a car and the first day driving the car to work was nerve wracking.  it felt so different – so alien – and I couldn’t get my wits about me.  I kept trying to convince myself to go back home – where it is safe – instead of going to work.  I worked and by the end of the day I was fine – and now I love my car.  I also recently had a sleep study which accounts for the remaining two panic attacks for the month.  first one occured in the ER lobby which is where you sign in for the sleep study.  I’ve avoided ERs like crazy – too much contamination, germs, blood, people in pain, do they even clean/ disinfect those seats?   I rocked back and forth the entire time i waited refusing to touch anything.  Second panic attack was when they were placing all the sensors on me and they were all over my face.  I made it through all three without the assistance of my Xanax.  I think I’m ready to let that prescription go.  I’m pretty confident in my ability to get through a panic attack.  Husband says to give it more time though and not be hasty to throw away those pills.

I’m scheduled for another sleep study at the end of the month since they determined i have sleep apnea.  stopped breathing 32 times during the first study.

My Home

So my home is an absolute disaster.  I thought I was done with yard sales but my co-worker finally took me up on my offer to let me sell some things for her.  about 6 car loads later my house and shed are stuffed and this is after the unexpected yard sale.  I’m a bit distraught and don’t know where to begin.  My family room was almost ready to be declared done.  My living room, shed and bedroom were done.  My daughter’s room was looking pretty sweet.  but now it’s all scary and all full of stuff.  I need to sort, clean, photograph and transport the items elsewhere and reclaim my home.  There is a yard sale at my work coming up in October.  We are setting up our training space and allowing the community to shop and we donate a portion of our sales to our work for the holiday Christmas shop for our kiddos in care.  it’ll be okay but it’s very overwhelming especially since my daughter’s birthday party is this Saturday.

It’s finally over! – part 2

Friday morning my neighbor and I headed outside bright and early.  The mountain of items from my home and the hill from hers was pulled out and displayed as best as we could onto tables.  Open totes with more items rested underneath the tables.  Hundreds of books waited for some new reader to take them home.  I was slightly embarrassed and immensely relieved to see all of my clutter out on the lawn.

Sales were steady throughout the day.  My daughter enjoyed playing outside – I realized Friday would have been the perfect day for her lemonade stand but I had told her only one day and we chose Saturday.  At the end of a relatively successful first day we pulled inside anything we’d be upset if it were stolen.  To make set up easier in the morning we toted up everything by table and then slid the tote under the table where the items were displayed.  The table with the massive amount of glass items and knick knacks was covered with a tarp and considered good.  Books were toted up and left on the lawn.  Clothes and toys were stacked under the canopy and the canopy was dropped down.

Set up in the morning was mostly a breeze – much quicker and as far as we could tell nothing had been stolen.  I offered deep discounts on everything.  I started bag sales at 11.  I gave free items with every purchase.  When I felt like being done I carefully looked through the items remaining and pulled out a few items to set aside and then offered out the rest for free.  I reassessed the items I pulled out and decided I really needed them them and offered more for free.  By the time I went in for the evening we were down to four tables.  By morning we were down to two tables and then one.

Today I had one car load of items to take to the Salvation Army.  I have a small tote of books to donate to my work.  I have one small tote of items to try to sell and one small tote of race car tracks that I may or may not try to sell.  Amazingly enough I have a large stack of empty totes outside that used to be full of stuff.  I have a mostly empty shed.  Oddly enough my home is a mess but I should be able to pull it together.

So, what was I able to puchase with my yard sale gains?  I’d imagine you’d be surprised considering I gave away so much for free or for super cheap.   We bought the Keurig Elite, the reusable coffee filter and a box of Donut Shop K-cups.  House full of clutter replaced by a beautiful coffee maker.    I’d say I got the best deal of the weekend.  A bigger home and an awesome Keurig.

What really amazed me was how much my daughter made at the end of the two days.  She wanted an ereader.  I really thought I’d be putting money towards this for her.  She ended the second day with over $90.  Tote after tote after tote of toys, books and clothes gone replaced by an ereader that she hasn’t set down.  She bought it in blue from Walmart – an Ematic ereader for $50.  Which meant she had extra money to buy the batteries she wanted for other items.  She was even able to put money into her savings.

At the end of the sale I gave her the opportunity to take any one item back into the house.  She asked if it had to be hers and I said no.  She looked carefully through everything and picked out a toy belonging to the neighbor.  I had her pay for it and reasked if there was anything of hers.  She said no which surprised me and said that I could give everything else away.

