Category Archives: Organizing Attempts

Halfway Through The Year: Checking My 18 in 2018 List

It’s June!  June signals the halfway point of the year. Can you believe we’re there?

Thought I should check in on my list of 18 things I wanted to do this year…

My 18 Items For 2018 Update:

  1. Read (at least) 18 books: I’ve read 9 of them. Plus given myself permission to take one book I just couldn’t make it through off the list!
  2. Lose 18 pounds: Yeah, ongoing struggle with this one.
  3. Get a new kitchen table: Not yet
  4. Guard my heart from negativity and drama (sorry, I know it’s vague): Work in progress
  5. Clean out the basement: Um…should probably get start on this one
  6. Clean out the inside of the computer desk: See number 5
  7. Add another garden area to the front yard: Lots of ideas, might wait until fall and use bulbs
  8. Buy fresh flowers for the table once a month: Doing pretty good with this one

    Grocery store flowers!

  9. Post a Happy Homemaker Monday post every week: Another good one!
  10. Do one thing each month to get ready for next Christmas: I’m still a last-minute shopper
  11. Complete a sugar-free challenge: Did this around lent, need to try again
  12. Join in the monthly weekly Facebook group photography challenges at Live, Snap, LoveNot very good at keeping up with them and definitely not brave enough to post my challenge pictures yet
  13. Go on a fun summer vacation, maybe a return to Colorado or South Dakota: Visited Duluth, Minnesota! Post about our fun trip coming maybe tomorrow or Friday.
  14. Make our house feel like a home again (vague again, I know…): My focus for the rest of the summer
  15. Walk in another 5K: Hoping to find something in the fall
  16. Clean my email inbox out monthly (prefer weekly but I’m being realistic): Been keeping up with this in spurts. After letting it pile up to over 1000 e-mails, I’ve been more inclined to delete things regularly
  17. Get rid of 18 things we don’t love/use each month (4-5 things a week): Falling a bit short
  18. Go on at least 2 nature walks/outdoor bird-watching adventures a month: I thought I’d do better in this category. Need to start actually making plans to do these

Did you make a list of items for the year? Are you making progress?






Display, Store, Or Give Away

For today’s Tiny Tip On A Thursday, I thought I’d share a true tale about helping J clean his room.

Last week I helped J clean up a corner of his room.

He started out on his own. His bed became a catchall.

The living room couch became his sleeping quarters for two nights while we waited for him to finish the job.

We gave him yet another nudge. The words of frustration spilled from his lips:

“I don’t know where to put any of that crap.”

The nicest words? No. Do you use the nicest of words when you are frustrated? Yeah, me either.

Sadly, I heard an echo of familiarity in the words.  And a call for help.  So I told him we would work together on the floor and the bed.

We started with a trash bag. A lot of last year’s schoolwork went into it (sorry, teachers) as did a broken binder.

I realized he needed a desk organizer (or in J’s case, a table organizer as he’s currently using his dad’s camping table as a desk. One problem at a time.). And, of course, more space.

He agreed, in a bittersweet moment for me, we could store all the loose Lego’s  in the basement.  We could also put his Lego table and chairs down there to make room for a place to store and practice his baritone (bonus tip: always try to talk your kids into the flute if space is an issue ;)).

The already put together Lego’s displayed all over his room?  Those are staying put for now. We have a long way to go but we did make progress.   Display, store, or give away

A lot of progress came from my asking him a simple question about various items: Do you want display, store, or give away?  Thankfully, my youngest son is easy about trash being trash.

This is my twist on the 3 box strategy of organizing and purging you see on a lot of sites.  Most will advise you to get three boxes or bags and label them with keep, give-away, and throw-away.

The idea of course is that you have a use in mind for everything you plan to keep. A great strategy but 12 is a tough age.  Let’s all cringe together when I say it’s “in be Tween.”  Not quite a child but not quite ready to let go of all their toys either.

Somehow, asking display, store, or give away softens the blow.

In the interest of full disclosure, we’re still slowly working on his room but we’re making progress!

We bought 3 storage tubs and a new trash can for his room yesterday. Hopefully, I’ll have more to share about this current organizing project soon.

What tips do you have for helping kids to clean their rooms?





