Posted in cleaning

How Much Does Your Clutter Cost?

In the mid nineteenth century thousands of people journeyed west taking everything they had with them in a covered wagon. The covered wagon was the mivivan of the emigrant trails. It’s hard to picture just how much stuff you could fit in a covered wagon, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t a lot. I can’t imagine getting many of my possessions in a minivan or even suburban, along with the kids and dog.

(credit: State Historical Society, Columbia) 

I am going to go ahead and guess that the pioneers of that time didn’t have a clutter problem. There were no “storage marts” or Pod containers to rent. Clutter is an issue that we created later on. An issue that has come at a cost!

The problem: we put more value on our stuff than on our space.

Francine Jay

So just how much does your clutter cost? Clutter costs us in more than just dollars but lets just talk about the dollars to start.

23% of people in America have a bedroom that is not being used for anything except to store clutter. 70% of the clutter in that room has not been used in 10 years. 20% of people can not use their garage for it’s purpose, a car, because it is too full of clutter.

Let’s figure the cost of the space being used. Say you have a 2000 sq ft home that is worth 400k. (That number is ridiculously low where I live but we are just going to use that number.) Take the cost of your home divided by the square footage. In this case $200 per square foot. If you are using a small 10’x10′ bedroom for your clutter then the clutter in that room is taking up 20K !!! Now let’s assume the garage is a very small two car garage, 20’x20′, 400 square feet, that equals 80k! One hundred thousand dollars of your home is being used to contain clutter!!!! That is absolutely mind blowing!!

Not only do we store clutter in our homes but we rent storage units to store our clutter as well.  In the U.S., 65% of self-storage renters have a garage in their home, 47% have an attic, and 33% have a basement. This suggests that Americans have more things than their homes allow them…in other words, clutter. The average storage unit costs appoximately $150 a month, often more than that. Plus you need to pay renters insurance to cover the contents of the unit. That is a minimun of $1800 per year to house clutter.

We are now very aware of how expensive it is to keep our clutter. We haven’t even mentioned how much it cost us to aquire it in the first place…which is ironically the reason many people continue to pay more money to keep the clutter.

What other ways does our clutter cost us? Time for one. Did you know that we spend about one whole year of our lives looking for something we have lost or misplaced? If our homes are cluttered it is easy to lose things and harder to find them. Clutter makes everything take longer. Too many clothes makes it harder and takes longer to find something to wear. Too many piles of mail makes it hard to find that important paper you need. Too many knick knacks makes it too hard to dust easily. Losing your keys in clutter on the counter can cause you to be late.

Clutter costs us Space, like the bedroom full of clutter. That space could be used for a grandchild’s sleepover or a friend coming from out of town. It could be used as an office or a sewing/hobby room. Clutter robs us of those opportunities because it takes up space. It isnt that we dont have enough room… we have too much stuff.

Clutter takes more energy. Clutter has to be worked around, moved, shoved back, and dealt with in someway. Clutter makes 40% more housework and makes it more difficult as welll. First you have to clean….before you can clean!

Clutter affects our memory and our focus. Did you know that clutter affects your brain? Our brains like order, and constant visual reminders of disorganization drain our cognitive resources, meaning our brains have to constantly “do something” with what it is seeing. Clutter is like an app running in the background. We aren’t able to give other things our full attention, reducing our ability to focus. The visual distraction of clutter increases cognitive overload and can reduce our working memory.

Sleep is also affected when there is clutter. Clutter causes stress in your brain, because it has to continually process it. Stress raises cortisol which makes hard to sleep, makes us gain weight, causes anxiety, and many other physical issues. Research has shown that being in a messy room will make you twice as likely to eat a chocolalte bar than an apple and people with extremely cluttered homes are 77% more likely to be overweight.

Happiness and relationships are affected by clutter. All those things just mentioned are going to have a toll on our mental well being which in turn affects all our relationships.

Our home is not just a storage space. Our home is supposed to be our refuge from the world and stress around us. It is supposed to be our “happy place”.

So next time you are tempted to just toss those jeans that don’t fit in the extra bedroom… maybe take them to a charity instead. You will be accomplishing two good things at once.

