Why You Need a Declutter Box

Several years ago when I was going through the crazy-making season of being a mom to two under 3, I started to realize how much stuff just happened upon us and ended up in my house. Infants and toddlers need big things: swings, highchairs, bouncing things, play pens, teaching to walk things, big strollers and little strollers (they need both), changing tables and then tiny porto potties. It seemed like everything the kids needed consumed so much floor space in the house. I told myself it was for a season, and it was, but then after those things went away other things kept coming – smaller things. . . so many smaller things. There were interactive loud obnoxious toys, plushies, big blocks and little blocks, tiny cars and dolls with elusive doll shoes, and puzzles with all of their pieces. There was also packaging from these small things that cluttered up the house as much as the toys themselves did.

We bought very little for the kids but we had so much donated to us by friends and gifted from relatives. We were blessed for sure but our blessings started to feel like a burden. I knew it was time to bless someone else, but how in the world was I supposed to manage a house of 4 and all of our stuff? Decluttering had never been a priority for me. If there was something that I wanted, I just bought it and if there was something that I didn’t want anymore I had enough room in my house to let it sit until I moved and was forced to deal with it.

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For What’s Ahead

Being at a turning point in your life forces self awareness to some degree. You can’t help but reflect on where you’ve been and anticipate what’s ahead.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

That’s a hard one to swallow but its a reminder that’s needed when I begin to plan and fixate on uncertainties. I find empathy in those words. Today has enough to think about. Work on what you’re doing today. One thing at a time. It’s easy to be overwhelmed in thought. The time to worry about tomorrow is tomorrow.

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Practical DIY 12: Easy Stewed Tomatoes

Oh my, my! Two years ago our neighbors brought over a small bucket of tomatoes from a local farm and left them on our porch. The kids said they were the best tomatoes they’d ever had and they were. He later told us that he and his wife visit a local farm every year. We’ve been wanting to get to the farm for 2 years and finally made it this past week. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. The u-pick option to buy tomatoes was very reasonable. A large bag of tomatoes was $3. We picked about 30 tomatoes before we filled the bag so I have a LOT of tomatoes.

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A Blessing in Stressful Times

Guess what I don’t ever want to do? Go through my clutter. I like to have a clean house but I don’t really like to clean my house. I think that is why living with less is so appealing to me. Hindsight is 20/20. Let’s talk for a minute about how having less clutter has helped in a season that has nothing to do with my stuff.

2, 5, 10 years ago I didn’t think I would be going through a divorce, during a pandemic, 18 months after purchasing our second home, but I did, and I am. When I began the intentional pursuit to have less, I hoped that it would benefit many aspects of my life. It has but sometimes things happen in life where you actually get to see the worth of your efforts.

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When Your Stuff Becomes a Burden

You know the feeling. Anxiety, tension, suffocation when you walk into a room and it’s like, “How. did. all. of this STUFF get here?” I’d like to comfort myself and believe we’ve all been there at one time or another. Looking at it is exhausting. Tackling it seems defeating. Our stuff doesn’t just magically appear in our homes. It doesn’t have legs, walk in and sit down in the middle of the floor and say, “Deal with me now!” And I know, I know it seems cold to point the blame back onto you, or me, or anyone dealing with it. After all blame shifting never solves anything. Truth is, we have all developed habits that make us proned to hoarding too many things. It’s the world we live in. Any way we turn, we are pressed to buy one. more. thing. So it’s the world’s fault, right? Well no, not specifically. If anything, it’s a self-awareness issue. Clutter exists in our home from one of two ways or a combo of both – Buying too much or keeping too much. I’ve comprised a list to determine which side of the coin a person’s clutter causing habits fall.

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Practical DIY No 11: Kitchen Recipes

If you aren’t using the back of cabinets for secret storage and organization, you’re missing out. I started taping my favorite recipes on the backs of my kitchen cabinets years ago and although I now know most of the recipes that I have on display, my daughter has begun to follow them. She loves to cook and every now and then, she’ll be quiet in the kitchen working on something creative to bake in the oven. Our most often used recipe is my Christmas morning muffins.

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A Snake and A Car

Today was a weird day. One that I thought would be filled with much more sadness but as I reflect, I know I’m moving forward in hope. Our house listed in this hot market and we already have 5 viewings scheduled. I’m grateful for it, but it was never the plan. I like plans, but honestly, I like change too so I can see the opportunity for growth here. We bought our house 2 years ago after we lived in our first home for 12 years. My husband, now ex, wanted a bigger house and I wanted a better floor plan. We found both in this house. We bought this house for a family of 4 and now we are a family of 3. I won’t get into the details but it’s what bought me to this happy point today.

My daughter got a baby snake for her birthday. She loves it. We all love it actually and I had no idea housing a pet snake would be so enjoyable. Because we were showing the house today, she asked if we could take her, the snake, with us. I don’t put it past a stranger’s kid to reach for a reptile in a tank so I said yes.

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Practical DIY No 10: Removing Sticker Residue

I like a good drop-and-go type situation. It makes me feel like I’m working smarter, not harder. For example crock pot meals, drop everything in the pot, walk away and you have dinner 8 hours later. Or using vinegar to clean nasty food off of my stainless steel pans. Fill the bottom with straight vinegar, leave to soak for several hours, then easily wipe clean, spray rinse, done. I like to know my efforts are working behind the scenes when I’m working on other things or spending time with the kids.

Of course there are those drop-and-go situations that back fire, like starting a load of laundry and realizing you multi-tasked so much you forgot about the clothes and 3 days later they’re sour. Been there.

Here is a drop-and-go that truly will not go sour no matter how long you leave it. I cringe a little every time I buy a frame and the price sticker is directly on the glass so after much trial and error, I found an easy solution involving coconut oil and a little bit of time.

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Living with Less

When you intentionally live with less, it’s easier to accept that you’re about to have to live with less. Let me explain. Several years ago, I committed to living a life less cluttered. I forced myself through a process of self-awareness to find the habits that kept me in the cylindrical pattern of clutter, purge, rest, reclutter, angrily purge, rest, do it again. Rising above the pull to over spend and excessively consume has changed my life for the better in so many ways.

I buy only when I need or I buy to replace when I want and it has worked so well to keep clutter at bay. In 2020 we all learned that we could live without almost anything except hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Collectively I think we had higher hopes for 2021, but how many of us are realizing that last year left us with so much more than a new virus to fight?

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An Organized Pantry for Less

You don’t have to have a glamourous high end pantry to have one that makes sense and works for your life. Uber organized pantries with clear containers and cutesy labels can be impractical if you live with other people or plan to buy anything except what’s committed to the “special jars”. Ideally, we’d all love to have THAT super chic pantry, but realistically that doesn’t have to be your pantry goals to have a space that works. I strive to help women declutter and make sense of their spaces without spending a lot of money on organization, often using items that already exist within the home. Here are a few tips to organize your pantry keeping products in their original packaging: 

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