Wednesday Project–Glassware Galore

So…I have been home for two days now with my little man. We determined yesterday morning that he has contracted Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. If you don’t know what that is, be thankful.

I have an almost two year-old with a mouth FULL of BLISTERS. His hands are also covered, and his feet have a sprinkling thrown in for good measure. He is miserable. I am miserable. My efforts toward nightweaning have been thrown out the window.

For the record, we were on night FIVE of nightweaning. That is FOUR nights that I successfully held out and sacrificed sleep for the sake of the dream of a night spent in my own bed after almost two years on the couch/extra bed.

The fifth night was the night that his mouth, apparently, broke out in painful blisters. He wailed, he cried, I crumbled. He still didn’t sleep. He didn’t sleep last night either.

I. AM. A. MOMBIE. (It’s like a zombie, but more maternal…and seeks coffee instead of brains, but with the same passion.)

All of that to say…the project for this week is not going to be impressive, nor is it going to have “before” pictures. I will, however, post a picture of all the stuff I pile up to donate before it goes out the door.

My project was started inadvertently this morning while I was operating on a week’s worth of missed sleep and only one cup of coffee. I was talking to my mom and began gathering up “stuff” that I have been meaning to purge. Coffee cups, old glasses, extra bowls, two extra steam baskets for the one pot that fits them, you get the picture…

I ma going to continue to clear out pitchers, vases, and the myriad glassware that lives in my house for the purpose of collecting dust. I have several pieces that I love and will keep. The cool thing is that I will now be able to find a spot for them to be seen! At least, that’s the plan. Check back with me on Monday to see how it goes!

Media Minimized

DenMedia

The newly minimized living room media center

This project took almost no time! I grabbed the CD cases at WalMart and went to work. I let the size of the cases (28 slots each) be the limiting factor in how many movies and games I kept. Anything that didn’t fit didn’t stay. 🙂

But, I wimped out on throwing out the Harry Potter DVD cases for some reason…maybe I just need a little more time to adjust to the idea of it.  Baby steps…

Zans Media

Zander’s minimized media center

I wish I could have succeeded in getting rid of more of the VHS tapes, but Zander was there…

MediaDiscarded

Here is what was discarded

There were two big piles of movies and games to donate, and three big piles of cases to trash. I didn’t snap a picture of it, but the bottom drawer is completely empty now too. All of the games and movies were dealt with one way or the other. No more discs falling behind the TV or DVD player! Woohoo!

You can see the first part of this challenge here. You can see last week’s challenge here and here.

Wednesday Project–Messy Media Madness

MediaMess1

Media Mess 1

Sometimes it’s the little things that create the most chaos. This week’s project may not seem like a huge deal, but controlling our media madness is definitely going to be time well spent. The problem is that there are DVDs, games, and VHS tapes scattered all over our house. They are being trampled, scratched, and just ruined. Zander has a VHS/DVD player in his bedroom, and the disks rarely get treated with the love and respect they need in order to survive. We have a Wii, and the games are always hard to find amid the collection of random disks that gather on the top of the media center. It’s just a mess. We also have movies that we NEVER watch and most likely will never watch again.

Media Mess 2

Media Mess 2

The X-Box in the drawer there hasn’t been plugged up since we got the Wii about three Christmases ago. We got it free from a friend, and it’s time to pass it on. I’m not sure what half of those cords go to, but since they’re not plugged up and we’re not missing anything important, I can assume that they’re not needed. The movies down here are pretty much just used for drag-it-out toys by the baby.

Media Mess 3

Zander’s Media Mess

As you can see, my son is following our example of organization. His media center is in as much chaos as ours.

The challenge is set! I’m going to clean out and organize the media centers in my house this week and post the results Monday! You can see last week’s challenge here and here.

Projects Complete–Laundry Couch and Shelf Chaos

Done! After a whirlwind of a weekend, I am absolutely amazed that I was able to get these projects finished. I was out of town from 6am to 6pm on Saturday, so the day that I was planning to spend on cleaning was a total wash–pun intended.