Make a desicion to spend 15 minutes each day “decluttering”. Getting rid of clutter doesn’t have to be an event! Make it a habit!

One of the best ways to win the war with clutter is not bringing it home. Think about your purchases carefully. Do you really need it? Do you have a home for it? What do you need to get rid of if you buy it?

Things to remember as you go about your home. “Don’t put it down, put it away.” “Everything has a home and everything in its home.” “Don’t touch anything twice, put it where it belongs the first time.”

You can have a clutter free house! You deserve that. Do it for your wallet, your time, your energy, your brain, your health, your happiness and for your family! Don’t let clutter rob you anymore!

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 12:32-24

Happy decluttering!

Elizabeth XOXO

Posted in cleaning

Everything has Purpose

Decluttering. This time of year everyone is talking about decluttering, organizing, starting fresh. But how do you know what to get rid of? It can be confusing and honestly exhausting making decision after decision on what to keep, donate and throw away!

I have come up with a scenario that really helps make those decisions easier! At least it works for me. It kinda takes my compassionate side and uses it for my “stuff”!

Everything is created for a purpose. Every pen, every dish, every shirt, every shoe, every animal, and every human. Everything has a reason and a purpose.

"The Lord has made everything for its purpose..." 
~Proverbs 16:4

As you look at your things, consider their purpose. Are they fulfilling it? Are the pair of shoes still in the box, are they fulfilling their purpose? Are they happily doing what they were meant to do? Making their wearer happy and comfortable.

Has the worn T-shirt with the hole in it completed its purpose? If so, it is time to let it go with gratitude.

“If you’re not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You’re not going to start using it more by shoving it in a closet somewhere.”
― Joshua Becker

Try to imagine your possessions having life. No, I’m not crazy, they aren’t alive, I know that. But they were made to be used and appreciated and not shunned to live in a box under a bed in a spare room. They are intended to give someone joy. If we shove them under a bed they are not doing their job. We are not allowing them to serve and fulfill their purpose.

In Toy Story 3, Andy no longer plays with his toys and they are put in the attic.  The toys are distraught!  Woody writes a note to Andy (wouldn’t that be great if your things could tell you what and where they want to be?! ) and asks if they could be given to a little girl named Bonnie. Bonnie would love them and give them the attention they deserved.

It may seem silly giving imaginary life to your possessions but it is very helpful in determining what to keep, what to sell, donate and throw away.  Because in this scenario, it’s not just about what you want. It takes some pressure off of you by “asking your things” what they want.  Where are they going to fulfill their purpose? Are you going to use them? Would someone else appreciate them more than you do? Have they served their purpose and need to be gratefully let go? 

…think of your children!!! lol!!

Start looking at everything you have as having “life”, having a purpose, and deserving respect and gratitude.  Changing our mindset in this way about the things we own makes the decision-making process of decluttering so much easier and almost fun! Just think of all the people you can make happy by letting go of things that no longer serve YOU but can be a huge blessing to them!

“The crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ He answered, ‘Whoever has two shirts must share with the one who has none, and whoever has food must do the same.'” ~Luke 3:10-11

Not only will you benefit from a clutter-free home by letting go of the things that are not serving their purpose in your house, but God blesses those that are generous with their belongings. It is a win-win situation!

"Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."
Proverbs 11:25

Give yourself the gift of an uncluttered home, bless someone else with the things that are no longer serving their purpose at your house, and retire those things that are no longer useful.

Happy decluttering!

Elizabeth XOXO

Posted in cleaning, family, organizing, routines, Tips and Tricks

You Don’t Need Money to be Organized

Boxes. Cardboard boxes. Sometimes taped together to make a particular shape. A shoebox, a cereal box cut to the right height, toilet paper tubes taped together.

When I was newly married we had next to nothing. Then we had three children and had even less. But we managed! I didn’t have money to spend on Rubbermaid boxes or cute baskets to organize my things. It really never crossed my mind! I just made do with what I had to organize our things. So cardboard, packing tape, and yogurt containers were often used as “organizational tools”.

