Tuesday, March 27, 2007


On Martha's website this week, she gives 100 reasons to "get rid of it" here are her top 3:
Because You Have Too Much Stuff

1. 1.4 million Americans suffer from chronic hoarding & clutter.
2. People burn 55 minutes a day looking for things.
3. 80 percent of what we own we never use.

In a perfect world, my home would look close to these pictures.. but it doesn't. i try, everyday....several times a day...all day! But with two babies crawling around the house, getting their clothes dirty, pulling their socks off and leaving them random places, taking toys out and hiding them in the hallway, pulling the pots and pans out while I am making dinner, and mixing up all the DVDs in my bedroom and scattering them all over the floor, it makes sweeping and wiping counters seem like nothing.

So, the answer is (besides lock up and put up what ever you can) get rid of stuff! I have been filling bags for DI and MS for weeks now...but I feel like I still have 'stuff' everywhere. Most of it is a laundry issue (me, in between like 2-3 sizes with winter and spring clothes still out) Addie (do I get rid of the winter clothes yet, but she is needing her shorts right now too) Ian is in between sizes as well, and Kenneth, is not a problem. So with three people in between seasons and sizes as well as 2 that go through at least 2 outfits a day, laundry can seem overwhelming! Not to mention putting them away!

So, I started by getting rid of the stuff that fits, and is "ok" but i only wear if my laundry needs to be done. (When Kenneth and I backpacked thru europe for a month, I had 3 shirts...only three) and I was in heaven! Why, then, is my closet overflowing with clothes that I will wear, but maybe later. The "if you haven't worn it in a year, chuck it" rule has always worked for me, but I am needing to go deeper. I really don't have that much, but there are things that I really don't like but still wear because it is there.

so, that was the first step. The second step, get rid of the toys that are just taking up space in the toy bucket...you know those toys that someone gave you, that they only like to chew on, but not play with? I need to really be better at recycling the toys we have. My husband put half of the toys in a garbage bag and put them in our storage closet. 6 months later, we switched and the kids felt like they had new toys!

Third, if I ever buy something, I need to get rid of something. I don't buy a lot, so this is not too helpful for me. But it works!

Fourth, everything needs to have a place. if it doesn't have a place, make one, or chuck it. THis is my favorite one.

So, here are somethings that have worked for me. what works for you? Having two mobile children is a lot harder than when there was just one. That is for sure. But habits are habits. I really need to accept the stage of my life right now, but also find new ways to improve. How do you keep your bedroom your bedroom, and not a dumping ground? do you have great toy solutions? How do you keep your kitchen clean? Any great routines that you do that help you feel like things are getting done despite the runny noses, crying, "hold you mommy", etc? Any great web sites that you find inspiring or helpful! Tag...your it!


  1. Wow, Sarah! You're quick! Welcome.

    I think this is a perfect topic. Whether or not you're already pretty good at organization (I think it's a gift/tallent), there can usually be improvement. I always thought that I was organized unitl I saw an Oprah show with Colin Cowie on it. He's crazy organized. Everything looks like a retial store.

    I really like routines. I clean my house every weekend--Friday or Saturday (and wash Cole's and our sheets) and try to pick an organization project I can work on once a week. For example, I completely reorganized Cole's room last weekend. I have a bunch of the big plastic storage bins and put a size and season into each bin from newborn to the last size he outgrew. [I labled them "0-3 months: Winter," for example.] I cleared out any clothes, etc. that we won't use again, put them in bags for charity, as well as got rid of toys that I'm not a fan of. The week before, I did the medicine closet, my bathroom (cleaned out the make up bag, brushes, etc.), and the kitchen cabinets. I LOVE organization.

    Laundry is a hard one to tackle. I always do laundry the same day I clean the house (to wash sheets, towels, rugs, etc.) and then at least one other time during the week. If I can just lay my laundry flat in a basket when I take it out of the dryer, it allows me to not stress about getting it folded right away. I try to remember to pull the basket of clean clothes out when Brad and I watch a favorite show at night. It's a lot easier to fold with 2 of us.
    I think something that helps me with laundry is two have a laundry hamber in each room (mine and Cole's) as well as one on top of the dryer. I found a cloth laundry hamper I LOVE from Target, by the way. It's stylish and perfect.