Project 1–The Laundry Couch

I enlisted Zander to help me conquer the Laundry Couch. He was SUCH a big help! The couch had worsened since I posted my original “challenge” pic, so here’s what we were facing:

LaundryCouchBefore

Laundry Couch Before

I turned on a great “oldies” channel on the radio, then Zander and I rocked out while sorting ALL of the clothes into those 4 empty baskets (plus towels/sheets/etc onto the other couch). Once we had the couch completely cleaned off, we each worked on folding and putting away a basket. Zander folded and put away ALL of his clothes while I folded and put away Wyatt’s. After he had helped so much without whining or arguing AT ALL, I told him that he had just earned a dollar for doing extra chores. He was SO excited!

Here’s Zander working:

Zander Helping

Zander helping out

I folded and put away the towels and sheets in odd moments throughout the day. With that done, all that I had left was my basket and Michael’s. I broke the news to the husband that he was going to have to hang and fold his own clothes. He said he would just put them in the bedroom and do it later. I told him I would be writing this blog post from jail if he did. He laughed, then proceeded to fold his own darn clothes. I folded mine at the same time, and we were done! Yesssssssss!!

Here’s the couch being used for its intended purpose:

Couch As Couch

Couch As Couch

Project 2–Shelf Chaos

The main problem with Shelf Chaos was an overpopulation of books (which I had already started working on before I snapped the “before” pic), and a general state of clutter. Once I purged my bookshelf and removed the things that didn’t belong on either unit in the first place, I had TONS of empty space!

In my bookshelf, I left my Harry Potter collection on the top shelf, my bible study collection on the second shelf, my cookbooks next, and general books on the fourth shelf. There wasn’t anything left to put on the bottom, so I  just left it EMPTY! Of course, it was immediately filled by a curious toddler. He thought it was an awesome place to go “night night” for a while!

The white unit got a drastic clean-out too. All that remains is the nativity scene that we like to keep year-round, the phone, a notebook, and some pens and pencils in a Mother’s Day gift from Zander. I put two baskets on the bottom shelves for kids books and toys.

Shelf Chaos After

Shelf Chaos After

Shelf Chaos After

Shelf Chaos After

I can’t wait to see how my fellow bloggers did this week with their projects! Go see it with me at JaneysRoom, MinimalismJourney, and RepurposedKate.

Week One: Laundry Couch and Shelf Chaos

 

I’m joining a few other bloggers in a weekly cleaning/decluttering/repurposing/reorganizing challenge! (I’m on week one, they’re on week three…maybe I’ll count this as two weeks to try to catch up…) This week’s progress is being hosted by JaneysRoom. RepurposedKate posted the original idea, and she usually hosts the weekly posts as well.

I’m going to post a picture of an area in my house that needs work on Wednesday. I’ll work on the area in question for the next 4 days (or at least parts of the next 4 days), and on Monday I’ll post the results (whether they show victory or defeat…lol).

Today’s project goes right along with this morning’s post about The Great Laundry Wars. I’m going to clean off the laundry  couch FOR GOOD! No longer will it be a home for freshly laundered clothing. It will actually be used for its intended purpose of being a COUCH!

The Laundry Couch

The Laundry Couch

Since I’m already going to be in the area, I’m going to hit those shelving units behind the couch as well. Do you see the Christmas decorations? They’re hiding behind the unused chore charts for the kids. Yeah…that needs work.

Shelf Chaos

Shelf Chaos

So…here goes nothing! Check back Monday to see how it went!

If you want to see the other bloggers that are participating (the ones that actually started it, in fact), click below:

Repurposed KateWorkbench, Craft Station
Minimalism Journey— Breakfast Room, Bedside Tables
Janey’s RoomThe Shoes, The Coat Rack, The Coat Rack, Again
(Linked posts are for the Wednesday posts. You can see the “after” posts on their sites as well.)

The Great Laundry Wars

A pile of purged clothes

I hate laundry. It is probably the greatest contributing factor to the overall messiness of my house at any given time. I don’t mind washing and drying it…I really don’t. It’s just that I often forget that it’s in the washer, and then it has to be washed again. Or I don’t have enough red clothes or delicates for a load, so they sit there and piled under for so long that I forget that they are there.

The thing that I hate most about laundry though, is folding and putting it away. Confession–we usually just get dressed from the couch/baskets. When I get all fired up and actually fold and put away clothes, it confuses by husband and oldest son. They can’t find anything to wear. Sad but true.