I share this to say, don’t wait until you can find the right baskets or till you can afford the containers for the pantry. Declutter, see what you have left, decide what shape and size things you need and then find a shoe box or a salad bowl and use that for now. Write down in your notes in your phone the exact size etc of the things you need. Next time you are at Walmart or Target you know exactly what you are looking for. Do not buy a bunch of cute baskets and wooden boxes before you know what you need!

You don’t need money to organize. If you never get the perfect basket and your bathroom is primarily organized by shoe boxes and packing tape…. guess what?! It’s still organized. Currently, the drawer that holds my cleanser, moisturizer, deodorant, contacts and the like is completely coordinated with boxes taped together to make dividers. Classy, right?! At least it is organized!

I am sure by now you all have heard of Marie Kondo. If you haven’t, she is a Japanese woman with an incredible amount of wisdom about decluttering and living a simple clean life. I will link her book here. You can click on the image to order from Amazon if you are interested! She has a show on Netflix called “Tidying Up”.

She does suggest that you do huge decluttering sessions and I don’t find that very feasible. As much as I would LIKE to do that I don’t have a lot of time for that and I don’t imagine you do either.

Declutter in a small area every day. Instead of putting off decluttering at all until you have time to pull everything out of each room of the house, I suggest doing little bits every day or as often as possible. Yes, it will take a long while to get through everything, but at least you will be making progress.

Decluttering is not a one and done. Hopefully next time you declutter and reorganize the junk drawer it will be much better, but you are going to have to do it again.

If you have the time and inclination to go all out… don’t have the kids at home, have pizza planned for dinner and have help! The likelihood of becoming overwhelmed is very possible so it is imperative to have a friend to help you.

Don’t start it if you can’t finish it! Don’t pull everything out of a dresser or the kitchen cupboards if you only have an hour to do it. Make sure you have the time to completely finish. Take it out, sort it, put it back, bag up garbage and take it to the trash, bag up donations and take them to a thrift store or charity of your choice. Do NOT leave donations in a bag in the living room or by the front door. Get it out! Decluttering is supposed to make your home less chaotic and more peaceful. A pile of junk left on the kitchen table when you got tired of doing it, is just the opposite.

Here is a super great article on what NOT to do when decluttering! Check it out!

Pro Organizer Tips: What NOT to do when decluttering your home

I hope you do something fun this weekend. Spend time with your kids. Our time with them is so short. Be with your spouse. Enjoy the life you’ve been gifted!

1 Thessalonians 5:16

Be joyful always

Blessings! XOXO

Posted in cleaning, family, organizing, spiritual

You Deserve a Clean and Peaceful Home

I have a guilty pleasure. I get tremendous enjoyment from watching “Hoarders” and immense satisfaction watching them clean up all that junk. At first, it’s like a train wreck and you can’t look away. Then you want to shake the person and say “You don’t deserve to live like this!”! The cleaning process begins and it is amazing to see what is under all that garbage. You can see that at one time they had a beautiful home!

Scary and sad, right?!

Unfortunately, I am sure that without a lot of intense counseling those people will go right back to living in filth. Somewhere in their lives, they decided that they weren’t worth anything but garbage…. and lots of it.

I am not suggesting that any one of us has a problem even remotely like this! If you did, you probably wouldn’t be here reading this. A lot of us do struggle with excess stuff though.

Let me tell you right now that no matter what life has handed you, you are worth more than your junk, your clutter, and garbage. You are a daughter or son of God! He wants the very best for you.

If you are drowning in “stuff” and find it hard to get rid of, I want you to ask yourself when it was that you decided that you didn’t deserve a nice clean home. If it is really a difficult challenge for you I strongly encourage counseling. Sometimes it’s fear. Fear of letting go of things because of the fear of not being provided for. Sometimes it is surrounding ourselves with a layer of stuff so we are protected from hurt. Our minds do funny things while trying to protect us. Without some help to learn to forgive, let go and heal it will continue to be an issue and keep you from being the best you can be! Therapy is for everyone because this is am an imperfect world full of imperfect people!