    And finally, magazines, stores, websites I love:
    REAL SIMPLE is very helpful when it comes to organization. They have amazing ideas (similar to the second picture you posted) and I can't wait until my house looks like that.
    THE CONTAINER STORE is also perfect for containers for ANY project.

    Final words: I would suggest tackling one room at a time. Don't you think?

    [p.s. Missy has perfect ideas for toy storage.]

  2. thanks kelli! That is great! I like how you pick a project a week, instead of waiting until it really needs to be done...and then it is overwhelming. Yes, routines work for me too...I also find that morning work makes evening play a lot more likely to happen!

  3. Organization. Perfec topic that we needed to address on here, I think.

    As a kid, I was a mess. Almost all the time. My mom told me that if I kept my room cleaned for a month she would buy me rollerblades. I couldn't do it. I tried hard though and ended up getting the blades. Slowly I changed.

    I clean once a week as well. Not always the same day though and I can't figure how I can't get on a schedule of that during the week. Something always comes up or it is a beautiful day and I need to take Avery out all day long. Regardless, I set aside one day to wash my wood floors and bathrooms. I vacuum the carpeted areas (bedrooms) a couple times a week as well.

    I really wanted an organized area for Avery and dreamed one up with Design Mom's help. Before it was just throwing things into different bins. Now, they are organized and we went through the whole toy bin and tossed the one's that Avery was never interested in. She seems to like her toys over and over again. So, we have board books at her level on a shelf and also in a little bin with coloring books too. And the other has her plastic/wooden toys. We also have a huge tub of books under her bed in a massive tupperware container. Her room couldn't fit a bookshelf and I wanted books easily accessible. She loves going through them.

    Kelli told her idea about choosing one project a week and I took that upon myself as well. I love it! I do one project a week (the other week I went through all of Ave's stuff too Kelli!) and feel so much more accomplished.

    I need to be better with laundry. I'm not a huge fan of changing the laundry. I really should be better. I usually iron on Saturday evenings (fun!). They are low key b/c Devin has to get up at 5:00 am for meetings at the church at 6:00 am.

    Right after I put her down for a nap, I do a quick clean-up of her toys, kitchen, high-chair etc. before going onto do to my work from home or laundry or deep cleans. That way it always looks semi-picked up.

  4. Thanks great missy! I saw your little nook on your blog. I love it!!! I think that I need to do that too. right now, we have a tub of toys in every room so that as I migrate doing chores, they can follow me and play. But I think that I will try and create a better "space". Also, what work do you do from home? I am impressed!

  5. Great post!

    I think routines are good, because otherwise I tend to let things slip. Kelli, I think you told me about the project a week before too. That's a great idea for not feeling overwhelmed.

    When Isobel gets to sleep that is usually when I power clean! I do thinks that are hard to do with her like: the kitchen (she climbs into the dishwasher), clean the bathroom and all the floors.

    I suck at laundry, but am getting better. I can't tell you how many times my husband hasn't had clean underwear. Probably 5? oops. I will say that part of the reason I'm not so good is because we don't have a dryer. But, I am getting better. really, I am and I'm quite proud of that.

    Sarah, I love the de-cluttering and organizing. When I start tossing things out (clothes, toys, old items) I REALLY go for it. But, I still have a problem with space and finding a home for everything. We don't of much of it and we also don't have much room for wonderful, nice-looking storage boxes.

    Any tips for organizing when there isn't a lot of space?

  6. Ok, I have work still to do in this area, but my biggest helps have been:

    1) under the bed. Finding thos tuperwares that go under the bed is great for out of season clothes, bedding, etc.

    2) Vacuum pack storage...Lindsay, I found this site that might be helpful: http://www.packmate.co.uk/packmate_main.htm
    You put all your coats or heavy bedding in a storage bag, vacuum out the bag, and it reduces the space by half or more. And, it doesn't ruin anything. I love them!!!

    3) I have a nightstand that I have made fabric covers for that match my bedding where I keep extra books and bedroom stuff (I cubboard night stand would be great, but I don't have that luxery)

    4) use wall space. in our spare bedroom, we installed wall floor to ceiling shelving. What a life savor! THe nice thing about that: cheap, nice and clean looking (white shelves and white brackets...think Ikea) and I could custom choose the height in order to fit the baskets, organizers I needed. But if you don't have the option of changing a room that drastically, a regular bookcase would work with containers that fit.

    I am sure there are other great ideas, but this is all i have come up with!


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