It’s finally over! – Part 1

Saturday, July 7 was supposed to be it – the final yard sale of the summer.  I knew there were problems when it was 8:45am and still not a customer in sight.  We’ve always gotten the early birds and I never turn them away – I see it as a sign of good fortune.  I know people are coming.  But not on this day.  It was my first multi-family yard sale as I went in on it with my neighbor.  By noon we had less than 12 people stop by and I had $27.  Subtract the $20 I paid for the newspaper ad and that left me with $7.  The newspaper made more off of my sale than I did.

A shopper said, “Aren’t you worried about the storm?”  We had looked at the weather online and it was supposed to just miss us.  5 minutes after she said that big, fat raindrops fell furiously to the ground.  I quickly sent my daughter inside to get my husband while my neighbor and I quickly bagged and boxed everything we could.  Many miserable minutes later everything was safety under the canopy or quickly shoved into sheds and our homes.  The yard sale was a mess and mostly a failure.

We all agreed that we didn’t want to take the stuff back inside but were unsure what to do with all of the stuff.  It didn’t feel right to me to donate everything as we were soo far away from any sort of goals we had set, my daughter made about $5 which definately was not enough for her e-reader goals.  It would have taken multiple trips to the Salvation Army using a truck to get it all over there.  My neighbor joked that we could have a big bon-fire.  I chuckled but fears of burning down my home accidently made it not very funny.  I decided that with my upcoming mini vacation that I would hold another sale on Friday and Saturday.  I was reminded that both my neighbor and my husband worked so I would be alone for the Saturday sale but I stated that I would be fine and that I didn’t want to have to transport everything.

We took the more valuable items inside, dropped the canopy down and crossed our fingers that nothing got stolen while we waiting until Friday for better luck.

On a positive note it gave me more time to unclutter and we managed to have a game night which was lots of fun.  All in all it was a pretty positive experiance for me.

Oh – by the way – I am now writing this as I sit on my comfy couch in the family room!  This room is bigger and better and all I needed to do was get rid of tons of stuff:)

Jack and the Kitchen Purge

Recently we took our dog to my mom’s house.  He loves being with us so was extremely happy to be going along for the ride

We’ve gotten through quite a bit of our kitchen.  We downsized our drinkware to a small cabinet, downsized our plates and bowls into another small cabinet.  I removed our storage containers from three different locations and placed them all in the larger cabinet.  I pulled some pyrex to sell in the yard sale.

Here is our newly purged drinkware cabinet.  We did decide to get rid of our stemware and all of our glasses.  This is really hard for me but truth be told I have been accidently breaking these glasses left and right.  I on the other hand really LOVE my brightly colored plastic cups.  My daughter loves her cups with the lid and straws.  We dropped down to 8 mugs – husband won’t budge below since we make coffee when family visits.  Our two wonderful fly lady water bottles have enough space now to rest easy in the cabinet.  Before the purging the bottom shelf with glasses, the top shelf was coffee mugs stacked two high.

There were three surprising things we are putting out into the yard sale.  The first two are our toasting glasses from our wedding.

and the third is our souvenier glass from our honeymoon.  While we were in Williamsburg we went to two different dinner theaters – Rosie Rumps Regele Dump and then the Mystery Dinner Playhouse.  I loved them both and will remember them with or without this glass.

We were able to downsize our dishes.  We had this lovely white set for as long as we’ve been married.  I really do like the set but since we moved into this home we barely use the small plates or the bowls.  We prefer the plastic bowls.  The dinner plates however we definately use.

Here is the newly purged cabinets – the contents requiring 1/2 the space needed before.

As we were purging I realized that our bowls and storage containers were the hardest for me to declutter.  I really didn’t want to purge with any of them.  I was so frustrated though with the kitchen today – i was trying to prepare dinner and yet again an avalaunche occured when I tried to pull out a pot to cook.  The cabinets were hiding too much stuff.  we cut it down to this

I got rid of any without the lids, that were stained or were missing pieces.  I had this lovely lunch box styled set that had an icepack built in but i lost one of the inner containers so we placed it in the yard sale pile.  I really do have more than I need but I use many of them for homemade play dough to use with my kids at work.

Pictured below is our yard sale pile – the items we purged today.  The tote is full of the drinkware plus some extras.