I read an article by The Minimalists called “Decluttering Doesn’t Work”. I will link it here. They talk about what happens if we don’t address the “why”. If the reasons we have our clutter don’t go away then getting rid of it won’t help. We will just find ourselves replacing our “pacifiers” as they call it.

The Minimalists “Why Decluttering Doesn’t Work”

When we remove our possessions we have to face who we really are. What is really important to us? Are material things so essential? Where does our happiness come from? Who are we without anything? Some pretty deep questions to consider and some serious soul searching to do!

Every single one of us deserves to come home at night to a well organized, clean, healthy, safe house. Not just certain people, not just rich people, not just other people. YOU! Your home is your castle, your refuge and a place of peace.

This is the reason and the passion behind this blog. I want to make that clean, organized dream home come true for everyone! YOU deserve it! So…. on with decluttering and maybe some inner cleansing as well.

If you are part of the VIP Self Cleaning House Facebook group, I hope you are enjoying the daily challenges! If you aren’t, please enter your email to follow my blog and you will get an invite!

Posted in camping, cleaning, Coeur d' Alene River, happiness, motivation, organizing

Minimal Stuff Makes Minimal Mess

My husband and daughter took a couple of weeks off for hunting. After a week of “camping in the fall” and not seeing anything, they came home. They are still hoping to get some day-hunts in before the end of the season!

My hubby, bless his heart, decided to be productive the last week of his vacation time and clean the garage! We clean the garage really well a couple of times of year. Isn’t it crazy how fast it can get disorganized again???

APhoto Credit: memes.com

This time we decided to really clean it out. Not just organize the “stuff ” but take a good hard look at what we have and decide if we really need it, if someone else could better benefit from it, is it replaceable, or is it trash?! We were brutally honest with ourselves. We made a “Trash” pile, a “Donate” pile and a very small “Sell” pile (that is a dangerous pile and you don’t want many things in that one or they will just be re-assimilated!) We also had a pile of “Things to return to others”.

We opened boxes, took things off shelves, pulled things out. We ended up with a truckload of things to go to the dump, a truckload to take to donate and a few things to sell. It felt AMAZING!!!

I honestly thought I would not come up with a lot to get rid of. I hate clutter. I don’t like a lot of “stuff”. Come to find out, I had a lot of crap I didn’t realize was crap!

Truly taking an honest look at what I had, was so freeing! I realized that a lot of things that I had been keeping, I was keeping out of fear. Fear that I would need it and not have it. Fear that if I did need it, I wouldn’t be able to afford to replace it. Fear that someone would be offended if I got rid of it. Well, kicking fear to the curb and thinking “If my house burned down, would I miss it? Would I be able to replace it? Would I buy another one? ” helped me to get rid of soooooo much!!

Getting rid of “stuff” is the only way to really have a self-cleaning house. Minimal stuff makes minimal mess.

I have started on a new “Crap crusade” in my closet and I am excited! I will keep you posted on that venture!

When you let go of stuff you unclog the positive flow and new and wonderful things can come into your life in many ways, not only just in your garage. When you hang on to too much stuff and things it clutters your mind and life, not just your home. Your life isn’t meant to be stagnant. By hanging on to old things, too many things and unnecessary things you are blocking the stream of abundance that belongs to you!

Remember when you were a kid or when you told your kids that they couldn’t have a new toy unless they got rid of one (or five!)? Yes!  Just like that!  Our life is supposed to be rewarded and blessed, but first…. you have to get rid of some stuff.

you can't reach for anything new

I encourage you to kick the fear, tell yourself that it’s ok to let go. Enjoy the amazing feeling of a clean uncluttered home, and the positive things that will come your way!

Go get rid of some stuff!!

 

Posted in cleaning, food, happiness, organizing, Tips and Tricks

Everything has a home and everything in it’s home

aromatherapy bloom blossom bright
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of the most consistent things you will see in a clean home is that everything has a home and everything is in it’s home.

You can have a disheveled room and pick up and have it clean in just minutes if everything has a place to live.