Summer Guidelines And Theme Days 2017

Every summer I attempt to find the elusive balance to my days.  This summer is no different. It continues to be an ongoing attempt.  Today, I thought I’d share our summer guidelines and theme days for 2017.

As I searched for summer guidelines for my boys, I focused on articles geared to teens because that pretty much describes them now (okay, one’s 12 but close enough…especially with the attitude, yikes!).  Most of my inspiration for the summer guidelines came from this article over on the Alpha Mom website: Summer House Rules For The Teens.

I’m calling mine guidelines because I was frankly too lazy to make that many rules and if I call them guidelines I can give myself a bit more flexibility and not feel like I’m policing my kids all summer.  Plus (cliché warning) since rules were meant to broken, calling them summer guidelines might give us better chances at success.   summer guidelines

Our Summer Guidelines 2017

The most important one for me focuses on bedtime.  It seems strange giving teens and almost teens summer bedtime but letting them stay up until all hours just wasn’t working especially when my husband and I do work.  Well, okay I only work sometimes but still…

Bedtime Hours Monday-Through Thursday:  Midnight!  All gaming and television screens need to be shut down.

Friday-Sunday:  No limits although I’ll probably get up and yell if they are keeping me awake and it’s after 3a.m.

*I’m not designating wake up times since they get up earlier if they go to bed at decent times.  By earlier, I mean 10:30 or 11:00 which is okay with me.  I can even handle noon but that waiting around until 2:00 for a kid to get out of bed didn’t work so well for me last summer.

Household Help:  This starts today so wish me luck!  Everyone will be assigned one room (kitchen, living room, bathrooms) for the week.  They are responsible for keeping it presentable by cleaning it for 5-10 minutes each day. Bedrooms should get 15 minutes of attention (cleaning) each day or an hour at the end of each week.

Outside Time: Spend some time outside every single day.  I’m not setting any limits here just as long as they get some exposure to sunlight.  J is usually more than wiling to water the garden for me and G often walks places with his friends.

Outings:  Since my kids are homebodies, I need this one.  We will go on one outing every week not counting library day.

Do you have summer guidelines or rules for your kids?  I want to give my boys freedom and yet I’ve quickly realized they need a few limits with that freedom (as do I).


I was also pleasantly surprised to find out J still wanted to do our summer theme days!  Again, we’ll have to be flexible as I’ll be working some but here are our summer theme days for 2017:

Sunday: Lazy Days

Monday: Science Days (Focus on Physics, help me! and Chemistry)

Tuesday: Library Day

Wednesday: Outing Day

Thursday: Cooking Day

Friday: Game Day (games we can all play)

My plan is to once again review our theme days of the week on Tuesdays.  It may not happen every Tuesday as my word for summer, I suppose is flexibility.  Do you have any guidelines or theme days for your summer planned yet?


Bedroom Re-Do: The Beginning

I decided to start in our bedroom with my room a week re-do challenge because it was really feeling chaotic in here.  It still does a bit although I can see some little pockets of calm.

Since it was a shorter week, I am following the steps I outlined in the first post but in a rather random order and combining steps a bit.

I made a list of things that were bothering me the most in the room:

  1. There is no real separate “office space.” I have never liked having the computer desk area in this room but we simply do not have room for this desk elsewhere in the house and it is too important to me to switch out for something else.
    Sadly, this is what my computer desk looked like a day after I had cleaned it.

    Sadly, this is what my computer desk looked like a day after I had cleaned it.

    Here is the view we get of the computer desk “office area” from our bed:

    This is really not a relaxing thing to see in a bedroom

    This is really not a relaxing thing to see in a bedroom

  2. My side of the bedroom had once again spiraled out of control and into chaos:Did I mention in my last post I had really let things slide?  Looking at this also reminded me of how I was in need of a place to put my preschool books (I had started organizing them with the magazine holders but had too many and not all of them fit right because of varying book sizes).   I also thought I wanted book ends for the dresser or eventually built-in bookcases…



  3. The unfinished walls in our bedroom which have been waiting for sheet-rock much too long were really bothering me as well.

Then, I spent some time cleaning and sorting.  I cleared off the entire top of the dresser (I did the laundry as well).

There is definitely something calming about clear, empty spaces

There is definitely something calming about clear, empty spaces

I decided as much as I like my books around me, I don’t want all of them in my bedroom.  I need calm in here.