I went through our spices while my husband is in bed.  We’ve purged our cabinet with our pantry items pulling out enough to fill one of our reusable grocery bags.  I’ve pulled all of our seasonal dishes down from ontop of the cabinet and washed them so we can go through them in the morning – I have my eyes on a few that will be leaving the house come yard sale day.

In the kitchen all the really remains is the china set that my husband thinks he is ready to part with.  I intend to keep a few pieces from it as they were his grandmother’s.  My thoughts are a few are better than all or none.

Yard Sale Pointers

So I would really love to donate all of my clutter but my husband and daughter wouldn’t part with anything if I did that (tried it and it didn’t work).  What works for us is that we sit down as a family and pick an incentive prize(s) to purchase with yard sale earnings.  This could be something you wouldn’t necessarily buy out of your paycheck (if money is tight) but should be something you really want.  I would even recommend printing out a picture of it to use as an incentive to declutter.  It works for very stubborn clutter bugs.

I also encourage my daughter and her friend to have a lemonade and bake sale.  I buy the supplies and they split the profits.  They learn some valuable skills and earn some pocket change.

I love using masking tape and a marker for pricing items.  I find the tape comes off items much easier than pricing stickers.

I also recommend pricing lower than you think you should.  You won’t recoup even half of what you paid for an item at a yard sale.  If it is something valuable you should list it online or specifically include it in your ads.  If it doesn’t sell at the yardsale for what you want then try to sell it online.  Anything you feel is worth pricing at $10 or more should be included in your ad – craigslist, facebook, etc.  This will bring out people specifically looking for that item so are more likely to pay more for it.

I would recommend keeping valuable items on one table and then sit at that table.  Trust me – this is better than someone walking off with a digital camcorder without paying for it plus you are right there to answer any questions about the item.  This is also smart for any items such as swords, weapons, adult items.

I look up items on to see what they are selling for new.  Anything that sells for over $40 new I price for about $5-$10 depending on how much I want to get rid of it.  Over $100 new I may price up to $50.  For items such as camcorders, cameras see what they are going for on ebay and price accordingly.  If these items don’t sell at the yard sale then I set them aside and try to sell them online.

Anything that sells for under $40 new online I mark for a quarter to $4.  At the end of the sale if these items are still around then they should be donated.

We have had a lot of luck selling items for 25 cents, 50 cents and $1.  We also rough add items so if a total comes to $7.25 I tell them $7.  It helps reduce handling large amounts of change and people often pay a bit more because they feel like they got too good of a deal if you underprice.  Our last yard sale was on a very wet, cold day and we underpriced all of our items and made over $200.  We easily had 3/4 of our yard sale items left at the end of the sale (which is why we are having a second sale).



Upcoming Yard Sale and Free Graphics

We picked the date for our next yard sale!  July 7th!

I designed some yard sale signs that I had printed up at  After having them printed I decided that I’m going to use a black sharpie to outline the arrows on both yard signs.


If you like these yard sale signs feel free to use them for personal use only.


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.

night before the yard sale

so it’s the night before our yard sale and i am so nervous.  having trouble settling down for sleep so i figured i’d write.  it’s raining heavily right now and it has me so nervous.  there’s a chance of rain tomorrow too.  tomorrow is supposed to be my big day!  getting rid of clutter – hopefully lots of it.  posted some items on facebook, sold some early.  have a lot more to sell.  we really want the stuff gone and i know my husband feels the same way because he was helping me price today and was putting 25cents, 10cents on items.  most things are crazy cheap but we have a lot of it.

i did a quick walkthrough of the house trying to find more items to sell.   my husband thinks that we will want another sale next month.  he thinks once the piles are gone that we will want to get rid of more.  i hope this is true.  my family room is much better.  the living room – not so much but it’s the priced yard sale stuff.  there’s more out in the shed – priced and ready to go.

we have 4 folding tables, our outside table and the neighbor is loaning us their picnic table to display items.  I wish we had more tables but it’ll have to do.  We actually have two garment racks so that we can hang clothes.  that is so exciting to me.

i really worry about the rain.  i’d hate for all of this stuff to get ruined.  but i gotta have some faith.

fingers crossed for a successful and sunny day tomorrow!

Yard Sale is 11 days away!

Man, time is ticking away fast.  Only 11 more days before this yard sale.  Feels like not enough time before this “magical” day where my wallet will be fatter and my house lighter.