If an item has no place to live, it is wandering aimlessly around the house from one flat surface to another feeling out of place and awkward.

homeless

Imagine how that whatchamacallit you ordered from Amazon must feel.  It got ripped from a shelf, shut into a box and thrown into a truck. After a few rough rides, air turbulence, conveyor belts and another truck ride,  it landed at your front door hoping for a warm welcome and a good home.  Alas, it’s been moved from coffee table to kitchen counter to dining table, never really fitting in.  All it wants is a real home.  A place where it belongs.  Have a heart!  Find your whatchamacallit a home!

Everything in it's home

In all seriousness, establishing where something will live eliminates frustration when cleaning, it also helps prevent procrastination.  As a bonus, you will always know where something is when you need it!  Which also means you can delegate when necessary because you know where things are!

Next time you bring something into the house, think about where it’s forever home will be and put it there.   NOT a temporary home on the dresser for now.

You can have a clean home for a hot minute without a home for everything but it won’t be that way for long.  An organized home has a home for everything.

Making sure nothing is left homeless will save time cleaning, make your home more stress-free and allows you to do more of what YOU want to do!

clean home

We are in the middle of summer here in North Idaho, but I am already looking forward to fall!  I love fall!  The cool crisp air, the beautiful leaves, the boots, scarves and pumpkin spice lattes!  Yup, I am that girl.

Apples are another of my fall favorites.  We go apple picking at a local farm every year. Our whole family goes together. Hot fresh apple cider warms your hands while you stand in line for the pumpkin doughnuts, the aroma alone is worth standing in the long line.  Local vendors are selling their homemade goods.  Kids scream with delight at the bounce houses and beg to get their faces painted.  Wonderful memories are made there!

apple box

So when I stopped in a roadside fruit stand and found Honey Crisp Apple for $12.95 for a giant box I had to get them!  I can’t wait to go pick them myself but just couldn’t pass them up at that price.  So let the apple cooking, baking, eating begin!

apple peeler

One of the first things I did was make a fresh apple cake.  Seriously one of my favorite “apple” things!

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I peeled four apples.  I needed four cups of apples but these things are the size of my head so I ended up with eight cups!  I put the other four cups in a ziplock bag with a couple teaspoons of Fruit-Fresh and some water and put them in the fridge for something else.

Keep your apples from turning brown!

I used my really cool apple peeler/corer to peel the apples.  Super easy and fast!

all done

Yummy!!!! Warm with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is the way to go!

1 cup butter or shortening
2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups flour
4 cups chopped apples
Topping
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter melted
1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream butter and brown sugar together. Blend in eggs. In a small bowl combine salt, soda, cinnamon, and flour. Stir into shortening/sugar mixture. Fold in apples. It will be very thick. Put in a greased 9×13 baking pan. Combine melted butter and sugar and sprinkle over top. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake in a 350 F oven for 50 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick.
Serve warm or room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)


DVO



 Click on this picture to order Fruit Fresh from Amazon!  This stuff is great! I cut up apples for my husband’s lunch, put a little Fruit Fresh in a ziplock bag and some water, add the apples and shake!  No brown apples!

 This apple peeler/corer is a huge time saver!  You can even peel potatoes with it!!  WOW!  Click on the picture to order!

Posted in cleaning, food, organizing

Smile!!

Years ago as I was going through my house tidying up, this phrase popped into my head and it has been my motto ever since.  “Improve every room you are in, each time you are in it, even if it’s just a smile.”

smile emoji

I say that over and over in my head all the time as I move throughout my house.  It just stuck.  It might be silly, but yes, sometimes I just smile in a room all by myself.

I fluff the couch pillows and set them straight.  I straighten the shower curtain when I am in the bathroom or wipe the toast crumbs off the counter when I get a drink.

Sometimes I look around and don’t see anything right off that needs attention so I just smile and mentally bless my home!

“Improve every room you are in, each time you are in it, even if it’s just a smile.”

smile flower

My favorite way to clean the shower is with a cloth and some body wash or shampoo while I am IN the shower.  It is a million times easier, you are already in there and already wet! I do that at least once a week and my shower never looks dirty.  I do, however, like to use a good shower cleaner to really get a good clean and get the water spots off every few weeks.   This is the best one I have found.  I have used several and I have been happiest with the Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Foam! Click the link or the picture to purchase on Amazon.  When you do you are helping to support me at no extra cost to you! Thanks!

