My family room – the before pictures

I don’t have my after pictures ready as I am still working on this room.  Three garbage bags full of donations to take to the Salvation Army tomorrow morning, 1 1/2 totes to set aside to sell.  Since we’ve moved to this home – quite a bit has been removed – giant toybox, 3 book shelves (1 remains), a very large computer desk, plants, and more.  At one point we had a narrow walkway to get from the door to the large bathroom.  We probably would have turned the large bathroom into a closet if it weren’t for the cat (litter box and feed station in the bathroom) and for the bunny who is in the bathroom (much calmer – was overly anxious all the time before.  I believe it’s from being a daycare bunny.)

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Roughly a third of our home was unusable because of the clutter and chaos.  Also – there are no pictures of any room at it’s worst.  and these pictures are how we lived when no one was looking.  I would have never let even family who didn’t live with us see these rooms like this.  We were very, very good and stashing and dashing.  closets bursting at seems – comments about having a lot of stuff but never would I show anyone this.

Here is picture 2 – our plant is no longer with us.  We’ve had this neglected plant for almost our whole marriage.  I didn’t want to get rid of it but also didn’t want to keep it.  plant and stand were sold at one of the yard sales this summer.  bookshelf given to my brother.  I imagine many items pictured are no longer in our home.

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Our vacuum cleaning not put away but near the walkway so we can get to it.  a solitary dress on a garment rack.  nothing goes together and it’s all chaos.

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We have this gorgeous furniture set – my husband’s computer desk and matching book shelf.  beautiful set – was a yard sale find.  We obviously don’t take care of it.  it’s loaded down with too many items.  red bins on top full of stuff, piles everywhere.

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Okay so I couldn’t just post these and not give you some progress –

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Closet (taken in March) – kitchen set sold.  sewing box sold.  pink box full of motivation/ improvement audio CDs – donated to my work.  Will show updated pictures of the closet soon.

Now for some pictures I took about 10 minutes ago – I’ve been wanting to wait until it was “perfect” but I don’t really want to wait anymore.  I spent about 10 minutes straightening up before taking these pictures.

This first picture is what you see when you are looking into the room.  I’ve been going through things and decided that I’m separating out by who needs to make the decision to keep or get rid of.  The bright green bucket on the desk is my daughter’s items, the green tote underneath is my husband’s and the black (hunger games) bag next to it is mine.  The black cauldron still holds Halloween candy and once it’s empty will join the Halloween decorations in the shed.  The bag next to the desk is full of empty bags that were full of stuff.  The tall white totes next to the couch (2 of them) were full of stuff – now empty.

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Game shelf still full but not overflowing anymore as we purged a bit of games.

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Here is the tv from our bedroom – move to the family room so I can eventually exercise in here with the Wii fit and the Kinect.  Also – here is the printer stand and game shelf that was previously in the living room.  really cord heavy but eventually we will make it more attractive.  my husband’s bowling ball that he has yet to put away in the closet.

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some totes chilling where they don’t belong – empty green tote, white tote has yard sale items, gray tote next to it has our winter stuff – hats, gloves, scarves, boots, coats, etc., large gray tote has my daughter’s toys that she isn’t ready to part with but doesn’t fit in her room – going to the shed until she is ready to part with them or wants to switch out her toys.  white box full of empty bottles for homemade laundry soap and fabric softener to give away.  bag is full of stuff I still need to sort through.

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The picture below was not taken tonight but gives you a good idea on how it’s looking now.  my husband has decided to sell these two pieces of furniture which means we have to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.  red baskets still full of stuff.  shelves have less books than before.  those plastic shoeboxes are full of art supplies that we actually use.  he is also taking about selling his computer and buying a laptop.

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I wanted to share the dryer balls my husband and I have been making!  still need to be felted.

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Follow Up Laundry

So I realized that there are tons of things to write about but I’m missing something (motivation maybe) that causes me to write.  I’ve learned alot about myself recently – they are blog entries of their own.  One thing however that I learned is I don’t really know what I love to do – hobbies, work, things to fill up by spare time.  I also realized that DIY most possibly is the one thing that causes a strong interest to start to well up.  Especially DIY for cleaning products which is hilarious to me because I’m not one of those super clean OCD folks.  OCD sucks and it affects us all differently – I hate to touch anything dirty so once my house gets dirty I’m screwed.  I also really hate not knowing what’s in all the products that we use.  I realized that I LOVE my homemade products – not only because I know what’s in them but because they actually work.

The last time I wrote it was about my daughter and I making laundry products.  Here is my rundown or progress report:

The homemade stain remover made with Dawn, ammonia, baking soda and water – I would probably grade it a C.  My daughter and I grabbed the large pile of stained clothing that I had been accumulating and treated them all to the stain remover.  Again as some of the stains were well set I couldn’t judge it by that.  It helped some of the clothes but not all of them.  I wound up throwing away several of our shirts including two of my favorites as the stains just didn’t budge.

Determined not to judge it on that pile I continued to use it.  It gunked up the spray bottle and the baking soda has taken up permanent residence in the bottom of the bottle.  Now I shake it and pour it directly on the stain.  My daughter’s favorite shirt is a stain magnet.  I treated the offending mark and let the shirt sit.  I washed it but the stain didn’t come out so I treated again and used my trusty Rubba Scrubba.  It came out and the day was saved!

Next time she wore this shirt she got chocolate pudding all over the top.  I used the stain out and the Rubba Scrubba.  In this case the chocolate pudding won.  So we are on round two.

The homemade laundry soap scored an A+.  I absolutely love this stuff!  LOVE IT!  I don’t think I’ll ever switch back to a commercial laundry product again.  Borax, washing soda, dish soap and sun oxygen with some hot water made a truly fantastic laundry soap.  Our clothes are clean and smell great.  My husband even loves it.  I recommend it wholeheartedly and will probably not make the powdered mix again as this doesn’t leave any occasional residue on our clothes.

Now the homemade fabric softener – I think I have never been a fan of liquid fabric softener.  A few times when I’ve used this I’ve had a rewash an item or two because of white marks left on the clothing from the softener.  This has been a problem I’ve encountered frequently with the commercial liquid softener added to the wash.  The marks on the clothing quickly have me running back to the sheets.  I would give this product a B though.  I bought a pack of white washcloths from Wal-Mart and have one at the dryer.  I’ll spray this down and throw it in.  It seems to work better than my trusty fabric sheets however it’s more time consuming (about 10 seconds more) then just grabbing one of the lavender scented ones still hanging out on the dryer.  When I run out of them though I’m probably not buying new.

I’ve also made my own Wool dryer balls!  Now I love these – a definate A for them.  I’m not seeing the full effect as it’s recommended that you use at least 4 balls per load and my daughter claimed two for herself.  I found that if I spray the fabric softener on these that my clothes smell great and they are definately soft.

So my husband decided that this year for christmas we are making everyone wool dryer balls so we picked up the yarn from Michael’s and I’ve been rolling the yarn so I can felt it.  His thoughts were that we could put all the balls in a bowl and let everyone pick the four they want.  Now this is a great idea as these are so expensive to buy.  I decided to order a case of empty 4 oz plastic bottles and 8 oz plastic bottles and will be including 4 ozs of homemade fabric softener and 8 oz of homemade laundry soap along with the wool dryer balls.  I figured 4 loads worth of laundry soap and a decent portion of fabric softener with these beautiful reusable dryer balls seem like a really great Christmas gift that will actually be used and not turn into wasted clutter.