My daughter and I went through her toy box, stuffed animal net and dress up clothes today.  She was able to fill a small tote with items for the sale.  I think she is finally starting to see that when there is less STUFF there is more opportunities for play.  It’s also easier to pick up and put away.  It becomes easier and easier.

Here are the items that we’ve pulled aside for the yard sale since May.  (all the yard sale stuff collection before April 30 is out in the shed already).

A small glimpse into the nightmare known as my family room.  The books and games on the shelves are not for sale but everything else pictured is going out on June 2.  I’m so excited.  Race car tracks, her dress up trunk, the kitchen set, and quite a bit more.  I purchased two under the bed totes for my daughter that will create limits – one tote for her dress up items and one tote for doll clothes.  She likes the totes and likes how easy it is for her to get to them.  She also agreed to the set limits (once the tote is full something has to go before new can come in).

I used to be so opposed to anything being under the beds.  You might not have been able to walk through the room but by golly the space under the bed would be free.  We have two totes under our bed – one for our linen and one for our daughter’s linen.  I was so opposed to this but it really helps.  If the sheets don’t fit in the totes then we have too much.  The totes also keep the linen clean and dust free until we need to change the sheets (our house gets dusty really fast).  I wish that the blankets would fit in them but it’s not quite big enough so a small laundry basket is in our closet with our extra blankets.

I’m tired of telling her no.  It’s been so difficult though because she had (has) so much stuff that she struggled with putting it away so the mess would be in every room and it would be so overwhelming.  It’s gotten so much easier as we’ve been decluttering.  I also have her help set up where the items go so she remembers.

Hold your head up and smile

I’ve been practicing this skill lately and surprisingly it does seem to help make me feel better.  There are many reasons to smile – it makes people more attractive, it relieves stress, it’s contagious and it can help you stay positive.  Just by smiling you can feel happier.  I’ve been putting a smile on my face more and it does help – the anxiety is lessened and I find myself more agreeable.

I’ve also been saying yes a whole lot more!  Almost everybody says that you have to learn how to say no.  I’ve got No down to an art form.  I’m definitely a no person.  “Can I do this?”, “No.”  “Can I do that?”, “No.”  “Can I have this?”, “No.”  It just rolls off my tongue and comes out.  Throughout this process I’ve been working on saying yes more!

Today my daughter asked to ride her bike.  The neighborhood kids have so much more freedom than she does.  We want her safe and we want to know where she is at all times.  The rule is she has to be where she can see the kitchen window.  If she is where she is supposed to be we can see her from 3 different windows.  Unfortunately this does not allow for bike riding as it’s hard to ride on grass.  Today I let her ride up and down the private drive with her friend.  I realized today how sheltered we have kept her – she rides with training wheels and all of the other kids ride so much better than she does.  It’s been hard though because of her lack of attention which makes her unsafe.  If we can’t be right there watching her the answer has always been no.  She’s come a long way though since she’s been working with her therapist and she did very well today without my constant watchful eye.

Zone Cleaning

Today was a very long but productive day.  There is so much more to do though but that is life.  This week is Zone 2 – or the kitchen.  There was a sink full of dirty dishes plus the section of counter next to it.  My husband asked me to wake him up today so that he could help wash the dishes.  I used the power of 15 to get them done though while he slept.  I washed some then let them dry while I worked on other things.  I put those away and repeated a few times throughout the day.  I tackled the refrigerator which was in desperate need of purging.  I also tackled the bottom cabinets to create a shopping list.  My countertops are cleaned off and are looking good.

Progress was made with the dreaded family room though it still looks like a nightmare.  Three full totes taken out to the shed – all for the yard sale!  and they are all priced and ready to go.  AMAZING!

Easter decorations and things are also packed up and ready to go out.  Winter stuff is heading that way too!  I washed our hats, gloves and scarves so that they are nice and fresh before going into storage.

The crazy thing is the amount of garbage I removed from our home today.  4 bags of garbage.  It really makes me think that we need to do things differently.  such waste.  I’ve been thinking about starting a compost pile to cut down on some of the waste.  When we lived in the city recycling was so easy as they picked it up at the curb.  I’m ashamed to admit it but I suck at recycling.  We recycle the bottles that are 5cent returnables but even then it’s hard for me.  I think anything that adds too many steps becomes too overwhelming to me.  We have about 10 large bags of bottles out back because of it needing a special trip into town to take care of them.

Each step though that I take towards a simpler life though creates more time and energy as there is less stuff dragging me down.