I made banana bread this week.  Yummy!  It hasn’t exactly been baking weather but I had 4 brown polka dot bananas left from the week before and I just couldn’t in good conscience leave them there!  I didn’t have any walnuts or pecans but I did have some chocolate chips that I threw in there instead.  I must say it may become a thing now!!

Have a happy weekend and don’t forget to improve every room you are in, if only just to smile!

smile

“>Click here to check out the awesome program I use for all my recipes and menu planning!

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Total Time:

by Elizabeth

3-4 very ripe bananas
4 eggs
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup broken walnuts or Pecans (opt)
brown sugar
cinnamon
sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
Grease 3 small loaf pans or 2 small loaf pans and a muffin pan. Sprinkle the bottom of the pans with brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon.
In a blender, puree bananas, eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat shortening and gradually add sugars. Stir in banana mixture. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt blend into batter. Add walnuts if desired. Divide between the prepared pans. Sprinkle the tops with more brown sugar, cinnamon, and sugar.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Muffins, depending on size will bake 40-50 minutes. Check with toothpick for doneness.

Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)


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Posted in cleaning, organizing, spiritual, Tips and Tricks

The Science Behind Clutter

I can feel it staring at me. In the kitchen, the office, the bedroom closet.  Every room I enter it is there.  Glaring at me, threatening to overtake my home, to suffocate me and make me it’s slave.  I make my way down to the laundry room searching for an escape from it but it has grown and I  feel even more helpless to escape its clutches.  I am too afraid to open the pantry door.  The walls seem to be caving in, the rooms shrinking!  The clutter has taken on a life of its own!!!! Panic attack!

hide

It started in a seemingly innocent way.  I was just going to put that box of old photos away somewhere but I needed to find a place first.  This is a really neat bag, I might need this for something.  I might need all those old towels someday…I will file that paperwork later…I might want to pick up cross stitch again someday in my spare time.  I will just put the cans in the pantry and shut the door really fast.

I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately by all the “stuff”  we have collected.  It sneaks up on you, doesn’t it?? I swear I didn’t see it coming.  It seems to multiply and we don’t even notice.  I start to walk by the piles of things and shut them out.  I become blind to the stacks of things on the counter, the overdue library books by the door, the neighbor’s cookie plate on top of the fridge.  They become like furniture, it’s just there.  It gets easier to set things down on the piles or just in the general area of an item’s home rather than actually put it in its home.

Then one day, you notice.  You go from room to room with eyes wide open. Your palms sweat,  the clutter seems to mock you. You feel helpless and confused.  How did this happen??

It’s called “Entropy”.  Entropy is the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  It states that everything goes from a state of order to disorder.  It is the natural tendency of things to lose order.

Without countermeasures, life will always become less structured.

barn

Without care the lawn dies and weeds crop up, cars rust, barns collapse, pantries become unorganized, garages become a mess, marriages crumble, families fall apart.

Entropy increases over time. The state of something will continue to decline without effort on our part to restore order.

So, why doesn’t the junk drawer stay organized? It’s science!

The good news is we CAN combat entropy. In fact, God put us here to do that!

Genesis 2:15  “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”

God expects us to put out the effort to keep our home, our land our cars, our space in general, in good order.

Here is an “Anti-Entropy, Anti-Panic attack”  list:

  1.  Always do your morning and evening routines
  2. Don’t put it down, put it away
  3. Have a “home” for everything
  4. Do you REALLY need it, want it, love it?  If not, get rid of it. Don’t set it down.
  5. Be present.  Pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t walk over the same gum wrapper on the garage floor for a week.  Pick it up and throw it away.

Now, since I have been slacking on my own advice and the clutter is leering at me, I am going to go on an anti-entropy quest!

Click here to get the awesome program I use for all my recipes and menu planning!