The style I decided on for our bedroom that I think we both could actually like is a combination of romantic and beach house.

Don’t you hate looking at things on Pinterest and then, wanting all the things done and done now?  Of course, it doesn’t work that way because of time and budget constraints.

My ideas for a few quick fixes for this room were to mostly ignore my desk area for now.  I want to rearrange things a bit and hang a curtain to separate things. However, I will need husband help for those two things and neither of us was having a week where discussing moving furniture around would have ended happily.

After I cleaned my side of the bed, I decided on an idea to either cover the walls with sheets or “wallpaper” the walls using gift wrap.   I love the bed canopy made from sheets in this pin which also covers part of the wall.

I brought out a white sheet and debated for a while but ultimately decided for the wall above my dresser, “wallpaper” wrapping paper would be a better fit (and easier to install on our unfinished walls).

After a quick search of the basement revealed nothing suitable, I made a run to The Dollar Tree.  I found some wedding paper I thought might bring a bit of a romantic vibe to the room:

I wouldn't want a whole room of this but thought it would be nice for one wall

I wouldn’t want a whole room of this but thought it would be nice for one wall

I planned to attach it using double-sided tape, my husband said that would be okay and not likely to hurt anything.  I did the bottom of half of my wall just to see how it would look:

New wallcovering

New wall covering in progress

I did the bottom half of the wall after agreeing to wait and let my husband do the top half (something about “Please, don’t hurt yourself and if you can just wait until the weekend, I’ll do it for you…) this weekend.

I’m hoping to have a bit more finished looking bedroom by the end of the weekend and “after” pictures to show sometime next week.

Do you have any remodel in progress rooms in your house?  How do you cope?


Room A Week Re-Do Challenge

I am challenging myself to re-do a room a week for the rest of the summer.  Would you like to join me?     ROOM


The answer is simple.  My house is a disaster!  I’ve also been watching too many home interior type shows on Netflix.

While it is never a good idea to compare to others to the point it brings discontent, I do think it is okay to compare or maybe observe is a better word and think, “I can do better.”

I will confess one of the reasons you haven’t seen many organizing type posts on this blog lately is I’ve not been doing any organizing or (ahem) cleaning and clearing.  I’ve let things slide so much.  I’ve become overwhelmed by the chaos.

With summer and me working, it has simply spiraled out of control.  It is time to take back my home.


I’ve decided to attempt a room a week in my efforts to take back my home.  I don’t expect to see huge results when I’m done with this but to simply have perhaps a little breathing room.  Right now, I feel claustrophobic and unsettled in my own home.  I also feel as if our home has no style.

I do plan to start this week and will have to of course, adjust on weeks like next where I work a full schedule.  However, my basic plan for each room will be this:

Day 1: Make a list of what is bothering me the most in the room and/or decide on what style I’d like in the room (read spend some time each day browsing Pinterest and watching home shows on Netflix).

Day 2:  Clean.  Ugh, why must every redecorating project start with this?  Never mind cleaning may just solve quite a few of the decorating dilemmas around here.

Day 3: Finish cleaning if necessary.  Did I mention how I’d really let things slide around here since summer started?

Day 4: Organize areas in need (probably every corner of every room!)

Day 5: Finish organizing if necessary.  Make a wish list of future projects and/or items needed for finishing the room.

Day 6: Add a few finishing touches that make me happy to the room.  I will probably either shop the house for this or give myself a very limited budget (not over $20) for each room.

Day 7: Enjoy finished results but also make a maintenance plan for keeping room nice.  Maintaining is an area where I struggle.  Am I the only one?  I can make things nice and clean and pretty once but then, it never seems to last.


I have already started with a small project this week.  While I didn’t do much, clearing off probably 3 months of clutter on my desk has certainly helped me want to sit here and gaze longingly a Pinterest write a bit more.

Which Room is First?

Normally, I’d use the Flylady style and start with the kitchen.  However, we had a leaking dishwasher water issue with the floor and things are even more chaotic than normal in there currently.  We can’t even sit at the table together.  Thankfully, a new dishwasher should arrive Friday and then, I can concentrate on taking back my kitchen.

Since the kitchen is not a viable option this week, I’ve decided to focus on our bedroom for this week.  I will share about my success and challenges on the blog.

Would you like to join me?  What room or rooms in your house need the most attention?



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