64 and Partly Sunny

That was the forecast two days ago, Christmas 2019. Felt like a nice spring day without all the pollen and bugs. This whole week has been in the mid 60s and I kinda chuckle when I see snowman blow-ups in every other yard around town. I’ve always thought it was strange that we “snow frost” everything for Christmas in the Southeast US, but we do because we just do. I kinda wonder if they do the same in Arizona.

I’ve been thinking about all the things we do for normalcy, tradition, or expectations. The kids and I were reading through the Nativity story in the books of Luke and Matthew and we pieced together that the Wise Men were not actually there on the night or even months after the birth of the Christ child.

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The Junk Yard

Our printer died. It was a sad day for a homeschool mom. Fortunately we were two days before Christmas break and the ink was about out, but still… It had been a trusty printer. We’d had it for years. It was given to us. Not what I would have bought for myself, but I couldn’t find a good enough reason to replace it while it worked. However, the $60 cost of replacement cartridges always left a bitter taste in my mouth and the print quality was just ok.

And actually it didn’t die. It still turned on and it still recognized its print que, but the roller malfunctioned and wouldn’t suck the paper through to print on it. I’d noticed some time ago it was pulling stronger on the right side, but not enough to matter until it just wouldn’t at all. So I had this printer that was now useless to me.

Where did it go? Trash or Donate?

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Practical DIY No. 4: Phone Pocket Thing

I had some Command Strips left over from DIY No. 1 and I really needed a place to keep my phone close by but off of the kitchen counters, which is frequently wet or gross, because… I have kids, or maybe I’m just gross. I wanted something relatively cheap that didn’t look like I’d cut up an empty shampoo bottle to make a phone wall pocket, because apparently that’s a thing.

I’ve been using this solution for a few weeks now. I wanted to test the strength of the Command Strips. Seems to work just fine for my phone, but do this one at your own risk because all devices come in different sizes. It’s possible that if I had a thicker case on my phone, these specific clips may not have been wide enough at the top to hold it.

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Outta Hand Closet

As we are nearing Christmastime, I’d bet there are a few wardrobe related items on the wish list of most adult women (and men, too).

In the Life Less Cluttered curriculum I go into more detail about closet organization, but one general rule to apply to your wardrobe to keep it from getting out of hand is Buy to Replace.

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Practical DIY No 3: Spool Stool

I don’t know why we called it that, because this DIY is not a stool at all. It’s an end table. I’ll be honest, it didn’t turn out as lovely as I’d hoped but good enough to keep.

I should mention that we moved three months ago after living in our first home for twelve years and we donated nearly half of our old furniture. Keeping in mind that I do not want to purchase items just to fill a house, it’s been a slow-go at decorating and adding a personal touch to our new spaces.

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Mess and Clutter

Clutter is usually messy, but mess is not always clutter. I try to be tidy even though I tend to be messy. Artist life. I see mess as potential in progress. Mess allows your possessions to be used, and sorted, and used again. Mess is a part of life.

Clutter is where stuff goes to die. Clutter is the messy piles in the cabinets, closets, and counter tops where stuff gets placed so that it doesn’t have to be used – and there in lines the problem. Clutter is only a problem because we own things that we do not use, and we own so much of it that stuff gets lost. Then, we buy more because we can’t find something when we do need to use it because it’s lost in all the stuff we aren’t using. It’s ok to have things to use only sometimes, but everything needs to have a proper place. Clutter gives me anxiety and is doesn’t have to be a part of life.

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Practical DIY No 2: Art Display

In my very first post, Manager of Stuff, I mentioned that we throw away 98% of the papers my kids create. One life ago, before we decided to homeschool, my kids attended church preK programs and then public school.

The first few years of school are so much fun, especially for a first-time parent until you realize that you are never going to stop getting papers – tests, art, daily work, newsletters, lunch menus. ALL. THE. PAPERS.

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The Season We’re In

Tis’ the season of giving buying. Sometime shortly after school supply madness in July-September, we roll into the holiday season of buying all the things. First Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and Christmas is on the list for all of October through December.

I’ve realized over the years that one of the most helpful solutions to declutter my home is to buy less. That doesn’t mean buy nothing, but rather, buy intentionally.

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Practical DIY No 1: Bread Ties

Back story: I like bread. I like bread ties. That’s about it.

I find bread ties to be useful for just about everything; and to be clear, I mean the wire kind, not the flat plastic squarish ones. Those are useless.

Need to tie some cords together? Bread Tie. Need to close a non-bread open bag of food? Bread tie. Need to hold your jeans together if the button falls off or you’re feeling a little full? Bread tie. Need to hold your hair back without a scrunchie? A bread tie will be there for you.

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Manager of Stuff

I throw away my kids’ art in front of them. Sounds brutal, doesn’t it? It’s not always easy, but I can promise you it’s never harsh. Sometimes there are conversations involved, sometimes it’s because the piece in question has been hanging around on the floor for one too many days. Nevertheless, they have been trained. I have been trained! I can’t keep every iota that my child has graciously stroked with a pencil, pen, or paintbrush – nor do I want to.

We keep some special pieces for a little while before they are discarded and we keep very few long term, but 98% of the papers my kids produce go in the trash – out of my house – forever. I’ve been intentional to parent my young adults-in-training (AITs) to be capable of making decisions regarding their relationship with stuff. No secrets purges, no sneaking items in the trash while they’re asleep. They are a part of our declutter process. I am less guilty for it and blamed less when they can’t find something that is missing. By including them in the process of what they keep and discard, we are able to cultivate trust and open up conversations behind the ‘why’ of owning things.

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