Homemade Mexican Pizza

Servings 8

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
cornmeal
Pizza:
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup water
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
1/4 cup salsa
1 can sliced black olives
1/4 cup diced red onion
crushed tortilla chips
1 pound pizza cheese blend
shredded lettuce
diced tomato
sour cream
jalapeño pepper
hot pepper sauce

Directions:

Put water and oil in the bottom of the bread machine. Put dry ingredients on top. Start on “dough setting”. When it’s done turn onto a floured surface and knead to deflate it. Divide into two equal pieces. Let it rest for 10 minutes. The second ball of dough can be frozen at this point for future use. Roll and stretch the dough and form it on a pizza peel that is heavily dusted in cornmeal.
Place pizza stone in oven and heat to 500* for 30 minutes.
Saute ground beef until no longer pink and drain. Add taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water. Simmer until water has evaporated.
Mix refried bean with salsa and stir until smooth and spreadable. Gently spread over prepared pizza dough.
Top with seasoned meat, olives, red onion, crushed chips and then cheese.
Turn oven down to 425*
Carefully slide the pizza off pizza peel onto the hot pizza stone.
Bake for 10-15 minutes watching closely.
Remove the pizza using the pizza peel.
Serve with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, jalapeno, and hot sauce.

Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)


DVO

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This cool ottoman/toy chest/storage chest is just the thing I need for scarves, hats, gloves, and umbrellas in my entryway!  Click on the pic to order!

Look at this totally adorable water bottle!  My granddaughter is really into unicorns! She also likes to steal my stainless steel water bottle because the water stays so cold!  So I think this is just what she needs!

Posted in cleaning, food, organizing, Tips and Tricks

Hope for the “Less than Organized”

I have a confession to make.  I am not your born organized, super OCD, perfectionist.  I have always said that I am a “perfectionist wannabe”.   I WANT everything to be organized and pretty, but with an in-home daycare, a big family, homeschooling my kids, always doing some side job, etc., it has always been a struggle for me.   My brain NEEDS it to be clean and tidy to think clearly and not be stressed, but it doesn’t come naturally to me.

I am a hard worker and I have always tried hard to keep a clean home no matter how much I had on my plate, but then I would see other people’s homes and realize just how NOT clean and organized mine was.

Some people are born into the world organized!  My youngest daughter, Aimee, is one of those.  She was organizing her shoes instead of napping when she was two! Do you know how hard it is to scold a child for not taking her nap when she just lined up all her shoes perfectly and her room is clean?  She was charging her older sisters to clean and organize their closets by the time she was three!  (Young entrepreneur!)

aimee's closet

This is Aimee’s hall closet.  See what I mean??  She used dollar store bins and labeled everything with her pretty handwriting!  It’s a thing of beauty!  I won’t show you mine.  It is semi-organized with cardboard boxes and some plastic ones marked with my label maker. My towels are not lined up perfectly, my boxes and baskets are overflowing and there is just way too much stuff in there.

That picture right there inspires me! It can also make me frustrated with myself.  I used to let things like that bother me, I still struggle with that.  I would compare myself to others and beat myself up for not being that good.  I still want to improve myself and my home and my organizational skills daily but I am really working to not beat myself up!  I don’t want you to either.  We are a work in progress!

Comparison is the theif of joy.--Theodore Roosevelt1

I use routines that I have made into ingrained habits that keep my house pretty clean.  I still have a long way to go in the organizing and “closets that look like art” department,  but I’m working on it!  I often feel like I am not qualified to write this blog,  I am so far from having a “perfect home” but I know I have something to share with you.  Ways that I have found to maintain some order in a chaotic life!

So, the take away from this:

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others and beat yourself up.
  2. Let those more organized inspire you
  3. Make morning and evening routines a habit
  4. There is hope if you weren’t born with the “Clean Gene”

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Have you ever made homemade croutons?  They are delicious!  Yes, dried bread that is delicious!  If you think about it, why BUY dried bread that isn’t really that good when you probably already have everything you need to make a whole bunch of super yummy croutons for your salads this summer!

Click here to get the awesome program I use for all my recipes and menu planning!


