Monday, February 3, 2014


I've developed a new tactic to clear the clutter: I move stuff from my condo to my minivan, lol.

Seriously, it's working for me.

Here's how:

Step 1: Bag slated for Goodwill goes into the van. Bag for tailor goes into the van. Bag with choice children's hand-me-downs for my babysitter's daughter goes into van. Library books, van. Box for post office run, van.

Step 2: When I make a stop at babysitter's house, I remember that bag of hand-me-downs. Suddenly, I have one less bag in the car!

Step 3: When I drive by Goodwill, I remember that bag of donations and make a quick detour to drop it off (via the drive-through lane -- I don't go in the store!!).

Step 4: Stop by tailor's on my way to work this morning. Discover the items I thought she could mend/fix, she can't. Sad, yes. But now I can -- finally! -- move on from that dream of fixing this beloved dress (see photo above).

And so on.

As the Flylady might say: "Progress, not perfection."

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekend Project: 1 kitchen cabinet

Kitchen cabinet: Before:

Kitchen cabinet: After:

Decluttering might be in the eye of the beholder, perhaps, because I don't really think the "before" anad "after" images are much different. But I am hoping that my "new" cabinet will work better for me -- there are now office supplies on the first shelf (paper and pens, tape, stapler) that needed a new home now that the dining room cubbies are gone. The second shelf has my coffee supplies; the top shelf has breakable glasses that I use (but try to keep out of my children's reach), a container of batteries I need to recycle, etc.

Bonus points for me: Thanks to decluttering/reorganizing the cabinet, I finally returned that yellow mug to its true owner, the real World's Best Teacher, Miss Carter!

A side note: The reason I gave myself such a small weekend project? I had the kids this weekend and I try not to overdo it when I have the kids because it's hard to declutter when they're around and I don't want to spend our weekends together doing massive decluttering projects.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

One step forward ...

Although I dropped off several boxes of stuff at my neighborhood Goodwill on Monday, I must admit that I used this opportunity to also do a bit of shopping.

As I always tell myself, "Well, it can't hurt to look ..."

Yes, it can hurt.

It can fill my home with clutter!

It can also hurt my checkbook. As a single mom, I've learned the hard way that every penny really does count.

I have also learned that thrift stores are a "trigger" for me and I now avoid them most of the time.

I do, however, let myself do a bit of "treasure hunting" (shopping at secondhand shops) every other weekend -- on payday weekends, which are also the weekends the kids are with their dad and thus I have some time to meander.

However, Monday was not a sanctioned shopping day. And yet ...  I could not resist these shoes. Such bright and happy looking garden clogs, made in Germany, and they "sort of" fit. I spent $10 on them (overpriced).

The good news: I bought the clogs, but I resisted this desk. I really wanted it -- really -- but it was $200! $200 at Goodwill?! I had it all planned out in my mind though: I would purchase the desk and then deliver it to Three Freckles for a paint makeover. I'd get it back and it'd be all shabby chic, a magnificent writing desk. But ... the time is not right for me to spend that kind of money ($400 plus). I have bills to pay and mouths to feed.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


A few months ago, I was trying to find my children's birth certificates, but  I couldn't locate all of them (hmmm, I guess that means I have a lot of children, lol). I was talking over my dilemma with an organized mom friend, who told me she has a file labeled "important papers" and it was filled with documents like birth certificates, social security cards, vaccination records, etc. I should have a file like that, but I don't -- oh, wait, now I do!

While the kids were with their dad last weekend, I hunkered down and went through my boxes of papers. Not all of the boxes, maybe about seven. I spent hours sorting papers for recycling, shredding and to keep. Fortunately, in these boxes, I located the birth certificates, my passport, vaccination records and more.

After the sort, I was shopping at Target when I found this SentrySafe on clearance for $20. I bought it, and after I got home, looked up more info on this family's experience mentioned on the box.

I can't vouch for the product, all I know is that at least some of my important papers are now more secure! I am still sorting ...

Friday, January 10, 2014

AFTER: Dining room

Here's my dining room before I started decluttering it:

Here it is now, about nine days later:

Acting on the momentum I built, I cleared the foyer, too:

Although -- if you opened the lockers and the closet, you'd see there is still plenty of decluttering ahead!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Raggedy Ann & Co.

On Tuesday, many schools across Minnesota were canceled for a second day due to it being cold in January (OK, really cold -- Polar Vortex cold). I didn't expect to get much decluttering done with children afoot -- children are generally clutter producers, not clutter dispersers -- but I did manage to get three boxes and a bag of stuff organized and out the door for a previously scheduled pick-up by the Epilepsy Foundation. Goodbye, Raggedy Ann. Goodbye, dust pan. Goodbye, zebra pillows. I will try not to replace you immediately with new things.

Monday, January 6, 2014

"A Room of One's Own"

"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." -- Virginia Woolf

I write non-fiction and I don't have much money, but I do have lots of rooms of my own -- my condo is about 1,200 square feet. Yet, I don't feel like I really do have a room of my own, because I also have three children and a dog living with me in this one-level apartment, lol. But I do have a storage room, located on a different floor in my building. It is definitely in need of decluttering before it can feel like a retreat:

What I would like to do in 2014 is to turn this storage room into my office. The issues: It is not heated and I don't see any outlets in it. And, I'm not sure what the rules of my condo association are in terms of wiring, etc.

For now, though, I can focus on the first step, decluttering the room. Maybe then I'll find my missing condo guidebook (with all rules and regulations, etc.). Of course, I can also dream and be inspired by examples like this shed makeover.