This struggle with laundry isn’t a new thing. I remember my years of high school at the Alabama School of Math and Science (a boarding school for nerds like me…I loved it!) where I would go the whole 6 weeks between trips home without washing clothes. Of course, this meant that I collected a LOT of clothes and learned to wear clothes more than once (a good and bad habit all rolled in to one…). It also meant that the whole weekend I was home, the washer and dryer never stopped.

One of the habits that has most enabled this aversion to laundry is the collection of clothing. I rarely get rid of clothes, and I frequently receive hand-me-downs or gifts of clothing. Because of this clothes-hoarding (let’s call it what it really is people), I CAN avoid washing and putting away clothes. Even if I can’t find the top that I would really like to wear, there is always another one that will work close at hand. Who cares if I have 25 t-shirts? That means one is always clean, right?

Until recently, I didn’t fully realize that the AMOUNT of clothing that I owned was one of the reasons that I so hated doing laundry. I would often say, “we have too many clothes,” but I never really acted like I believed it. I would occasionally get rid of a few pieces that were severely damaged or just ugly, and I told myself that I was purging. Ha!

In the last few weeks, I have really gotten serious about reducing the amount of STUFF in my house. I am tired of living in a house that can’t really be a home. Our stuff is out of control. It is time for change. I have spent a good amount of time reading through blogs on minimalism, frugal living, and cleaning/organizing, and I have made some major realizations about my life and home.

I always have gotten frustrated when I tried to organize my stuff. Marla at FlyLady.net helped me to realize that the “a place for everything and everything in its place” rule only works when clutter is not taking the “place” of the things that I actually use and love. Simple concept, but earth-shaking to my way of life. She also helped me to realize that my perfectionism is one of my greatest liabilities. I won’t let myself achieve anything in small steps. I force myself to try to do everything immediately, and by doing so, set myself up for failure every time.

A few minimalism blogs that I discovered helped me to start a war on my over-consumption and over-stuffed house. I don’t need all of this stuff to be happy. In fact, the more I get rid of, the happier I have become. The blogs are theminimalistmom.combecomingminimalist.com, and thenonconsumeradvocate.com. Since my “awakening,” I have purged 24 large garbage bags of stuff from my house. Most of it was clothes. Most of the clothes were mine.

I have been doing a lot better about keeping up with the washing of clothes since I got fired up by the purchase of a new washing machine, making my own laundry soap, and a general cleaning fever. We also had to take the laundry room door off the hinges to get the new washer inside the room. We had planned to switch it so that it would open out, but we didn’t get around to it immediately. I got a baby gate for the doorway to keep the little man out, and I have decided that I really like it this way. No door means that the laundry room is never “out of sight and out of mind.” I also keep the room much neater because of its visibility. It’s great!

My cleaning fever has not helped me conquer the laundry couch issue though. As you see below, I have reduced the pile to the point that you CAN tell that there’s a couch underneath the clothes, but it’s still not a usable piece of furniture.

The Laundry Couch

The Laundry Couch

It’s MUCH better, but not fixed. So, as I was standing at the couch, trying to make myself fold clothes, I went into full-on ruthless purge mode. Here’s the result:

A pile of purged clothes

Casualties from the Laundry Wars

I purged two full black garbage bags of nothing but MY clothes. This is after the weeks of purging that I had already been through, so my husband was baffled when I walked in with huge armloads of clothes AGAIN. I am getting rid of anything that doesn’t fit right, doesn’t flatter me, doesn’t go with anything else that I own, and that I have too many of. I don’t need 24 solid colored t-shirts. I’m keeping a few of the best ones and getting rid of the rest. It doesn’t matter if I WILL wear it. What matters is whether I have 6 of the same thing! If I still have something that I wore when I was dating my husband, it’s time to let it go.

One other piece of wisdom from the FlyLady: when you donate something that you don’t need, you’re blessing someone else. When I let go of a dress that I really loved once upon a time, I can have peace about it because I know that someone else is going to love and enjoy it now. I’m not putting it in the trash. I’m sending it to bless another person. That thought just makes me smile.