Croutons

1 loaf cubed bread It can be random types of bread you have left over. Just fill a baking sheet.
1 cube butter, melted
Italian seasoning
Johnny’s garlic and herb seasoning

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put bread cubed on a baking sheet. Pour melted butter over all. I hold the cup up kind of high so it is a small stream and doesn’t all go in one spot. Liberally shake Italian seasoning and garlic herb seasoning over bread. Stir with a pancake spatula, kind of turning it over. Shake on a bit more seasoning. Bake for 15 minutes at a time. After every 15 minutes, take out and “stir” again. Sometimes it takes an hour sometimes only 45 minutes. You can tell by how dark it is getting. Let them sit out on the counter for several hours before storing. Try not to eat them all before they make it to a ziplock bag!

Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)

Cook’n is a next generation recipe app that makes it fun and easy to share favorite recipes.

Click here to get Cook’n (it’s free!)


DVO

QuantcastCheck out this adorable picnic basket!  Isn’t it just the cutest?!  It’s insulated too!  I am going to use it for my daycare.  I am going to pack our water bottles, snacks, and wipes in it when we spend the mornings playing outside.  Click on the picture to order it on Amazon and when you do, at no extra cost to you I get a little kickback.  Thank you for supporting me!

This cool shelf is going in my laundry room.  It will fit perfectly and will nicely hold baskets, detergents, extra towels and cleaning supplies.  Click on the picture to order from Amazon!

Posted in cleaning, family, organizing, Tips and Tricks

Less is Best!

We went camping last weekend!!  Yes, it rained and possibly snowed just a bit.  It was cold and wet, but we went camping!! I am just a little excited that the camping season is upon us.  At least for us crazy diehards, it is.  We did go to our State Park where we had electric hookups.  We didn’t go all survivor style or anything.  We just needed to get away for a couple of nights and have some nature therapy.

camping

I love the fresh air, the dirt, the grass, the trees and walks in the rain and roasting marshmallows.  Most of all I love the memories we are making.  Memories are what holds families together.  Memories will be what’s left when we are gone.

puddles

I want to give my family a clean, organized home that is a comforting safe place to be and leave them memories that will live on long after I am gone.  I know that sounds like having your cake and eating it too!  How do you have time to make memories if you are keeping a clean and organized home?

I know for me, personally, I had a tough time trying to balance cleaning and laundry and cooking with spending time with my kids.  I loved reading to them and baking with them and working on schoolwork together,  but it was hard to do when I had so much that had to be done!  I knew that there had to be a better way.

I have spent years developing that “way”!  Thinking it out and perfecting my system.  I wish I could have had my ducks in a row when my kids were really young.  I hope they knew I was trying! It is my goal and passion to pass what I have learned on to you!

Breaking down household chores into little bits and doing those little bits each day, establishing habits that are seemingly effortless, and eliminating excess, creates what is the “Self Cleaning House”.

Eliminating things that create clutter helps to cut down your workload and keeps your house tidy.  More is NOT better.  Less is best! For example, I HATE dusting!  The best way I avoid doing this job is simple.  I just don’t have things that need to be dusted.  I am a minimalist when it comes to knickknacks and decorations.  Having very few “things” makes a room look more open, less cluttered and just simply beautiful.  It makes it easier to tidy up and much easier to do the dreaded dusting.  Less “stuff”, even if its pretty “stuff” gives the illusion of a much more tidy home.

 

dust

We get used to seeing our stuff.  It becomes like furniture.  It’s just there.  Even if we don’t like it, it just sits there and pretty soon we don’t see it anymore!  Do yourself a huge favor this week and take a close look around.  Walk into your home and pretend you are a guest.  Look at everything with fresh eyes.  What do you see?  What do you like?  What don’t you like?  What looks out-of-place or outdated or just blah…?  Then gather all those things up and take them immediately to your local St. Vincent’s or another thrift store you choose to support.  Don’t stick them in the garage or closet just creating more junk to clean around.  Be rid of the stuff!!   Just say NO to stuff!

Dusting a flat surface takes very little time.  I still don’t enjoy it but at least it doesn’t take long.  Less time doing housework equals more time with your family and more memory making!  Get rid of some stuff and go do something you love!